The Episcopal (Anglican) Church recognizes “threefold sources of authority:” scripture, tradition and reason (see https://www.episcopalchurch.org/library/glossary/authority-sources-anglicanism for a brief description of this). For members of Advent, this suggests that we need to be familiar with the scripture and traditions of the church while bringing reason and discernment to our understanding. Doing this is not reserved for Sunday School and Confirmation Class. It is an on-going challenge that is key to our formation as children of God. Our knowledge and love of Christ is not a static thing set in concrete at confirmation; rather it should be seen as an evolving, growing appreciation of the simplicity and complexity of God’s covenant with his people. It is a path to understanding the deep truths of scripture without being in conflict when our other knowledge and experience questions the “facts.”
So it is important that we all devote some time to study of the scriptures, to understanding our traditions and how they have evolved, and to accepting our responsibility to bring reason to our studies so that we may discern hard truths instead of demanding simple rules.
Attending Sunday worship is a first step to this. The readings and the sermons, the traditional words of the liturgy, all help us review what we know and gain fresh insights. It is also an important part of following the commandment to love God with all our hearts, minds and souls.
A second step is to make some kind of on-going study a part of our spiritual journey. Reading the Bible and using the Book of Common Prayer in our personal devotions is one way to explore the scriptures and traditions. But God also calls us to be in community and to learn from one another. So the Formation team is working to invigorate our adult education program. For those who are available on weekdays, Pastor Nancy is leading a Bible study at 11AM on Wednesday. The group is currently discussing the Gospel of Mark. Join us whenever you can for interesting discussions and insight. Immediately following the Bible study, we share in a Healing Eucharist service in the chapel
We plan to offer Bible study during the 9:15 class hour on Sunday mornings, hoping that this time will work for many, and we are open to other ways to create opportunities to meet and study the scriptures. What we need is your time and talents to contribute to this program. A first organizational session will be on November 19 In the St. Nicholas Room. Please join us and help us design a program that will enable us all grow in our faith.