Lent 1, Feb. 14, 2016

Title:Lent 1, Feb. 14, 2016

February 14, 2016  (full size gallery)

A busy week at St. Peter’s with the beginning of the Kitchen renovation on Feb. 8, Feb 10 Ash Wednesday, The Society of Virginia Archaeologists meeting on Feb 12 and throughout the week sign up for the "My Fair Lady" show on April 3. A perfect time to have Bishop Gulick visit on Feb 14 right at the beginning of Lent.

We had 39 in church today at a 2pm service. Bishop Gulick was accompanied by his wife Barbara after having visited St. John’s Episcopal earlier in the day. The bulletin is here

The service was Rite II but included the Penitential Order which includes the confession and the Great Litany.  The Great Litany is said to be the first prayer composed in the English language (i.e. not an English translation from another language) for use in public worship. Composed by Archbishop Thomas Cranmer in the 16th century, it is most prevalently a part of Lent 1 beause of its distinctly penitential nature.  The litany has 6 parts

1  Acknowledgment of God  Creator of heaven and earth, Redeemer of the world, Sanctifier of the faithful
2  Recognizing our sins – From sins of body and mind, sloth, worldliness and love of money, famine and disaster; from violence, murder
3. Petitions –  fill us with love and truth Give us boldness to preach the gospel in all the world
4  Petitions – Guide the leaders of the nations into the ways of peace and justice.
Give us the will to use the resources of the earth
5  Petitions -Comfort and liberate the lonely, Heal the sick in body, mind or spirit
6  Conclusion  – Give us true repentance, forgive us our sins of negligence and ignorance and our deliberate sins; and grant us the grace of your Holy Spirit to amend our lives according to your word. 

Today’s readings  offer strength and hope in the face of temptation and evil. Deuteronomy recalls God’s great deliverance and encourages Israel to depend solely on God. Paul declares that salvation comes to those who call on Jesus as lord. In today’s gospel, Jesus trusts solely in God and thus defeats the temptations presented by the devil

David Lose, the  president of Luthern Seminary in Philiadelphia, wrote  this week "In short, I would argue that temptation is not so often temptation toward something – usually portrayed as doing something you shouldn’t – but rather is usually the temptation away from something – namely, our relationship with God and the identity we receive in and through that relationship.,notice how each of the temptations seeks to erode and undercut Jesus’ confidence in this relationship with God and therefore undermine Jesus’ identity." 

Gulick’s sermon also focused on identity. Key points of the sermon follow: 

1. Lent is the recovering of our core identity, to recloth ourselves in our core identity. Sylvia McBeth in her seminars had people state core identity in 3 lines. One Jewish lady wrote this "Christ died, they to kill me- We survived, Let’s eat! " Gulick’s 3 lines focus on God’s compassion focused on Jesus Christ, Jesus supporting us and trusts we will extend compassion to all

2. He cited Psalm 91 and Deuteronmy in these terms with our identification with God and Jesus Psalm 91 –  "Because he is bound to me in love, therefore will I deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my Name. The  Deuteronomy verse we read is among the oldest part of the Bible . "A wandering Aramean was my ancestor; he went down into Egypt and lived there as an alien, few in number, and there he became a great nation, mighty and populous."  We are all aliens – the only natives here were Powhatan’s tribe.  Thus we should extend God’s love in these tems.

3. Lent is 6 weeks recovering our core identities. We become alive in God through Jesus Christ

4.  Derivation of the word "sin" in Hebrew is missing the mark.This can be related to shooting an arrow and having the wrong trajectory.  He cited the Rite I Penitential order – "we have erred and strayed from thy ways like lost sheep,we have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts"

5. He quoted 19th century writer Oscar Wilde I can resist everything but temptation."

6. From the Gospel – word ‘if" – "If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become a loaf of bread.Gulick said the word "if " is a pesky word. It has haunted us in our lives – "What if we did this or this instead of this". It saps the joy of life out of us. Jesus has replaced the word "if with "since" –  "since you are the son of God."

7.  The World tries to tell who we are. It is not about who we are, but about whose we are. Baptism cements our identity with God to live the identity that God dream for us. 

Gulick proceeded with the Renewal of Baptismal vows after the sermon.   The Renewal of Baptismal Vows includes nine questions by the celebrant with responses by the people. The people’s response to the first question reaffirms their renunciation of evil and renews their commitment to Jesus Christ. This recalls the threefold renunciation of Satan, evil, and sin and the threefold commitment to Christ of the baptismal service . The remaining eight questions and responses are the same as the baptismal covenant 

Gulick provided one of the most dynamic and stimulating renditions of these words, explaining which of the parts were most difficult. He did most of it from memory.  At one point he said that while most people in the world are "nones" follow no particular faith and may not read the Bible, people read you and you are the demonstration of the Gospel in your own lives. 

During the peace Gulick greeted the children on all fours getting down to their level. He did the same thing at communion

In the announcements, we celebrated the birthdays of McKenna Long, Howard Muhly and Clarence Kuntsmann. In particular Clarence was acknowledged for his work of Treasurer over many years. As Catherine explained his fine work is easy to be taken for granted. The Bishop read a Vestry proclamation claiming Feb. 14 as Clarence  Kunstmann day. The Vestry also gave Clarence and Betty a 2 day trip to Chincoteague Island. He received a warm birthday greeting with the choir and congregation singing "Happy Birthday"

The church presented the Bishop with one of the church crosses that Helmut made, some postcards and a proclamation from the church on his work with Shine Mont. Gulick explained his discretionary fund is among the largest of the Bishops in Virginia because he devotes the funds from Jan to July tio Shrine Mont so that no child is prevented from going due to finances. He announced that the Shrine Mont fund is close to $2.2 million to refurbish the camps. 

The communion lead by the Bishop was direct personable and was done mostly from memory. You feel like he is directly talking to you. The congregation responded to him greeting him enthusiastically after the serivce. 

Since the kitchen is in renovation, the Heimbachs graciously hosted the reception. It was dessert oriented with Brad’s bread pudding, a fruit table. and plenty of cookies and small cakes on the main table. Catherine brought the "Bishop Gulick" cake from Paul’s bakery. On a cold day people enjoyed sitting and enjoying one another by the fire.  

A wonderful service ended with a beautiful sunset after the reception.

Leave a Comment