Block Print by Mike Newman
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Daily meditations in words and music.
Saints of the Week, Sept. 14-21
|Holy Cross Day|
|Cyprian, Bishop and Martyr of Carthage, 258 (new date); and [James Chisholm, Priest, 1855]|
|Ninian, Bishop in Galloway, c. 430|
|Hildegard of Bingen, 1170|
|Edward Bouverie Pusey, Priest, 1882|
|Theodore of Tarsus, Archbishop of Canterbury, 690|
|John Coleridge Patteson, Bishop of Melanesia, and his Companions, Martyrs, 1871|
|Saint Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist|
Sunday, Sept. 14, 2014 (full size gallery)
September 21 - 10:00am, Godly Play
September 21 - 11:00am, Morning Prayer, Rite II
September 21 - 4:00pm, Gospel on the River
Lyra attracts over 80 to St. Peter's Sept 16, 2014
We were pleased to welcome Lyra, our second annual concert on Sept 16, 2014, a beautiful late summer evening in Port Royal.
Lyra is a collective of over 20 musicians in St. Peterburg Russia established in 1994. Smaller groups tour the US and other countries giving concerts. They congregate around their common experience as conservatory graduates and most are now involved in opera. Concert fees support both their travel and to strengthen the group. Sergey, the unofficial leader, said their current tour is 49 concerts over 45 days. St. Peter's was at the beginning of the tour, only arriving in the US the previous Thursday for Tuesdays concert.
As the concert program explained "LYRA’s main goal is exploring and popularizing Russian choral music from the ancient songs of the Orthodox Church to works of little-known, but remarkable composers of the 18th–20th centuries." Catherine linked this part of heaven, the ethereal side of the group. The second half she said was earth providing the Russian folk song tradition. "Folk songs of lyric, dancing and ritual nature are performed not only in the composer’s original arrangements, but those of LYRA’s as well. Secular songs of Russian classical composers Taneev, Tchaikovsky, and Rakhmaninov represent yet another side of LYRA’s creative activity."
We had between 80-100 people enjoying the concert and we are hoping we can continue the series in the future. We thank the Heimbachs and Davis for housing the group and particularly the Davis for the wine/cheese reception. This has become a hallmark of our concerts and we thank them for their contribution to this effort. We would also like to thank Historic Port Royal, Bill Carter and Shirley Collup for being sponsors of this program.
We consider these free concerts as part of our outreach to the community around Port Royal. They nourish our souls while our food and other ministries support basic human needs. Both contribute to the human spirit. You can still contribute to our concerts - St. Peter's Episcopal, P. O. Box 399 Port Royal, Virginia 22535 with concert in the memo line or online. Thanks to all for your support.
Gospel on the River, an annual celebration, Sept. 21 , 4pm
Gospel on the River is a wonderful way to welcome the fall, celebrate a bountiful harvest, remember old hymns and thank God for creation that is the Rappahannock River on a late Sunday afternoon.
Lectionary, September 21, 2014, Pentecost 15
I.Theme - Grace to all who ask. However, we often covet God's power to forgive and God's control over who is forgiven and how.
"Late Arriving Workers" - Jesus Mafa (1973)
The lectionary readings are here or individually:
The scriptures focus on God’s gift of grace in the Old Testament and Gospel readings. We should not covet it or second guess and we may wait on the promise. As the Psalm emphasizes, praise God’”wonderous works” and celebrate the mercy, compassion and goodness of God.
There is a sense of unity that should prevail as Paul stresses in the Epistle to the Philippians. They are bound together with Paul in a mutually supportive relationship -- they share his conflict and suffering, because their entire struggle is a sharing in the sufferings of Christ. They are to live as free citizens -- not of Rome, but of God's coming rule on earth and stand firm in the face of adversity and to be loving and unselfish in their behavior towards one another.
In the Old Testament reading, Jonah, has run away to avoid delivering the message of forgiveness that God has sent him to proclaim. Jonah complains about God giving grace to those in Ninevah "for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and ready to relent from punishing," and surely this cannot be for them? Jonah regarded God's "steadfastness" and grace as the unique, covenantal possession of Israel. However, it was not unthinkable that God would "change his mind" with regard to the nations.
Ancient Nineveh was well known for its lawlessness and violence. Nineveh was the capital of Israel's greatest enemy, Assyria. Assyria would later depose Israel sending them to Babylonia.
Yet Nineveh also represents second chances to hear and obey the Lord. However, Jonah becomes angry, deserts Ninevah . God then caused tree to grow over Jonah but then sent a worm to attack the bush and then sent the heat and wind against Jonah.
In the Gospel’s parable of the workers in the vineyard, Jesus likens the kingdom of heaven to a foreman who hired laborers early in the morning, then successively throughout the day at the third, sixth, ninth, and eleventh hours. A twelve-hour day of manual labor, with the "burden of the work and the heat of the day" is a long day. That evening the foreman settled accounts, paying those who had worked a meager one hour the same as those who had worked twelve hours.
The repeated visits to the marketplace by the landowner to look for laborers is a warning to anticipate some other unexpected behavior from him. He is looking for the many to bring into the kingdom. In the Gospel, grace comes to those who work many or few hours. God’s grace is open to all.
For Jesus the parable teaches that the gift of eternal life is not the reward of human merit, but a free gift of divine grace. The sacrifices of the followers of Jesus will be honored by God, but the reward will so far outstrip the sacrifice that it can only be called sheer grace, something God gives us or brings about in our lives that we cannot earn or bring about on our own steam.
In an article in the The Chautauqan Daily, lecturer Amy-Jill Levine writes:
"Many of the people in Jesus’ audience would have been day laborers and identified with the people in the story.
"Equal wages for workers, no matter what time of day they were hired, was not an unfamiliar aspect to Jewish law.
"The shock of the parable so far is not that everybody was paid equally; it’s how they were paid and the expectation that the first hired would actually receive more,” Levine said.
“The problem is not about economics; it’s about social relations,” Levine said. “They’re thinking in terms of limited good. … They’re thinking in terms of what they think is fair, but the landowner is thinking in terms of what he thinks is just.”
"..perhaps the parable helps us redefine our sense of what good life, abundant living, means. We might have thought that the most important thing in life is to be fair, which means to be impartial. But perhaps the more important criterion is to be generous.”
The parable is part of the great reversal – first will be last and the last will be first.
Those who begrudge the landowners generosity were those who felt that they had earned what they received, rather than see their work and wages as gifts. The wages at stake (even at the moment of Jesus' first telling of the parable) are not actual daily wages for vineyard-laborers, but forgiveness, life, and salvation for believers.
The scandal of this parable is that we are all equal recipients of God's gifts. The scandal of our faith is that we are often covetous and jealous when God's gifts of forgiveness and life are given to other in equal measure.
The reversal saying is also a word of challenge to the disciples in their attitudes toward women and children, and other "unimportant" people with whom Jesus chooses to mingle and eat, whom he heals and restores. The disciples could be among the last.
The disciples, hearing this strange saying about reversal of status probably identified with the last who would become first. But Jesus was using the saying to caution them that, in a spiritual sense, they are in danger of becoming the first who would be last. Jesus' followers are to beware of spiritual arrogance that makes them the self-appointed elite of others of lower degree.