Observing a Holy Lent 2019

Observing a Holy Lent 2019

By the Rev. Kyle Tomlin

The season of Lent begins on Ash Wednesday with the following Invitation to the Observance of a Holy Lent found in the Ash Wednesday Liturgy:

“Dear People of God: The first Christians observed with great devotion the days of our Lord's passion and resurrection, and it became the custom of the Church to prepare for them by a season of penitence and fasting. This season of Lent provided a time in which converts to the faith were prepared for Holy Baptism. It was also a time when those who, because of notorious sins, had been separated from the body of the faithful were reconciled by penitence and forgiveness, and restored to the fellowship of the Church. Thereby, the whole congregation was put in mind of the message of pardon and absolution set forth in the Gospel of our Savior, and of the need which all Christians continually have to renew their repentance and faith.

I invite you, therefore, in the name of the Church, to the observance of a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God's holy Word. And, to make a right beginning of repentance, and as a mark of our mortal nature, let us now kneel before the Lord, our maker and redeemer” (BCP 264-265).

As the above invitation sets forth, Lent is a season of self-examination and repentance that is marked by times of prayer, fasting, and self-denial, and time spent reading and hearing God’s holy Word. All of this is done to prepare us to once again hear and rejoice in the proclamation of our Lord Jesus Christ’s saving work for us during Holy Week and on Easter Day. To enable you to enter the season in this way, I’ve included below some suggestions on how you might observe a holy Lent.

Spend time each day reading the Bible – If you are not already committed to reading the Bible each day, now is a good time to get started. To help give you some direction on what to read, try using the Lenten Devotional from Trinity School for Ministry which is provided by the church. This devotional contains the Book of Common Prayer 1979 Lectionary readings prescribed for each day of Lent – Old Testament, Psalm(s), Epistle, and Gospel. Reading the Bible using the Lectionary is a great way to read through almost the whole Bible over the course of two years. If you need help figuring out how to navigate the Lectionary, Fr. Kyle would be more than happy to help you.

Spend time each day in prayer – A great way to spend time praying during Lent is to use the Daily Offices of Morning and Evening Prayer in the Book of Common Prayer. Both offer the opportunity to “pray” the Bible, as almost everything in each service is merely Scripture recast in prayer form. You might also want to consider coming out to church for Morning Prayer on Tuesdays and Thursdays during Lent. These services begin at 9am.

Spend time reading Christian writings – There are any number of good, solid Christian books on the market these days, although not all of them are sold in places like Barnes and Noble or Books-a-Million. Some recommendations of good books are: Night Driving: Notes from a Prodigal Soul and Your God is Too Glorious two great books by Chad Bird; What’s So Amazing About Grace? By Philip Yancey; Grace in Practice by Paul F.M. Zahl; Law & Gospel by Will McDavid, Ethan Richardson, and David Zahl; With My Own Eyes by Bo Giertz; and Scandalous Stories by Daniel Emory Price and Erick Sorensen. Or perhaps try reading something old, such as something from St. Augustine, Martin Luther, or John Calvin. There are now loads of older Christian writings available for free online through sources like Google Books.

Attend the Lenten Teaching Series – On each of the five Sundays during Lent, we will be watching and discussing the video series based on the book by Philip Yancey titled, What’s So Amazing About Grace? This is a great opportunity to reflect on the biblical message of God’s grace and love for us in Jesus Christ and to reflect on just how radical that grace and love is toward us sinners.

Unplug – Perhaps one of the best ways to observe a holy Lent is to disconnect from some, or all, of the electronic distractions that we have going on all around us. Instead of spending time looking at email, or on Facebook, or surfing the Web, turn off your devices for a while and make an effort to spend time reading or praying or serving your neighbors in some capacity.

Take up a fast – I know how it goes: Everyone wants to give up chocolate, or sweets, or alcohol for Lent. If we’re honest, for many this is done with a slightly selfish bent; that is, to lose a little weight. Instead of that though, how about this: try fasting as a discipline of the body and a reminder that “man does not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God,” and use the fasting time to feast on God’s Word.

Come for private confession and absolution – Although it seldom happens in the Episcopal Church today, private confession is still available and is quite appropriate to be used during the season of Lent. To unburden ourselves of our sins and to hear God’s Word of forgiveness from the mouth of a Priest can be quite freeing. If this is something that interests you, please feel free to talk with Fr. Kyle and make an appointment.

Rector's Report 2018

Rector’s Report 2018

The Rev. Kyle Tomlin

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

It’s hard to believe that 2018 has already ended and that we’re now halfway through January of 2019. Time seems to have a funny way of speeding up the longer you live; it feels like just yesterday that 2018 began. I know that several of you have expressed that to me on various occasions and I do think it holds true. The end of year now having arrived, I want to take just a few moments to reflect on 2018 here at Church of the Messiah. No doubt in the reports that follow, you will hear about the various administrative, social, and outreach activities that took place here throughout the past year, so I’ll leave it to the others to speak about those things. But as one who was charged in my ordination to “preach, to declare God’s forgiveness to penitent sinners, to pronounce God’s blessing, to share in the administration of Holy Baptism and in the celebration of the mysteries of Christ’s Body and Blood, and to perform other ministrations entrusted to [me]” (BCP 531), I want to focus on the spiritual health of our congregation. To put it another way, I want to reflect for a few moments on where we see Christ at work in our congregation, speaking His Word to us– putting us to death to our sin and raising us up to the new life that we have been so graciously given in Him. To that end, I can think of no better place to start that our common worship life. After some initial bumps in adjusting certain practices in our Sunday morning worship following my arrival in 2015, I can honestly say that I now feel like we’ve settled into a nice groove with our practice of the Liturgy. Our Sunday worship here at Messiah manages to be godly and reverent, with just the right touch of lightness, but most importantly, it is Christ-centered. Jesus is the reason why we gather every Sunday, so that He might speak to us in Word and Sacrament. That said, almost every Sunday morning one of you has commented on how you have felt the presence of Christ here that morning. And with good reason! He is here! He has promised to meet us in Word and Sacrament, and He is always true to His promises. In addition to our Lord’s presence in our worship on Sunday mornings, He has also been present at our Morning Prayer services on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. Every Tuesday and Thursday, four of us gather at 9am to celebrate the Daily Office for the morning from the Book of Common Prayer together. It has been a wonderful way for those who attend to start their day in Jesus, hearing His Words and praying His Word back to Him. It usually takes us about 20-25 minutes and it certainly helps us to keep our focus on Jesus for the remainder of the day. If you haven’t attended, I would encourage you to consider coming to join us. This is a good habit to have!

Beyond our common worship life, I can see the hand of our Lord at work in the various teaching ministries that take place in our church throughout both the week and the year. This past year, we have continued to have Adult Ed. on Sunday mornings in which we’ve studied together the Old Testament lesson for each Sunday. For many of you, this has been your first in-depth exposure to the Old Testament, and it has been a joy for me, as your pastor, to see you growing in your knowledge of our Lord’s Word. Along with Adult Ed., we have continued to have several wonderful opportunities to grow in our knowledge of the Scriptures and in faith. Our Men’s and Women’s Bible Studies on Saturday and Thursday mornings, respectively, carried on their work faithfully. (You can see those reports later in the booklet.) Sam Bouchard and our Sunday School teachers continued to do an excellent job of teaching our children about the Liturgy in Sunday School. We also continued to have a Wednesday afternoon Rector’s Bible Study in which we studied, and are studying, Paul’s Epistles to the Romans and Ephesians. Several men from our parish have joined Fr. Kyle every other Tuesday night to study the fantastic Christian basics book, “Law & Gospel” published by Mockingbird Ministries. During Lent we did an in-depth study of the Anglican faith as expressed in the 39 Articles. And during the Fall, we had an 8-week Catechism class that was attended by about 15-20 people. Since a large part of my calling to you is to teach you, it has been a joy this year to see so many of you coming out for these teaching opportunities. All of this is to say that, by God’s grace, I think we are in a pretty healthy place, spiritually-speaking, as a parish. Our Lord is at work among us and is doing His work on us. As He promises, He is always unconditionally faithful to us. This doesn’t preclude the fact that we have our challenges as a parish, of course. No doubt, we do. Like many parishes, finances and membership are always sources of struggle. But, with that said, I would like us to keep in mind what our Lord has told us: “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matt 6:33). So that’s what I’d like to encourage us with for this coming year. Let’s keep our eyes focused on Jesus and trust Him to handle that we need for the year ahead. He is trustworthy and true, and He will do it.

Yours in Christ,

Kyle+

What is Advent?

Advent begins on Sunday, Dec. 2nd-Dec. 24th

From Messiah's Messenger Advent edition 2015
What is Advent?

When it comes to Advent and Christmas in the world around us, things are somewhat skewed. Advent is essentially non-existent and Christmas now begins sometime in the afternoon on October 31st. There are a number of reasons why this is so, two of the biggest ones being the consumerist culture that we live in and our ever-increasing need for instant gratification. Unfortunately because of the world’s influence on the Church this mentality has tended to permeate the Church and to cause Christians to lose focus on the Advent season at the expense of gearing up for Christmas early. Thus we see many churches today singing Christmas hymns during the season of Advent or preaching sermon series on Christmas in the weeks leading up to Christmas. Advent, which is such an important season on the Liturgical calendar gets buried and/or pushed to the side.

So, what is Advent and why is it so important? Is it just Christmas-lite or is there a deeper meaning to it? It of course bears saying at this point that Advent is not Christmas-lite. The Christmas season on the Liturgical Calendar does not begin until December 24th and then it runs for 12 days up to January 6th (Remember “The 12 Days of Christmas?”). Advent is a season of expectation and hope that drives to Christmas but it is not Christmas. Advent is a time of looking forward to God’s fulfillment of His promises in Jesus Christ; it is a season of looking forward to the comings of Jesus. The word “Advent” itself means “a coming.” Now, we do this in two ways. One, we join with our faithful ancestors of the past and look forward to the joyful promise of the First Coming of the Messiah, the Christ, the fulfillment of which takes place on Christmas Day. This is why we hear about the ministry of John the Baptist so heavily during the season of Advent and why our Old Testament lessons tend to be the clearer prophecies of Christ. But during Advent we also join with all faithful believers across time to look with expectation and hope to the Second Coming of Christ as well. So, during Advent we also have readings that proclaim Christ’s second coming in the mix. That said, this is a joyful season of preparation. Our Lord has fulfilled the promises of God and come in the first instance to be born among us that He might die and rise for us. But we also look with great joy and hope and expectation to the fact that He is coming again when the Father wills for Him to come again. In both cases though this means that there is some patience to be had. Much like you can’t open your Christmas presents until Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, so we must wait to celebrate the birth of the Christ Child on Christmas Eve. And we must wait with patience for our Lord’s Second Coming; He will come when it is right for Him to come and not a moment sooner.
So think on this as you celebrate Advent this year. Let the season be what it is, namely a time for preparing to hear again the Good News of Christmas Day and also a time of preparing to hear the Good News that He has re- turned. And then let your joy and praises ring out on Christmas Eve when we all gather to praise our Savior who is born for us.
Your spiritual father in Christ, Kyle+

Catechism

39 Articles part 5

1- https://youtu.be/VoGXq8CuUNs

2- https://youtu.be/W3XFiDg1tBM

3- https://youtu.be/7p4vjgCMyRY

4- https://youtu.be/RcDO5saPvD0

XXXII. Of the Marriage of Priests.
XXXIII. Of excommunicate Persons, how they are to be avoided.
XXXIV. Of the Traditions of the Church.
XXXV. Of the Homilies.
XXXVI. Of Consecration of Bishops and Ministers.
XXXVII. Of the Power of the Civil Magistrates.
XXXVIII. Of Christian Men's Goods, which are not common.
XXXIX. Of a Christian Man's Oath.

https://bcponline.org/

39 Articles Part 4

During this lesson, Fr. Kyle teaches on:

XXIV. Of Speaking in the Congregation in such a Tongue as the people understandeth.

XXV. Of the Sacraments.

XXVI. Of the Unworthiness of the Ministers, which hinders not the effect of the Sacraments.

XVII. Of Baptism.

XVIII. Of the Lord's Supper.

XXIX. Of the Wicked, which eat not the Body of Christ in the use of the Lord's Supper.

XXX. Of both Kinds.

XXXI. Of the one Oblation of Christ finished upon the Cross.

Part 1- https://youtu.be/l0rN5FvZLe0

Part 2- https://youtu.be/IAlX0D3JY9Y

Part 3- https://youtu.be/QupVPhezxQM

Part 4- https://youtu.be/F5Nh54isj7E

A summary of the creeds can be found: https://bcponline.org/ (under "Historical Documents of the Church")

 

Holy Week Services 2018

Palm Sunday

March 25th
8:30 AM (Rite I) & 11 AM (Rite II) The Blessing of the Palms
(in Narthex)
Procession into the Church
The Reading of the Passion Holy Communion

This day begins as a triumphant day of public devotion to Jesus. In heart and mind we join the great crowd that gathered at Jerusalem to honor Jesus as King. We do this by carrying and waving Palm branches, a sign of victory and triumph. At the same time, as we welcome Jesus into Jerusalem, we are confronted with the truth that Jesus, our Messiah and King, is something different and something more than we ever expected Him to be. This gets fleshed out as we hear the Passion narrative (the account of His betrayal, trial, suffering and death), the mood changes, and we begin to look forward to the events of Good Friday.

Maundy Thursday

March 29th
7:30 PM
The Lord
ʼs Supper Stripping of the Altar Prayer Watch

Why do we have Holy Communion, or the Lordʼs Supper, as the main service of worship each week? Because Jesus, on the Thursday of Holy Week, called the disciples together and shared one last meal with them in which He left them His last will and testament in the bread and wine, namely His Body and Blood for the forgiveness of sins. He then instructed

His disciples to continue to observe this Sacrament in which He promises to be present to us to freely and unconditionally forgive us our sins. After Communion, there will be a dramatic stripping of the Altar to remind us of the violent manner in which Jesus was “betrayed into the hands of sinful men.” Before we leave this service in silence, there will be a period of time available to sit in silence in the Lordʼs presence, to “keep watch” with Him, praying silently or reading the Scriptures. The church will remain open until 9 AM on Friday for those who wish to stay and keep watch.

Good Friday

March 30th
12 PM - Good Friday Liturgy
The Reading of the Passion
The Veneration of the Cross
Holy Communion from the Reserved Sacrament
7:30 PM - Evening Prayer, Rite II

This is the day that Jesus dies for us. He offers, in great pain and suffering, the one “full, perfect and sufficient sacrifice, oblation and satisfaction for the sins of the whole world.” Come hear how in this most loving act of Jesus, He gives His all that the powers of evil are conquered and we receive salvation. This service includes the reading of the Passion according to John, the Solemn Collects, The Veneration of the Cross, and Holy Communion from the Reserved Sacrament.

As the Good Friday Liturgy is only to be celebrated once, at 7:30 PM we will be having an Evening Prayer service complete with Good Friday readings, sermon, and prayers specific to the day.

The Great Vigil of Easter

March 31st
Holy Saturday - 8 PM
The Lighting of the Paschal Candle Reading of the Prophecies
Renewal of Baptismal Vows
The First Holy Communion of Easter

This dramatic service begins with the church in
darkness. Seemingly, the powers of sin and
death have won. But then the New Fire is
lighted, symbolizing the overcoming of sin and
death by Christ, who is the Light of the World. Then the Paschal Candle is lighted, and a procession is formed to go to the sanctuary. There the Paschal Candle is blessed, and God
ʼs victory over evil is celebrated in the reading of the Exsultet and the reading of the Prophecies of Christʼs victory over sin and death. We all renew our Baptismal vows and the joy of Christʼs resurrection is reflected in the First Holy Communion of Easter.

Easter - The Day of Resurrection

April 1st

8:30 AM (Rite I) & 11AM (Rite II) Festival Celebration of Holy Communion

The enemies of God are defeated. The dark powers of the spiritual underworld are overcome. Jesus is alive and in being raised makes the promise to His followers, “Because I live, you will live also.” He is raised, not with a word of vengeance and retaliation for a world that wasted Him, but simply with a word of forgiveness and salvation for the whole world. So Easter is a time for great rejoicing! Come out and join us as we praise our Lord Jesus Christ whom God raised from the dead!

39 Articles Part III

Part I- https://youtu.be/L-e91KZQENc

Part 2- https://youtu.be/oLOwIHTkzaM

Part 3- https://youtu.be/GtNrCDjFY1o

Part 4- https://youtu.be/C2WRpwTRiZ0

During this lesson, Fr. Kyle teaches on:

XVII. Of Predestination and Election.

XVIII. Of obtaining eternal Salvation only by the Name of Christ.

XIX. Of the Church.

XX. Of the Authority of the Church.

XXI. Of the Authority of General Councils.

XXII. Of Purgatory.

XXIII. Of Ministering in the Congregation.

A summary of the creeds can be found: https://bcponline.org/ (under "Historical Documents of the Church")

39 Articles Part II

Part A- https://youtu.be/hDeEUN2d2sU

Part B- https://youtu.be/EnDwtFe4knI

Part C- https://youtu.be/MkuIbzUMlHM

 

 

During this lesson, Fr. Kyle teaches on:

IX. Of Original or Birth Sin.

X. Of Free Will.

XI. Of the Justification of Man.

XII. Of Good Works.

XIII. Of Works before Justification.

XIV. Of Works of Supererogation.

XV. Of Christ alone without Sin.

XVI. Of Sin after Baptism.

A summary of the creeds can be found: https://bcponline.org/ (under "Historical Documents of the Church")

39 Articles Part 1

Part 1-A https://youtu.be/HUStU_HbuLA

 

Part 1-B https://youtu.be/rh39xgUtUVI

In the first of this five part series, Fr. Kyle teaches us about:

The History of the 39 Articles and Articles I-VIII
I. Of Faith in the Holy Trinity.
II. Of the Word or Son of God, which was made very Man.
III. Of the going down of Christ into Hell.
IV. Of the Resurrection of Christ.
V. Of the Holy Ghost.
VI. Of the Sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures for Salvation.
VII. Of the Old Testament.
VIII. Of the Creeds.

A summary of the creeds can be found: https://bcponline.org/ (under "Historical Documents of the Church")