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Daily meditations in words and music.
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Saints of the Week, Jan. 22 - 29
|Vincent, Deacon of Saragossa, and Martyr, 304|
|Phillips Brooks, Bishop of Massachusetts, 1893|
|Ordination of Florence Li Tim-Oi, 1944|
|The Conversion of Saint Paul the Apostle|
|Timothy Titus [and Silas], Companions of Saint Paul|
|[Lydia, Dorcas, and Phoebe, Witnesses to the Faith]|
|Thomas Aquinas, Priest and Friar, 1274|
|[Andrei Rublev, Monk and Iconographer, 1430]|
Jan. 22 -Third Sunday after the Epiphany
From Last week...
We served 145 people on Jan 18, 2017. This compares with 88 in January, 2016 and 65 in January, 2015. It is the second largest month in this ministry's history behind Nov. 2016. Over the last 12 months we have averaged 122 people per distribution. We had 10-15 people helping out with the distribution.
The church purchased 1,180 pounds for the event at $143.56 or 7.7 pounds per person. It included 672 pounds of produce, 347 pounds of mixed groceries and 161 pounds of meat. It was well above Jan., 2016 at 600 pounds. We have averaged 1072 pounds over the last year.
The Week Ahead...
Jan . 25 -10:00am, Ecumenical Bible Study
Jan . 18 -25, Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
Jan . 26-28 - Annual Convention at Reston
Jan . 29 -10:00am, Godly Play
Jan . 29 -11:00am, Morning Prayer (No 9am Eucharist)
Professor M. Andrew Holowchak, editor of the recent anthology, Thomas Jefferson and Political Philosophy , will deliver this year’s Jefferson Lecture entitled, “Jefferson and Jesus.” Dodd Auditorium, George Washington Hall, University of Mary Washington, Thursday, January 26, 2016, at 7:30 PM
Catherine's sermon about Jefferson and Monticello is here.
Annual Convention, Jan 26-28
“Annual Council” is now “Annual Convention.” Before the Civil War, the annual Diocesan meeting was known as a convention. During the war, the meeting was called a council, a custom that continued until last year, when clergy and lay delegates voted to return to the term Convention as the way to refer to the annual gathering of Diocesan representatives.
Annual Convention is like a giant congregational meeting for the whole Diocese. This year’s Diocese of Virginia Annual Convention is meeting in Reston, VA. Catherine Hicks and Susan Tilt will be attending.
Annual Convention features addresses and meditations by the Bishops. People are elected to serve on the Standing Committee (the Vestry of the Diocese), the Trustees of the Funds, and the Virginia Diocesan Homes. Annual reports for the year just past are available. (These reports are also available online.) The budget for the coming year is debated and ultimately approved.
Read more about the convention
Lectionary for the 4th Week of Epiphany
I.Theme - The Way of Life - the Beatitutes
The lectionary readings are here or individually:
The readings this week are like a mission statement – what should we do. The setting is important for the Old Testament and the Gospel – the Mountains. That’s traditionally where God is , a place of learning, a place where justice is fostered
The prophet Micah speaks to a people who have been led astray by other gods and by leaders who have failed to look to God’s ways. Micah declares that all of creation is listening; the mountains are acting as a jury in which the people and God come together with their conflict. Micah calls upon the people to set aside the religious practices of the peoples around them, which include giving of the harvest, burnt offerings, even one’s own firstborn child—and instead do what the Lord requires: to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with God.
Psalm 15 speaks of those who will abide with God: the ones who practice God’s ways of righteousness and justice, who live out of honesty and give out of their hearts. This psalm is a song of preparation, for those to come before God, they must live into God’s ways.
1 Corinthians 1:18-31 continues Paul’s discourse to the Corinthian church
Proclaiming Christ crucified is the message that should unite the Corinthians—above all else, they follow a Savior who died for them. Corinth is a divided place - it was a diverse group, comprising slaves, freemen, Jews, Greeks, and others.
Paul now wants to show them how their faith distinguishes them from others, or how their faith has changed their orientation within their own tribe or family. For Paul it is all about knowing – “how do we know God, how to we apprehend God?” Paul surmises that the Jews have knowledge about God through the Law, and that the Greeks attempt to know God through philosophical dialogues. Into this sophisticated world, Paul inserts an embarrassing and even upsetting notion – that the cross (stumbling block and foolishness) is the real wisdom of God.
The focus this week will be on the Beatitudes. Here Jesus is teaching the disciples like a rabbi. Jesus is like the new Moses standing on a new Sinai (The Sermon on the Mount), announcing a new set of values for the Reign of Heaven. The text below is from Progressive Involvement
"These beatitudes introduce the Sermon on the Mount, which is the first major speech, of five, in Matthew's gospel.
"Our text follows immediately upon a summary statement of Jesus' ministry in chapter 4: "And (Jesus) was going about in all of Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, healing all disease and all sickness in the people." (4:23) This unabashed good news is called the gospel.
"The Beatitudes which follow are not, themselves, the gospel. In Lutheran terms, they are "law." They tell us what we ought to do.
Read more about the lectionary
Conversion of St. Paul, Jan. 25
On January 25 we remember how Saul (or Paul) of Tarsus, formerly a persecutor of the early Christian Church, was led by God's grace to become one of its chief spokesmen. Here are two art works that depict the event :
“The Conversion on the Way to "The Conversion of St. Paul"
Damascus” Caravaggio 1601 Nicolas-Bernard Lepicie, 1767
"and suddenly a light from heaven shined round about him. And falling on the ground, he heard a voice saying to him: Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? Who said: Who art thou, Lord? And he: I am Jesus whom thou persecutest. " Acts 9: 3-5
Italian painter Caravaggio painted the one on the left in 1601 for the Cerasi Chapel of the church of Santa Maria del Popolo, in Rome. The painting depicts the moment recounted in Chapter 9 of Acts of the Apostles when Saul, soon to be the apostle Paul, fell on the road to Damascus.
Caravaggio is close to the Bible. The horse is there and, to hold him, a groom, but the drama is internalized within the mind of Saul. There is no heavenly apparition. He lies on the ground stunned, his eyes closed as if dazzled by the light.
Caravaggio's style featured a dark background with usually one point of breaking light. Paul is flung off of his horse and is seen on his back on the ground. Although Paul reflects the most light out of all the characters, the attention is given to him in a strange way. Because Paul is on the ground, he is much smaller than the horse, which is also at the center of the painting but he is pictured closer to the viewer.
The second painting constrast with Caravaggio in the use of color and light. This one has some of the most vibrant colors. Heaven's light is shown coming dynamically from left to right. The painting is like the key frame in a movie on the conversion. At the time Lepicie was a professor at the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture in Paris
Week of Prayer for Christian Unity Jan 18-25, 2017
The 2017 theme for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity has been selected. On the occasion of the 500th anniversary year of the beginnings of the Reformation, the theme: "Reconciliation – The Love of Christ Compels Us" (2 Corinthians 5:14-20) has been chosen. A commentary on the scripture is here. The traditional period in the northern hemisphere for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is 18-25 January. Those dates were proposed in 1908 by Paul Wattson to cover the original days of the feasts of the Chair of St. Peter (January 18) and the Conversion of St. Paul (January 25) , and therefore have a symbolic significance.
The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity gives Christians an annual opportunity to continue their quest for the unity they already share in Christ. It is also a time to gather in praise of the Triune God and to deepen the understanding of the ecumenical movement.
The Week of Prayer also invites those who participate to use it as an opportunity to examine the effectiveness of the ecumenical movement in seeking to end the divisions among Christians. From the smallest to the largest communities, from all cultures, races and language groups, from all the baptized to all those in ordained ministry, the Week of Prayer is also an opportunity to ask examine the level of support they have given to this important movement in the life of the Church.
Here is a link for the resources for the week.
Activities for the Week of Prayer and Unity
Day 2 - Send an appropriate care package to the refugee camps at a European crossing point such as Calais.
Day 3 Watch this clip to view how Damascus has been devastated by conflict.
Pray for the Damascus Road conversion required for peace to be realised. Prayers are available from Christian Aid.
Day 4 - Look through an old photo album and reflect on those places and people who have shaped and taught you.
Day 5 - Spend time connecting with creation today, for example, by watching a nature documentary, visiting a local park or going for a walk in a woodland.
Day 6 - Read about the work of reconciliation in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Here is the background of the struggle.
Explore the different ways people can be discriminated against.
Day 7 -Ask someone for something you need today.
Day 8 - View the Tree of Life – an example of what was meant for destruction bringing restoration