This coming Sunday, the Third Sunday after Epiphany, we will hear the Gospel lesson about the Wedding at Cana. It is the story of Jesus and his disciples attending the wedding of friends. It is the setting for the “beginning of miracles” that Jesus would do, by changing water into wine. It is the time He shows forth the power of God over Creation. I think, however, that most importantly, He shows us that He is a man of joy. A wedding is a joyous occasion. Jesus did not come there to declare the kingdom of heaven is at hand. He did not come there to lay down the Law and the Prophets for everyone to follow. He came there to enjoy Himself in the company of others and He ensured that the joyous occasion would continue when Mary pointed out to Him the lack of wine. Wine is a symbol of joy and Jesus undoubtedly thought it would be a shame if the joy and happiness of the feast did not continue for the lack of it. As my wife Kathy so astutely put it years ago, “Jesus’ first miracle was not changing water into wine, but rather He kept the party going!” Only a joyful man would “keep the party going.”
Does this surprise you? Austin Farrer, one of the great Anglican theologians of the last century, asks that question of us. He writes, “Did you not expect Jesus to be the servant of natural delight, the abettor of warm-hearted pleasure?” A very serious question for us to consider. Farrer continues, “But have you forgotten what Christ is? He is the desire of nations, he is the joy of all mankind: he came to take away the cold religion of duty, and to substitute the religion of delight. We are to do our duty – yes, but we are to delight in it, for the love of our neighbour, and for the dear love of God. There is nothing else but this, that we can hope for in heaven itself – nothing but to do good unalloyed by any meanness, and to do it with infinite delight.”
Infinite delight. However shall we accomplish that? By looking to the face of that Man of Joy, who we follow, in “whose eyes are the deep wells of happiness and love”—Joy!
The church office will be closed for the rest of this week. Dss. Cynthia and I are traveling to Fernandina Beach, near Jacksonville, Florida, for our national church’s annual Winter Conference. Please keep us in your prayers for travel mercies. Should you have any need to speak with us, please feel free to call my cell phone 828-620-0860.
Wednesday Evening Cancellations
Because I will be in Florida, we have cancelled Wednesday evening Holy Communion, as well as our Fellowship Dinner and Bible Study. All that will return next week. Note: There WILL be choir practice at its usual time of 7:00 p.m.
News of Note
Bill Fishburne’s open heart surgery last week was successful. The surgeons replaced his mitral valve. He is in very good spirits and gives thanks to Almighty God that he came through “with flying colors!” He returned home yesterday and looks forward to getting his strength back so he can return to worship with us. He extends his thanks to all of you for praying for him and for your loving concern for him and Barbara during this time. Keep up you prayers for his continued recovery.
Finish the Office Workdays
We have had a wonderful turnout over the past 2 Saturdays to try to finish up our new office space. We cleaned up most of the construction debris around the new building and spent quite a bit of time caulking the trim on the first Saturday. This past weekend, we finished the caulking and began to paint the trim. We also emptied most everything out of the old offices and moved it all into the new offices (You can see how empty my old office is in the picture to the right). We also took down the bulletin boards on the north wall of the parish hall in anticipation of taking down that wall. This coming Saturday, we will finish the move by getting the last items into the new offices and place the furniture and equipment in its proper place. Please come out Saturday morning at 9:00 a.m. and help us finish the move. Breakfast will be provided.
The electrical and heating & air conditioning work is all finished. Both items passed inspection by the county today. On Monday, Morris Broadband is coming to move our communications service to the new offices. There are few small items left to do (back deck stair rails and handicap accessories) before we can call for our final inspection in order to receive a certificate of occupancy from the county.
Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet
It is almost time! On Sunday, February 3, the Classical Scholars will perform Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet for our parish, immediately following the 11:00 a.m. Holy Communion, at 12:45 p.m. This coming Sunday is your last chance to RSVP on the sign-up sheet, which is on the bulletin board in the parish hall. Your RSVP secures your seat that day. Whatever seating is still available after Sunday will be opened up to the public. Lunch will be provided before the performance begins.
For those of you who have been accustomed to having offering envelopes, we want you to know that we were not able to secure offering envelopes for this year. Offering envelopes are really not necessary anymore in our computer age. Offering envelopes used to be the way a church would track someone’s giving but we use the computer for that. The reality is that we for many years have tracked your giving from the information on your check and the envelopes are just thrown away. If you give cash gifts, please feel free to use the plain envelopes in the pews and write your name on them.
That is about it for this week. Please read the other announcements below to see what else is on tap for us in the future. Please pray for one another and for this parish family in Christ. Blessings,
· Ladies, please mark your calendars today for Saturday, February, 2. This will be our first LASSES meeting of 2019, beginning at 10:30 a.m. in the parish hall. This is our annual “kick-off” planning meeting, so we need all ladies to come out and join us in making this another great year in the life of our parish family here at All Saints.
· Prior to the LASSES meeting on Saturday, February 2, the Altar Guild will hold its first meeting of 2019 at 9:00 a.m. in the church. All members of Altar Guild should plan on attending that morning. Please see Alice Owen if you are unable to be there.
Adult Sunday School
· Adult Sunday school is every Sunday at 9:45 a.m. in the parish hall.
Tuesday Book Study
· The Tuesday Book Study is reading The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Please read through chapter 20 for this Tuesday’s class.
Wednesday Night Bible Study
· Our Wednesday night Bible study will return on January 30. We will continue to make our way through Chapter 6 in St. Matthew’s Gospel. It is never too late to join us.
College Care Packages
· There is a new sign-up sheet on the parish bulletin board for our parish college students in 2019. Please see Sara Briggs or Sandy Peninger if you have questions regarding this ministry.
Flower & Sanctuary Candle Charts
· New charts are available on the bulletin board for the giving of flowers and sanctuary candles for 2019. The suggested donation for flowers is $50.00 and it is $10.00 for the sanctuary candle. Sign up today to be sure you are able to get your desired day.
· Interfaith Assistance Ministry of Henderson County is this month’s recipient of our in-gathering of food stuffs.
Sunday Fellowship Meals
· There is a new sign-up sheet for the Sunday Fellowship meals, which follow our 11:00 a.m. Holy Communion each week. Please get with your team and choose two Sundays between February and June 2019. If you are not on a lunch team and would like to participate in this ministry, please see Kathy Zwingert.
This Week in the Parish
Wednesday, January 23
· Office Closed
· 7:00 p.m., Choir Practice
Thursday, January 24
· Office Closed
Saturday, January 26
· 9:00 a.m., Finish the Office Workday
Sunday, January 27, Third Sunday after Epiphany
· 8:30 a.m., Holy Communion
· 9:45 a.m., Sunday School
· 11:00 a.m., Holy Communion
· 12:15 p.m., Fellowship Lunch
Tuesday, January 29
· 11:00 a.m., Book Study
Wednesday, January 30
· 6:00 p.m., Holy Communion
· 6:30 p.m., Fellowship Meal
· 7:00 p.m., Bible Study
· 7:00 p.m., Choir Practice