The Point of No Return
In this week’s gospel lesson (Luke 13:31-35) Jesus is warned about his coming fate, which is becoming apparent to those following his ministry. And Jesus responds in a way that makes it clear he is past the point of no return.
This term, “point of no return,” came into being only in the 20th century. It’s a military aviation term. The Oxford English Dictionary places the first printed use of this phrase in 1941, when an article in the Journal of the Royal Aeronautical Society said: “It is merely a designation of that limit-point, before which any engine failure requires an immediate turn around and return to the point of departure, and beyond which such return is no longer practical.”[i] In other words, the point of no return is the moment after which the only practical way to go is forward.
For Luke, the exact point of no return for Jesus comes in Chapter 9, verse 51, which reads, “When the days drew near for Jesus to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem.” The following section of the gospel, for about 10 chapters, or a full one-third of the gospel, is all set on the road to Jerusalem. And we the hearers of this gospel know what Jesus knows: He is traveling the road to his own death.
Welcome to St. Paul’s where we are journeying with Jesus toward the horrific, and ultimately life-giving events ahead of him in Jerusalem. May we move forward with Christ, knowing that His Way of Love is our destination!
O God, whose glory it is always to have mercy: Be gracious to all who have gone astray from your ways, and bring them again with penitent hearts and steadfast faith to embrace and hold fast the unchangeable truth of your Word, Jesus Christ your Son; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Our Lenten Study: Thursdays through April 25
Making Sense of the Christian Faith
Our Lenten group study for adults focuses on the questions we have about God in the world. Using the book Making Sense of the Christian Faith by David Lose, we are exploring our core beliefs. The study employs the four primary sources of our theological thought: Scripture, Tradition, Experience and Reason.
We undertake this study in conjunction with our friends at Christ/Trinity Church in Sheffield. The same session will be offered each Thursday noon-1:00 pm at the Church in Sheffield and 6:30 – 7:30 here in Stockbridge, with participants free to attend either. (Participants are welcome to bring a sack lunch/dinner to any/all sessions.) To participate you are encouraged to purchase a book (available from Amazon.com in either electronic or paperback form for less than $13.00). You are welcome even if you haven’t been able to attend previous sessions. Questions? Ask Father Sam.
40 Days of Love and Kindness
A Lenten program created by our churches in the Berkshires
40 Days of Love and Kindness is a generosity challenge for Lent. Make generosity, love and kindness a part of your Lenten spiritual discipline. Let’s pray that each act of generosity, love and kindness is a drop in a huge ocean, with a ripple effect that starts a wave.
If you’d like to interact with others taking the challenge, join the WMA Way of Love group on Facebook. We will list the suggested activities for each week throughout Lent – but they are only a guide. Be creative!
40 Days of Love and Kindness Challenge, This Week
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Ephesians 4:32
Thurs., March 14: Pray for a friend in need.
Fri., March 15: Fast from gossip
Sat., March 16: Stop yourself from saying anything negative today.
Sun., March 17: Look for the good in all people in all situations.
Mon., March 18: Write a note to management or someone who has treated you nicely while doing their job (waiter, clerk, salesperson…etc.)
Tues., March 19: Set a gratitude alarm to go off on your phone several times throughout the day. When it sounds, stop, whatever you’re doing to think about and appreciate the people/events/things you are grateful for at that moment.
Wed., March 20: Put the names of each member of your family in a box. Have everyone draw a name and then spend the day doing acts of kindness for that person.
The Vestry will meet Saturday, March 16, 8:30 am on the second floor of the Parish House. All members of the church are invited to attend.
A memorial service for Val Evans will be held on Saturday, April 6, at 11:00 at St. Helena’s Chapel, 245 New Lenox Road, Lenox, MA. Father Tad Evans warmly invites the St. Paul’s community to attend.
Lee Food Pantry
This week’s food pantry suggestion is tuna. Please bring this or other non-perishable food items with you to church on Sunday to share with those in need in our community. (Suggested item for next week is: pasta, rice and beans.).
St. Paul’s Prayer Circle will meet this Tuesday, March 19, from 5:30-6:30 p.m., for contemplative prayer.
If you would like to honor or remember a loved one by providing altar flowers, the following Sundays are available: June 9; Aug. 25; Sep. 22; Nov. 10; Dec. 1, 8. To sign up, please email email@example.com and tell us the date you’d like to reserve, the wording of the announcement, and whether or not you’d like the office to order the flowers for you (cost is $60).
Worship Teams (If you exchange shifts with someone, please notify the Church Office by Thursday morning at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
This Sunday, March 17
Celebrant: The Rev. Jane Tillman
Preacher: The Rev. Sam Smith
8 am: Pam Drumm, Assisting
10 am: Lila Berle, Greeter
Diana French, Usher
Carl Sprague, Lector
Ginny Willcox, Intercessor, Altar Guild & Hospitality
Nancy King, Organist
Next Sunday, March 24
Celebrant/Preacher: The Rev. Jane Tillman
8 am: Jorja Marsden, Assisting
10 am: Bill Higgins, Greeter
Anne Covell, Usher
Diane Dillon, Lector
Ginny Willcox, Intercessor
Natalie Boyce, Altar Guild
Tom Tuthill, Organist
Parish Prayer List
- People we pray for on Sundays: Cecilia
- Long-term prayer list: Jeff, David, Doug, Barbara, Charles, ZsuZsa, Tom, Rich, Ronnie, Karen, Michael, Christy, John, George
- Our partners at Grace Church, Great Barrington and the Rev. Janet Zimmerman; Trinity Episcopal/Christ Lutheran, Sheffield and the Rev. Erik Karas; the Austen Riggs community and the Riverbrook Residence; victims of violence, abuse, persecution and disaster at home and abroad
- Outreach Ministries of the Week: Laundry Love
- Diocesan Cycle of Prayer: St. Paul’s, Gardner
- Anglican Cycle of Prayer: Church of England