Life’s most important questions

This is a special message from Fran Sciacca in the US 

“Black Friday” Without a Credit Card!

I hope your Thanksgiving was safe and still meaningful. Finding the balance between safety, sanity, and tradition is going to be a delicate dance for a while, I’m afraid.

One of the recently established traditions in America is the battleground commonly known as “Black Friday.” It’s a time when Americans have internal battles about whether or not they want to fight the external battles of shopping in an arena where helmets and elbow pads may very likely become recommended shopping attire! Personally, I’m not a fan of full-contact shopping.

So, I wanted to let you know that I’ve added some more resources to the website, but unlike most Black Friday items, you won’t need a credit card to access or obtain them. And you won’t have to leave home, or generate more cardboard with “Prime” inked on it. Seamless, digital delivery to your laptop or device. How’s that for something to be thankful for? ūüôā And…no cost!

Just a week or so ago, I delivered three messages to students at Yale University (via Zoom) on the topic, “Life’s Three Most Important Questions.” Those three videos are now available, if you’d like something to watch over the holidays besides Netflix.

I am also continuing my commitment to make the individual character studies I wrote over the years available to you for personal or group study. I’ve added five more, bringing the total available to 20. More will be coming in 2021. The new ones are:

  • Barnabas – The powerful ministry of encouragement
  • Paul – Dealing with our past
  • The Nation of Israel – The myth of nostalgia
  • Jeremiah – Longing to be successful
  • Jesus – Handling rejection

The videos may be accessed here, and the Bible studies are here.

 

Warmly in the Lamb,

Fran Sciacca

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The Law of Help

St Andrew’s Church, Prayer & Praise, Wednesday, 4 November 2020

What the world needs now on the day following the US election

Call to Worship

 

For the gift of His Spirit:

blessed be Christ.

 

For the catholic Church:
blessed be Christ.
For the means of grace:
blessed be Christ.
For the hope of glory:
blessed be Christ.
For the triumphs of his gospel:
blessed be Christ.
For the lives of his saints:
blessed be Christ.
In joy and in sorrow:
blessed be Christ.
In life and in death:
blessed be Christ.
Now and to the end of the ages:
blessed be Christ.

Hymn: Psalm 27, The Lord is my Light, Kirian Young Wimberly

Philipians 2:12-18

 Do Everything Without Grumbling

12¬†Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed‚ÄĒnot only in my presence, but now much more in my absence‚ÄĒcontinue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling,¬†13¬†for it is God who works in you¬†to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.

14¬†Do everything without grumbling¬†or arguing,¬†15¬†so that you may become blameless¬†and pure, ‚Äúchildren of God¬†without fault in a warped and crooked generation.‚ÄĚ[a]¬†Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky¬†16¬†as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ¬†that I did not run¬†or labor in vain.¬†17¬†But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering¬†on the sacrifice¬†and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you.¬†18¬†So you too should be glad and rejoice with me.

 Luke 14:27

Anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.

 A reading from Ruskin’s Law of Help (attached)

 Question:  What happens when we are single mindedly focused and work together for a common purpose in Christ? 

 Hymn Open our eyes, Lord,

Open our eyes, Lord, we want to see Jesus,

to reach out and touch Him and say that we love Him.

Open our ears, Lord, and help us to listen:

Open our eyes, Lord, we want to see Jesus!

 

Prayer

Pray for vision to see the beauty of Christ in everything we do, like the greatest porcelain fit for a King’s table, or the depth of an opal, the glow of a sapphire or a sparkling diamond. 

The Lord’s Prayer is said

Collect 

Almighty and eternal God,
you have kindled the flame of love
in the hearts of the saints:
grant to us the same faith and power of love,
that, as we rejoice in their triumphs,
we may be sustained by their example and fellowship;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

 

Hymn, Will you come and follow me.

 

Iona Blessing

Deep peace of running wave to you.

Deep peace of the flowing air to you.

Deep peace of the quiet earth to you.

Deep peace of the shining stars to you.

Deep peace of the infinite peace to you.

 

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord

In the name of Christ, Amen.

 

Ch. I THE LAW OF HELP 207, John Ruskin

ÔŅĹ 6. A pure or holy state of anything, therefore, is that in which all its parts are helpful or consistent.

ÔŅĹ 8. That slime we shall find in most cases composed of clay (or brickdust, which is burnt clay) mixed with soot, a little sand, and water. All these elements are at helpless war with each other, and destroy reciprocally each other‚Äôs nature and power, competing and fighting for place at every tread of your foot.¬† Let us suppose that this ounce of mud is left in perfect rest, and that its elements gather together, like to like, so that their atoms may get into the closest relations possible.

ÔŅĹ 9. Let the clay begin. Ridding itself of all foreign substance, it gradually becomes a white earth,2¬†already very beautiful; and fit, with help of congealing fire, to be made into finest porcelain, and painted on, and be kept in kings‚Äô palaces. But such artificial consistence is not its best. Leave it still quiet to follow its own instinct of unity, and it becomes not only white, but clear; not only clear, but hard; nor only clear and hard, but so set that it can deal with light in a wonderful way, and gather out of it the loveliest blue rays only, refusing the rest. We call it then a sapphire.1

Such being the consummation of the clay, we give similar permission of quiet to the sand. It also becomes, first, a white earth, then proceeds to grow clear and hard, and at last arranges itself in mysterious, infinitely fine, parallel lines, which have the power of reflecting not merely the blue rays, but the blue, green, purple, and red rays in the greatest beauty in which they can be seen through any hard material whatsoever. We call it then an opal.2

In next order the soot sets to work; it cannot make itself white at first, but instead of being discouraged, tries harder and harder, and comes out clear at last, and the hardest thing in the world; and for the blackness that it had, obtains in exchange the power of reflecting all the rays of the sun at once in the vividest blaze that any solid thing can shoot. We call it then a diamond.

Last of all the water purifies or unites itself, contented enough if it only reach the form of a dew-drop;3 but if we insist on its proceeding to a more perfect consistence, it crystallizes into the shape of a star.

And for the ounce of slime which we had by political economy of competition, we have by political economy of co-operation, a sapphire, an opal, and a diamond, set in the midst of a star of snow.

 

 

 

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Prayer Sheet, Week of 6 May

Hello lovely soul, it’s time to pray.¬† Sit yourself down and immerse yourself in the love and light of Christ.¬† Here’s something to help you get there.¬† Click on the links in the prayer sheet below and go back to a time when we could meet together, hold children in our arms and travel to distant lands.¬† Enjoy this sacred time of bliss.¬† Be well, stay safe.

Prayer Week of 6 May

 

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Prayer, week of 29 April 2020

Here is something to immerse yourself in a spirit filled encounter with Jesus.   The music is a big part of it so be sure to click on the links.  When you get to the final music, you are in for a real treat.  This is guaranteed to lift your hearts in this time of covid-19 isolation.  Stay safe.  Be well.  God bless you all!

 

 

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