Category: Announcements

Trinity Sunday

Trinity Sunday

This week it may appear on the surface that the Church calendar is a bit disjointed. One week after celebrating the Pentecostal feast commemorating the giving of the Holy Spirit to the Church the calendar jumps to a feast that celebrates the Doctrine of the blessed Holy Trinity. Over the first half of the Church year, we have been focusing upon and recapitulating the historical events in the life of Jesus Christ (His incarnation and birth, His earthly ministry, His triumphant entry into Jerusalem, His passion and sacrificial death, His victorious resurrection, His glorious ascension and His sending of the Holy Spirit). Now it seems that we abruptly change themes by focusing upon a theological, biblical truth.

However, it really is quite appropriate for us to focus our attention upon the Triune Godhead the Sunday after the Holy Ghost has come upon the Church. You see, now the fullness of God has been revealed to us with the giving of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Trinity has, of course, always existed, but after God the Father (the First Person of the Trinity) sent God the Son (the Second Person of the Trinity) into the world to redeem the world, and God the Father and God the Son sent God the Holy Spirit (the Third Person of the Trinity) to indwell and empower His Church; the Church came to understand in a deeper way the God they were called to worship and serve.

As Rev. Dr. Peter Toon puts it, “In the great work of divine [progressive] revelation and redemption, salvation and sanctification, the Holy Trinity is wholly involved, as the Father sends the Son into the world where he assumed human nature by the presence of the Holy Ghost, and where the Holy Ghost acts in the Name of the Son.” Therefore, since the Holy Trinity has been involved with every aspect of the historical, redemptive acts and events that we have been reliving through the various church seasons; it was very wise for the Church to appoint this Sunday as Trinity Sunday – a day on which we focus our devotion and meditation upon the Triune God. (The Father, The Son, and The Holy Ghost, Three Persons One God, a Trinity in Unity and a unity in Trinity).

In the older lectionaries, the remainder of the Church year bore the name of the Holy Trinity because of what Jesus said in our Gospel lesson from last week. “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” Now that the Holy Spirit has come upon the Church, God the Father through the redeeming work of God the Son and by the power and strength given to us by the Holy Spirit will mature us in the Christian faith.

Consequently, the Season of Pentecost/Trinity into which we are about to enter is a season for our spiritual growth. This is represented by the liturgical color of green. Pentecost Season is a time when we are to allow the Holy Spirit to lead us into all truth that God the Father and God the Son want to teach us through the written Word (Old Testament, Psalm, Epistle, and Gospel readings) and the Sacraments.

 

The Athanasian Creed

The Athanasian Creed

The Athanasian Creed (Quicumque Vult) is a statement of Christian Trinitarian doctrine and Christology which has been used in Western Christianity since the sixth century A.D. Its Latin name comes from the opening words Quicumque vult, “Whosoever wishes.” It is the first creed to explicitly state equality of the persons of Trinity.

The first half of the creed confesses the Trinity (one God in three persons). With didactic repetition it ascribes divine majesty and characteristics to the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit, each individually. At the same time it clearly states that, although all three are individually divine, they are not three gods but one God. Furthermore, although one God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are distinct from each other. For the Father is neither made nor begotten; the Son is not made but is begotten from the Father; the Holy Spirit is neither made nor begotten but proceeds from the Father and the Son.

Didactic as its content appears to contemporary readers, its opening sets out the essential principle that the catholic faith does not consist in the first place in assent to propositions, but ‘that we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity and Unity’. All else flows from that orientation.

Its teaching about Jesus Christ is more detailed than in the Nicene Creed, and reflects the teaching of the Council of Ephesus (A.D. 431) and the definition of the Council of Chalcedon (A.D. 451). The Athanasian Creed boldly uses the key Nicene term homoousios (‘one substance’, ‘one in Being’) not only with respect to the

relation of the Son to the Father according to his divine nature, but that the Son is homoousios with his mother Mary, according to his human nature.

The Creed’s wording thus excludes not only Sabellianism (the nontrinitarian belief that the Heavenly Father, Resurrected Son and the Holy Spirit are different modes or aspects of one God, as perceived by the believer, rather than three distinct persons in God himself) and Arianism (the heresy that taught that Jesus was not one with the Father, and that he was not fully divine in nature), but also the Christological heresies of Nestorianism (the heresy that taught that Christ exists as two persons, the man Jesus and the divine Son of God, or Logos, rather than as two natures [True God and True Man] of one divine person) and Eutychianism (the heresy that taught that the human nature of Christ was overcome by the divine, or that Christ had a human nature but it was unlike the rest of humanity). A need for a clear confession against Arianism arose in western Europe when the Ostrogoths and Visigoths, who had Arian beliefs, invaded at the beginning of the fifth century (excerpt taken from Wikipedia). Today, Trinity Sunday, we will say the Anthansian Creed in place of the Nicene Creed.

 

Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday

 

 The passion begins. Ironically, the journey toward the most intense suffering is launched at the moment of greatest accolade. This is always the insidious deception associated at times with human approval. It is often fickle, shallow and insincere. Perhaps the Jubilation of Palm Sunday was not insincere. No doubt it was spontaneity without commitment, which usually leads to disaster in this life. Much has been written about the meaning of the palms. In the Jewish world, the palms would have probably come from Jericho, not an insignificant piece of information. Old Testament prophets foretold of a day when a new Joshua, an Elijah figure, would enter the land and retake it from the Gentiles. Remember, Joshua of old was the great military leader who brought down the walls of Jericho, the entry point for conquering the Canaanites The remarkable general of the army of God led the nation of Israel on to a complete route the land that had been given them by God. By the time of Jesus’ day, the Jews were in the land. Now they were dominated by the Gentiles, the Romans. It was in one sense the total upending of what Joshua, by the way the Old Testament name for Jesus, had accomplished.  In the former day, the Israelites had come into the land of the Gentiles and established the rule of God. At a later day, Jesus’ time, the Gentiles had overrun the people of God and set up their image over the land. The prophets had anticipated this moment. Under the inspiration of God, they had revealed, however, that a new Joshua would arrive in history. Like the Joshua of old, he would start at Jericho and take the land. Thus, the palms from Jericho were a symbol of the kind of conquest that they thought was about to occur, military triumph. Unfortunately, they forgot the rest of the teachings of the prophets. The new Joshua was to be the suffering servant of Isaiah, He would be stricken and smitten on His back for the sins of the world. Through sufferings and death, not power and might, the Gentiles, and even Jesus’ own people, would be overcome. What the people declared was true. It just did not come about the way they thought it would. Indeed, that first week long ago, had it not been for God’s purposes in the midst of the catastrophe, would have ended in complete defeat. But the darkness shrouding the cross on Good Friday was actually the beginning of victory. Just as the ecstasy of Palm Sunday was the start of something opposite, so was the darkest moment of the Christ’s passion. For, to put Christ on the cross, He had to be raised up high. And that raising up hinted at an even greater rising, the Resurrection!

 

Wednesday Evenings during Lent

Wednesday Evenings during Lent

Each Wednesday during Lent, we will begin with Holy Eucharist with Penitential Office at 5:45 p.m. After the Eucharist, we will meet for a soup and salad dinner in the parish hall. These meatless soup dinners are designed for us to come together as a parish family to support one another with our Lenten fasting. This will be followed by a Lenten study on the Core Values of Christianity. Please join us each Wednesday during Lent for these special evenings as we gather as a parish family. There is a sign-up sheet in the Parish Hall for those wishing to help out by bringing a pot of soup, or a salad, or help with clean up. Lenten Soup Nights are each Wednesday from March 8 through April 5.

Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday

Our traditional Ash Wednesday services of Holy Communion with the Imposition of Ashes will be this Wednesday, March 1. There will be a Said Service at 7:00 a.m. and a Choral Service at 7:00 p.m. Please plan to worship at one of these services and then leave in silence as we contemplate the seriousness of our Lenten Fast in Christ. (Ash Wednesday is a Prayer Book Day of Obligation.)

Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper

Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper

Join us this Tuesday, February 28, for our traditional Shrove Tuesday Pancake supper in the parish hall to celebrate the end of the Epiphany Season and to prepare for the Lenten Fast. We will serve pancakes, sausage, and bacon along with coffee, orange juice and milk to drink. We need everyone’s help in this project, most especially in the area of ticket sales . . . the pre-sale of tickets is where we make the majority of our income . . . please EVERYONE get tickets this morning from Jimmy Henry to sell now!! We also need volunteers to help cook, serve, and clean up. There is a sign-up sheet in the parish hall . . . please sign up to help where you can!

This is traditionally the day when all the leavening and sugar is used up in the home to prepare for Lenten fasting. This is done symbolically by cooking oodles of pancakes and using up all the syrup for dinner. It is called Shrove Tuesday because it is the day for shriving (old English verb meaning to cut off sins by going to confession) in preparation for receiving ashes the next day.

The Advent Wreath and Family Evening Prayer

The Advent Wreath and Family Evening Prayer

advent-wreath

“In family practice, the Advent wreath is most appropriately lit at dinner time after the blessing of the food. A traditional prayer service using the Advent wreath proceeds as follows: On the First Sunday of Advent, the father of the family blesses the wreath, praying: O God, by whose word all things are sanctified, pour forth Thy blessing upon this wreath, and grant that we who use it may prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ and may receive from Thee abundant graces. Who livest and reignest forever. Amen.” He then continues for each of the days of the first week of Advent, O Lord, stir up Thy might, we beg thee, and come, that by Thy protection we may deserve to be rescued from the threatening dangers of our sins and saved by Thy deliverance. Who livest and reignest forever. Amen.” The youngest child then lights one purple candle.

During the second week of Advent, the father prays: O Lord, stir up our hearts that we may prepare for Thy only begotten Son, that through His coming we may be made worthy to serve Thee with pure minds. Who livest and reignest forever. Amen.” The oldest child then lights the purple candle from the first week plus one more purple candle.

During the third week of Advent, the father prays: O Lord, we beg Thee, incline Thy ear to our prayers and enlighten the darkness of our minds by the grace of Thy visitation. Who livest and reignest forever. Amen.” The mother then lights the two previously lit purple candles plus the rose candle.

Finally, the father prays during the fourth week of Advent, O Lord, stir up Thy power, we pray Thee, and come; and with great might help us, that with the help of Thy grace, Thy merciful forgiveness may hasten what our sins impede. Who livest and reignest forever. Amen.” The father then lights all of the candles of the wreath.

Since Advent is a time to stir-up our faith in the Lord, the wreath and its prayers provide us a way to augment this special preparation for Christmas. Moreover, this good tradition helps us to remain vigilant in our homes and not lose sight of the true meaning of Christmas” (by Fr. William Saunders).

 

Episcopal Visit- December 4

Episcopal Visit- December 4

Episcopal Visit – December 4: We are excited that the Rt. Rev. Jack L. Iker will be making his Episcopal visit to St. John’s on December 4. Bishop Iker will be the homilist and celebrant at a special 10:30 a.m. Eucharist. Two parishioners will be confirmed that morning. After the 10:30 a.m. Eucharist, there will be a special pot-luck lunch in honor of the Bishop’s visit. This will be a very special Sunday in the life of our parish, so please make every effort to be here on that Sunday as our Bishop ministers to us!images (4)

Trinity Sunday Pot-Luck Luncheon

Trinity Sunday Pot-Luck Luncheon

Following the 10:30 a.m. Eucharist this Sunday, there will be a pot-luck luncheon. Everyone please bring plenty of your favorite foods to share with your fellow parishioners and a healthy appetite! This is always a great time of fellowship!

Men’s Breakfast

Men’s Breakfast

 

All the men of St. John’s (as well as any friends that you may wish to bring) are invited to breakfast tomorrow morning at 8:00 a.m. in the parish hall. During breakfast, Fr. Michael will give a brief presentation on the topic of the importance and technique of prayer in our daily lives. This is a timely topic as the Men of St. John’s are seeking God’s guidance in the establishment of a Brotherhood of St. Andrew’s group in our parish and the ministry direction of the group.

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