Reflections on Today’s Scripture Lessons by Arthur Cash:
First Reading Acts 1: 15 – 17, 21 – 26
Today our reading in Acts returns to the opening chapter. We hear about the election of Matthias to fill the vacancy in the apostles left by the exclusion of Judas. There were to be twelve members. Because there had been twelve tribes of Israel, twelve had because a sacred number.
I would guess that our bishops thought the story they cut from the middle of our reading was too unpleasant for such nice folks as we. Judas takes his ill-gotten gains and buys a field. As soon as he steps into it, his abdomen bursts open, his guts spill out, and he dies. Luke, if he is the author, seems not to have know Matthew’s story of Judas hanging himself (Matt 27;5)
Second Reading: 1 John
Our reading continues those of the last two Sundays. Human testimony that Jesus is the Christ, from, for example, John the Baptist, is inferior to God’s own testimony. That testimony is found in our own hearts. (Suggestive of Jeremiah 31:33, “I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts.) God testifies that he gives eternal life to those who “have” the Son .But that life is denied to all who do not have the Son. His sweeping statement would seem to include, not only sinners and non-believers, but non-Christian peoples as well. This is disappointing to me, for I do not believe that atheists and people of other faiths are cut off from God’s love. But I don’t think John really meant that. In the opening of this sermon-letter, he had said the contrary that Jesus’ atonement is not only for “us” “but” for the sins of the whole world” (our reading of 15 April, 1:1 – 2:2), His remark here is probably directed toward Gnostics and other groups he considered heretical, splinter Christian sects that have lost Christ.
Many thanks to our musicians today; The Orfeo Duo, Vita and Ishmael Wallace, and the Clarinet Quartet, Christa Somers, Carl Jackson, Natasha Cook and Liz Player (bass clarinet), for providing incredible music today and always at St. Mary’s Church! May God bless you all always for using your gifts and talents for the benefit of our community! Thanks so much!!
Eccelsia: Marcus Garvey Park: St. Mary’s is the lead congregation on the first and fifth Sunday each month. We always need some volunteers to help prepare the “Second Meal” following the service. 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.
MANHATTAN TOGETHER ASSEMBLY. JUNE 19th at 7:00 pm sharp — Confirmed external guests, Christine Quinn, City Council Speaker. Manhattan Together has also invited Senator Charles E. Schumer. His participation has yet to be confirmed. Location to be determined.