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St. Peter Newsletter — November 26, 2015

Jesus and the Rich Young Ruler

Twenty-Sixth Sunday after
Thirteenth Sunday of Luke

Jesus and the Rich Young Ruler

This Sunday we read the passage of the rich young ruler. A young man, described as a rich ruler, comes to Jesus. It appears that he is seeking justification, or at least some reassurance that he is on the right spiritual path. In response to Jesus’ questions, he asserts that he has followed the commandments all of his life. He has not committed adultery, nor murder. He has not stolen from others, borne false witness, nor failed to honor his parents.

He has, in other words, followed the rules. He has obeyed the commandments. In the eyes of the Jews, he was most certainly a righteous man. For us, living today, his way of life would be considered praiseworthy. We are all required, at a minimum, to keep the commandments of God. What could be more simple? But the truth is that the “thou shall not”s of Scripture are only, if you will, kindergarten for Christians. If we want more, if we want to follow the road of the saints and truly become the children of God, we must not think that our spiritual life stops there.

Jesus knew that the focus of the young man was his wealth. It was what characterized his life. It was, in the end, the way in which he defined who he was and what he did. It was, in the end, the thing that kept him from God. He thus challenged his questioner to abandon the very thing that, whether or not the man knew it, separated him from God. To that end, Jesus asked the man to surrender that part of him which he kept separate and that he valued the most—his wealth.

Keep in mind that in this instance, wealth was simply the symptom of the disease. In other circumstances, with other people, it was something else. Often it was a rigid attachment to the Law itself, or to the odds and ends of daily life. The point is that in each instance, here is something separating the person from true worship, from a genuine relationship with God.

Read the entire essay on the Pravoslavie website.

St. Peter’s Helps the Working Poor for Thanksgiving

And the King shall answer and say to them, Truly I say to you, Inasmuch as you have done it to one of the least of these my brethren, you have done it to me. (Matthew 25:40).

St. Peter’s partnered with local food bank Cafe of Life last week to provide Thanksgiving meals to twenty five families who otherwise would have gone without. These families are the working poor. They work but don’t make enough to make ends meet.

This is part of our mission to help the needy in our local area.

Preparing the food bags at Church

Preparing the food bags at Church

Distributing the food bags

Distributing the food bags

See more pictures on the St. Peter website.

We also support:

Food for the Hungry


As we do ever year, the months approaching Christmas is when we collect foor for neighborhood foodshelves.

Please bring a canned item to Church with you on Sundays. Bins will be set up to collect them.

Cash/check donations work too. Please give your donation to Mary Copeland and notate “Food Donation” on the memo line.

The drive will run through December 29. All donations will be distributed locally.

See more information on the website.

Chior Practice and Orthodoxy 101 Class Resume Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Choir practice begins at 6pm and Orthodoxy 101 at 7pm.

Get the class syllabus and complete information on the website.

Read Chapters 10-11, Pages 153-178 to prepare for class.

As You Rise From Sleep…

When you rise from sleep, your first thought should be of God, your first word should be a prayer to God — your Father and Creator.

Elder Anthony of Optina

Vespers and St. Nicholas Potluck on Saturday, December 5 at 5:30pm

St. Nicholas

Join us for Vespers at 5:30pm and a St. Nicholas Day pot luck on Saturday, December 5 starting at 5:30. The next day (Sunday) is St. Nicholas Feast Day.

In America we celebrate during the time leading up to the Holy Day (the the extent that anything is sacred anymore in our culture). In Orthodox Christian culture however the time leading up to the Feast Day is a time of preparaion with celebrations following it. That makes retaining the holiness of our Feast Days more difficult to do (and may be one reason why it is good that our Easters don’t coincide with the Western Christian calendar).

How do we handle this? When invited out do everything in moderation. Remember that Christmas Day marks not the end, but the beginning of a season that runs from Christmas to Theophany. This is the original meaning of “The Twelve Days of Christmas that was once understood in the Christian West but has unfortunately been lost. You can read more about this in my essay “The Twelve Days of Christmas.”

How should we prepare? Begin the Christmas fast. It is similar to the Lenten Fast but a little less demanding. Eat no meat to start and increase prayer. Go to confession. If in a situation where meat is offered such as being invited to dinner you accept it so as not to offend your host but when the decision is yours avoid it until the Feast Day. Focur on Christ and Christmas more by listening to Christmas carols, reading the bible more, going to Church more — anything to help focus yourself on the “higher things” as St. Paul teaches us.

A friendly reminder not to bring meat items for the pot luck.

Expansion Starts Next Week

Building up the Church

Work will procede on demolition of the inside of the new space next week — God willing. It consists of removing a few walls, clean up, and so forth. It won’t be done in a week but it may be done enough that we can hold our pot luck in the new location.

Remember in Your Prayers

Tony Backos – That his business would be restored quickly.

Soterios Ninos father of Angela Long.

Bonnie Joseph

Bob Smith

Tom and Jean, parents of Patty and Jerry.

How should we pray for the sick? Remember them daily. Say their names and ask God to bestow mercy and grace on them.

Sunday Readings

Search the Scriptures


For the Twenty-Sixth Sunday after Pentecost

Let Thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us.
Rejoice in the Lord, O ye righteous.

The Reading from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Ephesians. (5:8-19)

Brethren, walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is a shame even to speak of the things that they do in secret; but when anything is exposed by the light it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it is said, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you light.”

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart.


For the Thirteenth Sunday of Luke

The Reading from the Holy Gospel according to St. Luke. (18:18-27)

At that time, a man came testing Jesus and asking, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery. Do not kill. Do not steal. Do not bear false witness. Honor your father and mother.’” And the man said, “All these I have observed from my youth.” And when Jesus heard it, he said to him, “One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”

But when the man heard this he became sad, for he was very rich. Jesus, seeing him sad, said, “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” Those who heard it said, “Then who can be saved?” Jesus said, “What is impossible with men is possible with God.”