Journey of the Magi

This is the poem that Fr. Paul was referencing in today’s sermon:

A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a journey, and such a long journey:
The ways deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter.’
And the camels galled, sorefooted, refractory,
Lying down in the melting snow.
There were times we regretted
The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces,
And the silken girls bringing sherbet.
Then the camel men cursing and grumbling
and running away, and wanting their liquor and women,
And the night-fires going out, and the lack of shelters,
And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly
And the villages dirty and charging high prices:
A hard time we had of it.
At the end we preferred to travel all night,
Sleeping in snatches,
With the voices singing in our ears, saying
That this was all folly.

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Weekly Reflection and News: January 16, 2020

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John saw Jesus coming toward him and declared, “Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks ahead of me because he was before me.’ I myself did not know him; but I came baptizing with water for this reason, that he might be revealed to Israel.” And John testified, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ And I myself have seen and have testified that this is the Son of God.”

The next day John again was standing with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he exclaimed, “Look, here is the Lamb of God!” The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, “What are you looking for?” They said to him, “Rabbi” (which translated means Teacher), “where are you staying?” He said to them, “Come and see.” They came and saw where he was staying, and they remained with him that day. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon. One of the two who heard John speak and followed him was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated Anointed). He brought Simon to Jesus, who looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You are to be called Cephas” (which is translated Peter).
-John 1:29-42

John said, “I came…that he might be revealed to Israel.” I have long thought that the Church is like John the Baptist. We exist to make Jesus known in the world. In John’s day, nobody had any inklings about Jesus, the Messiah, or the whole religious tradition that would arise around his story. In today’s world many people have had exposure to the religion of Jesus, whether or not they have encountered the risen Christ in their lives. An increasing number of people are as uninformed about Jesus as the Jews in Jesus’ day. They have a sense of being spiritual, but it has precious little organized religious expression. In fact, unlike in John’s day, there is a widespread distrust of organized religion. Religion is seen as a promotor of bigotry, isolationism and self-serving hypocrisy. John didn’t come to reveal a religion. He came to reveal Jesus.

Jesus said, “Come and see.” To the ones who inquired, the seeker, the interested, or those sensing a spiritual void or need, Jesus invites people to join him. He offers no explanations or rationalizations, no mission statements and no causes, just a simple, person-to-person invitation to try out the community of Jesus for a while and then make up their own minds.

Perhaps Jesus’ invitation is the way to make Jesus known. As we as a parish gather this Sunday to look back at where we’ve come from, and then forward where we would like to go, we do so as a religious community gathered. Let us never forget that Jesus is the core of our community. Our purpose is the same as John’s; our methods should be those of Jesus.

The Rev. Paul Moore
Priest at St. Paul’s (email)


ANNOUNCEMENTS

You are invited!
Skagit Habitat for Humanity is pleased to announce the completion of the first two homes in the Batey Street neighborhood in Sedro-Woolley. These homes were built in a unique partnership with Habitat volunteers, the two Habitat families and students in the Sedro-Woolley High School Geometry in Construction program. Join us in celebrating these two families as they complete their journey to homeownership.
What: Home Dedication Ceremony
When: Saturday, January 25, 2020 from 3-4 pm
Where: 1205 & 1303 Batey Street, Sedro-Woolley

Following a short program, guests may tour the homes and refreshments will be served. An invitation flyer will be posted in the office window and on the bulletin board in the Parish Hall. You may also contact Carol Boss (360.399.7927) if you have questions or would like additional information.

Faith Over Fear: Four-Hour Ally Training
Saturday, February 1, 2020 -1:00 PM to 5:00 PM
Trinity Lutheran Church: 6215 196th St SW, Lynnwood, WA 98036

The Faith Over Fear four-hour Ally Training will give you tested strategies to use in response to these challenging questions – and the fears that underlie them. Participants will learn about: Islamophobia and Its Impacts, Islam and American Muslims, Effective, Values-Based Messaging, and How to Respond to Difficult Questions. (Register Here)

Save the Date!
Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper: February 25, 2020, 5:30 – 7:00 p.m.
In the recent tradition of fun and successful Shrove Tuesday Pancake Suppers, your Stewardship Committee is making plans for 2020. Please set this date aside in your calendars. There will be opportunities for you to give of your time and to let your talents shine! More importantly, it will be an opportunity to inthe 23rd at 7:30 p.m. in the Sanctuaryvite your friends and family to come and meet our welcoming and friendly church community. More details to follow!

Lenten Series based on Barbara Brown Taylor’s book
Wednesday Evenings in Lent (March 4, 11, 18, 25, April 1 & 8) we will gather at 5:30 p.m. in the Parish Hall for some rich community and conversation on An Altar in the World: A Geography of Faith. Order your book wherever you buy books or sign up on the sheet in the Parish Hall and we will order a copy for you. Come & see.

EVENTS

Annual Parish Meeting & Potluck, this Sunday!
Our Parish’s Annual Meeting will be this Sunday, January 19, 2020, following a joint worship service with Resurrección at 9:30 a.m. Please plan to join us for this opportunity to hear updates about our parish, celebrate and reflect on what we have done and to pray our way forward together. To give our brains some fuel for the task to come, please bring something to share! Resurrección will be joining us so please bring a bit extra. We will provide the coffee.

You’re the best type – Give Blood!
Tuesday, January 21, 2020 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (closed 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.) in the Parish Hall here at St. Paul’s. For information and to sign up contact Bloodworks NW at 1-800-398-7888 or go to http://bloodworksnw.org. Give someone a better tomorrow, donate blood today!

Choir
The next Choir practice for the month of January 2020 is on the 23rd at 7:30 p.m. in the Sanctuary.


Serving This Sunday: January 19, 2020
8:00 a.m. Morning Prayer
Officiant: Margaret Bird

9:30 a.m. Bilingual Eucharist w/ Resurrección
Presider: The Reverend Paul Moore
Deacon: The Reverend Dennis Taylor
Music Director: Pam Pryor
E.M.: Margaret Bird, Baudelina Paz
E.V.: Bob Johnson
Greeters: Bob & Sharon Johnson
Lectors: Margie Lauer, Baudelina Paz
*Coffee Hour: Annual Parish Meeting Potluck
Counters: Susan Cooper, Sandy McDougall
Sound: Ben Worrell

E.M. is Eucharistic Minister.
E.V. is Eucharistic Visitor.
* Sign-up sheet is in the Parish Hall.

Weekly Reflection and News: January 9, 2020

Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now; for it is proper for us in this way to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented. And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.”
-Matthew 3:13-17

Our daughter-in-law gave birth to our fourth grandchild three months ago. For nine months, we watched and lived with her as her body changed and grew, and we all wondered what this child would be like. The couple refused to reveal a name. Her belly was a great mystery developing, a package of love to be delivered into our family. When Gabriel Bruce did arrive, we were all overjoyed to meet this child. Even now, at three months, we have seen his personality begin to reveal itself.

Baptism is a great revealing. We speak of it as a birth and a bath, a bath washing away sin, and a birth into a new life. A question we have all asked is, “Why is Jesus’ baptism a pattern for our own when Jesus never sinned?” Perhaps the “bath “part of baptism isn’t seen in Jesus’ baptism, but the birth certainly is. Following baptism, Jesus begins public ministry. In baptism, Jesus is revealed as the Christ, the anointed one sent into the world, the son of God. In our baptisms, we are recognized as children of God. It is not so much that we make children of God, that’s God’s work. We recognize, catch up with the divine in the waters of baptism.

Jesus’ public ministry began after baptism. How many of us also need to move into public ministry in ways that perhaps we have not thought of?

The Rev. Paul Moore
Priest at St. Paul’s (email)


In Epiphany We Trace, All the Glory of His Grace

With the First Sunday in Advent, we begin one of two major cycles of the Church year: Advent-Christmas-Epiphany (the Incarnation Cycle). In our liturgies, seasonal changes in scripture readings, liturgical texts, music and practice, along with colors and ornamentation, reveal each season’s meaning within the overall shape of the cycle of which it is a part.

Advent means “arrival” and “coming.” At Christmas, God’s promise of salvation is revealed in the birth of Jesus. Epiphany means “appearance, manifestation.” We hear stories of God revealed in Jesus, God in a human being made manifest. The season begins with the visit of the magi to the manger on the Feast of Epiphany and the baptism of Jesus on the first Sunday after. It ends with the vision of Jesus transfigured on the mountaintop, shot through with the glory of his divinity. Epiphany is a season of growing revelation and realization of what Advent points to and Christmas makes reality…
-The Rev. Janet Campbell

Click here to read the full article on the Diocesan website.


ANNOUNCEMENTS

Vestry Meetings
The next Vestry meeting is January 13, 2020 at 3:00 p.m. in the Parish Hall.

Annual Meeting
Our Parish Annual Meeting will be held Sunday, January 19, 2020 following the 9:30 a.m. Bilingual worship service. Your reports are due TOMORROW, January 10, 2020 via email here.
Thank you for all you do!

This Sunday!
Celebration of the Baptism of our Lord: Sunday, January 12, 2020 at 8:00 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. Also, our Faith Community Nurses will have a free blood pressure check on Sunday, January 12 during coffee hour here at St. Paul’s.

Choir – TODAY!
Choir practice for the month of January 2020 is on the 9th and 23rd at 7:30 p.m. in the Sanctuary.

You’re the best type – Give Blood!
Tuesday, January 21, 2020 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (closed 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.) in the Parish Hall here at St. Paul’s. For information and to sign up contact Bloodworks NW at 1-800-398-7888 or go to bloodworksnw.org. Give someone a better tomorrow, donate blood today!


Serving This Sunday: January 9, 2020
8:00 a.m. Baptism of Our Lord
Officiant: Darcy Wells

9:30 a.m. Baptism of Our Lord
Presider: The Reverend Paul Moore
Music Director: Pam Pryor
Musician: David Sloat
E.M.: Andy Schuh
E.V.: Mary Ann Taylor
Greeters: Ray DeBoer, Penny Worrell
Lectors: Alec & Sandy McDougall
*Coffee Hour: Marilyn Allen
Counters: Sharon Johnson, Carol Boss
Sound: Ben Worrell

E.M. is Eucharistic Minister.
E.V. is Eucharistic Visitor.
* Sign-up sheet is in the Parish Hall.

Weekly Reflection and News: January 2, 2020

In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.” When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet:

`And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who is to shepherd my people Israel.'”

Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage.” When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.
-Matthew 2:1-12

20/20. What one normally sees at 20 feet. Perfect vision, or rather, normal vision, the standard for human capacity to perceive.

However, this assumes that perception and division are the same thing. I know better. I am sure you do too. How many times have I looked for my car keys over and over again only to find them laying in plain sight? How many times has a comment by someone who knows me well opened my own inner eye to inner truth that had not yet been seen?

This Sunday we celebrate the Epiphany. The word evokes the uncovering or revealing of light, or truth – the truth about Jesus. During Epiphany season we are going to be looking at ways that our stories and Scripture’s stories revealed the nature of Christ in the world. During this Epiphany season all the way to Ash Wednesday, we will be looking at what the Scriptures say about Jesus and how the story of Jesus shines light on our own stories. We begin with the story of wisemen from the east revealing the nature of the baby born in Bethlehem.

We can all tell our own Epiphany stories. These are moments when the truth of Jesus shone light on our past, revealed truth, or opened up a path forward. If you have a story you would like to share, please email it to Father Paul. It may be worked into one of the Epiphany sermons.

The Rev. Paul Moore
Priest at St. Paul’s (email)


“One thing this year of pilgrimage and my sabbatical of pilgrimage have taught me is that with each step, we are changed. We arrive at every new turn or hill or stream new and different. Each day we leave behind the person we were yesterday.”

Bishop Rickel shares his thoughts and reflections on our year of listening and discernment, and he gives his decision to the diocese about his next steps on the road ahead. (transcript)


Announcements

Emergency Preparedness
St. Paul’s Emergency Preparedness Team has some information on what you can do and who you can call in the event of a power outage at your home. Volunteers are willing to drive and pick up anyone who would otherwise be able to due to poor conditions or night driving. Contact Sandy McDougall (alecsandym@gmail.com or 360-630-9405) for more information.

POWER OUTAGE – WARM HOMES
Call first! All the volunteers will pick you up as needed.
Alec & Sandy McDougall: (360) 424-6510 or (360) 630-9405 at 16387 Calhoun Rd. – Beds, 2 Queen & 2 – 4” pads.
Andy & Bonnie Schuh: (949) 735-9895 or (949) 735-6289 at 405 S. 9th street – Beds 1 T & 1 D.
Margie Lauer: (425 )248-9336 – 23840 Nookachamp Hills Dr. – Bed 1 Q.
Barbara Cheyney: (360) 391-3899 – 2521 Stonebridge Way – Beds 2 T.
You may call the McDougalls 24/7.

Safe Food without Electricity:
A full refrigerator will maintain safe temperatures for up to 6 hours. A full freezer will maintain safe temperatures for 2 days, and a half-full one for 1 day. Frozen foods that are still somewhat frozen are still safe. If in doubt, throw it out. The most potentially hazardous foods are meat, dairy products, eggs, soft cheeses, cooked, beans, potatoes, pasta, custards, and puddings. Some food may not be hazardous but the quality may be affected; salad dressings, mayonnaise, produce, hard cheeses, etc. Foods that are safe: ketchup, mustard, relishes, jams, peanut butter, barbecue sauces, bottled beverages, etc.

Gimme Shelter – A Tasty, Musical, Friend & Fund Raiser
January 4, 2020 • 4:00 PM – 10:00 PM at Lincoln Theater, 712 S 1st St, Mt Vernon, WA. Come mingle and enjoy a night of musical fun, tasty treats & local art. To support our neighbors on our southern border*.
*Proceeds To Benefit: Madre Assunta Shelter for Women and Children & Al Otro Lado Legal Services in Tijuana Mexico

Holy Day Schedule
Epiphany Eucharist: This Sunday, January 5, 2020 at 8:00 a.m. and 9:30 a.m.

Choir
Choir practice for the month of January 2020 is on the 9th and 23rd at 7:30 p.m. in the Sanctuary.

Parish Annual Meeting Reports
Our Parish Annual Meeting will be held Sunday, January 19, 2020 following the 9:30 a.m. worship service. Please plan to join us for this opportunity to celebrate and reflect on what we have done and to pray our way forward together. Your reports are due by January 10, 2020 via email to stpaulmv@comcast.net. Thank you for all you do!


Serving This Sunday: January 2, 2020
8:00 a.m. Epiphany Eucharist
Presider: The Reverend Paul Moore
E.M.: Margaret Bird

9:30 a.m. Epiphany Eucharist
Presider: The Reverend Paul Moore
Music Director: Pam Pryor
E.M.: Mary Ann Taylor
E.V.: Bob Johnson
Greeters: Paul & Judy Thompson
Lectors: Alec & Sandy McDougall
*Coffee Hour: The Fredericks
Counters: Susan Cooper, Alec McDougall
Sound: Ben Worrell

E.M. is Eucharistic Minister.
E.V. is Eucharistic Visitor.
* Sign-up sheet is in the Parish Hall.

Weekly Reflection and News: December 26, 2019

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.

He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.

And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth. (John testified to him and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks ahead of me because he was before me.'”) From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known.
-John 1:1-18

Currently, the rest of the Star Wars stories are quite popular. Some of them carry the story into the future after the first great movie many years ago, and of course, some of them tell the backstory. Back stories are important because they put the story that we heard in a greater context. They tell us where it all came from. This is John’s approach to the Christmas story. John doesn’t mention angels and shepherds as Luck does. John doesn’t talk about wisemen from the east like Matthew. But neither of those stories really makes sense until you understand John. He gives us the background context.

It is a context that we live in now. It suggests that there are two interconnected, interpenetrating realms in which we live, one smaller and the other greater. The smaller one is made up of the social, economic, and political world we live in. We tell the stories of this realm in our history books, our checkbooks, and our social calendars. The greater realm tells us why our smaller realm is structured as it is, and it is the only realm from which we can answer the moral questions about the smaller realm. That greater realm, as John notes, begins in the Great Source, God. Jesus, the incarnate son of God, brings those two realms together. The first thing said is that the smaller realm depends on the larger one. We cannot ignore it. And now that we are aware of it, the way we live in the smaller one can never quite be the same, just as our appreciation of the character of Luke Skywalker cannot be the same after we have seen the prequel.

No wonder theologians called this section the prologue of the Gospel of John. It’s really the pro— or, first logos or word about God in Jesus Christ—and therefore us. This is our backstory, and by it we know who we are and where we are going. Consider this as you think about New Year’s Resolutions and see what difference it makes.

The Rev. Paul Moore
Priest at St. Paul’s (email)

Announcements

Updated Saint Paul’s Directory for 2019!
Hot off the press! Pick up a copy of the update from the counter in the Narthex.

Emergency Preparedness
St. Paul’s Emergency Preparedness Team has some information on what you can do and who you can call in the event of a power outage at your home. Volunteers are willing to drive and pick up anyone who would otherwise be able to due to poor conditions or night driving. Contact Sandy McDougall (alecsandym@gmail.com or 360-630-9405) for more information.

POWER OUTAGE – WARM HOMES
Call first! All the volunteers will pick you up as needed.
Alec & Sandy McDougall: (360) 424-6510 or (360) 630-9405 at 16387 Calhoun Rd. – Beds, 2 Queen & 2 – 4” pads.
Andy & Bonnie Schuh: (949) 735-9895 or (949) 735-6289 at 405 S. 9th street – Beds 1 T & 1 D.
Margie Lauer: (425 )248-9336 – 23840 Nookachamp Hills Dr. – Bed 1 Q.
Barbara Cheyney: (360) 391-3899 – 2521 Stonebridge Way – Beds 2 T.
You may call the McDougalls 24/7.

Safe Food without Electricity:
A full refrigerator will maintain safe temperatures for up to 6 hours. A full freezer will maintain safe temperatures for 2 days, and a half-full one for 1 day. Frozen foods that are still somewhat frozen are still safe. If in doubt, throw it out. The most potentially hazardous foods are meat, dairy products, eggs, soft cheeses, cooked, beans, potatoes, pasta, custards, and puddings. Some food may not be hazardous but the quality may be affected; salad dressings, mayonnaise, produce, hard cheeses, etc. Foods that are safe: ketchup, mustard, relishes, jams, peanut butter, barbecue sauces, bottled beverages, etc.

Gimme Shelter – A Tasty, Musical, Friend & Fund Raiser
January 4, 2020 • 4:00 PM – 10:00 PM at Lincoln Theater, 712 S 1st St, Mt Vernon, WA. Come mingle and enjoy a night of musical fun, tasty treats & local art. To support our neighbors on our southern border*.
*Proceeds To Benefit: Madre Assunta Shelter for Women and Children & Al Otro Lado Legal Services in Tijuana Mexico.

Holy Day Schedule
First Sunday after Christmas Bilingual Service: Christmas Lessons and Carols, This Sunday, December 29 – 9:30 a.m.

Choir
Choir practice for the month of January 2020 is on the 9th and 23rd at 7:30 p.m. in the Sanctuary.

Parish Annual Meeting Reports
Our Parish Annual Meeting will be held Sunday, January 19, 2020 following the 9:30 a.m. worship service. Please plan to join us for this opportunity to celebrate and reflect on what we have done and to pray our way forward together. Your reports are due by January 10, 2020 via email to stpaulmv@comcast.net. Thank you for all you do!

Serving This Sunday: December 29, 2019
8:00 a.m. Morning Prayer
Officiant: Darcy Wells

9:30 a.m. 1st Sunday after Christmas Bilingual Service
Presider: The Reverend Paul Moore
Music Director: Pam Pryor
E.M.: Dan Niven, Baudelina Paz
E.V.: Mary Ann Taylor
Greeters: Paul & Judy Thompson, Rosa Paz
*Coffee Hour: Potluck, Jen McCabe, Sandy McDougal, & Baudelina Paz
Counters: Susan Cooper, ____________________
Sound: Ben Worrell

E.M. is Eucharistic Minister.
E.V. is Eucharistic Visitor.
* Sign-up sheet is in the Parish Hall.

Magnificat: Credits and Acknowledgements

The cover image is a painting entitled “The Virgin in Prayer” by Giovanni Battista Salvi da Sassoferrato, an Italian Baroque painter. I recolored it in a light blue so that I could add the text box for the title and because blue is frequently the liturgical color for Advent. Blue is also associated with the Virgin Mary.

I can do nothing on my own, so I would like to acknowledge the following people:

  • Thank you from the bottom of my heart to all the devotion writers: Marilyn Allen, Keith Axberg, Michael Boss, Barb Cheyney, Kathy Fleck (Sister Katharine, OSB), Cathey Frederick, Fr. Paul Moore, Natalee Raymond, Ashley Sweeney, Mary Ann Taylor, Vicki Wesen, Penny Worrell, and Tom Worrell. Y’all inspire me, and I enjoyed reading your work in the process of assembling this project.
  • Thank you to Ashley Sweeney for sending me amazing pictures of artwork from Italy while I was working on this devotional book. It was a great help to me in formulating my own reflections and in searching for a cover picture.
  • Blessings to you in this Advent season and Merry Christmas.
    -Jen McCabe