Saint Mark the Evangelist


April 25th is the feast day of Saint Mark. From tradition and the internal evidence of the Testament, it appears that Mark was an early member of the church who knew both Saint Peter and Saint Paul. He wrote his account of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection probably for readers in Rome. It is said that he later moved to Alexandria and founded the church there. Centuries later, his remains were removed from Egypt to Venice and, since then, Mark has been celebrated as the patron saint of Venice. The imposing Basilica of St. Mark is at the heart of the city. It is pleasing to speculate what we might have done if we had known the first generation of Christians. Mark was in that enviable position and he wrote his gospel for our instruction. Take time and read it this week!

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It All Comes Down to This…

At St. Barnabas, everything we have, our building, liturgy, and hymns, all serve a single purpose:  to encourage everyone to accept and develop a personal relationship with God, the loving creator of the universe.  God has his arms open to us.  His son Jesus died for our sins so that we can be forgiven and live forever with God.  How can we respond to this golden opportunity?  Here’s a good start, pray to God (he is always listening):  

God, I have let you down and become separated from you.  I am sorry and I want to change.  I want to live with you forever.  Help me! 

If you say this with sincerity, God will help you. He has been known to speak with a still, small voice, so listen carefully and start your journey home to God. If you want to join with others who are making that same journey, you will be welcome at St. Barnabas.

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Jesus in the Old Testament

In Luke’s Gospel (Chapter 24) we are told that one of the things Jesus did after his resurrection was to interpret to them the “things said about himself in all the scriptures,” that is, what we now call the Old Testament.  One of those things was doubtless the following from the prophet Isaiah, written hundreds of years earlier:

Who has believed what we have heard?  And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?  For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground:  he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.  

He was despised and rejected by others; a man of suffering and acquainted with infirmity; and as one from whom others hide their faces; he was despised and we held him of no account.

Surely he has borne our infirmities and carried our diseases; yet we accounted him stricken, struck down by God and afflicted.

But he was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the punishment that made us whole, and by his bruises we are healed.

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have all turned to our own way, and the Lord has laid upon him the iniquity of us all.      (Isaiah 53:1-6)         

This prophecy deeply impressed the early followers of Jesus.  It was the subject of Philip’s explanation of Jesus’ mission to the Ethiopian court official in the Acts of the Apostles (Chapter 8).  And it is echoed in the first letter of St. Peter (Chapter 2):

If you endure when you do right and suffer for it, you have God’s approval.  For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you should follow in his steps.

He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.  When he was abused, he did not return abuse; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but he entrusted himself to the one who judges justly.  He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that, free from sins, we might live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.  For you were going astray like sheep, but now you have returned to the shepherd and guardian of your souls.

Jesus said (Matthew 5:17) that he had come not to abolish the Jewish law but to fulfill it.  The early church found this fulfillment in their understanding of how Jesus’ sacrificial death and resurrection had confronted the effects of sin, evil, and death.  These were problems that God had announced he was going to address from the first call of Abraham, who was told that his descendants would be a blessing to all nations.  

During the Great Fifty Days, our Bible readings talk about how Jesus’ resurrection ties in with God’s overall plan of helping humanity.  Come and join us!

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The Great Fifty Days

He appeared to seven of His disciples on the shores of the Sea of Galilee (John 21:1-25)

The season between Easter and Pentecost is known as the Great Fifty Days for the simple reason that Pentecost follows Easter by that many days.  During the first forty days after his resurrection, as reported in the Acts of the Apostles, Jesus appeared to his followers on several occasions and instructed them in what they must do.  Later, some of his followers wrote down what they had learned, and those writings are included in the New Testament.  One of the instructions Jesus gave was to remain in Jerusalem until they received a special gift from God.  Not knowing what this might mean, Jesus’ followers stayed in Jerusalem and waited.  If they had expected a victorious military Messiah, they clearly had not gotten one.  And yet Jesus had demonstrated power to defeat death.  Their despair at Jesus’ execution had turned to joy and wonder, and more was to come.  After forty days . . . but that is another story.

He appeared to two men on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-32)


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What Does the Resurrection Mean?

2000 years ago, a man named Jesus lived in and around Jerusalem.  He attracted followers by his personality, teachings, and miraculous healings.  Some people thought that he might lead an armed rebellion against the occupying Roman Empire.  Instead, he was arrested by the religious authorities, handed over to the Romans, and executed in the most degrading way available:  he was nailed to a cross and left there until he died.  He was buried and his followers fled, terrified.  Three days later, Jesus was seen alive.  Some doubted, but Jesus showed them the marks of the nails in his hands and feet.  Jesus said that he had defeated death.  What did this mean?  What does it mean for us?  The Church has been unpacking this gift for two thousand years.  Come and see what we have discovered!

The period from Easter until Pentecost is called the “Great 50 Days”. There is much that happens between these two events. We will explore all that we can at our two regularly scheduled services on Sunday at 8:00am & 10:30am. Easter tide blessings!

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Holy Week is Coming…

The season of Lent has been a preparation for Holy Week and the events leading to Easter. Check out the calendar and join us for the following: 

Palm Sunday, March 25.  Following his ministry of preaching and miracles, Jesus turned his face to Jerusalem, the holy city.  Many of his followers doubtless expected that he would reveal his identity as the long-awaited Messiah mighty acts that would reveal his divine kingship and drive out the hated Romans.  Instead, he entered the city peacefully, riding on a donkey, as his followers spread palm leaves to soften his path.  The Jewish leaders and most of the people turned against him and, allying themselves with the Romans, brought about his execution a few days later.  The Palm Sunday liturgy recalls both Jesus’ celebratory entry into Jerusalem and his condemnation by the religious authorities.

Maundy Thursday, March 29.  On his last evening with his followers, Jesus instituted the sacrament of the bread and wine, the Eucharist, which we celebrate every Sunday.  He also gave his followers a new instruction, or mandate, or “maundy” in its older English version:  to love one another as he loves us.  It is remarkable that, facing death at the hands of the stubborn religious leaders, the unheeding multitude, and the foreign oppressors, that Jesus’ final thoughts should be on love and forgiveness.

Good Friday, March 30.  This liturgy recalls Jesus’ execution.  As he carried his cross to the place where he was to die, tradition distinguishes fourteen incidents that are often represented in pictures called “stations of the cross.”  This liturgy uses those pictures as a focus of devotion.

 Easter Eve, March 31.  In the Jewish and early Christian reckoning, each day began at sunset, so Easter Day (which is Sunday April 1 this year) begins (traditionally) at sunset on Saturday March 31.  This liturgy celebrates Jesus’ resurrection from the dead and all that it means to us through the centuries and to the end of the world.

Easter Day, April 1.  Resurrection Sunday, the fullness of Easter Joy!

You are welcome to join us for these liturgies.  As you can see, they complement one another so the more you attend the more you will immerse yourself in sacred things of everlasting importance.

Palm Sunday – March 25th Services at 8:00 am & 10:30 am. Blessings and procession of Palms at both services.

Maundy Thursday – March 29th A single service at 7:00 pm followed by a vigil at the altar of repose.

Good Friday – March 30th the vigil concludes at Noon and the elements are restored to the tabernacle. A service of Stations of the Cross will be observed at Noon and 7:00 pm.

Holy Saturday & Easter Eve vigil March 31st 7:00 pm We begin with the service of New Light followed by baptisms and renewal of vows and the first Eucharist of Easter Day.

Easter Day April 1st at 9:00 am. A single service at 9:00 am.


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No Greater Love

In Lent we are meeting each Wednesday evening over a bowl of soup and bread to explore the theme “No Greater Love”. This title is borrowed from the Gospel of John: Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. (John. 15:13 ESV)

We see quickly how God might love us, but the theme of how we express such love with our lives is sometimes difficult for people to describe. Our retired bishop +Win Mott challenges our understanding of God’s love as “No Greater Love”. More importantly we are challenged by how to share such a love. Follow the link to read his latest post from his blog “The Earth is the Lord’s” :

Blessings for a Holy Lent.

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Wisdom from Lent

During Lent, we are having soup suppers at St. Barnabas (Wednesday evenings at 6:30, all welcome) to get together and ponder a Lenten theme:  “No greater love.”  Participants are encouraged to bring personal reflections, readings, songs, or other materials that illustrate the theme.  Here is one:

 O Lord, remember not only the men and women of good will, but also those of ill will.

But do not remember all of the suffering they have inflicted upon us; 

instead, remember the fruits we have borne because of this suffering —

our fellowship, our loyalty to one another, our humility,our courage, our generosity,

the greatness of heart that has grown from this trouble.

When our persecutors come to be judged by you, let all of these fruits that we have borne be their forgiveness.

 It is poignant to learn that these lines were found among the bodies in the Ravensbruck concentration camp, where more than 92,000 died. 

 It is hard enough to forgive people in the ordinary bumps and bruises of life.  Here the writer is seeking forgiveness for a historic crime.  The writer’s love shines out as a light in darkness, transcending evil and death. When we see something like this, part of us responds, “here is truth, here is a key to the universe!” 

 Consider then that the holy God, seeing us separated from him by sin, became man and lived among us, knowing that he would be rejected and unjustly put to death.  Nevertheless, he voluntarily suffered and died with these words on his lips, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do!”  By his death, Jesus (who was and is God) took upon himself the punishment due to all of us, freely and out of love, so that we might be forgiven and live forever with God.  Here is truth, here is a key to the universe!

Join us and share with us in God’s love. We gather at 6:30 pm on Wednesday nights.

Blessings for a Holy Lent!

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A fresh look at Lent

For a fresh reconsideration of Lent, take a look at an article by our retired Bishop Win Mott:

This article is particularly timely as people dismiss Lent out of hand or ridicule the season based on misconceptions or reactionary responses. His blog is a recommended read at any time, but it’s not too late to consider Lent if you have reservations about this particular season of the church year.

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WHO IS GOD? Part 15 (Moses continued)

Our dialogue with Anaiah, an educated Jew from the 500’s B.C., continues.
St. Barnabas Blog: Last time, you were talking about God’s plan for saving the world, which involved Joseph’s unexpected success and the migration of his family to Egypt to escape a famine. You said that the return from Egypt was significant.
Anaiah: That’s correct. The book of Genesis ends with Joseph’s family in Egypt, apparently safe for the moment. The book of Exodus begins, more grimly, with a “new king over Egypt who did not know Joseph.” This new king, or Pharaoh, was concerned that the Israelite people, who were growing in numbers, would rebel or join with Egypt’s enemies, so he sent taskmasters to oppress them and, when that didn’t work, commanded all male children among the Israelites to be killed.
SBB: The Israelites must have wondered where God was in all of this.
Anaiah: They would soon find out. One of the Israelite mothers refused to kill her male child and instead launched him in a basket on the Nile to see if he would be found and adopted by an Egyptian family. As it turned out, he was adopted by a royal princess and named Moses.
SBB: Is that a Hebrew name?
Anaiah: Maybe. The author of Exodus suggests that “Moses” might be connected with the Hebrew word that means “I drew him out [of the river].” But it may also be significant that several Pharaohs were named Thutmose or Thutmoses, so Moses may have been a royal name.
SBB: Did Moses rise to fame and fortune as Joseph did?
Anaiah: No, he chose not to. The first incident recorded of him is that he visited the Israelites to see their condition of forced labor, something we can assume that other members of the royal family did not do. Moses went further. When he saw one of the Egyptian taskmasters beating an Israelite, he killed the oppressor. Pharaoh heard of this killing and tried to capture Moses, but Moses left Egypt and went to the land of Midian.
SBB: Where was that?
Anaiah: It was probably what you would call the northwestern corner of Saudi Arabia, across the Gulf of Aqaba from the Sinai Peninsula. In this remote place, Moses settled down, married, and had a son.
SBB: So Moses felt safe because he was beyond the reach of Pharaoh, it seems.
Anaiah: Yes, but not beyond the reach of God. What I am going to tell you next is a great mystery. One day, while keeping his father in law’s flock, an angel of God appeared to him in a flame of fire out of a bush. Moses looked, and the bush was blazing, but not consumed. Then God called to him out of the bush, “Moses! Moses!” And Moses said, “Here I am.” Then God said, “Come no closer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you stand is holy ground. I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.
SBB: Wow! I have a lot of questions about that.
Anaiah: I will address them next time. In the meantime, ponder this event and how you would have reacted if you had been there.
SBB: I can’t wait with my first question: did this really happen?
Anaiah: Yes, it did. Everything that follows bears witness to the reality of this event.

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