17 May

 THE GABRIEL
Parish Newsletter for St. Paul’s Episcopal Church May 17, 2021
Calendar Reminders
May 20 6:30 pm Vestry Bsmt Meeting Room
May 22 9:30-11:30 am AA Meeting
MAY 23 PENTECOST/REOPENING 10:15 AM HOLY EUCHARIST In-Person Service Streamed live on FaceBook
May 26 6:30 pm Bible Study , Bsmt Meeting Room
Washington Cathedral on line 11:15 am and 7:30 pm daily: https://cathedral.org/worship/
Collect for Day of Pentecost (May 23rd)
O God, who on this day taught the hearts of your faithful people by sending to them the light of your Holy Spirit: Grant us by the same Spirit to have a right judgment in all things, and evermore to rejoice in his holy comfort; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reign with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
The Lessons: Acts 2:1-21; Romans 8:22-27; John 15:26-27; 16:4b-15; Psalm 104:25-35, 37
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OUR PARISH PRAYERS:
Intercessor: With all our heart and with all our mind, let us pray to the Lord, saying/chanting:
Intercessor: For the peace of the world, for the welfare of the holy Church of God, and for the unity of all peoples,
 Cantor:
People:
Intercessor:
of our sister diocese in Brasilia; in our diocesan cycle of prayer we pray for
Trinity, Indianapolis--The Rev. Julia Whitworth, The Rev. Dr. Ben Anthony, The Rev. Erin Hougland; and for all clergy and people,
Cantor:
People:
Intercessor: Cantor: People:
Let us pray to the Lord.
Lord, have mercy.
For our President, for the leaders of the nations, and for all in authority, Let us pray to the Lord.
Lord, have mercy.
Let us pray to the Lord.
Lord, have mercy.
For Michael our Presiding Bishop, for Jennifer our Bishop, for Mauricio, Bishop
For Jeffersonville, Clark County and for every city and community, and for Let us pray to the Lord.
Lord, have mercy.
For the good earth which God has given us, and for the wisdom and will to Let us pray to the Lord.
Lord have mercy.
Intercessor:
suffering. We remember all who have asked us to remember them in prayer, especially Virginia, Beverly, Juanita, Gwen, Mary Sue, Delani, Nan, David & Michele, Patricia, Sonny, John, Fred, Laura and Michael.
Cantor: Let us pray to the Lord.
People: Lord, have mercy.
Intercessor:
those who live in them,
Cantor:
People:
Intercessor: conserve it, Cantor: People:
For the aged and infirm, for the widowed and orphans, and for the sick and the
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Intercessor: 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,
Cantor:
People:
Intercessor: Cantor: People:
Intercessor: Cantor: People:
Intercessor: reproach, Cantor: People:
Let us pray to the Lord.
Lord, have mercy.
For all who have died in the hope of the resurrection, and for all the departed, Let us pray to the Lord.
Lord, have mercy.
For deliverance from all danger, violence, oppression, and degradation, Let us pray to the Lord.
Lord, have mercy.
That we may end our lives in faith and hope, without suffering and without Let us pray to the Lord.
Lord, have mercy.
In the communion of St Paul and all the saints, let us commend ourselves, and
FROM THE GABRIEL TEAM:
ONLINE MORNING PRAYER SERVICES: The next service will begin Sunday,
May 23rd at 10:15 am. It will be live and in person at St. Paul’s, and on Facebook Live: https://www.facebook.com/StPaulsJeff/live_videos/
Please join us, during or after the service, and tell others about the service. Also check YouTube for videos of past services: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCynD2CNlCMbJ5YOb1Euce5Q.
ST. PAUL’S IS REOPENING FOR IN-PERSON SERVICES!! The diocese has approved our reopening plan and our first in-person service will be at 10:15 am on Sunday, May 23rd. We will continue to broadcast our live morning service at 10:15 am from that date, rather than the present time of 11:00 am. Many thanks to Charles Renne, Dennis
Intercessor:
one another, and all our life, to Christ our God.
 People:
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and Charlene, who have worked to install our new technology for broadcasting from the sanctuary. There is still much to be done to get ready, so please be prepared to assist where needed.
VACCINE REPORT REMINDER: THANK YOU to all who have reported in! To those who have not yet been vaccinated, please remember to let us know when you have been able to receive your vaccination. Our record of those vaccinated is excellent.
MANY THANKS for your continued faithful responses to the need for funds. We all will appreciate your prayers and contributions.
PARISH OFFICE HOURS : MTWF 10:00-4:30 and Thurs 10:00 to 1:00 pm.
If you have something you’d like to add to the next newsletter (including a brief update on what you and/or your family have been doing since last we met together), please email the team at stpaulsjeff@gmail.com by Sunday afternoon. Please put “newsletter” in the subject line.
The Covid-19 Report May 16nd 2021
From Kim Hedges
These are the numbers for Clark County, Indiana: +The recommended positivity rate is 5%.
+The recommended infection rate is 0.3.
     Date
  Cumulative Positivity Rate
    Infection Rate
   CoV Dashboard /100K
   Vaccinated % 1st
2nd
 10 May Med
3.8 0.98 12.4 36.9
Med High 41.0
     11 May Med
3.7 1.01 10.5 37.1
Med High 41.1
     12 May Med
4.0 0.98 10.7 37.2
Med High 41.2
     13 May Med
4.0 0.96 10.7 37.5
Med High 41.3
     14 May Med
4.4 0.93 10.7 37.8
Med High 41.4
     15 May Med
4.6 0.90 10.4 38.0
Low High 41.5 Low High 41.6
     16 May Med
4.3 0.88 10.1 38.1
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VIRGINIA BUSHAU HAS BEEN BUSY....
Last year Virginia was in the hospital several times, and always felt terribly cold and uncomfortable there. When she got home, she made herself a shawl to put around her shoulders, and a “muff” she could slip her hand into (see photo). These worked so well and gave her so much comfort she decided to share her creations with others who are housebound or in the hospital. She has been making shawls and muffs ever since, and giving them away as fast as she makes them. They are lovely, and they are both comforting and warm. Well done, Virginia, and thanks!!!
FROM DEACON JIM: SERMON FROM SUNDAY, April 25th
What To Make Of It All?
Prayerfully Considered, Democratically Elected Acts 1:15-17, 21-26
Did you sense anything unusual this past week; something like a ‘tremor in the Force’ to borrow from Star Wars? In these crazy days it would be hard to notice, but something extraordinary DID occur this past week, Thursday to be exact, because according to the Church Calendar, on that day Jesus ascended into heaven; the man Jesus, the Son of God is no longer with us. Think back about seven weeks ago to the horror of the Crucifixion. Three days later the ‘Empty Tomb,’ but Jesus did not go straight from the grave to the Right Hand of God. For the past 50 days he’s hung around; remember, he appeared to Mary Magdalene in the Garden and Peter by the seashore and although the Scriptures don’t give many details he visited others as well, appearing to his Disciples several times, reassuring
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them, preparing them for the transition from ‘Following’ (Discipleship) to ‘Leading’ (Apostleship). And after 50 days Jesus said to the Disciples:
‘You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and to the ends of the earth. When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up to heaven and a cloud took him out of their sight.’
After all that these Disciples had gone through in the past few weeks we can only imagine their continued amazement at this, yet another astonishing display from Jesus occurring in their presence, but we can also imagine that one of the first things said when that last wisp of cloud obscured the risen Lord was ‘Well, what do we do now?’ For three years Jesus had been their constant companion, and even after the Resurrection he visited them, although perhaps with a ghostly glow surrounding him. But now he was gone, and maybe for the first time they looked at each other and said ‘Well, guys, I guess it’s just us.’ So they all went back to their lodging and waited for the Holy Spirit to come, just like Jesus said it would.
But first, as a group they had a decision to make AND they had to make it themselves. And this sets up a fascinating little scene that is so important to how churches work and how decisions in a spiritual body get made and especially how the spiritual and non-spiritual sides of our being fit together, sometimes seamlessly, sometimes awkwardly. If you’ve not heard, we have joyous tidings to spread: St. Paul’s is re-opening to gathered worship next week and we invite you to put on your mask and be with us. For over a year our church life has in large part been virtual, but now we’re once again going ‘live,’ and as we re-imagine our place in the Body of Christ and the meaning of church in our lives, we realize that going forward we will have nothing BUT decisions to make, big, small, some mundane but some that will actually set our path. Can we take any guidance from this group of disciples, witnesses to Christ’s redeeming power but not yet a functioning faith community?
Today’s reading from Acts continues the story from last week. Peter is talking to the gathered believers; the Scripture says there’re around 120. This includes the eleven remaining Disciples, remember Judas was no longer with them, and a sizable group of other followers, people who had been part of a larger crowd that had followed Jesus through much of his three-year ministry, people, for example, like Mary Magdalene, and though they were not part of the ‘inner circle,’ they were still believers and still very much a part of a Church just about to be born. But before they could think about going out and spreading the Gospel Judas, the twelfth disciple, had to be replaced. Why did they need twelve? Because, this was to be the new Israel, the New Covenant, and just as there were twelve tribes in the old Israel, so there had to be twelve disciples in the new. Eleven just wouldn’t cut it. But remember, when Jesus had walked among them the Disciples took their cues from him; now they had to select Judas’ replacement on their own. How would they do that? This is where it gets interesting! Listen again to these words:
‘So they proposed two, Joseph called Barsabbas and Matthias. Then they prayed and said, Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which one of
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these two you have chosen to take the place of Judas. And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias; and he was added to the eleven apostles.’
In other words, they prayed then they drew straws, they cast lots, they flipped a coin. Now, at first glance this method of discerning God’s will seems ridiculous: Praying for wisdom and then trusting the luck of the draw? Isn’t there a better way, a more holy way to include God in our decision making? Do we really believe that God stops what he’s doing so he can personally command a flipped nickel to come up ‘heads?’ Of course, the issue of how we honor God in our decision making is one of the central conundrums in our faith, and it really boils down to how we square our sacred belief that God is actively at work in our lives with our everyday observations that many things seem to run on the laws of chance, of probability. It’s not an easy juxtaposition, this ‘sacred vs. secular’ view of the world and many times we find ourselves struggling with ‘What is God’s will’ versus ‘What are the Chances.’
Now, in our decision making, and I’m speaking of the decisions we make as a Church Body, we normally don’t flip coins, unless it’s a ‘six of one, half-dozen of the other, who cares’ sort of thing. No, as sophisticated people raised in a civilized society, when important decisions need to be made, we vote. Yes, more in keeping with our democratic values, but we’re still faced with a ‘sacred vs. secular’ conflict, this time pitting the Will of God against the Will of the Majority. What if the two don’t seem to agree? If only there was an unimpeachable source of truth built into the laws of nature and the laws of human nature, transparent to all, easily understood in everyday contexts that would give us the ‘right answer’ to any problem we have and remove the need to make decisions in the first place. God promises such wisdom, but because God also gives us the gift of free choice he doesn’t come to us like neon lights in the sky that say ‘Do This!’ or ‘Do it this way;’ God’s will needs to be discerned. Like the Disciples without Jesus we have to sense God’s presence even as we make decisions, even as we vote. Perhaps today’s Scripture can give us some clues as to how to include God in the process:
1. Peter is fascinating in everything he does and today is no exception. He’s sort of a George Washington character in this story. They say George Washington was a perfect choice to be our first President because he valued the Constitution more than his ego and resisted the urge to act like a king. Peter was sort of the go-to guy in the group and people looked to him for guidance, but instead of just pointing to Matthias and saying ‘you’re it’ he respected the system, even if the ‘system’ at that time included drawing straws. Can we respect our system of ‘Pray, Discuss, Vote?’ Can we resist the urge to force decisions without giving all stake-holders a chance to weigh in?
2. In today’s lesson, the decision before the group was well-defined and understood by all: they wanted Judas’ replacement to have been a witness to Jesus all through his ministry. In that group of 120, two fit the bill and they were brought forward. When we as a church body are called upon to make a decision is the question clearly defined and well understood? That’s important.
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3. Intoday’slesson,althoughthedecisioncamedowntoacastingoflots,everyone accepted the result without question. I’m sure Matthias was happy; no doubt the loser was unhappy but the Scripture recorded no hard feelings. Even if they didn’t understand it, they believed that God was part of the process and that the result was in accordance with God’s will. Yes, it was a matter of faith. To achieve the same results today, we are called on to respect the combined wisdom of the group and accept that God’s will is being done. For us, there are key questions: even though we take a certain position on an issue, can we see both sides, can we understand why someone with a different view would feel the way they do, do we love that person with a Christian ‘agape’ love? This is what separates us from City Hall. In politics we’re not required to love our neighbor, but if we want to include God in our decision making then getting our way cannot be more important than respecting and loving others in the group.
4. Most important, the lesson for Peter’s group and for us today is that we are prayerful in our decision-making. Yes, we start every meeting with prayer but do we listen? And if we listen do we open our hearts to God speaking to us and through us? Can I envision God speaking through me? And if we do open our hearts to God do we open them to each other? Do we see ourselves as a Body, perhaps THE Body of Christ? The old saying is ‘if you pray for God’s presence, don’t be surprised if he shows up!’ Some decisions will be difficult and arouse impassioned points of view. Facing such decisions with the common vision that Christ is in the room with us is not only comforting, it can give us the confidence that the decisions we make and the path we choose will be in accordance with God’s love... and God’s will.
So, what do we do now? For the past 50 days we’ve been called to ‘live into’ the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and envision ourselves not just ‘hearers of the word’ but ‘doers,’ not just disciples but apostles. We’ve been urged to experience Creation through the innocent eyes of a child. We’ve been assured that the doubts we suffer along the way are part of our faith journeys and God is with us even in our questioning. And we’ve been assured that of Faith, Hope and Love the greatest of these is indeed Love as long as we pattern our love after the selfless love of God. So it’s fitting that after several weeks of spiritual preparation our last lesson in this Season of Easter is an imminently practical one; how as a Christian body to live in the ‘real world,’ to make the decisions we need to make in a way that combines our desire to seek God’s guidance with the common sense values of fairness and benevolence we’ve learned to rely on as part of living in God’s Creation.
And, after 50 days of seeking what it means to be a faith community in a Post- Resurrection world the final and most important question is are we ready? Are we ready for next Sunday? Are we ready to regather as a congregation even as we celebrate Pentecost, the Birthday of the Church? Are we ready to recommit to the challenges ahead and the decisions that will be ours to make? As a parish in transition are we ready to learn from another faith community in transition, this one 2,000 years ago; Peter and the Disciples? Are we ready to think of ourselves as graduating from Disciples to new Apostles of Christ, dedicated to spreading the Good News to our community and beyond? Most of all, are we
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ready for the Holy Spirit to come like wind and fire and change our lives and the life of our parish?
May God bless us in this exciting time as we go from ‘Alleluia Alleluia The Lord Is Risen Indeed’ to witnessing Jesus ascend to the Right Hand of God to the incredible realization that now we are the Body of Christ in the world!
Let us pray for the Unity of the Church:
O God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Our only Savior, the Prince of Peace: Give us grace seriously to lay to heart the great dangers we are in by our unhappy divisions; take away all hatred and prejudice, and whatever else may hinder us from godly union and concord; that, as there is but one Body and one Baptism, one God and Father of us all, so we may be all of one heart and of one soul, united in one gift and bond of truth and peace, of faith and charity and may with one mind and one mouth glorify thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. [BCP P.818]
 REJOICE ALWAYS, PRAY WITHOUT CEASING, GIVE THANKS IN ALL
 CIRCUMSTANCES,
 FOR THAT IS THE WILL OF GOD FOR YOU!
  Quote for the Week:
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