The Week of June 23-28, 2020
Our Old Testament lesson this week tells one of the more disturbing stories in Biblical history. In a test of Abraham's faith God asks him to sacrifice his only son. In God's own words to Abraham, Issac was the son "whom you love." Remember that it was just last week that Issac was the surprise child given by God to Abraham and Sarah in their old age to fulfill God's promise that Abraham's descendants would be as many as there are stars. How could that happen if Abraham were to sacrifice Isaac?
Abraham doesn't question God. He takes Isaac and some servants and sets off on a three day journey to sacrifice his son. Imagine the anguish and the dread. At the base of the mountain they leave the servants and Isaac notices that they are without an animal for their sacrifice. Abraham (maybe through a wall of his own tears) informs his only son that "God will provide".
God let Abraham continue through the making of the altar and the binding and placing on the altar of his son. Only then did God stop it, satisfied that Abraham had proved his faith.
Many of us leave this story ticked off at God for putting Abraham through this. How could a loving God put Abraham through this. God knew that he was going to stop Abraham before he went too far, but Abraham didn't.
But now imagine what God went through for thousands of years. He knew that Jesus, God's only Son, would be sacrificed for us. Even at the point that He was testing Abraham He knew that He would go through what he was asking Abraham to do, but there wouldn't be an intervention stopping His Son's death.
Though this story is hard to read it gives us insight into how great a sacrifice God made for us in offering his only Son for our salvation.
To be redirected to the full readings at the end of this newsletter
The Sunday sermon
Genesis 21: 8-21
Cruel, I found Sarah's behavior to be uncharacteristically cruel, telling Abraham to banish Hagar and her son Ishmael into the wilderness. Can you imagine what it was like for Hagar to walk out into a treacherous desert? Can you see her trudging alone with child through the sand, walking away from her only means of shelter and refuge, with no options and no hope? The two figures wondered aimlessly; who knows for how long. When food and water ran out, they must have grown very weak very fast. And as she became more desperate, Hagar made a horrible decision. She took a last look at her beloved child, left him; and then traveled some distance away from him, because she didn't want to watch him die. Unbelievable!
And then in a moment of total darkness and despair a well appeared, and she was able to get water. Is it possible that God created a wellspring before her very eyes? Certainly, the Bible gives witness to far greater miracles. But wait a minute, is it possible that the water existed there all along, and God simply opened her eyes to see it? In other words, is this story about a gift of water or is it about a gift of vision? As I was writing this sermon, I found myself asking, how often have I lived out this story in my own pilgrimage? And I ask all of you the same question. How often have we prayed for an intervention, for a dramatic change that would right what is wrong in our lives? And instead of creating a well before us, the Holy Spirit awakened us to a spring that was already there.
I am sure some of you have heard some version of the story of the man and the flood. For those of you who have heard it, humor me. I want to share it with those who haven't. It's about a man who was determined to stay in his house despite the rapidly rising flood waters. When rescuers arrived by car, he told them to move on. "The Lord will take care of me." The water continued to rise and he moved to the upper floor of his house. And then, someone else came by with a motorboat. He said "No thank you. The good Lord is going to save me." Finally he was stranded on his roof. The National Guard flew over in a helicopter. He waved them off, secure in the knowledge that his God would save him. He drowned of course.
When he arrived in heaven he had some strong words for God; he was miffed and he told him so. "I was so embarrassed," he said. "I looked like an idiot, I assured all those people that you would rescue me, and look what happened!" And in his infinite wisdom God replied, "What is your problem? I sent you a car, a boat, even a helicopter! What more did you want? Were you looking for a golden chariot similar to the one I sent for Elijah?"
In the form of water, Hagar's immediate needs were met, enabling her to save the life of her son who went on to become the father of a great nation. That drink of water may not have solved all of her problems, but it gave her enough strength to pick up and move on.
This concept has emerged in our culture time and time again. Our favorite characters seek something from an outside source and then find they already have it. Remember, Dorothy found the ruby slippers at the very beginning of her journey, not realizing that they were all she needed to get home.
We learn this lesson over and over again. The magic that we wait for may be already available to us. At times, we find what we need in another person, who comes into our lives when least expected, or we discover a new strength even within ourselves.
As a parish, you are preparing to search for a new rector, a task that some of you just may find overwhelming. As you take on this task, I invite you to reflect on, and to give thanks for the many ways that God is meeting your needs in this interim period. The covid virus has reared its ugly head. And this has made it impossible to worship in the church; but because of the virus in our presence we are experiencing a very sobering fact, the church is not the building. The Church is the people of God coming together for worship. And thanks be to God and to the IT skills of some in the parish family, through them you have been provided with that drink of water that will sustain you until the doors of the church building will be open again. Once again I say, "Thanks be to God."
As a final statement, I beg you to humor me one more time. I am amazed at the predominantly young people who for an entire month have continued to demonstrate and march through the streets of many of our cities, carrying nothing less than bottles of water. For me they represent Hagar wandering through a desert filled with the disease of racism.
Please make those demonstrators a regular part of your daily prayer life. We must destroy racism.
--Fr. C. Allan Ford
IN CHURCH WORSHIP SERVICES TO RESUME ON SUNDAY JULY 12
After having done Zoom church for almost four months we will resume in person worship with a 10:00 am service on Sunday July 12. Thanks be to God.
In light of the ongoing world pandemic, under the direction of the Bishop, and with great deliberation of the Vestry in person worship will resume, but with (at least for the time being) some changes.
We will have a single service on Sundays with no midweek healing service. All congregants will be required to wear masks. Pews will be marked off to easily facilitate social distancing between family groups. All music will be instrumental with no singing. The Peace will be a non contact event. At the recommendation of the Bishop we will not be observing communion.
There are other tweaks that will be made to facilitate the reopening of the Church. Please know that these changes will be as small as possible and are done with the health and safety of our church family as top priority.
Please join us on June 28 and July 5 for Zoom Church then please bring your mask to 161 Mansion Street on Sunday July 12 as we again get to worship together in the church. Thanks be to God.
A NOTE FROM THE TREASURY TEAM
Total deposit for the past week - $1644 (no money 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 pray you are all well and look forward to "seeing" you at Zoom Church.
If you're tired of cooking, we still have Super Chili that we're happy to sell for $10 per quart. You can pick up your order on Mondays from 10-12pm.
INVITATION TO EVENING PRAYER
Dear St. Paul's Family
Fr. Chuck Cramer at St. James has graciously invited us to join his Evening Prayer group at 6:30pm, Monday through Friday, and Compline on Saturday. If you are interested in becoming a part of his subscriber group and for daily Zoom information, you must contact Fr. Cramer directly at
To view with Facebook, click here:
2 Donna Taylor
13 Kimberli Williams
15 Bobbie Gordon
|30 Luke Goodwin
7 Molly Jones
Marry Ann Bagatta
|16 Oni Obafemi
17 Benjamin Rosborough
| 8 Serena Mazzuto
|| Jordon Rosborough
|10 Hyacinth Curtis
21 Shirley Richardson
|12 Ira Wethington
Garrett Martin Bell
|22 Michael Babb II
25 Donna Hosier
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:
Darien family; Richardson family; Sherow family; Edna Clarke, Michelle, Phil,
Kathy B.; Carola and Violet; Whitman, Medical Reserve
Corp. of Dutchess County, Dept. of Behavioral and Community health of Dutchess
county; Peggy;The Bedrossian family; Seth;Lori; 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 our by helping others.
1982 685 Rock of ages, cleft for me (Toplady)
LEVAS-II 38 On a hill far away (The Old Rugged Cross)
1982 655 The church's one foundation (Aurelie)
lmighty God, you have built your Church upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone: Grant us so to be joined together in unity of spirit by their teaching, that we may be made a holy temple acceptable to you; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
od tested Abraham. He said to him, "Abraham!" And he said, "Here I am." He said, "Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains that I shall show you." So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac; he cut the wood for the burnt offering, and set out and went to the place in the distance that God had shown him. On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place far away. Then Abraham said to his young men, "Stay here with the donkey; the boy and I will go over there; we will worship, and then we will come back to you." Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. So the two of them walked on together. Isaac said to his father Abraham, "Father!" And he said, "Here I am, my son." He said, "The fire and the wood are here, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?" Abraham said, "God himself will provide the lamb for a burnt offering, my son." So the two of them walked on together.
When they came to the place that God had shown him, Abraham built an altar there and laid the wood in order. He bound his son Isaac, and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to kill his son. But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven, and said, "Abraham, Abraham!" And he said, "Here I am." He said, "Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me." And Abraham looked up and saw a ram, caught in a thicket by its horns. Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place "The Lord will provide"; as it is said to this day, "On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided."
ow long, O Lord?
will you forget me for ever? *
how long will you hide your face from me?
2 How long shall I have perplexity in my mind,
and grief in my heart, day after day? *
how long shall my enemy triumph over me?
3 Look upon me and answer me, O Lord my God; *
give light to my eyes, lest I sleep in death;
4 Lest my enemy say, "I have prevailed over him," *
and my foes rejoice that I have fallen.
5 But I put my trust in your mercy; *
my heart is joyful because of your saving help.
6 I will sing to the Lord, for he has dealt with me richly; *
I will praise the Name of the Lord Most High.
o not let sin exercise dominion in your mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions. No longer present your members to sin as instruments of wickedness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and present your members to God as instruments of righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.
What then? Should we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God that you, having once been slaves of sin, have become obedient from the heart to the form of teaching to which you were entrusted, and that you, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. I am speaking in human terms because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to greater and greater iniquity, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness for sanctification.
When you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. So what advantage did you then get from the things of which you now are ashamed? The end of those things is death. But now that you have been freed from sin and enslaved to God, the advantage you get is sanctification. The end is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
esus said, "Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. Whoever welcomes a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet's reward; and whoever welcomes a righteous person in the name of a righteous person will receive the reward of the righteous; and whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple-- truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward."