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Dry Desert
St. Paul's Manna Blog

He humbled you by letting you hunger, then by feeding you with manna... in order to make you understand that one does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.
(Deuteronomy 8:3)

NRSV: Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.

CEB: Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will succeed.

The NRSV is the New Revised Standard Version, which is the academic standard for biblical translation. The Common English Bible is a more accessible translation. Both are approved for use during worship in the Episcopal Church.

The vestry and I had a great conversation this week about a quote from fourth century theologian John Chrysostom:

The Holy Scriptures were not given to us that we should enclose them in books, but that we should engrave them upon our hearts.

We do a lot of things to engrave scripture on our hearts at St. Paul's. We read the Bible aloud, Old Testament and New, each week. We hear sermons to open the words of scripture to us in new ways. The words of the Book of Common Prayer are filled with words and passages from the Bible, so that many of us have them memorized. We sing words from the Bible in hymns and anthems.

But all of that happens on Sunday mornings.

What about the rest of the week?

Many of us have daily or weekly Bible-reading practices. But many of us have never regularly opened a Bible in our homes.

For this program year, I propose that we take on a new spiritual practice all together as a parish: St. Paul's Verse of the Week.

St. Paul's Verse of the Week

Each week, we'll have one verse from the Bible to focus our week together. The verses will come from all kinds of books of the Bible: Old Testament stories, prophets, wisdom literature, gospel stories of Jesus, and New Testament teachings.

You're invited to engage with the verse in any way that's meaningful to you.

I plan to journal on the verse as part of my prayer practice that week. You could also:

  • memorize the verse

  • read it aloud as a family at the dinner table each night

  • read the verse in the broader context of the book it's in

  • draw or otherwise make art of the verse

  • or any other way you can think to engage with it.

The verse may or may not come up on Sundays during worship or formation classes. The main idea is for us to have a small assignment to take home with us, and to try on new ways to engage with scripture. Whatever you do, the goal is to engrave that verse on your heart that week.

I wonder how this consistent, specific, shared engagement with scripture will shape our community this year? I hope you'll take up this invitation and join me!

Welcome back from the summer! Our program year begins this week in earnest, which means a return to our usual worship schedule. This Sunday, we return to two services on Sunday mornings: 8am and 10:15am. If you're reading this, you're very much invited to join us.

You may notice that this is also my first Sunday back at St. Paul's since my parental leave began. And wow is it a mix of emotions! I loved being home during this challenging transition to parenthood, but at the same time, I've missed you all and am excited to be back.

John and Hannah are looking forward to coming to St. Paul's to see you all sometime soon, too. We're trying to keep photos of her off the internet, for the most part. Instead, stop by the bulletin board outside the office to see a few printed photos this Sunday!

While I was away, I somehow also finished my coursework for my Master of Sacred Theology (STM) at Yale Divinity School. I was able to carry Hannah with me while I walked at commencement. If you squint you can see her in this photo with me.

More information and announcements about this coming year will come in the next few weeks as I get my feet under me. Thank you for your patience with me while I finish turning on my "church brain" again after spending so much effort getting my "mom brain" up and running.

And thank you infinitely to Rev. Mo and the many amazing lay leaders at St. Paul's who stepped up and kept things humming along over the past few months. It meant so much to know that, between them and the Holy Spirit, our community was in good hands while I was away.

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