St. Luke on the Nativity

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Dear friends in Christ,

The Nativity in Luke

The Theology of Christmas class continues on December 17. This session looks closely at the story of the Nativity found in the Gospel of St. Luke. Luke contains two annunciation stories, beautiful poetry, and cosmic imagery, as well as dirty shepherds, swaddling clothes, and an inn with no room. Join us to increase in wisdom and stature. The remaining class in this series is on December 31. Note there is no class on December 24.

The Rector’s Christian Doctrine class begins January 9

Newcomers to Saint Thomas are invited to the Rector’s Christian Doctrine Class, which is a comprehensive introduction to the Christian faith as received and understood by the Episcopal Church. The first session is on Tuesday, January 9 at 6:30 p.m. The sessions continue on most Tuesday evenings through May 8. Although the course is specifically attuned to those who are considering confirmation or reception into the Episcopal Church (the ceremony occurs on May 13, 2018), it is fitting for anyone who wishes to explore Christianity, or who wishes to be refreshed in the faith. Everyone is welcome. See complete details on the website, or contact David Daniel at [email protected] with any questions about this class or about membership at Saint Thomas.

Saint Thomas Book Group begins January 24

Would you like to read some good books and have some good conversation about them with others? If so, beginning Wednesday January 24 at 6:30 p.m. in Andrew Hall, and meeting monthly thereafter, Father Spurlock leads a discussion on a book of the month. The only requirement to join the discussion is that you have read the book. In keeping with the season at hand, the first selection is Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. The Simon Armitage translation is recommended; copies are available for purchase in the Saint Thomas bookstore.

Jolly Old St. Nicholas … at the Council of Nicaea

It is sometimes forgotten that the Bishop of Myra, jolly old St. Nick himself, was present at the Council of Nicaea (A.D. 325), in which the doctrine of homoousios – that Jesus is of the same substance as the Father – was affirmed. The inestimable Ben Myers, however, has gifted us with A Christmas carol about St. Nicholas, the Arians, and the Nicene Creed, set to the tune of Jingle Bells, to remedy this occasional oversight. Consider my sharing it here a re-gifting to the attendees of the Genesis of Orthodoxy class. (Ben’s μοούσιονΠατρί is Greek for “same substance of the Father”; φως κφωτός is “light from light.”)

As a thief in the night

I’ve been thinking a lot about Advent and the apocalypse recently, as our daily and weekly lectionaries (that is, schedule of Scripture readings) have focused on the topic. The Institute for Church Life at Notre Dame has been thinking about it too, apparently, and has published a series of articles about the relationship of this season and the last days. I particularly appreciated the recent “The Advent Apocalypse,” about the way in which we should worship in Advent. It’s a little dour, and the description of parishes that the author gives isn’t exactly applicable to Saint Thomas (tambourines don’t accompany our choir, for example), but the overarching theme is right on:

[Worship in Advent] is no mere pious exercise. … Instead, it is that practice whereby each member of Christ’s body prepares for the final moment of redemption. We prepare to confess our sins, all those dark places, where we have worshipped ourselves rather than the triune God. … Advent, if we take it seriously, restores an apocalyptic posture among us.

I pray that our Advent devotion over the next ten days will remain faithful to that “apocalyptic posture,” the expectant stance that is so meet and right for awaiting the coming of the King of kings.

Yours in Christ,