February 5, 2012

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

Welcome to our new sister in Christ, Kristina Victoria Rose Shark, the daughter of Mercedes Shark, grad-daughter of April Jackson and Sean McGann, great grand-daughter of Barbara Jackson and her godparents, Darin and Linda Burton, Kristina Oliver and Anthony McGann. May God bless her always and may she grow in the full stature of Christ.

 Peace of Pizza: Wednesday, Feb. 8th at 7:00pm, our monthly fellowship and discussion with the members of the New York Intern Program. All are invited.

The Property Committee will meet on Feb. 9th at 5:30. Come to help with the work of putting St. Mary’s best ‘face’ forward in 2012. Please see Liz Mellen for more information.

 Absalom  Jones Festival, Saturday,  February 11th, 10:30 am at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. All are invited to give thanks for the life and witness of the first African American priest in the Episcopal Church and to join the Union of Black Episcopalians, New York Chapter, for a celebration during Black History Month. Please see Jerry McMillan if you an interested in attending.

 The Mardi Gras Masked Ball is coming soon, February 18th!! Mark your calendars, tell your friends and get involved. We need lots of willing hands to make this another unforgettable evening for St. Mary’s. Please see Lisa Slocum to see how you can help out. Tickets are now available: $20.00 for dinner, entertainment and tons of fun!

 St. Mary’s Annual “Poetry Sunday” February 26th!! Calling all poets to bring your favorite work to read at our services. Please see Bonnie Phelps or Emma Collins if you wish to participate.

 The Harlem Chamber Players present “Black History Month Celebration” Sunday, February 26th at 3:00 pm at St. Mary’s Church. Join Music at St. Mary’s for an incredible concert hosted by Mr. Terrance McKnight of WQXR. $15 General Admission; $10 Students/Seniors. Please call (212) 866-1492 for more information.

LENT Bgeins: Ash Wednesday February  22,Imposition of Ashes and Holy Communion at 7:30 am, 12 noon and 6:30 pm.

Preaching Schedule: Feb. 12th: Rev. Earl Kooperkamp; At next Sunday’s service we will join with Interfaith Power and Light for a “National Preach-in on Global Warming.” We will collect signatures on the Clean Air Promise and mail in these “Valentine’s Day” cards to our U.S. Senators to take action to care for our earth.

 

Reflections on Today’s Scripture Lessons: by Arthur Cash

 First Reading: Isaiah 40: 21 – 31

Our reading is from the first chapter of “Second Isaiah,” the poet who sang of the return of the Babylonian exiles to Jerusalem and their new nation, Judea. The first twenty verses are joyful, but our reading picks up at the point when God, as Isaiah represents him, speaks to skeptics and doubters. He begins by pointing out his astounding creations and his vigilant providence. But lest we think of God as a sort of engineer, Isaiah reminds us of his mystery: “his understanding is unsearchable.” And well might it be, for as Isaiah says next, the world is full of suffering. I admire Isaiah for facing the problem of evil: but what does his answer amount to ? At one level it is simple: God will not forget the sufferer and will give him the strength and wherewithal to get on with life. But anyone who looks at the world realistically will find this inadequate: every day masses of people, including people of faith, are not upheld, but die in pain or terror. Isaiah seems to understand this, for he frees us to take the lines as symbolic of some sort of transcendence. The weak are going to “mount up with the wings of eagles.” That suggests an unsearchable mystery far beyond physical recue.

 

Second Reading: First Corinthians 9: 16 – 23

In this letter on what it means to be a Christian, and what is required of a Christian, there is a section on the particular difficulties of keeping faith in a world where most people worship pagan gods. In our reading Paul tries to explain his own authority as the minister of the community. He doesn’t do his work for a reward, but because he was commissioned to do it. He gets no reward for doing what God required of him. He does it willingly because he is delighted to assist in the spreading of the gospel. He frequently seeks converts by temporarily taking on the practices and attitudes of those whom he is addressing.

 

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