Bishop and Rector’s Journal
Thursday, December 2, 2021
Dear Family and Friends of St. Philip’s, This has been an interesting week for me. On Friday, May Ruth and I took our daughter, Madeleine, son-in-law, Dave, and two grandchildren to Ormond Beach. Our oldest grandson, Finley, who is three and a half, delighted in running into and out of the surf. He ran non-stop for at least a half-hour. It was a time of pure joy for him!
Last Sunday was a good beginning for our new Church year. This Sunday will bring another change. The Prayer Books, Hymnals, and Bibles will be back in the pews. We will be working from them rather than putting the whole service in the bulletin. On Wednesday morning at 1 am, I picked up May Ruth’s sister, Sandra, at the Tampa airport. She came in from Mexico and will be living with us until the end of March. She plans to have a hip replaced. We got to our home in Leesburg at 3 am. For this reason, I am working Thursday and Friday of this week.
This evening I attended the Cursillo Ultreya in the auditorium. I sure had fun. I also learned that in the 1960s there were many high school dances in the auditorium. This is where Wilson and Geraldine Baker met! I have to say there were some “interesting” items of Christmas clothing. There’s no question that Claudette Newman-Dawes is our Karaoke queen! The financial stewardship numbers for 2022 are most promising. We are targeting a balanced budget of about $193,000. In trying to project final pledged income, we should exceed the 193K.
There will be a parish ECW/DOK Advent Program on Saturday, December 4, at 10 am. I have been asked to give a meditation regarding Mary and Martha hosting Jesus and his disciples in Bethany. The Program is a Zoom event. The meeting number is 867 7833 0539 with passcode 186034. The Men’s Club will meet next Thursday at 6 pm in the auditorium. I will have to miss this because May Ruth and I are to attend a Diocese of Florida Advent Party that takes place at the same time. I think this is for diocesan staff and clergy with spouses, As with this week, I will be at St. Philip’s on next Thursday and Friday.
Have you ever wondered how the books of the Bible found their way into the Bible? This is sometimes called making the canon. Our Old Testament was codified by Jewish scholars over a considerable period of time. All but two of the twenty-two Old Testament books came to the scholars in Hebrew. The books of Esther and Daniel were written in Greek. There are other Old Testament period books that are called the Apocrypha. This word means hidden. Thus the twenty-two canonical books are the revealed word of God while the Apocrypha books are the hidden word of God. A few years ago the fiction author, Dan Brown, wrote “The Da Vinci Code.” Brown falsely claimed the New Testament was determined by a small cadre of clergy and forced upon the people. This is not true! By 150 AD the canon was basically set. None of the 27 canonical books were written after 120 AD.
The letters of Paul, the Gospels, Acts of the Apostles, and other New Testament Scripture found their way into the canon by popular approval. The New Testament canon was grounded in the Sunday by Sunday experience of worship in the Churches. There are many non-canonical books that did not deserve to be in the canon. The Gospel of Thomas was not chronological in presenting Jesus’ life. In other books, the content could be weird or silly. There is an account of Jesus as a child in Egypt disagreeing with his playmates and striking them dead. Another story has Jesus in the carpenter’s shop miraculously stretching boards.
An interesting book that did not make the canon is the Protoevangelium of James. This book is about Jesus’ infant years. It did not make the canon because, in contrast to our four Gospels that mention Jesus’ siblings, the Protoevangelium proclaimed the perpetual virginity of Mary. Here we learn that Mary’s parents are Joachim and Anne. You will see Anne mentioned in one of the stanzas of the Christmas carol, “Venite Adoremus Dominum.” Anne is never mentioned in the New Testament books. Her name comes from the Protoevangelium.
In contrast to the mixed nature of the non-canonical books, all of our New Testament canonical books are serious. The biggest controversy was over Revelation. It was the last book to make the canon. By the way, if you find the book of Revelation hard to understand, it wasn’t a favorite of Martin Luther either. He disagreed with its theology and wanted the book dropped from the canon. With my love and best wishes, I remain, Your brother in Christ, Jay