13 July 2020

 St. Paul’s Parish Newsletter
July 13, 2020
July 19 11:00 am St. Paul’s On-Line Worship Service—FaceBook Live https://www.facebook.com/StPaulsJeff /live_videos/
Diocese of N. Indiana (St. James Cathedral) 10:15 AM Sunday https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC CKWYmjR8F8_Eu1dOKZ1jdA
Washington Cathedral on line 11:15 am and 7:30 pm
daily: https://cathedral.org/worship/
Collect for 7th Sunday after Pentecost (July 19th )
Almighty God, the fountain of all wisdom, you know our necessities before we ask and our ignorance in asking: Have compassion on our weakness, and mercifully give us those things which for our unworthiness we dare not, and for our blindness we cannot ask; through the worthiness of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
The Lessons:
 Calendar Reminders
 July 18 9:30-11:30 AA Meeting
      Genesis 28:10-19a; Psalm 139: 1-11, 22-23; Romans 8:12-25;
 Matthew 13:24-30,36-43.

Our Parish Prayer List:
We pray for our Bishops, Michael and Jennifer; for the people of our companion diocese of Brasilia and their bishop, the Rt. Rev. Mauricio Andrade; and for the people & Diocese of Haiti, and for St. Andre’s in Mithon.
On July 12th, in the diocesan cycle of prayer we pray for St. Stephen’s, New Harmony The Rev. Dr. Beth Macke. We also pray for our own parish of St. Paul’s, that our work here may be life-giving for others and for us, and that the Holy Spirit will guide us to those for whom our community would be life-giving.
For the peace of the world, for the welfare of the holy Church of God, and for the unity of all peoples,
For the good earth which God has given us, and for the wisdom and will to conserve it,
For the aged and infirm, for the widowed and orphans, and for the sick and the suffering. We remember all who have asked us to remember them in prayer ... Virginia, Beverly, Juanita, Gwen, Mary Sue, Gus, Delani, Nan, David & Michele, Patricia, Sonny, John, Fred and Kacey.
For the poor and the oppressed, for the unemployed and the destitute, for prisoners and captives, and for all who remember and care for them,
We pray for the victims of COVID-19: The sick, those who have died, the families who have suffered loss of loved ones, of jobs and other incomes, and of the companionship of friends. We pray for comfort in anxiety, for healing in physical and emotional pain and illness, and for courage to trust and work for a safer and more compassionate world.
In the communion of St Paul and all the saints, let us commend ourselves, and one another, and all our life, to Christ our God.
For all who fear God and believe in you, Lord Christ, that our divisions may cease, and that all may be one as you and the Father are one, we pray to you, O Lord. Make us one in heart and mind to serve you with joy forever. Amen.
From the SPTW team:
ONLINE MORNING PRAYER SERVICES: The next service will begin Sunday, July 19th
at 11:00 am. It will be on Facebook Live. https://www.facebook.com/StPaulsJeff/live_videos/ More and more folks are checking out the videos during and after the service! Please join us.
Susan Madara will be having surgery on July 14 , and will be at home recuperating for a couple
th of weeks after that. Please keep her in your prayers, especially now through the 14 .

MANY THANKS for your faithfulness in sending in your pledges and offerings. We have kept up our payments so far, and need to continue doing so. We also have added expenses for work on property in order to maintain our property insurance: The fuse box at 321 and the feeder line have to be updated to meet code, and the sprinkler system in the church building had to be inspected and has some problems of outdated gauges and placing of sprinkler heads after the walls built in the basement left some areas without the required radius of effectiveness.
Thanks to everyone who has expressed concern for the health and well-being of our parish and its members by making phone calls and being willing to help those of us in need! Our parish is blessed by so many caring members. If you have needs during this time of uncertainty please let us know!
The Parish Secretary would like to inform everyone that regular office hours for the rest of the summer will be Monday through Wednesday, and Friday, 10:00 am to 4:30 pm.
If you have something you’d like to add to the next SPTW, please email the team at stpaulsjeff@gmail.com by Sunday afternoon. Please put SPTW in the subject line. Many thanks.
Words from Deacon Jim: (Sermon from July 12th )
What To Make Of It All?
The Keys to the Kingdom Matthew 13:3-9, 18-23
Parables are common to many religions but in Christianity they’re iconic. How familiar is our image of Jesus’ disciples sitting at his feet as he reveals the Kingdom of God to them through these wonderful, though cryptic, stories. Jesus’ parables have a familiar ring, don’t they? There’s usually a story within a story, followed by people scratching their heads and saying ‘What can this possibly mean?’ Finally, there’s the ‘reveal’ where Jesus explains everything. And it’s important to know that the way Jesus uses parables, they’re not just story-telling devices, they’re actually coded communications for his disciples, meant for them and them alone. So the question becomes ‘Jesus, if there’s something you want to tell your guys, why don’t you just pull them aside and tell them? Why all the secrecy?’ For that, we need a little context:
In Matthew’s early chapters Jesus is seen as a folk hero, roaming the countryside tending the needs of the poor and oppressed, but In last week’s reading Jesus openly declares his Divinity, his oneness with God. No longer can the claim be made that Jesus is merely a do-gooder. His pronouncement that he and God are one in the same has set him on a collision course with the religious Powers that Be, and in Matthew we’re talking about the Pharisees. In Jewish society, Pharisees were interpreters and enforcers of the Law who saw to it that the many rules of cleanliness and worship were obeyed but whose most important job was to prepare the people for the coming of the Messiah. Instead, according

to Matthew, they were so entrenched in their own power that they refused to recognize Jesus as the Anointed One in spite of all the evidence Matthew so carefully laid out. Now, the Pharisees have set their sights on Jesus, causing him to change his style of ministry, although even this change was foretold by prophecy. Before, Jesus would speak to his audiences in a clear, straightforward manner. Now, he speaks in a roundabout way using parables to cloak his true intent, so while to us parables read like any other of Jesus’s teachings, they’re different, and they’re serious business. Jesus views the hidden messages in these parables as ‘secrets to the Kingdom of Heaven,’ now known only to a few but soon to be revealed to all when Jesus returns to establish God’s reign on earth. With that in mind, let’s take a look at one of his most famous parables, the parable of the Sower of the Seeds.
A farmer goes into his field to sow seeds. There are four possible outcomes:
1. The seed falls on the hardened path where the birds swoop down and take it. 2. The seed falls on rocky soil where it dries up and dies.
3. The seed falls on thorny soil where it is choked by weeds.
4. The seed falls on fertile soil where it takes root and grows.
A couple of points:
1. This parable was spoken to thousands but explained only to the Disciples. Again, it’s a ‘secret to the Kingdom of Heaven.’ Now, understanding the meaning of the parable and what the secret is is important and I’ll say a little more in a minute but most of the time our problem isn’t understanding, it’s doing. ‘Love God, Love Your Neighbor;’ easy to understand, hard to do. In last week’s Epistle reading, Paul shared a similar thought that no doubt rings true with many of us: he said ‘I don’t understand my own actions, for I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.’ Actually, lack of understanding wasn’t his problem, it’s just very, very hard to live a spiritual life in a secular world.
2. The seed falls either on the path or on rocky soil or thorny soil or on fertile soil. So, three out of four times the seed actually lands on the soil. It’s what happens AFTERWARD that’s the issue, and there’s a lesson here for all of us who accepted Christ, possibly in a moment of euphoria, but who have since, as the song says, ‘lost that lovin’ feeling,’ and this parable suggests some situations common to people of faith. If I feel far from God is it because I’ve fallen off the path and have ignored my need for a spiritual connection, or is it because I haven’t given my faith a chance to grow, or is my faith always coming in second to other things in my life? Which of these applies to us? The answer, at least for me, is ‘All of the Above!’ At various times I’ve found myself in all of these situations.
The thing is, we’re human, and as frustrating as it is sometimes, God made us this way. We run hot and cold, and constancy Is just not in our DNA. Now, that doesn’t have to be bad. Consider a successful marriage: even though it’s impossible to sustain the emotional high of that first kiss, with luck and work and the grace of God our emotional attraction will evolve into a deeper and more abiding love that will see us through many seasons of ups and downs. So, as human beings, we change, we grow, and let’s consider that, given our

ephemeral nature, a true ‘understanding’ of this parable goes beyond ‘am I path, rocky, thorny or fertile?’ A deeper understanding, a deeper ‘key to the Kingdom’ might be ‘how can I tell if I’ve strayed off the path or have fallen into a rocky or a thorny period on my spiritual journey? Can I really tell if God is near or far? Is there some nudge by God that would bring to a sense of awareness, perhaps an OMG, Oh My Gosh moment that would be akin to looking into a mirror?
Let’s consider how this parable might apply to us in today’s world:
*Some seeds fell along the path: OMG! This virus has left me so despondent I just don’t even want to think about God right now!
*Some seeds fell on rocky soil: OMG! This chaotic cultural climate has drained me so much I just realized how long it’s been since I’ve prayed!
*Some seeds fell on thorny soil: OMG! It just hit me how I’ve given so much energy to my job there’s no time left for the really good things in life.
*Some seeds fell on fertile soil: OMG! I never realized how beautiful a sunset on a warm summer evening can be!
The Parable of the Sower is the first of several parables in this chapter, all written to prepare us for the Kingdom that is to come. Matthew invites us to see Jesus’ parables as ‘secrets to this Kingdom.’ But knowledge without commitment is pointless. The religious writer Vance Havner says: ‘You have not really learned a commandment until you’ve obeyed it... The Church suffers today from Christians who know volumes more than they practice.’ Being privy to God’s most valuable secrets must always lead to a life lived in kindness and mercy. I’ll close with Jesus’ words: ‘Ye that have ears, listen!’
Let us pray today for our enemies:
O God, the Father of all, whose Son commanded us to love our enemies: Lead them and us from prejudice to truth; deliver them and us from hatred, cruelty and revenge; and in your good time enable us all too stand reconciled before you; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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