A few Parish Notes:
Prayers of Thanksgiving for the Ordination of Fr. Chris Fish to the priesthood last Saturday and a warm welcome to our new parish members who were confirmed, conditionally confirmed or received last last Sunday by Bishop Lerow.

Men's Group Breakfast & Bible Study, tomorrow Saturday April 20, 8:30 AM, church undercroft

No e-letter next week.

'“But always in our ears ring the ominous words of Plato, that wisest of all philosophers: “Only the dead have seen the end of war.” '

--- General Douglas MacArthur's Farewell Speech at West Point, 12 May, 1962

Well, General MacArthur was wrong about the source of that quote, which in fact comes from the Spanish philosopher George Santayana, but he was certainly right about the substance of it. History knows so few eras of prolonged peace that I sometimes wonder why Jesus, in predicting the final apocalypse and Last Judgment , warned His disciples that “... ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet” (Matthew 24:6).

One can easily imagine His listeners thinking, “Wars and rumors of wars? We have those all the time, why should we think they would be a sign that the end is near?” War seems to be a near-constant state, and in this age of global communications we are nearly always aware of some variety of organized armed conflict somewhere in the world.

In Romans 12:18 Saint Paul advises the Church, “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.” It strikes me as interesting that Saint Paul includes the modifier “as much as lieth in you.” I suppose that this may be simply a concession to human imperfection, but I would hold that it can also be read to allow for the exigencies of circumstance, a recognition that there are some circumstances in which one simply can not be at peace. To take an egregious example, if you are physically attacked, you have a right to defend yourself.

In Saint Paul's day, when Christians were a very tiny minority within the Roman Empire, the admonition to live peaceably with all others may have been relatively easy to understand and to attempt to follow, but after Christians became the dominant party in the leadership of the Empire the situation became a good deal more complicated. It's one thing to decide whether or not to confront your inconsiderate neighbor about the annoyance that the late night drunken revels that he loves to host are disturbing the peace of the whole neighborhood, but it is quite another to decide to send an army off to ravage the lands and people of a neighboring king because he keeps allowing cattlle raiders to harass your farmers along the border.

Theologians have wrestled with the problems caused by questions of when, why, and how Christians may and often should engage in the use of force for centuries. Some have argued for an absolute pacifism, the renunciation of the use of force even in defense of oneself or of innocent victims. Others have stated with equal conviction that there is a moral duty to use whatever force is necessary to protect the weak and innocent and to punish evildoers.

European philosophers from Aristotle on had considered the question, but the first notable Christian author to do so was Saint Augustine of Hippo. He concluded not only that violence in defence of self or innocent others was legitimate, but that to refuse to use violence to end a great evil that could be stopped by no other means was in itself a sin.

Thomas Aquinas may well be the most significant and influential Christian just war theorist. He was a 13th Century Italian Dominican friar immensely learned in both Christian theoloogy and pre-Christian philosophy. His teaching on the matter is extremely complex, but here a few of the main points. 1) A nation should not go to war for unjust reasons such as greed or the personal ambitions of the leaders. 2) Just reasons for war include a response to an unprovoked attack on one's own nation or an ally. 3) The intention behind a decision to go to war should be to render justice. 4) Insofar as possible violence should be directed only against armed and active combatants, not against noncombatants or prisoners. 5) A nation ought not initiate war without a reasonable expectation of success.

We humans are a violent and pugnacious breed. I can think of no time in my memory when there was not some form of organized deadly violence somehere on earth. It is my confident assumption that I will never see such a time. But the fact that war appears to be a constant reality of human life does not mean that any given nation must inevitably go to war. Peace can be preserved, even if uneasily. In his first joint address to Congress, what we would today call a State of The Nation speech, George Washington said, "To be prepared for war is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace."

The world is a dangerous place which contains an alarming number of dangerous people and dangerous nations. If we are to be effective in our attempts to promote peace and justice we simply must be seen to be both militarily and politically determined to be capable of the effective use of armed force. It is in some ways a sad truth, but a truth nonetheless, and one that we disregard at our peril.

-- Father Bragg +

He is risen. The Lord is risen indeed.
Please Click Here To Donate To St. Andrew & St. Margaret of Scotland Church
Tomorrow Saturday, April 20, MEN'S GROUP, 8:30 AM, breakfast by Chef Extraordinaire Claude Crump and Bible study by Fr. Bragg.  Great food, Bible study and fellowship

Sunday Services, 7:45 AM, 9:00 AM, & 11:15 AM (for online participation for the services go to: https://www.facebook.com/saintsofscotland/ ) 

Sunday School, 10:30 AM

Wednesday, 12 noon, Holy Communion and anointing for healing, (for online participation for the service go to: https://www.facebook.com/saintsofscotland/ )

Wednesday, 7:30 PM, Bible study with Father Bragg, church undercroft, "The Gospel of Saint Mark in the World of Saint Mark"

Monday, April 29, Vestry Meeting, 7:30 PM
Updated List of Needs for MaRIH Center (crisis pregnancy center)
MaRIH Center with its all volunteer staff provides help to mothers-to-be and mothers in need.  If you can provide some of the items that are needed, please do so. (You can leave the donations where the food for the food bank is collected on the pew in the undercorft.)

Especially Needed
 In Bold and  * are a critical need.

Diapers (sizes newborn, 1*, 2, 3, 4, 5*, & 6*)
Baby wipes*
Diaper rash ointment
Spring/Summer Clothing: 0-3 month*, 3-6 month*, 2T
Baby shampoo
Baby blankets*
Formula: Simulac Advance Formula*
Formula: other but not recalled
Wash clothes
Hooded towels
Grocery gift cards*

Updated Food Donations
Please help this month with a food donation if you are able. Christ House is very thankful for the food we provide to them each month. Please also buy low sugar cereals (and not the kid's types that have lots of sugar).  Current needs include the following:
• canned meats (chicken, corned beef, spam)
• peanut butter
• jelly
• tuna
• canned vegetables (corn, green beans - (regular and low sodium)
• individual fruit cups (low sugar)
• canned fruit (low sugar)
• boxed cereal (low sugar) and instant or old fashioned oatmeal (18 oz or 42 oz)
• pasta (regular and gluten-free)
• instant potatoes
• Macaroni & cheese kits
Soups: Chunky or Progresso; Chicken broth
• Coffee, cooking oil, flour, sugar