The Week of September 29-October 4, 2020
To be redirected to the Lectionary Page and get a digital copy of the readings
When all the people witnessed the thunder and lightning, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking, they were afraid and trembled and stood at a distance, and said to Moses, "You speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, or we will die." Moses said to the people, "Do not be afraid; for God has come only to test you and to put the fear of him upon you so that you do not sin."
"He will put those wretches to a miserable death, and lease the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the produce at the harvest time."
We are a pretty lucky people.
In our Old Testament reading for this week Moses brings the Ten Commandments down from the mountain in a scene straight out of Hollywood; thunder, lightning, trumpets, and a smoking mountain. The people were understandably afraid. They were actively worshipping other gods and gathering materials to build a golden calf. God gave them a second (third, fourth, ...?) chance, giving them a concise set of commandments to follow as a test of their renewed faith.
In this week's Gospel Jesus compares God to a vineyard owner that has been repeatedly duped by his tenants, even to the point that the tenants who, when the owner's son comes to check on them, kill the owner's son. When they heard this parable the chief priests and the Pharisees were afraid for they knew that Jesus was the vineyard owner's son and that the owner of the vineyard would be furious.
Fortunately we know the end of this story. Jesus was killed, but his death was part of God's plan to offer us redemption. God offered his own Son as a sacrifice for our sins. It is our responsibility to live up to this and not squander this second (third, fourth, ???) chance that has been given to us.
Exodus 20:1-4, 7-9, 12-20; Psalm 19; Philippians 3:4b-14; Matthew 21:33-46
The Sunday sermon
This morning Jesus tells us a story about a man who had two sons. He went to the first son and asked him to work in his vineyard that day. The son said that he would not, but later changed his mind and went. Then he went to his second son and asked him to do the same thing. He told his father that he would go, but he did not get there. Jesus then asked, "Which of the two sons did the will of his father?"
Before we get into answering that question, I want to tell you a story that I am always reminded of when I read this parable. It's about this man, a member of one of my former parishes, who knew all the right words. I was thrilled to have such an articulate person in my parish. I mean he was bright. He served on many parish committees, was well read and he could probably out debate
Barack Obama if the opportunity ever presented itself. And he was on the right side of nearly every political, social or church issue.
But on the other hand, during that same period of time, there was a woman in the parish who spoke all the wrong words. When she talked, I used to cringe. I wondered to myself why someone with such prehistoric, antiquated, such obsolete views would bother coming to church. She was on the wrong side of virtually every issue, and she wasn't shy about sharing her ill-advised opinions.
From childhood, I'd been taught by my parents to value not only what people think, but how they think and how they express their thoughts. In fact, you cannot grow up an Episcopalian and not value the importance of thinking. The Anglican Divines, that is to say the theologians that helped form the character of our Church, after Rome and England parted company, stressed the importance of our using our minds as well as our knees in our quest for a closer relationship with God.
So, in my ministry in that parish earlier in my priesthood, I respected the man with all the right words, and did my best to embrace as my sister in Christ the woman with all the wrong words. But then as time went on, I began to notice something. The man who was always so articulate and always in favor of our programs and missions, could never find time to become involved in any of them. He had the best intentions, but never followed through.
Whereas, to my surprise, the woman she always came through. I remember her voting against the idea of our becoming involved in a clothing drive to put warm coats on the backs of the homeless in our community. Yet when the drive began, she was one of the first workers to show up with two or three coats from her own closet. She and I verbally could not have been theologically further apart, but I could count on her to be there with time and energy when she was needed.
I need to make a confession to you. I hate it when people with the "wrong words" do the "right deeds." It messes up those neat categories into which I want to place people. It breaks down my opportunity to maintain my selfish stereotypes. And I can almost hear Jesus saying to me, "Wake up, dummy!" Because this is just about what he is saying to the religious establishment in our gospel for this morning.
This scene in Matthew's gospel is a word battle between Jesus and the temple leaders. Verse by verse, they battle until Jesus interrupts by telling the story I read at the opening of this sermon, the story that describes the response of the two sons to the request of their father. The story that allows the religious leaders to see that God is more concerned about what we do and not so much with what we say.
And he was telling them this story for good reason, because of their position in the community. "Don't you get it?" I can hear Jesus saying to them. "You know God's way. You know the right words about God. You teach the right words every day. You play word games, and you don't have the ability to see that you, too, need to change. Look around you. See that those who in the past have cheated and lied and exploited others are being changed, and they are following me into the Kingdom of God."
What is he saying? He is telling us that the Christian faith is more than knowing, more than speaking the right words. It is more than an entertaining of intellectual exercises. I think it was Soren Kierkegaard, the 19th century theologian who said, "Jesus wants followers, not admirers." His question to us is more than, "Do you agree with me?" He also asks, "Will you join me?" We can't simply be Christians in theory.
In his book, A Christian Primer, Al Winn writes, "...some people try to be Christian believers in the balcony, up there detached, dispassionately observing life below. But Christians have to be down on the road, caught in the traffic, jostled by others, amid the cries and sweat and smells of life." Speaking words don't add up to a hill of beans, such as saying "I am a member of St. Paul's Church" unless those words are supported by actions.
The head of a vineyard went to a group of people standing idly by the roadside. He asked them if they would collectively go into his vineyard and work. They all said yes to the man's request. But unlike the son in the gospel parable that said yes and then did not do what he promised, this small group of people, this congregation named after blessed Paul the apostle did go together into the vineyard, and have worked long and hard with an effective ministry reflective of the gospel of Christ. This morning I ask you to join with me in reaffirming our promise to work in the vineyard through reading the Creed as it is found in the Baptismal liturgy on page 304. There we will say words of reaffirmation to the owner of the vineyard. They will not be empty words for us. They will have profound meaning as they call us to action in God's vineyard.
Almighty and everlasting God, by whose Spirit the whole body of your faithful people is governed. Receive our prayers and our reaffirmations which we offer before you as workers you have called to labor in your vineyard. Keep us strong and focused in our work. Give us continually the guidance of your Holy Spirit. And may we promise always to be a reflection of the Kingdom of God and a beacon to those who are in search of it.
All this we pray through Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.
--Fr. C. Allan Ford
Thanks to all who have attended church these past months whether it was in person at 161 Mansion Street or whether it was on Zoom. As announced we'll continue to have in person worship on the first and third Sundays of the month. Otherwise we'll be on Zoom. This plan will take us till the beginning of Advent when a decision will be made for that season.
We will be in church October 4 and 18 and November 1 and 15.
We will be on Zoom the other Sundays.
Our Zoom connection remains the same. Please note that we now have a "waiting room". After connecting the host will allow you into the service.
Our Zoom connections remain the same and are
Meeting ID: 823 3911 5280
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Hope to see you in church on Sunday and/or on Zoom.
A NOTE FROM THE TREASURY TEAM
Total deposit for the past week - $985 (including $805 for the Food Pantry). Many thanks to all who are remembering their pledge and to those both within and outside of the church who are generously supporting the Food Pantry.
We're looking forward to seeing you in person the first and third Sundays of the month when we'll be in church with communion. The other Sundays will be on Zoom. Don't forget to wear your mask!!!
SACRED SPACES AS SAFE PLACES
[September 25, 2020] Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Michael Curry has issued the following statement:
The events in Louisville remind us of the need for safe spaces in times of conflict. Churches, synagogues, and mosques are houses of prayer, worship, and faith. Sacred spaces are safe places where the way of love and nonviolence, the way of peace, the way of justice, and the way of reconciliation can be affirmed and practiced. In deeply conflicted situations, these spaces can play a vital role in preventing escalation into upward spirals of violence. Respecting these spaces as safe places demonstrates a commitment to finding nonviolent solutions. This can help to broker peace and change that can move a community forward, in the direction of genuine justice and eventual reconciliation.
We must ever remember Breonna Taylor, and continue to pray for her family, loved ones, and all the people of the Louisville community. We must likewise pray for America, that our divisions may cease and that we will work together to be a nation where there is liberty and justice for all. Lastly, may we all commit ourselves anew to the living the words of the prophet Micah who said, "what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with your God."
The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry
Presiding Bishop and Primate
CROP WALK 2020
I have already collected $200.... Never fails I ask & with God's grace & the power of the Holy Spirit people just say Yes.
If I just said October 18, 2020, what would your answer be?? It's a Sunday??? It's St. Luke's Day??? It's my Alexis' 18th birthday?? All of these answers would be right. But the correct answer is the 44th Dutchess Interfaith Council's Crop Walk.
March, 2020 I was given a certificate from the Interfaith Council by Rev Taylor Holbrook. the Crop Walk committee Chairperson. It reads..."Rose Marie Proctor Crop Hunger Walker par excellence for FORTY years, she has made this a Family Priority. She has marvelously represented St. Paul's Church, Poughkeepsie. She has supported sisters and brothers world-wide who walk each day for food & water" Alexis, Adriana, Mr. Adrian, Father Tyler and Gail Burger (who was the director of the Interfaith Council) and many others that were in attendance I have walked with for these 40 years.
This year's walk hopes to step off as usual, but we all know that things are a little different. Walk the Walkway Bridge, walk around the block, walk along the river. Keep your own measure. Do your six miles in whatever way works for you. I will count my walks back and forth to St. Paul's. As I am joined again this year ( I hope) by Maria, Kevin, Julete, Madison, Adrian, Alexis (she walked on her 16th so..) please consider stepping out with us.. I hope that we are able to walk the pattern that has been done for the last 44 years.
I started walking because I heard a story about women my age and younger walking 6 miles - the length of the walk - twice a day to get water. There are now community wells in many villages. I still hope with God's grace to step out on October 18th and know that each step I take brings water, food, and hope to many around the world. I have been blessed to be able to continue this with your help, support and prayers. It is important that you are aware that 25% of the monies collected stay in our area.
So... CIRCLE OCTOBER 18TH, 2020 ON YOUR CALENDARS.
A DAY ON WHICH ALL OF US CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE...
Thanks for your continued support. I have never asked that everyone has not said yes.. I felt guilt because I couldn't walk the year I had the argument with the car. Aleen put her arm around my shoulder as I cried and said "God knows your heart. It's OK" Thanks my friend. Keep in mind the many that we can make a difference for by just saying YES.
Remain Blessed.. Your sister in Christ..
REGISTER TO VOTE
Are you registered to vote in the 2020 Presidential Election on November 3rd?
If you have recently changed your name or your address, you currently may not be eligible to vote. To check on your current registration, call the Dutchess County Board of Elections (845-486-2473). They are open 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Friday and after Labor Day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. They will check on your current registration and, if you are not registered, they will mail you a registration form. You can also get a form online at elections.dutchessny.gov
Or you can call the church at 845-452-8440, and we will get one to you. If you want to vote in the 2020 Presidential Election, you MUST register to vote by October 9th.
First Lutheran and St. Paul's Episcopal Church are cooperating on a joint voter registration project. First of all, we want to be sure that our congregations are registered to vote. We have received a number of forms from the Dutchess County Board of Elections. They are available for you, your family and friends by calling me at 845-454-8440. Second, we will also be registering folks through the thrift shop and food pantry. If you have questions or want to help, please call Shawn at 845-464-2007.
1 Richmond Hodge (Noto)
|14 Clifford Robert Dubois Jr.|
|30 Thomas A. Walker|
||21 Aleen Josephs-Clarke||
7 Rebecca Lynn Brown
|22 Douglas Robinson|
Shamara Wethington Mizell
| 9 Janet woods|
|23 Benjamin Porter|
11 Louise Evans
28 Adrian Joseph Goldson
|12 Marjorie Marks|
|29 Daphne Barett|
Please keep those on our parish prayer list in your minds and in your
prayers, especially at this time of separation and isolation.
Our prayers are asked for:
Stephanie, Aaron; Sharon Greene, Owen, Agnes, Norma; McLauren family; Graham family;
Wood family; Braxton family; Lori, Steven, Elyse, Jim, Seth; Phil; All essential workers; Beryl
& Glen, Vincent family; George; Daniel Mizell and family; Liz, Martha; Lourdes;
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, Dept. of Behavioral and Community
health 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; Ibadan
Diocese, All Saints Anglican Church,Oni family; Donna; 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, Annie, 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.
THIS WEEK'S CALENDAR
September 29-October 4, 2020
|TUE 29||10:00am Food Pantry & Thrift Shop|
10:00am Food Pantry & Thrift Shop
10:00am Food Pantry & Thrift Shop
10:00am RITE II - In Church