Whose Side Are You On?

This week’s story from the Gospel of Luke (4:21-30) is a painful one. It deals with our desire to believe that Jesus is on our side in important matters. The people in the synagogue in Nazareth expect that Jesus will favor them in his ministry. It never occurs to them that he will not give them preferential treatment—after all they are his hometown crowd and have known him for a long time. But Jesus disappoints the hometown crowd when he tells them that they are not standing at the front of the line for his attention and care.  

     Jesus rebukes these insiders, explaining that God’s mercy throughout history is particularly for the stranger, the enemy, and the foreigner. And that doesn’t go over well with his neighbors, who in their disappointment rapidly shift from speaking well of Jesus to trying to chase him off of a cliff! Jesus emphasizes that he is on the side of those no one else will help, the least and the unlikely characters of the world: Tough words that spoil a hometown reunion. Theologians have suggested that the question is not whether God is on our side, but whether or not we are on God’s side. Welcome to St. Paul’s this Sunday, as we consider how to be on God’s side in a ministry of mercy, compassion and love.


Collect
Almighty and everlasting God, you govern all things both in heaven and on earth: Mercifully hear the supplications of your people, and in our time grant us your peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


Lee Food Pantry
With the continuing partial government shutdown, food assistance is needed now more than ever. Please consider buying a few extra items to donate when you shop this week. This week’s food pantry suggestion is  peanut butter. Please bring this or other non-perishable food items with you to church on Sunday to share with those in need in our community. (Next week’s suggested item will be: soup.)

St. Paul’s Prayer Circle will meet this Tuesday, February 5, from 5:30-6:30 p.m., for contemplative prayer.

Altar Flowers

If you would like to honor or remember a loved one by providing altar flowers, the following Sundays are available: Feb. 24; Mar. 3; June 9; Aug. 25; Sep. 22; Nov. 10; Dec. 1, 8. To sign up, please email stpaulsstockbridge@gmail.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).

Altar Flowers
If you would like to honor or remember a loved one by providing altar flowers, the following Sundays are available: Feb. 24; Mar. 3; June 9; Aug. 25; Sep. 22; Nov. 10; Dec. 1, 8. To sign up, please email stpaulsstockbridge@gmail.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 at stpaulsstockbridge@gmail.com.)

This Sunday, February 3

Celebrant: The Rev. Sam Smith                  Preacher: The Rev. Jane Tillman

8 am:                     Pam Drumm, Assisting

10 am:                 Jean Rousseau, Greeter & Lector

                                Tracy Johnson, Usher & Altar Guild

                                Kim Savery, Intercessor

                                Georgeanne & Jean Rousseau, Hospitality

                                Nancy King, Organist

Next Sunday, February 10

Celebrant/Preacher: The Rev. Sam Smith

8 am:                     Jorja Marsden, Assisting

10 am:                 Natalie, Boyce, Greeter

                                Deb Pege, Usher

                                Martha Bodine, Lector

                                Carl Sprague, Intercessor & Hospitality

                                Ginny Willcox, Altar Guild & Hospitality

                                Tom Tuthill, Organist

Parish Prayer List

·         People we pray for on Sundays: Eddy, Bill, Lucille, Mary, 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: Lee Food Pantry & Berkshire Community Diaper Project
  • Diocesan Cycle of Prayer: St. Thomas’ Church, Auburn
  • Anglican Cycle of Prayer: The Anglican Church of Burundi

Birthdays: Louisa Carman (Jan. 31st), Thomas Weston (Feb.1st); Peter Dillon (Feb. 5th); John Carmichael IV (Feb. 8th)