What’s wrong with the world today? Sin is what is wrong with the world today. But what is sin? Sin is separation from God. It is entirely our doing. God is (forgive the simile) like a friendly golden retriever puppy who wants to play. But we kick him out of the way and slam the door. We are inclined by nature to do this (that is the mystery of original sin) but we add to the problem every day by our neglect of God and others, not to mention our positive violations of God’s commands. All of us, from kindly Grandma down to the most callous criminal, are separated from God, it is only a matter of degree. The greatest saints have written about how they (even they!) feel cut off from God from time to time. So what can we do about it? We can’t do anything about it. We have no power in ourselves to help ourselves. Well, isn’t that a depressing message for the Christmas season? No! God is the only one who can fix the problem, and he has acted! He came to us as a human child (like us in all ways except for sin). Naturally (when you think about it) we killed him. But he refused to stay dead. He rose from the dead and lives forever and makes it possible for us to overcome our separate from God. His Spirit is with us and he is on the move! Talk about the greatest story ever told! Christmas celebrates the birth of God as man. As the hymn has it, the hopes and fears of all the years were met in Bethlehem that night. Here is cause for joy. Here is cause for a truly merry Christmas! Join us. Our calendar of events is below. Merry Christmas!
Advent & Christmas Schedule
Sunday Dec. 23rd – 1 service at 10:30 am followed by Greening Party (4th Sunday in Advent)
Monday Dec. 24th – Christmas Eve Mass 5:00 pm & 10:30 pm
Tuesday Dec. 25th – Christmas Day Mass 10:00 am
Sunday Dec. 30th – Regular Services 8:00 and 10:30
Monday Dec. 31st – Lessons & Carols 2:00 pm
Pot Luck Reception to Follow – All are Invited!
St. Barnabas is a Bible believing church. That means, among other things:
- Every service includes multiple readings from the Bible, arranged so that over the course of a year much of the Bible, both Old and New Testaments, is read.
- Our prayers and liturgy are composed largely of quotations or allusions to the Bible.
- Our hymns often quote or paraphrase Bible passages.
These arrangements reflect the high regard that we, as Anglicans, have for the Bible. The Anglican Church was born in the European Reformation, when there was widespread dissatisfaction with the way Christian church services were carried on in Latin, a language that fewer and fewer people understood. The Anglican Church encouraged the use of the Bible in English and included Bible readings as the heart of its liturgy. We are truly “steeped in Scripture.”
But what does it mean to believe the Bible? Here is an example. In the current season of Advent, we use readings and hymns that recall God’s promise to the people of Israel in the Old Testament to send his Messiah and to provide a response to sin, evil, and death. Our hymn, “O come o come, Emmanuel” comes from an ancient text spelling out ways that the coming Messiah was described over centuries of Jewish history. We take these promises seriously. The Messiah, Jesus, did come and he did make it possible for us to overcome sin, evil, and death. Jesus has promised to return at the end of the world and in the meantime he has sent his Spirit to be with us. These are the most important promises ever made and they are at the center of our worship. To learn all about these promises, join us for an annual cycle of readings and reflections. Advent is a very good time to start.
November 30, 2018 – Friday Morning
The Lord of peace himself give you peace always by all means. The Lord be with you all.1
Peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come.2 The peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.3
Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.4 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.5
The Comforter … even the Spirit of truth.6 The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace.7 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.8
My presence shall go with thee and I will give thee rest. And he said unto him, If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence. For wherein shall it be known here that I and thy people have found grace in thy sight? is it not in that thou goest with us?9
12Th 3:16; 2Rev 1:4; 3Phi 4:7; 4Luk 24:36; 5Joh 14:27; 6Joh 15:26; 7Gal 5:22; 8Rom 8:16; 9Exo 33:14-16;
(From Bagster’s Daily Light)
Thanksgiving can be a time of family, friends, football, and feasting. What happens next? All of the stores seem to think it is time to spend money while surrounded by sappy Christmas-lite music. Is that really our purpose? Can we really make our lives happy by purchasing things (even on sale)? No, ultimately all the purchases and forced joviality ring hollow. The only thing that endures is the love of God. And this is a perfect time to learn more about Him. Starting on December 2, St. Barnabas will celebrate the ancient season of Advent, a time to ponder the promises God made about the coming Savior, so that when Christmas arrives (the 12 days of Christmas don’t begin until December 25) we will understand what Jesus means and why his life, death, and resurrection changed the world. You are welcome to join us. See the calendar for more events.
St. Barnabas will have one service on Thanksgiving Day, at 9:00 am. The service will include the following reading from the Letter of St. James:
Do not err, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
In other words, unlike the sun and moon that come and go, God, the creator of all the heavenly bodies, is unfailingly kind and generous to us. We invite you to gather with us on Thanksgiving morning to put the holiday into perspective. In the swirl of family, friends, food and sometimes controversy, it can be comforting to keep your gaze fixed on God, to whom thanks and praise are due and with whom there is no variation.
We will observe a service of praise and gratitude on Thanksgiving Day. Join us in songs, prayers and worship November 22, 2018 at 9:00 am. There will be pre-service music beginning at 9:20 am.
Grateful for many parishioners past and present who served our country and preserved our freedoms. We honor their devotion to God and country.
Just a few: Jacob C., Jeff O., Ron K., Ron, Dave K., Milan, John E., Calvin, Jim C., Tony R., Mike R. Bee Wilson (amazing story of a woman serving her country in W.W. II), Lori and those who served silently.
We remember fondly, those who have gone to their final reward:
+Bp. John Hamers: November 7, 1924 –
August 29, 2018
To learn more about his remarkable life go to:
James E. “Rock” Roth, CAPT USN (Ret) 6/21/1937 2/27/2014
James “Rock” Roth – To read about Rock’s many significant accomplishments go here: https://myedmondsnews.com/2014/03/memoriam-james-e-rock-roth/
Elliott Walters (June 29, 1928 and passed away March 13, 2015)
Elliott is remembered fondly at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/seattletimes/obituary.aspx?pid=174563764
Phil Norwine (March 29, 1931 – April 8, 2012) Phil’s remarkable life is briefly recalled here: http://obits.dallasnews.com/obituaries/dallasmorningnews/obituary.aspx?pid=157565505
St. Barnabas Blog: We have been talking about the Hebrews’ escape from Egypt and their travels through the wilderness of the Sinai Peninsula to a mountain where God was to appear. What happened?
Anaiah: The main thing is that God entered into a covenant with the whole Hebrew people.
SBB: A covenant is a contract or treaty?
Anaiah: Normally, yes. One party makes a promise and the other makes a promise in return. Superficially, this covenant with God looks like a contract of that type: the people promise to obey God’s commands and God promises to return them to their homeland. But much more than this is going on. As we discussed earlier, God had promised to make Abraham and his descendants a blessing to the whole world. This is God’s plan to address sin, evil, and death, culminating in the greatest gift of all, union with himself, union between finite humanity and the transcendent creator of the universe. An important part of the plan is to train the Hebrews in how to behave as God’s holy people, which is a way of teaching them about the inner life of God himself.
SBB: What do you mean by that?
Anaiah: God is of course unknowable by us. Even other people are to some extent unknowable by us. If we want to learn about people in a foreign country, one good way is to go and live with them, to see what they do. God is offering the Hebrews a glimpse into his inner life by letting them live with him according to his rules.
SBB: What are the rules?
Anaiah: The most important rules are known as the Ten Commandments. You are familiar with these, many centuries later?
SBB: Of course. I notice that these rules govern relationships among people. To what extent can these relational rules be considered as providing insight into God’s inner life?
Anaiah: That is a good question. One of the names for God, Elohim, is grammatically plural. And sometimes God is represented in the Bible through the metaphor of a king surrounded by courtiers. There appears to be some mysterious multiplicity in God that we do not understand.
SBB: So tell me more about how the rules help us understand who God is.
Anaiah: First, we are instructed to recognize God as the only god, to serve him only, and to avoid idols.
SBB: Could God be accused of being self-centered here?
Anaiah: Think of it this way. Suppose you are lost in a dark cave. A rescuer is coming to help. You are inclined to panic, but the rescuer says, “Stay calm, listen to my voice, come toward this light.” Would you consider the rescuer self-centered?
SBB: The rescuer is doing the sensible thing to save the person who is lost.
Anaiah: The same is true here, I think. God knows that our only safety is to come towards him, to focus our attention and hopes on him. So he mercifully allows us to do that.
SBB: That makes sense. What is the concern about idols? It seems kind of old fashioned because we don’t worship cult statues anymore.
Anaiah: The temptation to serve things other than God is perennial, whether or not you use cult statues. The Hebrews were familiar with the religious practices of the Egyptians. Egypt was full of statues of gods and kings. The statues were not, for the most part, worshiped as if they had magical powers. They formed part of a cult that, along with various rituals and practices, enforced an understanding of the universe as governed by a multiplicity of gods whose primary interests were in one another, but who could be persuaded to grant the annual inundation and perhaps to grant the kings an interesting afterlife. The entire cult was a form of idolatry because it oriented the people’s energy and attention to something that was not true.
SBB: So in that sense I suppose we have idolatry today.
Anaiah: From my observations, many people in the United States seem to regard the universe as a collection of atoms governed by complex laws that only experts can understand. They rely on experts to rule them and spend their energy on more and more elaborate means of entertainment. This is not a realistic picture of the universe and, more importantly, it does not bring people closer to God.
SBB: Are the other commandments also helpful in re-orienting ourselves towards God?
Anaiah: Of course, and we’ll talk about them next time.
Mount Sinai, Egypt
The ways of the Lord are right, and the just shall walk in them: but the trans-gressors shall fall therein.1
Unto you … which believe he is precious: but unto them which be dis-obedient, … a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence.2 The way of the Lord is strength to the upright: but destruction shall be to the workers of iniquity.3
He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.4 Whoso is wise, and will observe these things, even they shall understand the lovingkindness of the Lord.5 The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.6 If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God.7 Whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance.8
He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.9 Ye will not come unto me, that ye might have life.10 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.11
1Hos 14:9; 21Pe 2:7,8; 3Pro 10:29; 4Mat 11:15; 5Psa 107:43; 6Mat 6:22; 7Joh 7:17; 8Mat 13:12; 9Joh 8:47; 10Joh 5:40; 11Joh 10:27 – From Bagster’s Daily Light (KJV)