The Lessons

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    The Collect

    O God, the King of glory, you have exalted your only Son Jesus Christ with great triumph to your kingdom in heaven: Do not leave us comfortless, but send us your Holy Spirit to strengthen us, and exalt us to that place where our Savior Christ has gone before; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

    The First Lesson

    Acts 1:6-14

    When the apostles had come together, they asked Jesus, “Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?” He replied, “It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. While he was going and they were gazing up toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”

    Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a sabbath day’s journey away. When they had entered the city, they went to the room upstairs where they were staying, Peter, and John, and James, and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. All these were constantly devoting themselves to prayer, together with certain women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, as well as his brothers.

    The Response

    Psalm 68:1-10, 33-36

    Exsurgat Deus

    Let God arise, and let his enemies be scattered; *
    let those who hate him flee before him.

    2 Let them vanish like smoke when the wind drives it away; *
    as the wax melts at the fire, so let the wicked perish at the presence of God.

    3 But let the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; *
    let them also be merry and joyful.

    4 Sing to God, sing praises to his Name;
    exalt him who rides upon the heavens; *
    YAHWEH is his Name, rejoice before him!

    5 Father of orphans, defender of widows, *
    God in his holy habitation!

    6 God gives the solitary a home and brings forth prisoners into freedom; *
    but the rebels shall live in dry places.

    7 O God, when you went forth before your people, *
    when you marched through the wilderness,

    8 The earth shook, and the skies poured down rain,
    at the presence of God, the God of Sinai, *
    at the presence of God, the God of Israel.

    9 You sent a gracious rain, O God, upon your inheritance; *
    you refreshed the land when it was weary.

    10 Your people found their home in it; *
    in your goodness, O God, you have made provision for the poor.

    33 Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth; *
    sing praises to the Lord.

    34 He rides in the heavens, the ancient heavens; *
    he sends forth his voice, his mighty voice.

    35 Ascribe power to God; *
    his majesty is over Israel;
    his strength is in the skies.

    36 How wonderful is God in his holy places! *
    the God of Israel giving strength and power to his people!
    Blessed be God!

    The Epistle

    1 Peter 4:12-14; 5:6-11

    Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that is taking place among you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you are sharing Christ’s sufferings, so that you may also be glad and shout for joy when his glory is revealed. If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the spirit of glory, which is the Spirit of God, is resting on you.

    Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you. Discipline yourselves, keep alert. Like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around, looking for someone to devour. Resist him, steadfast in your faith, for you know that your brothers and sisters in all the world are undergoing the same kinds of suffering. And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, support, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the power forever and ever. Amen.

    The Gospel

    John 17:1-11

    Jesus looked up to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all people, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth by finishing the work that you gave me to do. So now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had in your presence before the world existed.

    ”I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world. They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything you have given me is from you; for the words that you gave to me I have given to them, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. I am asking on their behalf; I am not asking on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those whom you gave me, because they are yours. All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them. And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one.”

From our Rector, Rev. Patrick Sanders

Good People,
 
I just wanted to reach out to you here at the end of our first real week of social distancing. I can only imagine that this will get weirder as we move deeper into the realities of battling the spread of the Coronavirus. How are y’all doing out there?
 
As you know, it is a challenge to discern what it looks like to be the church in the midst of this as it is unprecedented in my lifetime. Bishop Seage has suspended public, face-to-face worship and programming through and including Easter Sunday. Please know that Liz, Scott, JT, and myself are being creative and thinking through how to approach on-line worship in a way that is authentic and meaningful. JT Anglin, you are a treasure to your church and our Lord. Being in this with you is one of the blessings found in a weird wilderness. We are trying to stay connected through Facebook and other streaming formats. I have also collaborated with my clergy friends on the coast to offer formation and Christian Education in the form of panel bible studies as well as question and answer sessions. I will keep the good people of St. Peter’s By The Sea posted as those things go live. Please visit our website for updates! ( https://stpetersbytheseagulfport.com/ ) I encourage you, if you are not already in the web world, to connect in some way. Some people I know who despise Facebook have logged in during this time as a way to avoid loneliness and isolation. I am grateful to be a priest in a time where we have this as an option. I will be working with Gail Hendrickson this morning (remotely of course!) on ways that we can “rise above the noise” and present on line connection moments that are unique to our community. Big love will be expressed and felt I hope!
 
I have asked Susan Prendergast to work from home as has her other boss. If you’re wondering, I am in fact her favorite boss. She will be coming in for a bit on Thursdays to do necessary bookkeeping and to let our 12-Step folks in the building. (I will say more about this in a minute.) We have turned off all AC units to conserve energy and save some money as the coming months will be tighter than usual without our regular offerings. I don’t expect a major dip as folks are already reaching out about giving on line and mailing their pledges. However, it would be naive of me to ignore the possible economic impact this will have on our community and our church. We are well prepared for this so I’m not anxious but we are being as cautious as possible during these strange days. Y’all, I can’t put into words how lucky we are to have Susan. She is our rock.
 
We have a healthy discretionary fund so people needing groceries and/or financial relief in the coming months will have a place to go for that help. Nearly all of the on line worship and study will have a “give” button so that folks can support the church as well as the discretionary fund and our ability to be the church will be sustained or more than likely strengthened. Jan Shook and our amazing Sr. Warden are keeping an eye on the needs of our community so that our church can respond to them in abundant and transformative ways. There is a note from Jan attached to this email so please keep reading! If you would like to contribute please do! Follow this link https://stpetersbytheseagulfport.com/services-2-2-2-2/#PLEDGE
 
Pastoral care was the very first conversation we had when this all began. I met with Liz and our pastoral care team about this last week and we began reaching out to folks immediately. We are calling folks when we think of them as well as using the church directory to make sure folks are not falling through the cracks. This is imperfect but working. Please do not hesitate to reach out to Liz or I if you discern a pastoral need or if you yourself need some care! I am asking for prayer requests and spend a good bit of time each day praying for our church family. I believe deeply in the power of prayer as it connects us in holy and miraculous ways.
 
I am allowing, with the bishop’s blessing, our 12-Step group (Step Sisters) to continue their meetings on Thursdays. I am especially concerned about those battling addiction of any kind during all of this. Regular life is hard enough.
 
Last but not least, I ask for your prayers for our priests and deacon. This is a new style of ministry that is taking some creativity and trial-and-error. There are also previously unseen pastoral situations as people are scared, confused, the strength of some marriages is being tested, addictions are being triggered, and folks who were already battling anxiety and/or depression prior to this are having a more difficult time coping with such heightened tension around them. I am trying to tend to them as best I can but your prayers are coveted. I am so so grateful for Liz Jones right now. She is a pastoral ninja and we are blessed to have her in our corner! Scott Williams’ return to our church could not have come at a better time. Scott, you are loved and appreciated more than you can know!
 
I will be in touch concerning a virtual vestry meeting soon.
 
Thank you for being in the kingdom with us and I love each you SO BIG!
 
Father Patrick
 

 
A Note from Outreach Chairperson, Jan Shook
 
Biscuit Brigaders!
 
Please feel free to say that you’d rather not serve during this time. All of you know your personal needs medical and otherwise so I ask you use your best discernment 💜
 
I feel we should assist our neighbors who are in need now more than ever…but within the parameters of safety.
 
We will continue to cook and serve until told otherwise.
 
I am requesting plastic shopping bags as our supply has diminished.
We can put the paper bag, water and apple juice in the plastic bag and less passing.
 
I will being a small pop up table and we can simply set the bags on the tables and monitor til gone.
 
There are amazing groups of people in our community coming together to reach out to others’ need.
 
Please pray for those daring to cook and serve the Elderly.
 
Text or call me with any questions or request to work.
 
**All the above will be under the advisement of our authorities.
If we receive self-isolation orders…we will follow.
 
Thank you for supporting the Biscuit Brigade.
 
Peace and Love in Christ,
Jan Shook

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