E-newsletter | March 4, 2021

Turning Over Tables

In the temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and the money-changers seated at their tables. Making a whip of cords, he drove all of them out of the temple, both the sheep and the cattle. He also poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. He told those who were selling the doves, "Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father's house a marketplace!" His disciples remembered that it was written, "Zeal for your house will consume me.”

This week we encounter what is for many a disturbing image of Jesus. An image full of anger and frustration. This compelling gospel sequence of Jesus’ assault on the commercialized Temple precincts reminds us that just as with the Temple, the Church is meant to be a witness and advocate of God’s justice and mercy, a means of drawing people deeper into the Abundant Life that God desires for all of humankind.  

An ageless challenge of institutional religion is that its tendency to place adoration of the institution above the adoration and purposes of God. But we don’t set out to do this on purpose.

I think we try to do our best for God. But we forget time and time again that what we think is best or wise is not what God thinks is best or wise.
This is why the season of Lent is so important in the life of the Church. Jesus’ true call is for us to be a people of compassion, healing, justice, and mercy. Deeply engaged Lenten practices are meant to transform our thinking and actions in our world.

I believe all Lenten practices are well intentioned. But a good question we might ask ourselves is, “Is what we are doing for Lent going to align us with God’s deepest hope for the human family? Or, “Is my Lenten practice helping to empower me to do the loving and risky things Jesus calls us to do?”

What if, for instance, a practice of Lenten self-denial is understood as an act of solidarity and compassion for those whose poverty or access to what we are voluntarily doing without is not voluntary? I think then we have entered into the presence of God. But if we give up a treat or “luxury item” because we think that that in itself will please God, then, no matter how well intentioned, we have just offered up an empty sacrifice. 

Jesus tells us that we are children of God. And as so we are confronted by a God of wisdom, a God of power, and yes, a God of ethical demand. As Fred Craddock says, “It is before this God that we are meant to stand, not in front of a mirror.”

Jesus tells us that this God before whom we stand loves us with an everlasting love---- no matter what. We are taught time and again that this love should make us bold; this love should make us courageous. 

The love of God is what gives us the courage to forgive. The love of God is what makes us bold enough to turn over any tables that are a barrier between God and God’s people. And what are the barriers that the prophets and Jesus are always exhorting us to tear down? They are the barriers society creates that make some winners and some losers; the barriers of poverty, gender, exclusion based on race, and shaming those who are mentally ill. 

These are not modern inventions. Jesus constantly demanded that we love God by feeding the hungry, homeless, and poor. Read the story of Lazarus languishing, ignored at the rich man’s gate, to hear what Jesus says. And going against his culture he consistently placed women in leadership or restored or created a new place of acceptance in their lives. 

He spoke to “disreputable women” in public places, he took the part of a woman when Simon the Pharisee attempted to shame her, he told men they were not allowed to divorce their wives on a whim, he touched women who were menstruating and pronounced them clean and whole.

And in the face of bigotry against Samaritans, he tells a story of a courageous and compassionate man who shows God’s love far better than a priest or holy man from the Temple—and that courageous man was a Samaritan.
And he cast out the demons of mental illness time and time again. He brought them out of the caves, graveyards, and places of confinement and told them to be free and whole; he brought them into the light of day as God’s beloved.
And he turns over the tables in the Temple because the commodification of God kept all of those Jesus loved and told us to serve away from worshipping the God who loves them. 

It is the light of God’s love, which shined so brightly in Jesus, which allows us to see where we are missing the mark and resolve to get back on target. Let’s let this Lent be less a season of old guilt and empty sacrifice and more about tearing down any barriers we may have erected---let’s open wide the way of mercy that leads straight to Christ’s sumptuous and Abundant Life.

Grace and Peace, 
Mother Stephanie  


We would like to welcome Morgen Love! Previously the Nursery Worker at St. Paul's, Morgen returns to our team as the new Parish Administrator.

"Hello everyone! I am very excited to be back here at St. Paul's. I can't wait to get to know all of you!
A little bit about me: I began working with St. Paul's in 2018, and unfortunately was not able to continue in that position due to COVID. I have previous experience in accounting and office work type positions, so I believe that this will be a good fit for me. I am privileged to get to call St. Paul's my home once again."

I know that all of you join with me in welcoming Morgen into this new position and in looking ahead to all of the wonderful times to come!

The office remains closed to the public due to COVID restrictions, but "regular" office hours of 8-4 are in back in effect.


Episcopal U:
We Pray What We Believe

Join Mother Stephanie on Wednesdays at 12:30 for a six week journey through the rich tradition of our Eucharistic liturgies.

In the Episcopal tradition we state that we do not have doctrine or dogma, but we make the claim that we pray what we believe, meaning that our Book of Common Prayer and its supplemental resources contain the corpus of our belief system. But DO we believe the claims that are made about God and about humanity, creation, and Jesus in the prayers we hear week by week?

The answer might surprise you!

Please sign up with Mother Stephanie by March 2nd to receive the Zoom link to this adventure in exploration and learning.

Bring your questions, your curiosity, your doubts, and your theological baggage as we embark on this 6 week romp through Liturgical Theology.

Join us for Worship on YouTube or click on the link on our website!
Joe Fesperman

To quote Howard Thurman, "Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive." 
One of my goals this year is to help provide opportunities to allow church members to "come alive" and share their spark with others on behalf of the church. To that end it is my hope that we can build 2 teams. One to nourish, enrich and beautify our grounds and the other to help keep our buildings in good repair. Our first endeavor will be to spruce up the campus for the beauty of spring and the Easter to come. As the year progresses there will be discussions on the needs of the church office. In between I feel sure that there will be a multitude of small jobs that will require many hands and a diversity of skills as we reoccupy spaces that have mostly been vacant for a year. If you are interested in helping with gardening, "handy person" skills, good manual work or thoughtful planning, please let me know. 

You can contact me via email: joefesperman@yahoo.com, cell (call or text) 202-821-5885 or leave a message on my landline
Great news! Over the last 2 weeks we have raised $500 for the Student Choice Food Pantry at North Wilkesboro Elementary School. Rachel Minick started and helps administer this offering. This project provides weekend food for approximately 100 children and is an alternative to the backpack program. The Pantry allows students to "shop" for their own food preferences and provides a special sense of satisfaction and pleasure. 
Your ongoing support throughout Lent is appreciated.  

Join Zoom Meeting by clicking on the link below:

Meeting ID: 851 9114 3705
Passcode: Coffee20 

The Feb/Mar/Apr issues of Forward Day by Day are now in the mailbox by the front door of the office.


New Vestry Minutes have been added. December , January, and Annual Meeting minutes are now available!

Click button to go directly there
Serving in March 2021
(Recorded Service)

Mar. 7 - Nancy Scroggs
Mar. 14 - Jeri Martin
Mar. 21 - Maggie McCann
Mar. 28 - Joe Fesperman
Altar Guild

Mar. 7 - Mary Anne Caplinger & Tom Starnes
Mar. 14- Laurie Love & Ramona Curtis
Mar. 21 - Mary Lankford, Sharon Greene & Bonnie Merritt
Mar. 28 - Mary & Mike Southwell

Mar 7 - Bonnie Merritt
Mar 7 - Rev. Stephanie E Parker
Mar 12 - Misty Hartzog
Mar 12 - Kathleen Rouse
Mar 12 - Wynn Southwell
Mar 12 - Bob Arthur
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.
Prayer List

Please remember in your prayers: All who are ill or unemployed and those who are on our prayer list.
Jim Andrews, Pam Baugh, Robert Baugh, Bella, Nancy Blair, John Brame, Ken Canter, Thomas Dellinger, Mike Duncan, Tina Duncan, John Farris, Laura Gentry, Karen Hennig, Paula Jameson, Doug Johnson, Margo Hurd, Ken Love, Misty Millsaps, Tyler Olender, Denver Owens, Iris Parker, Kris Riley, Tara Riley, Jordan Samuel, Rebecca Shaw, Karen Shupe, Linda Sloop, Delores Weaver, Bob Webber, Donna Webber

Armed Forces
Let us pray for the safety of all our troops, especially Dr. Matthew Cage, Edward Colville Griffith, Zach Necessary, Walker Pardue, Philip Southwell, Mark Stone, Lt. Col. Patrick Szvtitz, 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 March 7, 2021
Exodus 20:1-17

Then God spoke all these words:
I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery; you shall have no other gods before me.
You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and the fourth generation of those who reject me, but showing steadfast love to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments.
You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not acquit anyone who misuses his name.
Remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy. For six days you shall labour and do all your work. But the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work—you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the alien resident in your towns. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but rested the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and consecrated it.
Honor your father and your mother, so that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.
You shall not murder.
You shall not commit adultery.
You shall not steal.
You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.

Psalm 19

1 The heavens declare the glory of God, *
and the firmament shows his handiwork.
2 One day tells its tale to another, *
and one night imparts knowledge to another.
3 Although they have no words or language, *
and their voices are not heard,
4 Their sound has gone out into all lands, *
and their message to the ends of the world.
5 In the deep has he set a pavilion for the sun; *
it comes forth like a bridegroom out of his chamber;
it rejoices like a champion to run its course.
6 It goes forth from the uttermost edge of the heavens
and runs about to the end of it again; *
nothing is hidden from its burning heat.
7 The law of the Lord is perfect
and revives the soul; *
the testimony of the Lord is sure
and gives wisdom to the innocent.
8 The statutes of the Lord are just
and rejoice the heart; *
the commandment of the Lord is clear
and gives light to the eyes.
9 The fear of the Lord is clean
and endures for ever; *
the judgments of the Lord are true
and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold,
more than much fine gold, *
sweeter far than honey,
than honey in the comb.
11 By them also is your servant enlightened, *
and in keeping them there is great reward.
12 Who can tell how often he offends? *
cleanse me from my secret faults.
13 Above all, keep your servant from presumptuous sins;
let them not get dominion over me; *
then shall I be whole and sound,
and innocent of a great offense.
14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my
heart be acceptable in your sight, *
O Lord, my strength and my redeemer.
1 Corinthians 1:18-25
The message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written,
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”
Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, God decided, through the foolishness of our proclamation, to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks desire wisdom, but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.

John 2:13-22
The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables. Making a whip of cords, he drove all of them out of the temple, both the sheep and the cattle. He also poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. He told those who were selling the doves, “Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father’s house a marketplace!” His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.” The Jews then said to him, “What sign can you show us for doing this?” Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews then said, “This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and will you raise it up in three days?” But he was speaking of the temple of his body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this; and they believed the scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.
St. Paul's Episcopal Church | 336-667-4231 | office@stpaulwilkesboro.org | https://stpaulwilkesboro.org