Greening of the Church
Saturday, December 15 at 9:30am
The Greening of the Church is a festive event and a great way to support our altar ministry. We will be hanging ornaments on the Christmas tree, attaching candle standards to the pews, putting up wreaths, setting out the crèche, baking cookies and more. The children will be having a tableau rehearsal and are invited to make cards for those in the parish who are homebound. Readers will be practicing for Lessons & Carols and choirs will be rehearsing. Plan to join us on this morning! Coffee, bagels, pastries and juice will be served. Meet at the back of the church by the Christmas tree!
1 Thessalonians 3:6-13; Luke 21:25-36
Waiting & Hoping
- In Luke 21:25-26 Jesus says “There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on earth distress among the nations confused by the roaring of the seas and the waves. People will faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.” To what is Luke referring? What are some of the signs that you see now that point to the return of Christ?
- On Sunday, Canon Jonathan told us that in Spanish the word for “wait” and the word for hope, is the same: esperar. He also admitted that he didn’t like waiting! Think of a time when you have had to wait for something, or perhaps concerning someone or something for which you are still waiting. To what extent has your waiting also included hoping?
- Jesus tells us (v.34) “Be on your guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that day does not catch you unexpectedly, like a trap.” And (v.36) “Be alert at all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.” What does Jesus mean by this and what are some of the ways that you practice being on your guard and being alert to God and his coming Kingdom?
- Canon Jonathan invited us to keep a holy Advent. What are some of the ways that you will seek to do this?
- How might you take on board the prayer in 1 Thessalonians 3:12, “May the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, just as we abound in love for you. And may he so strengthen your hearts in holiness that you may be blameless before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all the saints.”
Daniel 7:9-14; Psalm 93; Revelation 1:1-8; John 18:33-37
- In our Gospel reading, Christ says that his kingdom is not ‘from this world’ (v. 36), meaning that his kingdom cannot be identified with any of the kingdoms of this world. Fr. Jonathan said that the chief characteristic of Christ’s kingship and of his kingdom is righteousness, which means when the people of God love the will of God and do the will of God. If we see this righteousness embodied preeminently in Jesus, what are the attributes of righteousness? How does righteousness differ from the justice that the nations enact?
- Our reading from Revelation says that when Christ comes in glory, the nations will wail. Why do think John says that? Do you identify with what John says?
- Christ says that those who listen to his voice will be witnesses to the truth. What do you think that means? What would it mean to be truth tellers in Pittsburgh? At Ascension?
1 Kings 17:8-16; Mark 12:41-44; Philippians 4:10-20
- On Sunday, Canon Jonathan talked about the choice the widow at Zarephath (1 Kings 17:8-16) and the widow at the temple (Mark 12:41-44) each made to trust God in their poverty.
- Can you recall a time when you have had to trust God when money was tight?
- What helps you to trust God when it comes to money?
- In his sermon, the first question about financial giving was, “Why should we give?”
- Jonathan taught that giving brings blessing to others, blessing to those who give, and blessing to God. How do you see that illustrated in Philippians 4:10-20 and how have you experienced this in your own life?
- Jonathan also spoke about how our financial giving, as with other areas of our lives, is both a duty and a joy. How does that language resonate with you?
- The second question in Sunday’s Sermon was, “How should we give?” Jonathan spoke about the OT principle of bringing God the first fruits of the harvest and how we too are to give “firstly” to God. He also referenced St. Paul’s injunction to give “proportionately” – “On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income…” (1 Corinthians 16:2, NIV).
- What does it look like for you to give “firstly”?
- Have you practiced giving to God systematically and, if so, how?
- The third question was, “How much should we give?” Jonathan outlined the basic biblical standard of the tithe (10% of our income).
- If you were in church on Sunday, do you recall the illustration about confusing the speed limit and the tithe? If so, what was the point of that illustration?
- What are your experiences with tithing?
Interested in learning more about Ascension? Anglican history? Contemplating membership? Want to get to know clergy and staff?
Please join us on Saturday, December 8th from 9am through lunch for an informative and fun morning designed both for those who are brand new and just want to know a bit more about the church, as well as for those who want to become members. At the end of our morning together, participants will have a great overview of Anglicanism and Ascension (which includes a quick tour of the Nave), will have a clearer notion of where they can connect and serve, and will have met several members of the staff team.
A light continental breakfast will be served at 9am. Childcare will be provided throughout the morning. We’ll end our time together as adults and kids gather for a pizza lunch. To register, fill our the form available here or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Mark your calendars and plan on coming!