excerpts from our parish newsletter
A message from our deacon:
Seeing the Face of Faith, Hope and Love
“We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers; Remembering your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ…” I Thessalonians 1:2-3.
This week I was reflecting upon all of the good things that are happening at Holy Comforter and the verses from St. Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians came to mind. I was also struck by the way St. Paul describes our life as Christians in a very active way. Faith works. Love labors. Hope is patient. I was reminded that our life as Christians is not a sprint but a marathon. And I would like use this article to encourage all of you to see how God is using everything in our lives to accomplish his work through us.
First, we should rejoice in the completion of the repairs to the parish hall and chapel. There is so much more involved in it than shingles and paint and canvas for the awnings. It is a work of faith and a labor of love. The sacrificial giving was done with a spirit of joy by people who believe that “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Thanks to the work and faith of so many, God has placed us in the position to invite our neighbors to an outwardly beautiful place that we may come and worship Him in the beauty of holiness. This is a blessing from God. But let us press on to the next step of blessing others. The Church prays “God be merciful unto us, and bless us…THAT thy way may be known upon earth, thy saving health among all nations” (Psalm 67:1-2; BCP, p. 418). God blesses us so that we may bless others by calling them to the one true God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent.
Second, in order to point out ways in which we may do this together, I ask you to make use of this newsletter. It too is a work of faith and a labor of love. The articles are written in order to build you up and inform you of the things that are going on in the parish. Many of you have requested prayers for your friends, family and neighbors.
Please take time and let them know not only that we are praying for them but how we are praying for them. The prayers are in the Prayer Book and are as follows: For those who are home-bound, we pray For the Absent, p. 596; For those on our corporate prayer list, we pray For the Recovery of a Sick Person, p. 597; For the faithfully departed, you may share with the family that we pray For an Anniversary of One Departed, p. 598. Share this with them personally or write them a handwritten letter. Also, intently read the articles from our Senior Ward, Choirmaster and the well-written study by Mr. Steve Williams, on the Lord’s Prayer. Remember also the faithful work of the editor of the newsletter, his beloved wife Mrs. Gwen Williams. These all are works of faith and labors of love. Let us use them wisely.
Another way that we can bless others, through Christ and His gospel, is to participate in this month’s Food Drive for the S.E.A. Mrs. Karen Pendleton works hard for others each day. As we bring our donations and drop them off in the kitchen, take a Prayer Book and pray the prayer For all Poor, Homeless, and Neglected Folk on p. 599. This way your offering is sanctified to God’s use and serves to further Christ and His Gospel.
Next, I would like to announce that through the work and labor of Mrs. Carole Sawada and Stan Graham, the new Holy Comforter website is now up and running. Pray that God may use this tool to bring others into His Church.
Finally, I debated about using people’s names in this article. It seems that the Apostles did not shy away from it. St. Paul named specific names in his letters. Especially when he wanted to praise the example that was being set by the faithful. I know that there are many others in our parish who are faithful and devoted to Christ. My intention is so that you would know about the things that some of our parishioners are doing. I personally thank you all for your work of faith, labor of love and especially, your patient hope. Thank you, members of the Altar Guild! Thank you, members of the Vestry! Thank you, choir members! Thank you, ushers! Thank you, all of the Faithful who attend the Holy Communion and worship God on Sunday and throughout the week! Your work of faith, labor of love, and patient hope are not forgotten! They are the fruit of the Spirit and evidence of Christ among us.
Musical thoughts from the Choirmaster
“Let the melody start. Let music fill your heart.”
Two anthems and a hymn with music by Russian composers will be used during the month of July.
The tune for “Lo, a voice to heaven sounding” was arranged by Piotr Tchaikovsky from a composition by Dmytro Stepanovych Bortniansky (1751-1825). Bortniansky was born in Ukraine and grew up singing in the choir of the Russian Imperial Court. During his directorship of the Imperial Court Chapel, the choir performed not only his music and that of other Russian composers but also Handel’s “Messiah” and Haydn’s “Creation.” Two of Bortniansky’s hymns are found in The Hymnal, 1940 – “Saviour, breathe an evening blessing” and “Before Thy throne, O God.” The text is by Henry Wilder Foote (1875-1964), a Unitarian minister, scholar, teacher and hymnologist.
The tune for the hymn “God the Omnipotent!”, the Russian National Anthem, was composed by Alexis Fyodorovich Lvov (1799-1870), an army officer, violinist, composer and conductor. His father, Feodor Petrovich Lvov, succeeded Bortniansky as Maestro of the Imperial Chapel in St. Petersburg. Lvov counted Mendelssohn, Mayerbeer and Spontini amongst his personal friends. Henry Fothergill Chorley and John Ellerton wrote the words.
“Bless the Lord, O my soul” is an anthem based upon Psalm ciii. Mikhail Ippolitov-Ivanov (1859-1935) composed the tune for his beautiful setting of the Divine Liturgy. It illustrates the simplicity of this piece that belies the depth of spirituality through the marriage of words and music. Ippolitov-Ivanov entered the St. Petersburg Conservatory in 1875 and was a composition pupil of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. On 1 May 1886, he conducted the premier of Tchaikovsky’s “Romeo and Juliet.” In 1893, Ippolitov-Ivanov became a professor at the Conservatory in Moscow, of which he was director from 1905-1924. He also served as conductor for the Russian Choral Society and Bolshoi Theatre.
We had some rather major expenses in June, as we had to spend more than $8,000 replacing an HVAC unit, and we also completed work on the Parish Hall. But at the same time, we had very good contributions for the month so the deficit was actually smaller than one might have expected and we still have a surplus for the year. I am thankful for this.
Deliver Us from Evil
by Steve Williams
“Deliver us from evil” is a somewhat misleading translation. In the Greek of the New Testament, it reads deliver us from “the evil” or, more precisely, “the evil one.” It makes a rather large difference. For there is only one evil, and that is sin. Nothing can defeat us as long as we keep faith with God. Loneliness, rejection, grief, cancer, and many other things can cause us suffering, but they cannot defeat us if we remain strong with God’s own strength. The only real enemy is sin.
All sin traces its ancestry to the sin of Satan. Before Adam and Eve faced him in the garden, he had already refused to serve God, and enticed a third of the angels in heaven to follow him in rebellion. And today he still wages his war against God and all His works. He has never ceased perpetrating lies and murder against God’s children. “Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking some one to devour” (1 Pet. 5:8).
The Devil lives to oppose God’s will. He temps us at every turn so that we might follow him in rebellion. Yet his work is perpetually futile. For God is omnipotent, His will is inexorable, and God never wills that anyone should sin. God’s plan will be accomplished in spite of all of Satan’s efforts. God alone can “cause good to emerge from evil”, as Saint Augustine said. Even the greatest evil in history, the torture and murder of God’s only Son, “brought the greatest of goods: the glorification of Christ and our redemption.” In the words of Paul, “where sin increased, graced abounded all the more” (Rom. 5:20).
As long as we remain united to Christ, we need fear nothing from our trials, or from Satan himself. The Devil’s works are self-‐defeating, and they can only work to our benefit. For when we struggle against temptations, we grow stronger in faith, and share more deeply in grace. Pope John Paul II said that “Satan cannot block the construction of the Kingdom of God … Indeed, we can say with St. Paul that the work of the evil one cooperates for the good (Rom. 8:28) and that it helps to build up the glory of the ‘chosen’ ones (2 Tim. 2:10).”
We find proof positive in the Book of Job. The Devil afflicts Job with disease and poverty, and he brutally takes the lives of Job’s children and his livestock. But Job remains steadfast in his faith in God’s goodness. Through the ordeal, Job grows in wisdom, and he proves his love for God. In the end, Job is holier, wiser, and even richer than he had ever been; and so he is happier. It seems that no one worked harder to bring holiness to Job than did the Devil himself, and no one wanted it less.
Satan still works the same way today. No one is working harder for our holiness than the Devil – as long as we remain will be holier, wiser, and richer in the end. On our own, we do not have the strength to defeat the Devil, and he has been the downfall of many highly intelligent men and women. After all, he is an angel of the highest order, with an intelligence to match. We pray “deliver us from the evil one” because we know that we cannot defeat him in our own strength. So we pray the prayer of realists: “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”
Saint Cyprian said, “When we have once asked for God’s protection against evil and have obtained it, then we stand secure and safe against everything which the Devil and the world work against us. For what fear does a man have in this life, if his guardian in this life is God?” I would add that He is not merely our Guardian, but our Father.
Next time: “The Kingdom, The Power, and The Glory”
4 July — Independence Day.
The collect: O ETERNAL God, through whose mighty power our fathers won their liberties of old; Grant, we beseech thee, that we and all the people of this land may have grace to maintain these liberties in righteousness and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
8 July — Vestry meeting, in the library following the service.
15 July — Anglican Church Women meeting, in the library, following the service.
- 7th — Blake B.
- 8th — Lou L.
- 12th — Tasha C.
- 13th — Keegan E.
- 14th — Butch H.
- 16th — Kaitlyn N.
- 25th — Pat L., Fr. Rob Philp
- 26th — Scott D.
- 28th — Donnie M.
- 29th — Cana C., Janet S.
1st — Bill and Donna P.
If you would like to receive the full newsletter, please email Gwen Williams at firstname.lastname@example.org