AUMC has a wide variety of events for all ages – newcomers are always welcome! We have a list of our special events below.

If you have any questions about the events, contact the church office at 703-256-8330 or office@annandale-umc.org

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A Message from Jason on current events: POLITICS VS. THE POLITICS OF JESUS

The one verifiable, historical FACT of the Gospels is what we recite in creed, that Jesus of Nazareth “was crucified under Pontius Pilate.” I’ve long held that the fact we remember the crucified name of Jesus, unlike the thousands Rome crucified whose names we do not know, is reason to believe we do so because God did indeed raise him from the dead.

Crucifixion was a punishment reserved exclusively for crimes of sedition against the state.

If Jesus died for religious reasons, he would have been stoned.

The seditious mob that stormed the Capitol last week, many of whom carried Christian flags and banners and articulated their participation in theological terms, were correct on one level.

Jesus was— and is— a political figure.
Jesus was— and remains so— subversive.
The Jesus who is without beginning or end will always be revolutionary.

You don’t suffer the first century equivalent of a lynching for being a spiritual guru or teaching the golden rule.

However, many Christians, especially those we saw on the mall last Wednesday, misunderstand the manner in which Jesus was a political revolutionary. They miss the subversive message the evangelists intend to show us.

It’s all over the Gospels, from beginning to end. This is why, don’t forget, Christians were persecuted for hundreds of years.

For example—

On the liturgical calendar, last Sunday was Baptism of the Lord Sunday. In Mark’s Gospel,  as Jesus comes up out of the water, Mark says the sky tears violently apart and the Holy Spirit appears as a dove and descends into Jesus.

Now remember, Mark’s writing to people who knew their scripture by memory. And so when Mark identifies the Holy Spirit as a dove, he expects you to know that no where in the Old Testament is the Spirit ever depicted as such.Instead Mark expects you to remember that the image of a dove is from the Book of Genesis, where God promises never to redeem his creation through violence.

Mark expects you to know that applying the image of a dove to the Holy Spirit means something new and different.And keep in mind, Mark’s Gospel wasn’t composed for us but for the first Christians, still living right after Jesus’ death in the Empire. So when Mark depicts the Holy Spirit as a dove, he expects those first Christians to think immediately of another, different bird.

The Romans, Mark assumes you know, symbolized the strength and ferocity of their Kingdom with the King of the birds: the eagle.

It’s right there: Dove vs Eagle.

A collision of kingdoms.

That’s what Mark wants you to see.

And that’s not all. Because the very next verse has God declaring: “You are my Son, the Beloved, with you I am well-pleased.” That’s a direct quotation from Psalm 2, a Psalm that looks forward to the coming of God’s Messiah, who would topple rulers from their thrones and be enthroned himself over all the kingdoms of this world.

Mark expects you to know Psalm 2.

Just as Mark assumes you know that the prophet Isaiah quotes it too when God reveals to him that the Messiah will upend kingdoms not through violence but through self-giving love.

Mark shows you a Dove.

And Mark tells you “Beloved Son.”

And then after his baptism, the very first words out of Jesus’ mouth are about the arrival of a new kingdom, God’s Kingdom.

And next, the very first thing Jesus does is what any revolutionary does, he enlists followers to that Kingdom.

Not soldiers but the poor.
They won’t take up the sword. They’ll take up crosses.
Not by force but suffering love.

From the very first chapter of Mark all the way through to the first Christian confession of faith, “Jesus Christ is Lord (and Caesar is not),” the Gospel is politically subversive from beginning to end.

As Paul says, Jesus’ obedience to God’s Kingdom, all the way to a cross, unmasked the kingdoms of this world for what they really are and, in so doing, Christ disarmed them.

Only political revolutionaries wound up on Rome’s crosses.

But the mistake Christians have so often made, including the mistake those who call themselves Christian made last week, is in assuming that the only effective revolution with the power to threaten the status quo and change the world is a violent one.

When Christians believe might (be it, political strength or violent force) is the only way to change the world, they all too often outsource their witness to the kingdoms of this world.

In doing so, we miss how politically-charged and radical are the Gospels and we forsake the vocation to which we’ve been baptized; that is, to bear witness to a Kingdom that defeats its enemies by loving them. To believe in this Kingdom with sufficient conviction to suffer for it requires faith and faith, scripture tells us, is not our own doing but a gift from God. What does not require faith, however, what strikes me as self-evident, is that just as we will not become a more perfect union through conspiracy theories, lies, or violence, neither will we become a more perfect union by anathematizing one another— shunning and shaming those who do not agree with us.

None are righteous. And Jesus, the friend of sinners, is ever ready to eat and drink with them. The keys to the Kingdom he’s given us is the “office of the keys;” that is, the authority to forgive sins. In a culture sick with its political affections, this is the politics of Jesus.

Peace,
Rev. Jason

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Visit the Missions page to learn about our opportunities to help our community.

Sunday Morning Class from January 10 – February 21 at 9 a.m.: Luther and the Gospel. Jason Micheli and David King are leading an online study of some of the Reformer’s shortest and most consequential writings. This will also serve as preparation for the class in Lent that Dr. Phillip Cary will offer for us. Register for the class here.

How I Read the Bible, with Brian Zahnd. In this single online teaching session on January 30, Pastor Brian Zahnd will describe his philosophy and core practices of reading Scripture. The Church has given Scripture to us as our sacred text. Pastor Brian will walk you through what daily Bible reading looks like for him and how you can open yourself up in new ways to Holy Scripture. Tickets to this online event are available for a donation of any amount. You will be sent the ZOOM meeting ID and password before the event begins. To register go to wolc.com/readthebible.

Stuff the Bus! ACCA will be participating in the upcoming “Stuff the Bus” events in partnership with Fairfax County to help restock the food pantry. As you know, the pantry has been overwhelmed with requests during the COVID pandemic and the volunteers constantly adjust to accommodate the demand. Suggestions for most needed items are available on the ACCA website. Please drop off your donations on January 30 between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. at George Mason Regional Library, 7001 Little River Turnpike, Annandale, VA 22003. Find other locations here.

Interfaith Communities in Dialogue is a network of faith-based and associated organizations dedicated to promoting mutual understanding and positive relationships among diverse people in and around Fairfax County through education, engagement, and support. AUMC is a member congregation. On Sunday, January 31, from 4:00-6:00 p.m., ICD will present “Systemic Racism in Health and Housing,” the third workshop in its series on Racism and Systemic Bias: Systemic Racism in Health and Housing. Please join us. You will receive a link to the Zoom meeting when you register at https://bit.ly/3gTt8WM. Also hold the date for the final workshop: March 7, 2021: Building Bridges to Racial Equity. For questions or more information: Email: interfaithcd@gmail.com.

Lunches for February Hypothermia Prevention. You are invited to volunteer to assemble lunches and box already-made breakfasts for our Wandering Saints from February 7 through February 13, 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. in Wright Hall at AUMC. Very little contact, masks required. Hand sanitizer and gloves will be provided. By attending you agree to being compliant with Covid guidelines as posted on the AUMC in person worship site. Sign up here. Email Teresa Beyer at larachliath@gmail.com if you have any questions.

Make Valentine’s Day Cards. Children’s Ministry is inviting all children to make Valentine’s Day cards for our homebound members. Contact Meredith Lamarche at mbond@annandale-umc.org with how many cards you’d like to make and she’ll get you the necessary information.

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Check our coronavirus response page to learn more about how we are handling this crisis.

Volunteers needed to help with our A/V needs: We’ve ordered new video cameras to improve our online worship experience. When the new equipment arrives, we’ll have opportunities for volunteers to learn how to use the cameras and help us record the services. This is a chance to learn about the latest technology and help your church! Contact our Director of Worship, Pat Vaughn, at pvaughn@annandale-umc.org.

Check our Human Sexuality page to learn what determinations were made at General Conference, how AUMC is responding, and to read transcripts of Rev. Jason Micheli’s Bible study on “Sexuality and the Bible.”