Weekly Reflection and News: February 13, 2020

Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, ‘You shall not murder’; and ‘whoever murders shall be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgment; and if you insult a brother or sister, you will be liable to the council; and if you say, ‘You fool,’ you will be liable to the hell of fire. So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift. Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are on the way to court with him, or your accuser may hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison. Truly I tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than for your whole body to go into hell.

“It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I say to you that anyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of unchastity, causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

“Again, you have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but carry out the vows you have made to the Lord.’ But I say to you, Do not swear at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. Let your word be ‘Yes, Yes’ or ‘No, No’; anything more than this comes from the evil one.”
Matthew 5:21-37

A friend told me many years ago that Jesus’ teaching drove people inward. The understanding of proper religious practice of the day was pretty external. It had to do with what you did, not what you thought or desired. Jesus, on the other hand, says stuff like what is written above. It goes inward, to thoughts and attitudes and the “why” behind choices we make. In this vein Jesus follows in the footsteps of John the Baptist before him and so many of the Old Testament prophets. Ultimately Torah, the Law of Moses, is summarized by an internal command: you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and your neighbor as yourself.

What is harder to say, and Jesus works in on it from a hundred angles in his teaching, is that the root of spiritual vitality and health is not just paying attention to one’s inner life, but cultivating a certain kind of internal life. It’s all about loving God and neighbor, and love requires that we set our egos where they ought to be and not where they want to be, and dive deeper, surrendering first to the love of God we have come to know, and then the disciplines of self-giving love for others. Surrender is scary—unless it is done for love.

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


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!

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.

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.


Choir – TODAY!
The next Choir practice for the month of February 2020 is tonight at 7:30 p.m. in the Sanctuary.

Bayshore Symphony Winter Concert
Take a journey along the flowing Moldau River with Smetana’s symphonic poem “The Moldau”. Then, be treated to Haydn’s expressive Piano Concerto #11 with local piano soloist Anita Shuller. Our concert concludes with Dvorak’s well-known and American-inspired Symphony #9, “From the New World”.
$15 suggested donation, at the door. Free for children 12 and under.
Saturday, February 22, 2020 @ 7:30 pm – St. Paul’s

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.

Serving This Sunday: February 16, 2020
8:00 a.m. Holy Eucharist
Presider: The Reverend Keith Axberg
E.M.: Karisse Moore

9:30 a.m. Holy Eucharist
Presider: The Reverend Keith Axberg
Deacon: The Reverend Dennis Taylor
Music Director: Pam Pryor
E.M.: Sherri Greenleaf
E.V.: Bob Johnson
Greeters: Michael & Carol Boss
Lectors: Margie Lauer, Trista Pendergrast
*Coffee Hour: The Johnsons
Counters: Susan Cooper, Sandy McDougall
Sunday School: Mireya Martinez
Sound: Ben Worrell
Flowers: Julie Hagen

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