E-newsletter | May 13, 2021

Jesus Prays
“Jesus prayed for his disciples, “I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world. They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything you have given me is from you; for the words that you gave to me I have given to them, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. I am asking on their behalf; I am not asking on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those whom you gave me, because they are yours.” 
This week we continue in Jesus’ Farwell Discourse to his Disciples and we hear what is called The High Priestly Prayer. This is Jesus’ prayer for those he is leaving behind knowing that even as he is praying, the religious authorities are gathering against him and very soon he will be delivered into their hands by one of his closest friends.

And you may have noticed that each year as we move toward the last days of our victorious Easter celebrations, we always revisit the days before Jesus’ death. And the reason we do this is because next week we will be celebrating Pentecost. And Pentecost is the great fulfillment of Easter. We have traveled these last several weeks flush in the glow of the resurrection, but as Fred Craddock says, “We cannot shout ‘He is Risen!’ loud enough to sustain the exhilaration of Easter week after week.”

 As the excitement of this great mystery gives away, we are once again back to the demanding reality of a world that wasn’t exactly unanimous in its appreciation of God’s glorious gift.     

Jesus came so that we might know God’s love, compassion, joy, justice and mercy completely. But God underestimated our willingness to accept such a gift. A treasure such as this gift represents comes perhaps with too many strings attached.

But still, God’s love for us seeks us out, and our rejection of this love cannot, it seems, kill God’s hope that we might embrace the freedom and joy that this great love represents.

That is what Jesus will tell us again this coming Sunday. Here he is on the eve of his death, at the hands of those he came to save, and he begins to pray for those he is leaving behind. So let’s talk about this prayer…

We can’t understand this prayer fully until we understand a little bit about John, the author of this sometimes, confounding Gospel. John is a poet and his language and images spring out of his poetic imagination. His work is full of dualism—the great battle between darkness and light. 

For John there is God’s created order, the stars the moon, the seas, the mountains and prairies and the people the animals---all of the things God gazed upon and declared “good!” And in God’s hope for this creation there is justice, mercy, compassion and beauty.

And then there is “the world” and the “evil one” who seems to have a lot of influence on all of these marvelous works that God has done. For John the world and the evil one represents all that opposes God’s will for us, they represent all that seeks to destroy what is beautiful, hopeful, kind and good and life-giving.

“The world” is the dominion of greed, lust, dominating power, violence, degradation and oppression. Cast in those terms it seems like something so dramatic and so obviously horrible that any right-thinking person would never go anywhere near these pitfalls. 

But we all know these forces are far subtler than that. Their power over us is in how sweetly they call us into believing they have something good to offer. We are bombarded with constant messages that tell us to self-protect, to get our piece of the pie, to look out for number One. 

But what we often forget is that if we self –protect too much, we end up killing, not loving our neighbor. If we focus too much on getting our piece of the pie, we usually end up with more than our fair share. And if we get lost in looking out for number One, we become deeply suspicious of all the other numbers…

Jesus understands that it is hard to maintain an awareness of God’s love in the midst of the everyday. Over the rattle and thrum of the world, we have to focus on truly hearing the call of the holy.

Jesus prayer, in John’s poetic prose, calls us to wake us up from the dull stupor that overtakes us when we listen to the world’s incessant messages of fear, and war, and waste. This is the evil’s greatest tool---to wear us down slowly, to make us think there is no hope so that we will sleep walk into darkness. 

That is why we have heard incessantly that we must abide in God’s love; abide in Christ. When we abide in something it can feed us constantly, like the air we breathe without thinking too much about it, abiding in Christ means we take our deepest sustenance from a source that is inexhaustible.

In remembering all that Jesus taught us, and allowing the wisdom of the Holy Spirit to continue to teach us, we are invited to live in the presence of God. Or, to put it another way, both Jesus’ life and prayer invites us to live in such a way that we make God more present, both to ourselves and to others.

Our every word and every action, no matter how ordinary, can be performed in a way that makes God more present in this world.  The world will try to trick us into believing that there is a gap between us and God---but this is just a trickster’s illusion because in truth, God is present in every place, at every moment – it’s only our perception that is clouded. Whatever we do to increase awareness of this reality is a courageous decision to take part in God’s never-ending love for the world.

Grace and Peace,
Mother Stephanie

We Know That SIGNING UP IS NO FUN, But We Miss You!!

Yes, due to COVID restrictions, we have a limited amount of seats available in our services so we must take time out of our week to remember this activity.

Please know that we know how hard it is and as soon as we can change it we will, but until that time, we really, really hope to see more and more of you back among us on Sunday!

Please contact the office by email at office@stpaulwilkesboro.org, or by phone at 336-667-4231, no later than 3pm on Friday to sign up for services that Sunday.

8:30 Limited to 8 Families/20 Maximum
10:30 Limited to 60 Maximum

If you do not sign up for a service you plan on attending, we may have to turn people away because of space restrictions.

Note to servants:
Please make sure that you sign up through the office, even if you are scheduled to serve that day.
Join us for Worship on YouTube or click on the link on our website!
The cemetery rules and regulations have been updated. Please click the link below to view the updates.
Parish Gardeners have been busy the past few weeks at St. Paul’s planting donations that parishioners have given to us to add color to the parish grounds! 
We have added over 100 plants, including the day lilies that Joe Fesperman, Gerry Peabody, Mary Southwell and Mike Southwell planted along the Rock Wall Garden and on the south border of the Labyrinth Garden. The lilies came from their gardens plus some from Laurie Love and Jeri and West Martin. 
Previously our group added Easter lilies and hydrangeas from the church altar and cemetery, and many hostas, columbines, hardy salvia, forget-me-nots, cornflowers, creeping phlox, and astilbe. 
Although not many are in bloom yet, you can spot them in the Labyrinth Garden, the Azalea Walk, near the Lych Gate, and in front of the Parish House. 
We are looking forward to seeing the crepe myrtles that have been sponsored by 5 of our parishioners too. 
Coming up, you’ll see some summer-blooming perennials added to the St. Francis Garden and to some pots near the front steps of the Parish Office. 
Thanks for all your donations of plants — contact Diane Yale-Peabody at yale.peabody@me.com if you have perennials you’d like to offer.
Ongoing Ministry Opportunities Below!
Listed below are on-going opportunities to give, participate, and serve at St. Paul's. We don't want these ministry activities to become "wallpaper" as they do change slightly from time to time so check in each week and see what invitation to serve might be calling your name!

“You created every part of me, knitting me in my mother’s womb. 
For such handiwork, I praise you. Awesome this great wonder!”
 Psalm 139:13-14

The prayer shawl collection at St. Paul’s is very low.
Prayer shawls are made to provide warmth, comfort, healing, and peace to those who may need it.

If anyone is inclined to knit or crochet a shawl and would like to donate it to the churches shawl collection, donations can be dropped off at the church office.

A special thank you to those who have made and donated shawls in support of our ministry.

For further information please visit www.shawlministry.com

The May/June/July issues of Forward Day by Day are now in the mailbox by the front door of the office.


New Vestry Minutes have been added. March's minutes are now available!

Click button to go directly there
Serving in May 2021

May 16 - Joe Fesperman (8:30)
May 16 - Tana Myers (10:30)
May 23 - Edward Southwell (8:30)
May 23 - Jeri Martin (10:30)
May 30 - Dick Sloop (8:30)
May 30 - Maggie McCann (10:30)
Altar Guild

May 16 - Pam & Drew Mayberry
May 23 - Mary Ann Caplinger & Tom Carnes
May 30 - Laurie Love & Ramona Curtis

May 17 - Mark Cook
May 17 - Matthew Minick

No anniversaries this week!
Prayer Requests

Prayer requests can be made by emailing the office at office@stpaulwilkesboro.org
or by calling the office during regular office hours.

Bulletins are printed on Thursday mornings and requests submitted after that time will not be in the printed bulletin for that week, but may still be spoken. Prayer requests received by noon on Wednesday will be included in the weekly e-newsletter.
Please remember in your prayers: All who are ill or unemployed and those who are on our prayer list.
Hilda Absher, Doug Johnson, Jen & Cliff McElroy, Becky Mullins, Kris Riley, Tara Riley, Jeff Smith, Susan Whittington
Jim Andrews, Ken Asel, Pam & Robert Baugh, Thomas Dellinger, Tina Duncan, Mary Hawkins, Cynthia Hill, Bob & Donna Webber
Armed Forces
Let us pray for the safety of all our troops, especially Zach Necessary, Walker Pardue, Phillip Southwell, Jason Westmeyer, and all others who serve in Iraq, Afghanistan and throughout the world.

Please send to the church office the addresses of troops with connections to
office@stpaulwilkesboro.org, especially those abroad.

The Lessons for May 16, 2021
Acts 1:15-17, 21-26
In those days Peter stood up among the believers (together the crowd numbered about one hundred twenty persons) and said, "Friends, the scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit through David foretold concerning Judas, who became a guide for those who arrested Jesus-- for he was numbered among us and was allotted his share in this ministry. So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us-- one of these must become a witness with us to his resurrection." So they proposed two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also known as Justus, and Matthias. Then they prayed and said, "Lord, you know everyone's heart. Show us which one of these two you have chosen to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place." And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias; and he was added to the eleven apostles.

Psalm 1
Beatus vir qui non abiit
1 Happy are they who have not walked in the counsel of the wicked, *
nor lingered in the way of sinners,
nor sat in the seats of the scornful!
2 Their delight is in the law of the Lord, *
and they meditate on his law day and night.
3 They are like trees planted by streams of water,
bearing fruit in due season, with leaves that do not wither; *
everything they do shall prosper.
4 It is not so with the wicked; *
they are like chaff which the wind blows away.
5 Therefore the wicked shall not stand upright when judgment comes, *
nor the sinner in the council of the righteous.
6 For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, *
but the way of the wicked is doomed.
1 John 5:9-13
If we receive human testimony, the testimony of God is greater; for this is the testimony of God that he has testified to his Son. Those who believe in the Son of God have the testimony in their hearts. Those who do not believe in God have made him a liar by not believing in the testimony that God has given concerning his Son. And this is the testimony: God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.
I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.

John 17:6-19
Jesus prayed for his disciples, “I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world. They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything you have given me is from you; for the words that you gave to me I have given to them, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. I am asking on their behalf; I am not asking on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those whom you gave me, because they are yours. All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them. And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one. While I was with them, I protected them in your name that you have given me. I guarded them, and not one of them was lost except the one destined to be lost, so that the scripture might be fulfilled. But now I am coming to you, and I speak these things in the world so that they may have my joy made complete in themselves. I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. I am not asking you to take them out of the world, but I ask you to protect them from the evil one. They do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you have sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, so that they also may be sanctified in truth.”
St. Paul's Episcopal Church | 336-667-4231 | office@stpaulwilkesboro.org | https://stpaulwilkesboro.org