News for the Fourth Sunday of Lent: March 18, 2012

Good Morning and Welcome to St. Mary’s Church!

The Episcopal Church Women will meet today following the 10:00 am service. The ECW Prayer committee meets on the second Sunday of the month.

Manhattan North IPC Lenten Services: Wednesday Evenings at 7:00 pm; Evening Prayer followed by a Fellowship meal.

  • March 21:           All Souls, 88 St. Nicholas Ave. (between 114th and 115th Streets)
  • March 28:          St. Ambrose, 9 West 130th Street (just off fifth Ave.)

Lenten Book Study: “Becoming a Blessed Church” Mondays at 7:00 pm (soup included!); Please see Rev. Kooperkamp for a copy of the book. Suggested by Dorothy Ross, Thanks!!

The Finance Committee will meet on March 22nd at 6;00 pm. Please see our Warden and chair of the Finance Committee, Dorothy Ross for more information.

Movies at St. Mary’s: 6:00 pm on Fridays. Come for the fellowship, the popcorn and the FUN!!  Also, we need volunteers to help. March 23: the help, 2011 comedy/drama, pg-13. 60’s writer tells stories from the maids’ point of view.  March 30: silly sequels DOUBLE FEATURE; Kung fu Panda 2, 2011, pg, & Big Momma’s House 3,  2011, pg-13. J. Black & A. Jolie voice the panda-monium;  Martin Lawrence plays dress up – for a cause.  Just good old- fashioned fun.

All who wish help plan a farewell for Rev. Kooperkamp are asked to come to a meeting from 12 noon until 12:30 next Sunday, March 25th. Please see Dorothy Ross for details.

The Vestry will meet March 25th at 12:30 pm. All are invited!

The Men’s Monthly Prayer Group will meet on Saturday, March 31st at 8:00 am.

Holy Week Schedule:

* Palm Sunday, April 1st: 10:00 am Bagpipe procession in the neighborhood.

* Tenebrae: April 4th: 6:30 pm A service of Psalms and Scripture for Holy Week

* Maundy Thursday, April 5th: 6:30 pm Footwashing, Holy Communion and all night vigil at the altar of Repose

* Good Friday: April 6th: 12 noon – 3:00 pm A service of prayer and meditation

* Holy Saturday: April 7th: 12 noon A short service of prayer in the garden

* Easter Sunday: April 8th:    6:00 am sunrise service and vigil

                                                          8:00 am Holy Communion and hymns

                                                        10:00 am Festal Eucharist and Holy Baptism

                                                          2:00 pm Ecclesia Easter in Marcus Garvey Park

Reflections on Today’s Scripture Lessons by Arthur Cash:

First Reading: Numbers 21: 4 – 9

When I was a hospital medic in World War II, I wore on my sleeve the medical symbol, a snake sort of corkscrewing around a pole representing the healing staff of Mercury, a symbol that brought together the two roots of Western culture, the Jews and the Greeks. Six hundred years after Noses, at the   Jerusalem Temple, there was a bronze snake on a pole, thought to be the very one fashioned by   Moses. King Hezekiah, the great reformer, broke it into pieces because it was being worshipped (2 Kings 18:4). Since the use of magic appears here and there in the Old Testament, I would have said that the healing power of Moses’ bronze snake was magical; but I am given pause by the Gospel of John, 3; 14-15, where Jesus is reported to say, “just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.”

Second Reading: Ephesians 2: 1 – 10

A real scholar of the Bible might write a book on this passage, so loaded is it was concepts and images. Yet the main idea comes through. Before the appearance of Christ, humankind existed in a sinful state, following “the desires of the flesh,” obedient to Satan. Cut off from God, humanity was in a state tantamount to death. Christ brought us out of this death into life with God. He did so because of our faith.  Humans do not, cannot earn salvation by good works. They cannot influence God. Salvation is God’s gift, his grace, not a reward for doing good. To be sure, God wants our good works, and they will come, for good works are the result of salvation. They are never the cause of it.

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