St. Paul's Episcopal Church Poughkeepsie, NY 12601

"Making friends while serving God"

The Week of March 2-8, 2021

"In The Wounded Healer, Henri Nouwen retells a tale from ancient India: Four royal brothers decided each to master a special ability. Time went by, and the brothers met to reveal what they had learned. "I have mastered a science," said the first, "by which I can take but a bone of some creature and create the flesh that goes with it."  "I," said the second, "know how to grow that creature's skin and hair if there is flesh on its bones."  The third said, "I am able to create its limbs if I have flesh, the skin, and the hair."  "And I," concluded the fourth, "know how to give life to that creature if its form is complete."  Thereupon the brothers went into the jungle to find a bone so they could demonstrate their specialties. As fate would have it, the bone they found was a lion's. One added flesh to the bone, the second grew hide and hair, the third completed it with matching limbs, and the fourth gave the lion life. Shaking its mane, the ferocious beast arose and jumped on his creators. He killed them all and vanished contentedly into the jungle.  We too have the capacity to create what can devour us."[1] 
Here we are in the middle of Lent and now Jesus' message starts to get very uncomfortable.  We are use to him railing into the religious leaders.  Admit it, you all like that a little and so do I, as long as I'm not one of the ones he is railing against.  But that is not what Jesus is doing in this story in John's gospel.  Today, Jesus is going to church and when he walks in he is crushed by what he sees.  Anger builds up and in a scene that doesn't feel too much like the Jesus we know from our children's Bibles.  He grabs some ropes and makes a whip and starts to chase people out of church.  He yells at them, turns over tables, scatters money and kicks all the animals out.
We get uncomfortable because what happened to stain glass Jesus?  What happened to the guy who smiles and is welcoming to everyone?  Is it okay for Jesus to get angry?  Jesus seems more like a bouncer at a night club now.  This is a little threatening and I am sure the people are shocked about what is happening, including his disciples.
This is one of the stories of Jesus' life that is in all four gospels.  This is important because it is a story told four times.  What is different is when it happens in John's gospel.  The Synoptic Gospels, Matthew, Mark and Luke, have this story happening after Jesus' triumphant entry into Jerusalem.  After Palm Sunday Jesus walks into the temple and sees what is happening and then sends them all out.  This happens in the 21st chapter of Matthew, 11th chapter of Mark and the 19th chapter of Luke, but here we are only in chapter 2 of John.  In John's gospel we have received the poetic opening, John the Baptist's testimony, the calling of the disciples and the wedding at Cana.  It seems really early but John's gospel does things a little different.
Each gospel in our Bible comes from a different perspective.  Luke is written for those already in the faith living in the Gentile world.  Mark is written for those involved in the Jewish Roman war.  Matthew was written to bring Jews into the faith.  John came from a different perspective.  His is to prove that Jesus is God's son.  While the synoptic are not afraid to point out Jesus' humanity, John leaves some of those stories out to prove without a doubt Jesus' divinity.  There is no baptism or temptation story in John.  There is no prayer in the garden of Gethsemane.  Instead you have stories that are unique to John's gospel like the washing of the disciple's feet at the Last Supper.  This is where we get the "I Am" statements of Jesus, like when he says, "I am the good shepherd" or "I am the light unto the world."
John's purpose for his gospel is to reveal God's purpose and God's power.  So why is this one of the first things Jesus does in his ministry and not one of the last like in the other gospels?  The answer is simple.  John is setting up God's power over this world and demonstrating how much change is coming through Jesus.  The second chapter starts off by Jesus turning water into wine.  He takes jugs used in the purification ritual and turns that water into wine.  The act of purification is changing because of Jesus' ministry and purpose on earth.  It is not the same as it use to be, it is now different because God's son has come to earth.  Worship and the purpose of the temple is changing as well.  No longer will undefiled animals be needed to atone for sin.  No longer will there even be a need for a temple because Jesus' body is taking over that purpose.  Jesus' visit and tantrum happens early in John's gospel because it creates a foundation of Jesus' ministry that says radical changes are occurring because God's Word made flesh will change everything.
Now we are not comfortable with change.  In our human minds we would love it if everything would stay the same as it always was.  But that is the only constant in life, change will always happen.  I am sure that the Temple wasn't always like what it was when Jesus walked in.  There weren't always money changers and merchants taking up space in the temple.  I am sure it slowly happened and it made sense to why.  To atone for one's sins you needed special animals and special money.  It is hard to raise and then travel with those types of animals so people used the space in the temple to fulfill a need for worship.  They had purpose, understandable purpose, for being in there, yet Jesus found it detestable and kicked them out.

 So here we are again, uncomfortable with Jesus' attitude and uncomfortable with him kicking out what seems understandable.  But the question that is poses in this story is does necessity equal pleasing to God?  Is the things of our creation devouring us without us even knowing it?  Are we destroying the temple or the Body of Christ in this place, this morning?
This passage hits us right in our gut because Jesus isn't talking to the religious leaders.  He isn't talking about some ancient idea that we in modern day don't worry about any more.  No, he is walking into church, looking around, and throwing out what is despicable in his eyes.  He threatens us, you and me, those in the pews and those behinds the pulpit to look with new eyes at the temple around us and ask ourselves if we have simply gotten comfortable with what is displeasing in God's eyes.  What do we let slip through our fingers because we have grown blind to see them for what they are?
If Jesus walked into worship what would he throw out?  Would he come in and toss away all phones, Kindle Fires, and game systems in order for everyone to be fully present in worship? [pause]  Would he come in with a claw hammer and remove all the plagues off the walls and pews because it builds up pride in our selves instead of honoring God?  [pause]  Would he step up to the pulpit and rip my manuscript into pieces ashamed that I do not trust the Holy Spirit to provide the words I say on Sunday? [pause]  Would he be happy with our building itself or would he shake his head and remind us that the church is the Body of Christ, not bricks and mortar?
After Jesus tosses everyone out of the temple the people ask, "By what authority are you doing these things."  That is a funny question because no one asks the question we might ask if Jesus threw out what we hold dear.  No one asks the question "why?"  They know why.  When Jesus walked in and saw what they were doing on some level it was confirmed that it was wrong.  The merchants and money changers, although holding purpose, also held back the true nature of what the temple was there for.  Then Jesus tells them of the temple's destruction but that he will rebuild it in three days.  The new temple, Jesus' body, will be killed but he will remake it in three days.  The new temple is not bricks and mortar but a body and blood.
In Lovette Weems' new book, Focus he says that the United Methodist Church in 2009 owned $52 billion dollars of real estate in the United States.  This included every church building and parsonage.  $52 billion dollars worth of bricks and mortar!  Is that what Jesus had in mind for us to do with his message or are we as guilty as those in the temple?  Are we guilty of perverting the idea of church to suit our own sensibilities and our own egos?
The season of Lent is a time to repent, to admit where we fall short of God's glory and to beg for God's forgiveness.  The joy is that forgiveness is graciously shared.  The hardest part for us humans is to admit that we are in need of it.  It is difficult to be honest with ourselves and see the world around us like Jesus does.  We would look past the money changers and merchants because they were understandable.  But today's passage reminds us that we are to be careful with the understandable.  St. Augustine said, "Idolatry is worshiping anything that ought to be used or using anything that ought to be worshiped."  Idolatry is so prevalent in our society that we are blinded to it.  We thank God that Jesus comes into our lives to show us where our true loyalties lie.
In a sermon by Rev. Dr. Peter Samuelson he said, "Jesus came to not just destroy the temples we build to serve ourselves but to raise up a new temple for us, a temple in which we can truly be reconciled to God. Every temple made with human hands, every system we attempt to construct, will end up only serving ourselves. In Jesus, God offers us a temple where we can receive the forgiveness of sin without cost, where we can be reconciled to God without trying to make a buck, where we can worship the one true God and be free from our bondage to greed and self-service. In our baptism, we enter this temple, becoming one with the body of Christ, living in the temple of God's love and forgiveness forever."[2] 
How uncomfortable is that?  It's not.  We desire in our heart to live in the temple of God's love and forgiveness.  But to get there is the uncomfortable part.  It is the part when we are whipped by the reality that the light of Christ that shines in the areas of our lives, of our temples, which do nothing for the glory of God.  It is hard to admit what we truly worship and what gets in our way of letting God's temple take over our lives.  We don't have to ask why because deep down we know the answer.  We uncomfortably have to admit it to ourselves and then let Jesus drive it out.
 --Shawn Prater-Lee

To be redirected to the Lectionary Page and get a digital copy of the readings  
Exodus 20:1-17; Psalm 19; 1 Corinthians 1:18-25;
 John 2:13-22
The Sunday sermon
Mark 8:31-38, Holy Ground of Truth
In this morning's gospel, Jesus is really lecturing his disciples about what is in store for him in the near future. He tells them that he is going to suffer, die, and then he will rise from the dead. Of course, Peter with the big mouth had to open it and he dared to tell Jesus he wouldn't let those things happen. And we hear from Jesus words that really catch our attention, words that indicate the intensity of Jesus' feelings regarding the subject he was discussing, shocking words that demonstrate beyond a doubt how serious he was. He said to Peter, "Get behind me Satan!"
But then Jesus continues. "For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the Gospel, will save it." This is one of those Jesus sayings we may spend our entire lives trying to understand, because it appears to be about letting go. It means, I think, that in letting go we become free. It's learning to love through conflict, betrayal, injustice, and even through being recipients of acts of hatred and evil.
Let me share with you what it was like for me to spend time with Archbishop Desmond Tutu. It was during the time when I was a priest in the Diocese of California. The Archbishop was in San Francisco to preach during Evensong at the cathedral, and to lecture the next day. And I was invited to officiate at Evensong, which was quite an honor. During his talk the next day, he discussed what he called the Gospel of love as it was manifested through the trials and blessings of what he called radical truth telling. I realized during the evening office in the cathedral what a diminutive man he was. However, the next day as I listened to this winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, this man of incredible influence throughout the world, this man who radiated an abundance of God's love, appeared to be larger than life.
He spoke about the miracle of transformation that had been happening in South Africa since the end of apartheid. Through the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, people who had committed atrocities were being given amnesty if they told the detailed truth of their personal participation in violent activities. The commission knew that many atrocities were committed, but to hear them described in real time, to probe the deep wounds again, allowed for a kind of healing for the perpetrators, as well as for the victims or their family members. Add to that, finally there was healing even for the very space between the two entities.
Tutu described how these terrible and tragic stories were told, and in their being told he said it was as if the air was charged with a sacred energy, there was a sense that "one's shoes should be taken off" because those who were listening and those who were recounting the stories where standing on "holy ground."
Tutu shared with us the story of a woman who was in search of a single bone from her missing son's body, so that bone might have a decent burial. A white woman severely wounded in a grenade attack by anti-apartheid activists, at a gathering in her home to which her attacker had been invited, confronted and forgave him for attacking her, and then got down on her knees and asked him to forgive her. A mother lost her son to a black policeman who put a tire around her son's neck, and set it on fire. The policeman apologized for what he had done and asked for her forgiveness. The woman asked him how he addresses her. After a pause he said, "I call you Mother." You see my friends, that was the custom in the black South African community. "Now you will be addressing me as Mother for both you and my son," she said. And then she hugged him. As I listened, Mark's Gospel began to ring in my ears, "...for those who lose their life for my sake," as did that policeman as he asked for forgiveness, "and for the sake of the Gospel, will save it." He became a new person.
Jesus suffered for us. Imagine if those who cast lots for his clothes, those who threw rocks and jeered at him, those who nailed him to the cross, had gone before the "Truth and Reconciliation Commission. I wonder, would they have been forgiven? I think so. Remember our Lord's words from the cross. "Father forgive them because they do not know what they are doing."
You know, as well as covid-19, we are living with other plagues that manifest themselves uniquely as hatred towards each other. Children catch these plagues, these diseases from adults and the way they respond primarily to the physical and cultural difference between people. Regrettably, for many of us we are not aware of this illness within us; we are not aware of the prejudices we harbor. We may not mean to embrace these illnesses, but our society is so toxic with messages regarding who is in and who is out, or who is right and who is wrong, that it seeps through the pores of our spirits. And to deny this is to make a more hospitable environment for prejudices to settle in. However, to acknowledge that we are human, and vulnerable, and prone to treating people based on assumptions, is to take steps towards awareness. To make this acknowledgment is moving in the right direction. Again, it is up to us to save our lives by losing our lives, by swimming against the conventional, societal tides that pull us, if I may, away from the healing balm in Gilead.
As we wander through our Lenten journey, we need to be aware that radical truth, however painful, however sorrowful, however difficult, is the stuff of God. And there is much truth telling to be done, much confession to be made, much reconciliation, much change of heart if we are going to make further strides as a people of God who have given up our lives to the living God so that we might have life.
Archbishop Tutu ended his lecture with a call to all people to join the great embrace that was meant for all whatever color, whatever age, whatever social status, whatever sexual orientation. God wants us to be one people united in, truth, in love, in caring and in compassion. In this case, an old life is being released in the telling of the story in order that a new life may be saved, in order that there may be reconciliation. Our Lord and Savior gave his life so that we may have the gift of salvation, a gift that is perpetually being offered to us...that is if the truth be told.

--Fr. C. Allan Ford


From February 26th through the month of March, St. Paul's Episcopal Church Food Pantry has been selected to receive a $1 donation for every $9.99 Bloomin' 4 Good Bouquet with the red circle sticker sold at the stores located at 2540 South Road, Poughkeepsie, Rt. 9 Hyde Park and Burnett Blvd, Poughkeepsie.

-- Charlie & Jeannie Henderson
   --Bobbie Gordon 
Sunday Services will be on ZOOM until further notice
Our Zoom connections remain the same and are
Meeting ID: 823 3911 5280
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We now have a YouTube channel.  
or search on YouTube for St. Paul's Poughkeepsie.
We hope to put copies of all of our online services there.
Total deposits for the past week - $1595 ($55 for the Food Pantry). Many thanks to all who have been generously supporting the Food Pantry.
We're looking forward to seeing you on Zoom until further notice.  


 --Shawn Prater-Lee
The Church Club of New York
The Church of St. John's in the Village
"African Americans in New York City:
The First 150 Years"
St. John's parishioner and
New York University Professor
Dr. John V. Singler
Thursday, February 25, 2021
In order to understand the role of African Americans in shaping New York City, we need to go back to the very beginning. As long as there has been a New York City, there have been African Americans here. The present talk looks at colonial New Amsterdam/New York.
In the Dutch era, "half-free" African Americans were allotted farms along Minetta Creek in the Village. In the English era, slaveholding became so widespread that, of all American cities, only
Charleston, South Carolina, had a greater percentage of
households with at least one enslaved person.
Save the Dates!
Tuesday, March 24, 2021
via Zoom
6:00 - 7:00 pm
In Service to Seafarers: from Tall-masted Ships to Today -
The Seamen's Church Institute
The Reverend Mark Nestlehutt
President and Executive Director
Tuesday, May 18, 2021
via Zoom
An Evening with The Rt. Rev. Mary D. Glasspool
Bishop Assistant
The Episcopal Diocese of New York
The Church Club of New York
Executive Director: Susan Ridgeway
Phone: (212) 828-7418
--The Rev. Dcn. Julett Butler

Our Journey through Lent
Isaiah 58:6-12
Is not this the fast that I choose...?
A Welcome Reflection by Allison Duvall
Dear friends,
Thank you for your interest in being part of Episcopal Migration Ministries' journey through the Lenten season. We are grateful to have you join us for daily prayer, devotions, and reflection.
Beginning on Ash Wednesday, February 17, we will post a daily devotional (subscribe to receive by email) that offers a reflection on a portion of Isaiah 58:6-12, pondering the text and its meaning through the lens of migration. You are welcome to invite others to join, and we encourage you to forward the emails along. We will also share the daily devotions on our social media channels, and welcome you to share.
As you pray and engage with the devotions, you will be joining with so many others across the Episcopal Church and the country who are doing the same. Together, #WeAreEMM: we form a community of prayer, reflection, and action.
Throughout the daily devotional series, we will share ways that you can become more involved in the work of Episcopal Migration Ministries. We also invite you to share the ways that you are involved in migration ministry. We would love to hear from you.
EMM is a ministry of the whole Church and her people. Through this work, we welcome, support, and advocate for our newest neighbors, and are met by Christ and transformed in the process.
Blessings to you this Lenten season. We are grateful to walk with you.
EMM Church Engagement Team

Subscribe to Lenten Daily Devotions

EMM's Lenten Daily Devotions are possible because of the generous volunteer efforts of members of EMM's Asylum & Detention Ministry Network. We extend our gratitude to Ana Reza, Diocese of the Rio Grande, BA Miskowiec, director of West Virginia Interfaith Refugee Ministry, Flor Saldivar, Diocese of West Texas, Michelina Nicotera-Taxiera, Diocese of Arizona, and The Rev. Michael Wallins, Diocese of the Rio Grande, for their work to make the daily devotions a reality.
Previous Lenten Devotions:
Support EMM's Ministry 
Copyright © 2021 | Episcopal Migration Ministries, All rights reserved.    Our mailing address is:  815 Second Ave., New York, NY 10017    Want to change how you receive these emails?  You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.     

 --Shawn Prater-Lee


11 Margaret Robinson  
20 Stacey Rosborough   
26 Josephine Zeleznik
12  Rev. Tyler Jones      
21 Linda Aileen SuBois
29 Danya Clarke

14 Kattyann Goodwin     

     Lisl Prater-Lee
30 Stuart Ballinger
17 Deborah Marie Williams
24  Alice J. Leigh  
31 Rose Marie Proctor
     Bryanna Winkler  
25  Michael Van Pelt

     Peter Bedrossian

18  Shirley Pharr  
26  Karen A. Reid  

Please keep those on our parish prayer list in your minds and in your 
prayers, especially at this time of separation and isolation.

MARCH 2021
Our prayers are asked for:
Kay, Katherine, Renate; Angie; Frank Burnett, Food Panty Volunteers, victims of Human/Sex Trafficking; Burton family; Lillian, Matthew, Sasha; Paul & Donna, Margaret, Joe, G.J., Aleta, Plain family, Melius family; Ibadan Diocese, All Saints' Church, Oni family; Gary, Legend; Rhonda, Joe, Ann, all Teachers, Parents, Students, Theodore, John, Paul, Kathy, George, Janett, Renate, and Notoe; Sharon Greene, Owen,Agnes, Norma; McLauren family; Graham family; Wood family; Braxton family; Lori, Steven, Jim, Seth; Phil; All essential workers; Beryl & Glen, Vincent family; George;  Daniel Mizell and family; Liz, Martha; Eileen; the Butler, Richards and Barrett families; Fr. Allan and family; St. Paul's Vestry; Darien  family; Richardson family; Sherow family; Edna Clarke,Michelle, Kathy B.; Carola and Violet; Whitman, Medical Reserve Corp. of Dutchess County, The Laken family; All Parishioners; Kairos International, Catherine, Michelle, Yamily; G.J., Joe; Lois, Matthew, Lillian; Lynita, Perry, Melius family, Sasha; Stacey, Linda, Phil, Jody; Tucker family, Branch family, Atkinson family; Alison, McGhan, Sterling, Unah, Avonel, Kim, Santos family, Madeline, Bramble, Charlie, Cynthia, Gencia, Val, Joanne,  Janet, Corkey, Pelaez, Josephs-Clarke family, Dixon family, Paulette, Jarah, Mertlyn; Adam, Paul, Andrew & family, Douglas family, Ron, Dave, Liz; Jill, Lana,  Andrew, Susan; Schneider family, all in need; Susie; Sherry, Claudia

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St. Paul's Episcopal Church-Poughkeepsie

'In Service to God & You'

Our food pantry volunteers are in active service at St. Paul's these days. We give thanks to them and thanks to God for their willingness to help us by helping others.


March 2-8, 2021

TUE       2
10:00am   Food Pantry & Thrift Shop

WED      3
10:00am   Food Pantry & Thrift Shop

THU       4
10:00am   Food Pantry & Thrift Shop

SUN       7
10:00am   Zoom - Rite II, Ante Communion

MON      8
  3:30pm   Stewardship Meeting





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