Church Family Newsletter | January 7, 2022
Happy New Year!
As you know, our family went down to participate in the annual Rose Parade in Pasadena. This was Evan's first year marching with the immediate family - Gwyn and the rest of our kids. But not only that! There were NINE other extended family members that joined them this year - my brother and his kids, my sister and one of her daughters, and then two of my youngest brother's kids. This made 14 family members represented in the overall total. And, finally, Arnold Blankson marched too. (It was a lot of fun hanging out with Prudence and my sisters-in-law on the sidelines.)
I was so proud of all of them! I waited on the sidelines as they did the practice in the parking lot of the Dignity Health Sports Park (home of the LA Galaxy). It started raining - surprise! - during their practice, but they kept on going. Fortunately for me, I've always got my umbrella, so I was fine.
I was even more impressed with the visiting Korean Territory Band. Since their arrival, their band members marched in San Diego's Balloon Parade, performed in the pouring rain at BandFest, put on a concert at both Pasadena and Tustin Ranch Corps, and then came to practice in preparation for the 5-mile parade. (I've been told by participants that by the end of the parade day's events, they will have walked/marched at least 10 miles in total.) They were still full of smiles and happy to be part of everything.
The next day, most of the band participants were up a 4 AM to get ready and drive to their meet-up point in order to get to the parade line-up on time. There were so many details leading up to that point. And then it was time to ... wait. Wait until it was their time to officially march down Colorado Boulevard - smile, play their instruments, carry their flags and banners, greet the crowd, and witness to the viewers in public and on television - with the music of "This is My Story" and "How Great Thou Art".
In the evening as we reflected on their experience, many of them said that they enjoyed it and they would do it again. Yes, it was hard! Yes, they wanted to give up at one point or another, but they kept pushing forward. (There are two In-N-Out burgers waiting for each parade participant at the end! That's an incentive.) Yes, there was muscle pain, but it was a "good pain".
Even though I was not able to participate myself (due to UV sensitivities/allergies), I came away with good takeaways/lessons for this coming year:
- Be prepared; know your part; put the time in so that you can participate in the whole.
- Be excited; have joy even when there is rain pouring down and wind gusting all around you.
- Be prepared to wait at times. That's okay.
- Cheer on those ahead of you.
- Set the pace and course for those behind you.
- Tell of God's work in your life. He is great!
PS Thanks to Major Audrey Madsen for covering the Sunday Worship Service in our absence.
Precautions (Part 2)
“When Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt. “Get up!” the angel said. “Take the child and his mother back to the land of Israel, because those who were trying to kill the child are dead.”So Joseph got up and returned to the land of Israel with Jesus and his mother. But when he learned that the new ruler of Judea was Herod’s son Archelaus, he was afraid to go there. Then, after being warned in a dream, he left for the region of Galilee. So the family went and lived in a town called Nazareth. This fulfilled what the prophets had said: ‘He will be called a Nazarene.’” Mattew 2:19-23 NLT
Although Israel and Egypt are today quite separate countries with their own cultures and traditions, when Joseph and Mary took their toddler son to escape Herod’s murderous intentions for Bethlehem, they were doing what countless Jews before and after them did — they relocated away from the turmoil.
Although many commentators today like to classify the Holy Family as “refugees” or “immigrants”, that is not strictly true since they were not being forced out by war or political circumstances, but were voluntarily relocating within the Roman territory for personal safety reasons.
Egypt was not a far-off exotic destination to them. It was also ruled by the Romans but with a different governor. Over centuries the number of Jews taking the coast road around the eastern end of the Mediterranean meant that most of the Egyptian cities had very sizable Jewish communities. There are credible contemporary documents suggesting that Alexandria alone had a Jewish community of more than a million people.
So the Davidson family (I know Joseph and Mary didn’t have surnames in those days, but it makes it easier for me to describe the family unit) would have settled for a while, comfortable with the language, customs, and familiar culture surrounding them. But it still wasn’t “home”. It wasn’t close to other family members in Bethlehem or the Galilee so there must have been a desire to go back to their roots when the time was right.
Then hated-Herod-the-horrible died. This is one of the independent ways we are able to deduce the approximate year when Jesus was born.
Although Herod had been useful to the Romans, he knew that there was no chance they would let one of his sons take over his entire domain, not least because he kept murdering any sons who looked like they might have the administrative skills to succeed him! It is well-documented that he murdered his wife, Mariamne, his mother-in-law Alexandra, his eldest son Antipater, and two other sons Alexander and Aristobulus. In his will, he divided his kingdom into three. Judea was to be ruled by one of three surviving sons, Archelaus, Galilee by Herod Antipas, and the northeast region beyond Jordan by Philip.
Archelaus was a bad king and began his reign by trying to outdo the tyranny of his father by slaughtering three thousand influential people in his territory! You will not be surprised to learn that he did not last long on his throne!
From the scripture quoted above it seems that Joseph’s first intention would have been to return to Bethlehem in Judea where most members of his extended clan were, but he was warned again in a dream not to do so.
And so the Davidsons relocated to the Galilee which was safer and settled in Nazareth which was a familiar location to raise their family. Herod Antipas was no saint — as John the Baptist was to discover — but at least he wasn’t a genocidal maniac!
Nazareth was not a provincial backwater either but sat at the crossroads of two important trade routes, the South Road (passing through Bethlehem) that ended in Egypt and the East Road stretching into Persia.
So the maturing Jesus would have been exposed to and been familiar with worldwide traders and their cultures as he learned his building skills from Joseph.
Scripture is mostly silent about him for nearly thirty years, but next time we will look at the clues we do have of his life preceding the start of his ministry.
Blessings on you and yours,
This will take you to Jim Black's collection of articles since starting the newsletter.
This Week's Schedule
- 9:00 AM - Praise & Worship Practice - Chapel
- 10:00 AM - Corps Cadets - Classroom 2
- 10:15 AM - Prayer Time - Prayer Room
- 11:00 AM - Worship Service - Chapel
- 12:15 PM - Food & Fellowship - Fireside Room
- No Youth Music Rehearsals today (Rhys and Kaylynn are both out of town.)
- 6:00 PM - Men's Bible Study - Fireside Room
- 6:00 PM - Rooted: Small Group - Library
- 7:00 PM - Songsters Practice - Chapel
- 8:00 PM - Senior Band Practice - Chapel
- 10:00 AM - CAMEO: Old Testament Miracles - Library
SATURDAY - Divisional Music Section Practices - Suisun Kroc Center
- 9:30 AM - Del Oro Chorus Practice
- 11:00 AM - Del Oro Brass Practice
- 12:30 PM - Lunch for Participants
- 1:15 PM - Divisional Youth Chorus Practice
- 2:30 PM - Youth Electives Practice
International Headquarters Prayer Focus
Command Leader: Colonels Diana Macdonald and Macdonald Chandi
Please pray for:
- Major Diana Macdonald will be the first woman to hold the role of Territorial Commander in the Pakistan Territory. She will take up her appointment (with the rank of Colonel) from 01 January 2023.
- Opening of new corps in the territory.
- Spiritual revival in Pakistan territory.
- The work of The Salvation Army in Pakistan.
- Flood-affected areas and people.
- Ongoing climate change
- Ongoing inflation and economic and political imbalance in the country.
[For your information, I have included an older video made in 2016 that describes some of the ministries in the Pakistan Territory giving you a frame of reference.]
Click here to share your requests. Requests will be prayed for in our Prayer Room and distributed through our Prayer Chain. Requests can be made anonymously.
January: Human Trafficking Prevention Month
Plus, The Salvation Army USA East Territory has created a brand new Human Trafficking documentary and WON a NY Emmy for their amazing work. We are going to join together on Wednesday, 11th January at 11 AM (PST), to watch the documentary together and share in a time of discussion afterward. Staff, colleagues, and congregations are invited to join us as we raise awareness during this special month.
TRIGGER WARNING: Please note that there are graphic descriptions in this film and it has a 16+ rating. Click to sign up for the webinar viewing. Below is a trailer for the film.
Click here to Register for the webinar viewing:
The Work of His Hands
Produced in partnership with The Salvation Army's Canada and Bermuda Territory.
Junior Soldier Rally
The theme for the rally is National Parks! All Prospective and current Junior Soldiers are invited to attend.
Event: Junior Soldier Rally
When: January 28, 2023
Time: 9:30 AM - 3:30 PM (Check-in starts at 9:30 AM in the Chapel Lobby)
Where: Sacramento Citadel Corps
Who: 7-14 years old
Cost: $10.00 (lunch included)
Registration is due Friday, January 20, so please let Major Ann know if you are interested in going. We plan to leave the corps at 8:00 AM.
You can make a tithe payment, give an offering, or donate towards the World Services fund.