From the Rector – Delving Deep in Scripture & Community

As we prepare to enter Lent in few of weeks, I want to invite you into a different kind of Lenten series this year.  As you can read about in the Formation article below, we will be joining Episcopalians from across the country in reading the Gospel of Luke and Acts of the Apostles during Lent and Easter.

Our Lenten program, Luke the Liberator, will be a five week video-based series (produced by ChurchNext) focusing on how Luke speaks to various aspects of liberty, freedom, and liberation.  Each session will last about an hour and include video presentations and discussion.  We will gather on Sundays beginning February 18th after the 10:30 service.

From the ChurchNext program:

What do we know about the author of Luke and Acts?

Luke was, according to tradition, a physician and a companion of the Apostle Paul.  He addressed his Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles to Theophilus (possibly a real person, but possibly a name for anyone who might be interested in reading about Jesus) and wrote as a gentile to an audience of gentiles.  He probably wrote his works around the end of the first century in a Hellenistic community.  Is all of this information written-in-stone fact?  Of course not.  The identity and context of Luke and his works, like most of the rest of the Bible and its authors, are the subject of much scholarly debate.

Why read Luke right now?

We are reading it now because this is a time when our culture is addressing many questions that are deeply relevant to Luke’s Gospel and Acts.  Luke’s works are about reaching out to strangers across international and cultural divides to tell the story of Jesus.  His writing addresses how we should treat strangers in foreign lands, Jesus’ attitude to poor people, the role of women in the culture and in the church, the right way to approach other marginalized people of the time, and the power of grace to redeem us from the sins of our fallen world.

In the past couple of years, our nation has been engaged in bitter debates about issues that are deeply relevant to Luke’s Gospel.  We have often enclosed ourselves in echo chambers while judging one another (often on the internet).  In short, there has never been a better time for us to read Luke and talk with one another face to face.

I hope you will make every effort to come to as many Sundays in Lent as possible as we delve deeply into scripture and community this Lent.

Yours in God’s peace,
Kristin+


Formation

The Good Book Club

This year for Lent and Easter we will be joining with Episcopalians from across the country in reading the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles.

Lenten resources will include Forward Day by Day booklets which will provide daily readings, Good Book Club bookmarks with the passages assigned for each day if you’d prefer to read from your own Bible, and Join the Journey posters to guide you through these two amazing books of scripture.

Our Lenten program will be a 5 week video-based series exploring how the Gospel of Luke speaks to various aspects of liberty and freedom (details below) and our Easter program will be a modified 50 Day Bible Challenge where we will read through the Acts of the Apostles and meet weekly for prayer, reflection, and discussion (more on that later).

We hope you will delve deep into scripture and community this winter and spring!

Lenten Series: Luke the Liberator

In this 5 week video-based series, learn how the Gospel of Luke speaks to various facets of liberty and freedom.  In this course, produced by ChurchNext, five instructors address different aspects of Luke as a liberator.  Each session will last about an hour and include video presentations and discussion.  We will gather on the Sundays below after the 10:30 service on the Sundays below:

 

COURSE DESCRIPTION

In this course, five instructors offer different aspects of Luke as a liberator.

Introduction to Luke
We begin the series with an overview as John Lewis, a teacher and scholar of the gospels from The Seminary of the Southwest, introduces the Gospel of Luke and discusses who its author was, the audience to which its author is writing, and its most important themes.

Liberation for Women
The Rev. Lindsay Hardin Freeman, an award-winning religion journalist who has written extensively on women in the Bible, discusses the Gospel of Luke in the context of women. She examines women’s voices in Luke, Luke’s message about women in its historical context, and Luke’s Gospel as it applies to gender and social justice in the 21st century.

Liberation from Wealth 
The Rev. Ron Spann, a longtime social justice advocate, examines issues related to wealth in Luke’s Gospel. How does wealth enslave us? How does Christ free us from that enslavement? Ron addresses these questions and others in this class.

Liberated to Share
The Rev. Nurya Love Parish, an activist in the Christian Food Movement, the mission of which is to create sustainable food production methods and ensure that all people have access to good, healthy food. She talks about Luke’s Gospel in the context of giving — what it means to give; how Christ frees us to give freely.

Liberated to Preach
The Rev. Jay Sidebotham, founder of RenewalWorks, focuses his work on church renewal — on freeing churches to grow in the Spirit of Christ. In this class, he discusses Luke’s approach to spreading the good news of Jesus and what that means for 21st century Christians.

Sunday School News

Classes in Lower Level every Sunday
Preschool through high school
9:30 – 10:15 a.m.
 
Thank you for your donations of items for our Sunday School’s outreach project.  During our last 4th Sunday Fun group activity, the children enthusiastically put together 80 breakfast-in-a-bag treats for Shepherd’s Staff, a Christian outreach and support center in Westminster.  Eighty!  Wow!

Our Sunday School teachers will be focusing on Lent shortly during class time.  The Outreach Committee has asked us to decorate boxes to be filled with staples to assist Mt. Airy Net.  We will put our artists to work!  In addition, on February 25th during our next group activity, Mary Anne and Rick Smith (our local ambassadors for A is for Africa) will share stories about their recent trip to Tanzania and the progress being made with the Matimu Primary School children.  When the mite boxes are handed out during Lent, please encourage your children to give thanks by saving coins to benefit the Matimu school children in East Africa.  Please join us on February 25th at 9:30 a.m. in the lower level to hear some amazing stories about the A is for Africa project.

 We hope you have had an opportunity to visit the lower level on Sunday mornings when classes are in session.  It’s a busy place!   Please take a moment to check out the free-standing bulletin board in the hallway downstairs which our middle-high school class put together on the Beatitudes.  What a team!

We give thanks for our dedicated Sunday School teachers and helpers, and appreciate the opportunity of working with your amazing children…..

Bible Stories for Preschoolers:  Yvette Allen, Sarah Brown
Kindergarten-2nd Grades:  Betsy Davis, Jessica Bahorich
3rd – 5th Grades:  Karen Phillips
6th – 12th Grades: Joan Fader
Group Activities: Nancy Nanavaty
Children’s Music:  Jon Fader


Choir/Music

To celebrate the new year, I wanted to take the time to spend a few months talking about the history of why we sing in our church services and how that has evolved over time.

You may have heard of the education system of the ancient Greeks, for it’s evolved into our modern day “liberal arts” system. The system consisted of a trivium (grammar, logic, and rhetoric), followed by a quadrivium (arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, and music). We know that music was studied by all of the great philosophers of the day, but what does the bible have to say?

Well there are many passages that bring to light the value and of music during biblical times. In Genesis 4 we’re told the story of Cain and Abel, followed by a description of the family lineage; verse 21:

His brother’s name was Jubal; he was the father of all who play stringed instruments and pipes.

This shows us that the making of music was a significant enough event for it to serve as the defining characteristic of Jubal. Jubal is the first musician identified in the bible, and David and the son of David are amongst the last.

In the First Chronicles 25:1-6, we see a long list of the men who served in the “ministry of prophesying, accompanied by harps, lyres, and cymbals” (25:1), concluding with:

All these men were under the supervision of their father for the music of the temple of the Lord, with cymbals, lyres and harps, for the ministry at the house of God.

In Second Chronicles 5:12-13, we also see music being used for religious purposes:

 

All the Levites who were musicians—Asaph, Heman, Jeduthun and their sons and relatives—stood on the east side of the altar, dressed in fine linen and playing cymbals, harps and lyres. They were accompanied by 120 priests sounding trumpets. The trumpeters and musicians joined in unison to give praise and thanks to the Lord. Accompanied by trumpets, cymbals and other instruments, the singers raised their voices in praise to the Lord and sang: “He is good; his love endures forever.”

From the standpoint of music in the church, we also see a wide variety of descriptors, particularly in the new testament. In Ephesians 5:18b-20, Paul writes:

Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

This starts to bring to light the idea that spirituality doesn’t only have to be a quiet, introspective form of worship. Music has several unique qualities which we’ll explore in the coming months that make it a useful tool in worship:

  1. It inherently carries some sort of emotional quality,
  2. It can break down barriers, much more easily than other forms of communication
  3. It’s a cultural marker, bringing us to specific times and places. It’s the closest thing we have to a time machine.
  4. It gives text meaning and allows us to interpret text.

Next time, we’ll start to learn about the Psalms and Canticles and music of the first century BCE.

 


WEEKLY ANNOUNCEMENTS

Scout Sunday February 4
All scouts are invited to wear their uniforms and come forward during both services to be recognized and receive a blessing.

Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper
Join us on Tuesday, February 13 from 5:30-7:30 for an amazing parish feast as we prepare to enter the holy season of Lent.  Breakfast for dinner is always great – and it’s even better when you don’t have to cook it!  Activities will include coloring an ALELLUIA banner to hide away until Easter and the burning of last years’ palms to make the ashes for Ash Wednesday.  Don’t miss out on the celebration!  Requested donation $6 for adults/$4 for children/$15 max for families.  BRING YOUR PALMS FROM LAST YEAR FOR THE PALMFIRE!

There is table in the Narthex where you can sign up to attend and volunteer to help with  Cooking & Serving, Bringing Food Items, and Cleanup.

A is for Africa Presentation on Sunday, February 25
Join us on Sunday, February 25 at 9:30 am when we welcome Mary Anne and Rick Smith who will update us on this important ministry.  Every year in Lent, our Sunday School children (and anyone else who wants to!) collect money in mite boxes to be donated to A is for Africa and the work they do with school children at Matim.  Come see the slideshow and pick up your mite box!

We have a new fire bowl!
Great big thanks to Bob & Karen Larrimore who have gifted a beautiful new fire bowl to the church!  We look forward to using it for the first time on Shrove Tuesday to burn last year’s palms to make ashes.

Replenish & Establish Info Packet
If you missed the Annual Meeting please pick up an informational packet about the upcoming Replenish & Establish project in the narthex.

Lenten Calendar and Donation Boxes
To benefit Mt. Airy Net.  Spring and summer seem to be the time of most need for food and sundry items in the community.  Patty Bullington is using her wonderful skills to create a calendar for us and our Sunday School children are decorating boxes.

Pick up your calendar on Sunday, February 18 along with a box.  Much like an advent calendar, you will open a window during each day of lent and place the suggested food or sundry item in your box.  The Outreach Committee will be collecting boxes on March 25.






Prayer Rotation
Please join the Daughters of the King in praying for each parishioner in rotation during 2018 by taking this notice home and by posting it where it will remind you to pray on a daily basis for the needs and blessings of:

Tim and Cheri McClanahan (Bryce, Trevor)
James and Janet McKeever (Katie)
Meghan McKeever

A member of the Daughters of the King will be contacting  you this week for special prayer requests.