Our Parish Meeting will take place this Sunday January 28 at ca. 10:15 AM
This will follow our single Eucharist that day at 9:00 AM

Zoom for the Meeting will be the same as that for the 9:00AM Eucharist

The vestry will share the budget and we'll review 2023. If anyone has any topics that we should discuss when we're gathered, let Fr. Charlie know

There will be "brunchy" refreshments at the meeting

Some pics from our diocese' celebration of "Religious Life Sunday", last Sunday at the Cathedral
Exorcism Carolingian manuscript

Sunday Scriptures and Quotes for Reflection

Almighty God, who hast given us this good land for our
heritage: We humbly beseech thee that we may always prove
ourselves a people mindful of thy favor and glad to do thy will.
Bless our land with honorable industry, sound learning, and
pure manners. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion;
from pride and arrogance, and from every evil way. Defend
our liberties, and fashion into one united people the multitudes
brought hither out of many kindreds and tongues. Endue
with the spirit of wisdom those to whom in thy Name we entrust
the authority of government, that there may be justice and
peace at home, and that, through obedience to thy law, we
may show forth thy praise among the nations of the earth.
In the time of prosperity, fill our hearts with thankfulness,
and in the day of trouble, suffer not our trust in thee to fail;
all which we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The ruins of the synagogue at Capernaum
Jesus teaching in the synagogue at Capernaum Gottlieb

Sunday Scriptures January 28, 2024

The Collect
Almighty and everlasting God, you govern all things both in heaven and on earth: Mercifully hear the supplications of your people, and in our time grant us your peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Old Testament  The True Prophet Is God’s Voice
     To God’s people prophets were – and still are – the mouthpiece of God. They interpret his will with authority and direct the people toward God’s future. 

Deuteronomy 18:15-20
Moses said: The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you shall heed such a prophet. This is what you requested of the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly when you said: “If I hear the voice of the Lord my God any more, or ever again see this great fire, I will die.” Then the Lord replied to me: “They are right in what they have said. I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their own people; I will put my words in the mouth of the prophet, who shall speak to them everything that I command. Anyone who does not heed the words that the prophet shall speak in my name, I myself will hold accountable. But any prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, or who presumes to speak in my name a word that I have not commanded the prophet to speak—that prophet shall die.”

The Epistle Compassion
Paul urges compassion and tolerance for the scruples of some in the community. It translates as a caring approach to change in any community when some may be attached to the ways of the past.

1 Corinthians 8:1-13
Now concerning food sacrificed to idols: we know that “all of us possess knowledge.” Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. Anyone who claims to know something does not yet have the necessary knowledge; but anyone who loves God is known by him.
Hence, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that “no idol in the world really exists,” and that “there is no God but one.” Indeed, even though there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth—as in fact there are many gods and many lords— yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.
It is not everyone, however, who has this knowledge. Since some have become so accustomed to idols until now, they still think of the food they eat as food offered to an idol; and their conscience, being weak, is defiled. “Food will not bring us close to God.” We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do. But take care that this liberty of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. For if others see you, who possess knowledge, eating in the temple of an idol, might they not, since their conscience is weak, be encouraged to the point of eating food sacrificed to idols? So by your knowledge those weak believers for whom Christ died are destroyed. But when you thus sin against members of your family, and wound their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if food is a cause of their falling, I will never eat meat, so that I may not cause one of them to fall.

Jesus performs an exorcism Tissot

The Gospel   Jesus Taught with Authority
     Jesus could teach with authority like no one else, for he was the living Word of God. By the power of his word alone he overcame the power of evil. 

Mark 1:21-28
Jesus and his disciples went to Capernaum; and when the sabbath came, he entered the synagogue and taught. They were astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. Just then there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit, and he cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God.” But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying with a loud voice, came out of him. They were all amazed, and they kept on asking one another, “What is this? A new teaching—with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.” At once his fame began to spread throughout the surrounding region of Galilee.

Exorcism in the synagogue Limbourg Brothers

Some Quotes for Reflection

Being Possessed
I have a nagging hunch that the gospel’s power in our own time is about to be manifested in a manner as repugnant to the sensibilities of the society at large, and all of us who have accommodated ourselves to it, as the early Christian message was to Roman paganism. Our society is possessed, Christians as much as anyone. We are possessed by violence, possessed by sex, possessed by money, possessed by drugs. We need to recover forms of collective exorcism as effective as was the early Christian baptism’s renunciation of "the devil and all his works."
-Walter Wink
Engaging the Powers

authority and authenticity 
What the Fathers sought most of all was their own true self, in Christ. And in order to do this, they had to reject completely the false, formal self, fabricated under social compulsion in "the world." ...

The simple men who lived their lives out to a good old age among the rocks and sands only did so because they had come into the desert to be themselves, their ordinary selves, and to forget a world that divided them from themselves. …

We cannot do exactly what they did. But we must be as thorough and as ruthless in our determination to break all spiritual chains, and cast off the domination of alien compulsions, and to find our true selves, to discover and develop our inalienable spiritual liberty and use it to build, on earth, the Kingdom of God.
-Thomas Merton 1915-1968
The Wisdom of the Desert (opening essay)

On The Demons
And as for the demons, the Good is their source and the fact of their existence is itself good. They are evil insofar as they have fallen away from the virtues proper to them. They have changed in the domain of what was permanent in them. A weakness has appeared in the angelic perfection suitable to them. They too desire the Good, at least to the extent that they have a wish for existence, for life, and for understanding, and their desire for what has no being is proportionate to their lack of desire for the Good. Indeed this latter is not so much a desire as sin against real desire.
-Pseudo-Dionysius   late 5th to early 6th century
The Divine Names
 trans. Colm Luibheid

Eyes Open
Another of the elders said: When the eyes of an ox or mule are covered, then he goes round and round turning the mill wheel: but if his eyes are uncovered he will not go around in the circle of the mill wheel. So too the devil if he manages to cover the eyes of a man, he can humiliate him in every sin. But if that man's eyes are not closed, he can easily escape from the devil.
-The Wisdom of the Desert
Thomas Merton (trans. and ed.)

Helping Each Other Create Space
The kingdom of God in Mark is good news because it brings liberation at a number of levels. The central thing is enabling people to be how God made them to be. That must involve addressing powers and gods that enslave. The more we understand how they work, the richer our understanding of redemption....
...Mark leaves us in no doubt about what constituted good news in his world, what the kingdom means, what happens when the Spirit ‘baptises’ people. The last thing Mark wants is for us or our congregations to be left behind when we encounter his opening scene. One of the skills of the pastor is to create the space, the ‘synagogue’, where our madness can come face to face with the holiness of Jesus. That also means coming to terms with our own madness.
-William Loader
“First Thoughts”Epiphany 4

Desire nothing but God: seek for nothing but God: and you shall taste of peace: you shall taste it in defiance of the world.
-Francois Fenelon (1651-1715)
Pious Reflections, The Seventeenth Day

Scenes from the life of St Francis Giotto
P.O Box 1660, 26 St. Mary's Road , Shelter Island, NY 11964
(631) 749-0770