Sunday, January 12 was the First Sunday after Epiphany. Bishop and Mrs. Hartley were not with us since the Bishop was presiding over confirmation ceremonies at our sister church, St. Joseph’s Anglican Church in Branson. St. Joseph’s formerly met in the Old Stone Church in Branson, but has recently completed a new church building of their own, on Highway 76 just before you descend the hill into Branson proper. In the absence of a priest to celebrate Holy Communion, instead of Communion we at St. Francis had the Morning Prayer service presided over by our lay leader, Joe Crisswell. Brian Connell read the Old Testament lesson from Isaiah and I read the New Testament lesson, which was the Epistle appointed for the day, Romans 12:1.
Joe read a sermon which Bishop Hartley had prepared for the day, based on the Epistle reading, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice…” In this passage St. Paul exhorts his readers to be truly Christian and gives advice on what that means. Sacrifice means offering life to God and in Old Testament times this meant animal sacrifice by the priests; the sacrifice had to be by death. However, in the Christian tradition or new covenant, Christ has made this sacrifice for us and we are to offer our own lives to God. For Christians, sacrifice means service by living people to God. The true sacrifice is a life lived according to God’s will
Saturday, January 11 was a Springfield Symphony night for my friend Chandler Connell and me so we met for our usual pre-concert dinner at Gilardi’s Restaurant where we enjoyed an excellent meal and visited with other Symphony regulars, then enjoyed the concert at Hammons Hall where the orchestra performed Mozart’s Violin Concerto #3 with soloist Larry Dissmore who is a Symphony member and Professor of Violin at Evangel University. They closed the concert with Symphony No. 1 by Prokofiev, which was new to me, but we both enjoyed it very much.
For information on St. Francis Anglican (Traditional Episcopal) Church visit our website at stfrancisavamo.org.