On a Feast of Dedication

On a visit to Jerusalem, Jesus was present for the annual Hannukkah, a festival of lights, marking victories by Judas Maccabeaus over a Syrian king who sought to destroy the faith of the Jews and turn their temple into a pagan shrine.

Judas’ heroic exploits were celebrated because he had restored Old Testament faith in the land, returned a proper Altar to its central place in the temple, and restated that sacrifices there were to be made only “as the law commands.”

In this setting – that of the Feast of Dedication – Jesus points to the fact that he himself is to be understood and celebrated as one designated, set apart, consecrated as the means of proper approach to God. Indeed, he says flat out, “I and the Father are one” (John 10.30). For this, the Jews thought him guilty of blasphemy and took up stones against him. Never the less, he later declares
even more boldly, “I am the way, the truth, the life” (John 14.6).

The long anticipated Dedication/Consecration of our new house of God, New Parish Hall, is scheduled for Sunday, September 27th, when Archbishop Kolini, our own two bishops, MacBurney and Rodgers, together with a host of other distinguished guests will be here for that purpose.

A preliminary announcement of the festivities was included in the last Messenger, and full and final details of the two-day event will be mailed separately in late August. Whatever, save the day and the Saturday before so that the Parish may be totally prepared to receive the panoply of spirits God is sending into our midst and to celebrate all that he intends for us in these things.

It will be in every sense “a festival of lights” for the Parish: it will make clear to us that New Parish Hall is God’s temple amongst us until an even grander one can be erected to his glory, which is our intent; it will celebrate that therein is where God himself dwells and meets us when we come properly prepared to meet him; it will vindicate our determination of some sixteen that our place of
worship ought at all times be cleansed of every pagan teaching and observance that hinders divine fellowship; it will confess; again that our Lord himself has been consecrated both Shepherd yet Lamb for our salvation.

– JR Hiles
Adapted from a sermon, 4/29/07