St. Paul's Episcopal Church   Poughkeepsie, NY 12601

"Making friends while serving God"

The week of June 18-24, 2018  
Have Faith

 1 Samuel 17:1a, 4-11,19-23,32-49,  Psalm 9:9-20 
2  Corinthians 6:1-13, Mark 4:35-41

Have you ever been on a boat in a violent storm? Did you go to sleep? Did you instead stay awake and worry? Did you fret about someone else who was strangely calm or perhaps even did fall asleep? Whether we've had these experiences or only just read about them, we can all see clearly how charged those moments would be. When the wind is blowing and the water is churning and the current is running things look and feel pretty treacherous.
This week's readings
This is the setting for our Gospel story this week. Of course the others on the boat get disturbed when Jesus falls asleep, as though awake he could do something about it. Then he does. Now that's pretty interesting! But he then goes on to chide his fellow passengers for their lack of faith.
It is a good reminder, just as the story of David and Goliath is, that our faith can be strong even facing difficult odds or nasty storms on the water. Our faith gets us through things which cause us to appreciate it more and more. Take time to acknowledge your faith. Think about how it helped you through something difficult. By acknowledging our faith and its role in our lives we built it up.
Confronting angry giants and boating in stormy waters are not recommended. But we can use our faith in confidence to keep us strong as we confront evil, love our neighbor, and thank God.

Musical Diversity
When there's no pipe organ or complete drum set, people have to improvise. Improvise they did! Maris Kristapsons brought his keyboard and Charlie Benjamin found a most resonant garbage can and drum stick with which to create rhythm at our annual parish picnic.

Worship outdoors
Worship that takes place outside the church is a different experience in many ways. Not least, the picnic tables. But also the closeness of creation, the sound of the creek, the pleasure found together in the lovely summer weather. St. Paul's annual picnic at the Germania campground was relaxing and inspiring for all.

Partners in park improvements
Some months back St. Paul's hosted the Hudson Valley Re-Entry Network, a non-profit organization established to help ex-offenders and their families navigate life's challenges after release. The organization conducted member meetings in our Scout Hall for a few months. It now has set out to provide community service opportunities for its clientele. One of their first projects was restoring Malcolm X Park just down Mansion Street from St. Paul's. Ernest Henry, the network's founder, came to St. Paul's to see if we would participate in fencing and signage improvements. Look very closely at the sign in the photo above and note our parish's name in the final line. We are grateful to the Hudson Valley Re-Entry Network for this chance for our church to engage in the life of the neighborhood in a new way.
  P A R I S H  N E W S

Be sure to get yours ASAP in order to get in all of the drawings. 
Here's a reminder of how it works:
Tickets are $25.00 each. Drawings will be held every Sunday from July 1 - December 9.   Prizes for those drawings are $10 and $20.  
The final drawing will be December 15 at a party that will include dinner and perhaps musical entertainment. Prizes awarded that day will be $10, $20 plus the big prizes of $500, $250, $150, $100 & $50. 
You can win multiple times since your ticket is always returned to the pile so that it's there for the final drawing.  All parishioners are asked to buy or sell at least 2 tickets.
Tickets to sell are available from Bobbie Gordon. Tickets for purchase are available from Vestry members and Debbie Pitcher, Deb Williams, Rose Marie Proctor, Charlie Benjamin, Cynthia Benjamin, Janet Quade and Bobbie Gordon.

August 12th, 2018 
       Caribbean Brunch
Following the 10:00 church service
  $6 per person or $12 per family
  Please feel free to invite family & friends. 
2     Donna Taylor                                                          17    Jordan William Rosborough
7     Molly Jones                                                                     Benjamin Charles Rosborough
       Mary Ann Bagatta                                                           Damien Cole
8     Joy Jones                                                               21    Shirley Mary Richardson
       Serena Mazzuto                                                             William Hyson IV
10   Hyacinth Curtis                                                       22    Michael Babb II
11   Philip Mahlke                                                          23    Sophia Mincey
12   Garrett Martin Bell                                                  25    Donna Hosier
       Ira Wethington                                                        30    Amanda Rose Bell
13   Kimberli William                                                             Shelly Anderson Walker
15   Bobbie Gordon                                                               Luke Goodwin
The Sunday Sermon  
                      Our heart's desire
SERMON: 17 June, 2018

Let's back into today's lessons. Let's start in an unusual place, a place we usually only mention briefly: the psalm appointed for today.

Close your eyes and imagine that someone is offering this psalm as a prayer for you. This person cares about you as much as or more than anyone else; the person praying this prayer for you strongly and deeply prays for you and for good to come to you.

They say,
1 May the Lord answer you in the day of trouble, *
the Name of the God of Jacob defend you;
2 Send you help from his holy place *
and strengthen you out of Zion;
3 Remember all your offerings *
and accept your burnt sacrifice;
4 Grant you your heart's desire *
and prosper all your plans.

When we read these words, when we hear them read as a prayer for ourselves, we realize that someone knows us well enough to pray a prayer that lights up our lives, that fills us with hope, that makes us thankful for the prayer alone, not to mention its fulfillment. It is a wild set of propositions: our heart's desire, our plans prospering, our offerings remembered, help from a holy place, God defending us, God answering us in when we are in trouble.

Who knows us well enough to pray for us in this way? Only God, don't you think? The psalmist, whoever wrote this psalm, obviously had some sense of God's will. Otherwise such ideas would not have been recorded and would not have survived the test of time.

A couple of weeks ago we conducted our second Instructed Eucharist, detailing, in place of a sermon, the background of our words and actions during the Holy Eucharist.

Do you remember what the introduction of the Eucharistic Prayer was called? It's called the susrum corda. That means, literally, lifted hearts. When we come to that part of the service I say,. "Lift up your hearts," and you respond, "We lift them unto the Lord."

Lifted hearts is an image that it is quite simple to absorb. It straightens our spines and raises our hears and our eyes; it includes our spirits, our feelings, our physical energies and our vision of what life can hold for us in faith. This lifting of hearts is something we yearn for and contribute to and yet need God to fully realize. And that is what this psalm is about and what our readings this Sunday are all about.

Our hearts are lifted indeed by today's readings. Our Hebrew Bible reading is about the calling of David by God. We all know this story: David's older brothers were all passed over, and God directed Samuel to anoint David who was merely a boy. God told Samuel, "...the Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart."
This explanation lifts our hearts in two ways. One way is that tells us plainly that those who enjoy the promises in Psalm 20--you remember, our heart's desire, our plans prospering, our offerings remembered, help from a holy place, God defending us, God answering us in when we are in trouble--aren't always the most mature, the tallest, the best looking, the most fit. God sees more deeply into the souls of people than that.

The second explanation is this: since we aren't the tallest or the smartest or the best looking or even the most mature--except chronologically--this tells us we still have hope of enjoying God's favor.
And boy oh boy do we have hope! Hope and faith are distinctly intertwined, and today's Epistle makes it clear that "...we walk by faith, not by sight." This tells us that we can more depend on the eyes of our faith and the understandings of our hope than we can depend on our human abilities of discernment. Because what God has planned for us exceeds all that we can ask or imagine, according to the third chapter of the letter to the Ephesians.

Having these thoughts in our minds, the calling of David, and the walking by faith, we look for other signals that perhaps someone with attributes such as our very own might be called. And the evidence of that we find in our Gospel.

The Gospel of Mark offers evidence of our importance to God and our potential contribution to God's kingdom by using the most mundane analogy. He compares doing God's will with the planting of seeds.
Now we all know that in this post-industrial world that we live in, the planting of seeds is a rare occupation. Kids do it in school. In Sunday School even. Some of us grow tomatoes. Others are even more ambitious. But few of us are truly dependent on plants from our gardens.

But when plants are discussed in the Bible, the opposite is true. Plants are life. Plants are reliable, compared to livestock or game. Plants sustain people.

When Jesus speaks in the Gospel reading of the life cycle of grain, he is not referring to some tomato plant on a window sill. He is talking about life and death. And he is talking about the vital importance of such a simple task as planting, watering, tending and harvesting syustenance.

This is a process we can understand, even if we don't tend our own garden, so to speak. Jesus is talking about our faith, and how we nourish it, tend it, care for it, and put it to work as spiritual fuel for the life we've been given. It is as elementary as first grade and as elemental to our survival as people of faith as water is to a person dying of thirst.

Jesus takes the planting analogy and introduces the mustard seed, "which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade."
This is both exciting good news and a warning. Every choice we make can inform our faith. It can enhance our faith or build it. Every act, every step, can help or hinder our spiritual growth. There are other Gospel analogies which Jesus offers that lay down the two-edged sword aspect of these readings. Yes, something so simple is wondrous, treasured, beloved. Yes, handling our faith carelessly, indifferently is likewise, perilous, deadly to the soul, fraught.

We all need to know our life is full of mustard seeds. We should plant them and tend them and help them along. We should treat all of creation this way, but especially the seeds of our faith.
As we celebrate God's great gifts and God's greatest gift in a few minutes here at our annual parish picnic, let us give thanks for all the good in our lives and do our best to follow Jesus' example, doing good for God's sake. Amen
A sermon preached at the parish picnic June 17, 2018 by The Rev. Tyler Jones, Rector, St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Poughkeepsie NY

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St. Paul's Episcopal Church-Poughkeepsie

1982                       535          Ye servants of God, your Master proclaim
1982                       421           All glory be to God on high

1982                       620          Jerusalem, my happy home
1982                       579           Almighty Father, strong to save
HYMN INFORMATION: Eternal Father, Strong to Save is a hymn traditionally associated with seafarers, particularly in the maritime armed services, and was popularized in the late 19th century by the Royal Navy and the United States Navy. Written in 1860 by Englishman William Whiting, it was inspired by the dangers of the sea described in Psalm 107. Whiting felt his life had been spared when a violent storm nearly claimed the ship he was travelling on, thanks to God's command over the sea. The following year, Anglican clergyman John B. Dykes, a well-known composer of nearly three hundred hymn tunes, wrote the now-familiar hymn tune "Melita" for Whiting's words. The 1940 Episcopal hymnal altered three verses of the hymn to include travel on land and in the air, and our current 1982 Hymnal added the word "space" to the final verse, acknowledging the possibility of space travel.

June 18-24, 2018

MON 18                7:30am "Good Morning" AA Meeting;  
                             6pm EVENING PRAYER, Formation;         
                             6:30pm NA Meeting "Journey to Recovery";                                             
TUE 19                 10am-2pm Office, Food Pantry, Small Blessings Thrift Shop;  
                              6pm EVENING PRAYER, Seekers group;                   
WED 20                7:30am "Good Morning" AA Meeting;  
                            10am-2pm Office, Food Pantry, Small Blessings Thrift Shop;
        12:15pm Healing Service & Eucharist;
THUR 21             10am-2pm Office, Food Pantry, Thrift Shop;
                            6pm Finance;
FRI 22                  7:30am "Good Morning" AA meeting;                                                       
SAT 23                 3pm NA Meeting "Journey to Recovery"  
                            10am First Lutheran Family Fun Day;
                             5pm Private SH Party;
SUN 24                8am Rite I;
                            8:45am Lesson's Discussion;
                            10am Sunday School;
                            10am Rite II
                            11:15am Coffee Hour;
                            11:30am Youth- Lunch Box & Connect;
                            12pm Private SH Party;


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