PRAYING SHAPES BELIEVING
A Meditation for You
New Beginnings 

It’s a new year, so let’s revisit what we’re doing here on Fridays: Praying shapes believing. In Latin, lex orandi lex credendi, the way we pray determines the way we believe. And, as pledged in the covenant of Baptism, the way we believe has the potential to determine the way we act, with God’s help. 

Like our Catholic cousins, we Episcopalians are liturgical people. We worship Christ with ceremony and ritual. On any given day and time, the communion of our sisters and brothers in Christ from all over the world share our devotions to God, from the Book of Common Prayer

We have recently completed a season of expectant waiting, Advent, culminating in the birth of Christ. Christ is the One for whom we have waited, our savior from worldly clamors! Yet as we move toward the liturgical season of Epiphany, we discover that we still have more waiting to do! 

Our secular calendar announces that it’s January. A long month, usually cold and grey. The name January derives from Janus, of Roman mythology, the god of beginnings, gates, transitions. Janus presided over the beginning and ending of conflict; war and peace. 

The liturgical calendar for January gives us three feast days, including that of The Holy Name. Like Jesus, we all come into being with a name and also potential, hope and maybe a few visitors to our mother’s bedside. So the reading from Philippians 2:5 appointed for this feast day gives us something to ponder throughout a long month: Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus

If Jesus’s name is holy, and we come into being the same way—sent by God in the fullness of time—are not our names holy, too? What makes His name holy? Ours? Actions shaped by belief. Belief shaped by prayer. Prayer shaped by desire for relationship.

Eugene Peterson’s contemporary take on Paul and Timothy’s advice for the people of Philippi then and, why not us, today can be found in The Message

If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care—then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.

It’s a time for new beginnings liturgically and chronologically. Maybe it’s a good thing after all that January has 31 days. May peace be with us as we pray, believe, act and wait. 

Narrative and photography by Stephanie Shareck Werner, Copyright 2021. Photo taken in fall 2016 atop Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park, Maine, the highest point along the North Atlantic seaboard and the first place to view the sunrise in the U.S. from October 7 through March 6. 

-The Message, Eugene H. Peterson; Philippians 2:1-4, p. 983. Copyright 2002.
Join us Sunday
Sunday Morning
Please join us online Sunday for a Morning Prayer at 10am. Let's us be together in Spirit! The link to watch and get the bulletin are in the schedule below.

Sunday Evening
If you watched the Christmas Eve Special you heard Harrison & Father Rock discussing the Christmas Star. Please join us on Sunday evening at 5pm for our Contemplation Service at 5pm where Dr. George Spagna will help us dig deeper. It will be a blessing to us all!
A Year in Review
It's been a memorable year to say the least. Despite many hardships our church has come together in beautiful and safe ways that still build community and love amongst us. We've done a lot together in the midst of great hardship. We've donated food to the Food Pantry at First Baptist & our own, moved the stone in the Memorial Garden, held a Pentecost Parade, welcomed new tenants to their homes through Habitat for Humanity, graduations, funerals, new babies, held Zoom supper clubs, grief groups, and book clubs. We have remodeled bathrooms, bought a new organ and put up a new swing. We've held virtual talent shows and had a Christmas Special. We've held countless virtual services in daily noonday prayers, Wednesday & Sunday Morning Prayer and outdoor Eucharist Services. We've even eaten together at the food truck before Compline. Harrison built us a new altar. The girl scouts built us a new emergency food pantry. We provided Christmas gifts for families of the Hanover ARC. From Advent bags to the blessing of the Animals, it's been a year that we are able to still find beauty. We've prayed, laughed and cried with each other, sharing in each other's joys and sorrows. We are stronger for this year and pray that 2021 ushers in goodness and health for us all.
Staying Connected
Sunday, January 3, 2021
  • 10am- Morning Prayer Worship (online)
  • Link to watch service
  • Link for bulletin
  • 5pm- Contemplative Worship (online)
  • Link to watch service

Monday, January 4, 2021
  • 10:30am- Grief Group (online)
  • Link to join
  • 12pm- Noonday prayers (online)

Join us daily for Noonday Prayer online here. You can follow along with the service on page 103 of the Book of Common Prayer or visit BCPonline.org (Click on "Daily Office" and then "An Order of Service at Noonday")

If you can't join us live-time, no worries. All of these services can be viewed at your convenience afterward on Facebook. All our Sunday morning and Contemplative services will be posted on our YouTube Channel, "St. James the Less Ashland VA." You can access that here.
Helpful Links
St. James the Less
125 Beverly Rd. | Ashland VA 23005 | (804) 798.6336