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, who are still here, and we honor with gratitude the land itself and the life of the Rappahannock Tribe. Our mission statement is to do God’s Will in all that we do.

Sunday links, Pentecost, May 28, 2023

  • Web site
  • YouTube St. Peter’s Page for viewing services
  • Facebook St. Peter’s Page
  • Location – 823 Water Street, P. O. Box 399, Port Royal, Virginia 22535

  • Celebrate Pentecost!”

  • Ecumenical Bible Study, Wed., May 24, 10am-12pm, Parish House Reading Lectionary for May 28,
  • Sun. May 28, 2023, 11am Holy Eucharist, St. Peter’s Live and on YouTube 823 Water St. Port Royal, VA 22535
  • Lectionary for May 28, 2023, Pentecost, Pentecost
  • Sun. May 28, 2023, 12am Pentecost picnic
  • Sun., May 28, UTO Boxes reception
  • The Psalms study Mon, May 30, 7:00pm Zoom link Meeting ID: 879 7169 4710 Passcode: 803192 Participants, choose one Psalm to share with the group (starting with Psalm 24-41 for Book 1 and 42-72 for Book 2)
  • Jamaica Fundraiser until mid-June
  • May, 2023 Newsletter
  • All articles for Sunday, May 28, 2023
  • It’s Pentecost!

    In the Christian tradition, Pentecost marks the end of the 50 Days of Easter. In Acts 2, the apostles and friends are gathered together in Jerusalem. Suddenly there is a great rushing of wind, and tongues of fire rest on each of the apostles. They begin to speak in different languages, and the crowds around them, Jews from across the diaspora, having come to Jerusalem for the Festival of Weeks, understand them, although some disparaged them as drunks. It was at this moment that Peter stood up and preached, revealing the will of God in Jesus Christ, as prophesied by Joel, and affirming a continual outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon repentance and baptism. 

    There are at least three reasons to start with:  

    1. It marks the birthday of the church. Pentecost was a turning point. Before the rushing wind, the flames, and the speaking in tongues, the apostles were a group of followers who listened to Jesus and assisted as he helped those who came to him for healing and grace. Without Jesus, they were aimless and confused. After the Holy Spirit enters that room, after Peter preaches repentance and baptism, they no longer look inward. The end of Acts 2 records that they devoted themselves to the teaching and to fellowship, they performed wonders and signs, they gave to others in need…and the Lord added to their number daily those who were saved. 

    The Holy Spirit gave the disciples direction and power to form the Christian community, which would become “the church.” So, Pentecost is a birthday, and some churches today celebrate with cake! 

    2. Pentecost completes the Trinity. Christian theology is grounded in a doctrine of three in one, and Christians often pray in the “name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” Pentecost was the first and definitive moment in which we can say that the Father sent the Holy Spirit to make the Son present. No Pentecost, no Trinity. 

    3. Jesus kept his promise. In Matthew 28:20 Jesus told his followers, “I will be with you always, even until the end of the age.” He promptly ascended and was seen no more. What gives? Well, in John 15:26 he says, “I will send you the Advocate-the Spirit of truth. He will come to you from the Father and will testify all about me” (NLT). The point is: Jesus is present through the Holy Spirit. Pentecost marks the fulfillment of Christ’s promised presence. 

    from buildfaith.org

    Lectionary, Pentecost Year A

    I. Theme – The coming of the Holy Spirit  

     Window from St Aloysius’ church in Somers Town, London

    The lectionary readings are here  or individually: 

    First Reading – Acts 2:1-21
    Psalm – Psalm 104:25-35, 37 Page 736, BCP
    Epistle –1 Corinthians 12:3b-13
    Gospel – John 20:19-23
    Gospel 2 – John 7:37-39 

    Pentecost is a milestone in the story of salvation. It was on that day that the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the believers in an upper room in Jerusalem as they awaited the baptism Jesus told them they would receive. Jesus had promised this event just before He ascended into heaven.

    "And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other languages, as the Spirit gave them utterance."

    The symbol of fire is important for Pentecost.Fire has long represented God and the presence of his Holy Spirit. Fire consumes but is its own energy force.

    That energy is around action and for the church, mission. Acts is about mission, about speaking, proclaiming, the good news to people everywhere, in languages (and language) they can understand. This is the day in which the mission of the church was given birth.

    The Psalm is a hymn of praise, offered in the course of Temple worship, probably at the Autumnal harvest festival, given its theme of creation. It is a poem praising God and celebrating the order, the balance and majesty of creation reflecting upon God’s mighty power.

    His creative agent is his “spirit.” Creation is continuous, continually renewed.

    Paul spends chapters 12, 13 and 14 of Corinthians trying to get them to enjoy and express their gifts in ways that give strength to the community and glory to God.

    Paul talks about gifts are shown through the Holy Spirit, not for personal edification but “for the common good” for building up the Church – wisdom, healing, knowledge.

    There are two Gospel readings from John which take place before the Resurrection. 

    In John 20 Jesus breathed on his disciples and gave them the Holy Spirit as a foreshadowing of the Spirit they were to receive at Pentecost. Jesus message is that His followers need His Spirit to continue His work.There is no doubt that when John spoke about the breath of God in this way he was thinking back to the story of creation of humankind. When Jesus breathed on them and commanded them to receive the Holy Spirit he was reminding them of the creative life-force emanating from the being of God.

    In John 7, there is a return to the metaphor of water. "Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink. As the scripture has said, `Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water.’" Living water is flowing water. In contrast, there can be "dead" water. Water going nowhere — stuck in a stagnant pool.

    In John, "thirst" has the double meaning of literal thirst for real water and physical life; and "spiritual" thirst for a real relationship with God and eternal life.

    Thus, those who come to Jesus and trust him will have floods of life flowing out of them. When he is lifted up on the cross, Jesus declared his work is finished and passes on his spirit.

    Read more

    “Thy Kingdom Come”

    “Thy Kingdom Come” is celebrating its 7 year anniversary in 2023. Since May 2016, The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and the people of Thy Kingdom Come have been bringing the world together in prayer. St Peter’s has been part of this international prayer initiative for several years. Here is the website. Check out their new mobile app.

    In the gospel according to Luke, before Jesus ascended, he told the disciples to go to back to Jerusalem and await the coming of the Holy Spirit. They did as he asked, spent ten days absorbed in prayer as they waited, and the Holy Spirit came upon them at Pentecost.

    Through these prayerful disciples, the Holy Spirit brought the Church to birth. Following the example of these disciples, we can spend time in intentional prayer praying for people around the world to be filled with the Spirit and to come to know Jesus more fully.

    So what we can do to participate?

    1. Review the 2022 Play list

    The 2021 Video Series is also available

    Here is their Impact Report from 2022 and before.

    2. Pray for 5 people

    From the Archbishop of Canterbury:

    Download the card. This card will easily fit inside your wallet, purse or book. Choose five people you would regularly like to pray for and write their names down onto a list. If you’re not sure who to pray for, ask God to guide you as you choose. Once you have settled on 5 names, commit to praying for them regularly. Use this card as a daily reminder to pray for them.

    Once you have settled on 5 names, commit to praying for them regularly by praying the following: Loving Father, in the face of Jesus Christ your light and glory have blazed forth. Send your Holy Spirit that I may share with my friends [here, name your friends] the life of your Son and your love for all. Strengthen me as a witness to that love as I pledge to pray for them, for your name’s sake. Amen.

    3. Go deeper with a 2023 Prayer Journal

    Each day there are a few things to read, a prayer to offer and then an invitation for you to make your own reflections on what it means to follow in the way of Christ. You don’t have to write anything down, but you may find it helpful.

    4. Prayers from Ascension to Pentecost

    The nine days from Ascension Day to the Eve of Pentecost are the original novena–nine days of prayer.

    Before he ascended, Jesus ordered the disciples not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there to be baptized by the Holy Spirit. After his Ascension, they returned to the upper room in Jerusalem where they devoted themselves to prayer. These last days of the Great Fifty Days of Easter can be a time for us to prepare for the celebration of Pentecost. 

    They have also published their 2023 Novena and exploration of 1st John

    Read more

    Recent Articles, May 15


    Ascension Mantegna

    The New Testament treats the Ascension as an integral part of the Easter event. 

    It is the final appearance Jesus’ physical and resurrected presence on earth. It is the final component of the paschal mystery, which consists also of Jesus’ Passion, Crucifixion, Death, Burial, Descent Among the Dead, and Resurrection.

    Along with the resurrection, the ascension functioned as a proof of Jesus’ claim that he was the Messiah. The Ascension is also the event whereby humanity was taken into heaven.   There is a promise he will come back again.

    So when is it ? The Ascension in Luke 24 is on Easter Sunday evening or, at the latest, the next day; in John 20, sometime between the appearance to Mary Magdalene (who is told not to touch the risen One because he has not yet ascended) and the appearance to Thomas (who is invited to touch him); in Acts 1, after the forty days (which, however, are symbolic of the time of revelation; there may be no intention to suggest that the ascension actually “occurred” on the fortieth day).  We celebrate Ascension on the 40th day.

    The main scriptural references to the Ascension are Mark:16:19, Luke:24:51, and Acts:1:2 and vvs. 8-10. Luke 24 says  "While he was blessing them, he withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven". In Acts " he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen." Jesus commissions his followers, rather than simply blessing them; and we have an appearance from two men in white robes.

    Mount Olivet, near Bethany, is designated as the place where Christ left the earth. The feast falls on this Thursday, May 18 and it is one of the most solemn in the calendar, ranking with the feasts of the Passion, Easter and Pentecost.

    In disappearing from their view "He was raised up and a cloud received Him out of their sight" (Acts 1:9), and entering into glory He dwells with the Father in the honur and power denoted by the scripture phrase."

    In a way, Jesus’ abandonment of the disciples upon the Mount of Olives is more profound than their abandonment on Calvary. After all, the disciples themselves predicted he would die. But no one could have imagined the Resurrection and the extraordinary forty days during which Jesus dwelled again with his friends. Forty days with the resurrected Jesus – appearing in the upper room, along the way to Emmaus, upon the beach at Galilee! Imagine their despair when this, the Jesus present to them in such an astonishing way, enters the Cloud on the Mount of Olives.

    The Rev. Suzanne Guthrie writes, "The Church gives us ten days to practice dwelling in the ambiguous time between the Resurrected-Christ-vanished, and the Holy Spirit not-yet-come. In the mystical life, Ascensiontide is the Dark Night of the Soul, the anguished sense of abandonment after a solid period of union. The soul can not cling even to this union. The last threads of attachment must be broken in the darkness of unknowing before the completion of the Christian transformation – being “sent” into the world as bearers of Love."

    Although no documentation of it exists prior to the beginning of the fifth century, St. Augustine says that it originated with the Apostles, and that it was observed by the Church long before his time. The Ascension is frequently mentioned in the writings of St. John Chrysostom, St. Gregory of Nyssa, and in the Constitution of the Apostles. Perhaps, prior to the fifth century it was commemorated in conjunction with the feasts of Easter or Pentecost.

    Connected with this feast were the customs of: the blessing of beans and grapes (after the Commemoration of the Dead in the Canon of the Mass), the blessing of first fruits, (afterwards done on Rogation Days), the blessing of a candle, the wearing of mitres by deacon and subdeacon, the extinguishment of the paschal candle, and processions with torches and banners outside the churches to commemorate the entry of Christ into heaven. In some churches, the Ascension was depicted by elevating the figure of Christ above the altar, through an opening in the roof. In others, the figure of Christ was made to ascend and that of the devil was made to descend.

    Ascension – Start of the Mission of the Church

    The Ascension is the beginning of the church’s mission.

      1. It is powered by the Spirit 

      2. It is a call to be witnesses 

      3. It is worldwide is scope  

    The Ascension holds the promise of Christ’s return.

    WHAT? What Happened to Jesus.

    A. He ascended to a place invisible to the mortal eye

    1. Acts 1:9 “A cloud received him out of their sight”

    2. He did not go up into some mountain that was covered with clouds as some men have speculated.

    B. Luke 24:51 “And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven.”

    1. He is on the right hand of God

    2. I Peter 3:22 “Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto Him.”

    Where is heaven ? When the early church confessed that Jesus had ascended into heaven, the emphasis was not so much on a place – the emphasis was on God’s immediate presence. The church was confessing that Jesus had entered into the divine glory – that the risen Jesus now dwelt in the immediate presence of God. This may explain the meaning of the phrase, "a cloud took him out of their sight" (Acts 1:9). Oftentimes in scripture, a cloud represents the shekinah glory of God, the sign of God’s presence (cf. Exo. 33:7-11; Mark 9:7).

    WHY ?

    A For Man’s Redemption

    1. Christ died on the Cross on Golgotha. But he had to ascend to heaven before that death would be accepted as final payment for sin.

    2. God required that there be a sacrifice made for our sin.

    3. Under the Law of Moses the high priest went into the Most Holy Place of the tabernacle or temple, with the blood of animals for the sins of the people.

    4. But under the priesthood of Christ, we have a superior system:

    a. The blood of Christ is better, it has the power to completely remit sin

    b. That blood was taken into the holy place called heaven

    Heb 9:11-12 “But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.”

    B. To be our Advocate

    1. Christ went back to heaven to assist in keeping Christians saved

    2. We are not sinless and perfect as Christians

    a. I John 1:8 “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”

    b. I Jn. 2:1 “My little children, these things write I unto you, that you not sin.”

    3. But we are not all lost and without hope if we sin as a Christian.

    a. I Jn.2:1-2 “if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”

    b. Advocate = intercessor – propitiation

    c. Propitiation = atonement or to cover over and from the sight

    d. Our sins are covered over and from God’s sight by the blood of Christ

    e. I Jn. 1:7 “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.”

    4. Jesus paid the price for sin. He went to heaven as one who had paid that price and now since He is in heaven, he serves as an advocate for the Christian.

    C. So The Spirit Could Come

    1. Jn. 16:7 “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.”

    a. Expedient = better, profitable “to your advantage”

    b. Comforter = Holy Spirit

    2. The Holy Spirit was to come and guide these apostles into all truth – but not as long as Jesus was on the earth

    3. So the only way man could receive the full revelation of God’s truth was for Jesus to ascend back to the Father, which would allow the Holy Spirit to come in order to provide us with God’s perfect Word

    The Holy Spirit had to come to reveal and confirm God’s word which enables men to understand what God in love, mercy, and grace has done to ransom our souls from sin, and what men must do in order to be saved from sin by God’s son.

    It was a divine power to be received by faith to motivate the witness of believers.

    "How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him, God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will?" (Hebrews 2:3-4)

    “But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me. And you also will bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning.” ( John 15:26-27)

    Jn. 16:13 “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.”

    D. To Prepare a place for Us

    1. Jesus left earth to go and prepare a place for those who by faithful obedience prepare for that place.

    2. Jn. 14:2-3 “In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”