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Our Citizenship


On the 4th of July we proudly celebrate our citizenship as Americans. We are grateful to those who have labored, fought and died that we might have this great priviledge.

We who are Christians must remember that we have another citizenship, a higher citizenship. St. Paul spoke of this when he wrote to the church at Philippi. To them and to all Christians he said, “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Phili. 3:20, NASB)

The idea of citizenship would have been quite meaningful to the Philippians because Philppi was a Roman colony located in Macedonia, north of Greece. William Barclay has an insightful comment on what citizenship would have meant to the believers at Philippi. “...Paul reminds them of one great truth, ‘Your citizenship,’ he says, ‘is in heaven.’ Here was a picture the Philippians could understand. Philippi was a Roman colony. These Roman colonies were amazing places. Here and there at strategic military centres the Romans set down their colonies. They were not like modern colonies out in the unexplored wilds; they commanded great road centres, and passes across the hills, and routes by which the armies must march. In such places the Romans set down colonies, whose citizens were mostly soldiers who had served their time -- twenty-one years -- and who had been rewarded with full citizenship. Now the great characteristic of these Roman colonies was that, wherever they were, they remained fragments of Rome. No matter where they were, Roman dress was worn; Roman magistrates governed them; the Latin tongue was spoken; Roman justice was administered; Roman morals observed. Even in the ends of the earth these colonies remained unshakably and unalterably Roman. So Paul wrote to the Philippians, ‘Just as these Roman colonists never forget that they belong to Rome, you must never forget that you are citizens of heaven; and your conduct must match your citizenship.’ Wherever the Christian is, his conduct must prove that he is a citizen of the Kingdom of Heaven.”

Roman colonies like Philippi were outposts of Rome in a alien or non-Roman land. So it is for the Christian for where we now live is not our true home. In writing of the saints of old the writer of Hebrews said, “All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.” (Heb. 11:13, NASB)

Those Rome colonists had a very distinctive outlook on themselves. They thought of themselves as Rome citizens. They would not allow their Roman identity to be altered or diluted by the land in which they happened to be living. So it should be with the Christian, who is a citizen of heaven. We need to clearly know our identity -- who and what we are. We need to hold to that identity tenaciously and live accordingly.

And how are we to live as citizens of heaven? First, as the Roman colonists dressed as Romans, we should dress as Christians. St. Peter said, “...and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” (Peter 5:5 NASB) And St. Paul wrote, “Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.” (Eph. 6:11 NASB) We should dress like citizens of heaven.

We should also talk like Christians, just as the Roman colonists spoke Latin rather than the language of the surrounding peoples. St. Paul tells us how we should talk. “Therefore, lay aside falsehood, speak the truth.... Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but such as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear....and there must be no filthiness or silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving thanks.” (Eph. 4:25, 29; 5:4, NASB)

The Roman colonies also followed the laws and moral standards of Rome and had Roman rulers. We today are surrounded by a society which is morally polluted and where justice has been corrupted. As citizens of heaven we should obey the moral and legal standards of our homeland, heaven. We also recognize the King of our true country and await His return to take us to that place He is now preparing for us.

Although a colony, like Philippi, was far from Rome, the people never forgot who they were, i.e. Roman citizens, and lived accordingly. We Christians need that same mentality and resolve. “For our citizenship is in heaven....” Let us never forget that.

by Frank M. Levi

Parish News

A Choral Evensong service was held on Whitsunday in celebration of the 450th Anniversary of the first Book of Common Prayer (1549). The sponsoring congregations were: St. Andrew’s, St. Philip the Evangelist (REC), The Church of the Good Shepherd (AACOM), and All Saints (ECUSA). The service took place at All Saints Episcopal. The Very Rev. Dr. John Rodgers of Trinity Episcopal Seminary was the preacher. A wonderful time was had by all who attended.

The ladies of the Woman’s Guild held their annual Rummage Sale on Saturday, June 5, 1999. The ladies raised money to support missions and other worthy projects. Thank you to the Woman’s Guild and to all who help make this sale a success.

On Sunday, June 13, 1999 two new members were added to the parish register. We welcome Robby and Anne Robertson into our fellowship and pledge to them our prayers and support.


CORRECTION


Mr. Carl Spencer’s name was inadvertently left off of the list of vestrymen in the last Parish Register.

Happy Birthday!


7 - Gladys Muir
11 - Fran Chessman
11 - Vicky Elliott-Cullen
21 - Sue Horosinski
21 - Brian Ardizzone
25 - Veronica Elliott-Harrison

Domestic Missions


Please pray for the Rev. Deacon and Mrs. Gregory Hoffberg (Sally), their children Elijah, Rebeckah, Alyssa, Christina, Victoria, Jacqueline, and the brethren of Community Reformed Episcopal Mission, in Burbank, California.

July 4th is Independence Day!

Oh, say, can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, through’ the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming,
And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?


A CHRISTIAN GARDEN


“But this I say, he which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly: And he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.” (II Cor. 9:6)

PLANT:

Five rows of P’s: Prayer; Perserverance; Politeness; Promptness; Preparedness.

Three rows of Squash: Squash criticism, Squash gossip, Squash indifference.

Six rows of Turn-ups: Turn up at church; Turn up with your Bible; Turn up with the Lord’s tithe and your offering; Turn up with a determination to win others to Christ.

Five rows of Let-us: Let us be faithful to God and His work; Let us be unselfish in our work; Let us be loyal to the church and the pastor; Let us be truthful and honest with God; Let us love one another and all His people.


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