Episcopal worship Sarasota Florida

Church of the Nativity
An Episcopal family, serving Jesus Christ and caring for one another

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The Deacon's Beacon...
by Jan Brown, Deacon

The mountains were beautiful! Due to the strange weather in North Carolina this past summer, there was very little color. In fact, the trees were still full and lush. The creeks were low because of the drought. With the low water and lack of leaves, it took several days to find "my" eddy. The crumbling cement bench I mentioned last month had crumbled into the water! That place is still a precious one to me and I spent quite a bit of time with our Lord at that spot. The members of my family who were with me, and I, had a blessed week in the presence of God on His holy mountains in the majesty of His creation.

Why do we stand for the Gospel Reading?

bible.gif (2039 bytes)The Question of the Month is: Why do we stand for the Gospel reading and not for the Old Testament, Psalm or New Testament readings?

This custom began in 445 B.C. (yes, B.C.) on the New Year's Day of the civil calendar and was celebrated as the Feast of Trumpets (Number 29:1-6). At the time the tribes of Israel were beginning to return to their homes after the exile. The Feast was significant enough to call for the "cessation of labor" and a sacred assembly (Church worship service).

The service began at daybreak and lasted for five to six hours. (Yes, five to six HOURS!) When, during the service, Ezra opened the Torah all the people stood up. After reading from the Torah, the priest instructed and taught the meaning of the Torah lesson so that the people would understand what was being read (the Sermon).

In those days, the people lived under the law — The Torah consisted of the first five books of the Old Testament which contain the law — and all the people stood up when it was read in public. As Christians today, we live under Grace (God's gift to man) and the gospels are our manual for living, so we continue that early tradition and rise for the Gospel reading.

Side note: Even the beloved coffee hour and donut holes tradition began in 445 B.C. After the service mentioned above, Nehemiah said, "Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks and send some to those who have nothing prepared." (The start of Lay Eucharist Ministers and Visitors.)

These traditions continue today! If you would like to read about this service, see Nehemiah 8:1-12.

Do you have a question for the month? Do you wonder about any part of the life of the church? Please let me know and I will do my best to answer.

In the love of Christ,

See Deacon Jan's other articles:
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Artist rendering of Episcopal Church of the Nativity - Sarasota
Church of the Nativity
An Episcopal Family serving Jesus Christ and caring for one another
Office hours: Monday through Friday, 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM
5900 N. Lockwood Ridge Sarasota, Florida 34243-2523
Phone (941)355-3262 Fax (941)358-8930 In emergency: (941) 356-3497

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Page last modified on May 13, 2009

Church of the
Nativity, Episcopal