January 15, 2012

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

St. Mary’s will take on a new role, as a temporary shelter for men in the evenings. About a dozen men from the neighborhood will have cots in the Undercroft during the cold weather months. This is a new initiative from the NYC Department of Homeless Services and our Vestry agreed to help out with it. There may be some opportunities to volunteers as well. Please keep these men and St. Mary’s response in your prayers.

 The Episcopal Church Women meet today, on the third Sunday of the month.

 Do you LOVE to sing and praise God? Why not join St. Mary’s Choir!! Please pray on this and see Janet Dorman, our wonderful Choir Director.

 Men’s  Prayer Group: OK guys, let’s start 2012 off right and get the Men’s monthly Prayer Group back on track! Last Saturday of the month (January 28th) at 8:00 am.

Eccelsia: Marcus Garvey Park: St. Mary’s is the lead congregation on the first and fifth Sunday each month. We will need volunteers to help with the preparation of the “Second Meal” on January 29th, the Fifth Sunday this 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. Also: Socks are NEEDED; keep on “socking it to us!” and if you are able, bring new socks we can give to people during Outreach.

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. The New Movie Schedule is here: Jan 20: Martial Arts double feature: fist of legend, 1994, r, and hero, 2003, pg-13. jet li’s gritty break-out performance + his striking & poetic epic adventure; Jan. 27: midnight in paris, 2011 romantic comedy, pg-13. woody allen is back in good form. Feb. 3: black history special: the black power mixtape, 1967-1975 & 2011 documentary, ur, recently discovered interviews of panthers and other black leaders by Swedish journalists.

 “Harlem Secrets: Recipes from St. Mary’s” The Fundraising Committee is putting together a cookbook, with its own special St. Mary’s flavor: there will be stories, wit and some great cooking tips. Sign up on the back table to help! Thanks!!

The Vestry will meet next  Sunday, January 22nd following the 10:00 am service. All are invited.

Preaching Schedule: January 22nd: The Rev. Earl Kooperkamp, Prison Ministry Sunday

Reflections on Today’s Scripture Lessons: by Arthur Cash

 First Reading: First Samuel 3: 1 – 20

 Our reading is from the central book of the “Deuteronomic History,” which includes Joshua, Judges, First and Second Samuel, and First and Second Kings. The standards of history for these writers was loose compared to modern historians. No doubt they used court documents and legal records, but the facts gleaned from documents was mixed indiscriminately with legends and traditions. The narrative, written somewhere between 600-500 BCE, includes many parts that are much more ancient.   Our reading is about the commissioning of the boy Samuel to be God’s prophet. As short-short stories go, it is really good.

  Second Reading: First Corinthians 6:12 – 20

  Corinth was notoriously licentious, and Paul did not hesitate to scold those who misbehaved sexually.

Our reading opens with Paul’s quoting there of the slogans that people were using to justify their sexual freedom. Two of those he makes fun of, and then he turns to his task as scolder. From the standpoint of logic, Paul is unfair. He twists the meaning of the image of the body as “members of Christ,” and he abuses the very nice metaphor in Genesis that speaks of two people becoming “one flesh” in marriage, by using it for a union with a prostitute. His image of the body as God’s temple he had developed a little earlier in this same letter (3:16-17). Yet he also said in this letter, “Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God” (15:50). How could he hold that the body is simultaneously the holy temple of God but unworthy of his Kingdom? I don’t like this Puritan Paul. In my opinion, he has done more harm than good with this intolerance of sexual expression. In the clause of the final sentence,” you were bought with a price,” the price is the suffering and death of Jesus on the cross.

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