St. Paul the Apostle Orthodox Church
Sunday, January 6, 2018
Prosfora: Nikki G.
Altar Servers: D. Abshear
Greeter(s): MK Smith, M. Adrian
Epistle: L. Short
Donut Sponsor(s): B. Edwards
Chapel Vacuum: S. Osman
Candle care: Garber
Counters: M. Pearson, B. Lootens
9:00am Hours: B. Edwards
9:30am Divine Liturgy of St. Basil
Blessing of Water
11:30am Fellowship Hour: Potluck
11:45am Church School/Youth Group
Hymns & Readings:
When Israel went forth from Egypt, the house of Jacob from a people of strange language. Refrain: Through the prayers of the Theotokos, O Savior, save us.
Judah became his sanctuary, Israel his dominion. Refrain
The sea looked and fled; Jordan turned back. Refrain
What ails you, O sea, that you fled? O Jordan, that you turned back? Refrain
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen. Refrain
The Second Antiphon
I love the Lord because He has heard my voice and my supplication.
Refrain: O Son of God, baptized in the Jordan, save us who sing to You: Alleluia.
Because He inclined his ear to me, therefore I will call on Him as long as I live. Refrain
The snares of death encompassed me; the pangs of Sheol laid hold on me; I suffered distress and anguish, then I called on the name of the Lord. Refrain
Gracious and righteous is the Lord; our God is merciful. Refrain
Tone 1 Troparion (Theophany)
When You, O Lord, were baptized in the Jordan, the worship of the Trinity was made manifest.
For the voice of the Father bore witness to You, calling You His Beloved Son; and the Spirit in the form of a dove confirmed the truthfulness of His word. O Christ our God, You have revealed Yourself, and have enlightened the world, glory to You.
Tone 4 Kontakion (Theophany)
Today You have shone forth to the world, O Lord, and the light of Your countenance has been marked on us. Knowing You, we sing Your praises. You have come and revealed Yourself, O unapproachable Light.
Instead of “Holy God” we sing:
As many as have been baptized into Christ, have put on Christ. Alleluia.
Tone 4 Prokeimenon
Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord. God is the Lord and has revealed Himself to us.
Epistle: Titus 2:11-14; 3:4-7
For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works. But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
Gospel: Matthew 3:13-17
Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. And John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?” But Jesus answered and said to him, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed Him. When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
Hymn to the Theotokos
Magnify, O my soul, the most-pure Virgin Theotokos, more honorable than the heavenly hosts.
No tongue knows how to praise you worthily, O Theotokos; even Angels are overcome with awe praising you. But since you are good, accept our faith; for you know our love inspired by God.
You are the defender of Christians, and we magnify you.
The grace of God has appeared for the salvation of all men. Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
For Further Reading:
Theophany: Putting on the Garment of Glory
At the incarnation the Son ‘put on body’, and at His baptism in the Jordan He deposits the garment of glory in the river, so that it becomes once again available for human beings to put on. (Treasure House of Mysteries, p. 16)
The Jordan River: Giving Birth to Christ
Ephrem’s second standpoint shows a more specific concern to associate Christ’s baptism with Christian baptism. In a remarkable hymn on Christ in the river Jordan and in the womb of Mary Ephrem links these two aspects: Christ’s baptism in ‘the womb’ of the Jordan looks back in time to His conception in Mary’s womb. Both wombs, Mary’s and the Jordan’s, by bearing Christ the Light, are clothed with light from His presence within them; Mary’s womb thus becomes the source of her own baptism, the Jordan’s womb becomes the fountainhead of Christian baptism:
The river in which Christ was baptized
conceived Him again symbolically;
the moist womb of the water
conceived Him in purity,
bore him in chastity,
made Him go up in glory.
In the pure womb of the river
you should recognize Mary, the daughter of humanity,
who conceived having known no man,
who gave birth without intercourse,
who brought up, through a gift,
The Lord of that gift.
As the Daystar in the river,
the Bright One in the tomb,
He shone forth on the mountain top
and gave brightness too in the womb;
He dazzled as He went up from the river,
gave illumination at His ascent.
The brightness which Moses put on
was wrapped on him from without.
whereas the river in which Christ was baptized
was clothed in light from within;
so too did Mary’s body, in which he resided,
gleam from within. (Sebastian Brock, The Luminous Eye: The Spiritual World Vision of Saint Ephrem the Syrian, pp. 91-92)
Strangers to Sin
But if sin and death entered into this world and inhabit this world, it is certain that those who are dead to this world through Christ, or rather with Christ, are strangers to death and sin. Having been raised with him, they have even merited to sit with him in the heavenly places. Their citizenship is no longer in this world but in heaven...(Origen, Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans, p. 312)
Becoming a Child of God
Some Christians relate to God as slaves in the narrowest sense. They accept his will and obey his commandments and do what is required of them out of fear, out of the impending judgement, of the wrath to come (Matt. 3:7-12). But the spiritual life is not managed only through fear. Other Christians enter into the spiritual warfare as hirelings, as laborers or as soldiers in the pay of the king, as people who give themselves to God as for hire, accepting the responsibilities of the Christian life for the sake of reward (Lk. 6:35). Unlike the slave who acts out of fear, the hireling acts out of duty and obligation. He joins the ranks of God’s army to wage battle against the passons, against the evil forces of darkness that are in him and around him in the fallen world, because he is assured of God’s faithfulness to fulfill his promise to pay him just reward (1 Cor. 3:8; 2 John 8).
But greater perfection is expected of us. To be complete one must become, by grace, not only a slave or a hireling but also, and above all, a child of God, a brother - by adoption - and a friend of Christ. As a friend Christians accept God’s call with gladness of heart and act in all things out of love for the Master, who has loved them first (1 John 4:10). Friendship with God is unconditional because God’s love is unreserved, free, and absolute. Friends of Christ enjoy a deep, intimate personal relationship with him and come to know the hidden truths of the Gospel. They obey the commandments out of love, expecting nothing in return. “You are my friends if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from my Father I have made known to you” (John 15:14-15). (Alkiviadis C. Calivas, Essays in Theology and Liturgy, p. 312)
Baptized into Christ
“As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” And baptism into Christ means incorporated into the diverse community of fellow baptized, co-crucified, co-resurrected, justified inhabitants of Christ (Gal 3:28).
Third, justification is an experience of both death and resurrection, and both must be stressed. But the resurrection to new life it incorporates is a resurrection to an ongoing state of crucifixion: I “have been” crucified means I “still am” crucified. Therefore, justification by faith must be understood first and foremost as a participatory crucifixion that is, paradoxically, life-giving (cf. 2 Cor 4:7-15). The one who exercises faith, and is there by crucified with Christ, is systauroo in Gal 2:19 - as in Rom 6:6), because he or she is animated by the resurrected Christ, who always remains for Paul (and the New Testament more generally) the crucified Christ (e.g., 1 Cor 2:2; cf. John 20:20, 27; Rev. 5:6). As Miroslav Volf says in commenting on this text, the self “is both ‘de-centered’ and ‘re-centered’ by one and the same process, by participating in the death and resurrection of Christ through faith and baptism…” Volf continutes:
By being ‘crucified with Christ,’ the self has received a new center - the Christ who lives in it and with whom it lives...The center of the self - a center that is both inside and outside - is the story of Jesus Christ, who has become the story of the self. More precisely, the center is Jesus Christ crucified and resurrected who has become part and parcel of the very structure of the self.
This understanding of faith as crucifixion is reinforced by Paul’s insistence that the believer’s experience (narrated representatively by Paul in first-person texts) is not only a death with Christ but also a death to the Law (Gal 2:19), to the world (Gal 6:14), and of the flesh (Gal 5:24). The mention of death of the flesh and to the world also demonstrates that Gal 2:15-21 should not be read only as a Jewish experience of liberation from the Law. Rather, every believer begins and continues his or her existence in Christ by co-crucifixion. Gal 2:19-21 suggests that co-crucifixion is both the way in and the way to stay in the convent.
Once again, we must stress that it is the resurrected crucified Christ with whom believers are initially and continually crucified. This is important, both christologically and soteriologically, in two ways. First, as an experience of the risen or resurrected Christ, co-crucifixion is not merely a metaphor but an apt description of an encounter with a living person whose presence transforms and animates believers: “It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me. And the life I live, I live by the faithfulness of the Son of God, who loved me by giving himself for me.” As Douglas Campbell says, this is no mere imitatio Christi! For “God is not asking [believers]...to imitate Christ - perhaps an impossible task - so much as to inhabit or to indwell him,” such that “the Spirit of God is actively reshaping the Christian into the likeness of Christ.” (Michael J. Gorman, Inhabiting the Cruciform God, pp. 70-71)
Recent Posts on Fr Ted’s Blog
New Year Resolutions
We are in need of a number of our parish members to make a resolution that all volunteer positions are filled every Sunday. We always need people to bake prosfora, serve as greeters, read the hours and epistle, clean the chapel and the candle stands, to prepare food for the fellowship hour, to help cleanup after the fellowship hour, to count the collection, sponsor the donuts, hold the cloth at Communion and to be the eyes, ears, hands and feet of all that needs to be done in the parish. Please make that resolution and sign up on the volunteer sheet on the bulletin board.
Holy Water and Houseblessing
Today is the Feast of Theophany. We bless water as part of the celebration of the Feast. If you have brought a container, you can take Holy Water home with you. The Holy Water will be available through next Sunday, January 13. Ask any of the men working in the altar to assist you in filling your container. If you want Fr. Ted to bless your house this year, please sign up on the list on the bulletin board. There is also a prayer service printed up available in the entrance way that has the prayers for you to bless your home yourself. Please feel free to take one of the copies of this prayer service. If you have a question about blessing your own home, talk to Fr. Ted.
Wednesday Adult Discussion Group
Our Wednesday morning discussion will be meeting January 9 at 11am at which time we will begin discussing a new book, Adam and the Genome: Reading Scripture After Genetic Science by Scot McKnight and Dennis R. Venema. We will discuss chapters 7-8 on January 2. You are welcome to join the discussion whether or not you have read the book. If you like to reflect on how the science of genetics is related to the story of Adam and Eve, join our discussion.
St. Paul Prayer Team
If you would like to submit prayer requests for the prayer team, forms can be found on the greeter’s table. Please place requests in the box on the greeter table or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like to be a part of praying with the team - and pray daily for others in the parish, or if you have further questions please contact Mark Pearson.
In January, we have the Sanctity of Human Life Sunday. We give our charity donation to help those brave mothers who though for many hard reasons are considering abortion but then choose to keep their babies. We will give our charity funds this month to the the Orthodox agency that works with mothers who choose life - ZOE for Life. Please do remember in your prayers all of those who because of the difficulties of life are considering abortion. Pray for those who choose to give their babies life. And pray and give financial support to those families who because of poverty are struggling to raise their children. Pro-life doesn’t mean just that we oppose abortion, it means we choose to financially support those who choose life for their babies and who need our help to fulfill their commitments. Pro-life means we are committed for our entire life to the life of these children, including helping them to get health care and an education.
This Week’s Schedule:
Monday, January 7
8:30am Matins 9am Office Hours
Tuesday, January 8
Wednesday, January 9
8:30am Matins 9am Office Hours 11am Discussion Group
Thursday, January 10
Friday, January 11
8:30am Matins 9am Office Hours 10am Catechism
Saturday, January 12
Sunday, January 13
Prosfora: Need volunteer
Altar Servers: V. Weis
Greeter(s): M. Jobst, M. Brausch
Epistle: R. Barone
Donut Sponsor(s): Turri
Chapel Vacuum: T. Jacobs
Candle care: J. Elash
Counters: B. Garber, J. Elash
9:00am Hours: B. Edwards
9:30am Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom
11:30am Fellowship Hour: Team 2
11:45am Church School/Youth Group
Upcoming Dates to Remember:
February 2 Presentation of Christ in the Temple
March 11 Great Lent Begins