Grace Episcopal Church
5 January 2017
Epiphany means “manifestation” or “showing”. We recall and celebrate that God become flesh and dwelling among us was revealed/manifested to all the world—to all the Gentiles—not as Messiah exclusive to God’s chosen people, but as Immanuel (“God with us”) for all of us. I have written previously about the many ways in which God reveals Himself and His will to us. For this week I want to focus on how we go about experiencing this revelation in an ongoing process of translation—“translation” in the original sense of the word: to be carried across.
There is no ideal translation of the Bible. Even if each one of us were to become expert in ancient Hebrew and Greek, our experience of God’s manifestation of Himself and His will in scripture would remain most imperfect if our purpose in reading involved no more than understanding. Certainly there is much that we can understand better by studying and understanding how the Bible came to be written, in what contexts, by whom, focused on what pressing needs. But all such understanding pales compared to the reality that the Bible was and is decidedly strange. Scripture is in many senses otherworldly, and that’s the point—that we are drawn into another reality, a reality which we can only experience by and through the humility in which we will be gradually transformed by the words God has chosen to use (using human authors) to reveal Himself and His will.
The Bible is not a collection of human words about God, but words inspired by God about Himself. There are plenty of words about God, from such notable believers as Aquinas, Dante, Bonhoeffer (to name just a very few). There are plenty of words about systems of belief. (That’s why there are whole courses in theology.) But of Aquinas or Dante or Bonhoeffer we never say “The word of the Lord” after reading them. We do say this about the Bible, because we say that in some sense these words are words used by God, given to us by God, to communicate with us, and to communicate with us that we might be changed.
The real issue in biblical translation is not about how we “understand” words originally written in different languages and contexts, but about how we are translated—carried across—into the reality of God’s self-revelation. How is the manifestation (the epiphany) of God made real in the changes in us?
Grace abounds: Please thank:
§ Kevan and Traci Revis for the Sunday coffee hour.
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.
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.
Music this Week: The First Sunday after the Epiphany
Organist: Ben Dobey
Prelude: Chorale Fantasia on How brightly shines the Morning Star
Entrance Hymn 124 “What star is this, with beams so bright” Puer nobis
Offertory Hymn 497 “How bright appears the Morning Star” Wie schoen leuchtet
Communion Motet The Sinless One to Jordan Came Andro Hart
Communion Hymn 121 “Christ, when for us you were baptized” Solemnes haec
Closing Hymn 119 “As with gladness men of old” Dix
Postlude: Chorale Prelude on ‘How brightly shines the Morning Star’
J. S. Bach
§ Adult Education: Beginning on Sunday, January 8th, we will explore The State of the Church in 2017. We’ll use data and trend lines related to what it means to be a Christian in America and the world, to better define the broader context in which we live our faith. We will focus on how the changes around us and in us can best be identified, that we can best decide how to proactively serve in ministry.
§ Sung Compline: On Sunday, January 15th, there will be a potluck supper at 6:30 p.m. followed by Sung Compline at 8:00 p.m., a beautiful restful service full of candles and music. A sign-up sheet for the potluck supper can be found on the table in the Narthex.
§ Girl Scout Cookie Time! Calling all Grace Church Girl Scouts and cookie lovers! Inviting all Grace Church Girl Scouts to work the cookie order booth AFTER both masses on Sunday, January 15th and 22nd. Please wear your sash or vest. Cookie order forms will be available outside of the parish hall and will be evenly distributed between the participants. Cookies will once again be $4/box and money is not collected until delivery sometime in February. Thank you for supporting your local Girl Scouts!
§ The Annual Meeting: This year’s Annual Meeting will take place on Sunday, January 29, 2017. We will have one Mass at 9:00am followed by the Annual Meeting at 10:15am. If you have been in leadership of any group or committee please submit an annual report to the email@example.com. Please make every effort to attend and participate.
§ A draft of the 2017 Parish Directory: can be found on the Narthex table. Please initial your information if it is current, otherwise make changes as necessary
§ Love Buckets: is a GAP Ministry of Love INC organized by our neighbors, St. Luke’s Methodist Church. As other churches have donated to our own GAP Ministry – Martha & Mary Cooking Guild – St. Luke’s is asking for donations to their Love Buckets Ministry. A list of supplies needed is posted on the notice board, and a large grey bin for donations can be found in the Narthex. This drive will run until the end of January.
§ 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.
§ Bible Challenge: Videos for all 52 weeks of the year are now available on Grace Abounds. If you take this challenge, you will find that in one year you will read all of the Bible! This will require less than an hour of your time, six days a week. A schedule of readings is provided on the parish website, along with weekly study summaries and a weekly video summary of the readings. If you need a good study bible for the challenge, contact the parish office. When we immerse ourselves in Scripture, the mantle of the Lord does fall upon us. We are equipped to discern God’s will and to lead others to know and love and serve the Lord.
§ Flower Schedule for 2017: Giving the gift of flowers is a wonderful way to remember a loved one or to offer thanksgiving for your blessings. If you wish to sign up for a specific Sunday, the Flower Schedule is available on the table in the narthex. More than one person can sign up for each Sunday.
§ Coffee Hour Schedule: There is a new sign-up sheet for hosting coffee hour in 2017. If you would like to host, please sign up for either 8:00 a.m. or 10:15 a.m. If you have any questions, please see Mary Massey. Thank you so much.
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§ Follow Grace Church on Twitter: @GEC_Sheboygan
§ Follow Grace Church on Instagram: @GEC_Sheboygan
§ We Are on Itunes! Check out the new podcast!!!