St. Paul's Episcopal Church Poughkeepsie, NY 12601

MESSENGER
"Making friends while serving God"

 
The Week of July 28-August 2, 2020
  
   
 
 
Five Loaves and Two Fish
 
The boy offered only what he had  at that moment: five loaves and two fishes. The five loaves and two fishes alludes to our own fragility and weaknesses. The boy represents our own self and his offering of his five loaves and two fishes reminds us of what we give to God.
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This week's readings
 
The Lord does not look on our strengths. He rather looks into our own brokenness and makes use of them so that we can become what he wants of us. People may judge us according to what they see in us, but God knows more about our life, the yearnings of our hearts and our desires. He is an all-knowing God, and despite that, he never judges us for it is his love that conquers it all.
Let us not be afraid of offering to God our fragility. He can make something new to us, as long as we give our own.

Let us not be afraid of offering to God our fragility. He can make something new to us, as long as we give our own.  
 
 
--Shawn Prater-Lee  
 
 
 
 
To be redirected to the Lectionary Page and get a digital copy of the readings  
 
 
Genesis 32:22-31 ; Psalm 17:1-7,16 ; Romans 9:1-5;
 
Matthew 14:13-21       
     
The Sunday sermon
 
 
Matthew 13:31-33, 44-49
 
One of the most difficult things about believing in God is trying to explain that belief. Someone asks us why we believe, or how are our lives different because we believe, and there are no words true enough, right enough, big enough to really explain our belief. We rummage around for something to say, but everything seems either too vague or too pious. And so we are faced with the question, how can our language truly describe that which is beyond all words? How can we really speak about God?
 
We do not do it well. But because we must somehow try, we tend to talk about what we cannot say, in terms that are familiar to us. Put another way, we tend to describe holy things by talking about ordinary things. We say the majesty of God is like the beauty of a sunset. Or the power of God is like the power found in Mahler's Resurrection Symphony. And I can go on and on. I have heard people say that coming to believe in God is like falling in love. Again, there are no words big enough, but we can say what it is like to us.
 
In our high school English classes, we learned that this type of speech is referred to as a metaphor or a simile. It is getting to the meaning of one thing by comparing it to another. The beauty of your face is like that of a morning rose", I once wrote those words to describe a girl I had a mad crush on in high school. And I made one big mistake; I dared to give it to her. As she read it she began to laugh, and couldn't stop laughing at me. And I felt, to use another simile, like that which a whale would deposit on the floor of the ocean.
Throughout the gospels, Jesus was always making comparisons. Sinners are like lost sheep, the word of God is like seed sown on different kinds of ground, the kingdom of heaven is like a wedding feast, and God is like the owner of a vineyard. "The kingdom of heaven is like this..." he said over and over again.
 
Have you ever wondered why he taught that way? Why didn't he just come right out and say what he meant? If anyone in the world was qualified to speak directly about God, about the kingdom, surely it was Jesus. And yet he chose to speak indirectly, making surprising comparisons between holy things and ordinary things and inviting us to look deep in to those comparisons.
 
In this morning's gospel, he launches a volley of such comparisons. The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, he says, like yeast, like buried treasure, like a fine pearl, like a net cast into the sea. The images come quickly, one right after another, with no explanation, no time for questions and answers. We get zinged with them, one, two, three, like snapshots, like scenes glimpsed at through the window of a fast moving train. And what do they all mean?
 
In the first two comparisons we see that the kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed or like a handful of yeast. One might say of these examples that they are nothing much to look at, at least not at first glance. But give either of those things something to work in, sew the seed in the ground, mix the yeast with flour and the results can be astounding. From the seed we can have a tree big and strong enough to offer shade on a hot day, big and strong enough for birds to nest in, and find shelter. From the hand full of yeast, we can have bread enough to feed a family for at least a month. If the kingdom of heaven is like these examples, then it is quite potent, overwhelmingly compassionate and incredibly mighty.
 
In the next comparisons, the kingdom is like a man who finds buried treasure in a field, covers it back up and sells all that he owns to buy that field. He becomes a rich man through luck. And secondly, the kingdom is like a merchant who searches for and finds a pearl of great price, and sells all that he owns to buy it. He is a rich man who becomes a richer man through skill. Both men find something that makes everything else they own seems trivial by comparison, and they do not think twice about trading all of their possessions away to buy that which they found. If the kingdom is like that, then it is rare but attainable, for those who are willing and eager to pay the price.
 
The final comparison is of the kingdom of heaven and a fishing net. The net is thrown into the sea and gathers fish of every kind. If the kingdom of heaven is like that, then it is not something that we find, but something that finds us and hauls us into the light.
 
Interestingly enough, the striking thing about all of these images is their essential hiddenness, the mustard seed hidden in the ground, the yeast hidden in the dough, the treasure hidden in the field, the pearl hidden among all the other pearls, even the net hidden in the depth of the sea. If the kingdom of heaven is like this, then perhaps it is not something readily apparent to the eyes, but maybe something below the surface waiting to be discovered and claimed.
 
Jesus says, whether it begins as a seed hidden in a field, the kingdom comes when it is no longer hidden, when that tree is full grown. The kingdom comes when the treasure chest is opened, when that which was lost is found, and when that which was hidden away is brought forth for everyone to see.
 
But where do we start looking for the hidden kingdom of heaven? Yes, all of these metaphors are fine, all of these many parables about seeds, yeast, and other things are all very interesting, but when it comes right down to hunting for the kingdom of heaven, where are we supposed to start?
 
I have a hunch that God has resorted to one of the oldest tricks in the book. I think God has hidden the kingdom in plain sight. I am willing to bet that God did not hide the kingdom in extraordinary or exotic places, but in the last place that any of us would think to look, namely in the ordinary circumstances of our every day lives. But let's look at what occurs in this building. Surely it is hidden in the love that is recognized in the embrace that takes place during "the peace" on Sunday mornings. I believe the kingdom is present in the Eucharist, when we offer ourselves to God during the offertory in the guise of bread and wine. And God accepts our offering and gives us in return the gift of his Son. And we say, "The Gifts of God for the people of God." We are invited to sit at the kingdom table to share in the celestial banquet. We are nourished, given energy to bring the kingdom to those in need, by feeding the hungry in the food pantry, by giving room space to 12 step programs so that they may offer their healing message to those in need; and there are many other activities that you offer as a parish family. All of these are signs of and reflect the behavior of God's kingdom, signs of the holiness of God in plain sight.
 
Why else would Jesus talk about heaven in terms of farmers and fields, women baking bread and merchants buying and selling, and fishermen sorting fish, unless he meant somehow to be telling us that the kingdom had to do with all these things; that it is not buried in some unattainable place, but that it can be found in all of us ordinary people, in places and activities of our lives. Why else would he want us to share a common meal that he makes sacred by feeding us the Bread of Heaven? Consequently, in our everyday lives, in the exchanges we have with people, the projects we engage in through the day, through the week, we must look for the will, the rule and the presence of God and God's kingdom. If we cannot find it here in our midst, we will never find it anywhere, because earth is where the seeds of heaven which we have been called to nurture are sown, and on earth is where the kingdom is finally being revealed. We have but to open the eyes of our souls to see it.
 
 
--Fr. C. Allan Ford
 
   

PARISH  NEWS


NEW WORSHIP SCHEDULE  
 

 
During our last Vestry meeting the Vestry voted to move to a two month hybrid of some weeks of worship in the church and some weeks of worship on Zoom. After almost a week of discussion it was decided that for at least August and September we'd move to having in person services on the first and third Sunday of the month.  On any other Sunday of the month services will be on Zoom. By the end of September we'll decide on a schedule for the next period. 
 
Our schedule for the next two months will be:

In Person Worship on August 2 and 16 and on September 6 and 20
Zoom church on August 9, 23, and 30 and on September 13 and 27.

This decision walks the fine line of balancing the want to be in church every Sunday with the realization that some members of of church family (whether by distance or of of health concerns) can't be with us in church.  Both methods of worship have their benefits. In church allows us to see each other. Zoom church allows us to sing, allows more people to attend, and keeps us cool during these hot days.

The Vestry thanks you for your patience and understanding. This was not an easy decision to make. We hope to see you as often as you can join us whether in church or on Zoom. 
 
 
--Shawn Prater-Lee


 
 
 
A NOTE FROM THE TREASURY TEAM
 
 
Total deposit for the past week - $3,276 (includes $1505 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 in need of mayonnaise, tuna fish, peanut butter and jelly. Please donate these items to 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!!!




COMMUNITY  NEWS
 
   
Knee on My Neck: Slavery's Ghost
Some Suggested Resources for Individuals and Groups
The Rev. Masud Ibn Syedullah TSSF, Director
Roots & Branches: Programs for Spiritual Growth
 
Video
Pursuing the Beloved Community A series of three lectures (followed with Q&A), and an extended interview of the presenter by the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Southwestern Virginia.
Presenter: Wornie Reed, Ph.D., Director of the Race and Society Center; Virginia Tech
Sponsored by the Episcopal Diocese of Southwestern Virginia
Dr. Reed makes an extraordinary case for the need to address institutional racism as a means to create the "Beloved Community."
 
Part 1 - Lexington
 
Part 2 - Roanoke
 
Part 3 - Wytheville
 
Extended Interview - Wytheville
 
The Color of Fear.
Stirfry Seminars, 1994.  
 
The Diocese of New York Examines Slavery. The Episcopal Diocese of New York, 2008.
 
13th. Ava Du Vernay, dir. Netflix, 2016. https:www.netflix.com/title/80091741.
 
Mirrors of Privilege: Making Whiteness Visible. World Trust, 2007. https://world-trust.org
 
Sacred Ground. A new dialogue series from The Episcopal Church exploring race and faith, 2019. www.episcopalchurch.org
 
Ponder this:
If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse, and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.                                                             - Desmond Tutu
 
 
--Deacon Julett
                                   
                                              

 
JULY BIRTHDAYS
     
 
  7 Janet Quade
 
11 Ginny Gates   
17 Oluinayemisi Oni

22 Ruthie A.Hodge
28 Michael Babb

13 Sharon Sherow

27 Faith Mincey




 
 





                                              




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

 
 
Intercessions
JULY 2020
 
Our prayers are asked for:
 
Beryl & Glen, Vincent family; Rev. Susan of Christ Church; George; Stephanie,  
 
Aaron; 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,  
 
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 us by helping others.


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