Hello. Let’s talk about St. Barnabas. Maybe you have been thinking about stopping by but you have hesitated because, well, you don’t really know what to expect. Here’s your chance to learn in the comfort of your own home.
St. Barnabas Anglican Church is at 2340 N 155th St, Shoreline, WA 98133. We are right across the street from the parking lot for Twin Ponds Park.
St. Barnabas is part of a regional group called the Anglican Church in North America. The name comes from the fact that the churches called Anglican go back, historically, to the Christian church in England.
Let’s talk about architecture. If you have seen pictures of Greek or Roman temples, you may have noticed that, behind all the impressive columns, the inside of the temple is actually pretty small. That’s because in Greek and Roman religion the chief religious activities were conducted by priests. The people brought offerings, waited outside, and maybe paraded around. The early Christian church was different. The members all met together, at first in private houses. When it became legal to meet publicly, Christians built churches modeled after a kind of Roman building called a basilica. A basilica was a large building used for public and legal business. Later other forms of church buildings were developed, including the famous cathedrals of Europe. It might seem obvious to you that a church building should be big enough for people to gather inside, but this was actually an innovation of the Christian church.
One thing you will notice as you approach the church building is that there is a big cross on the wall facing the street. You may take this for granted – a cross on a Christian church — but remember that the cross was a Roman execution device. Jesus was nailed to a cross and left there until he was dead. Death by execution was considered very shameful by the Jews and the Romans, as it is by us. Imagine making a noose or an electric chair the symbol of your religious group. Amazingly, the early Christians found the cross to be a glorious symbol. Some churches are even cross-shaped in ground plan, which emphasizes the importance of the cross as a Christian symbol.
We will have to have a serious talk about why the cross is such a big deal. But for now I am going to stick to my mission, which is to introduce you to St. Barnabas. We will continue with that mission next time.
If sin is separation from God, the cure is to get closer to God. Here are some ways to do that.
Next Wednesday, March 6, is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. There will be liturgies at noon and 7:00 pm, including the imposition of ashes. The ashes remind us that we are mortal and limited, utterly dependent on God’s grace (which, luckily for us, is inexhaustible). Humility is very counter-cultural (“Everybody deserves a trophy!”), but it is good medicine for our wounded souls.
Lent lasts for 40 days until Easter (actually, Ash Wednesday is 46 days before Easter, but Sundays are always feasts of the Resurrection and are not counted in Lent). Lent is a period of reflection, self-examination, and preparation for the joyful celebration of God’s saving acts. Some people give up unhealthy things during Lent (smoking, alcohol, sweet desserts). It would be better to give up these things altogether and employ Lent, in taking on something new that brings us closer to God. Read the Bible every day. Attend church regularly. Pray.
During Lent, on the Wednesdays following Ash Wednesday (that is, starting on March 13), St. Barnabas invites you to gather with us for soup suppers. There will be fellowship, a bit of music, and a short study about God. We will gather at 6:30 pm and be done around 8:00. Please join us and take this opportunity to make Lent a way to get closer to God, who loves you dearly.
The Psalmist says “The Lord is king! Let the earth rejoice; let the many coastlands be glad!” And again, “O sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth. Sing to the Lord, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples.” These bits (taken almost at random from Psalms 97 and 96) illustrate one of the dominant themes of Christianity: joy. It is the joy felt by the castaway when the rescuing ship sees his signal of distress, the joy felt by the hunter who has been lost but suddenly recognizes his bearings and can find his way home. It is the relief felt in a chaotic situation when an adult with knowledge and authority enters the room. Many people make the mistake of thinking that Christians are repressed, joyless people who are prevented from being themselves (usually imagined as giving in to impulses). This is wrong: we are joyful victors, and more than victors, against sin, evil, and death. Bad things continue to exist, but they can no longer threaten us because we belong to God, who has conquered them. Who would not praise God and feel joyful? Who would not be eager to tell others? Come and share in our joy.
The snow is melting and the daffodils will come back!
St. Barnabas is resuming its regular schedule, with liturgies at 8:00 and 10:30 on Sunday, February 17.
In between those liturgies, at 9:10 am on the 17th, we will have the first of our series of classes on the authority of the Bible.
The ultimate question is: Can we trust the Bible?
This coming Sunday, we will look at some preliminary questions: Do we have an accurate text of the Bible? Who decided which writings to put into the Bible and why? How can we choose among the various available translations?
Who can say, I have made my heart clean?1
The Lord looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.2 They that are in the flesh cannot please God.3
To will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.4 We are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags: and we all do fade as a leaf: and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.5
The scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.6 God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them.7
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.8
1Pro 20:9; 2Psa 14:2,3; 3Rom 8:8; 4Rom 7:18,19; 5Isa 64:6; 6Gal 3:22; 72Co 5:19; 81Jo 1:8,9;
Our 8:00 am service is cancelled tomorrow morning. God willing we will celebrate a
“said” service Mass at 10:30 am. This means that there will be no music and we will say the liturgy. Blessings to all as we anticipate more weather challenges. May travel mercies take us to our destinations.
A simple weather summary for the upcoming week follows:
Be safe everyone!
St. Barnabas is “rooted in Scripture,” which means that we trust the Bible as the word of God. What does it mean to trust an ancient text? What does it mean to say that the Bible is the word of God? Starting on Sunday, February 17 and for several weeks thereafter, St. Barnabas will present a class looking at these questions. We will look at challenges to Biblical authority and perspectives associated with terms like “infallibility” and “inerrancy.” We will apply that discussion to specific issues and problems in the New and Old Testaments. The class will meet at 9:10 a.m., making it convenient for people from both liturgies (at 8:00 and 10:30) to attend. Bring your Bibles and your questions! All are welcome. As in all things, our purpose is to glorify God and grow in loving communion with Him.
Other translations are also welcome. Including but not limited to RSV, CEV, ESV, NIV, NASB.
No music and singing group tonight. This is a weather related cancellation.
The informal music group will resume next week – Wednesday Feb. 13th at 6:30 pm.
Join us on Sunday at 8:00am and 10:30 am for hymns, praise and worship music.
All are welcome to join us next Wednesday (Feb. 13, 2019) at 6:30 pm.
Don’t let the music die.
Outline for the next storm track:
O ye dews and frosts, bless ye the Lord;
O ye frost and cold, bless ye the Lord;
O ye ice and snow, bless he the Lord;
praise him and magnify him forever.
Keep safe and God bless your week!