Sunday, January 13 was the First Sunday after Epiphany. Bishop Hartley based his sermon on the Epistle for the day, Romans 12:1 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy acceptable, unto God…” The theme of this letter is devotion and what it means to a Christian. In ancient Judaism, animal sacrifice was practiced in the temples as a devotional offering to God. The animal’s blood expressed devotion. For the Christian, however, the form of this devotion has changed and Paul exhorts us to offer our own living lives to God; we receive new vitality through a life offered to God. If we serve God in all we do and live according to His will, we will be God’s will in our daily lives, not just in empty rituals like the old animal sacrifice. The claims of the material world are very strong and can distract us from our ultimate goal, but these material rewards are fleeting and cannot last. The theme of the Epiphany season is showing or manifesting as Jesus was shown to the world, and our duty is to show our own devotion to God.
In announcements Bishop Hartley noted that this week is our forty-first anniversary as St. Francis parish was founded on January 15, 1978, and he asked for prayers for our continuation. After the service we held a potluck lunch followed by our January vestry meeting during which we received the treasurer’s report from Debbie Berthold and discussed church finances & needed work on the building & grounds.
For information on St. Francis Anglican (Traditional Episcopal) Church visit our website at stfrancisavamo.org.