I do not know about you but I am finding it difficult to watch the news these days. I would rather read about it and have my own reactions and emotions rather than that of the broadcaster. I have heard from more and more people who find it difficult to watch the news these days. Whatever our political affiliation, we can agree that our leaders could be doing a better job. Whatever our views on any number of vital issues, we can agree that
we have an endemic maybe a pandemic of division.
What are we to do? It seems to me there are three ways we can respond, if we are able to do so. Perhaps just getting through a tough time is enough, and if that’s where you are, do what you can to survive. Ask for help if you need it, and offer help if you have it to give.
Here are three ways to respond:
Despair is an understandable place to find ourselves, but ultimately, we Christians know that death and destruction never have the last word.
- We can have conversations across lines of division to learn more about others and to work for reconciliation. There are a number of online courses and books about how to do this in a civil manner. Let me know if you would like more information.
- We can pray for our leaders and our nation, especially as the United States heads into an election. We have added to our Tuesday newsletter a set of nine prayers leading up to the election. This novena includes simple prayers from our Book of Common Prayer and a litany to say each day, starting one week before the election and ending the day after.
- We can work to change our world. If we want more justice, we can be more just. If we want more compassion, we can be more compassionate. If we want more truth, we can speak the truth in love.
Amidst the chaos and confusion of this time, let us all seek the peace of Christ that passes all understanding.
O God of peace, who hast taught us that in returning and rest we shall be saved, in quietness and confidence shall be our strength: By the might of thy Spirit lift us, we pray thee, to thy presence, where we may be still and know that thou art God; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
October Hymn of the Month – by Beth Kerzee
When We Are Living (Pues Si Vivimos)
Mexican folk hymn, and Roberto Escamilla
“Pues Si Vivimos”
Pues si vivimos, para El vivimos When we are living, it is in Christ Jesus,
y si morimos para El morimos. And when we’re dying, it is in the Lord.
Sea que vivamos o que muramos, Both in our living and in our dying,
Somos del Señor, somos del Señor. We belong to God, we belong to God.*
This gentle and assuring Mexican folk hymn has quickly become a favorite song in both Spanish and English-speaking churches in a variety of denominations. To date it has been published in over thirteen denominational hymnals or songbooks. While this hymn is lovely in its simplicity of melody and message, its origin is a bit more complicated. The first stanza was recorded and transcribed by Gertrude Suppe, after meeting a Mexican woman in Los Angeles following a worship service. Roberto Escamilla, editor of Celebremos II [A collection intended to incorporate more Mexican American songs into worship], added three additional verses in Spanish. These words were translated into English by George Lockwood, thereby creating the hymn as we know it today. Robert Escamilla is a native of Hidalgo, Mexico, and has served many United Methodist churches in Texas and Oklahoma, both Spanish and English-speaking. He has a distinguished career as a pastor and a teacher that has spanned decades
This hymn’s first stanza references Romans 14:8 and as we can see it follows the biblical text very closely.
“If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, so that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living” (NRSV).
The meaning is clear that whether living of dying, we are not alone, we belong to God. Furthermore, it reminds us of the resurrection promise and heritage that is ours because Christ died for us and lives again. What an amazing assurance that is for all Christians, and what a great reminder we
need every day!
Stanzas 2-4, written by Dr. Escamilla, are based more loosely on John 15:8, “My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.” He continues the technique of binary opposition begun in the first stanza, which uses “living or dying.” Stanza two centers on our lives and how we are to live it and finishes by contrasting “giving or receiving.” Stanza three centers on our human feelings of joy and sadness and concludes with contrasting “suffering and rejoicing.” The final stanza looks outward to the whole world and a Christian’s response to the needs of humanity. The contrast here is “help or nurture,” which is not actually a contrast, but two ways to serve a hurting world. While this hymn didn’t start out being a four-stanza theological stance on the way a follower of Jesus Christ believes and acts, it was nevertheless developed into a concise statement doing just
BLANKET THE BIG BEND REGION WITH LOVE
The Big Bend Blanket Ministry (created by our own Kerie van Zeÿst), based in Far West Texas, comes together to provide blankets to people in rural areas along the Borderland. If you would like to donate a blanket to those in need they are $20 each for thick cotton blend blankets. Our first 2020 distribution will be in October. With the COVID-19 pandemic and high unemployment our shelters are full and it is more important than ever to get as many blankets out those in need as possible this winter. If you know of anyone in need of a blanket or would like to donate a blanket please let us know! To contribute, put cash in an envelope marked "Blanket" at leave it the collection plate at St. Paul's or write a check to St. Paul's with 'Blanket' in the memo section or go to PayPal.me/StPaulsMarfa and put "Blanket" in the note. THANK YOU!
A Weekly Bible Study
Caregivers Support Group
Discussion Group about History and Racism in the Big Bend Region
Confirmation Classes for All Ages
If any of these groups tickle your curiosity or you have questions or would like to participate,
send an Email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Coming TODAY at 4:00....
Book Study Group on Zoom
The Book of Joy led by Tricia Seifert
Contact Fr. Mike or Tricia Seifert for Zoom information
or click here
MARK YOUR CALENDARS
We are planning to have our annual Thanksgiving meal shared with whoever shows up.
This will be done with Covid-modifications.
Watch for details in the weeks to come.
Watch for volunteer opportunities and dish signups.
The needs of paying the the church bills, funding our ministries, and proclaiming the Good News continues during this Pandemic. Please consider making a monthly gift.
THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!---to all of you who have contributed and continue to contribute to our virtual collection plate. Some of you have made it a monthly donation through our "Donate Button. Either way you have done it....it is greatly appreciated.
For those of you who have not checked out how easy it is to donate on line....Go to our website-http://stpaulsmarfa.org- Go to the bottom and find the "Donate" --click on it and fill in the blanks.... OR go to https://www.dioceserg.org/donate and continue to support our mission and ministry.
ALSO---Thank you, thank you, thank you for all who have mailed in pledges and donations.
Things to do to benefit the church and the community during the Coronavirus Restrictions
1. Keep bringing food donations...our doors are open 24 hours and you will find a basket at the back of the church.