2022 Sun Nov 20

Liturgical Year

 

1.   (From A Pilgrim People:  Learning through the Church Year, by John Westerhoff)

Advent

Advent is a time for hope, for dreaming of new possibilities, a time set aside to rethink  the ways in which we choose to live our lives.  Advent is a time of anticipation, of watching and waiting, and of transformation. 

Christmas

During Christmas, we celebrate God’s coming to be with us here, to share our human nature. We celebrate because Jesus has come to live as one of us, to lead us into a new life.  Jesus will also experience suffering and death as each one of us will.   It is in the context of Jesus’ death and resurrection that we celebrate the miracle of his incarnation.

Epiphany

Epiphany opens with the Feast of the Three Kings, and so we begin our season of journeying, as the wise men did.  Epiphany is the season of the longings of the human heart, the invitation to go on a journey led by God, a journey full of mystery, a journey over which we have no control, a journey which we cannot fully comprehend.  Epiphany is the season of revelation, as we become more and more aware of  the true identity of Jesus, the Son of God.  Our faith is deepened and strengthened. 

Lent

During Lent we take on risks, journeying through death toward life, entering a wilderness where both God and the evil one are present.  We open ourselves to suffering.   Lent is a time of growing into our true identities, as we accept ourselves, with all of our weaknesses and shortcomings and examine our consciences.   Through penance we open ourselves to becoming whole again, and we make amends for the damage we have done to ourselves, to others, and to creation itself. 

Holy Week and Easter

The story of Easter is the story of God’s victory, a time of consummation, when now and not yet come together through the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus.  All of creation becomes new, God transforms us, and redeems the whole world.  We see that, through God’s redeeming love, we have been made saints.  God’s reign is here, is still in the process of becoming, and  has yet to be.  God is always in the process of making all things new.

Ordinary Time

After Easter,  Jesus’s ascension into heaven, and the coming of the Holy Spirit  to us at Pentecost, we accept responsibility for being and becoming Christ’s body in the world.  We are called by Jesus to live in community, our lives together guided not only by the example of Jesus, but by the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  As we live our lives in the Spirit, we “explore the implications of Easter and endeavor to live into our baptisms” (John Westerhoff, A Pilgrim People:  Learning through the Church Year)   

2. Church Liturgical Year Table   

ECM Collection for Thanksgiving, Christmas – $1,017.20!!

As of Mon, Nov 14, the ECM (Episcopal Church Men has collected $1017.20 for their seasonal offering

The plans are to distribute to social service to they can provide gifts cards for Thanksgiving and Christmas. The men will decide how to divide their gifts.

The church will be collecting the Christmas portion of the offering until Sunday, Dec. 11

Commentary, Nov. 20, 2022, “Christ the King” Sunday

I.Theme –   Jesus –  A real king – bringing God’s reign of justice and mercy to earth 

The lectionary readings are here  or individually:

Old Testament – Jeremiah 23:1-6
Psalm – Psalm 46
Epistle –Colossians 1:11-20
Gospel – Luke 23:33-43

This is a transitional Sunday. Christ the King Sunday signals the end of Ordinary Time and the end of our use of the Year C readings. 

The end of year readings are partially about kingship – good kings, bad kings and our treatment of them.  Jeremiah provides an analysis of bad kings – blamed for scattering the sheep and being evil. This is not just one ruler but a trend.

A secondary theme is God’s role in all of this. God will make good kings again and restore the people’s relationship to the earth and to each other. The Psalm demonstrates God’s protection and like a King defense of the people.  It is a praise psalm.  While there will be troubles, dislocations and woundes,  ultimately God will be bring peace end division. 

All of this culminates in the Gospel reading. Jesus is God’s way of ruling in this world and in the world to come.  His ruling was born out of struggle. We are there with him with criminals on either side of him.

Then we see Jesus exercising his dominion in the midst of mockery, coercion, and arrogance. His two "words" from the cross in Luke’s account enact his authority. The first (Luke 23:34) fits powerfully in the narrative: "Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing!"

The second (Luke 23:43) anticipates Jesus’ authority as the Son of Man, conferring mercy on sinners in God’s ultimate judgment: "Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise."  He is there meeting the needs of those around him. 

Joining Jesus in paradise had nothing to do with dying. It had nothing to do with being raised from the dead. It had everything to do with seeing beyond the appearances to the truth, that God is victorious in the cross. It has everything to do with the thief’s realization that his own condemnation on the cross bore no relationship to his standing before God. 

He asks neither to be rescued from this plight nor revenged for his suffering. Rather, he wants only to be remembered, to not be forgotten. And how does Jesus respond? He exceeds even the criminal’s wildest expectations, declaring that today, even now, he would enter with Jesus into paradise.  In that moment, he became free. 

The Gospel is the story of how Jesus the Messiah of God brought God’s reign of justice and mercy to earth, and Luke’s account presents the crucified Messiah enacting God’s reign, surrounded by mocking, brutal violence.

David Lose writes how Jesus became a real king. "What kind of king is this, who welcomes a criminal into his realm and promises relief and release amid obvious agony? It is a king who refuses to conform to the expectations of this world, who will be governed neither by its limited vision of worthiness nor its truncated understanding of justice. It is a king who is not content to rule from afar, but rather comes to meet us in our weakness and need. It is a king willing to embrace all, forgive all, redeem all, because that is his deepest and truest nature. It is, finally, our king, come to usher us into his kingdom even as he implores us to recognize and make more manifest that kingdom already around us. 

Read more in the commentary

Last Pentecost, Nov. 20 – Return to the Crucifixion – the Penitent Thief

From Trinity Church, NY

“On this last Sunday in Pentecost we return to the crucifixion in the worst of days. “But Luke suddenly injects this most harrowing of moments with a glimmer of unexpected hope. Even here, before a hint of Easter, one thief — dying on his own cross — experiences revelation. Here, at the eleventh hour, he recognizes something powerful — both about himself and about Jesus.

From the Catholic Register

“His story has caused many believers to feel drawn to the one some early Christians named Dismas (Greek for “dying”).

“Dismas became quite sobered during his crucifixion. As he considered his situation, while up on his own cross, he became awash with humility and regret. This newfound attitude seemed to spur on a new hope, trust, faith and love. After Gestas (the name given to the criminal hung on the other side of Jesus) reviled Jesus, demanding that Jesus do something about their precarious situation, it was Dismas who admonished him, who stepped in and defended Jesus. It was Dismas who reminded him that they had done wrong. They deserved their punishments. Dismas was clear in pointing out to Gestas that Jesus was an innocent man and did not deserve to be the recipient of such loathsome abuse, much less subjected to a crucifixion.

“As the heart and mind of Dismas transformed, he came to know that he was next to a man of overwhelming love and power, and he decided to risk asking Jesus for an undeserved, glorious favor: that Jesus would remember him when Jesus arrived at his kingdom. Jesus’ response was striking―he promised they would be together that very day in Paradise! This phenomenal pledge probably made the pain of Dismas’s crucifixion seem less horrific, perhaps even joyful, on that traumatic day. Jesus forgiving Dismas with such ease, even though he had been a great sinner, is a wonderful sign of hope and encouragement for all.

“In his awareness of personal culpability, and Jesus’s innocence, the thief “comes to himself” like the prodigal son of Jesus’s famous parable (Luke 15:17). His identity is reframed in the light of Jesus’s identity, and what that means for all of humanity. The “penitent” thief therefore asks Jesus to “remember” him, a word that here connotes a true re-membering; the thief is aware of his once divided self and sees that Jesus — in his kingdom — can make all things whole.

Read more about the thief

Getting ready for Advent – A Time to Prepare for Preparation

We are ending the liturgical year on Sunday and approaching a new year on 1st Advent. Naturally we are looking ahead and seeing if we are ready. The anamoly is that Advent starts that year which is itself a time of preparation. So this Sunday we are preparing to prepare!

The key in all of this is to begin Advent with a different or changed mindset and a resolve for doing. Here are a few steps from BeliefNet and from our Advent study “Singing Mary’s Song” 

1. Have a  proper mindset – Be ready to stop in your busy tracks and embrace the season of Advent and, most importantly, its purpose. The Advent message is “deliverance from oppression and bondage, to those who have much and those who have nothing..” The message of Advent is that, whatever our circumstance in life, Jesus Christ was bornto be with us wherever we are. We have to be ready mentally to hear it. 

Read more…

Christ the King Sunday

 

Last Sunday in Ordinary Time -We celebrate Christ the King Sunday as the last Sunday of Ordinary Time just before we begin Advent. It is the switch in the Liturgy between Years A, B, and C. Year A focuses on Matthew, Year B on Mark and Year C on Luke. The Gospel of John is included in each year in the Easter time frame.

The readings for the last Sunday after Pentecost are full of references to the return of Christ, when evil will be defeated and Jesus will begin his final reign as King of kings. In Advent, the Church year begins with a focus on the final restoration of all creation to its original glory. In preparation, on the last Sunday of the Church year, we proclaim the advent of the Lord of lords and King of kings.

The earliest Christians identified Jesus with the predicted Messiah of the Jews. The Jewish word "messiah," and the Greek word "Christ," both mean "anointed one," and came to refer to the expected king who would deliver Israel from the hands of the Romans. Christians believe that Jesus is this expected Messiah. Unlike the messiah most Jews expected, Jesus came to free all people, Jew and Gentile, and he did not come to free them from the Romans, but from sin and death. Thus the king of the Jews, and of the cosmos, does not rule over a kingdom of this world.

Christians have long celebrated Jesus as Christ, and his reign as King is celebrated to some degree in Advent (when Christians wait for his second coming in glory), Christmas (when "born this day is the King of the Jews"), Holy Week (when Christ is the Crucified King), Easter (when Jesus is resurrected in power and glory), and the Ascension (when Jesus returns to the glory he had with the Father before the world was created).

The recent celebration of Christ the King came from the Catholics in the 20th century. Pope Pius XI wanted to specifically commemorate Christ as king, and instituted the feast in the Western calendar in 1925.  Pius connected the denial of Christ as king to the rise of secularism. Secularism was on the rise, and many Christians, even Catholics, were doubting Christ’s authority, as well as the Church’s, and even doubting Christ’s existence. Pius XI, and the rest of the Christian world, witnessed the rise of dictatorships in Europe, and saw Catholics being taken in by these earthly leaders

Pius hoped the institution of the feast would have various effects. They were:

1. That nations would see that the Church has the right to freedom, and immunity from the state

2. That leaders and nations would see that they are bound to give respect to Christ

3. That the faithful would gain strength and courage from the celebration of the feast, as we are reminded that Christ must reign in our hearts, minds, wills, and bodies

Art

Art celebrates this Sunday with various symbols – Crown of Thorns
Crown,  Jesus on Throne,  Jesus holding scepter and orb,  Kingly attire/activities, Crucifix.

Scripture

Christ’s kingship is one of humility and service. Jesus said:

"You know that those who are recognized as rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones make their authority over them felt. But it shall not be so among you. Rather, whoever wishes to become great among you will be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all. For the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many" (Mark 10:42-45).

Pilate said to Jesus, "Are you the King of the Jews?"… Jesus answered, "My kingdom does not belong to this world. If my kingdom did belong to this world, my attendants would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not here." So Pilate said to him, "Then you are a king?" Jesus answered, "You say I am a king. For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth (John 18:33b, 36-37)

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