We are a small Episcopal Church on the banks of the Rappahannock in Port Royal, Virginia. We acknowledge that we gather on the traditional land of the first people of Port Royal, the Nandtaughtacund, and we respect and honor with gratitude the land itself, the legacy of the ancestors, and the life of the Rappahannock Tribe. Our mission statement is to do God’s Will in all that we do.

The Gospel in June, 2024

We are back to Mark! In May the readings were from the Gospel of John as it explored the effects of the Resurrection, the roles of the disciples and their relationship to Jesus. This month explores the challenges to Jesus  with the Pharisees, with the disciples and even from his own family.  Jesus is not on the defensive –  these stories help enlarge the concept of the Kingdom of God.

June 2 – 2nd Sunday after Pentecost -Mark 2:23-3:6

Sometimes rules and regulations can get in the way of our mission. The connection this week is in the role of the Sabbath. Jesus’ operating principle is that the Sabbath ( and the law and the rituals of holiness) was created for humanity, and not the other way around. ’ In that sense, God is chiefly known as love and the laws and purity rituals are for humanity’s own good.  The alternate theology is that for humans have to achieve a certain level of holiness – through following laws or practicing purity rituals – to be acceptable to God.  That’s the focus on the Pharisees whose religion had deteriorated into rules, regulations and rituals..

To make His point still further, Jesus goes into the synagogue and brings a man with a withered arm into the middle of the gathering. Then, He asks the simple question – is it against the law to do good on the Sabbath – or to save a life? Needless to say, His critics have no answer. Jesus has an answer – he heals the man. Mark’s  description of healings were important  – they were signs that the Kingdom of God was at hand

June 9 – 3rd Sunday after Pentecost – Mark 3:20-35

Today’s readings explore the effect of rumors and false stories that cause us to stand in resistance and opposition to God. 

Mark 3:20-35 tells of Jesus’ homecoming after he called his first disciples and the reception he received. People had begun to talk about Jesus and were spreading some rumors and tales, including that Jesus was possessed by Beelzebul. Jesus’ own family wants to bring him home and stop this “madness,” this “nonsense,” of Jesus’ ministry and healing and preaching, but 

Jesus declares that Satan can not cast out Satan; therefore Jesus, who is doing good works, cannot be possessed by a demon, for what he is doing is the complete opposite of what demonic forces would do. Demonic forces would destroy, bring pain and anguish and despair; Jesus brings restoration, healing, joy and hope. When Jesus’ family calls out to him and the crowd informs Jesus of this, Jesus reminds them that whoever does the will of God is Jesus’ family–for we are all children of God, we are all Christ’s brothers and sisters, when we do the work of God, bringing healing, hope and restoration to the world by sharing God’s love.

June 16– 4th Sunday after Pentecost -Mark 4:26-34

This Sunday is all about growth and newness. In the gospel, Jesus uses two parables to describe how God’s dynamic presence—the kingdom—grows in our lives. In Jesus’ parable of the kingdom, seed (God’s word) is scattered broadly. Perhaps as he told this story, Jesus was watching a farmer hand-sow a field. The farmer does not know how the seed sprouts and grows. The process goes on while the farmer sleeps and wakes, not by any effort on the farmer’s part, but by the mystery of growth itself. “The earth produces of itself” and the harvest comes. Jesus is not trying to explain the mystery of growth. He is commanding the same kind of trust in the reality of God’s kingdom that we depend upon in the natural world. Just as we believe a seed is growing in the dark ground while we cannot see it, so we believe the kingdom is growing in our dark world.

June 23– 5th Sunday after Pentecost Mark 4:35-41

change from last Sunday! In the gospel, Jesus stills a storm at sea, revealing that he shares God’s power over creation.

The disciples are not prepared for the action Jesus takes. He stills the storm at sea in an exhibition of God’s power and control over creation. His question: “Why are you afraid? Have you no faith?” is meant to convey to the disciples that their security lay in a different realm. When God is in control, no forces of destruction can touch them. Not a bad lesson to learn, even if fear is the teacher.

This theme can also lead to the idea that sometimes the storms in our lives are beyond our control. The chaos in our lives may be caused by people or situations or evil powers which we can do nothing about. Sometimes it is not our fault. Sometimes bad things happen to good people. Sometimes even the world of faithful Christians comes crashing down.

Today’s story of the stilling of the storm comes at the end of Jesus’ proclamation of the kingdom in parables (4:1-34) and serves as a transition as Jesus and the disciples cross the Sea of Galilee to inaugurate the kingdom ministry for the Gentiles 

June 30– 6th Sunday after Pentecost – Mark 5:21-43

Jesus brings the daughter of Jairus, a synagogue official, back to life in anticipation of his own resurrection.

A man named Jairus, a leader of the synagogue, comes to find Jesus because his daughter is gravely ill, and while Jesus is traveling to Jairus’ house, a woman reaches out and touches the hem of his robe and is made well. The little girl is also found to be alive and Jesus calls to her to get up. 

Both are stories of faith, the woman having suffered from bleeding for many years, the little girl being close to death–both are brought new life.  Jairus’s plea that Jesus touch his daughter, “that she may be made well, and live” may be interpreted also that she may be saved and have (eternal) life.  

This resurrection, this new life through Jesus is not just found at death, but it is found in our lives now, as the woman who was healed can attest to, as the people who heard Jesus’ teachings and began to live for God and for others shared, such as the woman at the well