February 26, 2012

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

 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 if you wish to participate.

 TODAY: The Harlem Chamber Players present “Black History Month Celebration” 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.

Manhattan North IPC Lenten Services: Wednesday Evenings at 7:00 pm; Evening Prayer followed by a Fellowship meal.

February 29:    Intercession, 155th Street and Broadway

  • March 7:                        St. Mary’s, You know where we are!!
  • March 14:          Holy Rood, 179th Street and Ft. Washington Ave.
  • March 21:           All Souls, 88 St. Nicholas Ave. (between 114th and 115th Streets)
  • March 28:          St. Ambrose, 9 West 130th Street (just off fifth Ave.)

Lenten Book Study: “Becoming a Blessed Church” Mondays at 7:00 pm (soup included!); Please see Rev. Kooperkamp for a copy of the book. Suggested by Dorothy Ross, Thanks!!

Two new Deacons will be ordained on Saturday, March 3rd at 10:30 am at the Cathedral: Ms. Christine Lee and Ms. Sarah Kooperkamp. Please keep them in your prayers.

St. Mary’s Annual Meeting will take place next Sunday, March 4th, the Second Sunday of Lent. This is an important meeting to hear about our future plans as a parish and to elect leaders for our congregation.

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. March 2: moneyball, 2011, drama, pg-13; brad pitt uses algorithms to win at baseball. good stuff.

The Episcopal Church Women: Prayer Group meets on the second Sunday of the month, the ECW meets on the third Sunday of the month.

Consecration of a new Co-adjutor Bishop for our Diocese: Saturday, March 11th at 10:30 at the Cathedral, the Rev. Canon Andrew Dietsche will be consecrated: all are invited.

Preaching Schedule:  March 4th, 1st Sunday of Lent, Rev. Earl Kooperkamp; followed by St. Mary’s Annual Parish Meeting.

Reflections on Today’s Scripture Lessons: by Arthur Cash

 First Reading: Genesis 9: 8 – 17

God proclaims an unconditional covenant with Noah and his descendents, that is, no requirement is laid on mankind: God will never again send such a flood. The bow in the sky at the time of rain is for God to see, to remind him of his promise. We take the bow in the clouds to be a rainbow, but the Hebrew word for bow never means an arc: it means a weapon. God formerly used the bow to cast lightening against the earth (see Psalms 7, 18: Habakkuk 3: 11), but now it has been laid aside in the clouds.

 Second Reading: First Peter 3: 18 – 22

We know nothing about the author of this letter named Peter, who wrote about 115 CE. He is not the disciple, who was martyred at Rome in 64 CE. Second Peter was composed about 150 CE by yet another obscure man of that name. Our reading begins with a statement of the doctrine that Christ died to redeem mankind,

What interests me are the two statements in this letter that Christ after his death on the cross descended into hell. The miraculous incident is told nowhere else in the Bible. Yet it was fixed as doctrine in the Apostle’s Creed—“He descended into hell.”(The two translations in the BCP, pp. 66 and 120, differ slightly.) These statements presume the ancient Jewish concept of Sheol, in English Bibles usually rendered as  “Hades.” Sheol wasn’t a place for punishment. These ancient Jews believed God’s justice was carried out in this life, prosperity for the good, and misery for the bad. Sheol was nothing but the abode of the dead, good people and wicked people together. But it was a dreadful place a “land of gloom and deep darkness” from whish there is no return (Job 7:9; 10:20-22). A land of silence, the inhabitants of which have no memory, and are out of touch with God (Psalms 88, 94, 114, 115). The inhabitants of Sheol are alive, but deprived of living.

In Chapter three, Christ is said to have descended to help the spirits “in prison,” oddly, to preach to the sinners who died in the flood (3: 18 -20). But in the next chapter, Christ proclaims the gospel to “the dead” (seeming to mean all of the dead), “so they might live in the spirit as God does” (4:6). In short, Christ went down to Sheol to tell those who had never had a chance to hear the Word, that rebirth is available. In effect, by this act Christ abolished Sheol.

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