We had an amazing time full of snow, icebergs, puffins, whales, eagles, folklore, music hiking, etc..... Can't wait to talk with you about it. Following this essay, please look at the dates listed below...including the potluck/discussion this Sunday following the Eucharist.
In the meantime, Happy Fourth of July.
I recently had an interesting conversation with people who are part of the Moravian Christian tradition here in Alpine. It also reminded me of an article I read about how the Moravians celebrated the first fourth of July. We were talking about the first Fourth of July celebrated in our country by their relatives in North Carolina. In the spring of 1783 -- a few weeks after the signing of the Treaty of Paris and the end of the American Revolution -- the exuberant governor of the newly minted state of North Carolina set aside July 4 as a day of public thanksgiving. Congress would not declare it a national holiday for nearly 100 years.
Yet in 18th-century America word traveled slowly. Residents of North Carolina towns and cities were left with no more than a dozen or so days to plan the festivities. (In some rural areas, July came and went before they learned of the new holiday.)
In light of more pressing matters, like organizing the local branches of a new nation and reordering their lives after seven years of war, this was a tall order. If it were not for the quick planning of the Moravians of Forsyth County in the communities of Salem and Bethania, Gov. Alexander Martin’s great idea would have been universally ignored.
Yet, what intrigues me is how strikingly different in theme and tone the first Fourth of July was from the peppy celebrations that followed in its wake. By comparison, the first Fourth of July was not just subdued. It was sedate, a somber occasion of reflection and prayer.
There were no block parties or bottle rockets. No boisterous parade. The day began in worship and concluded with candlelight procession. More striking still, many celebrants that day were conscientious objectors. Throughout the American Revolution, they had -- by and large -- stubbornly refused to fire a shot or wave the flag.
Their theme for the day – drawn from Psalm 46, with music compiled by composer Johann Friedrich Peter – was noticeably pacifist and non-partisan. “[God] has stopped wars to the end of the earth,” they sang. “The bow He breaks. He splinters the spears and consumes the shields with fire.”
My point is not to diminish the animated national party the Fourth of July has become. I enjoy fireworks and parades as much as the next guy. Yet it is to caution us from turning a celebration into a spectacle. And it is to remind us that -- as Moravian Christians have through the ages -- you can be patriot without wrapping yourself in the flag or firing guns in the air.
As a people of faith, it is not only permissible, it might even be appropriate to have a quiet Fourth of July. To light candles and to pray. God knows we need it. Rather than merely memorializing the great things we as Americans have done, let us remember the unmerited mercy of God and reflect upon the gracious things God would have us do.
In the Declaration of Independence, we can see a broad vision of freedom that was - though immensely flawed - ahead of its time. The founders thought a lot about the common good, seeking to fashion a kind of freedom that would benefit all people even though slaves and Native Americans among others were not given "certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” at the time the Declaration was written. Today when we celebrate Independence Day, it seems we tend to focus on freedom as a projection of power and rights. We celebrate the idea that we can do whatever we want, both as people and as a nation.
As Christians, we have a different view of freedom. We were reminded of this just last Sunday in the epistle, taken from Galatians 5. I like the RSV translation, "For you were called to freedom...only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love be servants of one another." That is, we who follow Jesus can do whatever we want, but our faith compels us to use our freedom to care for others. Galatians reminds us that, in fact, we Christians do have laws: "For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'"
So this Independence Day, perhaps it would be good to reflect on how we - as individuals and as a nation - use our freedom. Do we use our freedom for the good of all? Or do we use our freedom for a privileged few? Are we loyal to Jesus first, or to nationalism? How can we build up a land in which all people are able to flourish as the people God has made them to be?
Are we a country that sees all people who come to our borders worthy of our welcome and respect; are we a country that is a beacon of liberty, justice and goodness to the rest of the world; are we a country that upholds the rule of law with humanity and mercy. Are we America, the beautiful. May God bless it.
IMPORTANT DATES - MARK YOUR CALENDARS
3 - Dates
- TONIGHT!!!! - AND THROUGH JULY 18
Our Book study focusing on The Wisdom Jesus by Cynthia Bourgeault begins one week from tonight. It will be held on Thursday nights beginning on June 13 and ending on July 18th. It will be held in the Casita in Alpine (510 N. 2nd St.) at 6:30 in the evening. Our own David Mainz will be the facilitator. We have extra copies of the book at the church.
POTLUCK & Discussion
An important discussion/meeting awaits you
following the 10:30 Eucharist.....
What does it mean to be an Episcopal Church in Far West Texas, in the Diocese of the Rio Grande and part of the world wide Episcopal Church?
As we understand and translate these statements and values into actions, what are some ways St. Paul’s can participate/ are participating with: 1) the communities we live in. 2) the Episcopal Diocese of the Rio Grande and 3) the world-wide Episcopal Church?
How do we support the people and Vicar of St. Paul’s who strive to live this out?
All this discussion will be done in the context of the vision for Far West Texas in the Diocese of the Rio Grande:
- The possibility of a curate living in the Vicarage...putting time into St. Paul's and the surrounding churches and communities of the Big Bend Region.
The possibility of the five episcopal churches in the region in order to be able to better minister to the area and grow the churches. PLEASE NOTE: this does NOT mean pooling our financial resources and losing our independence and identity.
A celebration of thanksgiving for Bill and Gail Smith who have made the drive form Sanderson for almost 28 years to Marfa and provided beautiful music from our organ.
We will begin with the Eucharist at 10:30 and followed by a pot luck lunch.
2 Kings 5:1-14
Fourth Sunday after Pentecost - Proper 9
Galatians 6: (1-6), 7-16
Luke 10:1-11, 16-20
2 Kings 5.1-14: Something Easy
All Naaman has to do to be cured of leprosy is go wash in the river (2 Kings 5:1-14). You'd think he'd say, "Great! Five minutes and I'm done!" But, no. Naaman first expresses his offense at the sending of a messenger to deliver the cure. Surely Naaman was important enough for some kind of show by Elisha. Then Naaman expresses his disdain for the cure. Naaman needs to learn a lesson about looking a gift horse in the mouth.
And though he doesn't get that lesson, he does hear common sense from his servants. Not the first time servants have faciliated Naaman's cure. Remember it was an Israelite slave girl who first brings the prophet to Naaman's attention (5:2-3). The servants point out that Naaman was ready (eager, even) to do something big and involved to bring on the leprosy cure. Why would he complain about doing something simple?
It's a good question.
We often overcomplicate things. Rube Goldberg was a widely-known cartoonist in his day, popular enough that he was paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for his cartoons and sought after as a spokesperson. Today we know him for his machines - wildly complicated inventions that used levers, pulleys, animals, balloons, and more to perform relatively simple tasks. His contraptions were so popular that his name has become synonymous with the idea of making something simple quite complicated. Like wiping your mouth with a napkin.
Rube Goldberg. Professor Butts and the Self-Operating Napkin. Originally published in Collier's, September 26, 1931.
In the example above, Goldberg has developed a self-operating napkin. When the soup spoon (A) is raised to mouth, it pulls the string (B) and jerks the ladle (C), which throws the cracker (D) past the toucan (E). The toucan jumps after the cracker and the perch (F) tilts, upsetting the seeds (G) into the pail (H). Extra weight in the pail pulls the cord (I), which opens and ignites the lighter (J), setting off a skyrocket (K), which causes the sickle (L) to cut the string (M), allowing the pendulum with the attached napkin to swing back and forth, thereby wiping the diner's chin. No effort at all.
Which of God's commands do we overcomplicate?
Luke 10.1-11, 16-20
But whenever you enter a town and they do not welcome you,
go out into its streets and say, ‘Even the dust of your town
that clings to our feet, we wipe off in protest against you.
Yet know this: the kingdom of God has come near.’
Knowing when to stay, knowing when to leave: this is one of the most challenging invitations for discernment that we will ever encounter.
There are times, after all, for leaning into the resistance that meets us; times when God calls us to engage the difficulty and struggle that will shape and form us in a way that ease and comfort never can. There are muscles—in our body, in our soul—that can be developed only by pressing through the resistance; not with pride, not with the utter conviction that we are in the right, but with the humility that enables us to summon our intention and will and open ourselves to the grace that carries us through situations that we cannot navigate on our own. There is ground that becomes holy only when we remain long enough to see the blessing that can emerge from struggle, that shimmers through only after the dust the struggle kicks up finally begins to settle.
And then there are times for leaving; times when—as Jesus counsels his disciples—the holy thing to do is to shake the dust from our feet and leave behind a place that is not meant for us.
This blessing is for those times.
Blessing in the Dust
You thought the blessing
in the staying;
in casting your lot
with this place,
in learning the art
And now you stand
on the threshold
The home you had
had ached for,
is behind you—
not yours, after all.
The clarity comes
as small comfort,
but it comes:
for the next step.
As you go,
may you feel
the full weight
of your gifts
in your two hands,
the complete measure
of their grace
in your heart that knows
there is a place
for the treasure
that you bear.
I promise you
there is a blessing
in the leaving,
in the dust shed
from your shoes
as you walk toward home—
not the one you left
but the one that waits ahead,
the one that already
reaches out for you
for the gifts
that none but you
Poem/Prayer by Thom Shuman
heal this reluctant child of yours,
i despise the truth
that pain is my
but am loath
to place it in
your scarred hands;
i gnaw on the
in my heart,
its tart taste
tingling my tongue,
so i cannot
savor the sweet
Bread of Life;
piled on my shoulders
by the world
break my flesh,
you offer me
my arrogant spirit.
The biggest disease today is not leprosy or tuberculosis, but rather the feeling of being unwanted, uncared for, and deserted by everybody. The greatest evil is the lack of love and charity, the terrible indifference toward one's neighbor who lives at the roadside assaulted by exploitation, corruption, poverty and disease.
As each one of this Society is to become a Co-Worker of Christ in the slums, each ought to understand what God and the Society expect from her. Let Christ live and radiate his life in her, and through her in the slums. Let the poor seeing her be drawn to Christ, and invite him to enter their lives and their homes. Let the sick and the suffering find in her a real angel of comfort and consolation. Let the little ones of the streets cling to her because she reminds them of him, the friend of the little ones.
Our life of poverty is as necessary as the work itself. Only in heaven will we see how much we owe to the poor for helping us to love God the better because of them.
-Mother Teresa of Calcutta 1910-1997
4th - Thursday - Independence Day
4th - 6:30 - Book Study in the Casita
The Wisdom Jesus
6th - Saturday -
John Hus, Prophetic Witness and Martyr, 1415
7TH - Fourth Sunday after Pentecost - Proper 9
9:15 - Bible Study
10:30 - Morning Prayer led by Allison Scott
11:30 - DISCUSSION/MEETING & POT LUCK
St. Paul's Place in the Big Bend Region, the Diocese of the Rio Grande and the Episcopal Church at large.
11th - 7:00 - Shroud of Turin
Talk by Dr. Stephen Mattingly
Dr Stephen Mattingly, professor of microbiology and immunology, for 33
years, at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio,
will speak on "How Skin Bacteria Created the Image on the Shroud of
Turin" which is the also title of his book. The presentation with images
and preceding reception are free and the public is invited to attend by
the event sponsors: International Woman's Foundation, the Marfa Rotary
Club, First Baptist Church of Marfa, First United Methodist Church of
Marfa and Saint Paul's Episcopal Church. The presentation will be
thoroughly understandable to any layman or woman.
Dr Mattingly shall address the scientific assessment of the age, social
circumstances, et al aspects relating to the "Shroud of Turin" on
Cavalry Officers Club Library and the
reception will take place at 6pm in the adjacent
Cavalry Officers Club Bar of Building 98
705 W. Bonnie, Marfa.
11th - 6:30 - Book Study in the Casita
The Wisdom Jesus
11th - Thursday -
Benedict of Nursia, Abbot of Monte Cassino, c. 540
12th - Friday -
Nathan Söderblom, Archbishop of Uppsala and Ecumenist, 1931
13th - Saturday -
Conrad Weiser, Witness to Peace and Reconciliation, 1760
14TH - Fifth Sunday after Pentecost - Proper 10
9:00 - Bishops Committee
10:30 - Holy Eucharist
14th - Sunday -
Samson Occum, Witness to the Faith in New England, 1792
15th - 11:30 - Men's Hamburger Prayer Lunch
16th - Tuesday -
“The Righteous Gentiles”
17th - Wednesday -
William White, Bishop of Pennsylvania, 1836
18th - 6:30 - Book Study in the Casita--Last Time
The Wisdom Jesus
18th - Thursday -
Bartolomé de las Casas, Friar and Missionary to the Indies, 1566
19th - Friday -
Macrina, Monastic and Teacher, 379
Adelaide Teague Case, Teacher, 1948
20th - 6:30 - Charlotte O'Brien - Kodey Key Wedding
St. Paul's, Marfa
20th - Saturday -
Elizabeth Cady Stanton, 1902; Amelia Bloomer, 1894;Sojourner Truth, 1883;
and Harriet Ross Tubman, 1913, Liberators and Prophets
21st - Sixth Sunday after Pentecost - Proper 11
9:15 - Bible Study
10:30 - Holy Eucharist
21st - Sunday -
Albert John Luthuli, Prophetic Witness in South Africa, 1967
22nd - Monday - SAINT MARY MAGDALENE
24th - Wednesday -
Thomas à Kempis, Priest, 1471
25th - Thursday - SAINT JAMES THE APOSTLE
26th - Friday -
Joachim and Anne, Parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary
27th - 9:30-Noon - Order of St. Luke
Big Bend Regional Medical Center, Alpine
27th - Saturday -
William Reed Huntington, Priest, 1909
28th - Seventh Sunday after Pentecost - Proper 12
9:15 - Bible Study
10:30 - Holy Eucharist
11:30 - Pot Luck Lunch and Celebrating the Ministry of Bill and Gail Smith
28th - Sunday - Johann Sebastian Bach, 1750, George Frederick Handel, 1759, and Henry Purcell, 1695, Composers
Here is who we prayed for in church
Any changes, please let us know.
Justin, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Michael, our Presiding Bishop, Michael, our Bishop and Michael, our Vicar….In the Anglican Cycle of Prayer we remember to Pray for the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion). In our Diocesan cycle of prayer, we pray for St. Francis, Rio Rancho, St. Andrew's, Roswell, We Also pray for St. James, Alpine, St. Stephens, Ft. Stockton, Santa Inez, Terlingua, Chapel of St. Mary & St. Joseph, Lajitas, and the Marfa and Alpine Ministerial Alliances…. For Connor Travis and the ministry of Young Life
For Our Leaders
For Donald, our president, Greg our Governor, Manny our mayor-elect and the mayors and city managers of our surrounding communities…. our elected officials in Washington and all who exercise authority at any level of government. For all who struggle to make a more just society…
For the World
…for peace, that the Spirit will inspire human hearts to turn from violence, and work together to defeat the common enemies of disease, ignorance and poverty….For refugees and displaced persons, that God will guide to safety all who have fled violence and persecution, and help them find welcome in new communities…, for all who live and work in places of war and violence, For women and men and children who have been victims of sexual assault and sexual exploitation… for those whose lives have been turned upside down by various disasters: that God will help them rebuild their lives, give them strength to face their challenges and touch the hearts of many to assist them…,for all those in the military, especially those who come home broken in body, mind, and spirit …may the hearts of those reporting the news be drawn to what is true and right telling the truth in the most helpful way
For St. Paul’s and Prayer Wall
Living out our mission to be a welcoming, prayerful, caring community actively sharing the love of God….
Pray: Peace of mind; Linda’s heart. Hope: Able to forgive; We all be safe and free…Thank: love in my life, saving me on my trip, for my husband…..For the people of St. Paul’s.
St. Paul’s Prayer List
Betty, Bill & Gail, Patty, Holly, D'Ette, Merit and the Fowlkes family, James, Shere, Kevin and Jay, Lesly, Lila, Linda King, Melodie, Mimi, Pat & Mary, the Vana Family… FOR Jeanie Olivas, Vijaya, Frank, Larry, Jack Risen, Kathryn Anschutuz, Sue Ellen Kelly, Brian Hutchins who have cancer… FOR David and Catherine in the midst of chemotherapy, …for Michael Simpson, Dale and Lee Ann, FOR Helen Bates, Gene, and Rucker who are in Hospice care….. for James and Brian Neal, Jacob, Linda & David, for Jenny, Megan and Elizabeth, for David who has MSA, Frank, Patt Sims (Stroke)….
Those who have died
Denise Corbe, Helen Bates, Lonn Taylor
Your love, O Father, has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, which has been given to us in Christ our Savior: Let your wisdom and grace fill all creation, that we may live in you and you in us, to the praise and glory of your Holy Name, forever and ever. Amen.
O God, Creator of all thats is -
of seas and clouds, rains and rivers,
grass and trees, insects and fish,
humans, animals, birds and reptiles,
of all life connected, sharing this one earth -
we are aware that our way of living
is profoundly affecting the earth's climate,
that many people are in danger of flood and drought,
that some are greatly impoverished,
and the whole fabric of life is in danger.
to those who make international policies,
give wisdom and courage;
to those who direct industry and commerce,
give a concern for the common good;
to those who struggle for justice,
give strength and hope;
and to us all
give the grace and strength to change our ways
for the good of all that lives
and for your glory.
|Episcopal Church response to crisis on the border
[July 2, 2019] Over the past several weeks, The Episcopal Church has responded to the reports of inhumane conditions for children and other asylum seekers in government custody in a number of ways. This response includes calls for donations and goods from Episcopal dioceses on the border, prayers for those seeking safety, efforts to engage in advocacy, and pastoral messages from bishops around the Church.
“We are children of the one God who is the Creator of us all,” said Presiding Bishop Michael Curry. “It is our sisters, our brothers, our siblings who are seeking protection and asylum, fleeing violence and danger to children, searching for a better life for themselves and their children. The crisis at the border is not simply a challenge of partisan politics but a test of our personal and public morality and human decency.”
The Episcopal Church, through the Office of Government Relations (OGR) and Episcopal Migration Ministries (EMM), has compiled a list of resources, bishop statements, and information in response to the ongoing humanitarian situation at the southern border.
“Reports of poor care for children in Customs and Border Protection (CBP) custody and continued policies to limit access to asylum are extremely concerning to people of faith. We must remember these children are here because they cannot find safety anywhere else,” stated Rebecca Linder Blachly, Director of The Episcopal Church Office of Government Relations. “The U.S. has an established system to process asylum seekers, who are coming to the U.S. legally. The response to asylum seekers who are desperate and afraid should not be deterrence or detention. We have the capability to respond in a humane and compassionate manner, and I am grateful for everyone in The Episcopal Church who is responding to this crisis.”
The list of resources for education and support is available on the EMM website at https://episcopalmigrationministries.org/response-to-the-border-education-and-advocacy/ and will continue to be updated with ways to learn more and take action. The OGR and EMM webinar with Bishop Michael Hunn of the Diocese of Rio Grande will be made available on-demand through this website as well.
“The enormity of the challenge is daunting. It is easy to feel helpless to make a difference. While we cannot do everything, we can do something,” said Curry. “The links to resources of bishops and dioceses on the border, the Office of Government Relations and Episcopal Migration Ministries offer practical suggestions for how we can each and together do something.”
The Office of Government Relations represents the policy priorities of The Episcopal Church to the U.S. government in Washington, D.C. This office aims to shape and influence policy and legislation on critical issues, highlighting the voices and experiences of Episcopalians and Anglicans globally. All of its work is grounded in the resolutions of General Convention and Executive Council, the legislative and governing bodies of the church. Connecting Episcopalians to their faith by educating, equipping and engaging them to do the work of advocacy through the Episcopal Public Policy Network (EPPN) is a key aspect of this work.
Episcopal Migration Ministries is a ministry of The Episcopal Church and is one of nine national agencies responsible for resettling refugees in the United States in partnership with the government. Episcopal Migration Ministries currently has 13 affiliate offices in 12 states. To directly support EMM and its life-changing work, visit www.episcopalmigrationministries.org/give or text ‘EMM’ to 41444 (standard messaging and data may rates apply).
|Episcopal Church leaders support Federal employment protections for LGBTQ people
Presiding Bishop Curry, President Jennings are lead signers on brief sent to Supreme Court
[July 3, 2019] Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry and President of the House of Deputies the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings are the lead signers of a friend of the court brief filed today with the Supreme Court of the United States. In the brief, they join more than 720 interfaith clergy and faith leaders in declaring that their religious beliefs compel them to support equal protection under the law for LGBTQ people who face employment discrimination.
The brief, which supports plaintiffs in three cases that ask the court to rule on whether or not to roll back protections for LGBTQ people under the Civil Rights Act, is consistent with actions taken by the General Convention of The Episcopal Church in 1976, 2009, and 2018.
Curry and Jennings, who were also the lead signers on a 2017 friend of the court brief filed in a Supreme Court case concerning transgender bathroom use policies, emphasized that The Episcopal Church’s support for legal protections for LGBTQ people stems from its understanding of Christian social teaching grounded in the teaching of Jesus.
“The way of love that Jesus taught us is to honor the sacredness, dignity and worth and equality of each person,” said Curry. “We work for the equality and dignity of LGBTQ people because, like the rest of us, they are created in God’s image and likeness.”
“As Christians, we bear a particular responsibility to speak out, because attempts to deny LGBTQ people their dignity and humanity as children of God are too often made in the name of God,” said Jennings, who was also the lead signer on a religious leaders friend of the court brief in the Supreme Court case on same-sex marriage in 2015. “This way of fear is not the way of Jesus Christ, who teaches us to cast out fear.”
The signers of today’s brief argue that allowing discrimination against LGBTQ people on religious grounds would privilege one set of religious views over their own faith-based support for equal protection.
“Within the diverse panorama of American religious thought, a large and growing portion of the religious community welcomes, accepts, and celebrates LGBT individuals and rejects the idea that they should be subject to discrimination based on differing religious views,” the brief reads. “This belief in equality is grounded most fundamentally in a broadly shared core religious belief in the dignity and worth of all individuals.”
General Convention first called for equal protection under the law for gay and lesbian people in 1976 with Resolution 1976-A071. In 2009, the convention passed Resolution 2009-D012, which expanded the call for equal protection to include transgender people and in 2018 reaffirmed that call in Resolution 2018-C022.
“The General Convention has taken these stands based on Christian social teaching grounded in the teaching of Jesus and his way of love which compels Christians, in the language of the Covenant of Holy Baptism, to ‘seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself” and to ‘strive for justice and peace among all people and respect the dignity of every human being,’” said Curry.
The brief was filed in the cases of Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, No. 17-1618 and Altitude Express, Inc. v. Zarda, No. 17-1623, which both concern discrimination against employees because of sexual orientation, and R.G & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes, Inc. v. EEOC, No. 18-107, which concerns discrimination against transgender people based on their status as transgender or because of sex stereotyping. The court is scheduled to hear oral arguments in the cases on October 8. A decision is expected by June 2020.
Blessed to be a Blessing, sponsored by the Women’s Ministry of the Diocese, are one-day summer seminars exploring how our faith fore-mothers inspire and empower us to live and share our faith. On July 27 we’ll be at St. Paul’s/Peace, Las Vegas. There will be a third ‘day’ at St. John’s, Alamogordo on August 10. Each day is from 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. If you live within a 2-hour radius of the event, you are esp. invited to attend. If you live further, pick your favorite location and make it a girls’ weekend by inviting a friend to come and explore a new area and new church. Register online at www.VarietiesOfGifts.blogspot.com or contact Cindy Davis (CynthiaDavisAuthor@gmail.com) Cost is $20 to cover lunch and supplies.
GOOD NEWS & THANK YOU
Thank you to Allison Scott for leading worship and preaching in my absence.
Thank you to all the compassionate hearts who have responded to Dedie with much love and affection following the passing of Lonn.
SEEING YOU SUNDAY