WHO IS GOD? Part 22 (The Ten Commandments continued)

In our researches with Anaiah, we got as far as the encounter between the Israelites and God at the holy mountain where Moses was given tablets inscribed with what we now call the Ten Commandments. The suggestion was made that the Ten Commandments were intended not only as a guide to life, but also as a window into God’s own nature. God, who created the universe, cannot be fully known by us, but something of his nature can be known from his acts.

The first two commandments told the Israelites to recognize God as the only God and to https://i.pinimg.com/474x/0d/3e/68/0d3e6849212426ea5d62853b9c930833--christian-verses-christian-sayings.jpgworship no idols. It takes an effort to remember that monotheism was a startling innovation in a world where not only the Egyptians but everybody else recognized and worshiped a multitude of gods. The prohibition of idols had a concrete purpose when considered against the many cult statues that figured so prominently in religious worship. The many gods had different attributes that lent themselves to physical depiction, but the one God could not be so distinguished or depicted, and so the Israelites came to understand that no physical representation of God was appropriate or legitimate. In contrast with the endless statues and wall carvings of the Egyptians, the Israelites made no pictures or statues of God.

The Ten Commandments also prohibited “taking the name of God in vain.” This may seem an odd requirement, but the Israelites attached great importance to names and especially to the name of God. When Moses met God at the burning bush he asked to know God’s name as a way of finding out God’s nature. Frequently in the Old Testament the name of God is praised. God’s name was considered so holy that the Israelites refused ever to say it. Though the name appears hundreds of times in the Old Testament, the Israelites, when reading those passages, would substitute the title “Lord” for the holy name.

Another commandment was to keep the Sabbath Day holy. This was the seventh day of the week, what we now call Saturday. The explanation was given that God had made the world in six days and rested on the seventh day, and so his people should do their work on six days and rest (and devote themselves to worship) on the seventh. The remaining commandments appear relatively straightforward: do not lie, steal, murder, etc. These have their parallels in other cultures, which makes sense because they have been found by all cultures to provide a bedrock of behavior needed for civil society to exist. Next time we will draw some conclusions from our review of the Ten Commandments.

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Have you seen Dulcinea?

Help find Dulcinea and reunite her with a heartsick family:






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Praise God, Who Loves Us!

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This last week we had a special service of celebration for our sister Winifred, who has recovered from a grave illness. The service included songs of joy and praise to God, who makes all things new. It was a reminder that, to God, every person is a precious individual. God loves each of us and wants what is best for us, and what is best for us is union with Him. Once we understand this, our natural response is thanks and praise. There is a lot of that around here. You are welcome to join us in learning about and praising God.


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Construction Activity & Spiritual Services Announcement

Beginning February 1 the street in front of the church 155th St. N. will be closed to through traffic. St. Barnabas has been promised by Sound Transit that we will still have continuous and uninterrupted access to the church.

For the next several weeks, you may see construction activity along North 155th Street carried out by Sound Transit. The light rail line will go up the east side of the freeway, but Sound Transit wants to monitor noise and vibration at our property and it wants to tie into electric and other utilities along the street. Your visits to the church should not be affected. If access is blocked by closed lanes or detours, roll down your window and wave to catch the attention of a flagger. They will make sure you can safely get into the parking lot. Of course, at any time, if any workers are present, it’s ok to roll down your window, and call out “God bless you!”

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WHO IS GOD? Part 21 (The Bible)

WHO IS GOD? Part 21 (The Bible)

In the previous entry in this series, the suggestion was made that parts of the Old Testament, such as the story of Noah’s Flood, appear to include legendary material, that is, material different from what we would consider literal history. This suggestion may make some Christians uncomfortable. There are two responses. First, this series is directed chiefly at non-Christians. Even if one ultimately comes to the conclusion that the Bible is all true in a literal sense, this conclusion is not persuasive to someone who is seeking to learn about Christianity. The method chosen here is to treat the Bible as a historical record and to examine what it says about God’s interactions with humanity. Once we understand Who God Is as depicted in the Bible, we are in a better position to consider whether the things said about God are true.

Second, few Christians would contend that the entire Bible is literally true as history. Parts of it are plainly poetry (e.g., the Psalms), advice for living wisely (e.g., the Proverbs), and parts appear to be theological reflection (it was argued earlier that the creation story in Genesis fits into this category). Christians who take a “high” view of the factual reliability of the Bible generally agree that the Biblical writings should be interpreted as the author(s) of those writings intended, though as we will see when we look at some of the prophetic writings, this principle may need to be adjusted.

So for now we are going to take the Bible as we find it, using our best efforts to determine when it was written and why, and what the authors intended us to learn from it. One thing they intended us to learn was Who God Is, which is the subject of this series.

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Epiphany Tide

Happy Epiphany Season!

Epiphany is a season that celebrates the revelation of Jesus’ divine nature to the world, through the visit of the Magi (the main subject of the Feast of the Epiphany on January 6), Jesus’ baptism, and his first miracle. We continue to use the word “epiphany” to mean a moment when we realize the hidden essence of a thing. This is a good time to come to church for readings from the Bible about who Jesus really is and why he came to us. Spoiler alert: Jesus is the Son of God who came to show us what God is like and to die for our sins. This is good news because we are unable to save ourselves.

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“Star of Bethlehem” 1909 Edward Burne-Jones, Morris & Co. (St. Mary’s Church, Westerham)

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Who Is God? Part 20 (Series Resumed)

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Who Is God? Part 20 (Series Resumed)

Some time ago, this site began a series entitled “Who Is God” that undertook to explain what Christians believe about the creator and ruler of the universe. Earlier entries in this series can be found by searching for the word “Who” in the archives. Shortly into the series, it was determined that tracing the history of interactions between God and his chosen people, known variously as the Jews, the Hebrews, and the Children of Israel, would be helpful in explaining the nature of the God that those people encountered. To enliven this approach, recourse was had to a fictitious interlocutor named Anaiah, a Jew from the sixth century B.C. who had, by some miraculous means, traveled to our time and learned English. Anaiah’s explanation about God began with the creation of the world, the history of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (aka Israel) and the move to Egypt, all as told in the Biblical Book of Genesis. Anaiah also related the escape from Egypt under the leadership of Moses as related in the Book of Exodus. His recital broke off with the arrival of the Jewish people at the borders of what had been their homeland.

We can imagine that, at that point, Anaiah chose to return to his own time, leaving us to carry on the story by ourselves.

One thing we learned from Anaiah was that the books of the Bible convey important truths about the Jewish people and about God, but we need to consider the perspective and intent of their authors. For example, the opening chapters of the Book of Genesis talk about the creation of the universe, including the earth and its inhabitants. Man is described as created late in the process (many scientists today agree that man is a late arrival). Anaiah provided reasons to think that the author(s) of Genesis did not intend a historical account of creation. Instead, the creation story was intended as a theological reflection on a topic of perennial interest: if God is all-powerful and good, how can there be sin, evil, and death in the world? Anaiah provided reasons to think that the Genesis account deals with this question on a quite sophisticated level.

Chapters 6-8 of Genesis relate the story of Noah and the world-wide flood. Like similar stories that appear in other ancient cultures, this may be the reflection of an actual event, but it is hard to distinguish history from story. Other chapters in Genesis contain legendary material about the origins of the Jewish people and their division into tribes. There is good reason to think that these legends are based on historical truth, just as Homer’s Iliad appears to be based on an actual military raid by Greeks into Asia Minor.

This approach to the Bible raises important issues. Is it OK to regard parts of the Bible as legendary and therefore not historically true? If so, is it reasonable to consider the Bible the Word of God? If we are free to doubt the literal truth about the Bible’s historical claims, are we opening the door to doubt the descriptions of God? As this entry is already long enough, these issues will be addressed in subsequent postings.

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A New Year’s Resolution

The beginning of the New Year is a good time to resolve to do things that you have been putting off, things you know you should be doing. Here’s a good one: Go to church! There is a loving God, the creator of the universe and the creator of you. God wants you to know him and his love. He wants you to know about the sacrifice he made by sending his son, Jesus, to die for your sins. Christian churches, St. Barnabas included, have regular meetings on Sunday mornings where we read from the Bible, sing songs, and participate in the sacrament of bread and wine that Jesus instructed us to perform. It may take a few weeks to get used to an unfamiliar liturgy, but the benefits will be more glorious and more long-lasting than a resolution to give up sweets. Come and join us. Ask questions. Learn about Jesus and how his life, death, and resurrection changed the world. We have services at 8:00 am and 10:30 am on Sunday mornings. Everything you need will be provided.

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The Wise men worship the Christ Child – Epiphany

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Lessons & Carols – Today!

In recognition of the 12 Days of Christmas, we observe a Festival of Lessons & Carols. Today at 3:00pm we will sing 11 carols and read 9 lessons. Special music as well will accompany this beautiful service. Join us for a festival of appetizers afterward in the Fellowship Hall! There is time enough to observe the 12 Days of Christmas as well as the last official 12’s regular season Seahawks game! Go 12’s.

Cooper at the rail


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Christmas Eve, Christmas Day & Christmas Tide 2019

Come Worship the Newborn King!

Christmas Worship Times

Christmas Eve Dec. 24

5:00 pm – Candlelight Service

10:30 pm – Candlelight Service

Christmas Day

10:00 am – Eucharist

Lessons and Carols (During the 12 days of Christmas)

Saturday – December 28

3:00 pm

Potluck Appetizer Reception

To Follow

(Invite Friends, Family, and Neighbors)

Siver Bells Christmas schedule

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