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.

Lent Class with Dr. Phillip Cary on Luther and the Gospel begins February 22. Join us over four Monday evenings beginning February 22  from 7:00-8:15 p.m. as Dr. Cary will teach about Martin Luther’s rediscovery of the Gospel as a sacrament that gives us Christ. Dr. Cary is an internationally acclaimed expert on Augustine and Luther and a favorite teacher for The Great Courses. This will be a rich time of learning and conversation. There is a $15 fee. Learn more and register here.

It’s still cold and people are still in need! AUMC will work with the Hypothermia Project for one more week to make breakfasts and lunches, assembling them in Wright Hall daily from Sunday, February 28 through Saturday, March 6, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Our delivery team will then take assembled meals to the Bailey’s Hypothermia Center located at Lincolnia Senior Center on N. Chambliss Street in Alexandria. This is a great opportunity to help our wandering saints right here in Fairfax County Virginia. By volunteering, all persons agree to social distancing, will wear masks and gloves, and follow AUMC guidelines for being Covid free. Click here to sign up, or contact Teresa Beyer, 301-221-8321 or larachliath@gmail.com, for details.

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, March 7,  ICD will present “Building Bridges to Racial Equity,” the final workshop in its series on Racism and Systemic Bias: Systemic Racism in Health and Housing. For questions or more information, email interfaithcd@gmail.com.

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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.”