Saturday, September 19, 2015

A MESSAGE FROM THE VICAR: Looking for a Change of heart (repentance=netabiua=change of mind) John+

Dear Friends:

I hope everyone has had a good week.  In many ways our St. Alban community is like the twelve apostles.  The Holy Spirit is moving and will someday bring us to what is called the "tipping point" when our small community will grow, fruit of a new Pentecost!  Let's be faithful to the Spirit and try to gather faithfully each Sunday except when we are traveling or sick.  The scriptures for this Sunday are very rich in meaning for us and the world.  We are learning to be a Holy Communion.  Peace
This coming week if you would like to study the bible in community with the church, the Daily Lectionary has us reading:

In the Old Testament (really, the "Hebrew Bible") we're reading in 2 Kings chapters 4 to 11 Stories of Elisha the prophet.  These are important not just because they are great stories, but mostly because they are the stories Jesus would have grown up with.  The times were politically very dangerous.

In the New Testament we're reading (Sunday) Acts 9:10-31; and the rest of the week 1 Corinthians chapters 4 through 7  Paul writes the Corinthians in a lot of personal pain.  In so many ways the Corinthian church felt it had arrived in the Kingdom and had nothing else to learn.  They were on the verge of forgetting who brought the faith to them and was their teacher in Christ (Paul!).

In the Gospel we're reading (Sunday) Luke 3:7-18; and the rest of the week Matthew 5:21 to Matthew 6:24  The goal of a pious Jew's life was to fulfill Torah.  In Jesus' day the rabbis had distilled 613 commandments from the Torah given to Moses. It really wasn't too hard to keep these commandments because they helped a person live rightly before God all day and night.  the problem was, as Jesus tried to point out, that they were only the surface of living righteously before God, what was most important was in the heart, how they cared for one another and the least among them.

I hope these few thoughts are helpful.  Some might want to read all the passages, or you might choose to follow one or two strands of readings (ie., I think I'll focus on the Gospel readings, or, I want to study 2 Kings some more, or the New Testament letters, etc.)  

What we're after in bible study is not just more "knowledge" of the bible so we can feel good or proud of our accomplishment (remember Paul said that all this kind of knowledge "puffs up."), but what we're really after is what Jesus talked about a lot:  change of heart (repentance= metanoia= change of mind).

Hope to see you tomorrow!  In God's peace,  

Saint Alban Episcopal Mission (English) meets for mass every Sunday at 10:00 A.M. (see welcome letter at sidebar) at Casa Convento Concepcion, 4a Calle Oriente No. 41, Antigua, Guatemala.

The Reverend John Smith, Vicar.
5235-6674 cell telephone (502 country code)


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