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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.


 


HOWDY 

My whole hope for the days ahead is found in Lincoln’s question from his second inaugural address: It is not "can any of us imagine better?" but, "can we all do better?" 

Yesterday we started a new chapter.Today we open to a blank page of a world that we create together.

We have come through a lot. We have lost thousands to this global pandemic, people we loved, and people who made us better because they loved us. We have seen the heartbreaking truth of racism rip our families and communities apart. We have been forced to face our divisions and our hate. We have had our sense of shared identity and safety attacked as never before in modern history.

We have been broken. We have been divided. We have known despair.

Catholic Archbishop Oscar Romero once said, "There are many things that can only be seen through eyes that have cried." We have cried. We have learned. Now we must not forget.

We begin to celebrate that love and justice shape our days ahead. We are not naive about the work that is before us. We are still divided. We are still broken. We are still wracked with grief. We have seen and cannot unsee. We know and cannot unknow. Now we must choose: who will we be?

Here is what I believe to be true: We are stronger because of the struggle. We are kinder because of the hate. We are wiser because of the deception. We have been broken open, and now the light can get in. Now: let it in. 

Today, we start a new chapter. We start again the creating of a more perfect union and freer world. Let us remember the words of St. Francis, who can teach us about where to begin:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.

O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

 

I also want to share a prayer which I hang on to.
 

A Future Not Our Own
by Bishop Ken Untener
In memory of Oscar Romero (1917–1980)

It helps now and then to step back and take a long view.
The Kingdom is not only beyond our efforts,
it is beyond our vision.

We accomplish in our lifetime only a fraction
of the magnificent enterprise that is God's work.
Nothing we do is complete, which is another way of
saying that the kingdom always lies beyond us.
No statement says all that could be said.
No prayer fully expresses our faith. No confession
brings perfection, no pastoral visit brings wholeness.
No program accomplishes the Church's mission.
No set of goals and objectives include everything.

This is what we are about. We plant the seeds that one
day will grow. We water the seeds already planted
knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces effects
far beyond our capabilities.

We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of
liberation in realizing this.
This enables us to do something, and to do it very well.
It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning,
a step along the way, an opportunity for the Lord's
grace to enter and do the rest.
We may never see the end results, but that is the
difference between the master builder and the worker.

We are workers, not master builders, ministers, not
messiahs. We are prophets of a future not our own.


CAN WE ALL DO BETTER?

 

Stay safe, warm and well.....Shalom,

Mike+

P.S. We're preparing the Giving Statements for 2020.  Please email dan.stpaul@yahoo.com with your current mailing address to ensure we have your address and mail them to the correct address.

 



On top of everything else....
It is that time of year to consider becoming a member of the Bishop's Committee
and/or a delegate to our Diocesan Convention


Bishop's Committee

The Bishop’s Committee is the elected governing body of the congregation. Along with the Vicar, the Bishop’s Committee is composed of elected members from the congregation, representing a diverse set of skills and gifts for leadership. In the Episcopal Church, the Bishop’s Committee has responsibility for the “temporal affairs” of the congregation, including the care of our buildings and finances, as well as choosing individuals to fill leadership roles in the congregation, and setting the vision for the congregation, along with the Vicar.

Current Members
Keri Van Zyest - Acting Bishop's Warden
Dan Wosonski - Treasurer and Member
Tricia Seifert - Clerk and Member
Joni Marginot

Serving on the Bishop’s Committee includes the following responsibilities:

  1. To pray for our Church and its leaders. 
  2. To regularly attend the worship services of the church. 
  3. To observe the canons of the diocese and the national church. 
  4. To support the Vicar. 
  5. To provide leadership for the congregation. 
  6. To attend monthly Bishop’s Committee meetings. 
  7. To set goals and implement priorities for the upcoming year and beyond. 
  8. To be willing to serve on a committee. 
  9. To formulate and manage the financial operations of St. Peter’s
  10. To oversee the physical plant and the grounds. 
  11. To arrange for elections to the Bishop’s Committee. 
  12. To attend and support special events at St. Paul’s. 
  13. To participate in and support diocesan programs and activities. 
  14. To incorporate new members into church life and help to equip and motivate all members for their ministries. 
  15. To attend a yearly Retreat. 
  16. To make a financial pledge to the life of the Church.

AND – we have fun!!

If you are interested in serving, please contact any member of the Bishop’s Committee to learn more.


Delegate to the Diocesan Convention

The job of a Convention Delegate is to provide a link between the congregation and the Diocese by representing the congregation both at regional and diocesan levels, and by reporting back to the congregation on events, actions and decisions that occur. The dates for this year's convention are October 28-30. If it is held in person, we will meet in Santa Fe. If, due to the coronavirus we cannot meet in person it will be conducted as it was last year, virtually.

SELECTION OF CONVENTION DELEGATES

A lay delegate should be someone who can represent the congregation and vote on its behalf on a variety of subjects. A member of the Bishop's Committee or a retiring warden often makes a good delegate because of intimate knowledge of the workings of that congregation. The Vicar and Bishop's Warden are automatic delegates. We need to elect two other people and one alternate.

YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES AS A CONVENTION DELEGATE

Delegates and warden represent their congregation at the annual Deanery Assembly, and at any other meetings of the region.

Delegates represent their congregation at the annual Diocesan Convention and any specially convened conventions.

Delegates advise their vestry/mission committee and congregation of issues pending before the Deanery or the Diocese, seek their opinions, and report back to them when actions are taken.

All delegates and alternate delegates should reserve the date of their Deanery Assembly and the Annual Convention on their calendars, as well as the dates of any other meetings (such as Deanery steering committee meetings or special hearings).

All delegates should report back to the congregation as a whole as well as the vestry/mission committee after Deanery meetings and after Convention. This can take place in a forum, annual meeting, Bishop's Committee  meeting, or through a column in the newsletter, etc.


BISHOP"S COMMITTEE NEWS
To view
the minutes of the December Bishop's Committee meeting (December 6)
and
the Quarterly Annual Meeting (December 13)

CLICK HERE

Hymn of the month by Beth Kerzee
 

January 2021 Hymn of the Month

I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light

Words: Kathleen Thomerson, 1970.

Music: Houston: Kathleen Thomerson

"I want to walk as a child of the light.
I want to follow Jesus.
God set the stars to give light to the world.
The star of my life is Jesus.
Refrain: In him there is no darkness at all.
The night and the day are both alike.
The Lamb is the light of the city of God.
Shine in my heart, Lord Jesus.” 

From time to time, a hymn captures our imagination because of its simplicity and transparency. Such a hymn is “I want to walk as a child of the light.” In singing this hymn, we feel the spirit of Epiphany unfold.

Kathleen Armstrong Thomerson (b. 1934) is a native of Tennessee. She wrote the hymn during the summer of 1966 during a visit to the Church of the Redeemer in Houston, Texas, the location providing the origin for the tune name HOUSTON. Her musical education took place at the University of Texas and Syracuse University, with additional studies at the Flemish Royal Conservatory in Antwerp. She has studied with several of the most noted organists of the twentieth century.

Ms. Thomerson directed music at University United Methodist Church in St. Louis and was on the organ faculties of St. Louis Conservatory and Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville. From 2004 through 2013, she served Mt. Olive Lutheran Church in Austin, Texas. In addition to this hymn, she contributed tunes for hymns by Patricia B. Clark in their joint collection, A Taste of Heaven’s Joys: A Collection of Original Hymns (2005).

 

A musician with such a distinguished musical pedigree does not usually compose a gospel hymn of such elegant simplicity. A folk-like melody conveys a text based upon a wide range of scriptural allusions and biblical images.  Methodist Hymnal editor, Dr. Carlton Young notes some biblical passages that support the text: Isaiah 42:6c, “I have given you as a covenant to the people, a light to the nations.”; Malachi 4:2, “But for you who revere my name the sun of righteousness shall rise, with healing in its wings”; Revelation 21:25b, “And there will be no night there,” and 22:5b, “They need no light of lamp or sun.”

“I want to walk as a child of the light” communicates deep conviction and personal sincerity, while avoiding any hint of pretense. The first-person perspective invites the singer to join Christ, the Light of the World, in discipleship – a journey of faith. The second line of each stanza deepens this commitment:
 

Stanza 1: “I want to follow Jesus.”
Stanza 2: “I want to look at Jesus.”
Stanza 3: “I want to be with Jesus.”

The theology of this hymn outlines sanctifying grace, the perspective of the Christians as they move toward perfection in the faith, becoming transformed in the image of Christ. Each stanza adds greater luminosity to this walk. In the first stanza, “God set[s] the stars to give light to the world.” Christ in turn becomes the “star of my life.” References to stars support the hymn’s appropriateness for Epiphany. Stanza two expresses the desire to “see the brightness of God.” The “Sun of Righteousness” illumines “the way to the Father.” The final stanza extends the journey toward the “coming of Christ,” an eschatological direction toward our future hope.

As in most gospel hymns, it is the refrain that carries the essence of its meaning; and in this refrain, with its scriptural allusions that virtually quote from Revelation 21 and 22, this hymn is distinguished from many earlier expressions of discipleship. While a deeply personal expression of piety, the poet roots her devotional expression firmly in Scripture, avoiding the maudlin and simplistic notions of some gospel songs.

The simplicity of the music and text does not imply a simplistic faith. “I want to walk as a child” reminds us of one of the paradoxes of our faith, that we need to become as a child to fully understand the realm of God (Matthew 18:2-4).

Written by: C. Michael Hawn,University Distinguished Professor of Church Music, Perkins School of Theology, SMU.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QISk0oYYpuk&ab_channel=DioceseofSt.Benedict

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lmcz2T5hCsY&ab_channel=DebbieUnterseher

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5PBSab0xF_M&ab_channel=HalLeonardandShawneePressChurchChoral


ANNOUNCEMENTS

It is also a time for discernment.
 
The Episcopal Diocese of the Rio Grande invites you to consider a new way for DRG  Congregations to support asylum seekers as we partner with Episcopal Migration Ministries in  being a pilot diocese for the Neighbor to Neighbor program. 
 
 

Neighbor to Neighbor is a new network designed to connect asylum seekers with Episcopal  congregations in local communities across the US. Led by Episcopal Migration Ministries and the  Rev. Cristina Rathbone, Neighbor to Neighbor seeks to provide a way for Episcopalians to  accompany, assist and support asylum seekers who live close to them, and is committed to offering  congregational groups training and support as their relationships with these newest neighbors  develop and grow. 
 
This discernment time will help us to dream together about how we could best welcome people into the work of loving our newly arrived neighbors as ourselves through the ministry of accompanying asylum seekers. 

Welcoming our neighbors as we would welcome Christ is more than a political issue; it is a question of our identity as followers of Jesus, as members of the Episcopal branch of the Jesus movement, and as people who made promises at our baptisms: 

Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself? 

Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being? 

To these questions, we answer together with a resounding, “We will, with God’s help.” 

During this time of discernment, we will actively invite God’s help to enter into our decision about joining Neighbor to Neighbor. There is no single right conclusion to this process. Reaching out to asylum seekers who have moved close to you is just one small way to make the world a better place. We believe it is an essential way and that, grounded in real-time relationship, it honors the incarnation power of us all. But there are as many ways to help usher in God’s Kingdom as there are people on this earth, and it is important that you find the way that works best for you and your community. 

If St. Paul's chooses to join Neighbor to Neighbor, we will embark together on a series of trainings including: a course in anti-racism that has been specifically designed for accompanying asylum seekers, Safe Church training if needed, neighborhood mapping instruction, and an introduction to trauma- informed service. First, however, we ask that you take a little time to listen and learn and speak your own truth in the knowledge of God’s love for all. 

If this is something you feel called to ponder, please let Fr. Mike know and we will set up a time for a group to go through the process of discernment. 

NEXT WEDNESDAY




For January 27 @ 7 pm central time

Session 4: Mark 7:14-9:32  

In advance of the next class, I encourage participants to:


If interested, please sign up at stpaulsmarfatx@gmail.com or michaelwallens@gmail.com.
 




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.
 

AND


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 Third Sunday after Epiphany
January 24, 2021

Jonah 3:1-5
Psalm 62:5-12
1 Corinthians 7:29-31
Mark 1:14-20


Follow Me

We could only hear the voice

We could not see him
for he stood with the sun behind him
and he glowed

We dropped our nets where they were
screwing our eyes at the light
confused by its brightness
yet drawn by those words
“Come and follow me”

The light shifted just at that moment.

This was the daring plan all heaven 
had been working on
through incarnation
and annunciation
around magnificat
those ancient words
scripted to lead nations into the reign of God
and here it was
bold
clever
centuries of work
whole generations had been longing for
a complete, worked out plan of salvation: 
"Will you come and follow me"
it worked for us 
but churches and project workers
have tried more advanced programmes
ever since.

~ written by Roddy Hamilton

 

Cast your nets with me
Haiku for risk takers


The time is fulfilled
and the kingdom has come near.
Opportunity!

Turn your life around,
put your trust in the good news:
find life, hope and love!

Hear, fisherpeople,
and all who toil and struggle;
your labour bears fruit!

Cast your nets with me,
gather what is true and good.
In the name of love.

The kingdom awaits,
as do all the aching hearts.
Come, travel with me.

Leave your boats and nets.
Bring a heart that is open,
a soul that is true.

Which way will we go,
and where will we sleep at night?
He gives no answer.

He looks upon them,
repeats the invitation:
Come and follow me! 


© Ken Rookes 

 
The Shortest Sermon in the Book

The shortest sermon in the Book,
Five Hebrew words is all it took
To turn huge Nineveh around;
We know its size, for on the ground
A three-day's walk is sixty miles!
And thus the author makes us smile
To see how little Jonah said
To turn the whole place on its head.

With Jesus, "Son," "Beloved" named,
In Galilee, he then proclaimed
Good news; and with a scant nine words,
In Simon and in Andrew stirred
A calling deep - and so profound,
They left their nets without a sound;
Next, James and John could not resist
In heaven's cause then to enlist.

The Faithful One who ever seeks
Will come to those who hear, and speak.
Apparently, the sermon's length
Cannot predict the preacher's strength;
The anecdotes and wisdom deep,
From files and web that preachers reap,
Can hardly substitute for when
God would our lives begin again.

Scott L. Barton

 

pushy, aren't you?

when,
by the shores of complacency,
i am content to simply
mend the nets
of my washed-up life,
pull me to my feet,
plop me in the boat,
stick the oars in my hand,
and push me away
to find the ones
you would have me
bring to you;

there,
as i scrape my toes in the dirt
at the city limits
of petulant procrastination,
waiting for the bus to pull up,
grab the ticket
to Tarshish out of my hand,
put on the backpack filled
with hope and humility,
and push me towards
those who have waited
so long and patiently
for that simple word
which can change them
forever.

(c) Thom M. Shuman

 

Jonah 3:1-10: Always a Catch
(Art and Faith Matters)

 
To read the lectionary portion of Hebrew scripture for Epiphany 3B (Jonah 3:1-10) is to read the story of faithful people (or at least person) of God who follows God's direction, preaches God's word and converts an entire city to God, causing much rejoicing (remember how happy God is to save the one lost sheep...well, imagine saving a whole city that took four days to walk across!). Obedience, proclamation, results. A positive story, indeed.

Positive? Yes. Makes God look good? Yes. Makes Jonah look good? Yes. Makes the Ninevites look good? Yes. Tells the whole story? Not by a long shot.

Because in the story of Jonah there are two places where people are showing themselves to be working against God's will. One is the people of Nineveh.

It isn't hard to discover why Jonah and the people of Israel hated the Ninevites. The stories of Assyrian rulers Sargon and Sennacharib, and others in between, are well-documented historically. The Assyrian army made a habit of invading and conquering their neighbors. God has heard of their wickedness and wants to send a representative to call them back to God's way. It's easy to see how the Ninevites are working against God.

But there is another person who is obviously working in opposition to God's plan. And that is Jonah. The prophet, the title character of the story, works against God's will. Not just once but several times. In fact, the hated Ninevites repent faster and, at least here, more fully, than God's own agent.

It's a good reminder for those of us who call ourselves people of God. Our actions and choices aren't in a bubble of goodness. We are just as likely as any other people to act in ways that oppose God. And those are the times when God calls back the people of God with as much devotion and intensity as God seeks those we might think of as lost.

God appointed a great (גָּד֔וֹל) fish (דָּ֣ג) to call Jonah back. Thus began one of the world's biggest fish stories. 

On the sea wall of the Old City of Acre (Akko), Israel, is a sculpture in the form of a whale. The sculpture is a memorial to those who have lost their lives at sea or, as the inscription says, those who remained in the lap of the sea. It is not meant to be a depiction of the Jonah story, but the hole in the middle of the whale - large enough for people to crawl in - may remind us of Jonah's time in the belly of the fish. From there he prayed to God for deliverance, concluding with the promise, "What I have vowed, I will pay" (Jonah 2:9b). And to be fair, Jonah does pay his vow. Though he doesn't appear to have really learned the truth of God's love for the people of Nineveh - even at the end of the story.

Whale Memorial. 2003. Acre (Akko), Israel. *As of now unable to discover the name of the artist. For the Old City of Acre, 

How easily we can become Jonah, turning away from God's call to work for the welfare of people we don't want to like. How easily we make vows to obey God, promising to be God's people, yet how often we, as God's people, are more willing to claim that as a position of privilege rather than service. The fact that God calls for our obedience rather our approval can be a hitch in our plans.

There's always a catch. So goes the suspicious aphorism. But in this story, the "catch" is Jonah. He is caught, grasped by God (via an appointed fish), stopping a continuing descent that began when the prophet decided to run from God. We need to remember that when necessary, God can find a fish belly or some specifically-tailored parallel for each of us. Because just as God wanted the Ninevites to repent, so, too, God wants us to come back, to trust God, to work for God's will rather than for our own.
 


Falling in Love

Nothing is more practical than
finding God, than
falling in Love
in a quite absolute, final way.
What you are in love with,
what seizes your imagination, will affect everything.
It will decide
what will get you out of bed in the morning,
what you do with your evenings,
how you spend your weekends,
what you read, whom you know,
what breaks your heart,
and what amazes you with joy and gratitude.
Fall in Love, stay in love,
and it will decide everything.


-Attributed to Fr. Pedro Arrupe, SJ (1907–1991)
Finding God in All Things: A Marquette Prayer Book

 



Transformative Shift

The Sacred Call is transformative. It is an invitation to our souls, a mysterious voice reverberating within, a tug on our hearts that can neither be ignored nor denied. It contains, by definition, the purest message and promise of essential freedom. It touches us at the center of our awareness. When such a call occurs and we hear it – 
reallyhear it – our shift to higher consciousness is assured.

-David A. Cooper
Parabola, Volume XIX, Number 1, February, 1994, The Call p.11


"The Peace of God"

The followers of Christ have been called to peace. … And they must not only have peace but also make it. And to that end they renounce all violence and tumult. In the cause of Christ nothing is to be gained by such methods. … His disciples keep the peace by choosing to endure suffering themselves rather than inflict it on others. They maintain fellowship where others would break it off. They renounce hatred and wrong. In so doing they over-come evil with good, and establish the peace of God in the midst of a world of war and hate.

-Dietrich Bonhoeffer 1906-1945
The Cost of Discipleship

The peace of God, it is no peace,
but strife closed in the sod.
Yet let us pray for but one thing-
the marvelous peace of God.


-William Alexander Percy (1885-1942)
from the hymn "They cast their nets in Galilee"

 

And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding...

-Philippians 4:7, and the opening words of a traditional blessing

The Last Word

O Lord, this my soul is wider than the world, its longing from depths deeper than any valley, the pain of desire is more troubling than the faint lost bell notes. Only thyself canst fill so vast an emptiness.

–Romano Guardini 1885-1968
Sacred Signs

 
  
Week of January 24-30
Mark 9:14—11:19

Viewing the Gospel of Mark as a three-act play, our readings for this week move us into Act II, as the focus shifts from Jesus as miracle-worker to Jesus as teacher. To be certain, the Jesus in this account is not one of an endearing mentor who greets students with a warm hug and is gently encouraging. In Mark’s just-the-facts-mam style, Jesus’s teachings are delivered in staccato, like bullet points in a research paper:
·     Whoever wants to be first must be last
·     Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes you
·     Whoever is not against us is for us

At times, Jesus seems terse and weary. But who can blame him? He literally has the weight of the world on his shoulders. Despite an array of miracles (including one at the beginning of this week, in which Jesus casts out evil spirits from a young boy), the disciples still don’t quite get it. He tells them directly: “The Son of Man is to be betrayed into human hands, and they will kill him, and three days after being killed, he will rise again.” But they do not understand.

Nevertheless, there’s plenty of jockeying for position. Even if the disciples can’t quite fathom the resurrection, they recognize that Jesus is an influential leader, and they want to be considered MVPs. Like children, they argue about who is the greatest among them and, later, who gets to sit at his right and left sides. I imagine Jesus as a frustrated parent, pulling the car onto the shoulder after the backseat bickering reaches a crescendo. “To sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant… whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all. For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.” And don’t make me pull over again.

Jesus’s teachings continue to upend conventional norms. To lead means to serve. The kingdom of God belongs to children. Wealth is not a key to heaven. Jesus shocks the disciples, telling them that “it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

Throughout the readings, we see Jesus moving into ACT III, his arrival in Jerusalem and ultimately the crucifixion and resurrection. As foretold in Zechariah, Jesus enters from the Mount of Olives, taking a similar path as the traditional lamb sacrificed in the Passover. As Christians, we celebrate this triumphal entry on Palm Sunday, recalling how Jesus rode a simple colt and was welcomed with palms (or, as Mark says, “leafy branches”) and great joy. The people praise, “Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!” But crowds can turn quickly to mobs; these shouts of joy become chants for vengeance. “Crucify him,” these same people will bellow. “Crucify him.”

Our reading ends with Jesus turning over the tables of the money changers and merchants, a story present in all four gospels. Many scholars consider Jesus’s direct challenge to the authorities to be the trigger for his death just a few short days later. The end is near. But so too is the beginning.


Reflection

1. What type of teacher do you prefer? Why do you think Jesus is so direct and sometimes terse in his teachings? Do you see Jesus as more of a nice guy or a fervent radical?

2. Jesus takes on the question of divorce in chapter 10. How do you understand his teachings on the subject?

3. Wealth is a demanding master, especially in the United States. When you hear Jesus’s admonition to sell all you have and give the money to the poor, do you respond more like the young man in the scripture, shocked and grieving because you have many possessions? What is Jesus saying to you today with these words?

4. If Jesus were alive today, which tables would he overturn? Are there actions you can take to be the hands and feet of Jesus in those areas?


Thankfulness and Celebration
and News 


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.

 With 723 words, Amanda Gorman opened the door to the transformation we need. Let us remember and hold in our hearts "The Hill We Climb".

When day comes we ask ourselves, where can we find light in this never-ending shade? The loss we carry, a sea we must wade. We’ve braved the belly of the beast. We’ve learned that quiet isn’t always peace. In the norms and notions of what just is isn’t always justice.

And yet, the dawn is ours before we knew it. Somehow, we do it. Somehow, we’ve weathered and witnessed a nation that isn’t broken, but simply unfinished.We, the successors of a country and a time where a skinny Black girl descended from slaves and raised by a single mother can dream of becoming president, only to find herself reciting for one.

And yes, we are far from polished, far from pristine, but that doesn’t mean we are striving to form a union that is perfect. We are striving to forge our union with purpose, to compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters and conditions of man.

And so, we lift our gazes not to what stands between us, but what stands before us. We close the divide because we know, to put our future first, we must first put our differences aside. We lay down our arms so we can reach out our arms to one another. We seek harm to none and harmony for all. Let the globe, if nothing else, say this is true. That even as we grieved, we grew. That even as we hurt, we hoped; that even as we tired, we tried; that we’ll forever be tied together, victorious. Not because we will never again know defeat, but because we will never again sow division.

Scripture tells us to envision that everyone shall sit under their own vine and fig tree, and no one shall make them afraid. If we’re to live up to our own time, then victory won’t lie in the blade, but in all the bridges we’ve made. That is the promise to glade, the hill we climb if only we dare it. Because being American is more than a pride we inherit; it’s the past we step into and how we repair it. We’ve seen a forest that would shatter our nation rather than share it, would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy. And this effort very nearly succeeded.

But while democracy can be periodically delayed, it can never be permanently defeated. In this truth, in this faith we trust, for while we have our eyes on the future, history has its eyes on us. This is the era of just redemption. We feared it at its inception. We did not feel prepared to be the heirs of such a terrifying hour, but within it, we found the power to author a new chapter, to offer hope and laughter to ourselves.

So, while once we asked: “How could we possibly prevail over catastrophe?” Now we assert, “How could catastrophe possibly prevail over us?”

We will not march back to what was, but move to what shall be: a country that is bruised, but whole; benevolent, but bold; fierce and free. We will not be turned around or interrupted by intimidation, because we know our inaction and inertia will be the inheritance of the next generation. Our blunders become their burdens. But one thing is certain, if we merge mercy with might, and might with right, then love becomes our legacy, and change our children’s birthright.

So, let us leave behind a country better than one we were left. With every breath from my bronze-pounded chest, we will raise this wounded world into a wondrous one. We will rise from the gold-limned hills of the West. We will rise from the wind-swept Northeast where our forefathers first realized revolution. We will rise from the lake-rimmed cities of the Midwestern states. We will rise from the sun-baked South. We will rebuild, reconcile and recover in every known nook of our nation, in every corner called our country our people diverse and beautiful will emerge battered and beautiful.

When day comes, we step out of the shade aflame and unafraid. The new dawn blooms as we free it. For there is always light. If only we’re brave enough to see it. If only we’re brave enough to be it.



 

LOOKING FORWARD

TO

"SEEING YOU" 

SUNDAY

10:30

The Rev. Michael Wallens
Vicar - Saint Paul's Episcopal Church
P.O. Box 175, Marfa, Texas 79843

stpaulsmarfatx@gmail.com
Office - 915.239.7409  |  Cell - 214-862-7292

Parish website - www.stpaulsmarfa.org
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/pages/St-Pauls-Episcopal-Church/366568286865722

 
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