Grace Episcopal Church
28 June 2012
It is common to observe three phases of development in the attitude of soldiers who endure prolonged close combat to their environment and their fate. The first phase involves the soldier convincing himself, “Nothing will happen to me because I am special. God won’t let me get killed.” The second phase (after the soldier has experienced those around him getting wounded or killed) is, “If I am especially vigilant and skilled, and focus on what I need to do, I can avoid getting hurt.” The third phase involves the descent into a state in which the random violence of combat convinces the soldier, “I’m dead already. It doesn’t matter.” The third phase can resemble clinical madness, and if the soldier is not removed from combat long term psychological debility is a very real danger. Here’s the ugly paradox of combat, however: The soldier who is convinced that he is already dead is far and away the most effective combatant.
What does this have to do with the life of faith? Consider that in our baptism we are “... buried with Christ in his death” (BCP 306). Our old self must die in order that we may become a new creation in Jesus Christ. When a combatant clings to his understanding of the world outside of the random and insensate violence of combat, he is in grave danger, indeed. The old “rules” don’t apply. When we cling to the self that is comfortable with and in the world, we are in grave danger, for then we will not truly follow our Lord. But when we do forsake the old, then as we are buried with Christ, we “... share in [Jesus’] resurrection ... [and] are reborn by the Holy Spirit” (BCP 306).
Walking in new life, living in new life, can look strange to the world, but to the world the message of the Cross is folly (1 Cor. 1.18). And here’s where that combat metaphor comes back into the equation. The combatant is changed by his environment (combat). He approaches a state in which his ability to live and function in his true home is impaired, unless he is removed from a combat environment. The world around us is an environment that diminishes our ability to live in our true home, our everlasting home in the kingdom of heaven. We cannot just remove ourselves from our environment, but we can work to change it, and to control its effects in our lives. We, whose true citizenship is in heaven (Phil. 3.20) can focus on this home and seek to bring it into the world, just as a soldier who survives combat without lingering spiritual scars does so by importing into the crazed environment of a combat zone such tokens of home as acts of kindness to others.
We do not war against flesh and blood alone (Eph. 6.12). When we die to the world our struggle in the world changes the world and maintains our communion with our true self, the self made in the image and likeness of God. Importing this little bit of “home” into our daily struggle preserves us and shows others that life is more than just what they experience in the here and now. Is your focus on the world or on your true home?
Being the Body: Ed Clabots has been very instrumental in cleaning up corners of the church that have been overlooked and now are useable again. Pat Sather couldn’t be here for the Spring clean up day so she came in on Tuesday of this week and cleaned and organized under the sink in the office area and the old sacristy. These areas had long been neglected and now are tidy and clean. Thank you so much.
Please take the opportunity to notify the office of any member or friend of the parish to whom we owe thanks, in order that we can publicize this in the weekly newsletter.
Biblical Literacy: The Bible Challenge and bible study will resume this week. The Bible Challenge meets on Tuesdays, following the 5:30 p.m. celebration of Holy Eucharist, and a light supper (pot luck). The 3 July session will review Week 18. Bible study for the Sunday lessons takes place on Thursdays, following the 9 a.m. celebration of Holy Eucharist.
All Saints’, Elkhart Lake: Throughout the Summer, please be intentional about two things (whether or not you attend All Saints’): (1) Pray for this ministry, and for those who serve in it, that they may serve our Lord by bringing more to know, love, and serve Him; (2) Engage in mission yourself. You may know or meet people who you can ask to join you in worship, and All Saints’ can serve as a less formal setting that is more user-friendly in outreach. Invite seekers to worship with you.
Music this week:
Prelude Fantasy in E Major Harold Darke
Entrance Hymn #525 “The Church’s one foundation” Aurelia
Mass Setting New English Folk Mass Timms & Warrell
Offertory Hymn #567 “Thine arm, O Lord” St. Matthew
Communion Hymn #691 “My faith looks up to thee” Olivet
Closing Hymn #542 “Christ is the world’s true light” St. Joan
Postlude Voluntary in C William Boyce
· Boy Scouts 100th Anniversary Time Capsule Ceremony: Sunday, July 1 after the 10:15am. service we will be holding a ceremony for the installation of the 100th Anniversary Time Capsule that will be buried on church grounds and won’t be opened until 2062. The capsule will include items that represent the long standing relationship between Grace and the Boy Scouts.
· Stewardship/Fundraising Committee: The Vestry has approved the creation of an on-going Stewardship/Fundraising committee that will be responsible for our annual pledge campaign as well as developing multiple fundraising events. The goal is to charter this committee at the May Vestry meeting. If you are interested in serving on this committee or have suggestions or comments please contact a Vestry member. We appreciate your consideration.
· Women’s Bible Study: will begin on Wednesday, July 11th and run for 6 weeks. The class will meet at Grace Church on Wednesday evenings from 6:00 until 8:00pm. The class will study Beth Moore’s “Stepping Up: A Journey Through the Psalms of Assent” a study of Psalms 120 through 134. This is an educational journey tying the Old Testament to the New by relating events of prophetic fulfillment from Jesus’ life with the ancient pilgrims. Two days worth of study is spent on each Psalm, offering a decent and rich overview. The video teaching is by Beth Moore delivering truth that can change lives and accompany the written material beautifully. This is an excellent study to be experienced each day through personal study and through participation in the group discussion each Wednesday evening. Please call the office at 452-9659 to register.
· Sign-Up to Host Coffee Hour in 2013: A sign-up sheet for hosting coffee hour in 2013 is on the table in the narthex. Please sign-up for dates you would like to host. A final schedule and reminders will be generated from the sign-up sheet and distributed in November 2012. Please consider signing up for 2-3 Sundays to help us cover the year! Contact Katy Prange at 920-889-1252 or firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
· Register Now for EfM: Two classes are again forming this fall for EfM or Education for Ministry. Through the study of scripture, each individual is encouraged to learn more about who they are so they have a closer vision of what God desires for their lives. Each group gets to know each other, worships together and help each other discern God’s will for their lives and their ministries. It takes time and commitment to change ourselves and consequently our communities, but the rewards are great! Classes start on Tuesday, September 4, 9am at St. Paul’s in Plymouth, and at 6:00 pm. place to be determined. Cost is $350 for this college level class which starts the first year studying the Old Testament. Scholarships are available and clergy have been generous with their discretionary funds, if assistance is needed. Contact Barb Drewry-Zimmerman for registration materials at email@example.com or 920-893-5189. Get registered by August 15th, so you can receive your materials in time for the first class. These classes are not just for laity, clergy are always welcome and encouraged to attend so that they, too can be better leaders in their congregations.