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.

Village Harvest, Feb. 2023

The pace has been slower in the first 2 months of 2023. The chart illustrates this summary over 3 years with fewer clients combined with a smaller food distribution:

Feb’s total clients were 77 above Jan 60. Food distributed was lower was also lower at 836 pounds vs. 1,137 for Jan. Feb’s total represented the lowest pounds distributed since Sept. 2021

A Prayer for Entering Lent

God of mystery and wisdom,
be with us this Lenten season.
It’s been a long way, already
sickness, worry, isolation, fear, waiting
our hearts are heavy
our souls are weary
our bodies are hurting
our hope is wavering
yet, you are with us.

God of mystery and wisdom,
be with us this Lenten season.
Show us your grace
in the small moments of silence
the prayers offered in person or virtually
the kindness of a stranger
the lighting of a candle
the listening to a friend
the care of neighbors,
you are with us.

God of mystery and wisdom,
be with us this Lenten season.
Settle our hearts
revive our spirits
increase our faith
spread our love.

God of mystery and wisdom,
be with us this Lenten season.
In ashes and dust
reading and listening
wandering and walking
praying and singing
eating and fasting
show us the way forward.

God of mystery and wisdom,
be with us this Lenten season.
As we walk to the cross
keep our eyes fixed
on you and your love –
caring for others
crossing boundaries
reaching out to the poor
taking our pain
transforming death into life
over and over again.

God of mystery and wisdom,
be with us this Lenten season.


By Kimberly Knowle-Zeller. She is an ordained ELCA pastor, mother of two, and spouse of an ELCA pastor.

Lectionary, Lent 1 Year A

I.Theme –   Dealing with Sin and Temptation

Duccio di Buoninsegna – "Temptation of Christ on the Mountain" (1308-11)

The lectionary readings are here  or individually: 

Old Testament – Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7 
Psalm – Psalm 32 
Epistle –Romans 5:12-19 
Gospel – Matthew 4:1-11 

One key word this week is “Sin” and it fits in well with Lent. We remember Jesus 40 day fast and resulting temptation by the devil. The 40 days fits in with the period designated for Lent.  Lent is 6 days of fasting over 7 weeks with the period at Ash Wednesday.  Lent is a special time of prayer, penance, sacrifice and good works in preparation of the celebration of Easter.

As we begin Lent, let’s start at the very beginning and consider why we need to go on this trip in the first place.

What does it mean to be human ? From the Genesis story of Adam and Eve’s fall from grace, through Paul’s exploration of how Jesus functions as a "second Adam," to Matthew’s portrayal of Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness, these readings cut to the chase of what it is to be human. 

The other key word this week is "temptation."  As  Brian Stoffregen writes  “ Wherever it comes, the tempter/tester does not have the power to make someone do something. Temptation is not coercion. The serpent in the garden didn’t make Eve and Adam eat the apple. The devil in our text can’t make Jesus turn stones into bread. "To tempt" means to try and convince someone to do something. It means enticing someone to want to do something. Tempters can’t make someone do something bad, but try to make the temptee want to do something bad. They don’t take away the will. Rather, they try to change one’s will."

"The way [the devil] seeks to change our wills is by lying, by stretching the truth. Generally, [the devil] entices us not to do great evil acts, but to good things for the wrong reasons. It could be argued that none of Jesus’ temptations were to do anything grossly evil, but to do good things for the wrong reasons or at the wrong time."

In essence we need a relationship with God living not by our own whims but by God’s limits.  We are also tempted to be self-succient in Genesis by eating of the tree of knowledge as Jesus is tempted to be self sufficient in turning stone into bread, cheating death and controlling the whole world. We are insufficient, We are not complete in and of ourselves, that lack is a permanent part of our condition.

There is more to it as David Lose maintains. "Rather, to be human is to accept that we are, finally, created for relationship with God and with each other. Perhaps the goal of the life of faith isn’t to escape limitation but to discover God amid our needs and learn, with Paul, that God’s grace is sufficient for us."

Lose continues, "Perhaps faith, that is, doesn’t do away with the hardships that are part and parcel of this life, but rather gives us the courage to stand amid them, not simply surviving but actually flourishing in and through Jesus, the one who was tempted as we are and thereby knows our struggles first hand. This same Jesus now invites us to find both hope and courage in the God who named not only him, but all of us, beloved children so that we, also, might discover who we are be recalling whose we are." 

Read more about Lent 1

Jesus Makes a Difference, Lent 1

The Gospel from Matthew this Sunday Lent 1, Feb. 26 is about Jesus 3 temptations. Temptation is an inner battle we all face and appropriate on the first Sunday in Lent

This text and video are from the Diocese of Atlanta, Bishop Rob Wright and their 5 part Lent series, “Jesus makes the difference”

“The devil’s first move on Jesus and on all of us is to come for your sense of identity in God. At his baptism Jesus heard God say, “This is my son with whom I am well pleased.” God said it to Jesus, and he said it to anyone who was listening. Seems clear and settled doesn’t it, but just a few verses later the devil leads with, “If you are the Son of God turn stones into bread. In a repeat attack, the devil says, “If you are the son of God jump off the temple steeple into the arms of waiting angels.”

“Notice, the devil always tries to bend God’s resolute exclamation points into insecure question marks! The difference between Jesus and the devil is that Jesus knows he doesn’t have to prove who he is to God. He knows he doesn’t have to earn God’s love. He knows he can’t earn or lose God’s approval. Jesus knows that we are so much more to God than we can produce or fail to produce. Jesus’ example in this exchange can be difference making for us if we let it. Jesus doesn’t question our identity, ever. We are God’s beloved, full stop. We are invited to trust our reflection in God’s eyes first and always! We are invited to “let love be genuine” as a means of feeding ourselves and the world. We are invited to love what God loves, which is always sincerity and not spectacle. – Bishop Rob Wright, Diocese of Atlanta

Here is the Video and reflection guide

Art for Lent 1, Year A

This Sunday’s first reading from Genesis invites us back to the beginning—to the creation of man and woman, and their original fall, succumbing to the temptation of the serpent. Ivan Kramskoi’s Christ in the Desert returns Jesus to this same beginning to face his own temptations before heading out to engage in public ministry.

Christ is seated in a rocky, arid landscape. Seated in the dust from which we came, Christ is battling. His battle is intensely psychological. As the devil tempts him with thoughts of worldly satisfaction, power, and an easier way out, he recalls the original temptation, the one Adam and Eve could not resist. This time around, Christ knows what is at stake—the gravity of the difference between Paradise gained or lost is visible on his face.

In the stillness of this arid scene, we see heaven and earth clash. In the distance we see a sky that is dawning, a subtle sign of hope that this New Adam will bring humankind back to right relationship with God. The bottom half of the image, though, is the rocky earth— a symbol of the human struggle, of the toil man has endured after the Fall, and of the unforgiving realities of human suffering if separated from God’s life-giving grace. Christ faces downward; he is embedded in this struggle, committed to enter into the depths of it. On his right, where the sky touches the desert, the background is the darkest—evoking these depths. Yet on his left, the rocky terrain reaches up to the brightening sky, seeking the light of a graced existence. And in the middle, Kramskoi places Jesus. He is the bridge between this darkness and light.

But his bridge-building will not be easy. The burden of this process shows on his face, weighs down his shoulders, and pierces his bare feet. His resolve culminates in the center of the image, in his hands gripping one another, fused together in a gesture of prayer. Strength emanates from these hands, hands of prayer fusing heaven and earth together once again as he resists temptation and remains faithful to who he is and what he is called to do.

On this first Sunday of Lent, Jesus’ strength in prayer is a gift of encouragement for our journeys as well—a gift to take with us into our own wildernesses where the voice of temptation utters false words. These hands fused in prayer remind us to resist the isolation that the devil’s false words bring, and to remain in the grip of grace—joined to God.

Lent is…

Lent is:

• A time for looking at the things we do that are wrong or that tempt us, asking God’s and other people’s forgiveness;
• A time for giving up things that keep us from being loving people;
• A time for doing extra things that will help us grow closer to God;
• A time to be more aware of what it means to love as God loves us;
• A time to ask God to help us to be more loving, remembering that God is always ready to strengthen us.
• A time to let go of our normal routine, try a new spiritual practice, to step out of our box, to reflect on ourselves, to reflect on a relationship with God. It can be a very creative time. At a later time these practices may help us endure trying of challenging times. Lent gives us a chance to practice facing our fears, journeying in the wilderness, confronting the dangers and difficulties we find there, and reaching out for Jesus’ hand for the entire trip.

The Lenten service

“Lent is the season to prepare for the journey through Holy Week and the joys of the Easter season to come. The beginning of the service provides time for solitude, to seek and find God within ourselves. The Confession of Sin and the Absolution are both part of the Penitential Order and occur at the beginning of the service. Both the Trisagion, near the beginning of the service, and the fraction anthem, which immediately follows the breaking of the bread, emphasize the merciful nature of God’s love for us.”