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10. Latest Bulletin (Oct. 15, 2017 11:00am),  and Sermon (Oct. 15, 2017)

Oct. 8, 2017    
11. Recent Services:                                

Sept. 24, Creation 4

Photos from Creation 4

Oct. 1, Creation 5

Photos from Creation 5

Oct. 8, Creation 5

Photos from Pentecost 18

Mike Newmans Block print of St. Peter's Christmas

 Block Print by Mike Newman


Beginning Nov. 12 for 4 Sundays in the Parish House ! (no class Nov. 26). Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol and the Bible.

A Christmas Carol has delighted audiences since it publication in 1843 in its book form and through the many movies made from its story. Few people know of Dickens’ connection with religion. A Christmas Carol has many Biblical references, some cleverly hidden within the story. The regeneration of Scrooge mirrors the regeneration of mankind in the Bible. Even with the title, “A Christmas Carol”, Dickens is using the meaning of “carol” familiar to him: a song celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. Dickens each chapter of his book a stave, a stanza of a song. We will discuss Chapter 1 of the book on the first Sunday. Where to find it ?

1. St. Peter’s website.

2 The book and audio are available free at Project Gutenberg on the web. It is available in plain text, formatted text, Kindle for book readers (with or with images). It is available in in audio in mp3 format and itunes audiobook

3 If you want a hardcopy, it is available on Amazon. Look for Dover Thrift edition for as little as $3 plus shipping. 

Actors who have played Scrooge

Check out this page for the actors who have played Scrooge.

Even better are links to the movies that you can watch online.

to the reports from Jan 15 Annual Meeting


Daily "Day by Day"

3-Minute Retreats invite you to take a short prayer break right at your computer. Spend some quiet time reflecting on a Scripture passage.

Knowing that not everyone prays at the same pace, you have control over the pace of the retreat. After each screen, a Continue button will appear. Click it when you are ready to move on. If you are new to online prayer, the basic timing of the screens will guide you through the experience.

Follow the Star

Daily meditations in words and music.  

Sacred Space

Your daily prayer online, since 1999

"We invite you to make a 'Sacred Space' in your day, praying here and now, as you visit our website, with the help of scripture chosen every day and on-screen guidance."

Daily C. S. Lewis thoughts

Saints of the Week,  Oct. 15 -22

Teresa of Avila, Nun, 1582
Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley, Bishops, 1555, Bishops and Martyrs
Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch, and Martyr, c. 115
Saint Luke the Evangelist
Henry Martyn, Priest and Missionary to India and Persia, 1812

October 15, 2017 - Pentecost 19

Sunrise, Oct 10, 2017

Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017  

The Week Ahead...

Oct. 18 - 10:00am - Ecumenical Bible Study 

Oct. 18 - 3:30pm -5pm Village Harvest distribution 

Oct. 19 - 1:00pm - Vestry 

Oct. 21 - 6:30pm - ECW 

Oct. 22 - 10:00am - Godly Play for Adults

Oct. 22 - 10:00am - Children's Christian Ed with Becky

Oct. 22 - 11:00am - Holy Eucharist, Rite II

Sunday, Oct. 22,  Readings and Servers

We need these items:

For the "Buzzing Bees",  ongoing  

a. Granulated sugar, in any amount, so that Andrew Huffman, the beekeeper, can prepare it for the bees for food.

b. Mason jars, preferably pint size 16oz, for the bumper crop of honey that the bees will provide for harvesting next year

All Saints Remembrances 

The All Saint’s Day Service is Nov 5.

Email Catherine by Monday, Oct. 30 with the names of those who have died in the past year that you would like to have remembered.

Lectionary, Pentecost 20, Oct. 22

I.Theme -    Grow in trust and generosity as followers of Christ and discover new ways of living our stewardship. God rules over all creation.  

 "The Tribute Money" - Jacek Malczewski (1908)

The lectionary readings are here  or individually: 

Old Testament - Isaiah 45:1-7
Psalm - Psalm 96:1-9, (10-13) Page 725, BCP
Epistle -1 Thessalonians 1:1-10
Gospel - Matthew 22:15-22

In the Isaiah reading  God directs affairs of Israel’s adversaries. Isaiah 45:1-7 speaks of God’s anointing of Cyrus to help bring the deliverance of Israel out of exile

While the Jews were exiled in Babylon, the Persian emperor Cyrus began defeating neighboring kingdoms and letting the defeated peoples practice their own religions. Isaiah foresaw Cyrus defeating Babylon and liberating the captives there. The Jews would be free to return to Jerusalem. So in this passage, the prophet declares that Cyrus, even though a pagan, is God's instrument, even God's "Anointed," that is, "Messiah."

This is the only occurrence in the Old Testament of the term "messiah" referring to someone outside of the covenant community. Of Cyrus it is said that God calls him by name, language applied previously to Abraham and Israel, indicating a close relationship between God and his anointed ‘agent’. God’s sovereignty is, however, absolute: I am the Lord; there is no other

This was a daring thing to say by Isaiah so may have cost the prophet dearly.

Isaiah, while speaking to the Hebrews in exile about to return, gives us a glimpse of the kind of Messiah God would bring in Jesus–someone who would be an unlikely leader but one who would break through the gates and chains that kept the people separated from God–sin, the oppression by the religious elite, prejudice, poverty, racism, and all other barriers to freedom in God–Jesus would break these wide open. 

What was going on among the Christians in Thessalonia that led Saint Paul to write? That unfolds slowly in the selections we'll proclaim over five Sundays. From today's text, it's clear that these people worked hard at being Christians, and that Saint Paul thought that praiseworthy.  Paul greets them with the assurance that God has chosen them for great works of faith

Thessalonia was a new Chrstian community less than a year old. Despite this newness the Thessalonians are held up as examples for all across the young church. The word example is one that speaks volumes for the Thessalonians were folk who did not shout about what they had done, but acted out that they had turned from idols and all that that lead to and in that living proclaimed the Good News.

The life and faith of the Thessalonians, in the face of persecution, is a sign that God has chosen them: they are imitators of the Lord and an example to others. 

Psalm 96 sings praises to God who is the judge of the world, the judge of all nations, and reminds us that God is the one due our praise and worship, and that the whole earth is judged by God. Psalm 99 similarly sings of God as judge over the peoples, and that God hears the prayers of the prophets and priests who call on God’s name. Both psalms call upon the people to worship God and to remember that God is the one who is the judge of the world.

Matthew 22:15-22 is the story of how Jesus was questioned about paying taxes.  He redirects Pharisees thought to God’s sovereignty. 

The Pharisees were trying to trap Jesus, so they had the Herodians accompany them, members of the ruling family who were Hellenistic Jews–they had taken on the practices and culture of the Greeks and were mainly Jewish in name only, as they were privileged in living off of the wealth of the people and kept in power by Rome.

The question of whether or not it was lawful to pay taxes to the emperor was loaded. The tax in question was an annual tax, administered by Jewish authorities, but levied by Rome. This tax put such a burden on impoverished Jews in Palestine that, at least on one occasion, it provoked rebellion against Rome that ended the way Rome tended to end things – decisively and with much bloodshed. 

When Jesus is asked about paying taxes, they are questioning his authority–is the Messiah really going to rise up against Rome, which means rising up against these Herodians, or is this Messiah a coward, going to bow to the pressure of Herod’s family under Rome? 

So, if Jesus answers his opponents simply by saying yes, it is lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, then he risks alienating the poor and the oppressed who bore the greatest burden. And if he says, no, it is not lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, he risks facing charges of sedition. Jesus’ answer, therefore, is brilliant, as he allows for the possibility of paying these taxes but makes it clear to any person of faith that he or she must consider what belongs to God.

Jesus, in reminding them that the coin shows the Emperor’s face, saying the famous “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s,” shows that the Messiah is neither an earthly leader going to overthrow the Roman government nor is he a coward bowing to the pressures of the ruling class. 

God is concerned about Godly things–which is everything. Since God has given everyone all that they have, everything belongs to God. Caesar may think he is God or may be called a god, but he is not. If one knows the one true God, then one knows that all things come from God. God is interested in how we use our resources, how we live on this earth, how we do what God has called us to do, and is less concerned about whether or not we pay taxes. It is how we use what we have been given to further God’s kingdom and remembering that God has given us everything that is important.

Read more about the Lectionary...

Introduction to Thessalonians 

Editor's note - Passages from 1 Thessalonians will be the Epistle reading until Nov. 16. Here is a short introduction -

Thessalonica was a bustling seaport city at the head of the Thermaic Gulf. It was an important communication and trade center, located at the junction of the great Egnatian Way and the road leading north to the Danube.

It was the largest city in Macedonia and was also the capital of its province. Thessalonica was the largest city of Macedonia. It has been estimated that during Paul’s time its population may have been as high as 200,000. The majority of the inhabitants were Greeks, but there was also a mixture of other ethnic groups, including Jews

In c. 315 BCE Cassander, the son-in-law of Philip of Macedon (who fathered Alexander the Great) gathered and organized the area villages into a new metropolis, Thessalonica. He gave the city its name in honor of his wife, the half-sister of Alexander.

Thessalonica remained in Greek hands until 168 BCE, when the Romans took possession after winning the battle of Pydna

The Roman proconsul, the governor of Macedonia, had his residence in Thessalonica, but because it was a “free city” he did not control its internal affairs. No Roman garrison was stationed there, and in spirit and atmosphere it was a Greek rather than a Roman city. Enjoying local autonomy, the city was apparently governed by a board of magistrates

It is most likely that 1 Thessalonians was written shortly after Paul’s arrival in Corinth, for he would be eager to correspond with the new church as soon as possible. This would be spring of 50 CE. It may have been 51 CE based on an inscription discovered at Delphi, Greece. Thus, 1 Thessalonians is the second canonical book penned by the apostle Paul, written within two years after Galatians.

The background of the Thessalonian church is found in Ac 17:1–9. Since Paul began his ministry there in the Jewish synagogue, it is reasonable to assume that the new church included some Jews. However, 1:9–10; Ac 17:4 seem to indicate that the church was largely Gentile in membership.

Why Paul goes to Thessalonica ? 

Paul’s purpose in writing this letter was to encourage the new converts in their trials (3:3–5), to give instruction concerning godly living (4:1–12) and to give assurance concerning the future of believers who die before Christ returns (4:13–18)

On his Second Missionary Journey, Paul had travelled through Asia Minor. Paul wasn't a "solo missionary," rather he operated with a small team -- in this case it consisted of Paul, Silas, and Timothy.[4]

At Troas, Paul has a vision of a Man of Macedonia asking him to come and help them. He takes it as God's call, travelling to Macedonia and later to Greece (Achaia).

In Philippi he begins a church, but Paul and Silas end up being beaten and thrown in jail. They are released by m e ans of an e arthquake, convert their jailer and his family, but are still asked to leave by the city officials in the morning.

Undeterred, Paul and his band continue south to Thessalonica.

"1 When they had passed through[5] Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a Jewish synagogue. 2 As his custom[6] was, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with[7] them from the Scriptures, 3 explaining[8] and proving[9] that the Christ had to suffer and rise from the dead. 'This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Christ,' he said. 4 Some of the Jews were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a large number of God-fearing Greeks and not a few prominent women." (Acts 17:1-4)

Some of the converts are women of high rank, wives of city officials. However, most of the converts seem to have been Gentiles from the working class, and many of these are saved not from the synagogue, but directly from paganism (1:9). The Jews in Thessalonica are upset that Paul is attracting such a large following and seek to stop him.

"5 But the Jews were jealous; so they rounded up some bad characters from the marketplace,[10] formed a mob[11] and started a riot[12] in the city. They rushed[13] to Jason's house in search of Paul and Silas in order to bring them out to the crowd. 6 But when they did not find them, they dragged[14] Jason and some other brothers before the city officials, shouting: 'These men who have caused trouble[15] all over the world have now come here, 7 and Jason has welcomed them into his house. They are all defying Caesar's decrees, saying that there is another king, one called Jesus.'" (Acts 17:5-7)

Notice that the Jews don't attack Paul directly. They find "some bad characters from the marketplace" to do their dirty work for them. In this period, a militant messianic movement (different from Christianity) was spreading among Jewish communities. To stop the violence, in 49 AD Emperor Claudius expelled the Jews from Rome -- which is why Aquila and Priscilla had recently moved from Rome to Corinth (Acts 18:2).  

So when the mob accuses Paul and Silas of having "caused trouble all over the world" and "defying Caesar's decrees" with regard to a messiah figure, they are connecting Paul and Silas to the recent civil unrest among the Jews in Rome. That's why the Jews couldn't bring these charges themselves.[16]

"8 When they heard this, the crowd and the city officials were thrown into turmoil.[17]

9 Then they made Jason and the others post bond and let them go. 10 As soon as it was night, the brothers sent Paul and Silas away to Berea." (Acts 17:8-10a)

Jason is a prominent Jew who has converted to Christ, since elsewhere Paul seems to refer to him as a kinsman (Romans 16:21). The Greek name "Jason" was common among the Hellenistic Jews, who used it for "Jesus" or "Joshua."[18] Jason is apparently forced to put up money and pledge to the city officials that Paul and his band would leave the city and not cause further problems.

But the Thessalonian Jews don't stop there. They disrupt Paul's ministry in the next city, too.

"When the Jews in Thessalonica learned that Paul was preaching the word of God at Berea, they went there too, agitating[19] the crowds and stirring them up. The brothers immediately sent Paul to the coast, but Silas and Timothy stayed at Berea." (Acts 17:13-14)

Paul travels to Athens and stays there for a time. Later he goes to the Greek city of Corinth, where he apparently writes the Thessalonian letters

St. Peter's Church 823 Water Street  P. O. Box 399 Port Royal, Virginia 22535  804-742-5908.  Reverend Catherine D. Hicks, Priest-in-Charge, stpetersrev@gmail.com;    Site Map