Theology Update for the Week of February 14

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Dear friends in Christ,

Sunday’s class on the collects of the Book of Common Prayer will consider prayers for Holy Week and Easter Week. These are different weeks, of course; the 1979 Book is the first to have a collect for each of the days in the week that begins with Easter Day. I continue being impressed how our collects are masterfully honed gems of Anglican theology. We meet on the fifth floor of the parish house at 10 o’clock. Because of the Washington’s Birthday holiday, this week’s class will not be repeated on Monday, February 15.

Tuesday, February 16, the Rector’s Christian Doctrine Class will be on the History of the Church I: “From house church to organized religion” – The Body of Christ is still broken. Although designed especially for people who would like to be confirmed or received in the Episcopal Church, the class is open to anyone interested in the topic of the day. It meets in Andrew Hall from 6:30 to 7:30pm.

Coming Wednesday, February 17, Jeremy Waldron will join me to begin a new class on The Good Samaritan.This first session will be on the meaning of the parable. We’ll look at its context in Saint Luke’s Gospel and also on the Old Testament background. (Leviticus will make an appearance.) On February 24, Professor Waldron will speak about Good Samaritan laws. Then the final class, on March 2, will turn to some cosmopolitan questions about the identity of our neighbor. We meet in Andrew Hall at 6:30 p.m.

On Friday at 12:45 p.m. Father Spurlock will continue his Bible study on the 2nd floor of the parish house. The group is working through the Gospel according to Saint Luke.

Then a week from Monday, on February 22, the “Good Books & Good Talk” seminar will discuss The Unnamed by Joshua Ferris. I have begun my re-reading of this novel, and am eager to discuss it. The protagonist, a successful New York lawyer, has an affliction that cannot be named – that seems to have no name – which, when it hits him, compels him to walk. He might freeze; he might be harmed; but no matter: he cannot stop. You can read an excerpt here (click on “excerpt”). What is this book telling us about the human condition? About love? About God? Anyone who reads the book is welcome to the seminar, which will run (sorry) from 6:15 to 7:45 p.m.

A personal note

Thanks for the many congratulations extended to me last weekend. I’m not worthy on either count: it was my daughter’s own good work that led to her dissertation, and as to being a priest for 30 years, well, if one just stays alive these anniversaries happen. But unworthy as I am, my thanks are genuine, for it is deeply touching to see how strongly we are bound together in God’s love, one with another.

Father Austin