This Fall, I am using the metaphor of a tapestry to talk about Christian formation and discipleship at Holy Apostles. Like a tapestry that is made up of many intertwined threads, our formation as Christians needs to be multi-threaded. Our life with and in Christ affects every aspect of who we are, so growing in our faith and becoming better disciples of Jesus has to include all aspects of life as well. The metaphor beyond the individual level. Our communal life, too, is like a tapestry, as individuals are woven together by our involvement in the sacramental life of the church into something bigger than the sum of our parts. We are all threads in God’s great-big sacramental tapestry, which extends beyond just our parish and neighborhood, and finally covers the entire earth: “Praise be God’s glorious Name for ever, and may all the earth be filled with his glory” (Psalm 72:19).
On the parish level, we are weaving our life of faith using five “threads”: learning, personal devotion, fellowship, worship, and service. I am going to talk about all these threads in due time, starting with learning.
Learning is what we have commonly called Christian education. It is just one piece of our overall, holistic formation as disciples. As Jesus commands in Matthew 22:37, we are to love the God with all our hearts, souls, and minds. Learning, in the context of the Christian life, is the act loving God with our minds.
We have many opportunities to do this at Holy Apostles. I want to make you aware of two new ways to learn and love God that are starting in October.
As many of you know, we have a weekly Bible Study that meets in the Memorial Room on Thursdays from 11am-12pm. Starting this week, we are adding an online Bible Study called FacePsalm. FacePsalm is a Facebook group that will be devoted the Psalms. Each week on Monday or Tuesday, we will post the Psalm for the following Sunday on our Facebook group. Throughout the week we will discuss the psalm, think about it, and meditate on it. You’ll have opportunities to post your thoughts and to read each others ideas and comments. This is a way to be very intentional in preparing for the act of singing and praying the Psalm during the Sunday Eucharist service. By the time we get to Sunday morning, those of you in the FacePsalm group will have read and mediated on the Psalm beforehand, which I think will change the way the Psalm affects in worship, and the way that we pray and sing it. There is something special about the Psalms. If given half a chance, they settle into your bones and have a way of bubbling up within us when we need them most. Any extra time you spend reading and meditating on the Psalms will be repaid to you in times of trouble and difficulty. These days, Facebook is not known for its ability to provide any of us with peace of mind. The hope is that the FacePsalm group can add little drops of peace, serenity and joy to your newsfeed throughout the week. So, if you have a Facebook account, join FacePsalm!
The other new opportunity for learning this Fall is a series of “Basics” classes. This series comprises of four classes, offered on the third Sundays of the month at 9am. The classes will repeat throughout the year so that I will teach each class three times a year. So, if you’re in choir for part of the year, or you can’t make it to a class on a given Sunday, there will always be another opportunity! The classes are on four foundational topics: Bible, Church, Sacraments, and Liturgy. These classes are meant for anyone who is curious. They will be especially helpful to those who may be newer to Holy Apostles or to the Christian faith. They will provide an excellent opportunity to invite someone along who you know might have questions about faith, or who are seeking. The first class will be October 20th and will be “Sacraments: what they are and what they do.” I hope to see you there!