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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An Advent Journey

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One of our Advent hymns begins:

Creator of the stars of night, thy people’s everlasting light, O Christ thou Savior of us all, we pray thee, hear us when we call.

Two important things to note here. First, Jesus is described as the creator of the stars. As the Gospel of John says, all things came into being through him. “Wait a minute,” you may say, “are you telling me that this man who walked around Palestine 2,000 years ago was actually the creator of the universe?”  The answer is yes, and moreover he is the savior of us all.

Second, it is a general rule in the hymnal and the Prayer Book that we don’t ask for something unless we are confident that it will be granted. So we are confident that Jesus does hear us when we call.

This is a big deal. We are dealing with the creator of the universe here, one who hears us and wishes to save us. Save us from what? From separation from God, from wandering in lonely pathways of our own willfulness, from all ways that lead to death rather than everlasting life. Hear him.

You are invited to be with us as we continue this journey through Advent and beyond:

December 22 – 4th Sunday in Advent 8:00 am & 10:30

                            Greening party following 10:30 service –   Lunch will be provided

Dec. 24  Christmas Eve Services 5:00 and 10:30 pm – Candlelight servicesImage result for nativity

Dec. 25 Christmas Day  10:00am

Dec. 28  Lessons and Carols 3:00 pm –  Pot Luck Appetizer reception

 

 

 

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The “Holidays” vs. Advent

The “Holidays” are a season of rush and anxiety. We endure “three days only” sales, overspending, overeating, worry about whether more stuff will make us happy, parking problems, and sappy specials about elves and talking reindeer, occasionally relieved by football.

Advent is a season of light and hope. We read God’s promises to visit us and save us from sin, evil, and death; we contemplate images of light in the darkness, and we prepare ourselves for Christmas, when God’s promises will be fulfilled, and we occasionally watch football.

Compare and contrast.

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Thanksgiving Day Service

Join us for a Thanksgiving Day Mass. Our Mass is from the 1928 American Book of Common Prayer. The service is at 9:00 am on Thursday November 28, 2019. Pre-service music of praise starts a 8:45 am, join us in congregational songs of praise before the start of the liturgy.

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Veteran’s Day November 11, 2019

A grateful nation thanks it’s veterans!

November 11, 2019

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Are You a Saint?

We recently celebrated All Saints’ Day. Saints are people who are sanctified, or made holy by the love of God. Saints are not perfect, they are human like the rest of us. We can aspire to being saints. In fact, we do this every Sunday. Here is the prayer we say at the conclusion of the Eucharist (2019 version):

Almighty and everliving God, we thank you for feeding us, in these holy mysteries, with the spiritual food of the most precious Body and Blood of your Son our Savior Jesus Christ; and for assuring us, through this Sacrament, of your favor and goodness towards us; that we are true members of the mystical body of your Son, the blessed company of all faithful people; and are also heirs, through hope, of your everlasting kingdom. And we humbly as you, heavenly Father, to assist us with your grace, that we may continue in that holy fellowship, and do all the good works that you have prepared for us to walk in; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be all honor and glory, now and forever. St Michael the Archangel, Findlay, OH - bread and wine crop 1.jpg

We pray for things we are confident that God will give us, so the words “assuring us,” “true members,” “blessed company,” and “heirs” are comforting reminders that God has promised to save all his followers, not just the famous saints. Even people who sin (and that is all of us) are saved if we trust in God.

So the answer to the question, “Are you a saint?” is “Yes, I can be because God helps me!”

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