St. Peter Newsletter – February 4, 2015

The Prodigal Son

The Sunday of the Prodigal Son

Two essential lessons are offered in the Parable of the Prodigal Son include:

  1. The break from God occurs because of sin.
  2. God is so merciful that every sin can be forgiven and communion with God restored.

The Prodigal Son began his journey back to his country when “he came to himself” and saw the deprivation to which he descended was not the life he was created to live. He ended up in the far country when he departed from the ways of his Father, a presumptuous decision that led him to deprivation.

When the son woke up he determined to return to the place made for him to live. The journey back was a journey of repentance, a shedding of the sins that led him into the far country and the place of deprivation. The Father, who still loved the son despite the son’s disobedience, was filled with joy when he recognized his son off in the distance and ran out to meet him and welcome him back.

We are the Prodigal Son. The Father is God. Jesus said, “I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repents.” So great is God’s love and mercy to us. Nothing can separate us from it.

From the Liturgy of the Sunday of the Prodigal Son:

When I disobey in ignorance thy fatherly glory, I wasted in iniquities the riches that thou gavest me. Wherefore, I cry to thee with the voice of the prodigal son, saying, I have sinned before thee, O compassionate Father, receive me repentant, and make me as one of thy hired servants.

 

Lenten Fasting Guide

This week is fast-free (no restrictions).

Next week, February 8-14 is a normal schedule (no meat Wednesday and Friday).

The following week, February 15-21 is Meatfare (no meat all week).

For a complete fasting schedule, visit the website.

 

Learn More About Lent

To learn more click this image
 

Fr. Hans Out of Town Wednesday through Saturday Next Week

Fr. Hans will be attending the Sophia Institute at Holy Archangels Monastery in Kandalia Texas (near Austin) from Wednesday to Saturday next week (February 11-14).

The Sophia Institute is a yearly gathering of scholars, priests, and others focusing on theology, culture and more.

View a video of the monastery:

 

Adam Roberts who spoke to us last month about learning how to bring the Gospel of Christ to our neighbors and others will be back at St. Peter’s to launch a series of classes that begin on Sunday, February 8 immediately following the Divine Liturgy.

This Sunday February 8 – Adam Roberts to Lead First Evangelism Training

Feeding of the 5000

Please plan on attending, particularly if you want to learn about how to talk about Christ to others.

This is an important project for St. Peter’s. We want to see St. Peter’s open to anyone who desires to seek and know Christ within the Orthodox Church.

The class begins immediately following a shortened coffee hour. Plan to stay until about 2:30pm. A light lunch will be provided.

Is this an extra commitment on our part? Yes it is. But it is a commitment worth making.

St. Paul’s Founders Day

Will you be attending the Founder’s Day dinner on February 21? If you do not have a registration pick one up from Barbara Zeena on Sunday.

Bible Study Continues

Bible Study continues on Tuesday evenings at 7pm at Church. We are studying 1 Corinthians.

A commentary on 1 Corinthians is available on the Are You Saved? website. Select “Download the chapter (pdf)” and print it out. Study it during the week. Fr. Hans will refer to it during the study.

Do this and by the time we are finished with 1 Corinthians, you will have a good handle on what the book is about and will be able to read it with greater profit.

TIP: When the print dialogue comes up, enter pages 2-20 (actual page count is less) to avoid printing the cover sheet and save your ink.

Everyone is welcome. Bring a friend if you would like.

 

Stewardship for 2015

Stewardship forms for 2015 are available in the back pocket of each chair or on the website.

Your financial support of the Church is very important because it enables us to continue and grow.

We are also instructed to support our Church in scripture.

How much to give? How about the equivalent of one hour of work each week?
 

 

Remember in Your Prayers

Angela Long who is recovering from pneumonia.

John, the brother of Pauline Poulos who is suffering from cancer.

Pat and Milam Evanoff. Milam is unable to make it to Church.

Tom and Jean, parents of Patty and Jerry.

Greg and his wife Margaret. Greg is the founder of Project Mexico and has cancer.

How should we pray for the sick? Remember them daily. Say their names and ask God to bestow mercy and grace on them.

 

The Sunday Scripture Readings

The Gospel Reading

Ancient Cover for the Bible

Sunday of the Prodigal Son

The Reading from the Holy Gospel according to St. Luke. (15:11-32)

The Lord spoke this parable: “There was a man who had two sons; and the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that falls to me.’ And he divided his living between them.

Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took his journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in loose living. And when he had spent everything, a great famine arose in that country, and he began to be in want. So he went and joined himself to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would gladly have fed on the pods that the swine ate; and no one gave him anything.

But when he came to himself he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, but I perish here with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me as one of your hired servants.”’ And he arose and came to his father.

But while he was yet at a distance, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet; and bring the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and make merry; for this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to make merry.

Now his elder son was in the field; and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. And he called one of the servants and asked what this meant. And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fatted calf, because he has received him safe and sound.’ But he was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him, but he answered his father, ‘Lo, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command; yet you never gave me a kid that I might make merry with my friends. But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your living with harlots, you killed for him the fatted calf!’

And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. It was fitting to make merry and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.’”

The Epistle Reading

Sunday of the Prodigal Son

Let Thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us. Rejoice in the Lord, O ye righteous.

The Reading from the First Epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians. (6:12-20)

Brethren, all things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be enslaved by anything. Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food; but God will destroy both one and the other.

The body is not meant for immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by His power. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I therefore take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! Do you not know that he who joins himself to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, “The two shall become one flesh.”

But he who is united to the Lord becomes one spirit with Him. Shun immorality. Every other sin which a man commits is outside the body; but the immoral man sins against his own body.

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God? You are not your own; you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.