Weekly Reflection and News: February 26, 2020

Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. He fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished. The tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written,

‘One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
Then the devil took him to the holy city and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written,

‘He will command his angels concerning you,’and ‘On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.’”
Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor; and he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! for it is written,

‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.’”
Then the devil left him, and suddenly angels came and waited on him.

Matthew 4:1-11

In 2016 Morgan Freeman produced a National Geographic series on The Story of God. It’s not really a history of the divine, but a compendium of the ways people have understood and talked about God over the millennia, and how that has developed. Like all reference to the divine, he comes at it obliquely, for that is finally all we can do. I had a couple of seminary professors who were going to do something similar with the devil. What’s the devil’s story? How has humanity understood evil, related to evil, courted, resisted, or given in to evil that seems somehow greater than they are?

The writer of this story seems to understand the devil in similar terms. Does Jesus need to avail himself of a greater authority in Scripture to overcome the devil? That idea flies in the face of the Resurrection, Christianity’s great story of the vindication of self-giving love over evil. The same is true here. Jesus could just stand up to the devil and say, “bead it, bad guy!” but he does not, because this story is not about Jesus beating the devil. It is about how we overcome evil. If we go at it thinking we can do it all alone we’re bound to lose. In that sense, the evil we face within and in society is greater than we are. But when we approach evil from the spirit, from that place in us that has surrendered to the love of God, evil retreats—it must retreat, for it cannot continue in such contexts.

I think of the movie, Moana, a fabulous epic tale. As Moana approaches the blazing volcano that has tried to destroy her in a kind of love willing to sacrifice her own life for her people, she is able to place the stone on the heart of the “devil,” and resurrect the world.

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


Ash Wednesday Services – Today!
6:30 a.m. Ash Wednesday Liturgy – No Communion
12:00 p.m. Ash Wednesday Liturgy – No Communion
6:00 p.m. Bilingual Ash Wednesday Holy Liturgy

Brown Bag Lunch Discussion – Today!
WEDNESDAY FEBRUARY 26th 11:30am – 1:00pm

Limited space available: Please register at the Welcome Center or call the YMCA: 360.336.9622
There is what you learn from national news reports & then there is the perspective from community members who have witnessed the situation first hand. Journey to Arizona’s southern border & to Madre Asunta shelter in Tijuana with Skagit Valley residents & School of America volunteers Jane Mayer & Ria Stroosma as well as John Baker of Bellingham WA — who was joined by Mount Vernon City Councilwoman Iris Carias who works with migrant families in the MV School District — as they share their separate & collective experiences & impression of what is happening along the southern border with the refugees awaiting asylum in the United States. Join us for this important, thoughtful & timely conversation: HERE WE ALL ARE.
“We have become not a melting pot but a beautiful mosaic of different people, different beliefs, different yearnings, different hopes, different dreams.” – Jimmy Carter, 39th President of the United States

2020 Lenten Meditations
St. Paul’s Lenten Devotional – “Agape”: http://stpaulsmv.org/category/devotions/agape/
If you prefer to receive it in your email daily, sign up at: http://eepurl.com/gi1DK1
Relief & Development’s Lenten Devotions: http://episcopalrelief.org/church-in-action/church-campaigns/lent
Who will win the Golden Halo? http://lentmadness.org/

Sacramental Records for St. Paul’s Members
Please fill out a copy of the Sacramental Records Form in the Narthex and return it to office. St. Paul’s is trying to keep an updated file of its members for the sacraments performed at the Parish (and off site) such as Baptism, Confirmation, Marriage, etc.

Prayer during Communion
During communion, a member of Mary’s Guild is usually available in the Fireside Room at the back of the nave for prayers. If you are interested in being a presence or just someone to share prayer with, speak to Jen McCabe during coffee hour.

Children’s Ministries help needed…
If you love kids and you love to worship, our new children’s worship ministry needs you! We are in need of volunteers to serve in various areas and roles. For more information, please see or e-mail Cathey Frederick at mamaotter45@gmail.com. A successful background check (done at no cost to you) and Safeguarding God’s Children Training will be required to serve in any capacity. Please pray about volunteering!


Choir – Tomorrow!
Next Choir practice for the month of February 2020 is on the 27th at 7:30 p.m. in the Sanctuary.

Inquirer’s Class – SUNDAY!
To inquire, to question and explore, fed by curiosity and the desire to know. Come find out about all things Episcopalian. Fr. Paul will be teaching this 6-session class on Sunday afternoons at 2:00 p.m. until March 8th. (There will be no class on February 16th). Classes are an hour-long except for the last one, which will be an hour and a half. Attend all sessions for full impact, or as many as you wish, if unable to make them all. If you are thinking about officially joining the Church, this is the class you need; however, it is open to all.

Lenten Series based on Barbara Brown Taylor’s book
Wednesday Evenings in Lent (March 4, 11, 18, 25 & April 1) 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.
If you had us order a book please pick up an envelope with your name on it in the office. Cost of each book is $11.19.
Read the Introduction, Chapters 1 & 2 for next week, March 4 meeting.

Serving This Sunday: March 1, 2020
8:00 a.m. Holy Eucharist
Presider: The Reverend Paul Moore
E.M.: Darcy Wells

9:30 a.m. Holy Eucharist
Presider: The Reverend Paul Moore
Deacon: The Reverend Dennis Taylor
Music Director: Pam Pryor
E.M.: Dan Niven
E.V.: Bob Johnson
Greeters: Teresa & Aubrey San Nicholas
Lectors: Bev Blomgren, Elizabeth Mahoney-Niven
*Coffee Hour: __________________
Counters: Susan Cooper, Alec McDougall
Sunday School: Sally Rode
Sound: Ben Worrell

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