A Message from The Rector:
PREPARING OUR HEARTS: Advent 2 and 3 present us with challenging passages from Matthew’s Gospel, passages of John the Baptist’s fiery cry to repentance, his harsh words to religious leaders (“You brood of vipers!…even now the ax is lying at the root of the trees…”) and his earnest questions to Jesus from prison (“Are you really the Messiah—or are we to wait for another?”). These passages are discomfiting and challenging, but they are also perfect for Advent, so beautifully setting up why we need Christmas. And I don’t mean the tree, stocking, and the prezzies…
Our Bible study last week took on Matthew 3:1-12, and the group’s conversation went quickly to what is a primary human need: to be forgiven, to put down burdens of guilt and sin that can haunt us and cripple our spirits right to the very end of our lives. The group reflected on our own experiences of being able say aloud our regrets and our sins, and how that can ease a tight and knotted heart. We also reflected on what it is like to be on the receiving end, to hear someone tell the story behind the need for forgiveness, what it is like to do the holy work of listening to someone who needs to give voice to wrongs from the past.
If you read through Matthew 3:1-12 you might wonder how our Bible study turned to the theme of forgiveness. There is no forgiveness in John’s words! We took a sneak peek at the readings for the following week, Matthew 11:2-11 when John wonders if he was right about Jesus being the messiah, perhaps because Jesus was so lavish in his forgiving. When Jesus is presented with John’s question, “Are you the one?,” his response is to tell John that the blind see, the lame walk, the deaf hear. Jesus might also have answered that the hearts of those who are broken have been bound up, and those who are notorious sinners have found grace, mercy, and acceptance, peace of mind and heart.
Forgiveness is studded throughout our liturgy. In Lent we open with the words, “Bless the Lord who forgives all our sins.” We proclaim the forgiveness of sins through baptism in the Nicene Creed; we bring to mind our sins and pray for forgiveness in the Confession. We pray for reconciliation in the beginning of each Eucharistic prayer and we hear words of Jesus’ presenting and representing and re-presenting and embodying God’s loving forgiveness: “This is my body… This is my blood… poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” We make another plea for forgiveness as we pray the Lord’s Prayer. Forgiveness, and an assurance of forgiveness that we can actually hear, embrace, and believe, is why God took on human flesh and came to dwell among us.
In the Bible passages in Matthew, John the Baptist cries out for us to acknowledge our sin and guilt, but it is Jesus who offers forgiveness. Our Advent preparation is surely to own up to our sin, but that preparation is done in order to be ready for the coming of Christ at Christmas, to the grace—unearned and undeserved, grace that is often unfathomable to most of us. David Lose has a beautiful meditation* on this theme with these final reflections:
“So here we are, a week or two into Advent, invited to stand between the Baptist and the Babe, caught amid the wreckage of our failed plans and schemes yet also called to look with hope toward Bethlehem’s manger where, if we listen carefully, we’ll hear the husky cry of a newborn sucking in his first breath of the same air we all need to breathe and grasping for his mother’s breast seeking the nourishment common to us all. And in this way, this vulnerable child signals through his very flesh and blood that God most surely is with us and for us—Emmanuel—now and forever.”
As you prepare for the holiday, don’t miss preparing for—and receiving–what may be the best and most sustaining gift of all.
*You can find a printed copy of David Lose’s sermon here
Or perhaps even better, hear David give his sermon here
Decorating of the Chrismon Tree
The youth have begun decorating the Chrismon Tree that is standing next to the pulpit. Each week, the youth will put ornaments they have made on the tree and explain their significance. This week’s ornaments:
Lily: The lily represents resurrection. This is based on the blooming of the flower from the seemingly dead bulb.
Shell: The shell is a symbol for baptism. It reminds Christians of the water they are baptized in. It is also a sign of pilgrimage: pilgrims to the Holy Land would drink out of shells.
Anchor Cross: The anchor cross was used by early Christians as a symbol of their faith when they hid under persecution.
Circle and Triangle: The circle and the triangle represent the eternity of the Trinity.
Butterfly: The butterfly is an ancient symbol of resurrection, as a beautiful butterfly emerges from a seemingly dead chrysalis.
Bottony Cross: The cross is the symbol of life that springs from death—the gift of the cross. The three leafed clover at the bottom connects us to the Trinity. There is also a connection with Aaron’s staff that budded and was preserved in the Ark of the Covenant, showing that life comes from death, and renewed life from difficult circumstances.
Candle: The candle represents Jesus as the Light of the World.
Circle Chi Rho Butterfly: This symbolizes God’s wholeness and eternity. The butterfly symbolizes resurrection.
Crown: The crown is the symbol of the Prince of Peace, King of Kings, and Lord of Lords—Jesus.
Advent and Christmas Calendar
Dec 11 Advent 3 Youth carols during Sunday worship
Advent rose window craft 11.30-12.30
Youth at the Waters 2.00-3.00
Dec 18 Advent 4 Greening of the Church 11.30-12.30
Dec 19 Deadline for Christmas Flower memorials
Dec 21 Longest Night service 7.00 pm
Dec 24 Christmas Eve 5.00 special music
5.30 Christmas Eve Service
Dec 25 Christmas Day 10.15
Jan 1 Feast of the Holy Name 10.15
Service of Lessons and Carols
A few tips:
1. Keep your wreath hydrated—spritz it at least daily and/or soak in the sink 1-2 times a week. We keep ours on a large plate to protect the table. If the candles burn low, stop lighting them. The branches become dry and go up in flames very quickly, especially at the end of Advent.
2. Use your wreaths at dinner, or at a bedtime snack, last cup of tea, or just 10 mins. before people start off to bed. Light and extinguish the candles while you are there.
3. If you chose the purple and rose candles, the rose one is for Advent 3, Gaudete (Joy) Sunday which is also Mary’s Sunday. Both sets (red, rose-and-purple) have deep traditions. Each Sunday has a specific theme:
Advent One: Watch
Advent Two: Turn from the bad, and turn to the good
Advent Three: Rejoice
Advent Four: Recognize
Here is a prayer moment to use when you light the candles. You can have a small prayer moment each day of Advent, or each Sunday when you light a new candle. The parts in bold are to be said out loud. When you get to Week Two, add Advent Two’s scripture to Advent One’s—so by Advent Four you will be saying all four lines. The same pattern follows through all four weeks.
Opening: Light candle, and recite the verse(s):
Advent 1: “And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake.” (Mark 13:37)
Advent 2: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” (Matthew 3:2)
Advent 3: “Are you the one who is to come?” (Matt 11.3)
Advent 4: “The Lord is with you.” (Luke 1:28)
Reader 1: The Redeemer shall come. (Isa. 59:20)
All: A light to lighten a world of darkness. (Luke 32:2)
Reader: The candle of watching, (week 1)
repentance, (week 2)
rejoicing, (week 3)
recognizing. (week 4)
Let us pray.
God our Light,
Quiet our minds that we may watch for you; (week 1)
Expose our sins that we may repent and prepare for you; (week 2)
Reveal your love that we may rejoice in serving you; (week 3)
Open our eyes that we may recognize and welcome you. (week 4)
Make our lamps shine and proclaim to all the world that darkness is at end; there is Light for those who seek it and love for all. Amen.
If you have any concerns or thanksgivings, offer them here.
Say together in closing:
Creator of the stars of night,
Creation’s everlasting light,
Jesus, Redeemer, save us all,
And hear your people when we call.
Connect With Us
Rector’s Office Drop-In Time
Rev. Jen has set her office drop-in day as Wednesday of each week from 9:30 – 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 – 3:30 p.m. for anyone who would like to stop in and visit. You are always invited to make an appointment for a time convenient for you. Also, she has chosen Mondays as her Sabbath day. Rev. Jen will be out of the office December 6, 14-16, 26-30.
The Third Sunday of Advent
Sunday Morning In-Person Worship Service, December 11, led by Rev. Dr. Jennifer Oldstone-Moore, 10:15 a.m.
You can connect to the service via Zoom. Click on this link to connect. If you have not used Zoom before, you will be prompted to download Zoom, go ahead and do that. When you enter the meeting you should be able to see and hear others and others can see and hear you. If you come in a little late, please listen for a moment before speaking. In order to see everyone, go to Gallery view (upper right on PCs and upper left for Macintosh). When we get started everyone except the speaker will be muted. If you are reading or playing music, please be sure to unmute yourself.
If you are connecting via telephone dial 301-715-8592 and when prompted enter the Meeting ID: 858 0497 0006 and press #, then enter the password: pray and press # again.
Click here for the service booklet for December 11.
The Latest Updates
The Visual Commentary on Scripture (VCS) is an on-going publication that uses art, theology (theology is basically “talking about God”), and scripture to experience and understand the Bible in new ways. In Advent, VCS has a specially designed four group sessions for a striking and beautiful way to engage Advent. If you are interested, let Rev. Jen know: we can plan an in-person and/or on-line (or on-line hybrid) four week series using these resources. We will set up a special Bible study for Advent. If you’d like to access VCS yourself, the website is: https://thevcs.org/
The Non-Food Pantry would love to have homemade Christmas cookies again this year! They will be putting them in the NFP treat bags for distribution on Saturday, December 17. If you bake them ahead of time you are welcome to store them in the St. Andrew’s freezer or bring them just before that date. Thanks in advance!
CHRISTMAS FLOWER REMEMBRANCES
Christmas flower remembrance forms have gone out. We ask that those be returned by Sunday, December 18. Greening of the church will take place that day after the service. Remembrances will be printed in the service sheet on Christmas.
THE LONGEST NIGHT SERVICE
This will be on Wednesday, December 21, 7:00 p.m. It is a quiet service especially for those who are grieving or who find the jingle bell season difficult. Please reach out to people you know in the community who have experienced loss and for whom the holiday season is bittersweet.
TUESDAY BIBLE STUDY – 4:30 P.M. IN HAMILTON HALL
On Tuesday, December 13 we will be reading and discussing Matthew 1:18-25. You can find the week’s readings at lectionarypage.net. All are welcome!
The next Poetry Group meeting will be Tuesday, December 22, at 11:30 a.m. in Hamilton Hall.
2023 WALL CALENDARS
Please let the office know if any of you are interested in 2023 wall calendars that show the season and the holy days. If there is interest, we will order in what is needed.
ELEMENTARY SCHOOL YOUTH SUNDAY SCHOOL – VOLUNTEERS NEEDED
The youth are up to some fun – learning about Christian symbols and making Chrismon ornaments. Join them by being an occasional volunteer! Once you have completed your Safe Church training, all you have to do is show up – Macie and Jen+ have everything prepared. The youth come into the sanctuary for the Peace.
COMMUNION AT THE WATERS
Once a month Sunday services have resumed at The Waters. The next service will be Sunday, December 11 at 2:00 – 2:45 p.m. This will be a special service with carols and music from our youth. If you’d like to help with this ministry in any way, please contact Rev. Jen or Renee. All are welcome to attend!
ON-GOING COVID PROTOCOL
We continue to respond to both our county’s current CDC designation and to the current variant. Masking is optional. Those who serve bread and wine will mask so that anyone who comes to the altar can feel secure. Decisions on COVID policy have moved from the Reconvening Committee to Rev. Jen and the Wardens.
Prayers and Reflections for This Week
We have heard that the daily reflections and scripture readings provided during Lent were appreciated. The meditations are written by persons from Gobin UMC and Beech Grove UMC. They will be in the newsletter each week and go from Wednesday to Tuesday, except for Sunday. Whether you enjoy these every day or as the Spirit moves you, may this resource continue to bring you spiritual food for the journey. Blessings!
Click here to view the readings and accompanying links.
Non Food Pantry Latest
Saturday, December 17
• Noon to 3:00 p.m.
There will be a drive through distribution and sack lunches will be served. We are very grateful to Kate Berry, Martha Rainbolt, Carl Huffman, Karen Hirt Mannon, and Christiane Wisehart who have worked very hard to obtain supplies for the Non-Food Pantry. Kroger is not able to acquire enough products for us so the items are being purchased from a variety of sources. This is much more expensive. Donations to help offset this extra cost will be gratefully accepted!
Top 3 Needed Items
Your prayers are asked for:
The family of Jack Angleton, brother of Peggy Angleton
Haile Bane, grandson of Joanne Haymaker
Beth Benedix, friend to many of us at Saint Andrew’s
The family of Lee Bird, nephew of Lucy Wieland
Douglas Butler, brother-in-law of Claudia Butler
Richard A. Butler, father-in-law of Claudia Butler
The family of Maureen Carkeek
Adam Cohen, friend of St. Andrew’s
Michael Condra (Deceased)
Family & friends of Michael Condra (grieving)
The family of Claris Donovan, friend of Jen+
Bernice Emrick, mother of Karen Hirt Mannon
Nancy Ferriani & the family of Bob Ferriani, friends of Warren & Connie Macy
Katie Gleichman, relative of Jim Ensley
Kimberly Heithaus, niece of Joe & Jenny Heithaus
Shandol Hoover, friend of Dave & Sue Murray
Terumi Imai, friend of Jen+
Lisa Breese Kincaid, daughter of Bob & Mimi Breese
The family of Terry Klaus, father of Carrie Klaus
Grayson Lyons, great nephew of Peggy Angleton
Micah, friend of Sara Nimori & Ross Whitten (grieving)
Bryan Murray & the Murray family
Lucas Murray, grandson of Dave & Sue Murray
Sarah Oldstone, sister-in-law of Jen+
Mike Schmidt, brother of Renee Hood
Elizabeth & Natalie Sheffler, daughter & granddaughter of Page & Narda Cotton
Jerry Taylor, friend of Warren & Connie Macy
Sydnor Thompson, brother of Harriet Moore
Diana Van Middlesworth (for healing)
The family of Verl Wisehart, father of Christiane Wisehart
Diocesan Cycle of Prayer: St. John’s, Bedford: Ms. Rebecca Holbrook, Sr. Warden.
Our companion dioceses: The Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil: The Most Rev. Mauricio Jose Araujo De Andrade, Primate of Brazil and Bishop of Brasilia. The people and Diocese of Haiti and Saint Andre’s in Mithon.
Anglican Cycle of Prayer: The Anglican Church of Kenya.
Birthdays: Dennis Knuth, December 12; Joe Heithaus, December 13
Anniversaries: Dawna and Larry Wilson, December 17.
THE COMMON CUP, INTINCTION, AND FULL COMMUNION
I would like to discuss our returning to communion by wine via the common cup.
Background: The Diocese of Indianapolis has stated that we may return to full communion (both bread and wine), but that receiving the wine can be by common cup only. Several parishioners have had questions about this. Here’s what I’d like you to know at this point.
- The Vestry voted and approved our new COVID guidelines recommended by the Regathering Committee.
- We might use the words “full communion” to indicate that we are finally back to both bread and wine, but it has ALWAYS been true that taking either one is a complete communion. You do not need both to fully commune.
- The choice is yours, Eucharist by Eucharist. You can decide to let the cup pass because you have a cold; if you are worried about others you can pass; you can wait until we return to intinction. Just cross your arms over your chest—or just shake your head and quietly demur.
Yours in health, restoration, liturgical engagement, and literature review,