When the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, the parents of Jesus brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male shall be designated as holy to the Lord”), and they offered a sacrifice according to what is stated in the law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.”
Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; this man was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. Guided by the Spirit, Simeon came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him what was customary under the law, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying,
“Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.”
And the child’s father and mother were amazed at what was being said about him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to his mother Mary, “This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed– and a sword will pierce your own soul too.”
There was also a prophet, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped there with fasting and prayer night and day. At that moment she came, and began to praise God and to speak about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.
When they had finished everything required by the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.
When we gathered to baptize our new grandson last fall, no strange old guy burst forth on rapturous and prophetic poetry, and gave no dire predictions about the trajectory of his life, and no wizened old women slipped into extasy at his presence. We did not leave the Church, as to be sure Joseph and Mary did, with ominous questions rattling in their souls about just who this little kid might be. The image of the sword must have been especially unsettling. It must have been reassuring that the next days and years were relatively uneventful (that is, if we set aside the delightful legends and traditions that fill in the 12 silent years until Jesus surfaces again on the pages of Scripture.)
But the sword did come, and Jesus’ life, death and resurrection—and the actions of those who followed him, have upended the world. The influence of the Christians played a hand in the fall of the Roman Empire, and shaped Western history for two millennia. In a sense, the relative normalcy of Joseph’s household was only the calm before the storm.
Simeon and Anna remind us that a domesticated faith is a pointless faith. If a sword does not from time to time pierce our own hearts the radical truths of the Gospel of Love fail to challenge us. If we shrink from passing a sword through the heart of the comfortable ways society justifies its injustices, we have forgotten the meaning of this child.
The Rev. Paul Moore
Priest at St. Paul’s (email)
Now is the time of The 2019 Novel Corona Virus, (2019-nCor). In 2002-2003 it was Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, (SARS-CoV). This virus has not been documented in humans since 2004 so appears to have gone back to animal host. 2012-2015 it was Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, (MERS-CoV) which was very rare in the United States and again has appeared to diminish or disappear from humans.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can infect people and then spread between people such as with MERS and SARS and now 2019-nCor. We have all had at least one if not all of the common human coronaviruses, there are four listed, during our childhood. Think cold or in medicalese, Upper Respiratory Infection, (URI). Like all viruses, if your immune system is compromised the infection can get worse.
What to do for protection? Number one on the hit parade is wash your hands! Use lots of soap, plain not antimicrobial, and water for at least 20 seconds and pay attention to the nails, the thumbs, and back of the hands as well as the usual parts. A splash under running water is not enough. 60% or better alcohol-based can work as a substitute if soap and water are not available. Make sure that it is rubbed in until dry.
Number two is to avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands. This seems to be very hard for humans to do, so figure out some way to reinforce the behavior.
The rest are all things your grandmother tried to teach you. Stay home when sick. Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Cover cough and sneeze with a tissue or into the crook of your elbow, sleeve. A bare hand does not work and the tissue needs to go in the trash. By the way this works for all kinds of viruses and not a few bacteria.
We are still learning about this latest virus to jump from animal to human and it will take time and experience to fully understand it. We learned a lot during the SARS outbreak, people are really cooperating, and the Chinese have been very forthcoming. It is important to keep informed. It is imperative that you are sure of your sources of information. The trolls and conspiracy theorists are at work and fear is the greatest enemy. “Do not be afraid” is in every book of the Bible.
Next week I will talk of the common cup and intinction.
Deacon Dennis Taylor, RN
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 email@example.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!
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)
Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper
February 25, 2020, 5:30 – 7:00 p.m.
Skagit Arts Preschool Mardi Gras Parade: 6:15 p.m.
Now is the time! Please see the sign-up sheets in the Parish Hall where you can sign-up to attend, donate needed items, and to contribute to the efforts at the event. Most importantly, plan to come and plan to bring a friend, neighbor or family member to introduce them to our loving and inclusive congregation family. This is the perfect event for first timers to meet all of us and to see what we are about.
St. Paul’s Volunteer for Habitat – SATURDAY!
Saturday, February 1, 2020: 9am- 4pm (you’re not required to stay the full day). We’re looking for some volunteers from our church to work (sub-flooring & framing [training & tools provided]) on the house that is presently being built at 1319 Batey RD Sedro Woolley. If this isn’t something you’re comfortable with, they’ll have some other duties also. Be sure and wear closed toed shoes and dress for the weather! Coffee, water and doughnuts will be provided. Each volunteer will need to fill out a volunteer application form on line at skagithabitat.com/volunteer. Contact Julie Hagen text/call (360)333-2463 or email so we can get a headcount. Our church will also be providing lunch for the volunteers that day. If you would like to make a monetary donation, contact Julie.
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 & 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.
Serving This Sunday: February 2, 2020
8:00 a.m. Holy Eucharist
Presider: The Reverend Paul Moore
E.M.: Karisse Moore
9:30 a.m. Holy Eucharist
Presider: The Reverend Paul Moore
Deacon: The Reverend Dennis Taylor
Music Director: Pam Pryor
Musician: David Sloat
E.M.: Mary Ann Taylor
E.V.: Bob Johnson
Greeters: Ron Frederick, Frosty Wilkinson
Lectors: Kathy Fleck, Sherri Greenleaf
*Coffee Hour: Paul & Judy Thompson
Counters: Susan Cooper, Alec McDougall
Sound: Paul Thompson
E.M. is Eucharistic Minister.
E.V. is Eucharistic Visitor.
* Sign-up sheet is in the Parish Hall.