The Tower

Sunday, August 2, 2020 For Pentecost IX

Dear Friends,

As I write we have just finished out 9:00 AM service on the lawn.  You can watch on Facebook if you weren’t here.  I realized how grateful I was.  Despite sun and humidity, a light breeze blew the whole time and a good group was present, though I must confess missing many of you.  (That is not a push for those of you staying safe to come.   I just want you to know that you are not forgotten).  I am grateful, too, to Lora Hammersla who provides music for us, to Dave Bryant who has been doing our recording, to Frank  Coe who always so helpful, to Jane McSwain and Bill Sturdevant who got all of the weeds in the sidewalks sprayed, to Shannon Taylor and her group who work to see that our outside is so beautiful.  We may not be using our buildings, but we do continue to be the Church.  It is a hard time, but we do have so much for which to be grateful. 

Speaking of being the Church, our Vestry and I have agreed to work with Shepherdstown Shares and others to hopefully offer a satellite food pantry using our Chapel.  Shares will also be using the Chapel for some other projects.  I am delighted that we can help and have space to offer for these projects that seek to help those most impacted by the pandemic.

Don’t forget your own prayers of gratitude this week, and please remember all those on the front lines of caring for the sick, the sick, the lonely, the frightened. Please call if you think we can help.  I am in the Office almost every morning and Jennifer is here Tuesday and Thursday.

GT

The Lessons

Genesis 32:22-31

Romans 9: 1-5

Matthew 14:13-21

A Homily (By Frank Coe)

Today’s Gospel, the feeding of the multitude, occurs in all four Gospels, each with its own particular emphasis.  Matthew and Mark precede this account with the sordid story of the execution of John the Baptist by Herod to merely satisfy the whim of his brother’s sister. There was a dancer who pleased Herod so much that he stupidly promised to do whatever she asked.  As we all know she got what she asked: John the Baptist’s head on a platter. The contrast between this terrible event and Jesus’ meal on the meadow is eye opening.

In fact, Jesus has left for Galilee partly to ensure his safety.  When it is your own cousin being executed for apparently trivial reasons you might worry that you could be next!  So, Jesus and his disciples go back home to Galilee, where it is relatively safe, and where he can (probably) grieve over his Cousin John’s unseemly death.

It is here in an unnamed place in Galilee that a significant event takes place. People’s souls are being comforted and being fed by Jesus’ words. Just as today 2000 plus years later we too are being continually comforted and fed by the words of Jesus.

This passage demonstrates the irony that out of insecurity can come the abundance of God’s grace. It is a persuasive message for those who have virtually nothing and struggle to survive in our world of over abundant living. 

Jesus has compassion on those people present that day because of their scarce resources.  Instead of letting scarcity determine the mission he simply says to the disciples, “You give them something to eat.”

Churches often get caught in this scarcity trap.  One can hear people saying, “If we just had more of whatever, we could do this.”  This definitely was not Jesus’ style.  Whatever was present was enough, whether it be food or faith equivalent to a grain of mustard seed!  Wherever/whenever Jesus is present there is always enough.

And so in places we’ve never heard of the Bible is studied; in places where perhaps only one or two people have a copy of the Bible, the faith is taught. The faith is taught where there are no colorful Sunday school materials and people are brought into the Body of Christ even though there is no building for worship.  These things do not depend on scarce resources because Jesus and the Gospel story are the only resources needed.

Observe in this story how the disciples respond quickly to what Jesus asks of them.  They don’t quibble, whine, or walk away.  The compassion of Christ is so intense that they can do nothing more than show it themselves, and in doing what they are asked they discover, as one writer has put it, “compassion beyond their wildest dreams.”

The story’s miracle is repeated in the church today.  There is never enough, and yet the things that God asks us to do, to care for the marginalized, the poor, the despondent, the lonely – somehow they happen.  To quote from last week’s New Testament lesson “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” 

Many years ago friends of ours from our church in Texas served for several years as lay missionaries in one East African country.  Bill was as I recall called the Master of Works.  What that meant is that he kept things like generators working – or he built or repaired buildings like health clinics, schools, churches, and the like. It seems that Bill could literally with coat hangers repair almost anything.  This country had no money.  Hospitals, churches, and the like depended on the missionaries for survival.  Bill made do with what he had and what was provided by gifts of others.  Margaret, his wife (who was an artist) taught people the basic daily skills necessary for survival and also the skills to use what they had to make among other things jewelry and other items of religious and secular art for sale outside the country.  The money received from these sales went back into the country to the local people for the continuation of God’s work there.  What Bill and Margaret accomplished did not cost much in terms of dollars.  Yet the quality of life for some improved, and the Gospel was lived out real time and the folk helped each other as Christ’s message of love and compassion became for many a reality.

The teaching for us is to rely less on resources and more on the compassion of Christ in living out our lives and in our work.  Size does not matter, whether it is budgets or buildings.  We the people of God are capable of giving the care God asks us to give.  We can and do show the compassion of Christ without expending large amount of resources.

But there is another facet to this Galilean scene.  This account is also an image of the Eucharist.  Jesus takes the bread, blesses it and breaks it, and it is distributed to the people.

Almost everyone on the lakeshore that day had something in common: they were in a precarious position.  Some were sick with the diseases of the time.  There were always threats of rebellion and violence, even in the relative calm of Galilee.  Jesus and his disciples were always in need of a place to stay and were wary of the reality that they too might be arrested and put in prison, accused of stirring things up.

There are so many like them today.  We tend to think of the Third World when we think of precarious existence, but we need not go that far.  There are many people here in our country today with jobs that would become desperate within a few weeks if they lost those jobs.  With the virus today this is happening real time.  In many American towns, too many, there are homeless people, including children, who roam the streets and search all day for the basic necessities.  There are people who depend on expensive medicines to keep them from the ravages of disease, never knowing when those medications might cease to be effective and the disease could claim their lives.

These are the people for whom this Gospel and its Eucharistic image have much meaning.  We must not forget the fragile nature of our lives. We therefore rely on the compassionate Christ.  We come to the Eucharistic meal with a reverence for how something as simple as a bit of bread and a small sip from the cup can renew us for mission.  Each of us can place ourselves in the crowd by the lake that day, watching, hearing Jesus’ words, receiving his healing touch, learning that God loves us very much.

There is a story that goes something like this: Years ago, a woman died in a small town.  She was a widow and mostly a recluse.  Everyone thought of her as having little.  She didn’t have a lot, but when she died she left a third of her modest estate to the church to be used for the poor, because, she said, “The church knows who they are.”  That is how we should be seen, as the people who know who the poor are because we are in touch with our own scarcity in the midst of a culture which says we can never have enough.

With Jesus there is always enough, enough to eat and drink, enough to heal and care for, and enough to teach others about him.  The Good News is that whenever he asks us to do something in his name, all we need is provided.  The gift of this story is that we are free in faith to follow him wherever he leads us.

In the Old Testament reading for today we are told that as Jacob wrestled with God and did not prevail. We also struggle with God every day.  It takes many forms. Today we have the life and teaching of Jesus to help and guides us.  Today’s gospel is one example of many. And just as Jacob was blessed by God we too are blessed every day by God. How we deal with God’s never-ending blessing is up to each of us.

Some Prayers

Let your continual mercy, O Lord, cleanse and defend your
Church; and, because it cannot continue in safety without
your help, protect and govern it always by your goodness;
through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you
and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Christ we rise today
Knowing that you alone
Know our hearts
You alone can change
Our sadness into joy
Forgive us our shortcomings
Teach us patience
Teach us kindness
Help us to forgive
Those who have injured us
And keep us from injuring others
Keep our way lighted
With your steadfast love

Amen.

O God, you made us in your own image and redeemed us
through Jesus your Son: Look with compassion on the whole
human family; take away the arrogance and hatred which
infect our hearts; break down the walls that separate us;
unite us in bonds of love; and work through our struggle and
confusion to accomplish your purposes on earth; that, in
your good time, all nations and races may serve you in
harmony around your heavenly throne; through Jesus Christ
our Lord. Amen.

O God, you have bound us together in a common life. Help us,
in the midst of our struggles for justice and truth, to confront
one another without hatred or bitterness, and to work
together with mutual forbearance and respect; through Jesus
Christ our Lord. Amen.

O heavenly Father, who hast filled the world with beauty:
Open our eyes to behold thy gracious hand in all thy works;
that, rejoicing in thy whole creation, we may learn to serve
thee with gladness; for the sake of him through whom all
things were made, thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

O God of peace, who hast taught us that in returning and
rest we shall be saved, in quietness and confidence shall be
our strength: By the might of thy Spirit lift us, we pray thee,
to thy presence, where we may be still and know that thou
art
 God; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

This is another day, O Lord.  I know not what it will bring

forth, but make me ready, Lord, for whatever it may be.  If I

am to stand up, help me to stand bravely.  If I am to sit still,

help me to sit quietly.  If I am to lie low, help me to do it

patiently.  And if I am to do nothing, let me do it gallantly. 

Make these words more than words, and give me the Spirit

of Jesus.  Amen.

O God, whose fatherly care reacheth to the uttermost parts
of the earth: We humbly beseech thee graciously to behold
and bless those whom we love, now absent from us. Defend
them from all dangers of soul and body; and grant that both
they and we, drawing nearer to thee, may be bound together
by thy love in the communion of thy Holy Spirit, and in the
fellowship of thy saints; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or
weep, and give your angels charge over those who
sleep. Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless
the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the
joyous; and all for your love’s sake. Amen.

Accept, O Lord, our thanks and praise for all that you have
done for us. We thank you for the splendor of the whole
creation, for the beauty of this world, for the wonder of life,
and for the mystery of love.

We thank you for the blessing of family and friends, and for
the loving care which surrounds us on every side.
We thank you for setting us at tasks which demand our best
efforts, and for leading us to accomplishments which satisfy
and delight us.
We thank you also for those disappointments and failures
that lead us to acknowledge our dependence on you alone.
Above all, we thank you for your Son Jesus Christ; for the
truth of his Word and the example of his life; for his steadfast
obedience, by which he overcame temptation; for his dying,
through which he overcame death; and for his rising to life
again, in which we are raised to the life of your kingdom.
Grant us the gift of your Spirit, that we may know him and
make him known; and through him, at all times and in all
places, may give thanks to you in all things. Amen.

And now unto God’s gracious mercy and protection we commit you.

May the Lord bless you and keep you.

May the Lord lift up the light of His countenance upon you and give you His peace this day and forever more. 

Amen. 

Thursday update July 30, 2020

Good morning! Can you believe it’s almost August?

Here are a few reminders and announcements for this week:

Please join us for worship on Sunday, August 2nd at 9:00 am in the church yard. Please wear a mask and bring your own chairs. You do not need to RSVP at this time. We hope you can attend 😊

Please join us for Morning Prayer each day at 8:00 AM on the porch.

We also offer an evening prayer service over Zoom on Wednesdays. An invitation is sent to everyone on email. Let us know if you need it.

Jennifer will be in the office on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. If you would like to stop by, she can meet you on the porch. Please wear a mask for in office meetings.

We are selling grocery cards to Food Lion, Martins, Sheetz and Home Depot. You may purchase these after worship or call the office for a time to stop by.
A portion of these sales benefits Trinity and you receive the entire amount.

Thank you to everyone who donated food this month!

Jenny and Mark Hollis delivered the food to JCCM and we had a total of 152 pounds. Special thanks to them for taking it over to Charles Town.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend!
Jennifer Perrotte
Parish Secretary
304-876-6990

Zoom Evening Prayer, Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Dear Friends,

Trinity Church is inviting you to a 7:00 pm Zoom Evening Prayer meeting on Wednesday, July 29.  Log in begins at 6:45 pm.  Follow the link below. 

The Service is Daily Evening Prayer, Rite One, found on Page 61 of the Book of Common Prayer.  Please contact the office if you need a Prayer Book. 

We welcome participants to read a section of the service.  Possible sections are: The Psalm and/or Readings appointed for the day, The Song of Mary, The Song of Simeon, The Apostles Creed and/or The General Thanksgiving.

The Readings appointed for this Wednesday evening are:  Psalm 119:25-48; BCP Page 765; Acts 12:18-25; and Mark 2:13-22

There will be time after Evening Prayer to chat & catch up with friends.   We hope you will join us!

———————————–

Topic: Trinity Church’s Evening Prayer Zoom Meeting

Time: Jul 29, 2020 06:45 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting
https://zoom.us/j/97017550323?pwd=ZjF0ZG94Y1pJQmltMER2U0Y3bU5lZz09

Meeting ID: 970 1755 0323
Passcode: 431603

Trinity Thrift Shop Reopening

The Trinity Thrift Shop is now open Fridays 10:00 – 4:00 and Saturdays 10:00 – 1:00. We ask for everyone’s continued patience… As with other businesses, new “norm”:

Shop open Fridays 10:00 – 4:00 and Saturdays 10:00 – 1:00. 
Masks and social distancing mandatory
Only 2 shoppers at a time
Line up to get in on bricked sidewalk along the ribboned fence
Suggest bringing own bags
No bathroom facilities at this time

Donation hours for back porch Thursdays starting at 1:00 p.m. through Sunday evening.  We appreciate all the donations the Shepherdstown Community has provided to us.  However, for the health of all, we must limit the hours.  As a reminder, the Thrift Shop cannot accept toys, strollers, VCR tapes, furniture, other large items and electronics due to limited space/health and safety concerns.  Tax receipts are available during business hours. 

If anyone has questions about the Thrift Shop, please call (304) 876-6990.