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We do our best to be the
Body of Christ
in today's world through:
•  Worship and prayer-- together as a congregation, individually in our homes, and publicly in God's world.

Forgiveness and healing--
in our church, among our families and friends, and throughout our community.

  Faith-building-- patterning our minds after the mind of Christ, with each household a community of faith and each gathering a cherished opportunity to share and grow in Christ.

Hospitality--  treasuring everyone who comes our way, striving to be faithful friends and working to help all in need.

Good Citizenship-- both of the Kingdom of God and the govern-
ments of this world, seeking justice, peace and dignity for all people.

•  Caretakers of God's Creation
thankful for all of God's blessings, showing reverence for creation, and living every day mindful of our duty to God.

We Pledge  to be a home for one another and welcome new friends into God's house to go with us on this great adventure.

Adapted from David J. Schlafer and Timothy F. Sedgwick, Preaching What We Practice.  Moorehouse Publishing (Harrisburg PA, 2007)

Rector, Ed PickupTaking love out of context

Sunday’s epistle lesson is the famous “love chapter” from First Corinthians, chapter 13.  It’s ironic that this passage is often read at weddings, because Paul wrote it to help a congregation that was fighting.  We take this passage out of context as extolling the qualities and characteristics of romantic marital love when it was originally addressed to a congregation where the members completely disobeyed Jesus’ commandment to “love one another as I have loved you.”  The love chapter was written to bring people to repentance who did not love another rather than encourage people who already loved each other.

Before the passage begins, Paul urged the congregation to work together instead of ripping each other apart with one-upmanship.   He sarcastically posed rhetorical questions: “Are all apostles?  Are all prophets?  Are all teachers?  Do all work miracles?  Do all possess gifts of healing?  Do all speak in tongues?  Do all interpret?  But strive for the greater gifts.  And I will show you a still more excellent way” (than the spiritual gifts that the arguing members were so proud of.)

So, this passage reminds me of the mother driving a minivan full of kids who are quarreling in the back seat over who is the most cool.   Paul let’s the quarrelsome children have it with a description of love that is the most quoted passage of all the epistles.   He points out that the greatest talents and accomplishments in the world are worth nothing unless they are motivated by and accomplished with love.  

And here is something I want all of the politicians this year to hear as each one outdoes the next in proclaiming “I am the greatest and you are worthless!”  If you are as eloquent as any human in history, or even if you could speak with the eloquence of the angels themselves, if your message is not born out of love, then your message is an empty noise, a crashing cacophony.   And if you can predict the future, and know all of the mysteries of the world, and if you have the power to disarm terrorists and overcome ISIS, but do not display love, you’re nothing.  And if you are the greatest philanthropist in the world, and even willing to be a martyr for your cause, if your generosity and courage is not founded on love, you are nada.

Then Paul goes on to describe what love is like: patient, kind, not envious, arrogant, boastful or rude.  Love doesn’t insist on its own way.  Love is not irritable, resentful, nor does love do wrong to others.  Love rejoices in the truth.

So, as you listen to all the hypercritical and defensive politicians in all of the various debates, or as you listen to the members of Congress argue about who is right and who is wrong, remember this passage and decide what is important.  I have often heard counselors say to quarreling couples, “have you discovered yet that it is more important to be loving than it is to be right?”

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Sunday's readings

This Week's Events
Through February 7, 2016

January 31st

Fourth Sunday After Epiphany

  • 8:00 a.m.  Quiet Communion
  • 9:30 a.m.  Sunday School
    • Adults will study Exodus.
    • Children will study a curriculum which connects with the lessons of the day.
  • 10:30 Principal Service:  An Instructed Eucharist-- explains why we do what we do when we do it.
  February 3rd
Wednesday Dinner & Bible Study
  • 6 p.m.  Dinner among friends.
  • Dinner will be Spaghetti with meat sauce, garlic bread, tossed salad and apple pie with ice cream
  • 7 p.m. Study:A Kingdom without Walls:  The good news of the gospel overcomes boundaries, barriers and walls using a grace that knows no bounds.

 February 7th
Last Sunday after the Epiphany
  • 8:00 a.m.  Quiet Communion
  • 9:30 a.m.  Sunday School
    • Adults will study the Exodus.
    • Children will study a curriculum which connects with the lessons of the day.
  • 10:30 Principal Service:  The Baptism of Miss Libby Snow.
  • 11:30  Bagging beans and rice:  help to feed those who could use a little help.

For the January 2016 Newsletter
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