Our lives are often filled with worries. What have we done? What is going to happen to us and to those whom we love? Wouldn’t it be a relief (and so much more than a relief) to find something of great value and just bask in contemplation of that thing? We get glimpses of this feeling when we climb a mountain and revel in the view from the top, or when we cry because a character in a movie has done an unselfish act, or even (in a small way) when we see a quarterback make a perfect pass despite the giant defenders bearing down. At such times, we want to cry out, “Glory!” which means, roughly, “That is great!”
God offers us more than we can ever imagine or hope for. God created the world, with all of its beauty and wonder, for us to enjoy. God sustains the world in existence from moment to moment. God loves us and sent Jesus to save us when we had gone far from him. In the end God wants us to be in love with him forever. Our natural response to this is to call out “Glory!” And we do so on Sundays. In fact, worship in church is just practice for living in love with God forever. Come and see what we mean.
September 19, 2019 – Thursday Evening
I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord.1
As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the Lord is round about his people from henceforth even for ever.2
Unto thee lift I up mine eyes, O thou that dwellest in the heavens. Behold, as the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their masters, and as the eyes of a maiden unto the hand of her mistress; so our eyes wait upon the Lord our God, until that he have mercy upon us.3 Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice.4
O our God, wilt thou not judge them? for we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon thee.5 Mine eyes are ever toward the Lord; for he shall pluck my feet out of the net.6 Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.7
1Psa 121:1,2; 2Psa 125:2; 3Psa 123:1,2; 4Psa 63:7; 52Ch 20:12; 6Psa 25:15; 7Psa 124:8; (Bagster’s Daily Light KJV)
September 21 (Saturday) is the feast day for Matthew, the gospel writer who is regarded, both from internal and external evidence, to have been one of Jesus’ first followers and therefore an eye witness of many of the things he recorded. It is extraordinary that we have four contemporary accounts of Jesus’ life, from four somewhat different perspectives. Matthew repeatedly emphasizes his understanding that Jesus was the long-expected Messiah, the one sent by God to save the Jewish people and to bring all people into the right relationship with God, as proved by the miracles he performed. Matthew’s gospel (the word means “good news”) was evidently written after the Gospel of Mark because some passages in Mark are incorporated into Matthew. The name Matthew, which remains popular today, means “gift of God.”
Polls indicate a growing number of people who answer “None” when asked about their religious affiliation. The number of non-affiliated people has long been higher in the Seattle area than in other parts of the country. Even among people who state a religious affiliation, some attend church only rarely, and some admit that they don’t really believe in God but attend church to find other people who share their political or cultural views. And yet, God is the ruler of the universe whether we acknowledge him or not.
Imagine a group of people goes to a Husky game and is attracted by the tailgate party. They enjoy the food and drink. They see the big stadium over there, but have little interest in what happens over there. Wouldn’t we say, “Really, you need to understand that the reason we all gather for this tailgate party is that an exciting football game is about to take place in the stadium. That’s what brings us together and gives this party its meaning. You are missing the main event!” God is the creator of the world and our own personal creator. He made us to love him. Jesus is the savior of the world. When we were separated from God by our sins, Jesus came to bring us home. God gives this world its meaning. He is the main event. In changing and distressing times, the love of God can heal and restore us. These truths are becoming less and less known in our culture. At St. Barnabas, we proclaim these truths and cling to Jesus. Join us.
On this Labor Day: Prayer for Commerce and Industry (from the 2019 Book of Common Prayer)
O Lord Jesus Christ, in your earthly life you shared our toil and hallowed our labor; Guide those who maintain the commerce and industries of our land, and give to all who labor pride in their work, a just reward, and joy both in supplying need and in serving you; who with the Father and the Holy Spirit live and reign, one God, world without end. Amen.
O God, the author of peace and lover of concord, to know you is eternal life and to serve you is perfect freedom: Defend us, your humble servants, in all assaults of our enemies; that we, surely trusting your defense, may not fear the power of any adversaries, through the might of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (BCP 2019)
This prayer contains many important ideas. God loves peace. Our eternal life with God will be one of peace and concord. But how will this happen, given that people have conflicting ideas and interests that create disputes? The answer is to humble ourselves and follow God. Human dictators oppress their subjects, but God is a faithful and loving ruler. Serving God is perfect freedom to become what God made us to be. Being servants of God does not mean that our lives will be trouble-free; in this as in everything Jesus is our model. But we ask God to protect us from our enemies, knowing that no matter what happens to us, God’s love lasts forever. Jesus was killed on earth, but was raised from the dead and now reigns as king of kings and lord of lords. He is our mighty savior and so we need not fear.
In his letter to the Galatians (3:28), St. Paul wrote: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
Paul was addressing potential divisions within the Church and pointing out that the only way to overcome them was to recognize our unity in Christ. A similar sentiment is in one of our hymns:
In Christ there is no east or west,
in him no south or north,
but one great fellowship of love
throughout the whole wide earth.
We worry about divisions today, but they have always existed. And as always, the only way to overcome them is to recognize that God is greater than all divisions, to humble ourselves to working together for God’s glory.
These thoughts have special meaning following our joyous celebration on Nigerian Sunday. The liturgy included both the Book of Common Prayer and spiritual songs (with some impressive drumming) in the Nigerian tradition. We were united in praising God and singing Alleluia. This is a foretaste of what heaven will be like: everyone joining together to praise God in eternity
Invitation Aug 18 2019
Next Sunday, August 18, we will celebrate our annual Nigerian Eucharist. People of Nigerian background will come from far and near to join with St. Barnabas in worship, singing, and food. Parts of the liturgy will be in Igbo, one of the principal languages of Nigeria. You are welcome to join us for this joyous time as we celebrate how people from all around the world worship the same God that made us all.
The Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name.1
If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.2 If ye … being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?3 Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.4 Ye have not, because ye ask not.5
When … the Spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.6
They rebelled, and vexed his Holy Spirit: therefore he was turned to be their enemy, and He fought against them.7
1Joh 14:26; 2Joh 4:10; 3Luk 11:13; 4Joh 16:23,24; 5Jam 4:2; 6Joh 16:13,14; 7Isa 63:10;
(From: Bagster’s Daily Light, KJV)
Christ, who is the image of God.1
The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.2 No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.3 He that hath seen me hath seen the Father.4 The brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person.5 God was manifest in the flesh.6
In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: who is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of every creature.7 Whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.8
As we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.9
12Co 4:4; 2Isa 40:5; 3Joh 1:18,14; 4Joh 14:9; 5Heb 1:3; 61Ti 3:16; 7Col 1:14,15; 8Rom 8:29; 91Co 15:49;