The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you. The Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you Peace. (Numbers 6: 24-26)

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Rector's Article from the August Newsletter

We Shall Study God’s Word Together

One of my very good friends at seminary came up with a brilliant description of how the Church should relate to the secular world.  He said that the Church is supposed to be a thermostat not a thermometer.  In other words, the Church is not supposed to merely measure the temperature or condition of the world, like the thermometer that mom puts in the mouth of a sick child to gauge the amount of fever present; rather, the Church’s role is to impact society and influence its condition much like the thermostat in our houses makes it cool in the summer and warm in the winter.  In short, do we affect the world, or does the world affect us?

How then do we do that?  We start with each of us and where we place our priorities.  We start by committing ourselves to not only study but to live in the Word of God.  We commit ourselves to know God better so that when we come together as a community of believers to worship God in the Mass, we know who we are worshiping, and, more importantly, he knows us!  In order to do this, there will be some changes made in the way we gather to study and know God.

September 8, the first Sunday after Labor Day, will mark the beginning of a renewed emphasis on how we study and live the Word of God.  This will involve a few major changes in the way that we do our Sunday Bible Study.  Most significantly, Sunday School will be a family affair.  We will unite as a church family of many different ages and experiences to hear, discuss and be challenged by Holy Scripture. 

At 8:55 a full breakfast of eggs, meat, biscuits, fruit and beverages will be served the first Sunday of every month.  Continental breakfasts will be served every other Sunday.  At 9:15 am, we will begin our weekly Sunday Bible Study with prayer, and we praise God with hymns or worship songs.  Following the announcements, I will then lead the Bible Study which will use St. Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians as the central fixture of a broader study of how we are to live as Christians in the modern world.  There will be time for discussion, and significant time devoted to prayer: intercessory prayer for each other, prayers of thanksgiving, prayers of supplication or whatever the body of Christ gathered together feels called upon to offer to God.  Then we celebrate the presence of God in our midst with Mass at 10:30 am.

Yes, Mass will be at 10:30.  Our renewed focus on Sunday School necessitates having more time between the services on Sunday so that we can do justice to our study and then to our worship.  In order to do this, beginning on September 8, the time of the Principal Mass on Sunday will be moved from 10:00 am to 10:30 am.  This will hopefully give more time for study and fellowship, both integral parts of our common life together.

Two thousand years ago, a group of dedicated believers set out to change the world.  They did.  Today, we are called to continue that commission, and we do so with the same tools that they used: The Word of God, the Real Presence of Christ in our Celebration of the Mass and the inspiration and guidance of the Holy Spirit within us.  To be effective, we must immerse ourselves in his Word; we must unite at the Altar of Christ as one and we must be open to the movement of the Holy Spirit and all the possibilities he brings.  I hope that our renewed emphasis on the study of God’s Word will excite and challenge the people of Christ Memorial and provide a means to bring new families into our church.  God is calling us to greater things, and this, I’m convinced, is how we are going to heed his call.

Fr. Michael+

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