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Chapter 5: Where do we go from here?

As we have seen over the last four chapters, the questions about God and the pandemic don’t have easy answers. I think that N.T. Wright has done an admirable job navigating these questions, and that leaves us in the position of having to figure out the Church’s response to the pandemic. Considering Jesus’ call and his ministry, how are we to be acting during this time? What do we do?As the shepherd of a flock of beloved people, this has been the question that has kept me up for many many nights. As Wright puts it, “[God] called a human family – knowing full well that they were as flawed as the rest – to be his partners in the work of redemption and new creation.” At St. Timothy’s, our vision since the beginning has been to further God’s mission of rescue and redemption, so this speaks to us at a foundational and fundamental level. And as a part of this mission, we are firstly called to follow in the footsteps of “the Jesus who wept at the tomb of his friend, who agonized in Gethsemane…

Chapter 4: Reading the New Testament

Chapter 4 begins by taking a look at how the early church bore the message of Christ into the wider world. The Jewish faith gave two main paradigms that the early church could pull from. One paradigm was that of exile. In this paradigm, Israel had abandoned its call to love their God with all their heart, mind, body, and strength. They had also neglected to love their neighbor as themselves. Through the prophets, the people had been called to repentance but had declined to turn from their ways. The exile was caused by their unwillingness to repent. It was punishment for failing to keep the covenant.
But there was another paradigm available to the early church - one of deliverance. The Exodus had been the foundational event in Jewish history. God had heard the cry of his people and delivered them from slavery. Wright points out that "when Israel was enslaved in Egypt nobody ever said it was a result of their sin." Jesus himself seems to point the church to this paradigm by roo…

Chapter 3:Jesus and the Gospels

Wright starts chapter 3 by acknowledging the fact that Christ changes the course of the conversation. In the past, the Prophets have had a very specific ministry. With Christ on the scene, the famous “but now” has arrived to herald something new and unique. Wright begins this chapter with a passage from Luke, and I think it’s worth looking at the passage itself. It reads:

    There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:1-5)

Here we see Jesus affirming two competin…

Chapter 2: Reading the Old Testament

Chapter 2 starts with a quote from the prophet Amos: For the Lord God does nothing
    without revealing his secret
    to his servants the prophets. (3:7)
Of course, even in the times of the Old Testament, having a prophet wasn’t always a hedge against disaster. The problem, which was almost immediately apparent, is that there could be false prophets. People could claim to speak to God while in fact they were furthering their own interests. The book of Deuteronomy even contains instructions for how to identify false prophets. Wright states that, even today, many prophets end up saying “what they were wanting to say anyway.”
But Deuteronomy gives us an interesting context to approach prophecy. The book details the Covenant that God made with the nation of Israel. The covenant is clear in laying out the rules that Israel is to adhere to. In very general terms, these can be broken down into two rules: (1) Love God with all your heart, mind, and strength and (2) love your neighbor as your…

Chapter 1: Where Do We Start?

I grew up reading a lot of apocalyptic science fiction, so I feel like I’ve always been primed to think the worst is coming. The meteor is on its way, the containment protocols have failed in the lab, and the bombs are already falling! And the media stands ready to stoke these types of fears. We’re constantly being told to be afraid. Of the avian flu, the swine flu, SARS, the West Nile virus, Ebola, and a countless number of other things are precariously poised to end the world. I even remember talking to Jen about putting off having more children until the Zika virus was under control. I think for many of us, the most surprising part of the last four months has been that for once many of the predictions have come true. N.T. Wright opens his book by exploring the exact phenomenon.

So why is this happening, and more importantly, why is it happening now? Of course, as Wright points out, “In the old pagan world of Greece and Rome, the assumption [when disaster struck] was that you hadn’t…

God and the Pandemic

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I remember when St. Timothy's made the decision to suspend in-person worship services back in March. The thinking then was that we might have a couple weeks off to get everything sorted and in order, and then hopefully be back once we had this whole virus thing under control. It was lent, and we pictured ourselves as wandering through the wilderness on a journey that would quickly be over, hopefully by Easter. And then it was hopefully by Pentecost. And from where we're sitting now, the conversation has shifted. We've stopped trying to make guesses, and many of us are resigned to the fact that this could last for at least a year, if not more.

That's a sobering thought. Although our meetings have resumed, it will be a long while before all of us feel safe in gathering together again. And of course, we all question. Why? Why is this happening? What does it mean? What is our response in the face of this? How are we continue being the church? Where is God in all of this?



F…

Bible Study 05/27

Good day all!

Tonight's Bible study will continue our study in the book of Ecclesiastes. We're resuming with Chapter 2, verse 18. I hope you can attend! We begin at 6:30. Please email me for login info.

Bible Study - 05/20

I hope you'll be able to join  us for Bible Study tonight. We'll be working through Chapter 2 of Ecclesiastes. As per usual, we'll be starting at 6:30. If you need the link to join us via Zoom, please message me and I'll forward it to you!

Looking ahead

Here are the links to tonight's worship services:

Evening prayer service: https://youtu.be/k54H3YZ0HsI
Family prayer service: https://youtu.be/qxGvPD5PZgM

Discussions have begun on what it looks like to resume meeting together in person. The staff and I have been discussing the requirements from the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina. The Wardens and Vestry will meet this week as well. We don't have a lot of information yet, and nothing has been decided, but I did want to put the requirements from the Diocese in front of you so that you could begin to process what this will look like along with the Vestry and staff.

These are the requirements from the Bishop's office:

Communion in one kind (bread only), received in the handMasks required inside buildings. Those leading worship (celebrant, lay readers, musicians and singers) may remove their masks to exercise their specific roles if adequate distance from parishioners makes this safe.Minimum 6 foot distance between family un…

Wednesday night Bible Study

I hope you'll be able to join us tonight for Bible Study at 6:30. We have begun to work our way through the book of Ecclesiastes. We will continue in Chapter 1, verse 12. Please email me if you need the link.

Tonight's Worship Services

Good evening, everybody. Here are the links to tonight's worship services:

Tonight's Evening Prayer Service - https://youtu.be/RtSyoEYwtcYTonight's Family Prayer Service - https://youtu.be/Imu5RresWJ4
Thanks for everybody that contributed to the reading, the music, and the prayers. I really do appreciate all the work that goes into helping pull these videos together every week.

Also, as I mention in tonight's introduction to worship, the Bishop has begun to grant permission for congregations to begin meeting again starting next week. This is certainly a complex issue, and there are still a lot of questions surrounding what it will look like to be able to come together for worship while keeping everybody safe. Rates of infection are still increasing in South Carolina, and that is projected to continue as restrictions begin to fall away.

The Vestry and Staff are currently reviewing the guidelines set by the Bishop for resuming public worship. I would ask that you be in pr…

Food Distribution Saturday

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This Saturday we were able to provide meat, produce, and groceries to 33 families in need. This is in addition to the medicine, school supplies, and other support we've been able to provide in the past month to those that have contacted the church. I want to thank all the volunteers that came out - we had to turn away volunteers for a second month in a row to maintain safe social distancing! I am so proud to continue working with you all to proclaim the Good News, not just in word but in deed as well.

Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you …

Wednesday Night Bible Study

I hope you'll be able to join us tonight for Bible Study. We've been studying Lament, specifically how Lament (expressions of grief) give us a vocabulary to populate our own prayers.  Tonight we'll begin a small study in the book of Ecclesiastes. We begin at 6:30. Email me directly if you'd like a link to join us via Zoom.

Family Worship Service

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I'm excited to announce that St. Timothy's has added a family prayer service for those who might want to worship with younger children. This has been an offering of love from the Hamilton family, and I couldn't be more grateful for all the work they've put into making this come together.



We hope to be able to offer this every week as we continue to ride out the pandemic. If you'd be willing to help by offering a prayer, lesson, or song for the service, please reach out to me at Luke@St-Timothys.org

You've got to start somewhere

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The purpose of this blog is to post updates about St. Timothy's in Cane Bay and also point out some of the work we're doing. The goal is to keep us all connected as we weather the Covid-19 storm.

I checked my personal email, and the first email I got about the Coronavirus was on February 28 from the National Arthritis Foundation. I don't know how I got added to their list. I don't have Arthritis, but I did do the Jingle Bell Run back in 2014. So I haven't heard from them in six years, but I did something with them one time, so now I get emails from them about coronavirus.

Since that day, I am pretty sure I've received an email about the coronavirus from every business I've ever even just looked at. All of them wanting to give me the latest updates and tell me what they were up to as the threat materialized.

As a Pastor, I've wanted to keep you all updated in the same way but I've been apprehensive about adding to the noise. Surely people needed to …