25 April

  THE GABRIEL
Parish Newsletter
for St. Paul’s Episcopal Church
April 25th, 2022
     The Promise of Easter is nothing less than New Life!
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Calendar Reminders
Apr 25 April 30 May 1
6:00 pm NA Meeting, Education Wind
9:30 am AA Meeting, Parish Hall
10:15 am Holy Eucharist with Rev. Suzanne
Barrow. On Facebook Live:
https://www.facebook.com/StPaulsJeff/live_videos
 Upcoming
May 15 11:30 – 1:00 Nurturer’s Brunch in Parish Hall.
Get your tickets now!
Collect for 3rd Sunday of Eastertide
O God, whose blessed Son made himself known to his disciples in the breaking of bread: Open the eyes of our faith, that we may behold him in all his redeeming work; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Prayers of the People
In peace, we pray to you, Lord God. Silence
For all people in their daily life and work;
For our families, friends, and neighbors, and for those who are alone.
For this community, the nation, and the world;
For all who work for justice, freedom and peace.
For the just and proper use of your creation;
For the victims of hunger, fear, injustice and oppression.
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For all who are in danger, sorrow, or any kind of trouble;
For those who minister to the sick the friendless, and the needy.
For the peace and unity of the Church of God;
For all who proclaim the Gospel, and all who seek for Truth.
For our Bishops, Priests, Deacons and Laity; For all who serve God in his Church.
For the special needs and concerns of this congregation. Silence
Hear us, Lord;
For your mercy is great.
We thank you, Lord, for all the blessings of life; Silence
We will exalt you, O God our King;
And praise your name for ever and ever.
We pray for all who have died that they may have a place in your eternal kingdom. Silence
Lord, let your loving-kindness be upon them;
Who put their trust in you.
TWO IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENTS!
1. ATTENTION ALL MEMBERS! Mark Sunday, May 15, on your calendars! After the service we will assemble in the Parish Hall for a lovely:
BRUNCH HONORING THOSE WHO’VE BEEN A NURTURING PRESENCE IN OUR LIVES!
WHO HAS MADE A SPECIAL DIFFERENCE IN YOUR LIFE? HONOR THAT PERSON BY INVITING HIM OR HER TO THIS
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SPECIAL EVENT. RESERVATIONS ARE NOW BEING TAKEN (CALL THE CHURCH OFFICE AT 812-282-1108.) MAKE PLANS TO JOIN US! (WE WILL NEED YOUR HELP!)
2. MUSIC! The Enjoyment of Music is one of God’s greatest gifts! If you like to sing, please join our Special Music Group. No special abilities needed, just a love of singing and a desire to praise God through song. Our goals are to enrich our congregational singing and offer special music from time to time. We also invite you to submit a favorite hymn! Music is for everyone! Help us make St. Paul’s a singing congregation! See Mariane with questions!
FROM THE GABRIEL TEAM:
We WELCOME you to worship! St. Paul’s is a WELCOMING Faith Community and whether you are a first-time visitor or a long-time member you are a Blessing to us. You are invited to worship with us live on Sundays at 10:15. (Plan on joining us for coffee after the service!} You can also tune in on Facebook Live: https://www.facebook.com/StPaulsJeff/live_videos/
Also, check YouTube for videos of past services:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCynD2CNlCMbJ5YOb1Euce5Q
.
Don’t forget—the little red wagon is waiting to be filled with food donations for the Center for Lay Ministries! Please note that the wagon has been moved to the Parish Hall entrance, on your left as you enter.
WE NOW LIST the hymns for the following Sunday in the Gabriel, so that you might familiarize yourself with them ahead of time. If you don’t have an instrument to play them at home, try searching YouTube for a video of the ones you don’t know. We want to make St Paul’s a singing congregation!
LICENSED LAY EUCHARISTIC MINISTERS, Dennis and Charlene McAndrews, remain ready and eager to bring communion to any who are unable to be present at Sunday services. Whether you regularly attend Sunday service but cannot get here for any reason on a given Sunday, or you are homebound and would like to have the Eucharist brought to you once, or on a regular basis, please contact Marylee at the church office: 812-282-1108, or stpaulsjeff@gmail.com .
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MANY THANKS for your continued faithful responses to the need for funds. PARISH OFFICE HOURS: MTWF 12 Noon to 4:30pm Th – no office hours.
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), let us know at stpaulsjeff@gmail.com
   Xander’s First Easter!
  Susan Madera’s Beautiful work!
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 We are blessed with loving, knowledgeable and compassionate clergy! Yesterday we welcomed back Father John Allen. Father John has been a consistent source of wisdom and reassurance for many years and especially during these demanding times. You are always welcome, John and Cindy!
 Father John’s Homily from Yesterday:
So, what! Now what? Is a phrase that I have used here at St. Paul’s before. It is a statement that the developmental speaker Dr. Kevin Elko uses in his presentations. He most often used it following a disappointment. The essential thrust here is that what has happened has happened and now what are we to do. He uses this thought especially when he works with athletes after a major loss when there may be self-doubt or confusion. Self-doubt or confusion might apply to the disciples in this post resurrection event that we heard in our Gospel today.
The disciples are in a confused and fearful state as our passage today begins. Peter and John had seen the empty tomb. Mary Magdalen had told the disciples what she had seen after Peter and John had left the tomb. The Gospel passage today says that they were fearful and had gathered in a house with the doors locked even after the news of the resurrection had become known to them.
The Gospel says that they were afraid of the Jews. But I imagine that there was also some degree of fear related to what Jesus would say to those who had fled from him after his arrest. They had quite literally left him hanging. They obviously had not been able to move beyond their vivid memories of the past few days. They were far from being able to join in our processional hymn this morning: “Good Christians all rejoice and sing”.
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So much will need to happen for them to be able to even contemplate saying those words. Jesus’ greeting to them most certainly helped as he said “Peace be with you.” We are told that they “rejoiced” on seeing him, and I might add that they also probably felt greatly relieved. But that is far from the rest of the story.
There is the questioning situation with Thomas. We are never told why he was not there with the other disciples. Some have suggested that he was even more fearful than the others. He may have been so fearful that he had decided not to join them but rather was in some hiding place of his own. Did he not trust the message of Peter and John about the empty tomb? Did he not trust the report from Mary Magdalen that she had seen the Risen Lord? Was there perhaps some guilt in him that caused him to “double down” on their account of having seen Jesus. He professed that because of his experience unless he could have the same experience as the other disciples, he could not accept what they were telling him.
Let us look at what could be a major transition point in the development of the Christian faith. That is the use and understanding of what we in English call “BELIEF’. Here Thomas lays before the disciples, and by implication us as well, a relationship between his experience and what he is able to say that he believes.
On first glance it might appear here that belief is strongly tied to the ability to understand what has happened. How often have we heard it said that something that we don’t understand is “unbelievable”? The Greek word that is translated as BELIEF in the Gospel of John does not imply the need for an intellectual understanding. It is rather rooted in the ability to fully commit to something. Like pledging yourself with an oath.
Several years ago, during Lent I offered something that may fit here as well. I presented what I called the theme song for Lent. The song is the “Hokey Pokey”. You will recall that the song ends with the invitation to:
Put your whole self in. You put your whole self out You put your whole self in and you shake it all about You do the Hokey Pokey and you turn yourself around That’s what it’s all about.
Yes, the Lenten Season was about shaking off some of the old self and coming to fully engage the proposition of putting our whole self in. It culminates in turning around in order that we might more clearly face and follow Jesus. To use our English, to describe BELIEVE is put your whole self into to it. What I hear Thomas saying is that his experience of seeing what happened to Jesus made him much like that of Mary Magdalen when she faced the gardener. His overwhelming experience of what he had seen and done clouded his vision and his ability to trust.
Most biblical scholars think that the original Gospel of John ended with the portion that we heard today. They say that what we see as chapter 21 was a later addition. So let us again hear those last two sentences: “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.”
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“But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.”
The image of a “Doubting Thomas” may tend to draw our attention today but the heart of our faith is in these last two lines. It is about who God is and who we are in our relationship with our God. It is about what Jesus did and what we are called to do in his name.
But if we allow ourselves to stop here, we miss “the rest of the story”. This sermon began with the expression “So what, now what”. At the conclusion of this Gospel, the sting of the crucifixion is somewhat behind the disciples. They were now finally able say to some degree “So what” to the power system of their day. The power system that led to Jesus being crucified. What was still before them was the profound “Now What”.
We find the beginning of that answer in the first lesson that we encountered this morning. What happened before this passage was that Peter and the apostles had been put in prison the night before because they were publicly speaking about the resurrection of Jesus. They had been set free by an angel and had returned to where they had previously spoken about Jesus. So here is the NOW WHAT: “The high priest questioned them, saying, "We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and you are determined to bring this man's blood on us." But Peter and the apostles answered,” with their faithful Now What: "We must obey God rather than any human authority.”
They had put their whole self in and had made a remarkable turnaround from the time that they gathered behind locked doors in fear. Do we now dare to ask for ourselves “Now What”? For this we might well turn our attention to the conclusion of the parable of the Good Samaritan. There Jesus asked the lawyer, who was a “neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “GO AND DO LIKEWISE.”
Might Jesus tell us regarding our faith to GO AND DO LIKEWISE?
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