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Block Print by Mike Newman
Link to the reports from Jan 15 Annual Meeting
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Saints of the Week, Feb. 19 - Feb. 26
|[Frederick Douglass, Prophetic Witness, 1895]|
|[John Henry Newman, Priest and Theologian, 1890]|
|[Eric Liddell, Missionary to China, 1945]|
|Polycarp, Bishop and Martyr of Smyrna, 156|
|Saint Matthias the Apostle|
|[John Roberts, Priest, 1949]|
|[Emily Malbone Morgan, Prophetic Witness, 1937]|
Feb. 19 -Seventh Sunday after the Epiphany
Love Neighbors” – Hermano Leon
From Last week...
The Week Ahead...
Feb. 22 - 10:00, Ecumenical Bible Study
Feb. 26 - 9:00am, Holy Eucharist, Rite I - The Transfiguration
Feb. 26 - 10:00am, Christian Ed - Godly Play (preschool through 2nd grade)
Feb. 26 - 10:00am, Christian Ed - "God's Kids" (3rd grade and up)
Feb. 26 - 11:00am, Morning Prayer, Rite II - The Transfiguration
Who is Our Neighbor? - A story from the streets
This article is relevant to the Old Testament and Gospel readings this week:
"When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very edges of your field, or gather the gleanings of your harvest. You shall not strip your vineyard bare, or gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the alien: I am the Lord your God." - Leviticus 19:9-10.
"The afternoon sun warmed the downtown sidewalks as Black Friday shoppers strolled through the historic district.
" There were sales to find, Thanksgiving leftovers to eat and relatives to entertain.
" No one had time to notice the comatose man who had curled up on a bed of mulch in a church parking lot. If they did, the brief acknowledgment left them considering him a unwanted stranger rather than neighbor in need.
" By the time I found him, he’d blown his panhandling money on the second or third bottle of vodka. And he had spent Thanksgiving Day propped against the back wall of the lot because he couldn’t walk enough to reach the many dinners available that day. If he hung near the church buses, he thought, at least he would catch a ride back to the winter shelter that night.
The Lemon Tree
This is some background of the book that formed the basis of the sermon today.
By Sandy Tolan
"In early 1998, I set out for Israel and the West Bank in search of a surprisingly elusive story. Despite the forests of newspaper stories and miles of videotape documenting the intractable conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, precious little light had fallen on the human side of the story, the common ground between enemies, and genuine hopes for co-existence.
"My assignment came on the eve of the 50th anniversary of the first Arab-Israeli war — known as the War of Independence to Israelis, and the Nakba, or Catastrophe, to Palestinians. I wanted to explore how this event, and the history that followed it, was understood by ordinary Arabs and Jews in the Holy Land.
"I needed to find two families linked by history in a tangible way.
"I spent weeks reading Israeli military history, Palestinian oral history, and scholarly treatises looking at the roots of the conflict. I traveled from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv, from Ramallah to Hebron to Gaza, digging for the human story that would move beyond the heartbreaking images transmitted from the region.
"I encountered many dead ends and broken leads. But then I came across something real. It was the true story of one house, two families, and a common history emanating from walls of Jerusalem stone on the coastal plain east of Tel Aviv and Jaffa. Through a single house, and the lemon tree in its garden, lay a path to the histories, both separate and intertwined, of the al-Khairi and Eshkenazi families, and to the larger story of two peoples on one land. This promised to be not simply a recounting of decades of pain and retaliation; as I began interviews with Bashir Khairi in Ramallah and Dalia Eshkenazi Landau in Jerusalem, I quickly saw I would cross new landscape, to the twin hearts of the story...
NPR story on Tolan with links to a Fresh Air podcast that brought the story to the forefront as well as excerpts.
Rite I, the Language of the Book of Common Prayer
As we have Rite I next Sunday at 9am, here is an article on the heritage of the book. An excerpt of the language:
"If the language of the BCP can sometimes appear perplexing to modern readers, for early English-speaking audiences it represented a marvel of clarity—the first time in which the entire liturgy of the church had been written in the English language.
“It is the moment when the English language acquires a liturgy,” Billett said. “I like to think of it almost as a missionary moment, because we see the same thing happening much earlier, for instance, with Saints Cyril and Methodius, who evangelized the Slavic peoples.”
“Equally crucial to the prayer book’s success was the quality of its language.
“I think that the beauty of its language and the seriousness of its theology is in part what can account for its longevity and influence,” the Rev. Jonathan Turtle, assistant curate at the Church of St. Mary and St. Martha in the Diocese of Toronto, said of the BCP.
Sign up now for our Lenten study - "Five Marks of Love"
Our Lenten study for 2017 is jointly prepared by the brothers at St. John the Evangelist (SSJE) and Virginia Theological Seminary. This is the same partnership that brought us “Growing the Rule of Life” last Lent.
We will use this on Sundays as an intergenerational study over 6 weeks. It worked well last year for all age groups to add to the study and reflect on the comments of others. However, even if you don’t come to Christian Ed, you can follow along at home through daily messages from SSJE’s website with a short video.
“In this six-week series we will be examining and reflecting on the ways in which God’s Life and God’s Mission express themselves in and through us. Inspired by the Anglican “Marks of Mission,” we will look for signs of God’s presence and activity in our lives, in our communities, and in the world around us. Each week we will explore one of the “Marks,” using short daily videos, thought-provoking questions and activities, and prayerful discussions to reflect on what God is doing in our lives and in our world
You can sign up for the daily messages here. It is free. Do this now because Lent begins quickly March 1 with Ash Wednesday.
Read the text, watch the video, and reflect. You can share your thoughts , using #5marksoflove on your preferred social media. You can download the workbook if you wish as it is free but we will have copies on hand on Sunday.
The Rev. Thom Blair, interim rector of St. James’ Church, Richmond, will lead a Lenten Quiet day at Roslyn Conference Center in Richmond on Thursday, March 16, 2017, beginning at 9:30 a.m. and concluding around 3 p.m. with a Eucharist. His topic is “Searching for Light: Living by the Parables.” The $30 fee includes snacks and lunch.
Please contact Mary Holly Bigelow or 804-285-2598 for more information. Men are welcome to attend. Registration deadline is March 1.
The Church Awakens, Black History Month
From Epiphany to the Transfiguration
At the beginning of February, we are about halfway between the beginning of Epiphany and on that of Lent
Epiphany is about 2 revelations - Christ to the world through the wise men as well as revelation of Christ to us through baptism. On the first Sunday after the Epiphany, we celebrate the Feast of the Baptism of our Lord. His baptism is seen as the primary baptism, the one on which all baptisms follow, the recognition that his followers belong to God as “Christ’s own forever.”
During the three to eight weeks after the Epiphany, we learn in the gospel lectionary readings about Jesus’ miracles of healing and his teachings. This is a continuation of the theme of the revelation of Christ to his followers. “Come Follow Me”. Jesus has not only arrived but through him the kingdom of God as one who fulfills and extends God’s teachings through the Sermon of the Mount. The last Sunday in Epiphany, the transfiguration can be seen as the bridge between Epiphany and Lent.
At the beginning of the Epiphany season, at the Baptism of Jesus, the liturgical color was white. In the Gospel reading in Matthew at his baptism said, “And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.” In the Transfiguration which we will celebrate on Feb. 26, the 8th Sunday after Epiphany, the Gospel of Matthew records, “This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!” The liturgical color once again is white.
Transfiguration serves as the culmination, the climax, of Jesus manifesting his glory and his identity as the Son of God. From this point on, Jesus sets out to Jerusalem, to suffer, die and be resurrected. We will see this story during Lent beginning March 1. This same glory he will return to, once he has completed the saving mission for which he came. Coming full circle, we will one day be in life with Christ as “Christ’s own forever.”
Lectionary, Feb. 26 , Last Epiphany
I.Theme - The Promise : God's Glory and its revelation in the Transfiguration
"Transfiguration (detail) " - Raphael (1516-1520)
The lectionary readings are here or individually:
God's glory is explored in two mountain top scenes inthe Old Testament and Gospel stories. The example of the transfiguration is itself transformed into hope for a future king and that God's purpose will prevail. The promise.
The psalms talk about kingship and particularly the ideal future king. There is praise of God as King who has helped people in need, given them just laws and punished and forgiven them where appropriate
1st Peter, the New Testament reading, looks and forward to Christ coming again in all his glory. The emphasis is on the future - Here the transfiguration becomes a sign of hope for the future that God’s purpose will prevail and be fulfilled… through God’s goodness in Christ.
The Gospel story is an appropriate conclusion to Epiphany. We began this season with Jesus Baptism and conclude with the Transfiguration. In both cases, God ("voice") proclaims "This is my Son, the Beloved...". In both points the heavens and the earth intersect. As he has just predicted his own suffering and death (Mt 17:21-23), now God previews his post-resurrection glory. Also, Matthew 16:28 had just reported Jesus' role as judge to come, who would judge all according to their performance, a theme also in the context of the baptism in Matthew
This story is reccounted in not only Matthew but also in Mark and Luke. Only Matthew includes "in whom I am well-pleased," which exactly repeats the words at Jesus' baptism (3:17). This connection wouldn't have been made by the disciples, since they weren't present at the baptism, but it is a connection the readers to make. Why is God pleased with Jesus? At his baptism, it may come from Jesus desire "to fulfill all righteousness" (3:15). At the transfiguration, the "righteousness" is more clearly defined by Jesus' first passion prediction. Doing what God requires (righteousness) is more important than Jesus' own life.
In the Transfiguration, Peter, James and John witness Jesus' clothes and garment shining like the sun. An argument can be made that this is also Peter's transformation. David Lose writes "On the mountain Peter’s transformation begins..." “Peter's transfiguration begins -- when he fails, falls, and is lifted up again and realizes that above and beyond everything else, he is called to listen to Jesus." That is much like us.
Raphael's Transfiguration - story of a painting
Raphael (1483-1520) was a master painter of the Renaissance. Raphael considered the Transfiguration to be his greatest masterpiece though he died before he could finish it at age 37. A student finished it.
In his final delirium he asked to see his painting for the last time. His friends brought it to him, and placed it on the bed in which he died on Good Friday, 1520.
Giorgio Vasari, the sixteenth century Italian painter, writer, historian said of the painting that is was “…the most famous, the most beautiful and most divine…”
Cardinal Giulio de’Medici (who later became Pope Clement VII), commissioned Raphael to paint Transfiguration for the city of Narbonne, in France. The painting was kept personally by the Pope after Raphael’s untimely death, until he donated it to the church of San Pietro in Rome.
The painting is now housed in the Vatican Museum and is large - 15 feet, 1.5 inches by 9 feet, 1.5 inches. Raphael preferred painting on canvas, but this painting was done with oil paints on wood as chosen mediums.
The "Transfiguration" was ahead of its time, just as Raphael’s death came too soon. The dramatic tension within these figures, and the liberal use of light to dark was characteristic of the next age – the Baroque.
On the most obvious level, the painting can be interpreted as the split between the flaws of men, depicted in the lower half, and the redemptive power of Christ, in the upper half of the painting.
Two scenes from the Gospel of Matthew are depicted in Raphael’s Transfiguration. One the transfiguration itself, Christ reaching to the heavens symbolic of a future resurrected stage and an epileptic boy falling to the ground in a seizure, lies there as if dead and then 'rises' up again.
The only link between the two parts of the picture is made by the epileptic boy, who is the only person in the lower half of the picture whose face is turned to the transfigured Christ in the upper part of the painting
• At the top, it is Mathew 17:1-9. Christ has climbed Mount Tabor with the Apostles, and there he is transfigured—appearing in his glorified body, flanked by Moses (representing the Law) and Elijah (representing the Prophets).
We see the transfigured Christ floating aloft, bathed in a blue/white aura of light and clouds. To his left and right are the figures of the prophets, Moses and Elijah. White and blue colors are used symbolically to signify spiritual colors.