6 July 2020

 St. Paul’s Parish Newsletter
July 12 11:00 am St. Paul’s On-Line Worship Service—FaceBook Live
Washington Cathedral on line 11:15 am and 7:30 pm
daily: https://cathedral.org/worship/
Diocese of N. Indiana (St. James Cathedral) 10:15 AM Sunday https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC CKWYmjR8F8_Eu1dOKZ1jdA
Calla Lily blossoms In the Parish Hall
July 6, 2020
  Calendar Reminders
   Collect for 6th Sunday after Pentecost (July 12th )
O Lord, mercifully receive the prayers of your people who call upon you, and grant that they may know and understand what things they ought to do, and also may have grace and power faithfully to accomplish them; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
The Lessons: Genesis 25:19-34; Psalm 119:105-112; Romans 8:1-11; Matthew 13:1-9,18-23
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.
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On July 12th, in the diocesan cycle of prayer we pray for St. Paul’s, New Albany, The Rev. Mark Feather. 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 5th
at 11:00 am. It will be on Facebook Live. I will send the link out later this week, or you can
access Facebook Live from our stpaulsjeff facebook page.
We need to ask those who have not been able to keep up their pledges, or provide an offering, to please try to do so. We have kept up our payments so far, and need to continue doing so. THANKS to those who will respond, and THANKS ALSO to all of you who have remained faithful in your pledges and offerings.
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CHALLENGE FOR THIS WEEK: Every day in the office I get 3-4 calls from people looking for a food pantry, and we know that the need is great and increasing. If you can help the Center for Lay Ministries with any non-perishable food, or a cash donation, please either bring it by the church office or take it directly to the Center at 213 E. Maple Street. Their phone number is 812- 282-0063. Thanks!
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 5th )
What To Make Of It All?
The Yoke’s On You! Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30
Did you notice that in the last of these famous verses Jesus connects two images that to us seem opposites. He says ‘Come to me all who are weary’ but then offers as his remedy ‘Take my yoke upon you,’ and, of course, a yoke by definition adds to your weariness. So, let’s see what Jesus might’ve been talking about in today’s Gospel reading.
For the last several months we’ve been looking at the life of Jesus through the eyes of the Gospel writer Matthew. Matthew is often called ‘the Jewish Gospel’ because his audience was mostly Jews who believed Jesus was the Messiah and who were suffering persecution from Roman authorities and estrangement by members of their own communities who were saying ‘Jesus isn’t the Messiah so get back to where you belong before you lose your friends and your family.’ Matthew’s goal was to reassure these folks that ‘yes, Jesus IS the long-awaited Messiah and, yes, your belief in him IS well- placed!’
Matthew is important in that he presents Jesus not as a rejection of the Jewish faith but as its fulfillment. And it’s a wonderfully-told story! In Chapter 1 we hear John the Baptist emerge from the wilderness to proclaim ‘Prepare ye the way of the Lord.’ In
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Chapter 5 Jesus delivers his amazing Sermon on the Mount where he reveals his vison of a new Kingdom of Heaven on earth. We see him walking through the hills of Galilee preaching and teaching and healing, all the time gathering followers.
Now, today’s passage marks sort of a halfway point in Jesus’ ministry and even though on the surface Jesus seems as powerful as ever there’re dark undercurrents developing. Other verses tell us that John the Baptist, Jesus’ own cousin no less, the one who had so boldly and confidently announced Jesus’ coming, is now in prison and his faith is shaken so badly he actually sends a friend to ask Jesus ‘are you really the Messiah, or should we be waiting for someone else?’ Then, we learn that the three towns in northern Galilee where Jesus spent most of his time, the towns of Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum, the towns in which a majority of his miracles were performed, these towns had grown indifferent to his teaching; Jesus’ star-power there was fading and some of the townspeople were even saying his miracles were the works of Satan. And so in today’s passage we find Jesus lecturing his followers ‘Take a look at those children playing games in the street. Is that what you’re doing with your faith, playing games? Is your faith some sort of amusement that you can set aside whenever you feel like it?’ And then Jesus makes the statement that changes the course of Matthew’s Gospel and turns him from a mere annoyance in the eyes of the local Power Structure to an enemy that must be stopped:
Chapter 11: Verse 27: All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Translated: don’t confuse me with a moral leader, I didn’t come to be a teacher or a prophet or a healer. I’m God’s prime agent on earth and not only that, I’m the same as God, and God’s the same as me!’
Now, before we pause and consider what all this means for us, can we consider how that statement must’ve been received by a first-century Jew who wanted to follow Jesus but who was steeped in the Law of Moses, whereby you were forbidden from even uttering the name of God out loud. What did Jesus’ statement of his Divinity mean to their discipleship, and, and then, of course, what does it mean to ours?
Let’s consider that Jesus is saying to them and to us that although we seek in God comfort and solace, there must also be commitment, and this is where the image of a yoke comes in. Jesus said ‘God and I are the same.’ We can either respond with ‘You’re a lunatic’ or we can say ‘Yes, Lord.’ There’s no third choice. But if we say yes, then we must be willing to put on a yoke, yes, a yoke of servitude in which we acknowledge the Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and where we nurture and grow our faith into a mature and sustaining relationship with God manifested in humble obedience and a desire to do God’s work in the world.
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We cannot let our Christian commitment be ‘Wow, isn’t Jesus a really great guy!’ And to truly commit to the Divinity of Jesus is risky! For those early Jews It meant putting at risk relationships with family and community and religion that was their very identity. For us in these stressful times, our risk is succumbing to the chaos, ditching our faith and running to something else when, like John the Baptist, the world seems to be crumbling around us, being unwilling to remain steadfast in our faith even when the clouds are darkening.
Listen again: ‘Come to me all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.’
Now, of course, the image of a yoke weighing us down is not particularly attractive until we recognize that we’re already living under a yoke and it’s doggone heavy! Let’s look at the yoke that is controlling us today: an intractable virus, worsening racial strife, increasing threats from abroad, a Presidential election that promises to be especially nasty, and worst of all a relentless, polarized media that insists on dragging us into one political camp or another and stoking the fires of fear and mistrust to such a degree that all civil conversation is lost and instead we spew contempt and intolerance at those who disagree with us. Folks, this IS the yoke we’re living under; this IS the burden we assume every time we turn on the television. It is indeed a heavy burden to bear and it gets a little heavier every day.
Jesus invites us to trade the debilitating yoke of intolerance and rage for his far-more- gentle yoke of Christian compassion and lovingkindness. Listen to those words: compassion, lovingkindness. How refreshing and rare are these words in today’s public discourse! Could this be a yoke we would gladly put on, the gentle yoke of Christian living where our only responsibility is to Love God, Love Our Neighbor? As Christians we put our trust in one who is both perfectly human and perfectly Divine, and we willingly accept a yoke that in reality is a statement of faith that we belong to God and not the World.
From here on, Jesus’ life will get more complicated as he faces increased opposition by religious authorities, and in the next few months our lives are destined to be increasingly stressful as we face a time of trial, a time that is sure to be shrill, rancorous and divisive. Our choice is clear: the weight of the world on our shoulders or the grace of God at our hand. Which yoke do we choose to lead us forward even as the clouds gather and the skies darken?
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Let us pray a Prayer for Protection:
Assist us mercifully, O Lord, in these our supplications and prayers, and dispose the way of thy servants towards the attainment of everlasting salvation; that, among all the changes and chances of this mortal life, they may ever be defended by thy gracious and ready help: through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen (BCP P.832)
REJOICE ALWAYS! PRAY WITHOUT CEASING! GIVE THANKS IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES! FOR THAT IS THE WILL OF GOD FOR US!
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