Welcome to St. Peter’s Episcopal, Port Royal

July 14, 2019 – Pentecost 5

from top left – Petting Sweetie, Peaceful view toward the river,Reading quietly in the nave amidst the color,Phil Fitzhugh guest preacher on the “Good Samaritan”, Butterfly collecting nectar, light on the gallery, beautiful dragon fly, sunflowers on the altar

Photos and Text from Sun, July 14, 2019

Phil Fitzghugh’s sermon from Sun, July 14, 2019

The Week Ahead…

July 17 – 10:00am-12pm – Ecumenical Bible Study

July 17 – 3:00pm-5pm – Village Harvest Food Distribution

Help needed: 9:30ish, help needed to unload the truck. Many hands make light work. 1PM, help needed to set up. 3-5PM help needed for the distribution itself. Help the shoppers gather what they need. You can still bring cleaning supplies on the day since these are not available at the Food Bank. Thank you for your contributions of both food and time. Everyone can share in making this important St Peter’s ministry happen.

July 21 – 11:00am – Holy Eucharist, Rite II

Sunday, July 21 Readings and Servers

School Supplies for the Village Harvest July 17

We plan to distribute school supplies at the Village Harvests in July (July 17) and August (Aug 21). Caroline Schools begin Aug. 12. Please bring them and leave them on the back pew .

We have a list of requested supplies for Grade 1 to Grade 5 by grade and item. The list is here – School Supplies 2019-2020

The most prevalent items are glue sticks, crayons and gallon size ziploc bags, requested in all five grades. Four of the five grades request these items: dry erase markers, hand sanitizer, headphone or earbuds, highlighters, quart-size Ziploc bags.

Between the Village Harvest dates is the Virginia tax holiday August 2-4, 2019. Qualified school supplies $20 or less per item will not be taxed.

Healthy Harvest Food Bank wins grant!

Healthy Harvest Food Bank in Warsaw has received a $40,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to purchase equipment that will help get food to more than 1,100 people.

Funding came from the Community Facilities Direct Loans and Grants program for rural areas. It will be used for a Generac 200kw generator to support a walk-in freezer and cooler used to distribute fresh foods to 28 pantries and meal preparation sites in six counties: Essex, Lancaster, Middlesex, Northumberland, Richmond and Westmoreland, including Colonial Beach.

Healthy Harvest gets produce from local grocery stores, food drives and more than two dozen farmers who plant produce just for them on more than 75 acres, according to the USDA.

Originally called the Northern Neck Food Bank, the organization began in the back of a pickup in 2008. Two years later, volunteers began working with FeedMore and the Central Virginia Food Bank as a redistribution organization.

In 2012, the food bank surveyed more than 5,000 clients and found that a person in one of every three households it served had Type 1 or 2 diabetes. In response, the food bank shifted its focus to acquiring the most nutritious food available and developed the agricultural program, which has become its signature offering, according to the Healthy Harvest website.

The group also changed its name to reflect its mission of getting fresh produce grown in the fields of the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula onto the tables of those who need it most.

Only the top-grade ears of corn or watermelons are selected at harvest time, leaving behind lots of edible fruits and vegetables that aren’t the perfect size or shape. Often the crops are plowed under or left to rot.

Working with farmers, Healthy Harvest puts volunteers in the fields to pick or “glean” what’s left, a practice that goes back to biblical times. Then, it uses donated funds—and equipment such as the walk-in freezer and generator—to deliver the fresh food to partner pantries for distribution.

“Because of our gleaning and harvesting program, we do not have the challenge of securing fresh produce like many other organizations. We are only limited as to what we can pick from the fields,” its website states.

As a result, at least 40 percent of the food Healthy Harvest provides monthly to more than 12,700 clients is fresh.

50 years , July 20, 1969 Apollo 11 landed on the moon. Although faith and science have often been in conflict in the past and many see the mission as only a triumph in science, there are examples of faith a part of the Apollo program.

One of first acts performed on Apollo 11, after first landing on the Moon, was a celebration of the Communion by astronaut Buzz Aldrin. In 1969, Buzz Aldrin was an elder at Webster Presbyterian Church in Houston, where he was given the communion kit that he took to Sea of Tranquility. Upon landing on the Moon in the Eagle LM, Buzz made the following announcement to Mission Control:

“Houston, this is Eagle. This is the LM pilot speaking. I would like to request a few moments of silence. I would like to invite each person listening in, whoever or wherever he may be, to contemplate for a moment the events of the last few hours, and to give thanks in his own individual way.  

Aldrin reported later  “ In the radio blackout, I opened the little plastic packages which contained the bread and the wine. I poured the wine into the chalice our church had given me. In the one-sixth gravity of the moon, the wine slowly curled and gracefully came up the side of the cup. Then I read the Scripture: “I am the vine, you are the branches. Whosoever abides in me will bring forth much fruit.

“Eagle’s metal body creaked. I ate the tiny Host and swallowed the wine. I gave thanks for the intelligence and spirit that had brought two young pilots to the Sea of Tranquility. It was interesting for me to think: the very first liquid ever poured on the moon, and the very first food eaten there, were the communion elements

It is especially fitting and poignant that Buzz also read Psalm 8: 3-4:

3 “When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have established;

4 “What are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals[a] that you care for them?”

Each year since 1969, his church, Webster Presbyterian,  holds a Lunar Communion service to commemorate Buzz Aldrin’s celebration on the Moon.

The mission also carried goodwill not only with the message “We came in peace for all mankind” but also left a special disc. The company Sprague used a photo-etching technique using lithographic thin films to create a long-term alternative to microfiche to engrave letters (scanned and reduced 200x) from the leaders of the world’s nations.   Each letter was photographed, and optically reduced to the point where each letter was ¼ the width of a hair! 

Some like Buzz Aldrin carried their religion to the moon but at least two others felt the tug of religion on their return.

Jim Irwin of Apollo 15 felt the presence of God during his 67 hours on the Moon’s surface. In his autobiography Destination Moon he wrote:   “Before the flight, I was really not a religious man. I believed in God, but I really had nothing to share. But when I came back from the moon, I felt so strongly that I had something that I wanted to share with others, that I established High Flight, in order to tell all men everywhere that God is alive, not only on earth but also on the moon. “

Astronaut Alan Bean recounts another experience on Apollo15, “I can remember when he and Dave were riding along on their rover near the end of their 3rd EVA and Dave said, “Oh, look at the mountains today, Jim. When they’re all sunlit isn’t that beautiful?” Jim answered, “Really is, Dave. I’m reminded on a favorite biblical passage from Psalms: ‘I look unto the hills from whence cometh my help.’ But of course, we get quite a bit from Houston, too.

Lectionary, July 21, 2019 – Pentecost 6, Proper 11

I. Theme – Surprises related to hospitality and the hidden presence of God.

"Christ in the Home of Mary and Martha" – Vermeer (1655)

The lectionary readings are here  or individually: 

First Reading – Genesis 18:1-10a
Psalm – Psalm 15
Epistle – Colossians 1:15-28
Gospel – Luke 10:38-42 

Today’s readings remind us of the surprises related to hospitality and the hidden presence of God. In Genesis , Abraham receives three heavenly visitors who speak of the imminent birth of Sarah’s son. Paul describes the mystery of reconciliation with God and its implications for the Church. Jesus visits the home of Mary and Martha and reminds us of the importance of paying attention to God’s presence and words.

An extraordinary message runs through today’s scriptures. The theme is best expressed in the question put to Abraham: “Is anything too wonderful for the lord?”

Sarah laughed at the promise that she would bear a child in her old age; thus the name of this son of promise was given before his conception. It means “He will laugh”! The divine communication surrounding the birth of Isaac gives us the delightful feeling that God loves to surprise people. Isaac’s very name seems to convey that God’s joy in fulfilling the promise to Abraham would ring through the universe forever. In this way the messianic line was established by God’s miraculous power.

The scripture readings contain another miracle. The question in verse 1 of the psalm is not found in today’s reading, but it prompts the response contained there: “Who may abide in your tent? Who may dwell on your holy hill?” The psalmist answers by saying that only those who lead a blameless life are entitled to abide with God. If this were the only message we had, we might despair, for not one of us would qualify. But if we leap from the psalm to Colossians, the “hope of glory” is electrifying news. Miracle of miracles—Christ dwells mysteriously within us. Through him we stand holy and blameless before God. We can now abide upon God’s holy hill.

Christ for us and Christ in us is a mystery we can never fully understand. Better we stand in humble awe and gratitude than to try to analyze God’s doings. It is enough to know that God’s steadfast love and mercy shine in God’s word and deeds.

The gospel passage continues the line of thought that there are moments when the most important thing we can do is immerse ourselves in the wonder and glory of God’s self-revelation and to enjoy abiding with God. “There is need of only one thing” for God to work miracles in our lives.

It would be wrong to over-generalize specific occasions in scripture. It is possible that the next time Jesus visited that household, Mary served while Martha sat at his feet and Jesus chopped the vegetables. The point is that we must be attuned to the lord’s visit in our own household. We need to strike a balance between serving and simply enjoying the lord’s presence in quiet attentiveness to God alone.

Today’s readings abound in possibilities, including the possibility that we will suffer serious consequences if we deviate from God’s vision. Openness to God’s vision opens us to lively and transformative energies and contributes to the healing the world. Closing off to God’s vision dilutes and weakens the divine energy available to us. We may consider ourselves spiritual, religious, or both but be heading away from God’s vision for our lives and our world.

Read more….

Gospel this Sunday – Christ in the Home of Mary and Martha, Sun. July 17

"Christ in the House of Mary and Martha" – Vermeer (1655)

Another famous story from Luke. The Gospel reading is here. 

Let’s set the scene. We are in the long travel narrative in Luke (9:51 — 19:28). Jesus "set his face to go to Jerusalem" (9:51) and instructs those who would follow that the journey must be their first priority (9:57-58). Jesus sends the seventy ahead with no provisions for the journey and insists they depend on the hospitality of those in towns who welcome them (10:1-11).

Immediately preceding the stop at Martha’s home, Jesus tells a story about a man on a journey who is beaten and left to die. He is saved by an unexpected merciful neighbor (10:30-37). The story of "the good Samaritan" confirms that the journey to Jerusalem is dangerous, and that disciples might welcome the compassion of someone who, in other circumstances, would be considered undesirable.

This week we are in a seemingly peaceful setting – Jesus is invited into the home of Mary and Martha who live with their brother Lazarus in Bethany not far from Jerusalem. This is only reference to Mary and Martha in the synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke). The two sisters and their brother, Lazarus, figure prominently in the fourth gospel, but hardly at all in the synoptics.

This is one of 3 mentions of this family:

1. Jesus was their guest – this week. Luke 10:38-42

2. John 11:1-44 When Lazarus had died, Jesus came to Bethany. Martha, upon being told that He was approaching, went out to meet Him, while Mary sat still in the house until He sent for her. It was to Martha that Jesus said: “I am the Resurrection and the Life.”

3. John 12:1-8 About a week before the crucifixion, as Jesus reclined at table, Mary poured a flask of expensive perfume over Jesus’ feet. Mary was criticized for wasting what might have been sold to raise money for the poor, and again Jesus spoke on her behalf.

On the basis of these incidents, many Christian writers have seen Mary as representing Contemplation (prayer and devotion), and Martha as representing Action (good works, helping others); or love of God and love of neighbor respectively.

Martha like the Samaritan is welcoming and is doing what women then were supposed to do – getting the house ready for the visitor. However, she is overwhelmed. We don’t how many guests there are. Where Jesus goes there are at least 12 other guys following him…and then the gravity and reality of the invitation comes crashing down on her. She is distracted. By contrast, Mary is sitting at the master’s feet, intent on listening to him but not lifting a finder to help.

She wants Jesus to tell Mary “get with it” and help out. Instead Jesus turns the tables and praises Mary saying “Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.”  

So what’s going on here ?  There are a variety of interpretations 

1. The Kingdom being brought to all and in particular women

Jesus is crossing Jewish cultural bounds – he is alone with women who are not his relatives;  a woman serves him; and he teaches a woman in her own house.

Women were not supposed to sit with teachers as the disciples did.  Mary is assuming a male role – at the feet of Jesus.

In the first century, rabbis did not teach women. Outside of being instructed in their proper gender roles according to custom and law, women received no education.

Both in the previous story , The Samaritan and this story, they are moving beyond boundaries. The Samaritan for Luke illustrates the second commandment (‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’). Mary exemplifies the fulfillment of the first commandment. ‘You are to love God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your energy, and with all your mind.   

2. How do we deal with rivalries ?

The Martha and Mary story is just another in a series of instances of the disciples letting rivalry get in the way. This is similar to James and John and their discussion of  "whom is the greatest?"  

Martha asks Jesus to intervene. "Tell her then to help me."   Martha may be considered a "control freak."

Jesus doesn’t mince words in his response. Calling her by name not just once but twice, in a manner that sounds more like a parent than a friend, he describes the situation.

The rivalries that we live in are the things that distract us. Jesus calls us out of these rivalistic relationships and into the Kingdom. Without the rivalry we can still attended to the daily demands of life, but maybe without seeing ourselves as victims of someone. 

Read more….

Vermeer’s painting- “Christ in the House of Mary and Martha” (1654-1656)

The painting is inspired by Luke 10:38-42 where Jesus enters the home of Mary and Martha. It happens after the Good Samaritan. The passage only occurs in Luke’s Gospel.

Martha greets Jesus but is preoccupied with tasks. Mary chose listening to the teachings of Jesus over helping her sister prepare food. Jesus is friends with this family who live in Bethany. Later, just before the crucifixion, Jesus will raise Mary and Martha’s brother Lazarus.

The three figures are bound in a circular composition. Circular compositions were frequently employed to unite complex figure groupings and impede the viewer’s eye from straying aimlessly around the picture If, however, the implied circle becomes too influential, the observer may feel subliminally entrapped. As a remedy Dutch artists often included a sort of escape route Vermeer provided a similar visual relief in the half-opened doorway  to the dark recess of the upper left-hand corner of the composition.

The work is known for the handling of light and shadow. The play of light on different surfaces such as the loaf of bread or the different fabrics  (Mary seated) is noted. There is color contrast in Mary’s clothing. Martha is statuesque with her downcast eyes. She seems to ignore Jesus pointing. The painting seems to be echoing the last verse. But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.”

Read more….

What Mary gets that Martha doesn’t – Colossians 1:15-29 – "Christ in You"

"This mystery that has been hidden throughout the ages and generations
 but now is revealed to God’s saints… is Christ in you, the hope of glory."

—Colossians 1.27-28

A poem by Steve Garnaas-Holmes

"Never mind the lonely trek across the desert to find your elusive teacher, nor does your Savior have to come to you. The Beloved lives inside you, breathing here, moving in you, moving you, the silence shimmering in your lungs, the heat rising, pulsing, pushing, straining to get out and love this crazy world.

"The life in you is of God. The Chosen One is in your blood, your flesh, even your wounds, bleeding sometimes, and when you bleed you bleed glory, and when you are weary the splendor of God rests, and when you suffer the Gentle One silently accepts your lashes, and quietly rises again and again.

"The Beloved lives inside you, working miracles, or speaking to you in that silent language, or sometimes sitting still, eyes closed, with a little smile, or maybe just relaxing, looking around, being at home. 

We have to look inside to see our own unique gifts that are a part of our community . These appear in soul searching as a result of our faith if we take the time to search them out. And we have to be ready to receive the gifts of others as well.

Martha as well as May has the opportunity to receive God’s grace through faith through their identification with Christ. Martha needs to see that she needs nourishment. She needs to be "renewed in faith and strengthened for service." Jesus is the host with many gifts to give. We have to take the time to "get it."

This scripture represents Paul’s dealing with those in Colossae who believe that obedience to the law through the Torah provided the basis for God’s promised blessings. Not so, says Paul. When a person believes in Christ, Christ enters into their being and they receive, as a gift, the full benefits of Christ’s death and resurrection. Thus with "Christ in us" we possess the "hope of glory." We can all share in his glory It was his effort to preach and incorporate the Gentiles into the body of Christ.

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4. July, 2019 Server Schedule

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9. Latest Sunday Bulletin (July 21, 2019 11:00am),  and Sermon (July 14, 2019) 10. Recent Services: 

Pentecost 2, June 23 Photos from June 23, Pentecost 2

Pentecost 3, June 30 Photos from June 30, Pentecost 3

Pentecost 4, July 7 Photos from July 7, Pentecost 4

Mike Newmans Block print of St. Peter's Christmas

Block Print by Mike Newman


Colors for Year C, 2018-19


Daily “Day by Day”

3-Minute Retreats invite you to take a short prayer break right at your computer. Spend some quiet time reflecting on a Scripture passage.

Knowing that not everyone prays at the same pace, you have control over the pace of the retreat. After each screen, a Continue button will appear. Click it when you are ready to move on. If you are new to online prayer, the basic timing of the screens will guide you through the experience.

Follow the Star

Daily meditations in words and music.

Sacred Space

Your daily prayer online, since 1999

“We invite you to make a ‘Sacred Space’ in your day, praying here and now, as you visit our website, with the help of scripture chosen every day and on-screen guidance.”

Daily C. S. Lewis thoughts

Saints of the Week,  – July 14 – July 21

Argula von Grumbach, Scholar & Church Reformer, c.1554
Samson Occum, Pastor & Missionary, 1792
William White, Bishop of Pennsylvania, 1836
Bartolomé de las Casas, Priest and Missionary, 1566
Macrina of Caesarea, Monastic and Teacher, 379
John Hines, Bishop 1997
Maria Skobtsoba, Monastic & Martyr, 1945
Albert John Luthuli, Prophetic Witness, 1967