Begins Sun Sept 17, 10:30am -“God’s Garden” in the Parish House—A gathering of children ages 5-9 for Sunday School activities and fun, led by Elizabeth Heimbach
The ultimate test of a moral society is the kind of world that it leaves to its children.” –Dietrich Bonhoeffer
1. Creation is a reflection of the glory of God to be good stewards of God’s creation, which includes all of us who live within it
2. Climate change is a spiritual challenge. Handling climate change is part of how we live our faith.
3. We have a responsibility to care for the least of us. The poorest amongst us bear the greatest burden and risk of climate change.
4. We are called to respond to what we see around us. We are moral messengers for the common good, translate compassion into action.
Opening Hymn- “All creatures of our God and king”
Opening Hymn- “All creatures of our God and king”
Gospel & Sermon – the Rev. Tom Hughes
Gospel & Sermon – the Rev. Tom Hughes
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The Season of Creation returns
Lector: Andrea Pogue
Chalice Bearer: Alice Hughes
Altar Cleanup: Andrea Pogue
Zoom Link Meeting ID: 854 8811 5724 Passcode: 539098
Coming Up – Sept. 17
About the Season of Creation – Since the 1980’s, the Eastern Orthodox Church has designated this time each year to delve more deeply into our relationships with God and with one another in the context of the magnificent creation in which we live. The Catholic Church and Church of England also recognize this season. Various churches across the United States also celebrate the Season of Creation.
The central focus of the month is on God – God as Creator. In his letter to the Romans, right up front, Paul makes this statement. “Ever since the creation of the world, God’s eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things that God has made.” We know a lot about God simply by paying attention to God’s creation. And Jesus, who came that we might have life, and might have it more abundantly, used his own attention to and love of the natural world in his teachings and parables, to help the people around him find the abundant life that can become ours through him. To be with Jesus through scripture and through the bread and wine is also to see and to know God the Creator of heaven and earth.
The goal in worship then is to deepen our understanding of God as Creator, to celebrate God’s role as Creator, and to examine and deepen and widen our own relationships with God, creation, and with one another. In particular we need to work to recover the original splendor of the earth.
An example – Look around your neighborhood where the human influence has been positive and negative on nature. Celebrate the former and do something about the latter.
“Jesus was intimately involved with the natural world. When he spoke of God and God’s Kingdom, he almost always pointed to the natural world: seeds, the harvest, the clouds, vines, weeds, sheep, fire, water, lilies, bread, wine. Walk out into God’s wonderful creation – and be touched by the very hand of God.”
–Br. Geoffrey Tristram, SSJE
Please consider joining Sacred Ground, the group at St Peter’s working specifically for racial reconciliation in our lives, in our community, in our nation and in the world. All are welcome. We are meeting on Zoom on Sept. 12.
Members of the group are coordinating with Germanna Community College Workforce to seek a recipient for the St Peter’s Sacred Ground Scholarship as we move forward.
We are seeking information from the Diocese about the history of St Peter’s, so that we can understand our history more fully as we learn about how our past is intertwined with the institution of slavery.
We hope to deepen understanding of the history and culture of the Native Americans of the Rappahannock and Patawomeck Tribes by planning a field trip to the Patawomeck Museum and Cultural Center in Stafford and working to establish a connection with the Rappahannock Tribe.
The group will also choose a book to read and to discuss as we to continue increase the knowledge that will help us to improve our work for racial reconciliation.
Join the meeting on Zoom, 7PM on Tuesday, September 12. https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85488115724?pwd=K0tJTTV1VTA4Z3RLUWhUZlUwdlkzdz09 Meeting ID: 854 8811 5724 Passcode: 539098
I.Theme – Differing approaches and solutions to sin.
"Forgiveness"- Sofiya Inger (2006)
About the artist
"I grew up in Russia, in the old northern town of narrow streets, ancient cathedrals, long white snowy winters, white cottonwood blizzards every spring…
"Painting became the color, the meaning, and the way to feel and to live. It led me through adolescence, strict schooling, sleepless nights of motherhood, through the strains of marriage, deaths, and the feverish attempts to grow new roots in strangely colored soil of a new country.
"All of that fascinates me.. people, their connections, aspirations, and the mysteries of everyday life…."
The lectionary readings are here or individually:
The readings today are about the ways and methods of combating sin. The message is not so much the concept of sin but how chosen individuals deal with it and from them the community at large. We have to remember that all of this is leading to concepts of reconciliation.
Ezekiel’s prophetic ministry to his people in the Old Testament extended from 593BC to about 573 BC, from before the fall of Jerusalem in 586 B.C. to the time of the exile in Babylon. Today’s reading harks back to Ezekiel’s concern for individual responsibility.
The sentinel or watchman, chosen by the townspeople, was responsible for warning them of the approach of an enemy. They then could come in from the fields and take refuge. In this passage, God both chooses the watchman and sends the awaited enemy in judgment. There is an implicit tension between the punishment of the wicked and the desire that they repent and live. Israel believed that mere membership in the community of God’s people guaranteed salvation; here God declares that the individual is responsible for his or her own choices.
In the Ezekiel reading, God’s threat of a death sentence as a motivation to repent is what God calls prophets to announce. The threat of death is supposed to inspire the repentance that brings life. God calls the prophet to be faithful and have courage to speak God’s warning to the people. It is a warning to those called to speak on behalf of God, but whose desire to play it safe, to please others. In both this reading and the Gospel, our responsibility is to call others to live rightly.
According to today’s Psalm, learning and obeying God’s commandments and fearing God will keep you from sin and lead to life. The poet proclaims a dependence on the Lard. She wants to observe the law with her whole heart , have her heart and eyes turned away from worthless things and toward God’s law and have disgrace turned away from her. The poet even says she wants to “follow” or walk in the way laid out by God’s precious law.
In today’s Romans reading, Paul’s solution to sin is to “love one another” and “put on the Lord Jesus Christ,” which actually are the same thing, because Jesus Christ, in his faithfulness in life even to the point of death, fulfilled the law, which is summed up by the saying “love your neighbor as yourself.”
Paul’s injunctions to "love one another," to "love your neighbor as yourself," and to lay aside the works of darkness" (vv. 8,9, 12), mean that the pervasive individualism and "privatized" notions of faith that remain all-too-common features of contemporary church life must give way to a faith that actively nurtures and works toward mutuality, solidarity, and justice in our social transactions.
Matthew’s gospel approaches the question of evil within the personal sphere. How should a Christian act when the network of relationships hits a snag? It is inevitable that human connections will sooner or later go haywire. How then should we intervene?
First, he suggests dealing with the problem directly, before it grows like a cancer. We are often tempted to ignore trouble, which then becomes more difficult to heal.
Jesus proposes that the person who feels wronged should initiate the reconciliation. Matthew outlines a community process that gives a “brother or sister who has sinned” an opportunity to repent, either in private or in front of the community, before the community bans them from participating in the community’s life.
The process is kept private until various channels have been tried and exhausted. In contrast, we often rush to complain publicly before we even have a clear picture of what’s wrong. When the gossip spreads, the whole situation worsens. The process involves confrontation (confronting the sinner in private), negotiation (confronting the sinner with two or three others) and adjudication (confronting the sinner by the community). Sin is more than a private responsibility with which to deal.
Finally, he operates from a basis of compassion. The purpose of the process is never to humiliate or to condemn, but always to restore union with the brother or sister. In contrast, we often enter conflict with the self-righteous purpose of emerging as a winner. Jesus upholds the ideal that the person takes priority over our raging opinions and the causes we champion.
In the gospel Jesus makes clear that accepting this responsibility affects the well-being of the whole community. Traditionally, the sacrament of penance has been solely a private matter among penitent, priest, and God.
Home Alone is the story of eight-year-old Kevin (Macaulay Culkin) waking up and finding himself home alone. His family and extended family had already left, in haste, for Paris, where they will spend Christmas. At first, it is a dream come true for Kevin. He eats what he wants; watches what he wants; and sleeps where he wants. But he quickly becomes the defender of his home against two goons, Harry (Joe Pesci) and Marv (Daniel Stern) who have their eyes set on Kevin’s home for robbery. Kevin develops a series of traps for the burglars to keep them out. And they work.
The film has at least two streams of reconciliation. In the movie we are reminded of a mothers’ love for her child because she did whatever she had to do to get back to her son – even riding in a truck with a polka band! There is probably a notion in her mind that the family seemed to gang up on Kevin at the beginning from the pizza scene to breakfast. The movie is all about Kevin rising to challenges particularly in defeating the crooks. Kevin has a new appreciation of his family providing warmth, comfort and protection.
Iowa farmer Ray Kinsella hears a voice in his corn field tell him, "If you build it, he will come." He interprets this message as an instruction to build a baseball field on his farm. The voice becomes more insistent, until he gives in and builds a baseball diamond, complete with lights for night games and bleachers for spectators on his farm. Then appear the ghosts of Shoeless Joe Jackson and the other seven Chicago White Sox players banned from the game for throwing the 1919 World Series to play the game again. When the voices continue, Ray seeks out a reclusive author to help him understand the meaning of the messages and the purpose for his field.
But the real "He" who was to come is the farmer’s long estranged and now dead father. His father John asks, "Is this heaven?" To which, the farmer responds, "It’s Iowa." In a simple game of "catch" on the field they have a chance to talk, see life from the other’s point of view, and experience forgiveness and a restored relationship. A poignant scene.
We have taken the five Sundays readings in the Season of Creation and highlighted a specific environmental area which we will cover weekly. (This week, water ) How is this area affecting us ? What can we do at St. Peter’s and individually to improve our use of them ? We have added related scriptures.
Focus on water in the Bible
1. Creation – Water is a primal force of creation . The Old Testament create story describes the earth as nothing but darkness but with the Spirit of God “hovering over the waters.”
2. Cleansing -The story of Noah shows God cleansing the earth with a great flood. Water sometimes symbolizes the spiritual cleansing that comes with the acceptance of God’s offer of salvation ( Ezek 36:25 ; Eph 5:26 ; Heb 10:22 ). In fact, in Ephesians 5:26, the “water” that does the cleansing of the bride, the church, is directly tied in with God’s Word, of which it is a symbol. The story of Noah shows God cleansing the earth with a great flood. In John 4:10-15, part of Jesus’ discourse with the Samaritan woman at the well, he speaks metaphorically of his salvation as “living water” and as “a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
This painting represents Jesus as the truth and was painted by Troy Mulvien Mardigan, an indigenous Australian. From the artist: “The river represents Jesus as the living water. It is flowing from the foot of the cross towards new life. The flowers represent new life. He is the water of the dry land and the green land. On the top of the cross is the omega symbol – He is the beginning and the end.”
3. Rebirth – Water is very present in Baptism. Baptism means immersion or bath in Greek. The immersion cleanses the person of sin and provides rebirth into Christian life. In both the Old and New Testaments, the word “water” is used for salvation and eternal life, which God offers humankind through faith in his Son ( Isa 12:3 ; 55:1 ; Rev 21:6 ; Revelation 22:1 Revelation 22:2 Revelation 22:17 ).
Nicodemus understood Jesus that one must have two births to enter the Kingdom of God – one’s natural birth in which water plays a major role and the birth by the Spirit to be the supernatural birth of being “born again” or regenerated.
4. Troublesome times – The word “water” is used in a variety of metaphorical ways in Scripture. It is used to symbolize the troublesome times in life that can and do come to human beings, especially God’s children ( Psalm 32:6 ; Psalms 69:1 Psalms 69:2 Psalms 69:14 Psalms 69:15 ; Isa 43:2 ; Lam 3:54 ). In some contexts water stands for enemies who can attack and need to be overcome ( 2 Sam 22:17-18 ; Psalm 18:16-17 ; 124:4-5 ; 144:7 ; Isa 8:7 ; Jer 47:2 ).
5. Water a symbol of the Holy Spirit – In a very important passage, Jesus identifies the “streams of living water” that flow from within those who believe in him with the Holy Spirit ( John 7:37-39 ). The reception of the Holy Spirit is clearly the special reception that was going to come after Jesus had been glorified at the Father’s right hand and happened on the Day of Pentecost as described in Acts 2. Two times in Jeremiah Yahweh is metaphorically identified as “the spring of living water” ( Jer 2:13 ; 17:13 ). In both instances Israel is rebuked for having forsaken the Lord for other cisterns that could in no way satisfy their “thirst.”
6. In other passages of Scripture, the following are said metaphorically to be “water”: God’s help ( Isa 8:6 : “the gently flowing waters of Shiloah” ); God’s judgment ( Isa 28:17 : “water will overflow your hiding place” ); man’s words ( Prov 18:4 : “The words of man’s mouth are deep waters” ); man’s purposes ( Prov 20:5 : “The purposes of a man’s heart are deep waters” ); an adulterous woman ( Prov 9:17 : “Stolen water is sweet” ); and a person’s posterity ( Isa 48:1 : “Listen to this, O house of Jacob, who are called by the name of Israel and have come forth out of the line [waters] of Judah” ).