T H E B E N E D I C T I O N
Newsletter of St. Benedict’s Anglican Catholic Church
O WORSHIP THE LORD IN THE BEAUTY OF HOLINESS
Our parish (founded in 1979) has maintained the Liturgy of the traditional Book of Common Prayer. Our preaching and teaching draw on the Holy Scriptures in light of the Tradition of the Church from the earliest days.
Advent and Christmas 2020
From the Rector’s Desk
call 2020 “The Year From Hell.” At times I have felt discouraged and put upon,
only to quickly remember that it is not only we at St. Benedict’s, nor only we
I am not among the modernist theologians who presume that there is no devil, no demons, and no genuine spiritual warfare. Too many people want the Church to be a vacation cruise, when it is a battle ship. Now, everyone is in the battle, whether or not they choose to be on the ship, because the war is everywhere, and certainly whether or not they man their battle stations. But someone looking for the shuffle board is in more danger than someone who knows what is really happening (read Ephesians 6:10-17).
To discourage you to the point where you would give up on church is the work of the devil. To plant in your mind some notion that the Church is failing, or that it must be all over, is Satan’s voice in your head. Have the wisdom to reject such lies. It is true that we are yet enduring a difficult season. In it my work is harder because it is like a time of war or plague. So, I am ready to visit you with the sacrament (call me and I will come – my cell phone number is 480-760-5978), and also to make weekly videos on the church’s You Tube channel so that you can pray along on Sunday, and hear a sermon from me (and I hope all of you have been using these). I know why most of you will be avoiding crowds until the pandemic is over, and I respect that decision, so I have to add to my efforts.
But do not learn the wrong lesson. I spoke prophetically months ago (in a couple of the videos) that a vaccine would begin to turn things around about the middle of December. This is exactly what is beginning to happen. Certain select At Risk people will be first, vaccinated even during December, we are told. A few months from now the “All Clear” will sound. Each and every one of you will then be called, by Christ, back into the assembly of His Body. The wrong lesson from 2020 is that you do not need the Church. But you do. You need the fellowship of your spiritual family. You need corporate worship. You need the preaching of God’s word. You need the sacraments. If Satan has convinced you otherwise, banish him, with his lies, from your lives in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching (Hebrews 10:25).”
“And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers (Acts 2:42).”
The humility of God is a staggering fact that leaps off the pages of the Gospels. For we see the Son, equal with God, deem to be made human for the sake of a race of rebels; to take upon Himself our very nature, to be found in fashion as a man, to take upon Him the form of a servant, to be obedient unto death, even the death of the cross, as spoken of in Saint Paul’s famous passage to the Philippians. This obedience and service would be quite remarkable from someone who is a creature; but the Son is not a creature; He is begotten not made. He is equal with God, eternally one with the Father and the Holy Spirit. What great kindness shown to us, the race of rebels, that we see His sacred face the holy night of His birth. Into the eternity of His Divine Person He took time; into His Godhead eternally begotten not created, He took our created nature; into His omnipotence he took the weakness of a newborn infant; into His omnipresence He took the location of a human body; into His omniscience He took the mind of a man. Into His Divine life as the maker of created life, He took our mortal nature, indeed death itself and so swallowed up mortality in eternal life.
In all of this we see that God does not deal with us as our sins deserve. If we must cast aside our hope in the best idealism that fallen man can muster, it is for a greater hope, a love that exceeds the story of every romance ever written. It is the love of God for the undeserving children of men, benevolence extended where wrath is deserved, immortality where death is justly due, the joy of God’s kingdom where hell was earned. This hope for all who will believe and repent, purchased by our Redeemer’s shed blood, sealed by His resurrection and trampling of death, is peace with God. This is the song of the angels: This is “Peace on Earth, goodwill toward men.”
Please send in your pledge for 2021 as soon as you can. If you cannot find the letter just contact me or Michael Murray. You can even email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Enclosed please see the envelope for your Christmas Offering. This is for special thanks to God for everything this feast means to us.
Please take note: Every member of the congregation is hereby informed that the Annual Meeting for 2021, at which decisions are made by the voting members of the parish will be on Sunday January 31 following the 10:00 AM service of Holy Communion. Because the pandemic is expected not to end by then, we will forego the usual potluck luncheon and keep the meeting short. Wear a mask and practice social distancing please.
Please remember items for the Food Basket. It goes to help people in need of food.
Archbishop Haverland is scheduled to visit us on the Third Sunday in Advent, December 13. We will have to forego the usual potluck luncheon.
IF YOU COME TO SERVICES please practice the cautions appropriate to the pandemic. A mask and social distancing are simply good manners right now.
Schedule for Christmas Services
11:00 PM Holy Communion (Traditional Midnight Mass)
Holy Communion 10:00 AM
Feast of the Epiphany Wednesday January 6
Holy Communion 12:00 Noon and 7:00 PM
Regular weekly schedule
8:30 AM Morning Prayer
9:30 AM Sunday School for children
10:00 AM Holy Communion 11:40 Bible Study
Holy communion 12:00 noon
Rev. Robert Hart, Rector
Mr. Michael Murray, Senior Warden
Mr. Terence Smith, Junior Warden
Mr. James Lazenby, Minister of Music