Bible Study Group begins new semester
This Friday, our long-running study group starts a new series. We will be studying the Bible and studying about studying the Bible. In other words, out exploration of Scripture will include methods for reading and understanding its texts.
What does the Bible say about itself? How can one get more out of these sacred texts? How can we better understand what they say to us two-thousand years after the newest of them were nearing final form? Teachers are Dr. Chris Hallstein and Fr. Paul Johnston. Topics include:
- close reading
- fun with parallelisms
- how to use a concordance
- meditational reading (lectio divina, African/Lambeth study)
First and third Friday evening each month. Gather at 7:00 for munchies; study by 7:15. Edelsteins host in Monroeville.
THIS SUNDAY…at Incarnation Church is The First Sunday after Epiphany, when we commemorate the Baptism of Our Lord. Deacon Peg Bowman is at the lectern with scriptural commentary. Plus, the Voices and keyboardist Igor Kraevsky offer a luscious setting by John Rutter of the great priestly prayer “The Lord bless you and keep you.”
There’s a special blessing of being a p.m. church. In the shorter days of midwinter, we juxtapose early sunsets with Epiphantytide’s emphasis on light. Thus, unlike a.m. churches, we can sing the great evening hymns in our Eucharists. This week, fill your lungs for “The day thou gavest.”
Holy Eucharist, Sunday afternoons at 3:30. The Union Hall, the upper room over Bar Marco in Pittsburgh’s Strip District. 2216 Penn Avenue / 15222
Our Charge for 2017
based on Fr. Paul Johnston’s sermon on Holy Name Day (New Year’s Day)
With Mary, let us ponder in our hearts who Jesus is. And with the shepherds, let us ponder what our response can be in 2017.
Luke 2 tells us of the miraculous night of Jesus’ birth and the shepherds’ amazing report. “And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart.”
Mary treasured and pondered. I think the case can be made for Mary as the first Christian theologian. She pondered the nature of God. Plus we know that the Holy Spirit was upon her (Luke 1:35).
So, she knew who Jesus was. She knew where he was from. She knew why he was here: nine months earlier, her angelic visitor explained that “he shall save his people from their sins.” Jesus was the expected rescuer of all God’s people, the prophetic messiah.
The Shepherd’s were greeted by an angel, too, and knew that Jesus was the “savior” and the “Christ” (a latinate word for messiah). Then, following the best-tuned choral performance in history, the shepherds sprang into action. Their natural response is instructive:
- The go to investigate. “Let us go and see,” they say. They go see Jesus.
- They tell others. They share their experience and the gospel.
- The worship. They go back home “glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen.”
So these guys were theologians, evangelists, and pastors – “pastor” is literally “shepherd.”
We aren’t all alled or gifted to full-time theologians or evangelists or pastors. But we are all called-with varieties of gifts- to be part of the Church’s theological task (seeking to know God in Jesus Christ as best we can), evangelisti task (making Jesus known), and pastoral task (helping others follow Jesus in ethics and worship).
Here’s a slightly different way to outline the shepherds’ collective response to their Jesus encounted. GO … TELL … WORSHIP.
In my first sermon of each calendar year, I invite our parish to a year of one spiritual emphasis or another. A couple of years ago it was a focus on prayer. Last year it was on being godly community, and not just on Sundays.
I had ideas for this year which seemed sensible to me. But the thing which God seemed to be pressing on me-us, I believe- seemed at once too basic as well as all-encompassing. But wait, Fr. Paul! That’s a problem? So.
In 2017, let all of us explore the consequences of this phrase: “to make Jesus known.”
Nothing original here. This is what the Church, at its best, has always done. Jesus himself said, “If you lift me up, I’ll draw people.”
We are all shepherds and sheep. Following the shepherds of Bethlehem, let’s GO to Jesus, TELL about Jesus, and forever WORSHIP Jesus.
- eNews: Epiphany…Vestry…2017 - January 8, 2017
- Incarnation eNews: Peg’s Sermon Notes - August 28, 2016
- Incarnation Church eNews: Saturday’s Field Trip…donations for immigrants - August 20, 2016
- Incarnation eNews: Ann Paton preaching…poetry by Betty Douglas - July 30, 2016
- RSVP…important dates - June 5, 2016
- eNews: lots of important news this week - May 21, 2016
- Holy Week 2016 - March 19, 2016
- Dreaming of a Green Christmas - December 23, 2015
- Mother Ann returns…dreaming of a green Christmas - December 18, 2015
- Canon Hays visits…Parkway closure - December 12, 2015