From the Royster Reporter to You
February 2019 Newsletter Excerpts
A Note From The Pastor
For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. (1 Corinthians 11:26)
We buried George Fitch today. It was a bitterly cold morning for a graveside service. A service in the middle of the day, in the middle of the week, yet folks came. Folks from Royster came to brave the elements and stand with Joan in her mourning.
St. Francis of Asisi famously said, “Preach the Gospel at all times. When necessary, use words.” In the cold wind, standing by a grave, Royster folks preached. They preached the presence of Christ through their own presence. They preached Christ’s solidarity with those who mourn by joining Joan in her mourning. Perhaps most poignantly, by showing that Joan was important enough to come out in bad weather, Royster folks preached that Joan was important to God.
The scripture above is often spoken during a celebration of the Lord’s Supper. Paul en-courages the church that in our action, in our sharing of the Eucharist, we are preaching. We are preaching something vital, something important. I love this passage because it reminds us that the one with the robes and the written words does not have proprietary claim to the Good News. Christ is preached most eloquently by those who eat and drink the holy meal.
Today, there were words spoken about George. I had the honor of praying for him, read-ing scripture, and commending his eternal soul to our loving God. It was cold, so my proclamations were brief.
Had I preached for hours, I could not have improved on the vital, affirming proclamation of the Good News given by friends who came and joined Joan.
This is who Royster is. More importantly, this is who Royster is called to be. We are a congregation of people who proclaim Christ’s love and presence by caring for each other and our community.
Thanks be to God.
Grace and peace,
Lent devotional with Carol Bayma
Interrupting Silence: God’s Command to Speak Out
Over the years Royster has provided and sometimes published a variety of devotional booklets for the seasons of Advent and Lent Once we focused on more than twenty prophecies of the Messiah and another time on forty of the less familiar Lenten hymns. This year we were not so ambitious, but we are trying something new. A weekly, on-line devotional for Lent will draw materials for brief study, reflection and prayer from a new book by Walter Brueggemann, Interrupting Silence: God's Command to Speak Out (2018).
This devotional exercise will comprise eight sessions that address personal and public issues challenging Christians to look squarely into several faces of oppression that silences groups of people in our culture and society today. Brueggemann will help us look at pertinent portions of Scripture and we'll take a peek at some of the confessional statements of our church to engage what we understand God says to us on these topics. The devotional work will be your reflection and prayer.
The eight pieces will be sent to participants in eight emails, beginning just before Lent. Each will contain prayer starters for opening and closing your time to consider a particular “oppressive silence,” as identified by Brueggeman. Scripture references will be listed, a topical verse will be quoted. Two paragraphs of application follow.
Some of us may be inspired to look beyond what Brueggeman (and/or Bayma) have proposed as pertinent application of the scriptural themes. You add your own time for reflection. (ten minutes? thirty? two hours of research?) Three or four questions are provided to seed that process.
There are two paths to join in. Both will use email. One permits you to use the material as a strictly individual and private devotional – you and the Holy Spirit. You could still reply to the sender, if you find a typo or need clarification. Maybe you want to ask a question about the process or have decided to change your mind and be added to a small email group, which is the second and heartily encourage method – for building the “communion of the saints.”
For small-group sharing, e-mail group will consist of four or five persons. Each individual will agree to participate in that group by sharing her or his own reflections on one (and only one) of the listed questions. 100 to 150 words should make it manageable for all. Each member of the small group will respond to the reflections of others in the same small group in similar length and with respect and kindness. That means that over a four-or five-day period, you will have a private devotional time, you will write and email one ‘original’ reflection and you will respond to the reflection of three or four others, while they are responding to yours.
Please sign up below by writing ‘Lent Devotional Sign-Up’ in the Subject and indicating which path you want to join in the Message: Individual or Small Group. Carol will reply to you personally!
preparing for ash wednesday
24-Hour Fast by Members of Royster Church
Please join your fellow members by taking some time on March 6, clearing your mind and your stomach, and getting to the root of what our faith is all about by participating in this fast. Biblically, fasting is abstaining from food, drink, sleep, or media to focus on a period of spiritual growth. Specifically, we humbly deny something of the flesh to glorify God, enhance our spirit, and go deeper in our prayer life. We have prepared a packet of several sheets of paper con-taining specific directions and supporting information con-cerning the fast. We have included all of the passages of Scripture referenced on the directions sheet plus one verse of a song. Please feel free to use any additional passages of Scripture that pertain to fasting or prayer during your fast, e.g., 2 Chronicles 20:3; Ezra 8:21-23; and Joel 1:13-14; 2:12-13. We have placed copies of this information in the Narthex and will mail this information to anyone who so desires. Please include Royster Church in your prayers during your fast.