Irenic Thoughts

Irenic. The word means peaceful. This web log (or blog) exists to create an ongoing, and hopefully peaceful, series of comments on the life of King of Peace Episcopal Church. This is not a closed community. You are highly encouraged to comment on any post or to send your own posts.

5/31/2005

Disturb us, Lord

Disturb us, Lord, when
We are too well pleased with ourselves,
When our dreams have come true
Because we have dreamed too little,
When we arrived safely
Because we sailed too close to the shore.
Disturb us, Lord, when
With the abundance of things we possess
We have lost our thirst
For the waters of life;
Having fallen in love with life,
We have ceased to dream of eternity
And in our efforts to build a new earth,
We have allowed our vision
Of the new Heaven to dim.
Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly,
To venture on wider seas
Where storms will show your mastery;
Where losing sight of land,
We shall find the stars.
We ask You to push back
The horizons of our hopes;
And to push into the future
In strength, courage, hope, and love.

—Circa 1577, Attributed to Sir Francis Drake

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5/30/2005

Extending an Invitation

an invitation to the banquetIn the recent book The Unchurched Next Door, Thom Rainer, Dean of the Billy Graham School of Evangelism, shares the fruit of an extensive research project into Americans who do not currently attend a church. Two of the surprises of the research are 1) Many people who do not currently have a church home feel guilty about not attending church and wish they could find a place they are comfortable worshipping. and 2) 82 percent of the people surveyed are at least "somewhat likely" to attend church when they are invited.
By far, most of the people they interviewed said that a simple, "Why don't you try coming to King of Peace this Sunday?" are likely to respond with a yes, especially if they know you'll be there too. Yet the reasearch team also found that only 21 percent of church goers asked anyone to church the previous year. In fact, King of Peace has grown so much because the people who attend our church often mention the church to others. Some of the people you invite, will never come. Some people you invite will attend and discover we are not the church for them. But some people you invite will find the community of faith they need. As you've read this, did God put anyone in particular on your heart? If so, this may be the week to make the invitation.

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5/29/2005

The Eighth Day

an icon of the resurrection showing Jesus redeeming Adam and Eve
One Christian letter from around 100 a.d., says, "Wherefore also we keep the eighth day for rejoicing, in the which also Jesus rose from the dead."

While the letter is not scriptural and the designation did not remain a part of the Christian vocabulary, it is one evidence of an early tradition referring to our worship on Sundays as "The Eighth Day." This was because Jesus' resurrection was an act of new creation making a break with the old way of being. There was an expectancy in the term, especially in early Christian communities for whom Sundays were a work day, the first work day of the week. Yet, they gathered on that day to remember Jesus' resurrection from the dead with the sure and certain hope that God was doing a new thing through Jesus Christ. Liturgical scholar Marion Hatchett notes
Eight symbolizes redemption, baptism, the New Age [not in the contemporary sense of that term] the kairos [God's perfect time], the fulfillment of time, the Eschaton [the end of time].
While the term will remain in disuse, the attitude which gave rise to it need not go unheeded. Sunday worship is still to have that same air of expectancy every time we gather. God is still doing a new thing, and we are a part of it through Word and Sacrament.

1 Comments:

  • At 8/25/2011 11:49 AM, Blogger Ed said…

    The designation has always been very much a part of Eastern Orthodox vocabulary.

     

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5/28/2005

The Sure Foundation

house on the sandIn tomorrow's Gospel reading, Jesus says "Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell— and great was its fall!"

house on the rockExegetical Notes by Brian Stoffregen at CrossMarks Christian Resources makes the following observations about this passage:
"What amazed the crowds was the authority with which Jesus taught. (Not necessarily what he said.) The contrast is presented between Jesus' authority and the authority of their scribes.

Where did scribes derive their authority? From their knowledge and training in scriptures!

This suggests to me that knowing all the right stuff (even the stuff from the Bible) still isn't quite the way through the narrow gate or hard road or into the kingdom of heaven; but being in a relationship with God. Being grounded on the firm foundation of God's power and revelation in Jesus.

One could be a wiz at Bible trivia and still not totally trust God for his salvation. In fact, a wiz at the Bible may have more troubles totally trusting God, because it would be easy to trust his/her knowledge about the Word. Those who, like the Pharisees, are superb at obeying the law, may trust their obedience rather than the power of God. Those who know Jesus as Lord and do mighty miracles in his name, may trust their own abilities rather than God.

There are two ways presented in the conclusion of the Sermon on the Mount. One way is based on looking at what I do -- especially looking at the good, obedient, religious stuff. The other way is based on trusting what God is doing; seeking to know and love us, filling us with Spiritual sap, so that we are good people, who bear good fruit motivated by something deep inside of our being, being our rock foundation that keeps us secure in the midst of the storms of life."

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5/27/2005

Which Book of The Bible are You?

In an ongoing effort not to take myself or this blog too seriously, here is another in a seemingly endless procession of quizzes. This time it's a chance to answer a few questions and discover "Which book of the Bible are you?" I tried the quiz and discovered that I am Ephesians:

You are Ephesians
You are Ephesians.

Which book of the Bible are you?
brought to you by Quizilla
peace,

Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor + King of Peace Episcopal Church

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5/26/2005

Captivating

Captivating
I asked Marian to read Captivating. It is a book for women and I wanted a woman's opinion. As I already read and listened on CD to the men's version of the book, Wild at Heart (Thanks Matt!), I expected good things.

Wild at HeartMarian called this week to say that she found the book to be wonderfully truth telling and she thinks every woman would benefit greatly from reading it. She also noted that the book asks women to take a look at some things that are not easy to consider, but it is a way of helping a woman get to the truth of her own life and well worth the effort. So, while not an easy book to work through, Marian feels it is essential reading.

Here's the description from amazon.com
Every little girl has dreams of being swept up into a great adventure, of being the beautiful princess. Sadly, when women grow up, they are often swept up into a life filled merely with duty and demands. Many Christian women are tired, struggling under the weight of the pressure to be a "good servant," a nurturing caregiver, or a capable home manager.

What Wild at Heart did for men, Captivating can do for women. This groundbreaking book shows readers the glorious design of women before the fall, describes how the feminine heart can be restored, and casts a vision for the power, freedom, and beauty of a woman released to be all she was meant to be. By revealing the core desires every woman shares-to be romanced, to play an irreplaceable role in a grand adventure, and to unveil beauty-John and Stasi Eldredge invite women to recover their feminine hearts, created in the image of an intimate and passionate God. Further, they encourage men to discover the secret of a woman's soul and to delight in the beauty and strength women were created to offer.
peace,

Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor + King of Peace Episcopal Church

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5/25/2005

There's Something About Mary

The Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (the official instrument of theological dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and the Churches of the Anglican Communion) is now issuing a statement called Mary: Grace and Hope in Christ as part of an ongoing dialogue first called for by Pope Paul VI and Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Michael Ramsey in 1966. The statement is not the official policy of either church, but a position paper for study by both denominations as a means toward establishing greater unity. The statement says in part
The scriptural witness summons all believers in every generation to call Mary 'blessed'; this Jewish woman of humble status, this daughter of Israel living in hope of justice for the poor, whom God has graced and chosen to become the virgin mother of his Son through the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit. We are to bless her as the 'handmaid of the Lord' who gave her unqualified assent to the fulfilment of God's saving plan, as the mother who pondered all things in her heart, as the refugee seeking asylum in a foreign land, as the mother pierced by the innocent suffering of her own child, and as the woman to whom Jesus entrusted his friends.
The official announcement of the position paper is online at the Anglican Communion News Service website. As noted in that announcement,
The text stresses that Marian devotion and the invocation of Mary are not in any way to obscure or diminish the unique mediation of Christ. It concludes:

“Affirming together unambiguously Christ's unique mediation, which bears fruit in the life of the Church, we do not consider the practice of asking Mary and the saints to pray for us as communion dividing.... we believe that there is no continuing theological reason for ecclesial division on these matters.”
The language is, no doubt, quite intentional. The practices of personal piety need not divide the two denominations. This does not mean that Anglicans and Roman Catholics who do not pray to Mary, or other saints, should do so. It means that this practice need not be viewed as contrary to scripture. As Steve Rice notes at Dancing on the Head of a Pin, the blog of St. Michael's Episcopal Church in Waynesboro, Georgia,
The idea of asking saints to pray for us is typically rejected immediately by Protestants, but think about this: do we not ask others in our church, family and friends to pray for us? Upon close reflection, we might come to the conclusion that there is not much difference. Furthermore, most everyone I know has talked to a deceased loved one - either at their grave site of in some other context. If we think our deceased love ones can hear us and care for us in heaven, surely Sts Peter, Paul, Stephen, and the rest (including the Virgin Mary) hear and care for us as well.

For Anglicans, this is certainly not required and will never be imposed on anyone. But it is the traditional practice of the church, and deserves a second look.

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5/24/2005

The Servant Leader

Today, I am giving a presentation on Servant Leadership to the current Leadership Camden class. I'm sure I was asked to do this because I am a minister. After all, Jesus embodied servant leadership. He said, "I came not to be served, but to serve" and on his last night with his disciples, he gave them the example of leadership in washing their feet. But Jesus was not a slave to all. What he did was to meet someone's needs rather than to give the people he met everything they wanted. Great leaders always meet their employees needs. If you can't meet their needs to take care of their families, employees will find an employer that can. Likewise, we must give people the tools and the room to do their jobs well.

To read more on servant leadership, see Rediscovering Servant Leadership and The Servant Leader.

Two good books on the subject are The Servant and Leadership and the New Science.

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor + King of Peace Episcopal Church

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5/23/2005

Pascal's Wager

“Let us weigh the gain and the loss in wagering that God is. Let us estimate these two chances. If you gain, you gain all; if you lose, you lose nothing. Wager, then, without hesitation that He is.”—Blaise Pascal (1623-1662)

In simple form, the quote above gives "Pacal's Wager." The French Philosopher Pascal argued that if there is no God, believing in a God had no downside, but if there was a God and one did not believe, one would lose infinite rewards. He felt that faith was therefore justified. A formal statement of the argument from a Philosophy of Religion website goes as follows
(1) It is possible that the Christian God exists and it is possible that the Christian God does not exist.
(2) If one believes in the Christian God then if he exists then one receives an infinitely great reward and if he does not exist then one loses little or nothing.
(3) If one does not believe in the Christian God then if he exists then one receives an infinitely great punishment and if he does not exist then one gains little or nothing.
(4) It is better to either receive an infinitely great reward or lose little or nothing than it is to either receive an infinitely great punishment or gain little or nothing.
Therefore:
(5) It is better to believe in the Christian God than it is not to believe in the Christian God.
(6) If one course of action is better than another then it is rational to follow that course of action and irrational to follow the other.
Therefore:
(7) It is rational to believe in the Christian God and irrational not to believe in the Christian God.
That same site lists three common objections to Pascal's Wager 1) It assumes that if there is a God, there is also a heaven of infinite rewards, 2) It assumes a high probability for God's existence, and 3) It assumes that we can choose our beliefs.

For now, let us look at the third objection. Pascal wrote elsewhere in his work Pensées about coming to faith by choice rather than a conversion of the heart saying,
Those to whom God has given faith by moving their hearts are very fortunate, and feel quite legitimately convinced, but to those who do not have it we can only give such faith through reasoning, until God gives it by moving their heart, without which faith is only human and useless for salvation.
Pascal seems to suggest than we can fake it until we make it with faith. Should one decide that there might be a God and then act is if God exists prior to faith? Is this what the Psalmist meant in Psalm 34:3, "O taste and see that the LORD is good." Is faking it until you make it with faith a good idea or the path to hypocrisy?

A somewhat related article is in the archives at www.kingofpeace.org called Why a non-believer may want a church.

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5/22/2005

The Refrain of Our Lives

Sunday after Sunday we worship using very similar words and actions each week. Why would we want to be so repetitive? The writer, Kathleen Norris, has written about the importance of repetition in her own process of having belief take root within her. In Amazing Grace: a vocabulary of faith, she wrote,
Repetition as Kierkegaard understood it, as "the daily bread of life that satisfies with benediction." Repetition as in a hymn such as "Amazing Grace," or the ballade for, in poetry, where although the refrain is the same from stanza to stanca, it conveys something different each time it is repeated because of what is in the lines that have come in between. Over time, it was the ordinary events of life itself, coming "in between" the refrain of the church service, with its familiar creeds, hymns, psalms, and scripture stories, that most developed my religious faith. Worship summed it up and held it together, and it all came to seem like a ballade to me, one that I was living.
For those who worship together each week at King of Peace, that worship becomes the refrain changing meaning slightly each week as it holds our lives in balance.

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5/21/2005

The Trinity

Tomorrow is Trinity Sunday, the only day of the church year devoted to a doctrine. Belief in the Trinity is central to the Christian faith and yet for most Christians it is nothing but a vague idea. It has been said that if one can explain the concept of the Trinity plainly so that anyone can understand, he or she is a heretic, we just have to decide what kind.

artistic depiction of The trinityThe word "Trinity" does not appear in the Bible, though the New Testament does contain some clear references to God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit (including two in our readings for Sunday). The Old Testament refers to God as Wisdom, the Word of God and the Spirit of God in ways that parallel this New Testament use. The word Trinity was itself coined by Tertullian (c. 160-225), not surprising as he created 509 new nouns, 284 adjectives and 161 new verbs in Latin. While not all of those caught on, the word Trinity did as it captured in short form the knowledge of God which had been present for centuries.

Around the year 380, Gregory of Nazianzus wrote about the gradual revelation of the Trinity
The Old Testament preached the Father openly and the Son more obscurely. The New Testament revealed the Son, and hinted at the divinity of the Holy Spirit. Now the Spirit dwells in us, and is revealed more clearly in us.
Until Jesus' birth, it was hard to grasp the concept of "God the Son" and until the coming of the Holy Spirit to the church after Jesus' ascension, it was hard for people to grasp the meaning of "the Spirit of God." Yet for the early Christians who were Jewish monotheists, there was no contradiction in preaching of God as a Trinity of persons, Father Son and Holy Spirit. And they saw this understanding of God to be no minor detail, but of central importance to our beginning to comprehend the divine.

Any understanding of the Trinity we have is incomplete. God remains something of a mystery. Yet this fact is no real barrier between us and God. Of course, we can not comprehend God fully. Any God we could fully understand would be more human than divine. But God does reveal something of God's own self to us. We trust that the part of God that has been revealed and that we have experienced is an indication of the character of the whole. While we know God only in part, we trust that revelation of a loving creator who died to redeem us and remains with us along every step of our journeys both physical and spiritual.

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5/20/2005

The New Number of the Beast?

ancient papyrusIn a recent post the blog for St. Michael's Episcopal Church in Waynesboro, Georgia told of some cutting-edge scholarship suggesting the number of the beast in Revelation may be 616 instead of the dreaded 666. That blog linked to the the full story at Belief.Net. There is also a related article at the National Geographic website. The new discovery about the ancient text was made possible using digital imaging technology to read a previously illegible portion of the oldest existing manuscript of the Book of Revelation.

The manuscript was found in the 1890s in a garbage dump in Oxyrhynchus, Egypt, together with a veritable treasure trove of other papyrus documents including. The papyri have been at Oxford University in England since that time.

So what does this change? In one sense nothing. If the number is now 616 instead of 666, it is unlikely to change God's plans at all. It could change the original meaning of the number. 666 was long interpreted as a coded reference to the Roman Emperor Nero. The Belief.net article notes that 616 would instead point to the Emperor Caligula. However, prophecies are pregnant with meaning. That's part of why we retain them as scripture. This means that a prophecy once fulfilled may be awaiting its ultimate fulfillment in a later event.

However, an old joke may need updating. What joke? The additional numbers of the beast, of course:

$665.95—Retail price of the Beast
$656.66—Walmart price of the Beast
1010011010—Binary of the Beast
Route 666—Way of the Beast
666k—Retirement plan of the Beast
666i—BMW of the Beast
668—Next door neighbor of the Beast
6/6/66—The birthdate of the Beast
25.806975—The square root of the Beast

We'll take a more serious look at what all this means this fall as the Wednesday Bible Study dives in for a 13-week study of the Book of Revelation.

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5/19/2005

Amen

Every prayer in our worship ends with the word "amen." Amen is a Hebrew word, which came to be a New Testament Greek word (pronounced Ah-Main in both of those languages). Amen is an acknowledgement that everything that comes before it is true and binding for me. Amen was first a response to words said by another person. The amen was not self confirmation and so would not have, in its ancient usage, been said by someone ending a prayer when praying alone.

Jesus himself used the word amen differently, using amen to confirm that his own sayings are true. In verses often translated, "Truly, Truly, I say to you..." such as in John 3:5, Jesus' words are recorded in the Greek as "Amen, Amen, I say to you...." Jesus acknowledges the validity of his sayings. Jesus' use of the amen with statements he made perhaps opened the door to Christians saying amen at the end of a prayer whether others were present or not.

In 1983, Robert Hovda wrote this of the use of amen:
"Amen" continues to be, as it has been from the ancient roots of our tradition, one of the most important words in our liturgical vocabulary. It suggest no mere passive acquiesense but, rather, like "Right on!" and "You said it!" and "Sing it again, sister!" an active, responsible, even enthusiastic joining in the deed that needs our participation.
This is nowhere more true than with "The Great Amen," which is the amen that comes after almost all of the communion service and immediately before we pray together The Lord's Prayer. Currently at King of Peace on Sundays, we sing that Amen. It is called The Great Amen because it is there that the congregation gives its agreement to all of the communion service leading up to that point, and so make the words of the service their own.

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5/18/2005

The Episcopal Shield

Shield of the Episcopal Church USAThe red, white and blue shield pictured here is the symbol for the Episcopal Church USA. Adopted in 1940, the shield brings together some of the Episcopal Church USA's history, offering a brief history lesson through its design.

The Episcopal Church was founded in 1789 as a separate group from its parent Church of England, from which the churches in the colonies found themselves divided by the American Revolution. The red white and blue colors are the colors of the American flag. Many of the founders of this nation, including George Washington, were Episcopalians. The white field with a red cross is St. George's Cross, the patron saint of the Church of England (and incidentally the colony of Georgia). This remembers the Episcopal Churches roots in the Church of England.

There are nine miniature crosses on the field of blue symbolizing the nine dioceses that met in Philadelphia in 1789 to ratify the initial constitution of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America. The crosslets are formed after the St. Andrews Cross. St. Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland. This remembers the Scottish Episcopal Churches part in our history as it was their bishops who ordained Samuel Seabury as the first American Bishop in 1784.

The Episcopal Church today remains a part of the Anglican Communion, the name for all those churches around the world which trace their origin to the church of England. As such, King of Peace is part of a worldwide denomination with more than 72 million members.

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5/17/2005

Filling in the gap

I am at a clergy conference for the Diocese of Georgia. What is it that priests get out of such meetings? Certainly, we gain something by spending some time with our sister and brother priests. At this conference, we are also benefitting from The Rev. James Farwell, a professor of liturgy at General Seminary in New York, author of This is the night: Suffering, Salvation, and the Liturgies of Holy Week. Here's a brief glimpse:

Creation of AdamIn the picture here, a detail view from the Sistine Chapel, Adam's hand is the one on the left reaching out toward God. On the right, God's hand is straining toward Adam. Christianity teaches that it is God who bridges the gap between the creator and the created. Robert Taft has written that each time we worship God, this gap between God and Adam vanishes. God reaches us in the liturgy (the words and actions of our worship). Coming together for worship week after week shapes the way we see the world. This doesn't happen in a single act of worship as much as over the long haul of returning again and again to encounter God in worship. Theology (what we think of God) is a word exchanged between us and God, starting on God's side of the equation. Theology then is not only something learned, it is also something lived, not merely rationally agreed to, but also experienced in the very structure of our worship as well as its words and gestures.

For modern thinkers, the primary way of knowing is rational thought. For example, Sigmund Freud saw all ritual (liturgy being one example) as neurosis. But we know by our experience and reflection that our worship is more than a mere decoration to our faith or a false distraction from things real. Instead, the ongoing worship we experience changes us as we continue to meet God in that gap pictured here. Through our worship, we come to see the world more and more through God's eyes.

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor + King of Peace Episcopal Church

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5/16/2005

God Incidents

Surely some things are actually coincidence, but so often chance happenings carry the fingerprints of what may be more accurately referred to as a "God incident."

The plan for the Youth group meeting yesterday afternoon was to have a "Destination Unknown" trip working on the Parable of the Good Samaritan. Destination Unknown trips are an idea we got from a book of the same name. You announce that you are going to an unknown place for the meeting, gather, climb into the van and go to one or more places for activities connected to the lesson for the day. We have visited a funeral home, Wal-Mart, downtown St. Marys and other destinations over time, all with a message tied to some activities at the unknown destination.

The Good SamaritanFor the Good Samaritan, we planned to go to houses of some teens in the van and ask, "Who lives here?" Then point to the surrounding houses, asking who lives in those as well. Move on to another house, and so on for three or four houses. Then start going to houses of people who attend King of Peace, but whose house might not be known to anyone in the van. Once I said whose house it was, we still would not know who lived in the houses nearby. Then we would stop for snacks and read and discuss the parable, before moving to phase two (mentioned below).

That was the plan and we stuck to it. But along the way, we changed the route in order to meet up with two teens arriving late. We were on a road we hadn't planned to drive down when we saw a truck with a badly flat tire and the female driver on the phone. I asked if the youth wanted to stop and help and they said they did. The woman affirmed that she very much wanted assistance. She went on to explain that her husband, who she was talking with by cell phone, was on duty at the Naval base and could not come to help her and her kids for quite some time. We got out and started to go over to change the tire and referring to the lettering on the church van she told her husband over the phone "The Episcopal Churches of Camden County are going to change the tire." We changed the flat and got her and the kids on the road to Wal-Mart to have the tire plugged. We continued on our rounds having been given the chance to serve as "Good Samaritans" while learning about the parable.

By the way, part II had us travel to the ruins of a house that burned to the ground a couple of years ago. I told the group that while the houses we visited looked great on the outside, the emotional and spiritual lives of some of the people who lived in those houses was more akin to the burned out ruins. Many of our neighbors are hurting and in need.

In the parable of the "Good Samaritan" we learn that while we start with ourselves and ask, "Who is my neighbor?" God starts with the person in need and asks, "Who do I have in the area that can help?" Often we can be the answer to God's question if we are open to the persons who are hurting and in need that God puts along our path. It would have been easy to assume that the woman was on the cell phone and so help was on the way, which was my first thought. But on consideration, it made more sense to stop and confirm that. In fact, she did need help and we were the ones God had in the area (for our sakes more than hers).

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor + King of Peace Episcopal Church

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5/15/2005

Living Water

Roger Laviner is baptizedToday, we welcomed into the Body of Christ one month old Gray McCullough and 68-year old Roger Laviner. They became the 39th and 40th persons baptized at King of Peace Church, as the church nears its 5th anniversary. Each baptism reminds those of us who are already baptized of the promises we made or the promises made for us in our own baptisms.

The book, Living Water, which we used for a course this past year, reminds us of the importance of our baptisms:
Micki Corso...puts its this way: "Baptism is not ritual bathing; it is ritual drowning!...Why was it that people such as St. Francis could work with lepers and Mother Theresa with the lowest outcasts? It didn't matter because they were dead already! They simply had nothing to fear."

Luther said that the Christian life was nothing less than a daily baptism. Just as in any committed relationship, our relationship with God as marked in baptism, has profound and practical implications that must be lived and worked out every day.
Gray McCullough is baptizedThe way to live out your baptism in daily life is connected to the five questions in the baptismal covenant:
Will you continue in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in the prayers?
Will you persevere in resisting evil, and, whenever you fall into sin, repent and return to the Lord?
Will you proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ?
Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself?
Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?
The answer in the Book of Common Prayer and in our daily lives is the same, "I will, with God’s help."

1 Comments:

  • At 5/15/2005 2:35 PM, Blogger Celeste said…

    Thanks Griffin for the great pictures. You had the best seat, too. The service was great and our family and friends loved being a part of it.

     

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5/14/2005

Come Holy Spirit

Tomorrow, in our reading from Acts we hear of the coming of The Holy Spirit to Jesus' disciples. The Rev. Gerald A. Skillicorn wrote an article in The Living Church this week noting that "Nowhere in the passage does it say that the apostles were given the ability to communicate the gospel in foreign languages. In fact, it does not say that they spoke foreign languages." Skillicorn points out that it was the hearing of those on that first Pentecost which was inspired. As he puts it, "It is quite clear that the miracle is in hearing, not speaking."

I know that God still inspires how we hear the Good News of Jesus being proclaimed. A recent King of Peace sermon noted that every preacher depends upon The Holy Spirit's inspiration on the words that are heard even more than on the words preached.

Jesus said several times when teaching, "He who has ears, let him hear." Then in Matthew 13:15 Jesus says,
For the hearts of these people are hardened, and their ears cannot hear, and they have closed their eyes—so their eyes cannot see, and their ears cannot hear, and their hearts cannot understand, and they cannot turn to me and let me heal them.
Those with hardened hearts can not receive the healing Jesus wants to bring. It is when we open our hearts to God, inviting God into our lives yet again, our hearts are softened. Then the Holy Spirit is able to give us the ears to hear that still small voice of God. As long as we are open to the Spirit's presence, God's voice can come through in any language and in every setting. Is your heart open to hearing God speak?
Be still and know that I am God.
Be still and know that I am.
Be still and know.
Be still.
Be.
—adapted from Psalm 46:10 by Don Postema

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5/13/2005

All You Need

People killin', people dyin'
Children hurt and you hear them cryin'
Can you practice what you preach
And would you turn the other cheek

Father, Father, Father help us
Send some guidance from above
'Cause people got me, got me questionin'
Where is the love?
—"Where is the Love" The Black-Eyed Peas 2004

All you need is love, all you need is love,
All you need is love, love, love is all you need.
Love, love, love, love, love, love, love, love, love.
All you need is love, all you need is love.
—"All You Need is Love" The Beatles 1967

Christian love, which applies to all, even to one's enemies, is the worst adversary of Communism.—Nikolai Bukharin (1888–1938)

The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, and also to love our enemies; probably because they are generally the same people.—G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936)

Lord, grant that I might not so much seek to be loved as to love.—Francis of Assisi (1182-1226)

What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. That is what love looks like.—Augustine of Hippo (354-430)

For our religion commands us to love even our enemies, and to pray for those who persecute us, aiming at a perfection all its own, and seeking in its disciples something of a higher type than the commonplace goodness of the world. For all love those who love them; it is peculiar to Christians alone to love those that hate them.—Tertullian (d. 220-240)

I command you to love each other in the same way that I love you.—Jesus Christ (John 15:12)

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5/12/2005

Dante's Inferno Test

Dante's InfernoTo make sure that this blog doesn't take itself too seriously, here is the Dante's Inferno Test. Truthfully answer the questions in this short quiz and discover how you rate on this somewhat scientific, not at all theological quiz.

Find out where you are headed in Dante's terms of Purgatory and the levels of Hell. But don't read to much into it. This isn't scriptural and is meant to be fun!

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5/11/2005

Women and Children First?

Our Wednesday evening study of Christian Ethics continues with a look at matters of distributive justice. When there is only so much of a good thing to go around, who gets it and why? To give an example of how our notions of distributive justice have changed, it was once the norm to save the lives of women and children before men. According to a Trinity University Sociology webpage
Titanic tragedyWhen the Titanic sunk on April 14, 1912, more than eight out of ten of those who drowned were men. As the recent movie of the event recounted, many of these men had sacrificed themselves so women and children would have seats in the scarce lifeboats. Eighty years later, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette queried its readers about whether they, under such circumstances, be willing to relinquish their seats. Only 35% of the men said they would for unrelated women and children. In fact, only 54% were willing to cede their lifeboat seats for their mothers and 67% for their spouses.
How should one determine who gets a seat on a lifeboat when there are not enough seats for everyone? How are health care professionals to determine who gets a donated organ and who remains on the list? How should our local non-profit groups, such as the Salvation Army or Habitat for Humanity, determine who gets assistance and who does not?

Tonight, we will consider how can we decide particular matters regarding particular goods (such as a heart transplant)? We'll look at the relative merits of simple equality, need, merit, benefit and effort as we consider case studies.

4 Comments:

  • At 5/12/2005 12:24 AM, Blogger Ryan said…

    This is not a comment on this post, but a general comment on the idea of this blog from a non-parishoner.

    I think the idea behind the blog is great! Continuing the conversations between Sundays - wonderful idea. It doesn't seem to be taking, just looking at the number of comments received. As a future Episcopal priest who not only blogs but thinks that internet media is important to the life of the church in this day and age, I was wondering if you could offer any specific remarks on why the idea is not taking?

    Are people "too busy"? Do they not know about it? Do they know about it and have issues with putting thier names/ideas on the web? Are they afraid of creating dissenion in the parish? Are they a little unsure about how comment threads are suppossed to work? DO they not find the topics engaging? Is the internet "beyond them"? Or do they just not know how to get here?

    I can imagine all of these working in tandem to produce "0" commentors. What do you think? And how do you think we, as church leaders interested in internet media can encourage this sort of thing?

    -R

     
  • At 5/12/2005 6:56 AM, Blogger King of Peace said…

    >>Are people "too busy"?<<
    That is a factor in everything we do in the church, but applies less to viewing a blog than to attending a mid-week service or small group.

    >>Do they not know about it?<<
    It's been well advertized within the parish (via our email news list, in our newsletter, in our bulletin, and at our website) and so I don't think this is it in our case.

    >>Do they know about it and have issues with putting their names/ideas on the web?<<
    I have heard that this is an issue for people who read it daily but say they aren't sure they want to put their names to any comments. What they have to say would not be "good enough." I try to encourage them to comment anyway and once the discussion gets going there would be less pressure on any one comment.

    >>Are they afraid of creating dissenion in the parish?<<
    We aren't a contentious place and I have no reason to believe this is it.

    >>Are they a little unsure about how comment threads are suppossed to work?<<
    Definitely a factor for some people and we have had some posts explain that in detail, to little effect.

    >>Do they not find the topics engaging?<<
    That could be true, and is likely a big factor. I have been all over the map in trying to find things of interest.

    >>Is the internet "beyond them"? Or do they just not know how to get here?<<
    Neither of these is likely as our website in general is hugely popular for a website for a church with an average Sunday attendance of 110. Here's current stats:

    Program started on Thu, May 12 2005 at 12:30 AM.
    (Figures in parentheses refer to the 7-day period ending May 12 2005 at 12:30 AM).
    Successful requests: 546,179 (78,260)
    Average successful requests per day: 12,138 (11,179)
    Successful requests for pages: 57,045 (8,035)
    Average successful requests for pages per day: 1,267 (1,147)
    No doubt many of those people are from well beyond King of Peace or Camden County, Georgia, but I know anecdotally that many people who visit our site regularly are parishioners.

    >>I can imagine all of these working in tandem to produce "0" commentors. What do you think?<<
    I think it is still pretty new (since March) and 0 comments encourages 0 comments. We have had a couple of people risk and post comments somewhat regularly, but when that didn't encourage others, it trickled down again. The truth is I'm not sure why it is working at creating discussion and I do wonder how to improve it.

    >>And how do you think we, as church leaders interested in internet media can encourage this sort of thing?<<
    Use it consistently and well and publicize this form of communications. I'm not sure what we can do beyond that. It will fit within people's lives/ needs or not.

    peace,
    Frank+
    The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor + King of Peace Episcopal Church

     
  • At 5/12/2005 8:28 AM, Blogger Pilgrim said…

    Brother Ryan,

    Thank you for your post! You've made me want to write one of my own...

    I would have to agree with all of what you wrote as I'm sure at least one person would fit each category. But, I don't feel comfortable speculating on other's hearts rather my own.

    When posting to a blog I feel a sense of responsiblility; I own the words and I want to make sure I don't misrepresent my beliefs. And that's really the heart of the matter. Am I confident enough to take that chance.

    Ultimately I have to! I can not sit smuggly and idolly by watching the world pass by without taking a chance and saying something, as long as what I'm saying comes from a humble heart. I have to trust Him and if I misstep then He'll help me get back on track.

    It may sound odd but, for me at least, posting on "Irenic Thoughts" is a test of faith. And I want to thank you, Ryan, for helping me take another step!

    Yours,

    Matt <><

     
  • At 5/12/2005 4:00 PM, Blogger Ryan said…

    King of Peace - Thank you for your response! Maybe if you tried mentioning it explicitly in coffee hour or something, it might get more on people's radar screens. Also I checked out your website - and I don't mean to judge, but in the interest of providing you with an honest outsiders opinion - to me it seems fairly cluttered and it took me a little bit of time to find the mention of the blog. SO, that might have something to do with its visibility.

    Also, maybe the prospect of a daily updated blog frightens some. Especially if you get some comments going, people are gonna want some time to think through and process the thread. Maybe, if you get some regular commentors going, you could try a three times a week update or something?

    I understand people's fears about publicly identifying themselves on the web. There is something very vulnerable about it. I have some very specific feelings about being as open as possible about who I am on my site, so you'll find my full name publicized easily and up front. For those who aren't quite ready for that, try having them choose the name of thier favorite saint or something and make a list available to the parish of who's handle is who's.

    As far as topic choice - what seems to engage the parish members in your teaching sessions? Sometimes what engages people surprises me. I had a posting a couple of weeks ago where I was talking about something completely different, but mentioned the masculine singlular usage of the hebrew word for "man" in on of my posts and the comment thread took off on that paranthetical aside.

    I think consistent use is very important!! Can't emphasize that enough. And publicity, publicity, publicity!

    I wish you all the best. I'd like to stop by this site from time to time and see how thigns are going and maybe comment as well. As far as where I am in the process - I am a second year seminary student at Seabury-Western in Chicago, and am from the diocese of SW Florida - that's right, the southern boy on sojourn in the big city - it's been an interesting expereience.

    Pilgrim - Glad I could help my friend! There is a certain sense of responsiblity one takes when one makes a web posting. But what I think is important to remember is that a web posting is not an academic journal. We're free to make mistakes, and when we do, we should own up to them. I work all sorts of things out through my blog site and its regular readers/commentors. I din't get everything right, but I also never claimed to be doing so. That's important for both me and my readers to remember. Keep taking those steps Pilgrim, and God be with you. I am excited for you!!

    Faithfully,
    -R

    Ryan's Blog - Everyday Faith

     

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5/10/2005

Christ Sinai

The pulpit at King of Peace features an icon referred to either as Christ Pantocrator, meaning Christ the Judge of All, or Christ Sinai, as it was found at St. Catherine's Monastery at the base of Mount Sinai in Egypt. Originally dated to the 13th century, the icon was cleaned and redated in 1962 to reveal that it is perhaps the oldest icon of Christ in existence, dating from about 590. The icon also seems to have served as the model for many other paintings of Christ, which also share its proportions.

Christ SinaiIn keeping with Jewish theology which spoke of the right hand of God as love and the left hand as justice, this icon shows Christ making a sign of blessing with his right hand, while holding the Gospel book in his left. The eyes are also asymmetrical, which some connect to one eye looking on in judgment, seeing all, while the other looks on in love. Another possible reason for the icon's particular way of portraying Jesus comes from an interesting source. It has been noted that the icon also shares its proportions with the Shroud of Turin which may have served as a source for the icon. A French researcher points to 15 major shared features between the Shroud and the icon, while a detailed analysis points to 170 "points of congruence" between the images.

While we would never worship any image, including any image of Jesus, it is not inappropriate to have in worship a reproduction of one of the oldest and most influential portrayals of Jesus ever made. We are grateful to parishioner Scott Landry, who created our one-of-a-kind pulpit.

2 Comments:

  • At 8/25/2011 11:47 AM, Blogger Ed said…

    Nice looking pulpit.

     
  • At 8/25/2011 11:59 AM, Blogger Ed said…

    By the way, it is thought by many that the Christological controversies raging in those centuries could have much to do with the asymmetry. The right side of the face shows a divine serenity, while the left shows a very human emotional enlivenment. Perhaps He's about to crack a smile. You have the human and divine in perfect union in the one person of Christ. This is ultimately what icons are all about--the incarnation.

     

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5/09/2005

With You Always

Image copyright Larry Van PeltJesus said, "I am with you always, even to the end of the age." One website has quite creatively imagined this for us. The drawing here by Larry Van Pelt is one sample of many persons with Jesus watching over their shoulder as they work. This is, obviously, a preacher. The website also features art of a carpet layer, a surgeon, a welder and on and on.

Orthodox Jewish men wear a fringed garment under their shirts as a reminder of the Torah (God's Law found in the first five books of the Bible). It is to be constant reminder of their commitment to follow God's law. Christians are to have a more grace-filled view of God's presence in their lives. What would it be like to live your life really knowing that Jesus is always with you?

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5/08/2005

Which Denomination?

In today's Gospel reading, Jesus said, "And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one." Jesus wanted those who followed him to be one, but we Christians rarely get along to a degree that can be called unity. There are thousands of denominations and sects within Christ's One Holy Church.

Want to find out which branch of the Christian Church is best for you? Try the Christian Traditions selector. Not exactly thorough or scientific and yet as an Episcopal Priest I rated the following as a top four:

1: Eastern Orthodox (100%)
2: Anglican/Episcopal/Church of England (98%)
3: Lutheran (84%)
4: Roman Catholic (82%)

So maybe it is not so far off. Or at least my readings in Orthodox theology have not been for nought.

peace,

Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor + King of Peace Episcopal Church

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5/07/2005

A Different Kind of Glory

In tomorrow's Gospel reading Jesus says in part, "Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you." In John's Gospel, the word "glory" is connected not to the things we typically think of when that word is mentioned. Rather, Jesus uses the word glory to refer to his crucifixion. Jesus' glory will not come with pomp and circumstance, an adoring throng of followers, or wealth and power. Jesus' glory comes in radical obedience to God when he is faithful to death, even death on a cross.

We too give glory to God not through achieving wealth, success, or honor. We give glory to God in being faithful. While we might wish to be faithful in much, instead we are called on to be faithful to God in the little decisions we make day in and day out. To the degree that we honor God in the little choices of our lives, we bring glory to our creator.

Photos from the Mother's Day High Tea at The Preschool are now online.

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5/06/2005

Peeking through the window

King of Peace is an Episcopal Church. Yet as we usually have music led by guitars rather than an organ and have had a sermon which involved the use of power tools, you may wonder what exactly is an Episcopal church? For another person's viewpoint, visit Peek Through the Window a website created to help answer the question, "What are Episcopal Churches like?"

You may also want to visit the Episcopal Diocese of Texas' website' s a primer on the Episcopal Church.

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5/05/2005

Teach your children well

On this day in 1925, John Scopes was arrested for teaching about evolution in his high school science class. The end result was what was officially known as Tennessee vs. John Scopes, but was dubbed by the press as "The Monkey Trial." At the request of the defense, the jury found Scopes guilty and fined him $100. As hoped, the verdict went to the State Supreme Court, who dropped the case due to a technicality. But the trial and its publicity proved to help those wanting to bring the teaching of evolution into the school system, hastening what was perhaps by then inevitable.

Now, eighty years to the day later, the Kansas Board of Education will begin to hear testimony about scientific controversies over evolution. The hearings were called by a three-member subcommittee of the State Board of Education that thinks students should hear more criticism of Darwin's theory of how species originate. Groups opposed to mandatory criticism of evolution are boycotting the hearings. So the group will only hear from those who advocate "intelligent design," which posits that an intelligence is the best explanation for the complexities found in nature.

Of course, most people in the world believe in a God who created all that is. This is true for the 2 billion Christians, the 1 billion Muslims, as well as Jews and many others of faith. Knowledge of evolution has not caused mass disbelief. Darwin himself seems to have seen evolution as not being incompatible with faith. In the close to his Of the Origin of the Species he wrote,
There is a grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved
Yet what was being considered in Tennessee in 1925 and is now being reconsidered in Kansas, is what our children are to be taught. When it comes to faith in God, we can not count on the school system to teach our children. We were never supposed to do so. Scripture places teaching faith into the hands of parents and grandparents.
But watch out! Be very careful never to forget what you have seen the LORD do for you. Do not let these things escape from your mind as long as you live! And be sure to pass them on to your children and grandchildren.—Deuteronomy 4:9

Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD alone. And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are away on a journey, when you are lying down and when you are getting up again.—Deuteronomy 6:4-7
No matter what happens in the debate about intelligent design, the job of teaching our children and our children's children was never meant to be left to the school system. Or in the words of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young,
Teach your children well,
Their father's hell did slowly go by,
And feed them on your dreams
The one they picks, the one you'll know by.
Don't you ever ask them why,
if they told you, you would cry,
So just look at them and sigh
and know they love you.

1 Comments:

  • At 5/07/2005 7:29 PM, Blogger Celeste said…

    All this having been said, I have to give praise and thanksgiving for the teachers and adminstrators that we have at Camden County Schools. It is daily that they send and receive prayer requests for family members who have seen God's glory and they are not afraid to share it. They have been with the dying and are touched enough to share it with "All Mail Users".
    While things aren't always perfect with them, they know who they answer to.
    Thanks be to God for them,
    Celeste

     

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5/04/2005

Jobs counter to the faith?

Tonight in our ethics discussion, we will consider Just War Theory, which is used to determine how a nation may defend itself. It may also be applied to more personal ethics, such as the morality of acting on Florida's expanded self-defense law which allows would-be victims of life-threatening assaults to use deadly force on their assailants without fear of prosecution or civil litigation.

soldiers in prayerFor the early Christians, pacifism seemed to be the norm. So much so, that while soldiers could convert to Christianity, it became common place to insist that they abandon their job, though this was because their job entailed sacrificing to the emperor as a God as well as killing others. Soldiers were not singled out as the only ones with jobs incompatible with with Christian faith, also looked down on were actors (because of the debased nature of plays at the time), painters (because they created idols), and teachers (as they taught worldy knowledge, rather than the faith). Here is a lengthy quote from Apostolic Tradition written by Hippolytus in 215 A.D. passing on Christian traditions about whether it was proper to baptize people who held certain jobs
They will inquire concerning the works and occupations of those are who are brought forward for instruction. If someone is a pimp who supports prostitutes, he shall cease or shall be rejected. If someone is a sculptor or a painter, let them be taught not to make idols. Either let them cease or let them be rejected. If someone is an actor or does shows in the theater, either he shall cease or he shall be rejected. If someone teaches children (worldly knowledge), it is good that he cease. But if he has no (other) trade, let him be permitted. A charioteer, likewise, or one who takes part in the games, or one who goes to the games, he shall cease or he shall be rejected. If someone is a gladiator, or one who teaches those among the gladiators how to fight, or a hunter who is in the wild beast shows in the arena, or a public official who is concerned with gladiator shows, either he shall cease, or he shall be rejected. If someone is a priest of idols, or an attendant of idols, he shall cease or he shall be rejected. A military man in authority must not execute men. If he is ordered, he must not carry it out. Nor must he take military oath. If he refuses, he shall be rejected. If someone is a military governor, or the ruler of a city who wears the purple, he shall cease or he shall be rejected. The catechumen or faithful who wants to become a soldier is to be rejected, for he has despised God.
We now have a longer tradition of Christian soldiers, painters and teachers. We even find it appropriate to support our troops with our prayers. Are there any jobs today which Christians would consider incompatible with the faith?

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5/03/2005

Get an electronic sword for free

the Sword of the SpiritSound to good to be true? The electronic sword on offer is a computer version of the "sword of the spirit" which is how the letter to the Ephesians refers to the Word of God. King of Peace parishioner Matt Munro recommends e-Sword as a great computer-based Bible reference. Equipped with multiple translations of the Bible as well as commentaries and Bible dictionaries, e-Sword is a comprehensive Bible resource for your computer available free through their website.

For those looking for an online resource, the scripture page at the King of Peace website has a very useful search tool from BibleMaster.com at the bottom of the page. BibleMaster offers an online version of many of the features of e-Sword.

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5/02/2005

Humility

I'm wild just like a rock, a stone, a tree
And I'm free, just like the wind the breeze that blows
And I flow, just like a brook, a stream, the rain
And I fly, just like a bird up in the sky
And I'll surely die, just like a flower plucked
And dragged away and thrown away
And then 1 day it turns to clay
—from Humble Mumble by Outkast (released March 2005)

The proof of spiritual maturity is not how pure you are but awareness of your impurity. That very awareness opens the door to grace.
—Phillip Yancey (contemporary author)

If anyone would like to acquire humility, I can, I think tell him the first step. The first step is to realize that one is proud. And a biggish step, too. At least, nothing whatever can be done before it. If you think you are not conceited, it means you are very conceited indeed.
—C.S. Lewis (1898-1963)

If all flowers wanted to be roses, nature would lose her springtime beauty and the fields would no longer be decked out with little wildflowers.
—Teresa of Lisieux (1873-1897)

To one of the brethren appeared a devil, transformed into an angel of light, who said to him: I am the Angel Gabriel, and I have been sent to thee. But the Brother said: Think again—you must have been sent to somebody else. I haven't done anything to deserve an angel. Immediately the devil ceased to appear.
—4th century Egypt, from The Wisdom of the Desert

But those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.
—Jesus Christ (Matthew 23:12)

You rescue those who are humble, but you humiliate the proud.
—Psalm 18:27

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5/01/2005

You had to be there

sawing during the sermonOne of the values of King of Peace Episcopal Church is relevance. This is because we, as a church, value preaching and teaching that is relevant to today. Sermons involve both digging deeper into God's Word to see what it is saying and doing as well as then applying those biblical truths to our daily lives.

The application part can take different forms. Today that involved two power saws, a board, glass jars, rocks and sand. All in an attempt to teach as Jesus' taught, using the things of our everday lives to connect us more fully to God. This works because we trust God to make the point real in our lives.

rocks and bottlesSo what was the point of today's sermon? It's not that we can't tell you. But, some things just work better in context. While we do provide most sermons online in both text and audio formats, some weeks you just have to be there to understand.

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