The Mouse for
November 21, 2021
"Jesus answered, 'My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.'"

— John 18:36
Proper 29
Christ the King
Sermon: "So you are a king?"

Christ the King and the First Sunday of Advent present some of the most vivid and — troubling passages of Scripture — and they can seem quite out of place as the rest of the world gears up for the holidays.

What to make of them? Well, if Christ is our king and He says He is not from this world, then ultimately our allegiance is not to any power in this world. It also means that our faith does not originate in (and cannot be placed in) anything "from this world."

This has several implications. The first is that though it be called one, Christianity cannot be just another world religion, because it is not (as Jesus puts it) "from here."

The second is that the Church, whether the Jewish Church of Jesus' time or the nearly defunct Christendom of our own times, often bears little resemblance to God's kingdom.

The third is that the truth is the only thing that matters. Jesus says, "For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice" (John 18:37).

Come hear (or live stream) this and next Sunday's sermons to hear more our Messiah-King, and how knowing the truth about Him will change us.

Sunday, November 21, 2021

Holy Communion, 8 a.m.
Morning Prayer, 9:30 a.m.
Coffee Hour, after church.

Youth Acolyte, Readers, Coffee Hour, and Ushers schedule here.
Catechism Corner

The Vicar continues his weekly exposition of the Catechism, found in the Book of Common Prayer, pp. 845-862.

God the Son (pp. 849-850)

Q.       What do we mean when we say that he descended to the dead?
A.       We mean that he went to the departed and offered them also the benefits of redemption.

The Harrowing of Hell is a colorful story, but it is a problematic teaching. The Catechism's answer raises more questions than it answers. Who are the departed? Are they the "good pagans" like Plato? That's more Dante than Bible. And what are the benefits of redemption? Resurrection? By itself resurrection is insufficient, as Daniel 12:2 makes clear, since both the just and the unjust are raised from the dead.
 
It seems safest to say that what we mean when we say that Christ descended to the dead is just that: he really and truly died. That is, he suffered the penalty for sin. He threw His lot in with us and shared in our common mortality. As Jesus really and truly lived, so he really and truly died — as a man.
 
The benefit of redemption is for all of those who can say with faith that they are in Christ, even those who lived before Him. Hebrews 11 names some of them: Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Jacob, Esau, Joseph, Moses, Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and the prophets, as well as the women who received back their dead, raised to life again, those who were tortured, jeered at, flogged, put in chains, imprisoned, put to death by stoning, sawed in two, killed by the sword, and impoverished. "All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth" (Heb. 11:13).
 
Thus, what we really mean when we say that Christ descended to the dead is that all those who died in faith finally received what they were promised by that faith.

—JWD.
Sermon transcripts available on the website

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Flowers at St. Peter's

The floral guild is always grateful for donations. If you are interested in dedicating flowers in memoriam or for a special occasion, such as a birthday or anniversary, please send an email to stpeterschurch@optonline.net with the date and the name(s) to whom you would like to dedicate the arrangements.

You can either send a check to St. Peter’s (PO Box 1502, Millbrook, NY 12545) or put the check in the weekly offering with "flowers" on the memo line. You may also add a dedication in the bulletin or leave it anonymous.
Online Giving

St. Peter's is pleased to offer the convenience of online giving via our website. You may make a pledge payment or a one-time gift either by ACH or credit card. From the website menu, click on Serve > Make a gift online, or click here.
History Highlight

Highlights from Henry Chadwick's The Early Church (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1967), selected by the Vicar. Chadwick was the sometime Master of Peterhouse, Cambridge.

WERE THE EARLY CHRISTIANS RUDE?

"It was possible for the Jews to gain greater tolerance than the Christians partly because they were more opposed to any public disparagements of pagan cults. Both Philo and Josephus held that, while the God of the Bible was the only true God, it was wrong to insult the religious feelings of others, and they enjoined courtesy upon their fellow Jews. They were content to ask the imperial government for as much toleration as it accorded to other national religions, but were more interested in the defence of Judaism and is liberty of worship than in any active mission to convert pagans and to make them proselytes. For the Christians, by contrast, the raison d'etre of the church consisted in its reconciling role for all mankind, including Jew and Gentile alike, religious and even irreligious alike. Like Philo, St Paul disapproved of insulting pagan temples, but he took the lowest view of polytheistic religion. The paradox of the church was that it was a religious revolutionary movement, yet without a conscious political ideology; it aimed at the capture of society throughout all its strata, but was at the same time characteristic for its indifference to the possession of power in this world. Celsus was the first known person to realize that this non-political, quietist, and pacifist community had it in its power to transform the social and political order of the empire." (p. 69)
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Collect for Proper 29

Almighty and everlasting God, whose will it is to restore all things in thy well-beloved Son, the King of kings and Lord of lords: Mercifully grant that the peoples of the earth, divided and enslaved by sin, may be freed and brought together under his most gracious rule; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Text or call the Vicar at (845) 745-8160, or email him at jdell@stpeterslithgow.org, for prayer or a pastoral visit.
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The Mouse is compiled and edited each week by the Vicar. He asks that submissions to The Mouse be made by the Wednesday prior to Friday's edition. Please send submissions to jdell@stpeterslithgow.org. Thank you.