Good News: A Weekly Update from St Thomas—March 16, 2017
The garden at St Thomas is a hub of activity this morning as birds of all sizes and varieties scramble to eat the seed that is strewn across the snow. Some are year round ‘locals’ from our fields and woods; others are traveling through, stopping for a bit by choice or necessity of weather. All amazing creatures. Thanks to Dennis Milne and Jose Salazar, the parking lot and driveway are clear and ready for cars. Thanks to Kevin Kapples, Greg Shutske and others who may have helped unbeknownst to me, the walks are cleared and salted. It is a beautiful sight, though very cold and windy here on this hill.
Anita has the bulletins ready for Sunday morning and for the evensong on Sunday afternoon. We are working on schedules and services for Holy Week and Easter, just a few weeks away. Tonight the vestry will meet. Activity – life – all around us.
Tomorrow is St Patrick’s Day. Though Patrick is largely associated in this country with beer, corned beef, shamrocks and parades, in Ireland, he is the Patron Saint and most important Saint of all. The legends about Patrick are numerous. A Christian, a priest, a bishop, and Irish not by birth, but by choice. One of their own, yet an alien.
Monday is the feast of St Joseph, husband of Mary, and foster father/earthly guardian of Jesus. He was a carpenter by trade, a working man, a Jew. But for a time he, too, was an alien when he took Mary and the child to Egypt to protect them from the wrath of Herod. During that time they depended on the kindness of strangers to see them through difficult times.
In Sunday’s gospel we hear the story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman by the well. She had a jar for water, and he was thirsty, so he asked her for some water. Simple enough request. But she was a Samaritan, and he was a Jew – sworn enemies -- and so he shouldn’t even have spoken to her, let alone drink water from her jug. Yet he did just that, and so much more in the conversation that followed. And she went and told all her friends. And his friends were shocked and upset that he would deal so generously with an alien.
Aliens, immigrants, refugees – sometimes by choice, sometimes by necessity, sometimes by force. Depending often on the kindness of strangers for survival. Scripture is full of stories of men and women and children who find themselves in challenging situations and circumstances. Our lives today are also challenged in many similar ways. How we respond can make all the difference for someone else – and for ourselves.
Let us pray: Almighty God, in your providence you chose your servant Patrick to be the apostle of the Irish people, to bring those who were wandering in darkness and error to the true light and knowledge of you: Grant us so to walk in that light that we may come at last to the light of everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. Collect for St Francis, March 17
O God, who from the family of your servant David raised up Joseph to be the guardian of your incarnate Son and the spouse of his virgin mother: Give us grace to imitate his uprightness of life and his obedience to your commands; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. Collect for St. Joseph, March 20 (transferred)
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. Collect for the Third Sunday in Lent
Peace and Blessing, Carol+