Epiphany III

I recently ran across this quotation from Professor Peter Kreeft, a Christian philosopher at Boston College: “Protestants believe that the sacraments are like ladders that God gave to us by which we can climb up to Him. Catholics believe that they are like ladders that God gave to Himself by which He climbs down to us.”

While it seems to me to be a bit unwise to generalize about Protestant thought given that there are so many varieties of Protestantism, I think that his statement regarding the Catholic understanding of the Sacraments is an extremely valuable one.

Most serious Christians would certainly agree that living a Christian life is not at all easy. On the contrary, it is a constant and strenuous effort. The Prayer Book clearly recognizes this in our baptismal service where we pray for the person to be baptized “Grant that he may have power and strength to have victory, and to triumph, against the devil, the world, and the flesh.” Our struggles are many and various. Some are intellectual, struggles to know and to understand God's universal truths and His will for us as individuals. Some are moral, the struggles to know and to do what is right in a confused and confusing world. In many times and places the struggles are matters of actual physical courage, when Christians are subject to ridicule, discrimination, and persecution, even to the point of death.

It is true that we have many resources in this struggle. We have prayer, we have the Holy Scriptures, and we have the fellowship of the Church. All of these are of value, but I do not believe that they are sufficient in and of themselves.

My prayers may be earnest and well-intentioned, but I am a fallen and imperfect being and therefore must assume that I may be mistaken or deficient in at least some of what I pray for. After a lifetime of study and reflection I am still finding new insights into what the Bible teaches. That simple fact teaches me that my understanding of Scripture is always incomplete and therefore imperfect. It is indeed God's living word to us, but my limited human understanding means that even my most rigorous honest effort to be informed and led by it is always subject to the possibility of error. The fellowship of the Church is precious and necessary to me, but we as a body labor under the same limitations that each of us have as individuals.

That is why I believe so firmly that the Sacraments, and especially the Dominical Sacraments of Baptism and the Eucharist, are the greatest tools that we have for living a Christian life in a fallen world and the most powerful weapons that we have against all of the assaults of the powers of darkness. They are not dependent upon our limited human perception and flawed human will but rather are totally reliable channels of grace instituted by God's own command. They work at some levels that are accessible to our understanding but also, God promises, at deeper and infinitely more powerful levels of spiritual reality known only to Him. Faithful participation in the sacramental life of the Church is asking God to do for us more than we can do for ourselves, more than we have wisdom to ask or strength to accomplish, in order to strengthen and reassure us in the struggles of this life and to bind us ever closer to Him forever.

-- Father Bragg+

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.


Services and Events

Sunday Services, 7:45 AM, 9:00 AM, & 11:15 AM (for online participation for the services go to: https://www.facebook.com/saintsofscotland/ )

Sunday School at 10:30 AM

Monday, January 22, 2024 Vestry meeting, 7:30 PM, church undercroft, important for all vestry members to be in attendance as budget will be voted on to send to annual meeting

Wednesday, 12 noon, Holy Communion and anointing for healing

Annual Parish Meeting — Sunday, January 28, 2024, immediately following a combined service at 10:00 a.m.  It is very important that all parishioners attend this meeting, as the Parish’s budget and other business matters will be discussed and voted on.  If you cannot attend this meeting, please fill out and sign a proxy form and give it to the Senior Warden or a member of the vestry.  Proxy forms are on the narthex table as well as posted on the bulletin board in the undercroft along with the Annual Meeting notice. You can also respond to this email and by stating that you want to provide your proxy to the Rector, Senior Warden, Junior Warden or a member of the vestry.

Saturday February 17, MEN'S GROUP, 8:30 AM, breakfast by Chef Extraordinaire Claude Crump, Grits by Fr. Roddy, Bible study by Fr. Bragg.  Great food and fellowship

Each month parishioners provide food for the Christ House food bank and things needed for babies and infants to the local crisis pregnancy center. St. Andrew & St. Margaret parish has a long history of helping others in the community.  Please take a look at the lists below and, if you can, please provide some of the needed items.  You can also help by donating money  through the secure donation button in this e-letter by selecting Charity & Mercy in the drop down menu on the donation page. Your help is needed. Thank you.

Food Donations 
Please help this month with a food donation if you are able. Christ House is very thankful for the food we provide to them each month. Please also buy low sugar cereals (and not the kid's types that have lots of sugar).  Current needs include the following:
• canned meats (chicken, corned beef, spam)
• peanut butter
• jelly
• tuna
• canned vegetables (corn, green beans - (regular and low sodium)
• individual fruit cups (low sugar)
• canned fruit (low sugar)
• cereal (low sugar)
• pasta (regular and gluten-free)
• instant potatoes
• Macaroni & cheese kits
• Coffee, cooking oil, flour, sugar

List of Needs for MaRIH Center (crisis pregnancy center)
MaRIH Center with its all volunteer staff provides help to mothers-to-be and mothers in need.  If you can provide some of the items that are needed, please do so. (You can leave the donations where the food for the food bank is collected on the pew in the undercorft.)

Especially Needed
 In Bold and  * are a critical need.

Diapers (sizes newborn, 1, 2, 3, 4*, 5*, & 6*)
Baby wipes*
Diaper rash ointment
Winter Clothing:0-3 mo*, 3-6 mo*, 12-18 mo*, 2T*
Baby shampoo
Baby blankets*
Formula: Simulac Advance Formula*
Formula: other but not recalled
Wash clothes
Hooded towels
Grocery gift cards*
Copyright © 2024 St. Andrew & St. Margaret of Scotland, All rights reserved.

Copyright © 2024 St. Andrew & St. Margaret of Scotland, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
St. Andrew & St. Margaret of Scotland
1607 Dewitt Avenue
Alexandria, VA 22301-1625