“he took Bread; and when he had given thanks, he brake it”

--- Book of Common Prayer, page 80

As we prepare for Father Deacon Chris Fish's ordination to the priesthood and his first Mass, I would like to reflect a bit more on Christian priesthood and the Eucharist.

When we discuss the symbolism behind Jesus's blessing of bread at the Last Supper and His statement in John 6:35 that “... I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst,” we usually speak of the symbolism of the Breaking of Bread in the Passover Seder, where it represents both what is referred to as “the poor bread of Egypt,” a reminder that the Israelites suffered persecution in that country before Moses led them out into the wilderness, as well as a reminder of the miraculous provision of bread (manna) in the desert, showing that God will provide for His people. But there is another layer of symbolism in the Eucharistic Bread that is even beyond those.

While the Israelites were still in the desert God instructed them to make a special tent that Exodus 25 and 26 calls “The Tabernacle.” It was to be a place where the priests, who were the only ones allowed to enter it, could perform on behalf of the people the ceremonies prescribed for His worship. Part of those instructions were that the tent be divided into two parts: a larger, outer chamber called the Holy Place, and an inner room called the Holy of Holies, where the Ark of the Covenant containing the tablets of the Ten Commandments was to be kept. When Solomon built the first Temple in Jerusalem he recreated this tent in stone, and after that Temple was destroyed the builders of all subsequent Temples in Jerusalem did the same.

Further instructions were that in the Holy Place there was to be a table upon which twelve loaves of what the King James Bible calls shewbread, a bread baked by the priests using a very precise recipe, were to be placed along with cups or bowls of frankincense. This bread and incense were to be renewed every Sabbath, when the incense was burned as a sacrifice to God and the old bread was distributed to the priests to be eaten there in the Holy Place; it was forbidden for anyone else to eat it or for the priests to eat it anywhere else. The bread and the frankincense were the twelve tribes of Israel's sacrifice to God as a thanksgiving for past blessings and a request for His favor in the future.

One of the Hebrew terms which God uses to describe the shewbread in Exodus 25 is translated in the King James Bible as “the Bread of the Presence” is “lchm phnim l·phn·i,” the literal translation of which is “bread of faces to my faces.” The meaning is that in eating this bread in the Holy Place, the only place where it could be eaten, and the closest these priests could come spiritually “face-to-face” with God Himself, they would thereby be strengthened and equipped to perform their various assigned duties for God and His people.

Well, you may be thinking, what is that to me, I'm not a priest. But in a sense, you are. 1 Peter 2:5 says in the King James translation, “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” Verse 9 of the same chapter elaborates further, “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.”

This is the basis of the doctrine of the priesthood of all believers. Anglican, Catholic, and Orthodox doctrines all teach that there are three Christian priesthoods. The first is that of Christ, the Great High Priest. The second is that of the ordained priesthood. Just as Christ's sacrifice once for all time is made present in the Mass, so His unique priestly office is made eternally present in the world by choosing some Christians to represent Him in His ministries of the Eucharist and the pronouncement of forgiveness of sins. The third is the shared priesthood of all believers, the universal priesthood of the Church to show forth His glory by praising Him in worship and in living explicitly Christian lives in obedience to His will.

When the disciples sat at the Last Supper with Jesus they were face-to-face with God in a deeper and truer sense than the Old Covenant priests ever were in the Holy Place, and the blessed bread which Christ gave them to eat was and remains a greater source of strength for each of our priestly duties in the world than those Old Covenant priests could ever have known.

-- Father Bragg+

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.

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This evening and every Friday evening at 7:00PM until Good Friday -- Stations of the Cross and Lenten Supper. – If you can provide a soup and bread supper on one of these Friday evenings, please so indicate on the sign-up sheet on the bulletin board in the undercroft

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, 10:30 AM

Wednesday, 12 noon, Holy Communion and anointing for healing

Wednesday, 7:30 PM, Bible study with Father Bragg, church undercroft, "The Gospel of Saint Mark in the World of Saint Mark"

Saturday, March 9, 2:00 PM Requiem Service for Robert S. Boyd followed by a reception in the undercroft

Saturday, March 16, MEN'S GROUP, 8:30 AM, breakfast by Chef Extraordinaire Claude Crump, Grits by Fr. Roddy, Bible study by Fr. Bragg.  Great food, Bible study and fellowship

Monday March 25, 7:30 PM, Vestry meeting, members of the parish are always welcome

SAVE THE DATE: Saturday, April 13, Ordination of Fr. Deacon Chris Fish to the priesthood, more details to follow.

Sunday, April 15, Visitation of the Diocesan Bishop, The Right Reverend Donald Lerow: Please let the Rector know if you wish to be received or confirmed so proper arrangements can be made.

Updated 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
Spring/Summer Clothing: 0-3 month*, 3-6 month*, 2T
Baby shampoo
Baby blankets*
Formula: Simulac Advance Formula*
Formula: other but not recalled
Wash clothes
Hooded towels
Grocery gift cards*

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
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