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February 8, 2017, 12:00 AM

A word at mid-week 2/8

Good morning and happy Wednesday!

As you will recall, the Sunday lectionary readings are in the early part of Matthew's Gospel and over several weeks, we are being presented with sections from Jesus' Sermon on the Mount. This "sermon" is actually a collection of sayings and teachings of Jesus that serve as a kind of inaugural speech that sets the stage for the new message, the new covenant that he is about to bring. It is considered the first of five long sermons found in Matthew and takes place relatively early in the ministry of Jesus, after he has been baptized by John the Baptist and preached in Galilee.

Two weeks ago, we began this section in Matthew with the Beatitudes, which described how God sees our character, expressed as "blessings." These "blessings" gave us a new set of ideals that focus on love and humility rather than force and exaction; they echo the highest ideals of Jesus' teachings on spirituality and compassion. This coming Sunday, we are given the longest section in the Sermon, where Jesus reinterprets God's covenant with us. 

This week, we were presented with the metaphors of salt and light, which describe our value as human beings and followers of Jesus. We are salt and light by our very nature and when we live as salt and light in our places of work, in our homes, the way we parent, how we relate to others we preserve and point the way to God. There are a variety of, perhaps, small ways God has used you to be salt and light - through our words of encouragement to others, faithfulness in the way we conduct business, the relationships that we build through volunteering, and when we pray, protest, and make good on our promises. When we think we don't matter or can't measure up or don't have enough resources to make a difference, remember that a tiny, single, grain of sand never looses it ability to preserve and a single, microscopic beam of light never looses its ability to light the way. Small is what God most often uses to change the world!

Brother Curtis Almquist from the Society of Saint John the Evangelist put it another way: "The only way we can grasp Jesus' judgment of love is through the hands, and hearts, and words of other people who are the channels of Jesus' intervening, liberating truth. Jesus will reach us through other people. That's the only way." Please, see my sermon, below.

This coming Sunday, February 12, is Scout Sunday! There will be a bake-sale immediately following the 10:30am service. Please be as generous as you can. As you know, St. Matthew's has had a long history with the Scouts and this Sunday is the 62nd year of continuous support of Troop 161 by St. Matthew's! I hope to see all of you in church this weekend to celebrate with the Scouts!

Please scroll through the many announcements below. This is a packed weekend with the Waycross Fundraiser on Friday evening and the Soup Supper at Downey Ave Christian Church on Saturday to help raise money for Hope Counseling, one of our ministry partners.

Finally, the Vestry and I will be on retreat together on February 18. We are looking forward to the work ahead and discerning where God is leading us. We will be excited to share with you throughout all of 2017!

God's love to you all! Fr. Frank


Taking Inventory of Music & Fine Arts Resources

I continue to discover the unique character and quality of the St. Matthew's parish and it has been a rewarding treasure hunt. As Organist/Choirmaster, it is one of my tasks to provide avenues of artistic expression in a variety of ways. In the Creation story, God was wildly creative. As God's children fashioned in His image and likeness, we possess that same creative spirit. I would like to learn where those talents lie, whether they be musical, artistic (all media - painting, sculpture, photography, etc.), dramatic or poetic. Whether you consider your gifts to be extensive or modest, I want to know how you imitate the Creator. So please reach out to me and let me know about your gifts. I also would welcome tattling on your friends, especially if they are too modest to let me know directly. So if you like to sing (whether regularly or occasionally), play (or would like to learn) handbells or other instruments, dabble in the creative arts, write poetry/fiction or like to act, please reach out to me by clicking on the e-mail link or writing me a note leaving it at the church. The Creed of the United Church of Canada has always been a favorite of mine. It states, "We believe in God: who has created and is creating . . ." Yes, God is still creating us and making good use of his beloved to do so. Let me hear from you!

Dale Caldwell

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