Grace Episcopal Church
27 October 2016
“I by my works will show you my faith” (Jas. 2.18). This coming Sunday our Lutheran fellow believers will celebrate Reformation Sunday, which commemorates the public challenge of Martin Luther to religious practices common in his day. Luther is, of course, famous for his insistence on sola fide, that believers are justified (that is, made righteous before God) by and through faith alone—faith in Jesus Christ. Luther even argued that the Letter of James should be excluded from the canon of Scripture.
The debate between Christian confessions over whether we are justified by faith or by works is misleading. It is necessary to distinguish that when Paul refers to works (both in Romans 3 and Galatians 3) he is referring to works of the Law, and this is a distinction that James clearly has in mind when he discusses faith as manifested in works arising from Christian love. In other words, we need to think in terms of “both, and” rather than “either, or”. We must have faith in Christ. Having faith in Christ, we become “in Christ”, through our baptism and Jesus’ Presence in Holy Eucharist. As those who are “in Christ” we incarnate Jesus’ presence in the world, and we do this through works of righteousness, i.e., works of Christian charity.
Many library shelves’ worth of books can (and have) been written about what “justification” and “righteousness” mean. These speculations are well worth reading, but in general require specialized theological knowledge. Rather than delve into the debate, therefore, let’s focus on simple operative definitions through a series of questions by which we may examine our own faith. How does my faith in Jesus Christ change me? How is this change manifested in how I live? How is this change manifested in how I interact with others? How do I express love? How do I reach out to my neighbor?
When we examine our own faith we quickly realize that the answer to all theological debate is an answer that we can agree upon with Paul, with James, with Martin Luther: We experience Jesus Christ in how we allow ourselves to be changed by His presence. When we are changed by Jesus, we start to act more and more like Jesus. As we become more Christ-like we are experienced by others in ways that allow them to more and more participate in the light and salt (Mtt. 5.13-16) that we are called to be. May we recall the witness of the Reformation in being “shiny salt” in a world otherwise filled with the dark sameness of not knowing the joy of God.
Grace abounds: Please thank:
· Bill and Deb Gagin for coffee hour at 8:00am and for Polly Schmeiser who did coffee hour at 10:15.
· Paul Aparicio for his help getting the deacon ready for Diocesan Convention
· For all who helped with the parish clean-up.
Call for Contributions: If you have a spiritual reflection to share, or want to point your fellow worshipers toward a resource, submit your contributions to Fr. Karl (by email) by Wednesday in the week of publication.
Energy Conservation! Please treat Grace as your home. If you turn something on, turn it off! Don’t assume anyone else will lock or turn off.
Don’t forget “Something Extra for Grace”: Supplemental giving envelopes can be found in pews. If you want to give something extra, please use an envelope to ensure that you are credited.
Special appeal: Later this Fall we will have a grounds cleanup day that will include ground cover and shrubbery trimming. We are, however, overdue for major reshaping of shrubbery, and the arbor vitae which flank the church entrance are out-of-control. Quotations for shrub reshaping and removal/replacement of the arbor vitae run into the thousands of dollars. Major work will not be a 2016 initiative, but we are appealing for your donations now, to build a fund for work in the Spring of 2017. Keep Grace beautiful! Give “Something Extra”.
Update: The Processional Cross will be restored. This will begin next Monday, and while the cross is out for repair (which will take some months) we are blessed with a cross made by Scot Fabiano. If you wish to help, please us a “Something Extra for Grace” envelope and mark “Processional Cross” on the envelope or in a check memo. line.
Music this Week: The Twenty-third Sunday after Pentecost (Proper 25C)
Organist: Ben Dobey.
Prelude Prayer; Innvocation Alexandre Guilmant
Open Hymn 408 Sing praise to God
Offertory Hymn 523 Glorious things of thee are spoken
Communion Motet Above all praise and Majesty Felix Mendelssohn
Communion Hymn 301 Bread of the world, in mercy broken
Closing Hymn 411 O bless the Lord, my soul
Postlude March in D Major Guilmant
Adult Christian Formation: Sunday at 9:00 a.m., we will continue with the fifth session of the six-week course, The Christian Worldview Through the Artists’ Eyes, taught by Christi Jentz, a professional artist, illuminator and iconographer resident at St. Josaphat’s Basilica in Milwaukee.
All Saints’ Day: All Saints’ Day is Tuesday, November 1st. We will celebrate with a 6:00 p.m. Solemn Mass followed by a pot-luck supper.
All Souls’ Day: All Soul’s Day is Wednesday, November 2nd. We will celebrate the Commemoration of the Faithful Departed with a 5:30 p.m. mass.
Operation Christmas Child – Christmas Shoeboxes: It is that time of year again! Our Sunday School classes will be once again filling Christmas boxes with items for the Operation Christ Child ministry. This has been an extremely rewarding and fun ministry for our Sunday School children to be a part of. One of our children has even started a pen pal relationship with a recipient in Africa! We can use your help to keep this ministry going by donating items to fill the shoeboxes. Suggestions for donations include toys such as toy cars, yo-yos, jump ropes, balls, toys that light up and make noises (with extra batteries), small stuffed animals or dolls, craft kits, school supplies of all kinds, non-liquid hygiene items such as toothbrushes, mild soap bars, wash cloths, combs, and brushes. Items can also include accessories such as socks, hats, sunglasses, hair clips, jewelry, and flashlights with extra batteries. There is a $7 shipping cost per box which Grace Sunday School Ministries covers, however, if you’d like to sponsor a box or two, donations may be submitted to the office to offset this cost. (Note: Toothpaste and candy will no longer be accepted in 2017, but it can be for 2016 as long as the expiration date is at least 6 months out from the national collection week of November 14-21, 2016). Please drop off items in Ms. Nicci’s classroom. DEADLINE for items is before Sunday School begins on November 13, 2016 when the children will be packing the items.
Tripartite Thanksgiving Eve Worship: This year Grace Church will be hosting the joint celebration on Wednesday, November 23rd at 7:00pm. Please come and join in the Tripartite Combined Choir and enjoy fellowship and deserts following the worship. We will need two people to serve as ushers and a reader, and also help with clean-up following fellowship; if you can help please see the sign-up sheet in the Narthex.
Salvation Army Bell Ringing: Volunteers are need for hourly slots of bell ringing on November 26th at Piggly Wiggly Northside 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. and Pick & Save Southside 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Sign-up sheets can be found in the Narthex. For any questions please call Nancy Yurk at 453-9948.
Advent Meditations: For several years the parish has prepared and published a booklet of Lenten meditations, in which parishioners have reflected on the prayer and scripture lessons appointed for each day in Lent. This year we will begin an additional meditation series, with meditations offered for each day in Advent. Advent, sometimes called “Little Lent,” begins on November 27th (First Sunday in Advent) and concludes at sundown of the Vigil of the Nativity, December 24th. For each day a scripture lesson will be provided. Those who participate will offer a brief meditation (up to 400 words) in response to the scripture reading. These meditations will be published in print and online, and can be submitted for attribution or anonymously. In addition, meditations can be read aloud on Grace Abounds, as part of our podcast series. If you wish to participate, please sign up for a day, and have all meditations completed and submitted to the parish office no later than November 14th. Sign-up sheets and scripture readings can be found in the Narthex.
Something Extra for Grace: Envelopes are available in the pews if you are moved to give an extra gift, beyond your pledge or regular plate donation, toward the life of the church. Gifts are tax deductible if you write your name on the envelope.
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