July 31, 2011

                   THE LITURGY OF THE WORD  

 Good Morning and Welcome to St. Mary’s Church!

 St. Mary’s Summertime Parish Picnic, TODAY, July 31. We will celebrate at 10:00 am in Marcus Garvey Park, have a picnic and finish the day at 2:00 pm with the Ecclesia Service. Come join us. There will be a regular service at 8:00 am. 

 Cook off and flea market: August 6th 10:00 am – 5:00 pm, rain or shine: come to taste the food by our great cooks and to sell (or find) some incredible bargains!

 

 Spirit and Strife Peer Trauma Support Group. If you are a trauma survivor, please join St. Mary’s in a new ministry to co-create a safe, loving, faith-inspired space in which to develop strategies for resilience and recovery. Meeting: Saturdays , 10:00 am – 12:00 pm. See Lysander Puccio for more information.

 St. Mary’s Summer Camp is in the house! until Aug. 4, 2011: Now open for REGISTRATION: call the Church Office at (212) 864-4013 to register. Registration forms are available on the back table. Keep praying for the Summer Camp Program and the director, Ms. Deborah Snyder.

 Eccelsia: Marcus Garvey Park: Sundays at 2:00 pm. St. Mary’s is the lead congregation on the first Sunday each month. Also: St. Mary’s Homeless Street Outreach: Saturdays, 12:00 noon preparation and 2:00 pm Street Outreach. Please let us know if you can help and keep the Homeless Street Outreach in your prayers.

 Movies at St. Mary’s: 6:00 pm on Fridays. Come for the fellowship, the popcorn and the FUN!!  Also, we need volunteers to help. Thanks!! July 29: “Food, Inc.” (find out where your food REALLY comes from; PG). Also: Teen Jam, August 5th: “Sparkle” (singing Harlem Sisters make it big and find trouble; PG), Teen Jam after the movie until 9:30 pm.

 Summertime Blues: please don’t let it happen to St. Mary’s Church! If you are going to be away this summer, please make your pledge payments in advance, if you can, so that we can stay financially healthy as we seek to carry out God’s mission throughout all the year. Thank you so much (in advance!)

 Preaching schedule: July 31: Parish Picnic; August 7: Rev. Kooperkamp

 Reflections on today’s scripture readings: Prepared by Arthur Cash

 First Reading:  Genesis 32: 22 – 31

     This story by “J” is one of the most fascinating in the Bible. Jacob and his family (a large group of wife, children, numerous servants, and many animals) are traveling toward Haran when he hears that Esau, his macho older brother whom he cheated out of his rights, is coming with a small army to meet him. Fearful, he prays to  God to protect him. In the prayer he admits he is unworthy of Gods many favors (32:10). The family is camped by the river Jabbok.  In the night, Jacob sends his wives and children and their servants across the river. He himself courageously stays behind. But in the night comes, not Esau, but a “man” who wrestles with him. Jacob is a man of giant strength (see his removal of the stone purposely chosen so that only two men could move it; 29:10). and the “man cannot prevail in the wrestling. To get away from Jacob, he dislocates Jacob’s hip. Jacob, despite the pain of a dislocated hip, will not release the “man” until he blesses him. He does so, renaming Jacob, Israel (meaning “one who strives with God). Jacob believes he has seen God “face to face.” However, many commentators are reluctant to find in the figure an incarnation of God. Too similar to Jesus? They interpret him as God’s angel. 

 Second Reading:  Romans 9: 1 – 5

     Paul here agonizes over the fact that his people have not accepted Christ. The last line is particularly interesting. Because the earliest text of the letter, like all early Greek texts, lack punctuation, the letter can be read in several ways. Translators are forced to decide which meaning Paul intended. They have several choices. Our text (from the New Revised Standard Version) reads, (1) “…Messiah, who is God over all, God blesses forever.” The footnotes give two alternative translations; (2) ”…Messiah, who is God over all, blessed forever,” and (3) “…Messiah. May he who is God over all be blessed forever.” The King James Bible renders it (4) “…in the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever.” Number 2, certainly, and 3, possibly, speak of Christ as God.

 

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