This Sunday will kick-off a new year of Christian formation and service here at Christ Church Cathedral. The bulletin for this Sunday contains a color insert describing the many offerings for Christian formation and opportunities for service; please take a few moments to read about these and consider how you may be called to participate.
We are calling this “A New Beginning” because you will find here completely new groups and freshly conceptualized approaches to existing ones. All of these have been generated by the lay members of the Renovation Team of Ministry Architects, in direct response to congregational input in listening sessions last spring. The team will be on hand this Sunday to answer questions and sign folks up. Please express your thanks to them for their good work.
Scripture Readings This Week
Our first reading, from Exodus, contains God’s explanation of the “Passover of the Lord.” This day was intended to be one of remembrance for the generations, a way to recreate through time the thrill of liberation. It was meant to be eaten as food for the journey—standing up, with shoes on and walking staff in hand. Our shared meal in the Eucharist is meant to be thought of in much the same way.
The lesson taken from Paul’s letter to the Romans is also a call to action, to “wake from sleep.” In this case, Paul is exhorting his audience to get ready for the coming of the Kingdom of God in the returning Christ. Realizing that loving one another is the fulfillment of the law, we should “put on the Lord Jesus Christ,” like a new baptismal garment. Clothed in new life in Him, we gain the power to love boldly and without fear.
This week’s Gospel reading contains Jesus’ explanation of discipline in the Church. Notice his emphasis on the importance of “two or three witnesses” and “two or three gathered” in prayer. Rabbinic teaching held that when people study Torah (which happens always together with others), then the Divine (shekhinah) is present. We are truly and fully the Church, and the Holy Spirit works in us, when we study and pray together.
Thought for Sunday
An old Irish proverb says, “A good beginning is half the work.” According to the late John O’Donohue, who wrote beautifully about Celtic spirituality, “When the heart is ready for a new beginning, unforeseen things can emerge. And in a sense, this is exactly what a beginning does. It is an opening for surprises…. Beginnings are new horizons that want to be seen; they are not regressions or repetitions.”
WHAT IS THE NEW HORIZON IN YOU THAT WANTS TO BE SEEN?