Theology Update for the Week of December 27

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Dear friends in Christ,

Merry Christmas to you: The king is born.

Tomorrow (Sunday, December 27) will be the final, “ultimate” class on the 39 Articles. I’m preparing a step-back-and-see-where-we’ve-been session on our past half-year of study of this 16th-century document that manages still to show forth Christian theology in an Anglican key. We will meet at 10 o’clock on the 5th floor. Visitors are welcome; we have hot coffee and tea in the room–a couple of days ago it was hard to imagine “hot coffee and tea” as being at all attractive–and we also have good fellowship.

There will not be a class on Monday in the coming week; December 28 is a parish holiday and the parish house will be closed. (As per our custom, there will be one Eucharist that day, at 12:10.)

Looking to January:

Sunday, January 3, I will begin a new class on the collects of the Book of Common Prayer.For every Sunday of the year, and also for major feasts, the Prayer Book has a special prayer, known as the “collect” (pronounced CALLekt). A number of these have their origins in ancient Latin prayers; all together they provide a course in Anglican theology. I will repeat the Sunday classes on most Mondays, at the usual times and places. For the first Sunday, I plan to speak a bit about the sources of our collects, and about the classic shape. On January 10, Father Daniels will look at the particulars of the Advent collects.

The Rector’s Christian Doctrine Class will begin on Tuesday, January 12, and continue on most Tuesdays through early May. This class is a comprehensive overview of Christian faith and practice as this church has received it (or “them” — although I think of “faith and practice” as one thing). Each session meets in Andrew Hall from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. The class is open to anyone interested, but it is especially designed for people who would like to be confirmed or received into the Episcopal Church.

And as previously announced, the first Good Books & Good Talk seminar of 2016 will be on Monday, January 25, when we’ll take up Muriel Spark’s remarkable little novel, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. Anyone who reads the book is welcome to the conversation (6:15 to 7:45pm). By the way, the film version leaves out an important religious perspective of the novel–once again, the word is more to be trusted than the image.

… An odd note. I got an email today from a museum. It said that while the holidays are over, the sales are not. It says a lot that a museum–a guardian of culture–does not know that Christmas is a season encompassing, among other holidays, the feast of Saint Stephen (today!), upon which Good King Wenceslas looked out.* Whether you are enjoying the sales, I do hope you are enjoying the holidays.

Father Austin

*Of course, there is also the Pogo version: “Good King Sauerkraut looked out, on his feets uneven, when the snu lay round about …”
“‘Snu’? What’s ‘snu’?”
“Nothing, what’s snu with you?”