January 29 Week of 4 Epiphany

Dear Friends

Can you believe that February is nearly upon us?
Here are some of the things you need to know about the week (and month) ahead:

‘Table Team Training’ takes place this Saturday, January 31 from 9:30 -11:00 am. If you have an interest in serving the worship of the community through the ‘hospitality’ surrounding the liturgical setting of the ‘Table’, then please join uson Saturday for some training. Open to all who are interested (even if it is to ‘find out what it is all about’).
Pot Luck Lunch takes place this Sunday, February 1 immediately after worship. Plan now on staying for some good food and conversation, and a chance to meet some new folks!  Plan also on bringing something to share.
‘Rwandan Mission’ Discussion will take place during the Pot Luck. If you are interested in helping CtR take the ‘next steps’ in the development of our relationship with Mbyo Church, our sister parish in the Diocese of Kigali, then pull up a chair at the ‘Mission’s Table’ and join in the conversation.
Ash Wednesday Service takes place on Wednesday, February 18 at 6:00 pm. Please make sure you bring in your palm crosses from last year’s Palm Sunday service. We will burn them and use the ashes to help start our Lenten Journey.
‘Lenten Family Event’ takes place on Saturday, February 21 from 4:00 – 7:00 pm. This is becoming an annual event at CtR – we will gather for some fun (the ‘talent show’ returns), fellowship (over a Pot Luck Supper), and preparation (for our Lenten season).  Mark your calendars now and invite a friend to join you.
Looking forward to worshiping with you on Sunday.

Brian Campbell

Rector of Christ the Redeemer Anglican Church

‘Who’ is Living My Life?

Michelangelo Buonarotti,  The Conversion of St. Paul, 1542–45
Michelangelo Buonarotti,
The Conversion of St. Paul, 1542–45

I have been crucified with Christ.
It is no longer I who live,
but Christ who lives in me.

Galatians 2:20

This has to be one of the most provocative statements ever made by Paul.

He essentially denies his own role as the acting ‘subject’ of his life, claiming that he has been supplanted in this capacity by Christ!

Has he? Has his ‘self’ somehow been ‘replaced’ or ‘absorbed’ into Christ that he – as an ‘active self’ – no longer exists?

We are on holy ground here, in the presence of great mystery. How are we to understand and embrace this?

Note where the Apostle begins: he describes his life in terms of a ‘death’ and ‘resurrection’. “For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God.’ (2:19) This ‘dying-to-the-law’ is then described as being ‘crucified with Christ’ (2:20). His point seems clear: When the Father ‘was pleased to reveal his Son’ to Paul (1:17) and he was baptized ‘into Christ’s death’ (Rom. 6:3) Paul died to his old way of life, his old way of being. He then was raised to a life that would now be ‘lived to God’, a life now lived by ‘Christ who lives in me.’

Paull goes on to say that ‘he’ continues to ‘live’ his life: ‘And the life I now live in the flesh’ – that is, in the present historical embodied moment – ‘I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.’ ‘Faith’ in this statement is a hotly contested word. In the Greek it can mean both ‘faith in’ and ‘the faithfulness of’ someone. The question is: does the Apostle mean he lives by the ‘faithfulness of Christ’ or by ‘his faith in Christ’? My answer is, ‘why choose?’. We live ‘by-our-faith-in-the-faithfulness-of-Christ’ or we do not live at all!

But perhaps this answer gives us a clue as to how to grasp what the Apostle is saying.

We tend to think in ‘either-or’ categories rather than ‘both-and’ ones; that is, either ‘We’ live as the ‘subjects’ of our lives OR ‘Christ’ lives as the ‘subject’ of our lives. But what if it is ‘Both-and’? What if it is both ‘we-and-Christ’ living as the ‘subjects’ of our lives?

Could it be that the Apostle is provocatively speaking of the gracious, dynamic, interdependent, divine-human-partnership that has been generated by the faithfulness of Christ? Could it be that he speaks about a ‘union’ with Christ that is, at one and the same time, a ‘communion’, and not an ‘absorption’ or ‘replacement’ of our ‘selves’? A ‘union-and-communion’ which is analogous to the Union-and-Communion within the Trinity?

I told you we were on holy ground; that we were being provocatively drawn into great mystery.

Why not take a moment and contemplate this mystery; contemplate what your life would be like IF we truly believed that ‘we’ – both personally and corporately – lived our lives in and through and as this ‘gracious-dynamic-divine-human-partnership’?

January 21 Week of 3 Epiphany

Dear Friends

Can I ask you to do a ‘calendar check’ with me as we approach the month of February? Here are three dates to highlight on your calendar:

Sunday, February 1, 2015 we will hold our next POT LUCK LUNCH. This is a great way to have some fun and deepen our connections with one another. Plan now on staying for lunch and bring something to share.
Wednesday, February 18 is ASH WEDNESDAY and marks the start of our Lenten Season. We will gather at 6:00 pm that night for worship, including the ‘Imposition of Ashes’ (this also is the cue to remind you to bring in your ‘palm crosses’ from last year’s Palm Procession!).

Saturday, February 21 is the day we host our ‘Lenten Family Event’. As in the past, this event will be filled with fun, fellowship and preparation for Lent! Mark the date on your calendar now, the exact ‘time’ will be set shortly (but will include dinner!).

Mission Opportunity: Hank Thompson’s ESL class for Chinese international students and scholars attending ODU continues to thrive on Sunday afternoons. Hank has five students who would love to have a ‘Conversation Partner’ from CtR. If you have an hour to enjoy a cup of coffee and conversation with an eager partner, then please speak to Hank (hthompjr@gmail.com) or Stan Bustetter (varunner37@gmail.com).

Prayer Request: Our Leadership Council gathers for an organizational day this Saturday from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm. Please pray that God will quickly bond us together and form us (organizationally) for our year ahead.

Looking forward to worshiping with you all on Sunday.

May God’s peace be with us all.

Brian Campbell

Rector of Christ the Redeemer Anglican Church

For Whom and For What?

CTR Cross CLK_6820In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.
Ephesians 2:22

It is undoubtedly true that when the Scriptures speak about ‘Christ and the Cross’, they do so primarily in terms of his person and work being ‘for us and for our salvation’, as the Creeds declare to us. Paul’s words in the Epistle to the Ephesians bear this out in spades.

The Daily Office Lectionary has had us reading through this Epistle sequentially, and today we come to chapter 2:11-23.  Here Paul, speaking to a primarily Gentile audience, rejoices that because of the cross those ‘who once were far off have been brought near’ to God and into the People of God.  He goes on declare that Christ became and remains ‘our peace’ having ‘broken down in his flesh (his incarnate and crucified body) the dividing walls of hostility.’  He has done this by ‘creat(ing) in himself one new man in place of the two’ –thus becoming the New and Last Adam giving birth to a New Humanity, — and ‘by reconciling us both to God in one body through the cross’. Paul then draws this train of thought to a conclusion by saying: ‘For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.’

There you have it:  New Creation through Reconciliation heading towards Consummation and all because of‘Christ and the Cross’!

The glorious good news of the Gospel is that through the Son (his life, death and vindication), in the Spirit (given as gift through faith and baptism), we (both ‘Jew’ and ‘Gentile’) have access to the Father (we can draw near to the One through whom and for whom we were created).  All of this is truly ‘for us and for our salvation’.

But Paul does not stop here!

He goes on to speak about our present reality, where this New Humanity, ‘built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets’ — the Scriptures — ‘Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone’ is being built up ‘into a holy temple’.  The purpose of this ‘new creation’ and this ‘reconciliation’ is the building up of this ‘holy temple’.

And to what end?

‘In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit’


‘Christ and the Cross’ are indeed ‘for us and for our salvation’ giving us ‘access to the Father’, BUT ‘Christ and the Cross’ are also ‘for the Father’ that he, through the Spirit, might have ‘access’ to us! That he might make of us ‘his dwelling place’.

That truly is a stunning thought.

I encourage you to reflect on and rejoice in it this day.

January 14 Week of 2 Epiphany

Greetings All,

This is the week where we truly ‘jump-start’ the New Year! Consider the groups that begin afresh this week:

Wednesday Evening Women’s Group starts up TONIGHT, January 14 beginning at 7:00 pm at the home of Temple Richardson (1510 S. Elanor Court, Norfolk VA 23508). The group begins a study of 1John this evening.

Thursday Morning Women’s Group meets tomorrow morning, January 15 beginning at 9:15 am at the church. They too begin a study on 1 John. Both these groups are open to any and all women.

Men’s Group reconvenes this Saturday, January 17 beginning at 8:30 am at the Church. We continue our practice of Morning Prayer followed by a ‘Sharing of a Life Story’ and concluding with a discussion of a chapter of Peter Walker’s book, The Jesus Way. All men are welcome and encouraged to join in.

Chinese Student and Scholar Ministry is taking a trip to the Chrysler Museum after worship this Sunday, January 18. David Snouffer tells me they have 20 Chinese students/scholars signed up already and are needing many of us to volunteer to both drive and befriend the students while enjoying the museum. If you can participate in this, please email David at da.snouffer@verizon.net.

Looking Ahead:

The ‘Mothers of Young Children’ Bible Study gathers NEXT Friday morning, January 23 at 9:30 at the church.

‘Inter-generational Family Lenten Event’ has been set for Saturday, February 21 from 4-7 pm. Mark your calendars now and plan on entering Lent through this fun and helpful evening.

I encourage you to prayerfully consider the Spirit’s prompting regarding your participation in any of these groupings. The key to the Christian life is to discern God’s voice and act on what you hear!

Look forward to worshiping with you on Sunday.

Brian Campbell

Rector of Christ the Redeemer Anglican Church