Adding It All Up
Our gospel reading for this Sunday [John 21:1-19] tells the story of Jesus’ final post-resurrection appearance. As the disciples fish, unsuccessfully, Jesus suddenly appears on the shore, and suggests they drop their nets on the other side of the boat. And when they do, they are successful beyond all expectations. The text tells us, the nets become “full of large fish, a hundred fifty-three of them.”
The numbers employed in the Bible almost always have significance beyond enumeration; but why 153? As you might imagine scholars have spent many years and much ink exploring why the writer of John’s gospel gives this number. My favorite explanation comes from Augustine, who notes that there are 10 commandments and 7 gifts of the Holy Spirit. 10+7=17; and if you add the integers from 1 to 17 (1+2+3+4 . . .) you arrive at precisely 153.
But perhaps the answer is simpler than that. Perhaps we read of 153 fish so that we will understand that it was a lot—that they had far more than they needed. Life with Jesus is truly a life of abundance!
Welcome to St. Paul’s this Sunday, where, as we marvel at the depth and breadth of God’s love for us, our Easter celebrations continue!
O God, whose blessed Son made himself known to his disciples in the breaking of bread: Open the eyes of our faith, that we may behold him in all his redeeming work; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Altar Flowers this week are given in loving memory of William Ellery Sedgwick.
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 Tuesday, May 7, from 5:30-6:30 p.m., for contemplative prayer.
St. Paul’s Field Trip!
On Saturday, May 11, members of the vestry invite you to join them on a trip to Needham, Massachusetts, to visit the studio of Marshall & Ogletree, Organbuilders and experience firsthand their magnificent instruments. This Massachusetts firm creates custom digital organs for churches, with the goal of creating instruments that can exceed the musical qualities of the greatest pipe organs of the world. Father Sam and organist Nancy visited the studio in March, and came away impressed with the possibilities of such an instrument for St. Paul’s. We will leave the St. Paul’s parking lot at 8:30 am on Saturday, May 11, and will be back no later than 4:00 pm. Contact Father Sam to join in, or for more information.
April Vestry Meeting Recap
The vestry met on Wednesday, April 23rd. Highlights of our discussion included:
- Announcement that St. Paul’s received a Ministry Development grant from the Diocese to support our “Alternative Evangelism Events,” like the Arbor Day Celebration on April 27.
- Thanks to all who made our Holy Week and Easter services a great success.
- Reports on various facility improvement projects, including new exterior steps up to the Tower Room door.
- More conversation about options to repair or replace our organ.
Your vestry’s next meeting will be Thursday, May 16th, 5:30 to 7:30 pm (subject to change – confirm with church office) on the second floor of the Parish House. All members of the church are invited to attend.
Save the Date: Sunday, June 9
County-wide Event to Rise Against Hunger
On the afternoon of the day of Pentecost, the Episcopal Churches of Berkshire County, along with our friends, will join together to celebrate the Holy Spirit by packaging 20,000 meals for those who are hungry throughout our world. We will also make summer activity bags for local kids who are served by our local food pantries and other charitable programs. This family-friendly event will conclude with a meal for all to celebrate! Questions? Ask Father Sam.
If you would like to honor or remember a loved one by providing altar flowers, the following Sundays are available: 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, May 5
Celebrant/Preacher: The Rev. Sam Smith
8 am: Pam Drumm
10 am: Carl Sprague, Greeter
Don Temples, Usher
Peter Dillon, Lector
Diane Dillon, Intercessor
Natalie Boyce, Altar Guild
Anne Skakel & Diane Dillon, Hospitality
Nancy King, Organist
Next Sunday, May 12
Celebrant/Preacher: The Rev. Sam Smith
8 am: Jorja Marsden
10 am: Sebastian Bonner, Greeter
Tracy Johnson, Usher
Kim Savery, Lector
Bill Higgins, Intercessor
Robin Race, Altar Guild
Anne Covell & Bill Higgins, Hospitality
Tom Tuthill, Organist
Parish Prayer List
- People we pray for on Sundays: Cecilia, Martha, Tom
- Prayers of repose for the soul of Anne-Marie Brunner
- 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: Lee Food Pantry and Community Diaper Project
- Diocesan Cycle of Prayer: Trinity Church, Lenox
- Anglican Cycle of Prayer: The Anglican Church of Kenya
- Birthdays: Robin Race (8th)