Vision Statement for St. Paul’s, Marfa, Texas
St. Paul’s is an open, loving community
growing in the experience and understanding of the love of God,
acting to share the visible presence and compassion of Christ.
Mission Statement for St. Paul’s, Marfa, Texas:
Our mission is to be a welcoming, prayerful, caring community
actively sharing the love of God.
Values Statement for St. Paul's Marfa, Texas
To accomplish our mission, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church bases its decisions and actions on the following core values:
Love of God and neighbor by honoring the worth and dignity of every human being including ourselves.
Daily relationship with God all through our lives through prayer and service.
The importance of giving and receiving forgiveness through the generosity of the Holy Spirit.
We value continual learning.
We value the Episcopal tradition of communal worship.
Practicing hospitality by welcoming all and serving and sharing with our communities.
The stewardship of God’s creation and all its inhabitants.
A PRAYER TO MARK ONE YEAR
OF THE PANDEMIC
Good shepherd, thank you for walking with us through this valley of the shadow of death: through the suffering, the anxiety, the loneliness, the boredom, the longing for closeness and the longing for personal space, the confusion and fear, the impatience and hope, the good days and the bad.
Forgive us for our suspicions of each other, the ways this ordeal has made us more divided, as a country and a world. Help us bridge our differences and come together — even as we are physically distant.
Thank you for all the ways, large and small, that this ordeal has strengthened us as a community: the acts of kindness, the new ways of doing things, the support we’ve offered and received.
Forgive us for the inequities this pandemic has exposed. Kindle in our hearts a new commitment to justice as we build and rebuild our community together. Keep us ever mindful of those most in need.
We pray especially for those of us who have lost loved ones, lost jobs, lost hope.
Let us be good company, even from afar; good neighbors; and good friends.
We pray especially for those on the front lines of the pandemic, for all who are in harm’s way.
Gentle God, we ask that you continue to keep watch with those who work, or watch, or weep this day. Walk with those whose bodies are holding memories of sickness, of trauma, of pain, of confusion, of chaos, of isolation.
Give your angels charge over those who still cannot sleep because of anxiety or grief.
Tend the sick, give rest to the weary, bless the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the joyous; all for your love's sake.
God of life and hope, lift our spirits as we dare to look ahead, dare to hope and dream about the new world to come. Strengthen our efforts, deepen our wisdom, so we might hasten that day.
And until that day, keep our eyes and hearts open to the signs of hope and life all around us.
For new ways to connect with each other, we give you thanks and praise!
For teachers and nurses and doctors and agricultural workers and grocery clerks and small business owners and frontline workers of all kinds, we give you thanks and praise!
For the beautiful hope of being together again in person one day, lifting our voices in song, passing the peace, sharing cups of coffee, being able to hug one another again — for that day that is surely coming, we give you thanks and praise!
For the ways in which our eyes have been opened by this ordeal, for the ways in which our hearts have been broken and put back together differently, softer and more attuned to the needs of the most vulnerable, we give you thanks and praise!
For all of these things and more, gentle God, we give you thanks and praise in the name of Jesus, our crucified and risen Jesus,
Stay safe and well.....Shalom,
DON'T FORGET! Move Your Clock Ahead before you go to bed
March hymn of the month...
King of glory, King of peace
Author: George Herbert
King of glory, King of peace,
I will love thee;
and that love may never cease,
I will move thee.
Thou hast granted my request,
thou hast heard me;
thou didst note my working breast,
thou hast spared me.
Wherefore with my utmost art
I will sing thee,
and the cream of all my heart
I will bring thee.
Though my sins against me cried,
thou didst clear me;
and alone, when they replied,
thou didst hear me.
Seven whole days, not one in seven,
I will praise thee;
in my heart, though not in heaven,
I can raise thee.
Small it is, in this poor sort
to enroll thee:
e'en eternity's too short
to extol thee.
George Herbert, author of the hymn text, (3 April 1593 – 1 March 1633) was a Welsh-born poet, orator, and priest of the Church of England. His poetry is associated with the writings of the metaphysical poets, and he is recognized as "one of the foremost British devotional lyricists." He was born into an artistic and wealthy family and largely raised in England. He received a good education that led to his admission to Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1609. He went there with the intention of becoming a priest, but he became the University's Public Orator and attracted the attention of King James I.
The hymn tune for this text is GENERAL SEMINARY, written by the Rev. David Charles Walker, who was a member of the 1973 class of the Episcopal General Seminary, — priest, chaplain, organist and composer — died Dec. 3, 2018. He served as chaplain and director of pastoral care at Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles from 1991 – 2003 and previously served congregations in San Diego, Beverly Hills, and Brooklyn New York.
Walker also served General Seminary as Organist and Director of Music. He composed two hymn tunes included in Hymnal 1982: “General Seminary,” with the text “King of Glory, King of Peace” by George Herbert (Hymn 382), and “Point Loma,” with the text “Baptized in water” (Hymn 294).
Walker was born in Washington, D.C. on March 17, 1938. He majored in organ and harpsichord at Illinois’ Wesleyan College and earned his bachelor’s degree in music in 1960. He attended the Union Theological Seminary in New York, earning a Master of Sacred Music degree in 1965. After earning his Master of Divinity degree from General, he was ordained to the diaconate in June 1973 by Bishop Paul Moore, and to the priesthood in May 1974 by Bishop Ned Cole.
Book Study Today @ 4:00
Wednesday Nights @ 7 on Zoom
Bible Study #4: Use Your Talents Wisely
Every Christian has God-given talents. Unfortunately, it seems that only a few Christians have learned how to mobilize those talents to make an eternal impact for the kingdom of God. The purpose of this study is to help us use our God-given talents for maximum impact. To do that, Christians must focus on their strengths, use their gifts with excellence, and live with intensity.
Women's Retreat The times listed below are Mountain Time
The Women's Ministry of the DRG invites all women to a Lent Retreat with Canon Lee Curtis on March 12-13 via Zoom. Your Lent will be enriched by this time with God and one another.
Friday March 12 we will gather at 6:30PM for fellowship, followed by a presentation by Canon Lee. The evening will end around 8:30PM with worship.
On Saturday, March 13 we’ll start at 8:45AM with fellowship and worship. Throughout the day there will be times for quiet reflection, discussion, and talks by Canon Lee. The retreat will end with closing worship at 2:00PM.
Invite a friend to this event, inside or beyond the diocese!
Contact Cindy Davis, Coordinator of Women’s Ministry to get the Zoom link (email@example.com). You can join the retreat via phone if you prefer.
CANVAS OF HOPE
A COMMUNITY ART FUNDRAISER PRESENTED BY
RIO GRANDE BORDERLAND MINISTRIES
In order to spread awareness and build our network of supporters, Rio Grande Borderland Ministries is hosting an online community art fundraiser titled Canvas of Hope. The event will feature artists passionate about migration, including musical performances, poetry readings, artists talks, and more.
Please join us for Canvas of Hope on Saturday, May 1, from 1:00 PM MDT to 2:30 PM MDT. Registration required. Questions? Reach out to Nellie Fagan, RGBM Project Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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. THE MARFA FOOD PANTRY IS EMPTY! - Keep bringing food donations...our doors are open 24 hours and you will find a basket at the back of the church.
2. Pray for Rudy and Allison.
3. Pray for our country.
The Fourth Sunday in Lent March 14, 2021
Numbers 21.4-9: Snakes But Not Cows?
(Art and Faith Matters)
It's a story of illness and provision for healing. The people miss the mark and find themselves with an infestation of poisonous snakes. But for snakebite there is a cure provided by God. The story, the reading for Lent 4B from Hebrew scripture, is found in Numbers 21:4-9. The gospel reading for Lent 4B directly references the story, so the connection is easily made between Jesus on the cross and the serpent in the wilderness. Both join together death and life.
(Left) Plaque with Moses, Aaron and the Brazen Serpent. c. 1200. Made in Cologne, Germany. Champleve enamel, Copper alloy, Gilt. NY: Metropolitan Museum of Art. (Right) Plaque with Moses and the Brazen Serpent. c. 1160. Made in the Meuse Valley, Belgium. Copper alloy, enamel, gold. London: Victoria & Albert Museum.
These two roughly contemporary Romanesque brass panels illustrate the story. Moses and Aaron stand together on one side of a column (rather than a cross) on which a creature is indeed lifted up. The Met piece (left) has a footed creature, which seems less serpent-like. Moses is horned, as he often is, and Aaron wears a pointed hat (similar to the figures at the right in the V&A piece). Moses directs attention toward the "serpent" by pointing his finger.
The V&A piece has an additional group of figures to the right of the column. They look toward the serpent, with the front figure making a clapping (?) gesture and the figure at the far right seeming to brush off his upper sleeve. Moses and Aaron are identified by name on the left half of the plaque, while the group of figures at right are identified as "Vulnerati" (the Vulnerables). Moses and Aaron are invulnerable. But all can be saved if they will look at the serpent (which is a carefully balanced loop in the V&A piece).
But it seems strange that Moses would be directed by God to create a sculptural form in metal. In both plaques Moses is holding the two tablets on which are written the Ten Commandments. The second commandment says not to create an image of anything that is in the heavens above or the earth beneath or the water under the earth. While those tablets (or the originals, anyway) were being created, the Israelites found themselves in big trouble because they had directed Aaron to create a calf with the gold earrings and jewelry they collected. How would you quantify the difference? Is it that here the serpent is not a god of the people's own making? Is it that somehow looking to the serpent in order to be saved is not exactly the same as worshiping the image? Is it that snakes are allowable but not cows?
The brazen serpent does ultimately meet an end according to tradition. It isn't here in Numbers but rather in II Kings (18:4). King Hezekiah destroys a copper serpent (along with the sacred pole on which it was lifted up) called the Nehushtan, which is identified as the serpent created by Moses. It has become a problem because the people are making offerings to it. In other words, turning it into an idol. Which probably says more about humanity than it does about sculpture.
Reflection: Even then, grace
written by Jan L. Richardson
But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which God loved us, even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ. - Ephesians 2.4-5a
Even when we were dead, Paul writes.
Even when we turned away from the One who had created us.
Even when we lived in the grip of what drew our gaze from God.
Even when we were oblivious.
Even when we followed a path fashioned of nothing
but our own desires.
Even when we wandered far and willfully away.
Even when we forgot to look past our own feet and to see
the wonders not of our making.
Even when we failed to stand in awe, to breathe thanks,
to lean into the love that had waited long for us.
Even when, Paul writes.
No need to explain how the serpent’s bite
surfaces (stealthy as the coming of night)
while you’re reading the news; or worried and alone;
or when suffering long; or when a doctor intones
challenging words; or when darkness falls;
or the voice on the end of the telephone call
declares a once-loved relationship done;
when hope seems lost, when joy seems gone.
No need to explain how this serpent hides
next door to our hearts, marks left inside
where poison drips from the tip of its fangs:
in rage, in bitterness, in lonely pangs
of guilt and regret; in the resentments we bear.
And in hurts that we cause we do our own share
of spreading its toxin and resulting grief.
The serpent is death – the fear of it. Relief
ever seems to elude us; but we may declare
its ultimate defeat; for above its shadow there
rises greater light – see, lifted up,
the one who for us drank the cup
of suffering, whose love even in death
conquered its evil; by whose living breath
we also may thrive. We turn trusting eyes,
snake-bitten, upon Christ, and the serpent dies.
Gaze On Christ Crucified
Meanwhile brethren, that we may be healed from sin, let us now gaze on Christ crucified; for "as Moses," saith He, "lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up; that whosoever believeth on Him may not perish, but have everlasting life." Just as they who looked on that serpent perished not by the serpent’s bites, so they who look in faith on Christ’s death are healed from the bites of sins.
- Augustine 354-430
Tractate XII ch.3 Homilies on the Gospel of John
The Cross is the Medicine of the World
Crux est porta paradisi, In qua sancti sunt confisi, Qui vicerunt omnia. Crux ext mundi medicina, Per quam bonitas divina Facit mirabilia.
Lo, the cross is heaven’s portal, In which trust the saints immortal, Who have conquered in the fight. This world find the cross its healing, God’s own goodness still revealing By its wonder-working might.
Even in the new Jerusalem, in heaven itself, it hath pleased thee to discover a tree, which is a tree of life there, but the leaves thereof are for the healing of the nations. (Rev.22:2) Life itself is with thee there, for thou art life; and all kinds of health, wrought upon us here by thine instruments, descend from thence.
-John Donne 1572-1631
Devotions upon Emergent Occasions, ch 4
Mediscusque vocatur The physician is sent for
Tree of Life
Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents -Luke 15:10
The Devil speaks:
Now then, Hades, mourn And I join in unison with you in wailing. Let us lament as we see The tree which we planted Changed into a holy trunk. Robbers, murderers, tax gatherers, harlots, Rest beneath it, and make nests In its branches In order that they might gather The fruit of sweetness From the supposedly sterile wood. For they cling to the cross as the tree of life.
-Romanos, Sixth Century
Koztakia of Romanos, translated and annotated by Marjorie Carpenter. Published by University of Missouri Press, 1970 quoted in Triduum (Liturgy Training Publications)
The Last Word
Christ was tempted in the desert; and if you are to put on his nature, you must go through his Journey, from the Incarnation to the Ascension. And though you are neither able nor expected to be able to do what he did, still you must enter wholly into his Process, and die continually to sin. For Sophia (Wisdom) is wed to the soul only through that quality which springs up in the soul through the death of Christ. Then it flowers as a new plant in Eternity.
-Jacob Boehme 1575-1624
Thankfulness and Celebration and News
Thank you to Joni who is leading our Stewardship program during Lent.
Thank you to everyone who continues to bring food supplies and masks to the church. It is greatly appreciated by the Marfa Food Pantry.
Thank you to all who have gone on line to our virtual collection plate and to those who have kept up your pledges and donations through snail mail.
LOOKING FORWARD TO
The Rev. Michael Wallens
Vicar - Saint Paul's Episcopal Church
P.O. Box 175, Marfa, Texas 79843