St. Paul's Episcopal Church   Poughkeepsie, NY

"Making friends while serving God"

The week of February 5-11, 2018     

Coming next week: 
Shrove Tuesday & Ash Wednesday  
Acolytes try their hand at flipping pancakes

A change of church seasons 

Next week we experience one of the most jarring changes of the entire church year. On Shrove Tuesday we note the end of the season of Epiphany and the impending arrival of Lent with a special feast intended to prepare us for the shift to Lent: on Shrove Tuesday we eat rich foods and listen to music and exhaust our more raucus selves in preparation for the season of penitence and fasting.
St. Paul's Men's Club is producing its annual Shrove Tuesday supper, complete with pancakes (with butter and syrup), sausage and coffee and juice. In centuries past the practice was to use up the rich foods in the larder in preparation for Lent, to be followed of course by Easter and a season of plenty.
Ash Wednesday is the official beginning of Lent. The recognizable aspect of that day is the imposition of ashes and the reminder, "Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return."
Please invite friends and family to the Shrove Tuesday pancake supper as well as our Ash Wednesday liturgy. The supper is Tuesday Feb. 13 at 6. Adults are $5, children (5-10) are $3 and families are $10.
On Ash Wednesday the ashes will be imposed following the 12:15 pm healing service and at the full Ash Wednesday liturgy Wednesday afternoon at 5:30 pm


2 Kings 5:1-14; Psalm 30
1 Corinthians 9:24-27; Mark 1:40-45
In our readings Sunday we will encounter very specific stories about the healing of lepers. In the Hebrew Bible reading from 2 Kings Naaman the Syrian was healed of leprosy by Elisha the prophet. In our Gospel reading from Mark an anonymous leper was healed of his disease by Jesus. These two stories contain remarkable similarities and some key
This week's lessons

Naaman was a powerful and important person. The Gospel leper was hardly that. Naaman was enraged by the suggestion that he didn't deserve a special audience with the prophet. The Gospel leper humbly arrived before Jesus believing he could heal him if he chose to.

But after the healing when Jesus told the Gospel leper to go to the priests to give thanks for his healing, the leper was unable to comply. Instead he told everyone that Jesus had healed him. After Naaman was cajoled into trying the cure that came to him by message and it worked, his rage evaporated and he acknowledged the power of Elisha's God, even though before he was not a believer.

These overlapping stories reflect nicely the varying experiences of faith and healing of each of us. Some struggle, some comply. Some give thanks, some don't. But the underlying message of these readings is the power of belief, confidence that God wants a part in our being or becoming whole, intact, healed.

Each of us can benefit from asking ourselves what in our lives needs healing. Is it our attitude? Our choices? Our limitations? Our relationship with God and others? When we become clear on what it is that cries for God's healing love, God is present for us, for healing. Emmanuel!


'Safe Church' training Saturday 
The second offering of Safe Church training at St. Paul's is being offered Saturday from 1pm-5pm. The training is required for all parish leaders (elected Wardens and members of the Vestry and committee chairs) employees (Rector, Music Director, Secretary, Sexton) and volunteers of all types, especially those who interact with the congregation and the public. The first offering of this mandated training took place in December.
The purpose of the training is to orient the parish at every level to the dangers of predation against members of the congregation, especially children. One half of the program is dedicated to the recognition of the signs and the means of prevention of child sexual abuse. The second half of the program deals with other abuses that can occur in a parish setting.
Father Tyler received the updated training himself last fall in order to make it available at St. Paul's. If you are interested in receiving this training let him know at and plan to attend Saturday from 1-5pm.
Following this Sunday's service in   Parish Hall


Buildings & Grounds will meet at 10 am this Saturday to address the Scout Hallway floor, do some small repairs and a block clean up to follow.  All are welcome!


The Sunday Sermon......
           Freedom and liberty
SERMON: 5 Epiphany B 2 4 18
Set us free, O God, from the bondage of our sins, and give us liberty of that abundant the life which you have made known to us in your Son our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen
Let's pray that collect for today together. Turning to our bulletins, let us pray.
Now let's take a second and consider what it is we are doing.
  The collect is a prayer intended to help us collect ourselves to be more receptive to what the readings have to say to us. When the Bible speaks to us, when we intentionally read it for inspiration and direction, we can better get a sense of what it is that God has in store for us this day and every day.
We have asked God to set us free from the bondage of our sins. We have asked to be given the liberty and abundance of life made known in Jesus. Already we have to stop and ask a couple of questions. Let's ask questions about the first request we made of God. What is sin, anyway? When we ask that question, don't we imagine furious lightning bolts from heaven, terrible behavior and shame and disgrace? Isn't it just the worst?
My definition--and mine only, so don't feel bound by it--is that sin is anything that separates us from God. Anything. Overeating sweets. Devotion to corny movies. Fast cars. Money grubbing. Anything that truly comes between us and God, anything that seriously distracts us from the presence of God in our lives.
I thought I should be a little more diligent than just spout off with my own notions, so I looked sin up in my favorite Episcopal resource, "An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church." Happily I found my definition was not too far off the mark. Here's what the Episcopal Dictionary says sin is: "Following our own will instead of following the will of God, thereby being centered on ourselves instead of God and distorting our relationships with God, other people, and creation." There's a second definition: "Sin is intentional disobedience and rebellion against God."
I am familiar with a popular saying about the human ego, which is it's all about easing God out. Not finding time for or a place for God in our lives. So much for sin.
In contrast, let's consider the "liberty and abundance of life made known in Jesus." How is it liberating to know Jesus? How does life become abundant?
These two issues are the bookends of the Christian faith. Because in sin we cannot experience the delights of faith and only when we experience the abundant life Jesus offers do we achieve true liberty. This may sound like circular logic, but it is not. This is the fact of a life lived in faith.
It's not something that is taken care of once and for all, either. It is something we make intentional decisions about all the time. We can be completely free of sin and attuned to the life Jesus offers one moment and utterly otherwise in a flash. It results from a loss of contact with God and Christian principles, however momentary, however serious the situation. Evidently I am still a work in progress. God isn't done with me yet!
But now that we've attended to the bookends, as I've called them, let's explore the readings for which the collect prepares us.
Our Hebrew Bible reading is from Isaiah. The images and the analogies Isaiah uses to get our attention are electric even these thousands of years later. The first thing that grabbed me was this one, referring to God: 'It is he who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers.' I love this identification of humanity as grasshoppers. After all, we sit above the grasshoppers and consider them jumpy, flighty, busy and, yes, ignoring their short life. That, Isaiah tells us, is how much more God is than us. That gets our attention, doesn't it? That is so us!
There is much, much more in the Isaiah reading, of course. But it makes it clear, just as other readings do, that much as God may love us, as important as we may be to God, God is in charge, God is responsible for the creation, and, no matter how critical we think our roles are, we are, well, like grasshoppers.  Isaiah seems to know that humanity sometimes gets a little too impressed with itself. Guilty, guilty, guilty! God favors the humble, the powerless, the faint. So we ask, why does humanity ever try to be strong, driven, in control?
Readings like the Isaiah selection this morning remind us to appreciate the glory of creation, to give thanks to the Creator, and to be attentive to Creation, as the definition from The Episcopal Dictionary suggested when it said sin is "Following our own will instead of following the will of God, thereby being centered on ourselves instead of God and distorting our relationships with God, other people, and creation." We don't want to have an abusive relationship with Creation, much less with the Creator.
For me the Isaiah reading is a perfect reminder that we are not God. We don't run the show. God does. When we lose sight of that and we re-read this reading, or Jonah, or Job, we are reminded of God's immense power and all God has done. I am aware that not everyone is looking for notions and images like those found in Isaiah. Some folks reject the idea of Creation as though it contradicts science. I don't see any need to separate the wonders of science and the marvel of Creation. Whatever the final explanation of the creation turns out to be, whatever directed the discoveries science has exposed, all of it was established by something. I call that Something the Creator. God.
I need a concept of a Creator to which I can address my awe, my thanks, my love, my need. I call it God. If you want to call it something else, go ahead. But I wonder sometimes, when an atheist is experiencing awe in nature, for example, to whom or what does the awe get expressed? When grateful for the delights of daily living, who gets the thanks?
Our psalm reinforces many of these ideas. Would anyone care to argue about whether it is good to sing praises to our God, to honor God with praise? Who here hasn't experienced God's healing of the brokenhearted ? The binding up of their wounds? Don't we take comfort in reading that God finds 'pleasure in those who fear him,' although we like to replace fear with respect? These concepts very much fit the ideas we are exploring today of liberty and abundant life in faith.
In the epistle Paul tells the Corinthians to convey the message in a way that it can be heard, becoming, as Paul says he becomes, one of them so they can identify with his message. Isn't this a message for our times? No longer standing on street corners, Bible in hand, shouting threats of hellfire, but instead letting those we care about know of God's love and the comforts that are to be had by those with an active faith. Remembering that Paul is cross with the people of Corinth in the first letter we take this also as an admonition; evidently they had been thinking of themselves much more than they had been thinking of those they might have been trying to bring into the light of the spirit.
Finally we have Jesus' healing of the mother of Andrew and Simon. There are quite a number of interesting features of this reading, but let's focus on being freed from the bondage of our sins and being given the liberty and abundance of life made known in Jesus. In the same way that last week the Gospel depicted Jesus relieving a sufferer of demons, this week he relieves the mother of Simon and Andrew of illness. This unheard of power captured everyone's attention, both those who looked on it positively, which was most folks, and the skeptical, the Roman and religious authorities.
Commentaries suggest that when Jesus lifted up the ailing mother it was effectively a revival, perhaps even a resurrection. In those days for a woman to have working age children, as she did, meant she would have been considered aged. Therefore, being healed of her fever was all the more awesome. That her being lifted up prepared her for the "liberty and abundance of life made known in Jesus" perhaps is being described when the Gospel relates that she began to serve them.
Many consider this service an act of ministry and hence the mother of Andrew and Simon is the first deacon in the Christian tradition. This would be one way for her to discover the liberty of knowing Jesus. It would also be fair to presume that her new status to abundance in her life in faithful service. This is truly the way we discover that the life we want is available for us only in faith. We aren't going to bulldoze our way to happiness. We aren't going to earn our way to happiness. But when we turn our will and our life over to God, when we ask throughout the day what the Almighty would have us do, the prospects of our making good and faithful decisions are magnified extravagantly. It is in this way that we can truly expect the liberty of that abundant the life which has been made known in Jesus.     Amen
A sermon preached Feb. 4, 2018 at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Poughkeepsie NY by The Rev. Tyler Jones, Rector




 1      Maris Kristapsons
 2      Mertlyn Tomlinson
         Stacey Plain
 3      Jamal Wethington
 9      Marlene Fisher
12     Aaron Bissessar
13     Annastasia (Stacey) Schmouth
14     Brooke Plain
15     Shawn Prater-Lee
16     Luis Alberto Barban
18     Celia Filor
19     Anita Santos-Bravo
23     William Hyson
25     Cynthia Benjamin
26     Sterling Benjamin

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St. Paul's Episcopal Church-Poughkeepsie

1982         7 Christ, whose glory fills the skies         (Ratisbon)
1982         618 Ye watchers and ye holy ones         (Lasst uns erfreuen)
1982         427 When morning gilds the skies          (Laudes Domini)
1982         460 Alleluia! sing to Jesus                       (Hyfrydol)


FEBRUARY 4-11, 2018

MON 5            7:30am AA Meeting; 
                        5pm Stewardship;
                        6pm Evening Prayer;                         
TUE 6             10am-2pm Office, Food Pantry, Small Blessings Thrift Shop;
WED 7             7:30am AA Meeting;  
           10am-2pm Office, Food Pantry, Small Blessings Thrift Shop;
           12:15pm Healing Service & Eucharist;
THUR 8           10am-2pm Office, Food Pantry, Small Blessings Thrift Shop;
                         6pm Evening Prayer, Pastoral Care, Relatives as Parents;
FRI 9               7:30am AA meeting;
SAT 10            10am Moring Prayer; Buildings & Grounds Meetig
                         11am Block Clean up;
SUN 11            8am Rite I
                         8:45am Lessons' Discussion
                         9:30am Choir practice;  
           10am Rite II
           10am Sunday School;
           11:15m Coffee Hour; LOVE YOUR HEART EVENT- Parish Hall


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