Sunday, January 24, 2021:
Meet St Paul

Welcome to St Paul's Online Sunday School!
Here are the readings for this Sunday: https://episcopalchurch.org/lectionary/epiphany-3b

Statue of Saint Paul,
at the Basilica of St Paul Outside the Walls, Rome - with scroll (symbolizing the Scriptures) and sword (to remember how he died)
Here's what we're wondering about:
Meet Saint Paul

St Paul dedicated his life to serving Jesus Christ. He taught the Gentiles (people who were not Jews) and helped them and others to believe, suffering and finally dying for his work. He wrote as many as 13 books of the New Testament. See some of his words below!

But Paul's story is complicated. The icon tells some of that story - what do you see?

At first, Paul was known by the Hebrew version of that name: Saul. Saul (born sometime between 5 BC and 6 AD), both a Jew and a Roman citizen, was a scholar of Jewish law and did not believe in Jesus. He felt it was his duty to destroy all things related to Jesus, even if that meant killing people. He was a frightening and powerful man.

Then! Something amazing happened to turn that power in a new direction. Saul had a visit from Jesus - knocked him right off the horse he was riding, and blinded him with a bright light. Jesus called him by his Jewish name and asked: "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?"

You can read that story in the Bible - click here. Saul's life changed, completely! He believed in Jesus, and used his great knowledge of Jewish history to help others, Jews and Gentiles, to become believers, too. He wrote thoughtful and important letters, which you can read today (even though he died around the year 67!).

Some time after he began traveling as a missionary, he began to be called by the Roman version of his name: Paul. And now we know him as Paul. We call him Saint Paul, and The Apostle Paul.

And he is the patron saint of writers, public workers, tent makers (see this Bible verse), missionaries - and our church!
Armor of God
Paul wrote from prison (Ephesians 6:10-11, 13-17):
"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness. As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace. With all of these, take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God."

Click here to find printables for coloring, matching, to create paper dolls and more!
Fruit of the Spirit
In another letter (Galatians 5:22-23a), Paul tells us that the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity [some translations call this "goodness"], faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Which fruits will you pick throughout your day?

Click here for a craft: color & cut to create a memory game, or use the squares to create a mobile or necklace. Or put your fruit in a basket!
Wonderful words from St Paul about LOVE:
1 Corinthians 13:1-8a, 13

How love changes things:
"If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing."

What love is - and isn't:
"Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things."

The power of love:
"Love never ends. . . And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love."

Remember this (keep it in your heart!) - as Paul wrote in Romans 5:8:
"God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners, Christ died for us."

Looking for a "Love is. . . " craft? Click here!
Use plain paper, newspaper, or paper bags to draw or paint upon.
P.S. Also a nice way to begin thinking about Valentine's Day :-)
Click on the image above for a hearts template printable, or draw and cut freehand.
How might you be like St Paul? How do you use your heart, talents, and faith?

Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman!
See these two lesson plans centered on her amazing Inaugural poem:

The season of Epiphany! This is Week 3

In 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, St Paul wrote this:

"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."

What joyful, thankful-no-matter-what prayers will you offer? Pause & pray!

Love - Linda