Episcopal worship Sarasota Florida

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

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Assistant's Addendum . . .
by Father Kenneth G.  Davis
(from January 2001 Tidings)

Happy New Year again. The new year 2001 is upon us. On the Sunday closest to November 30, St. Andrew's Day, we began a new Christian Year.

The Christian Year is important for us as Episcopalians to contemplate, for it provides us with sufficient opportunity to reflect upon the life of Jesus Christ and our relationship to Him as our personal Lord and Savior; important for us if we are to accept seriously our baptismal covenant and live by its promises.

The Catechism of the Church defines the church as "the body of which Jesus Christ is head, and all baptized persons are members". It is important for us to remember that the church is a living organism, it is people, not just a church building. It lives, it moves, and it has special being for as to personalize, to relate to, to claim, yes, and to accept as "mine". The opposite of this might be that we are ineffective, immovable, sterile, and dead.

Our beloved assistant bishop in Michigan, the late William Gordon, was emphatic when he said we must "re-present" Jesus Christ to a naughty and hurting world, not to simply represent Jesus to others. Our life in Jesus Christ is not stagnant, but alive and ever-vital. He must be seen in us for others to see and desire to emulate. We find in the December cycle of the Church Year, not only the Nativity of Jesus, the Son of the Living God, but we remember in thanksgiving, St. John the Apostle and Evangelist, one of the first apostles of Jesus, and one of the “inner circle” of those close to Jesus, along with James and Peter. He was present at the Transfiguration. the raising of Jairus's daughter, and the healing of the mother-in-law of St. Peter. It is said of St. John that Jesus loved him. Personal relationships.

A favorite saint, known as the inspiration for Santa Claus, is Nicholas, bishop of Myra, who died in 342 A. D. It is said that he was present at the Council of Nicaea in 325 A. D. when our Nicene Creed was formulated. Legends of him abound: one tells of many miracles, but the one greatest of all tells of a gift of three bags given to three girls who had no dowries to support themselves. From this story, we have the tradition of wrapped gifts given at Christmas time, celebrated at the second season of the Church Year, a period of 12 days commemorating the birth of Jesus and the visiting of the Jewish people to the child Jesus. It is God's desire that this spirit of Christmas abound throughout the entire year.

The feast of the Epiphany, January 6, will soon be upon us. This signifies that Jesus now belongs to the entire world, Jews AND Gentiles. This is commemorated by the visitation of the Magi from the East. Jesus comes to all, that no one should perish but all might have eternal life. I can claim Him as "my Lord and Savior".

The Church moves on, honoring men and women of every age in history, who have demonstrated the promise of the returning Lord to a waiting world. William Laud, born in 1573, became Archbishop of Canter­bury in 1633. He taught that the church is a direct continuity with the Body of Christ. He emphasized the importance of the priesthood and the sacra­mental nature of the Church For his stand to keep the church as the Body of Christ, he was condemned to death and beheaded on January 10, 1645.

The late Phillips Brooks, Bishop of Massachusetts, 1893, was a man with the spirit of adventure, in thought, life, and faith. He is known as the author of the famous carol, “O LITTLE TOWN OF BETHLEHEM.” Though he did not die for his faith, as did William Laud, he demonstrated his faith by be­coming one of the greatest preachers of the 19th  Century, witnessing in a different way to his faith in Jesus, for he ministered with tenderness, under­standing, and warm friendliness, reminding us of the mysterious richness of human nature and the nearness of God to each of us.

One of my favorite hymns says: “I SING A SONG OF THE SAINTS OF GOD,” and the verse ends, “and I mean to be one too.” We all have the opportunity to witness to our faith in Christ. Some are called upon to lose their life, others may become “fools for Christ's sake.” We are all called upon to pick up our cross daily and follow Him. Men and women, even at this moment, are being persecuted for their faith in Christ. While I was in both India and China, I was urged to tell the American people that these people are not free to worship OPENLY in the Name of Jesus Christ.

And so, the church lives on, for the church is you and me. SOME of us will be called upon to make the ultimate sacrifice, but WE are all called upon to bear witness to our faith, the love of God, and of His Christ, under the power of the Holy Spirit. His greatest gift came to us with great sacrifice. Do we stand for Christ, or do we stand for nothing? That is a question each must answer. Wise men are still following the Star! “Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

May there be room in your manger-heart to receive the Christ child.

Faithfully, your fellow companion,
KENNETH G. DAVIS


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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

Sarasota