The Gospel of the Second Chance
The parable of the fig tree in the Gospel of Luke (Luke 13:1-9) has been called “The Gospel of the Second Chance.” In the midst of failure, sin, blindness, and neglect, we often fail to maintain our selves and our souls in a way that will produce the fruit we have been created to bear. Yet, if Jesus is to be believed, through his intercession, God often grants us a second chance, a third chance, a fourth chance to repent and return to God’s purpose of a healthy life together. What God requires of us in our moments of moral failure is a contrite heart, a willingness to turn and change direction (repent), and an openness to God’s transforming love. This season of Lent is a time to rejuvenate our root system, to feed and tend our Godly purpose, and to repent so that we may be restored to holy life with God. Come as you are to St. Paul’s this week to join other sinners and saints on the journey to Jerusalem.
Almighty God, you know that we have no power in ourselves to help ourselves: Keep us both outwardly in our bodies and inwardly in our souls, that we may be defended from all adversities which may happen to the body, and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
NOTE: One service only next Sunday, March 31 at 9:00 a.m. Unfortunately, our planned guest preacher, The Rev. José Reyes, Missioner for Latino/Hispanic Ministries in our Diocese, is unable to be with us. But we will still have a great day! Following the service we will have a festive coffee hour in the Parish House, and representatives of the Diocesan Creation Care Team will be present to introduce parishioners to the “Sustain Island Home” initiative supporting efforts to address climate change. Don’t miss it!
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
So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Colossians 3:12
Thurs., March 21: Start a compliment board in your home, office, dorm. Fill it with kind sentiments about the people around you.
Fri., March 22: Paint a shell, rock or other object with positive word/quote on it and leave it for someone to find.
Sat., March 23: Leave flowers at the doorstep of someone you feel needs an act of kindness.
Sun., March 24: Text two or more people a good morning message.
Mon., March 25: Pick up litter in your neighborhood or at a local park.
Tues., March 26: Shop fair trade.
Wed., March 27: Drop off teddy bear to police department to give to traumatized children.
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 pasta, rice and beans. 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: peanut butter.).
St. Paul’s Prayer Circle will meet Tuesday, March 26, from 5:30-6:30 p.m., for evening 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 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
Carl Sprague, Hospitality
Tom Tuthill, Organist
Next Sunday, March 31
Celebrant/Preacher: The Rev. Sam Smith
9 am: Don Temples, Greeter
Vaunie Graulty, Usher
Diana French, Lector
Diane Dillon, Intercessor
Robin Race, Altar Guild
Nancy King, 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: Gideon’s Garden and Construct
- Diocesan Cycle of Prayer: Cathedral in the Night, Northampton
- Anglican Cycle of Prayer: Hong Kong Anglican Church
- Anniversaries: Jean & Georgeanne Rousseau (26th)