(In The Life Of The Church)
Saint John’s Eve (by jamie)
Greetings. Hope this finds you well. You might have heard that we are doing our first ever Saint John’s Eve potluck on Sunday at 5pm, so I thought I’d use my newsletter week to talk about that.
So. Aside from the big points on the Church calendar (Christmas, Easter, Pentecost, etc.), there are a bunch of feast days for different saints or events. For example, we observe the feast day of Saint Francis, as well as All Saints Day. Monday is a day known as the Nativity of John the Baptist. Why? That’s a long story, but he’s about 6 months younger than Jesus, so if we celebrate Jesus’ birthday on December 25th, naturally we’d want to celebrate John the Baptist’s birthday about 6 months earlier in the year.
[[Side note you can skip if you’re just wanting to get straight to the point: these dates are also placed near the winter and summer solstices. The why of that is an interesting story, and I’m sure if you look into that, you won’t feel like you’ve wasted your time. To gloss over the story, but get to the point, the solstices have had great cultural significance for about as long as there has been culture, and these significant days had Christian holy days paired with them.
Perhaps more interestingly, there’s some poetry at work in the placement of the nativities of Jesus and John the Baptist. One line that you might know from the lips of John the Baptist is “he must increase, I must decrease” (he’s talking about Jesus). It’s on bumper stickers and stuff now. But it’s also on display in the world around us because the Summer solstice (that’s today) is the day after which the daylight begins to decrease, ever so slowly (2 minutes a day or something), for the year, while the Winter Solstice is the day after which the daylight begins to increase, ever so slowly. So alongside these natural phenomena, we find our story breathing to life.]]
A more pressing question you might have is why we would take the time to mark the birth of John the Baptist, let alone by having it mirror the way we mark the birth of Jesus. Here are a few reasons:
1) Jesus straight up says John the Baptist is the greatest man to ever have lived (Mt. 11:11), so perhaps we should give his story more than a glance.
2) Luke’s gospel takes the time to narrate the story of John’s birth in detail. You may or may not have noticed that, since we collectively spend more time in Luke 2 with little baby Jesus. But Luke starts with a 75 verse (!) narration of how John the Baptist came to be in the world as though that story had something to do with the Jesus story (and it definitely does). John’s work of “preparing the way” started before he was yelling in the desert.
3) John the Baptist is a figure that has a lot to offer us in this season of Ordinary Time. This is the season where we’ve rolled through all the other movements of the liturgical calendar and are trying to embody what we’ve learned in some way. We are living within the question of what it means to be people who are being formed in the way of Christ in our particular time and place. With that comes a lot of trying to live meaningfully in the absence of certainty. We want to get it right, we want to live and love well, but when it comes down to it, we don’t have Jesus in the flesh to give us a thumbs up or down. John lived his entire life preparing the way for the Christ, and seemed to think that baptizing Jesus was some sort of culminating moment in his life’s work, yet the last we hear from John, he is in jail, soon to be executed, and he is wondering if Jesus really is the one everyone has been waiting for. You will not find a great track record of certainty in the Bible, even among the figures characterized as the greatest. So perhaps there is hope that God might be drawing us in to God’s work in the world in spite of our uncertainty.
Anyway, aside from all of this, sometimes is just nice to get together and eat. So I hope you’ll come.
If you have any questions or want to talk more about any of this, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
St. John’s Eve Potluck (6/23)
On Sunday, June 23rd, at 5pm, we’ll gather for a potluck and short liturgy for St. John’s Eve. This is the eve of the nativity of John the Baptist, so this is a sort of Christmas in June. We’ve never done it before, but you should come because it’s going to be your new favorite thing.
At UBC we put together meal calendars for our families who have just had babies or who might need a little extra help for one reason or another. We are currently running three different calendars for families with new babies and have several more starting very soon!! We could really use your help to make sure that we can serve our families during these transitional seasons! If you are interested in serving in this way please contact Taylor at email@example.com
UBC Summer Book Club
There is still time to pick up a copy of Understanding God’s Will by Kyle Lake, and join us for our book club discussion on the 26th. There will be copies available to grab in the office on Sunday. If you have any questions, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Parishioner(s) of the week
Jon Davis for setting up our new wifi network. It is very fancy and there is internet everywhere now.
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Text: Luke 8:26-39 (Taylor is preaching!)
SWCC summer movie days 6-26, 7-10, 7-24
Feast of Saint John 6/23
Youth Camp 6/29 - 7/1
Young Adult/College Lake Retreat 7/12-14
Work is Worship
Money Counter: Jen Carron
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