The Common Good
St.Thomas Aquinas a medieval Roman Catholic scholar, was the first to coin the term "common good." He was concerned about the ways governments care for all people, not just those who have privileges or access to power and wealth. Aquinas noted that when rulers make laws that violate what works for the common good, they become tyrants. Auinas went non to conclude,, "A tyrannical government is not just, because it is directed not to the common good, but to the private good of the ruler." What does this say about us? Nothing good, I fear.
A recent statistic I read was this: "People in the US spend $56,000 EVERY SECOND on weapons development. I can think of a lot more creative ways to spend that kind of money." Couldn't we all? Instead of building weapons that kill people and destroy our planet, what could we do with $56,000 every second for the common good? We could...
- Eradicate hunger,
- Build a farm to table movement that supports local community economies,
- Develop treatments and vaccines for diseases impacting people around the world,
- Give everyone who wants it access to higher education,
- Begin the work of reparations,
- Provide social services and support to help families thrive,
- Rebuild our roads, bridges, and critical infrastructure,
- Invest in minority and women-owned enterprises,
- Develop clean energy solutions,
- Clean our oceans...
In other words, we could care for the poor, heal the sick (and our planet), honor our children and elders, and protect the weakest among us. If we refused to invest in greed and tyranny, we could invest in a more just and generous world for all. The core teaching of every major religion says that care for the "common good" is the path to God.
My heart breaks for the hypocrisy of our time. So I find myself clinging to the wisdom of Joanna Macy who reminds us, "The heart that breaks open can contain the whole universe."
In your prayers and confessions remember the common good. What shared blessings are you thankful for, and what shared sins will you own?
May we all break open for the sake of the common good.
Stay safe, warm and well.....Shalom,
Hymn of the Month by Beth Kerzee
Hymn #700; O love that casts out fear
O love that casts out fear,
O love that casts out sin,
Tarry no more without,
But come and dwell within?
True sunlight of the soul,
Surround us as we go;
So shall our way be safe,
Our feet no straying know.
Great love of God, come in!
Wellspring of heavenly peace;
Thou Living Water, come!
Spring up, and never cease.
Love of the living God,
Of Father and of Son;
Love of the Holy Ghost,
Fill thou each needy one.
Composer: Henry Thomas Smart, 1813-1879
Henry Smart (b. Marylebone, London, England, 1813; d. Hampstead, London, 1879), a capable composer of church music who wrote some very fine hymn tunes (REGENT SQUARE, 354, is the best-known).
Smart gave up a career in the legal profession for one in music. Although largely self-taught, he became proficient in organ playing and composition, and he was a music teacher and critic. Organist in a number of London churches, including St. Luke's, Old Street (1844-1864), and St. Pancras (1864-1869), Smart was famous for his extemporizations and for his accompaniment of congregational singing. He became completely blind at the age of fifty-two, but his remarkable memory enabled him to continue playing the organ. Fascinated by organs as a youth, Smart designed organs for important places such as St. Andrew Hall in Glasgow and the Town Hall in Leeds. He composed an opera, oratorios, part-songs, some instrumental music, and many hymn tunes, as well as a large number of works for organ and choir. He edited the Choralebook (1858), the English Presbyterian Psalms and Hymns for Divine Worship (1867), and the Scottish Presbyterian Hymnal (1875). Some of his hymn tunes were first published in Hymns Ancient and Modern (1861).
By: Bert Polman from Hymnary.org
“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love.”
I John 4:18
Love that Casts Out Fear. From Br. Jonathan Maury
We have some fears built into our DNA that have helped preserve us as a species, whether it be a fear of pitch darkness or some other phobia. I believe that the true, deepest fear that we have is that of losing the loving regard of those close to us, or of even God.
Our human existence is plagued with fears. We have some fears built into our DNA that have helped preserve us as a species, whether it be a fear of pitch darkness or some other phobia. We also deal day to day with our fear of the unknown or the unfamiliar, which comes up again and again in small ways. But it is in these fears that we forget the perfect love which casts out fear.
But I believe that the true, deepest fear that we have, the greatest fear that we have, is that of losing the loving regard of those close to us, or of even God. When I feel myself to have, by my words or actions, caused my loss of the loving regard of others or of God, I’m already punishing myself with self-inflicted wounds. But what does the letter say? The letter says, “there is no fear in love but perfect love casts out fear, for fear has to do with punishment.” God is by nature that Perfect Love, the perfect love which comes in Jesus. Jesus’ actions and teachings are rooted in this truth. In the twelfth chapter of John’s gospel we read Jesus speaking: “Now is my soul troubled and what should I say: Father save me from this hour? No, it was for this reason that I’ve come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.”
Jesus knows that by keeping up relationship with God in prayer and in openness of heart, his fears will be calmed and dispelled and healed. And Jesus by example teaches us to rely also on relationship with God, who is the perfect love casting out fear. Let us pray today for Jesus to grant us memories of those times when our fears have been dispelled by the perfect love which casts out fear, by the remembrance of God which has come to us either in our life of prayer or in our relationships with others. And we might also bring our present fears before the Father, as Jesus brought his fear so that that perfect love which is God, God’s presence, may be imparted to us, that we may glorify God’s name this day in ways great and small, ways particular to us and reflect that perfect love which is without fear, that perfect love which is God.
Ash Wednesday - Beginning of Lent
Noon - Ash Wednesday Liturgy
1:00 - 2:00 - Drive-by Imposition of Ashes
If you wish to have ashes brought to you, please email the church at firstname.lastname@example.org
|This will be an unusual Ash Wednesday. Some churches won’t use ashes to mark the beginning of Lent this year. We at St. Paul's will give those who wish to drive by the opportunity to have ashes imposed. It will be done with a q-tip and of course wearing our masks.
Fortunately, our Book of Common Prayer does not require ashes. In fact, “The First Day of Lent” is a valid title for what we usually call “Ash Wednesday” according to our prayer book. The primary focus of getting our Lenten journey started is our awareness of our need to repent. And the whole season flows from that.
For more information on the imposition of ashes click here and read about Ash Wednesday and imposition of ashes by by Bishop J. Neil Alexander.
We are deprived of our usual Lenten customs this year. But perhaps there is an invitation for us to focus on our need of repentance, of our need to draw closer to Jesus Christ. Maybe we will have a deeper experience of growing into the full stature of Christ as we depart our comfortable, familiar places.
Beginning February 24th
Wednesday Nights @ 7 on Zoom
Link and information to come
The topic will coincide with the Stewardship program
Mark your calendars
New Book for the Book Study
An extraordinary story set in the first century about a woman who finds her voice and her destiny, from the celebrated number one New York Times bestselling author of The Secret Life of Bees and The Invention of Wings
In her mesmerizing fourth work of fiction, Sue Monk Kidd takes an audacious approach to history and brings her acclaimed narrative gifts to imagine the story of a young woman named Ana. Raised in a wealthy family with ties to the ruler of Galilee, she is rebellious and ambitious, with a brilliant mind and a daring spirit. She engages in furtive scholarly pursuits and writes narratives about neglected and silenced women. Ana is expected to marry an older widower, a prospect that horrifies her. An encounter with eighteen-year-old Jesus changes everything.
Their marriage evolves with love and conflict, humor and pathos in Nazareth, where Ana makes a home with Jesus, his brothers, and their mother, Mary. Ana's pent-up longings intensify amid the turbulent resistance to Rome's occupation of Israel, partially led by her brother, Judas. She is sustained by her fearless aunt Yaltha, who harbors a compelling secret. When Ana commits a brazen act that puts her in peril, she flees to Alexandria, where startling revelations and greater dangers unfold, and she finds refuge in unexpected surroundings. Ana determines her fate during a stunning convergence of events considered among the most impactful in human history.
Grounded in meticulous research and written with a reverential approach to Jesus's life that focuses on his humanity, The Book of Longings is an inspiring, unforgettable account of one woman's bold struggle to realize the passion and potential inside her, while living in a time, place and culture devised to silence her. It is a triumph of storytelling both timely and timeless, from a masterful writer at the height of her powers.
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.