The Story of the Fall: Part 2 of "God's Five Act Play"
 By Ron Matross

The story of the Fall is the Bible's colorful way of describing the essential human condition. Before their fall, Adam and Eve were like cows contentedly and naively grazing in their lush garden pasture, with all their needs taken care of. But after eating of the Tree of Knowledge, Adam and Eve become aware of good and evil. And, as they discover when their son Cain murders their other son Abel, they and their descendants are also capable of committing acts of great evil.

 

God sends Adam and Eve out to make their way in a rough world, where they will have to "win their bread by the sweat of their brows". But God has also given them a supreme advantage: "dominion over the fish in the sea, the birds of the air, and every living thing that moves on the earth."  Human beings are the alpha predator, the top of the food chain.

And that's the human condition--power and choice. Collectively, we have great knowledge and power over all the other creatures of our planet, and even the ability to destroy our "fragile island home."  Individually, we each have the power to help or hurt our fellow travelers. It is up to us to decide whether we will use our power for good or for evil. Will we be like Abel and affirm God and life, or will we be like Cain and lash out at God and those around us?

 

Other religious traditions also talk about the power and the choice that define us. A story in many Native American traditions goes along the lines of this one, attributed to a Cherokee tradition (firstpeoples.us):

An old man is teaching his grandson about life. "A fight is going on inside me," he said to the boy.

"It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil. He is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. The other is good. He is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith. That same fight is going on inside you and every other person."

The boy thought about it for a minute, and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?"

The grandfather simply replied, "The one you feed."

Which wolf will you feed?

 

Click Here to read more about God's Five Act Play 

 

An Invitation to "Selma"  
By Barrett Fisher   


As part of St. Matthew's emphasis this Lent on racial reconciliation and Shalom, you are invited to a conversation about the Academy Award nominated film, Selma, which dramatizes the story of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s non-violent march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in support of the full voting rights of African Americans in 1965. Barrett Fisher will facilitate the discussion from 7:00-8:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 5 in the church library. Reviewing the film in The Star Tribune, Colin Covert described it as: "Brilliantly acted, beautifully shot, emotionally touching and filled with stunning action set pieces, its achievements are not to be scoffed at. It sees the world in colors richer than black and white."


Please watch the film ahead of time; it is still showing in several local theaters. It might be helpful to keep a few questions in mind as you watch:
1. In what ways did the film surprise you?
2. Which scene is the most memorable for you? Why?
3. Selma is based on historical events, but it is not a documentary. How important is historical accuracy in such a film?
4. What roles does religious faith play in the film?
5. What would Martin Luther King, Jr. be doing if he were alive today?


If you want to do some reading about the film before the discussion, The New York Times has several illuminating articles:
* On the question of historical accuracy
* As a "teachable moment"
* An interview with director Ava DuVernay 


Crossing Bridges: Selma to Minnesota 

 

Led by a coalition of faith communities, we will come together from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds, political preferences and across socio-economic differences. We will come together across all that could divide us to be unified in this moment in recognition of the interfaith march of 1965 from Selma to Montgomery, with hopes of inspiring continued partnerships. We join this march with others across the country, including those in Selma. We are stronger together in bringing justice to this broken and hurting world.

 

The Twin Cities observance of the 1965 Selma March will be held Sunday, March 8th, 2-4 p.m., beginning at the State Capitol and ending at Central Presbyterian Church in downtown Saint Paul.  You are invited to spread the word, register, donate, and consider becoming a financial partnerClick Here for more information

Cross

Music for God's 5 Act Play 
By Jeff Kidder
 
At the Sunday Evening Service during Lent, we will be using a Kyrie that comes from Ghana. This music is included in the most recent Lutheran Hymnal, "ELW" as well as the hymnal, "World Praise." The editor/arranger of "World Praise" writes about this piece of music that, "It's not too fanciful to hear in this expressive Kyrie, with echoes of the blues in its final phrase, so much of the pain and suffering of Ghana's colonial past with its slave trade and enforced break-up of families. Dinah Reindorf, one of Ghana's leading musicians, composed this in response to a Passion Walk, walking in Christ's footsteps to the cross."


My prayer is that this might allow us to, in a small way, step into the experience of our brothers and sisters in Ghana. As we sing  "Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy" and offer our pleas for God's help for ourselves and the world, may we also stand and pray in solidarity with others in the struggle for justice and peace as we walk in the way of Jesus and the cross.

Blue House News 
By Karen Lilley

We face new (good) challenges at the Blue House orphanage in Uganda. The oldest girls have graduated from high school, and we want to give them additional education, which is key to their independence.  We also need to bring new girls to the Blue House.

Grace is our first college student, attending the prestigious Makerere University! Evas is in a one-year Nursery Teaching and Child Protection program. Peace and Ovious have finished high school and are working at the Blue House while waiting to hear if they can go on to more schooling.  

Your donations for the Blue House are needed more than ever. We hope to raise an extra $10,000 this year for our girls, more orphans, and the older girls' education. Please mail your donations to HMI - Blue House, c/o St. Matthew's, 2136 Carter Ave., St. Paul, MN 55108.

Keep in touch at www.Blue-House.org, where you can also see newsletters and join our e-mail list. THANKS!

Soul Journaling Opportunity at St. Matthew's   
   

Soul Journal invites the fusion of words, images and soul/spirit. St. Matthews has the opportunity to offer a 3-session class of this amazing process which uses poetry, readings, and images to explore our spiritual path. We will use art supplies and personal writing exercises to create each journal page - no writing or art expertise is necessary.

 

Classes are led by Gabriel Ross, the director of Creative Spirit, a trained Soulcollage facilitator, who also holds an M.A. in Catechetics and Liturgy.

  • Meetings: Monday evenings, April 13, 20 and 27
  • Where: St. Matthews Undercroft
  • Time: 7:00 - 9:00 p.m.
  • Cost: $75.00 plus a journal (purchased from instructor to have the right paper for the work) Other art supplies provided.We need at least 10 interested people to be able to offer the class. Scholarships may be available.

To show your interest or reserve a spot, contact Jenny Bach by March 13 at  jmbach51@comcast.net or 651.643.0622. Let her know if scholarship money would be requested. If you have additional questions about what 'soul journaling' is like or involves please talk to Jenny Bach, Evelynne Thompson, Peg Houck (at peghouck@gmail.com), or Joan Hershbell (at 651.324.2776). Jenny will share sample pages from past classes on request. 

Key Learnings from the Kidders - Faith Forum

By Lisa Wiens Heinsohn

 

On Sunday February 15, Jeff Kidder (our Sunday Evening Music Director) and his wife Kristen came to the Adult Faith Forum to share their experiences  of starting an intentional Christian community called "Crossroads Community" in their Frogtown neighborhood of St. Paul. 

As they explained, they had gone on a mission trip with their church, Messiah Episcopal and were so captivated by the combination of vulnerability, sharing (generosity might be better than sharing) and genuine community, that they experienced with their group and with the Haitians they visited, that when they returned they tried to find a way to continue to keep God at the center of their lives by forming an intentional community here.  After a year of discernment and praying together, three couples decided to buy two houses connected by a large corner greenspace in Frogtown.  Why Frogtown?  "All paths seemed to lead there," said Jeff and Kristen.  About 10-15 additional people committed themselves to being part of the community, though not to move to Frogtown....
Read More Here 
Loaves and Fishes Thank You 
By Dave McKenna

Thanks to all those who helped to bake cookies and to prepare and serve the meal at Loaves and Fishes on February 22nd.  We served a total of 271 guests, which is one of the highest numbers served in the past couple of years.  Be sure to mark your calendar for the next Loaves and Fishes event - Sunday, May 24th (Memorial Day weekend).   
Looking Ahead: Calendar Highlights
  • March 5: Film Discussion of "Selma" 7:00pm facilitated by Barrett Fisher
  • March 8: Twin Cities Observance of the 1965 Selma March, 2:00pm - State Capitol to downtown St. Paul.
  • March 8 & 15: Faith Forum with Dr. McKinney, 9:15am in the parish hall
  • March 10: JRLC Day on the Hill, Advocacy for children's issues
  • March 13: Music in the Park concerts at 6:00 and 7:15 in the parish hall
  • March 14: Novel Faith Book Group, Silence by Shusaku Endo, 6:30pm
  • March 17: Racial Reconciliation and Shalom with Ruben Rivera, 7:00pm
Please share your news and photos with us: tidings@stmatthewsmn.org

Visit our website for the prayer list, calendar and sermons