E-newsletter | October 22, 2020
336.667.4231
office@stpaulwilkesboro.org
The Way of Love

“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “’You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

Jesus always steps over and steps beyond human expectations. On the one hand, Jesus does not say that every commandment has equal weight in the eyes of God. On the other hand, Jesus does not say that any one commandment is not important in the eyes of God.

Jesus does not invalidate any one of the commandments, but instead Jesus radically reinterprets and reprioritizes all of the commandments. And in so doing, Jesus gives us a reliable means whereby we can discern and interpret the will of God in the Word of God. 

According to Jesus, we must first love God with all of our heart, soul, and mind. Notice, we must love God with all of our heart, soul, and mind. That means that our love for God is not just visceral, spiritual, and emotional.

Our love for God must also be rational, comprehensible, and intellectual, because Jesus commands us to love God not just with our hearts and not just with our souls. Jesus commands us to love God with our hearts, souls, and minds. That means that we do not have to check our minds at the door when we come to church.

That means that even as we worship God in spirit, we can at the same time critically look at what we believe and why we believe it as we continue to worship God with our minds. We must love God with a complete totality of our being. We must not separate any part of ourselves from our complete devotion and love for God. This is the greatest and the first commandment. But there is more.

Now that would have answered the lawyer’s question; however, Jesus also went on to answer a question that the lawyer had not raised. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. Why didn’t Jesus just give us the greatest commandment as he was asked by the lawyer?

The answer is because we cannot really love God with our heart, soul, and mind unless and until we love our neighbor as we love ourselves.

The second greatest commandment is not just secondary to the greatest commandment. It is essential to the greatest commandment, for we cannot love God whom we do not see and despise our neighbors whom we see every day.

If Jesus had only given the first commandment, it would have let a whole lot of us off the hook and allowed us to piously proclaim our love for God while we treat one another badly. So Jesus says, “Love God with your heart, soul, and mind and love your neighbor as yourself.”

Mind you, it’s rather easy to love a brother or a sister who agrees with us, shares our values, believes what we believe, and lives the way we think they ought to live.

But, our neighbor, according to Jesus, is not just the person who agrees with us or the person we may agree with. Our neighbor is everyone; every man, every woman, every transgender, non-binary, democrat, republican, atheist, evangelical, black, white, gay, straight, queer, rich, poor, middle class… Jesus says love your neighbor as yourself. In other words, put yourself on the same level as your neighbor. Why? Because it is virtually impossible to truly love someone that you believe is beneath you or even above you.

So Jesus says love God with your heart, soul, and mind; love your neighbor as yourself. In other words, whatever respect and consideration you want for yourself, Jesus says give that to your neighbor. Whatever opportunities and privileges and rights you think you deserve, make sure you offer what you want for yourself to your neighbor.

As we approach our national election it will be very important to remember this and we will have to work very hard as people of faith not to fall into division, hatred, or hateful rhetoric. Nothing in our faith can save us from these pitfalls of modern life without a great deal of focused practice of our faith. We must be careful of the echo chambers that surround us that can feed our frenzy and lead us away from love. Echo chambers occur when everything we consume with our ears and eyes agree only with our point of view.

For example, an echo chamber might be FOX news for a conservative or MSNBC for a progressive. I will not comment on either of these media outlets, that is not my point, but I will say that they feed our devotion to our own points of view. In and of themselves we could say they are relative. But, if we “eat” a steady diet of these outlets it is very challenging to allow any sacred space for love of neighbor to enter our hearts and minds.

And in using this same principle in our recent parish conflict, if we are rehearsing the stories of our anger or pain again and again with people of the same mind, we take ourselves deeper into our hurt and we move further from reconciliation.

I am not going so far even as to suggest crossing over to hear another point of view in either circumstance, but I am suggesting simply that we might limit those things that lead us to entrenchment in our anger or division. Why? So that we can begin leaving space for hope, space for love and forgiveness for our neighbors who are not like us.  

“Love. It’s all about love. Love for God and love for one another.” Jesus said, “On these two commandments, hang all the law and all the prophets.” This is our primary principle and methodology for biblical interpretation because—

More than God is law, God is love. 
More than God is judgment, God is love. 
More than God is doctrine, God is love. 
More than God is prophecy, God is love.
More than God is Republican or Democrat, God is love.
 
Now all three of things abide, faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.
The Way of Love is the only way through these turbulent times. It is as simple and as hard as that.

Grace and Peace,
Mother Stephanie 



Deodorant Drive for Hospitality House

Hospitality House of Northwest N.C. board members are collecting Christmas bag items for clients specifically containers of deodorant for men and women . Sixty small deodorants for men and 60 for women are needed.

A container will be placed outside the church office Monday - Friday to collect donations until Dec 1, 2020
Important Message about Prayer List - Please Read
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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. 



The Nov/Dec/Jan
Forward Day by Day
are here and in the brass mailbox by the front door of the office.

OUTREACH

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 25 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 25th.

Please note new service times!
Beginning November 1st we will share ONE service at 11AM


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!

September Minutes Now Available

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

Click button to go directly there
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Beginning November 1st we will share ONE outdoor service on Sundays at 11AM.

Readers for November, 2020
11:00 AM

Nov. 1 - Tom Carnes
Nov. 8 - Mary Anne Caplinger
Nov. 15 - Tana Myers
Nov. 22 - Maggie McCann
Nov. 29 - Cindy Smith
Readers for Virtual Service

Nov. 5 - Nancy Scroggs
Nov. 12- Jeri Martin
Nov. 19 - Joe Fesperman
Nov. 25 - TBD
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Birthdays:
      

Oct. 26- Joan McCord
Oct. 27 - Laurie Love
Oct. 27 - Mark Williams
Oct. 29 - Janae Sloan
Oct. 30 - Richard Shepherd
Oct. 31 - Craig Freas
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.
Illness
Mike Adams, Jim Andrews, Ken Asel, Chris Barton, Pam Baugh, Robert Baugh, Dot Beamon, Bella, David Blair, Nancy Blair, Betty Blevins, John Brame, Fern Brinkley, Jacob Brown, Paul Clark, Billy Coles, Rancene Cook, Libbie Crabtree, 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 25th, 2020
Deuteronomy 34:1-12

Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, which is opposite Jericho, and the Lord showed him the whole land: Gilead as far as Dan, all Naphtali, the land of Ephraim and Manasseh, all the land of Judah as far as the Western Sea, the Negeb, and the Plain—that is, the valley of Jericho, the city of palm trees—as far as Zoar. The Lord said to him, “This is the land of which I swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, saying, ‘I will give it to your descendants’; I have let you see it with your eyes, but you shall not cross over there.” Then Moses, the servant of the Lord, died there in the land of Moab, at the Lord’s command. He was buried in a valley in the land of Moab, opposite Beth-peor, but no one knows his burial place to this day. Moses was one hundred twenty years old when he died; his sight was unimpaired and his vigor had not abated. The Israelites wept for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days; then the period of mourning for Moses was ended.
Joshua son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom, because Moses had laid his hands on him; and the Israelites obeyed him, doing as the Lord had commanded Moses.
Never since has there arisen a prophet in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face. He was unequaled for all the signs and wonders that the Lord sent him to perform in the land of Egypt, against Pharaoh and all his servants and his entire land, and for all the mighty deeds and all the terrifying displays of power that Moses performed in the sight of all Israel.



Psalm 90:1-6, 13-17

1 Lord, you have been our refuge *
from one generation to another.
2 Before the mountains were brought forth,
or the land and the earth were born, *
from age to age you are God.
3 You turn us back to the dust and say, *
"Go back, O child of earth."
4 For a thousand years in your sight are like yesterday when it is past *
and like a watch in the night.
5 You sweep us away like a dream; *
we fade away suddenly like the grass.
6 In the morning it is green and flourishes; *
in the evening it is dried up and withered.
13 Return, O Lord; how long will you tarry? *
be gracious to your servants.
14 Satisfy us by your loving-kindness in the morning; *
so shall we rejoice and be glad all the days of our life.
15 Make us glad by the measure of the days that you afflicted us *
and the years in which we suffered adversity.
16 Show your servants your works *
and your splendor to their children.
17 May the graciousness of the Lord our God be upon us; *
prosper the work of our hands;
prosper our handiwork.
1 Thessalonians 2:1-8

You yourselves know, brothers and sisters, that our coming to you was not in vain, but though we had already suffered and been shamefully mistreated at Philippi, as you know, we had courage in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in spite of great opposition. For our appeal does not spring from deceit or impure motives or trickery, but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the message of the gospel, even so we speak, not to please mortals, but to please God who tests our hearts. As you know and as God is our witness, we never came with words of flattery or with a pretext for greed; nor did we seek praise from mortals, whether from you or from others, though we might have made demands as apostles of Christ. But we were gentle among you, like a nurse tenderly caring for her own children. So deeply do we care for you that we are determined to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you have become very dear to us.


Matthew 22:34-46

When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “’You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them this question: “What do you think of the Messiah? Whose son is he?” They said to him, “The son of David.” He said to them, “How is it then that David by the Spirit calls him Lord, saying,
‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at my right hand,
until I put your enemies under your feet”’?
If David thus calls him Lord, how can he be his son?” No one was able to give him an answer, nor from that day did anyone dare to ask him any more questions.
St. Paul's Episcopal Church | 336-667-4231 | office@stpaulwilkesboro.org | https://stpaulwilkesboro.org