St Alban’s Episcopal Church
Monday, March 6, 2023
News and information
Our gorgeous star magnolia in front, by the columbarium, is blooming way too early this year. If you want to see it, or smell its sweet fragrance, you might want to come by today or tomorrow. Freezing temperatures forecast for later in the week will likely take most of the flowers – sadly.
The Daily Office Online
After the Sunday adult classes on the Book of Common Prayer last month, some of you asked for an easier way to begin to pray the Daily Office – In case you missed it, here is the link to the clearest, most beautiful of the online options. It is always up to date. All you have to do is click on the link to for today’s Morning and Evening prayer. There is art as well as the words. You can take your time, use whichever part you want – and try it out. I have said that I often took a long time with Morning Prayer because the house was quiet and I could sit and write, journal, what I was thinking or praying as I read and pondered. It’s just an option.
This is a slightly weird, often silly, sometimes serious and occasionally reverent attempt to help Episcopalians learn more about the various holy men and women in the church’s history. It’s a “contest” among many saints, some you will recognize and some you won’t. Every day two are pitted against each other. There are biographies of each, and then you vote for one to advance to the next round. Eventually one will win the “golden halo”. The only real reason for following it during Lent is that it helps you get to know your brothers and sisters in the Christian faith from different times and traditions. To my mind it is always a bit of a set up. I can guess which will win every day – but usually vote for the one who won’t! Still, it takes just a few minutes and you might enjoy it -Facebook – Lent Madness or find it at – at lentmadness.org.
The Paul Class 9:30 Sunday mornings
We are in the thick of it now. Yesterday we talked a bit about the pre-Christian Jewish understanding of the person – as a single unit, not divided, as the Greeks thought, into separate “physical body” and “a spiritual soul. “We looked at Jewish notions of death as simply the end, burial, and, only around 200 BC, the slow beginning of an understanding of some kind of “resurrection.” That what we have badly translated as “hell” is actually Gehenna, the abandoned dump, a pile of refuse, burning garbage, a place no one goes – outside the city. That there was no notion of any eternal punishment or torture – The “fire” burns up the wicked, and then they are simply gone. Dead.
And we talked about how the OT, Jesus and Paul understood salvation as rescue, deliverance, from physical danger (as in the Exodus) and eventually as rescue from the power of Sin and death -That the life of eternity begins now – and that the salvation of the world has been accomplished once for all – and that our individual experience of salvation is predicated on that universal, better-than-you-can-imagine salvation, re-creation of the entire cosmos – both new heavens and the new earth – and that in their minds, nobody gets “left behind.” That the Easter icons show Jesus going to the place of the dead (not “hell” just the place where the dead were dead) and raising up everybody – even Adam and Eve – out of the graves into life.
Paul’s expression of the Christian life – his expectations – His favorite phrase: “in Christ” – which stands in contrast to “in Adam.” What does he mean by that? What are the implications of it?
If you still don’t love Paul, it’s only because you are reading him through a lens he would not recognize, and making him say what he never intended to express. Or reading a few verses out of their context, ripping out some part of his argument without knowing why he was even arguing, or with whom, or why it mattered.
TOMORROW, March 7 Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America The Rev. Mary Haggerty, the Missioner concerned with Gun Violence in the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri (our neighbor) will be leading a short interfaith prayer service on the steps of the Capitol as part of the program.
Attendees will gather at a conference space near the capitol for training and an update on gun legislation for the Missouri legislature this year, and then will walk to the Capitol. Then attendees will break into groups led by a trained volunteer to visit lawmakers and advocate for sensible gun legislation.The program starts at 10:00 am and will be finished by 2:00 pm.
This is important because legislation that is being brought up again this year includes the “Guns Everywhere” bill that would force us to allow guns into places like bars, amusement parks, daycares, and churches.
They are also trying to bring up a bill that would permit guns to be carried by convicted felons, even when they were convicted of rape, child abuse or spousal abuse – “if they weren’t violent.” Those crimes are inherently violent.
If you are able to attend, good – If not, and I assume most of us will not, do pray that hearts will be open to the pleas of those who believe the right not to be shot at stores, in schools and in churches are as great as the rights of those who want to carry assault-style weapons everywhere.