McCann Mission Today


ADVENT 2013 


Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another—showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God’s way. Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us. 2 Timothy 3:16 (The Message)

2013 finds the McCann’s happy and well.  We feel blessed that after ten years in Africa our work still challenges and fulfills.  Sandra continues to work as the Communications Director and Chaplain at Msalato Theological College.  Her most challenging task is raising funds for the Footsteps in Faith Endowment Fund for the college. Martin continues to work in his histopathology laboratory in Dodoma.  The workload has increased dramatically over the past year, so much so that he could use the help of another pathologist.

On a personal note, our second grandson was born to Catherine and Barry in Hong Kong on August 20.  Our other daughter, Elizabeth, and son-in-law, Wilson, are expecting their first child in February 2014.  Sandra will delay her return to Tanzania until after the birth in Boston.  New births amplify the mystery and miracle of life.  With the births of our grandchildren, we feel more deeply our gratitude for the Word made flesh. 


This Advent Martin wishes to offer you the gift of The Bible Challenge.

The Bible Challenge

I, who have said a hundred times that I would never read the Bible cover to cover, was given a book for Christmas last year.  Sandra gave me The Bible Challenge, edited by the Rev. Marek Zabriskie, an Episcopal priest from Pennsylvania.  This volume is designed to move through the Old Testament and New Testament in one year.  Roughly three chapters of Old Testament, one Psalm, and one New Testament chapter are covered daily with the exception of Sundays that are reserved for regular worship readings.  Each three readings are accompanied by a commentary from a contemporary priest, bishop, or theologian.  They write a one-page essay on the readings, then a short challenge to the reader to see what meaning it might have on their life, and end with a concluding prayer.  Since the Old and New Testament readings are not chosen to have a theme as they might in the Daily Office or the Prayer Book, the commentator sometimes has to go deep to draw meaning from the passage.  For the most part, the commentaries are extremely insightful.  The recommended Bible from which to read is the The New Oxford Annotated Bible.  This is footnoted to help the reader.  At times I found it necessary to go to a more extensive Bible commentary.  Many are available online.

One of Sandra’s former students came in the house and seeing the book asked, What is the challenge?  I said, The Old Testament.  Of course, in church we have a lot of New Testament and selected portions of Old Testament, but there are vast unexplored areas.  It is a bit of a slugfest to go through I and II Kings, and then to find I and II Chronicles are a repetition with many numbers thrown in.  There are minor prophets from whom you have not heard much.   I find Paul’s long sentences in parts of the Pauline letters hard to follow.

Here is what Mark Twain said, Most people are bothered by those passages in Scripture which they cannot understand; but as for me, I always noticed that the passages in Scripture which trouble me the most are those that I do understand.

Why recommend this? What is the gratification?  There is a certain sense of accomplishment of saying I did it, but this is not foremost. The sense of having viewed the book in its entirety, the whole panorama of Jewish history and the four gospels in sequence make it worth the effort. The commentators make some really fine remarks.  If you are of a mind for it, try it and see.  It took about one-half hour a day for 6 days a week.  I missed a few and doubled up to catch up.  It was not as hard as I thought it would be.


A Holy Advent with love and joy,


Martin and Sandy


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