E-newsletter | October 15, 2020
God’s Politics

“Then he said to them, “Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” 
This Sunday, after Jesus examines a coin in the Temple, he will tell us to “Give to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”

On its face, that statement is simply about paying taxes. The Pharisees and the Herodians, usually political enemies, attempt to entrap Jesus with a clever question: “Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or not?”

The Pharisees see the tribute tax as a heretical and dangerous for Jewish people to pay tribute to a pagan emperor, while the Herodians see refusing to pay the tax as sedition. Herodians are the Jewish citizens who have aligned themselves with the Roman government.

For Jesus, answering this yes or no question is a lose-lose proposition.

Instead, because he is smarter than smart and possibly tired of the constant quizzing and entrapment, Jesus takes a Roman coin, a coin that honors the emperor as a god, and offers his ambiguous and brilliant both/and answer:

“Give to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” This is why Jesus is so admirable and courageous; he not only responds to a challenge with an even greater challenge, but he illustrates that the relationship between faith and politics is just too complex to reduce to easy answers as people love to do in this day and age.

And we have to look hard at what Jesus does not say. As has been pointed out, he doesn’t say that there are two distinct realms, the religious and the secular, and that they require our equal loyalty.

What he says is more complicated: he says, the coin is already the emperor’s, there is his face stamped right on it, so give it to him. And then he forces us to consider the harder question: What belongs to God? What kind of loyalty or tribute do we owe God?

The Roman coins of Jesus’ day bore the image of the emperor. Jesus was saying that as human beings created by God, we bear God’s image. Which means imprinted on our souls, on the very substance of our innermost particles, the image of God is indelibly placed at the core of our being. So if we follow Jesus’ statement closely, we understand that we owe God everything, we owe God our whole and entire selves.

What can this mean in these hard days when families, communities, and churches are splintering over political and cultural differences that seem too hard to heal? 

When I look to Jesus to think about how to practice my faith in the political realm, I see no way to following Jesus that doesn't require vulnerability, surrender, and a love that goes beyond my limited human love and forces me to reach higher for God’s love.

In following Jesus we are not asked or required to give up our responsibilities as citizens. But, we are called to measure our choices in matters of church and state by a higher standard than that which can only polarize and create winners and losers.

We are all coins minted and stamped with the image of a loving God and when we rise above as Jesus does, our lives can.

For Jesus, the concern about politics is the power it has over people, how our hearts and souls are bound to political identity, how it owns our desires and our imagination, how often it tempts us to cast away our integrity, how much we fear losing this identity.

Jesus shows us in this passage that he is a man who understands that what we say, how we use our political capital, who we are willing to protect and fight for, or the way we use or abuse language to get what we want, matters. That the sins we confess or indulge, the truths we proclaim or deny, make all the difference in the world.

Because for Jesus, God is quite knowable and is made visible in love, which is part of our origin, love is how God’s image shines through us. And love, he teaches, goes beyond the black and white laws we try to build around God.

So the question remains, to whom do we belong? To a Political party? To our addiction to invulnerability or control? Or to God? The tempting collision between Caesar and God pervades every aspect of our lives, and we put vulnerable people at risk when we try to find a way to be fully human apart from God.

Belonging to God, being fashioned in God’s image of generosity and love, calls us to practice our faith and our politics in ways that are a reflection of God's desires, not our own. It’s a question of remembering that the God whose image I bear is a God of love, compassion and justice.

So yes, by all means give the emperor what belongs to him. But remember that our first loyalty is to a kingdom very different than our own. Our first and highest call is to the love of God and, in and through that great love, to our neighbor.

Grace and Peace,
Mother Stephanie

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Please view a message from Bishop José below.
Important Message about Prayer List - Please Read
Prayer List for Bulletin
Dear Friends, our prayers are one of the most visible and sacred ways we have of supporting and upholding both those among us and our loved ones as we list them for our Prayers of the People and publish them in the bulletin. It is so important that we keep these prayers current and that we are able to recognize healing or death as those on our prayer list move through their situation. And, of course, there are those whose need is long-term and they need our continued prayers over a sustained period of time.

To better enable us to keep our Prayer list current and recognize passages, on November 1st we will begin fresh on the first Sunday of every month. To keep someone on the prayer list please refresh your request on the last Wednesday of the previous month to make our printing deadline. Beginning on November 1st the only names on the prayer list will be those requested by Wednesday, October 28th

I know you join with us in wanting to ensure that this important part of our worship life is tended closely and always current. We thank you in advance for your participation and support. 

You've Got Mail

The office recently mailed out giving statements. These statements should contain any financial contribution that you have made from January 1st, 2020 through Sept 30, 2020. If you made a pre-pledge in 2019 for the 2020 year it will not show on these statements.

Please contact the office if you have any questions.

Phone 336-667-4234
email: office@stpaulwilkesboro.org


In the next several weeks the Outreach committee will gather online to discuss the distribution of our 2020 allocated funds ($4667). We will also hear any ideas you may have for our work within the community in these trying times. Rachel Minick will be our technological leader in this endeavor. If you have not received an Outreach email recently and would like to take part let
Joe Fesperman know via email (joefesperman@yahoo.com)
or text (202-821-5885).  
Your enthusiastic participation and coming together is eagerly anticipated.
-St. Augustine (353-430)

The Virtual Labyrinth Walks continue! You are invited to join this growing community every Tuesday at 7:30pm in Zoom. I am happy to announce that Rebecca Husband Maynard has joined in with me to share this time and lead us in a couple of Labyrinth Finger Walks each month. Rebecca shares my love of the labyrinth and has been trained and certified as a facilitator through Veriditas also. We invite you to join us for this time of prayer and meditation in community with others. No labyrinth experience is needed. You can reach out to either Rebecca or me with your email address for the Zoom link. 

Sheree Sloop: sloopcat60@gmail.com 
Rebecca Husband Maynard: rev.rebecca19@gmail.com
October 18 Service - Sign Up Today and Join Us!

There is still space available to attend the 9:30am and the 11:00am service in the Outdoor Chapel (Labyrinth) this coming
Sunday, October 18th.

Please note new service times!

If you would like to worship in person with mask on and social distancing in place, please reserve your spot by emailing the office at office@stpaulwilkesboro.org.

Service will be held WEATHER PERMITTING
3 Thursday Worship Slots!

Beginning Thursday, October 15th the Sunday Virtual Service will be recorded on Thursdays at 1:00 pm in the historic chapel. There is room for 3 people to attend worship during this time. If you would like to sign up to worship on a Thursday at 1:00 pm click below.
Can't be with us in person? Join us for Worship on YouTube or click on the link on our website!
Worship Notes:
Updated 10-8-20!

Adult Forums Are Coming Soon!

I am eager to begin Adult Spiritual Formation very soon in a couple of possible formats: One choice is by ZOOM so that those who must shelter in place can join us, and the other is to add an Adult Formation time to the Sunday line up when we move to ONE SERVICE (date TBA). Or, a possible combination of ZOOM during the week combined with another option on Sunday mornings.

Please contact Mother Stephanie and let her know if you have preferences or hopes for subject and format! rector@stpaulwilkesboro.org.

Mother Stephanie
August Minutes Now Available

The 2020 Vestry Meeting minutes are now available on St. Paul's website under Vestry.

Click button to go directly there
Readers for Virtual Service

Oct. 7 - Cindy Smith
Oct. 14 - Nancy Scroggs
Oct. 21 -Tana Myers
Oct. 28 - Laurie Love
Readers for October, 2020
9:30 AM

4 - Lisa Beard
11 - Dick Sloop
18 - Mary Southwell
25 - Denise Sturdivant
11:00 AM

4 - Maggie McCann
11 - Cindy Smith
18 - Tana Morrow
25 - Joe Fesperman


Oct. 18 - Martha Morgan
Oct. 18 - Robin Shumate
Oct. 18 - Mary Southwell
Oct. 20 - Christopher Barger


Oct. 19 - Glenn & Kathie Smith
Oct. 22 - Roland & Nancy Scroggs
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.
Mike Adams, Jim Andrews, Ken Asel, Pam Baugh, Robert Baugh, Dot Beamon, David Blair, Nancy Blair, Betty Blevins, John Brame, Fern Brinkley, Jacob Brown, Paul Clark, Billy Coles, Rancene Cook, LaMar Creasman, Ann Davis, Jackie Davis, Thomas Dellinger, Mike Duncan, John Farris, Craig Freas, Laura Gentry, Estelle Gille, Mike Graf, Edward C. Griffith III, Bert Hall, Kaye Hall, Janet Hartzog, Larry Hendley, Jackson Hering, Bill Hurd, Margo Hurd, Steve Jackson, Lisa Lenderman, Lorraine Little, Ken Love, Maggie McCann, Ann McNeill, Gus Newton, Bertie Pardue, Ryan Rigby, Stanley Sanders, Diane Shaw, Ann Self Sigmon, Beth Sims, Bob Skees, Linda Sloop, Carolyn Stephens, Shirley Sturdivant, Fanny Triplett, Mari-Claire Ucello, Marie Waddell, Robin Walsh, Delores Weaver, Bob Webber, Donna Webber, Kim Wyatt, Cole Younger

Armed Forces
Let us pray for the safety of all our troops, especially Rob Beauchaine, Matthew Cage, Alex Cline, Philip Cooney,  Karl Duerk, William Grant, Edward C. Griffith IV, Jacob B. Hall, Brandon Moore, Russ Necessary, Zach Necessary, John W. Pardue, Charlie & Lauren Pendry, Adam Pinkerton, Avery Smith, Philip Southwell, Mark Stone, Patrick Szvetitz, Jackson Triplett, Levi Walker, Jason Westmeyer, Nathan Wyatt, and all others who serve in Iraq, Afghanistan and throughout the world.
The Lessons for October 18th, 2020
Exodus 33:12-23

Moses said to the Lord, “See, you have said to me, ‘Bring up this people’; but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. Yet you have said, ‘I know you by name, and you have also found favor in my sight.’ Now if I have found favor in your sight, show me your ways, so that I may know you and find favor in your sight. Consider too that this nation is your people.” He said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” And he said to him, “If your presence will not go, do not carry us up from here. For how shall it be known that I have found favor in your sight, I and your people, unless you go with us? In this way, we shall be distinct, I and your people, from every people on the face of the earth.”
The Lord said to Moses, “I will do the very thing that you have asked; for you have found favor in my sight, and I know you by name.” Moses said, “Show me your glory, I pray.” And he said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you, and will proclaim before you the name, ‘The Lord’; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. But,” he said, “you cannot see my face; for no one shall see me and live.” And the Lord continued, “See, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock; and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by; then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back; but my face shall not be seen.”

Psalm 99

1 The Lord is King;
let the people tremble; *
he is enthroned upon the cherubim;
let the earth shake.
2 The Lord is great in Zion; *
he is high above all peoples.
3 Let them confess his Name, which is great and awesome; *
he is the Holy One.
4 "O mighty King, lover of justice,
you have established equity; *
you have executed justice and righteousness in Jacob."
5 Proclaim the greatness of the Lord our God
and fall down before his footstool; *
he is the Holy One.
6 Moses and Aaron among his priests,
and Samuel among those who call upon his Name, *
they called upon the Lord, and he answered them.
7 He spoke to them out of the pillar of cloud; *
they kept his testimonies and the decree that he gave them.
8 O Lord our God, you answered them indeed; *
you were a God who forgave them,
yet punished them for their evil deeds.
9 Proclaim the greatness of the Lord our God
and worship him upon his holy hill; *
for the Lord our God is the Holy One
1 Thessalonians 1:1-10

Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:
Grace to you and peace.
We always give thanks to God for all of you and mention you in our prayers, constantly remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. For we know, brothers and sisters beloved by God, that he has chosen you, because our message of the gospel came to you not in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of persons we proved to be among you for your sake. And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for in spite of persecution you received the word with joy inspired by the Holy Spirit, so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. For the word of the Lord has sounded forth from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but in every place your faith in God has become known, so that we have no need to speak about it. For the people of those regions report about us what kind of welcome we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols, to serve a living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead-- Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath that is coming.

Matthew 22:15-22

The Pharisees went and plotted to entrap Jesus in what he said. So they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are sincere, and teach the way of God in accordance with truth, and show deference to no one; for you do not regard people with partiality. Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or not?” But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, “Why are you putting me to the test, you hypocrites? Show me the coin used for the tax.” And they brought him a denarius. Then he said to them, “Whose head is this, and whose title?” They answered, “The emperor’s.” Then he said to them, “Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” When they heard this, they were amazed; and they left him and went away.
St. Paul's Episcopal Church | 336-667-4231 | office@stpaulwilkesboro.org | https://stpaulwilkesboro.org