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St. Joseph of Arimathea
103 Countr y Club Dr. Hendersonville, TN 37075 | stjosephofarimathea.org | T: 625-824-2910 | email@example.com
With this, Jesus teaches them about the role they are to play in God’s grand story of salvation. You are salt. You are light. You are salt, and are called to do among the peoples of the earth what literal salt does to food. To act as a preservative by demonstrating Righteous living, by demonstrating in concrete ways that the commands of God to care for one another, for yourself, for creation, lead to life, while rejecting the commands of God lead to confusion and death and destruction. Salt is also used for purification—even today salt is a primary ingredient in home remedies and some medicines—it fights decay, disease—it purifies. So intertwined was the connection between salt and purity in the ancient world, up through the middle ages, that people extrapolated spiritual qualities from the physical and salt came to be used in Baptism, as part of a rite of exorcism that accompanied the sacrament. Salt, of course, makes things tasty. As one early commenter noted, “without salt neither bread nor fish is edible”
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“To encourage and equip one another as the baptized people of God, to witness to the transforming and reconciling power of Jesus Christ.”
The Gospel lesson for the fifth Sunday after Epiphany provides a glimpse of the Sermon on the Mount. The previous week we heard the Beatitudes where Jesus proclaims God’s blessing upon many sorts and conditions of people that would have been surprising at the time. He follows this with his instruction to his disciples, declaring: “You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot. You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid” (Matt. 5:13-14).
Want to see the Grail in Color? Interested in extended content, such as devotionals? If you’re receiving the Grail in printed form and would like to see it in color with more content, you can visit http://stjosephofarimathea.org/congregational-resources/grail to download a PDF version.
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(Cyril of Alexandria). In calling his followers to be salt, Christ calls us to make the peoples of the Earth pleasing to God by keeping his commandments by praising him and offering him a broken and contrite heart for the sins of the world—not only individual sins—but the sins of the world. And not out of judgmentalism, but out of grief for the ramifications of sin: the separation, the anger and alienation that result from it, keeping people separated from one another, and from God. Think of the family that will not speak because of some long ago infraction, some sin that wounded, and a pride that buries any hope of forgiveness. In being salt, those who follow Christ are called to live righteously and in accordance with the great commandment, to Love God and love neighbor. As one Church Father said [Jesus] “calls salt the frame of mind that is filled with the apostolic word, which is full of understanding. When it has been sown in our souls, it allows the word of wisdom to dwell in us” (Cyril of Alexandria). To be the salt of the earth, is to preserve, to purify and to make pleasing. When we meditate on the word of God, the apostolic teaching acts as salt, enabling us to be salt to others. Sometimes people consider the warning that Jesus gives, “but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot,” to be a declaration of God’s punishment. However, it is much more likely that this too is a statement instead of God’s concern. It is not God who tramples the salt that has lost its savor, but the world. As Hillary of Poitiers put it: Jesus calls the faithful the “salt of the earth.” He warns them to persist in the strength of the power handed over to them. Otherwise, losing their own taste, they are unable to make anything else tasty. Deprived of salt’s taste, they are unable to make what is rotten edible. He warns them lest, cast forth from the church storerooms, they be trampled under foot by the feet of passerby—the very feet of those they should
have served with salt. (“On Matthew 4.10”, ACCS, volume Ia, pg. 92) You are light, Jesus says. Those who follow him are to be a beacon, to others. To draw them toward a better way through example. Chrysostom says “You are the light of the world—not of a single nation nor of twenty cities but of the entire inhabited earth. You are like light for the mind, far better than any particular sunbeam. Similarly, you are spiritual salt. First you are salt. Then you are light.” Chrysostom shows that the order is important. When Jesus calls his followers to be salt, then light, we should understand that the one is dependent upon the other. The Church will not be a light to draw others so long as it is not first salt—so long as we are not striving to lead righteous lives. In the practical teachings that follow on anger, adultery, oaths, retaliation, love for enemies, alms, prayer and fasting, Jesus shares with the disciples what it means to be salt, what it means to seek to live a righteous life with each teaching arising from the imperative to love God and love one another. An individual follower may not—will not—exemplify these virtues perfectly, and yet Jesus sets them before his followers as the means whereby they will be “the salt of the earth.” The means whereby their lives will become beacons. And it is true, isn’t it, that even a poorly burning lamp is visible in the darkness? That even a flickering flame stands out when what surrounds it are shadows and death? This is the metaphor that Christ chose to illustrate the difference between seeking and following God and seeking and following—what? Idols... idols of self, idols of power, of things, of hate, of anger. Anything can be an idol. The purpose of the calledout people of God, of Israel and of the Church, the
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Gentiles grafted into Israel, is to call the people of the earth away from idolatry. To expose empty gods made of wood, gods that are mute, gods that pass away, vs. the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—the living God of the living who calls his children out of darkness and into light. And so, Jesus says “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill” (Matt. 5:17). The fulfillment of the Law lies in the identity of the people of God as a Kingdom of Priests—a people intended first as an example, and then as a magnet. And so, as St. Chrysostom says:
reports, he heard a story from one of the Priests of the Diocese of Renk in Southern Sudan: “During the civil war, this pastor was talking to a man who was not a member of the church. When the man learned that the pastor belonged to the Episcopal Church, he said, “I know your church. Your church is like lightning on the horizon in a time of drought signaling the promise of rain” (Go to http://intotheexpectation.blogspot. com/2011/01/lightning-on-horizon.html to see the original blog post and to see the video.) What great compliment could be paid to any organization by people who are primarily cattle herders and agrarian? You are like lightning on the horizon. You are light. Another example of Christians being salt and light, one I’ve used before, is that of the the French town Le Chambon-sur-Lignon. Led by their pastor, Andre Trocme, the people of this village hid Jews from around France from the Nazi’s during Would War II. They did this at great risk to their own safety, but upon reflection, many involved could think of no other way they could’ve acted. They were salt and light. (check out this book for more information: Lest Innocent Blood Be Shed: The Story of the Village of Le Chambon and How Goodness Happened There) Finally, any of us can be salt and light to others, in small and ordinary ways in the midst of our lives. The friend that needs help with a difficult problem, the family member struggling with addiction, the neighbor or stranger that needs a hand with a home or car repair, the person that needs to know there are people in the world that care. We are called to be Salt and light to others. As the body of Christ we can strive toward the ideals put before us, trusting in the grace of God, and the fact that, while we may not lead perfect lives individually, as a body we are moving closer and closer to what God has in store for us. In this way, we can be salt, and then we can be light. Amen.
First you are salt. Then you are light.
First we are salt—we strive to live righteously, which means first and foremost living out of love and respect, living out the reconciliation between ourselves and God and ourselves and one another brought about by Christ. Then we are light—when we do this, we become examples to others. Not because of anything we do, but because we reflect the person of Christ to others, and in so doing draw them in. This can happen in so many ways. For example, some of you may have heard that an important vote was held in recent weeks in the Southern Sudan. It got eclipsed in the news by events in Tunisia and Egypt, but this vote was especially momentous. Sudan has been wracked by two civil wars, one in the 70’s and one in the 80’s & 90’s which resulted in over 2 million deaths and 4 million people being displaced. During this period however, the churches in the area— primarily Roman Catholic and Anglican—have exploded with growth. The Christians of the Sudan have not had many resources to build churches or schools, so in many cases they have gathered in public areas, under trees etc… to hold their worship, Baptism and marriage services. In this way, they have been visible in their communities. Additionally, they have cared for their neighbors to the extent that, as another priest
MOvie Review: Sweet land
Anna and I recently watched the movie “Sweet Land.” This is not a movie you’re likely to have heard about, and as far as I know it wasn’t shown in the local Regal. Nonetheless, I would say this is a movie that many people can connect with on several levels. To begin with, it is a love story—though not a typical one. At least it’s not a typical one for today and that is an important caveat, because, for the time and the place in which the film is set—a largely agrarian immigrant community in the upper mid-west (Minnesota to be exact)—this story is perhaps more typical than people today might expect. It’s not a typical love story for today because it doesn’t follow the set pattern. There is no chance meeting fraught with possibility and made to bear more meaning than chance ought to. There’s no dating, no drama induced by misunderstanding only to be cleared up just in time for the marriage bells to ring. Indeed, there are no bells. There is no wedding—but there is the story of a strong and loving marriage. “Sweet Land” is based upon the short story “Gravestone Made of Wheat” by Will Weaver, and while the movie differs from the short story, it still conveys the same sense of place, time and affection. In the movie, Olaf Torvik is a Norwegian farmer whose parents have sent him a bride from the old country. For the modern viewer it is likely to be this status as a “mail order bride” that stands out, or is seen as problematic. In 1920′s Minnesota, with its large immigrant community (as with other immigrant communities) this is not the issue. The community doesn’t bat an eye at the expectation that Inge, the young woman, would marry Olaf nearly as soon as she’s off the train. For them, the problem rests in the fact that Inge is German and it doesn’t help that she doesn’t have the correct immigration papers or that her political affiliation has been incorrectly identified as “socialist.” In the story of Olaf and Inge and the challenges they face, we catch a glimpse of an era in which the Lutherans in the US were especially sensitive to issues of nationality. Whether it be the admonition “only English in the church,” or the concern to be seen as “American” and not by the nationality of one’s parents or grandparents. It was in such a climate, during and after the first world war that the American flag made it’s first appearance in church sanctuaries as immigrant communities sought to demonstrate where their allegiance lay. Also on display are economic concerns, with Olaf’s recurring statement–proven correct in this instance—that “farming and banking don’t mix.” In the midst of all the trials brought about by forces beyond their control, “Sweet Land” brings out the moving story of two people’s commitment to one another and the love that grows in their marriage, transforming them into a patriarch and matriarch not only of their family, but also of a community that once rejected them. I heartily recommend this film, and with a PG rating, it’s a movie that the family can enjoy together, perhaps even inspiring conversations about grandparents, great-grandparents and how we came to be who we are today.
hOSpital adMiSSiOn, SickneSS,
Facing SOMe OtheR diFFiculty?
If you or a loved one are admited to the hospital, please let us know. While admissions clerks may ask specific questions regarding religious affiliation, due to government regulations they cannot and will not notify St. Joseph of Arimathea to let us know that you are there. Please get in touch with the church office (615-824-2910) or with Fr. Jody (615-440-6492). If you’re sick and in need of assistance please let us know that as well. You can call or fill out our new care calendar information sheet located at: http://www.stjosephofarimathea.org/how-can-we-help-you/
O deuS egO aMO te (O gOd, i lOve thee)
O God, I love Thee, I love Thee — Not out of hope of heaven for me Nor fearing not to love and be In the everlasting burning. Thou, Thou, my Jesus, after me Didst reach Thine arms out dying, For my sake sufferedst nails and lance, Mocked and marred countenance, Sorrows passing number, Sweat and care and cumber, Yea and death, and this for me, And Thou couldst see me sinning; Then I, why should not I love Thee, Jesus, so much in love with me? Not for heaven’s sake; not to be Out of hell by loving Thee; Not for any gains I see; But just the way that Thou didst me I do love and I will love Thee: What must I love Thee, Lord, for then? For being my king and God. Amen. Francis Xavier Translated by Gerard Manley Hopkins [Submitted by Claudia Douglass]
Feb. 3 Feb. 5 Feb. 11 Feb. 12 Feb. 13 Feb. 16 Feb. 18 Feb. 19 Feb. 21 Feb. 22 Feb. 24 Feb. 27 Feb. 28 March 3 March 6 March 8 March 9 March 15 March 25 March 29 March 30 March 31 Feb. 15 March 7 March 9 March 20 March 22
Chris Pullins Jeremy Leggett Mattie Munroe Mary Katherine Gibson Jeff Jordan Bruce Green Dave Mason Blair Dunigan Glen Lawson Liz Melcher Sid Barnett Jessica Kemp Joanne Layton Naomi Burns Alexandria Jones Jane Garrett Eleanor Leek Elijah Harman John Broome Richard Crawford, Jr. Charlene Green Bob Lindsey Carl MacLeod Trey Aldridge Alexis Harman Steve Yeldell Bobby Jones Kenny Jones John & Liz Melcher Steve & Jane Garrett Richard & Georgia Crawford Bill & Mary Heeks Jack & Bea Hayes
welcOMe yOuR new veStRy MeMBeRS
At the annual parish meeting on January 30, four new vestry members were unanimously elected. Ed Arnold, Bob Lindsey, Shelley Sircy, and Clay Tidwell will be serving on the vestry. Paul Love, Bill McMinn, Nell Nestor, and Sarena Pettit have finished their terms as vestry members, and we thank them for their service!
help wanted: nuRSeRy wORkeR
Do you know someone who loves to work with children? We are hiring a nursery worker for Sunday mornings, preferably someone who is not already a member of St. Joseph’s. This is a paid position. A background check will be done, and the employee will have to attend the 3-hour class “Safeguarding God’s People.” Contact Fr. Jody for more details. 5
iRanian chuRch gROwS aMid peRSecutiOn
Few realize that after the Islamic Revolution, from the late 1970s through the 1980s, Iran’s Anglicans were the most severely persecuted Christians. Iranian Anglicans worshiped in Farsi, which angered Islamists wanting to portray Christianity as a Western, imperialist religion. More important, many Anglicans were converts from Islam. The first post-revolution martyr was an Anglican priest, the Rev. Arastoo Sayyah. Islamists cut the throat of this Muslim convert in his office in Shiraz, southwest Iran, on Feb. 19, 1979, and confiscated the property of the church he led. In October of the same year, the Rt. Rev. Hassan Dehqani-Tafti, also a Muslim convert, and his wife, Margaret, survived an assassination attempt in their bedroom. Dehqani-Tafti was the first Persian Anglican bishop. The following May his son, Bahram, 24, was murdered by Iranian government agents. The bishop could not even attend the funeral of his son, whose body had been found riddled with bullets. He sent a prayer that he had composed, forgiving the murderers. DehqaniTafti spent the last ten years of his episcopate in exile. Dehqani-Tafti, who died in 2008, believed that Christians building “a Persian church,” with “a strong and intelligent Christianity” that complemented an authentic Persian culture more than Islam, threatened the revolution. Many more Iranian and British Anglicans were arrested, imprisoned, and even killed for their faith in response to this threat. Churches were forced underground. Today the Bishop of Iran, Azad Marshall, must minister to his church from exile. Many top church leaders were killed in the 1990s. One evangelical leader, Hossein Soodmand, was sentenced to death in Mashhad, northern Iran, charged with apostasy and operating an illegal church. He had converted from Islam in 1964 and had been an evangelist and Assemblies of God minister for 24 years. Soodmand, 55, was executed on Dec. 3, 1990. In late 1993, Mehdi Dibaj, who had converted from Islam as a teenager, was sentenced to death for apostasy after more than nine years’ imprisonment in brutal conditions. Dibaj’s execution was prevented thanks to the General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God in Iran, Bishop Haik Hovsepian Mehr. Hovsepian Mehr, who composed more than 60 Persian-language hymns, drew international attention to Dibaj’s plight. Dibaj was released on Jan. 16, 1994, but three days later the man who had saved him disappeared. On Jan. 30, 1994, authorities said that they had found Hovsepian Mehr’s battered body.
In June 1994, Dibaj disappeared in a similar manner, and another church leader, the Rev. Tateos Mikaelian, the senior pastor of St. John Armenian Evangelical Church (Presbyterian Church of Iran), was also abducted. Mikaelian, March 9th), Hovsepian a time Lent is fast approaching (Ash Wednesday iswho succeededand with itMehr as
of self reﬂection, prayer and penitence.
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and the depth of our Wednesday is March 9th), and dependence 7 pm). God. noon and upon Lent is a time when we are called--and when most of us desire--to do things with it a timeremind ourselves once again of the importance of the cross, differently, to of self reflection, Fr. Jody will be offering a series of Lenten reflections prayer and penitence.season, thereGod. be opportunities for prayer and reﬂection at and the During our dependence upon will depth of this St. Joseph of Arimathea, on Thursdaywith our two Ashbetween March 17th beginning evenings at 7:00, Wednesday services Lent is a time when wewill be opportunitiesApril 7. Thesereﬂection at will are and for prayer and reflections During (at noon there pm). this season, called—and whenand 7 of us with be based upon selected petitions most St. Joseph of Arimathea, beginning our two Ash Wednesday services (at noon and 7 pm). desire—to do things differently, in the Great Litany. In addition, Fr. Jody will be again series of Lenten reﬂections on to remind ourselves onceoffering a you may want to purchase the deFr. Jody Thursday evenings at 7:00, between March 17th and will be offering a series of Lenten reﬂections on of the importance of the cross, votional book Good Lord, Deliver Thursday evenings at 7:00, between March 17th and will Lenten and theApril 7. our dependence upon selected Journey selected depth of These reﬂectionsUs: Abe based upon which is April 7. These reﬂections will be based petitions in the Great Litany. In addition, you purchase the devotional around the Great upon addition, you may want to may want structured petitions in the Great Litany. In God. also to purchase the devotional book Good Lord, Deliver Us: Journey which is also structured around theto guide your personal debookGood Lord, Deliver Us: A LentenA Lenten Journey which is also structured around the Great Litany, Great During this season, there will be during the season. Litany, toto guide your personal opportunities for Copiesseason. Copies will be available guide your personal devotions will be available Litany, devotions during the votions during the season. Copies at St. Joseph’s. prayer and reflection at St. Joseph of Arimathea, at St. Joseph’s. will be available at St. Joseph’s.
Lent is fast approaching (Ash Wednesday is March 9th), and with it a time differently, to remind of self fast approaching (Ash ourselves once again two Ash Wednesday services (at Lent is reﬂection, prayer and penitence. beginning with our of the importance of the cross,
lwhen we are called--and Lent is a time enten ReSOuRceS when most of us desire--to do things
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president of the Council of Evangelical Ministers, was a scholar who had translated 60 books into Persian. On July 2, 1994, authorities announced that they had found Mikaelian’s body in a freezer. The cause of death was said to be multiple gunshots to the head. Three days later, the police also found Dibaj, buried in a park in Tehran. He had been stabbed in the heart, but also had rope burns on his neck. Another convert from Islam, Mohammed Bagher Yusefi, 34, pastor of the Assemblies of God churches in the northwestern province of Manzandaran, was killed in September 1996. Yusefi, known as Ravanbakhsh or “Soul Giver,” left his home in Sari at 6 a.m. September 28 to study and pray. Authorities found him hanging from a tree in a forest outside Sari that evening. The children of Hovsepian Mehr, Dibaj, and Soodmand have become leaders in their own right. All four of Hovsepian Mehr’s children are involved in ministry, as well as filmmaking. On Sept. 26, 2006, Dibaj’s daughter, Fehreshteh, and her husband Amir “Reza” Montazami, leaders of an independent house church in Mashhad, were arrested and taken to a secret station of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. They were released on Oct. 5, 2006, after Montazami’s elderly parents posted bail by turning over the title of a $25,000 property. In August 2008, Ramtin Soodmand, the son of martyred Hossein Soodmand, was arrested. Soodmand,
a Tehran youth pastor, was ordered to report to the Ministry of Intelligence office in Mashhad, where his father had been hanged. He was also released on bail on Oct. 21, 2008. Just last year, in the early morning of Dec. 26, government security forces broke into the homes of dozens of Iranian Christians. According to Elam, a ministry to the church in Iran, 11 of 25 arrested in Tehran were released after days of intense interrogation. Others remain in prison. Some have not been heard from since their arrest. They may be held in Interrogation Block 209 in the basement of Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison, as have other Christians before them. Reports have also come of as many as 60 other arrests elsewhere in the country, many involving new converts. The Iranian regime’s attempt to squash the church backfired. Before the Islamic Revolution there were only 200 to 300 Iranian converts from Islam. But by 1992 Iranian Christians International reported that there were 13,300 Iranian converts from Islam around the world, with 6,700 living in Iran. Faith J.H. McDonnell From the February 27, 2011, issue of The Living Church. Visit http://www.livingchurch.org for more information or to subscribe.
March 2 Daughters of the King, 6:30 pm March 6 First Sunday Breakfast, 9:00 am March 8 Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper and Race, 6:30 pm March 9 Ash Wednesday (Services at noon and 7:00 pm) March 13 Adult Dinner Group, 6:00 pm March 14 Men of the Church, 6:00 pm March 17 Lenten reflections, 7:00 pm March 19 Vestry retreat, 1:30 pm
lay lituRgical MiniStRieS tO Be hOnORed
The Cathedral Chapter liturgical sub-committee will host a celebration of all clergy, vergers, sacristans, acolytes, chalice bearers, lectors, ushers, choir members, and altar guild members at Christ Church Cathedral on Saturday, April 9, at 10:00 am. Lunch will be provided after the service, and some workshops will be held after lunch. Please contact George Fossey if you plan to attend.
adult dinneR gROup
The March Dinner Night Out will meet on Sunday, March 13 at Steamboat Bill’s in Hendersonville at 6:00 pm. For reservations, please contact Janet Mason at 824-1049.
Address Service Requested Non-Profit Organization
St. Joseph of Arimathea Episcopal Church 103 Country Club Drive Hendersonville, TN 37075 Church Phone: (615) 824-2910 http://stjosephofarimathea.org Service Schedule Sunday 8:00 am Holy Communion, traditional language (Rite I), no music 10:30 am Holy Communion, contemporary language (Rite II), with music 9:15 am Christian formation for all ages
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Hendersonville, TN Permit No. 12
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