O GOD, who as at this time didst teach the hearts of thy faithful people, by sending to them the light of thy Holy Spirit; Grant us by the same Spirit to have a right judgment in all things, and evermore to rejoice in his holy comfort; through the merits of Christ Jesus our Saviour, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the same Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.

I recently finished reading (okay, I'll admit it, “listening to;” I listen to a lot of books while driving) Nathaniel Philbrick's fine history, In the Hurricane's Eye: The Genius of George Washington and the Victory at Yorktown.

Philbrick begins his book in 1780, more than a year before the combined French and Continental Armies forced Lord Cornwallis' surrender at Yorktown, a defeat that effectively ended any serious possibility of the British being able to retain their rule over their thirteen rebellious North American colonies. As he recounts the often highly unlikely events that eventually led to that outcome, he uses contemporary documents to attempt to explain the strategic and political thinking of the leaders on both sides of the conflict. In doing so he comes to a deep appreciation of Washington as a strategic thinker.

Washington began his command of the Continental Army hoping to win the war with a decisive tactical victory over the British Army, but defeat after defeat on the battlefield convinced him that such a victory was not possible so long as the Royal Navy could provide that army with both secure lines of supply and reinforcement and great strategic mobility. After five years of suffering and many heartbreaking lost battles with only a few victories, support for America's cause was growing weaker as the human and economic costs of the war continued to mount.

Nathanael Greene's description of the war he waged as Washington's subordinate in the South could equally well be said of the forces under Washington's direct command: “We fight, we get beat, we get up and fight again.” But that could not go on forever. Without at least temporary local control of the sea at some critical point on the Atlantic coast the Americans would soon run out of men, money, and the will to fight.

Washington knew this and repeatedly urged the French to send a fleet formidable enough to challenge the Royal Navy at some strategic location where they could support the Continental Army and allow it to achieve a decisive advantage over their adversaries. At both Providence and New York Washington saw great opportunities forfeited by the French refusal to risk a major sea battle. Washington and Greene fought on, winning a few battles, losing many more, and hoping for the maritime victory that Washington continued to argue was necessary for any hope of achieving American independence.

Finally, when the war seemed almost certain to be lost, the stunning French naval victory at the Battle of the Chesapeake isolated Lord Cornwallis' army at Yorktown, allowing the combined forces of Washington's Continental troops and the French forces under the Comte de Rochambeau to besiege the British and force the surrender of all of Lord Cornwallis' remaining troops, well over 7000 men. When the news of that defeat reached the British Prime Minister he said, “Oh God. It is all over. It is all over.” And so it was.

So why have I subjected you to this particular historical disquisition? Simply put, it seems to me to be in some respects a useful metaphor for the seriously considered Christian life. We are living in a world at war, and the forces arrayed against us are far from trivial. Our Prayer Book service of Holy Baptism makes this explicitly clear in the words that the officiating minister is required to say immediately after the actual baptismal action:

“We receive this Child (or person) into the congregation of Christ’s flock; and do sign him with the sign of the Cross, in token that hereafter he shall not be ashamed to confess the faith of Christ crucified, and manfully to fight under his banner, against sin, the world, and the devil; and to continue Christ’s faithful soldier and servant unto his life’s end. Amen.”

Anyone honestly attempting to live a Christian life knows that it is not an easy thing to do. There are struggles, battles really, and we lose many of them. We are too frequently overcome by sloth, envy, selfishness, despair, and a myriad other temptations. We are all too often confused and uncertain over what God would have us do, and we often fail in our efforts to live up to Christ's precepts.

If we endure in the struggle, and far too many do not, we are like those Continental soldiers; it often seems that our victories are few and small and that our lives remind us of the words of General Greene - “We fight, we get beat, we rise up and fight again.”

The genius of Washington was to realize when others did not that if he and his army continued to endure in their great struggle, and if the French fleet could win one decisive victory, his war could and would be won. So it is with us, with this great difference; we need not wonder if our eventual victory will be won, because it already has been.

Christ by His Passion, Death, and Resurrection has ensured for us an ultimate and eternal victory over sin, death, and all the powers of evil. Our struggles are undeniably real and often excruciatingly painful and our failures sometimes deeply disheartening, but you may be certain that the victory has indeed been secured.

--Father Bragg+

All things come of thee, O Lord, and of thine own have we given thee
Please click here to donate to St. Andrew & St. Margaret of Scotland

Upcoming Events

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

Sunday School, 10:30 AM

Wednesday at Noon – Holy Communion and anointing for healing ( for online participation see above)

Men's Group: No Men's Bible Breakfast during May; one is being planned for June.

Your support of the Food Bank and MaRIH Crisis Pregnancy Center is greatly appreciated. The lists below tell what is needed.  The MaRIH Center list was updated last week. (Please note that at this time the MaRIH Center is not accepting clothing)  If you cannot bring items to the church, you can also click on the donate button above and then on the drop down menu that appears on the donation page choose Charity and Mercy to give a cash donation.  In the comment box you can specify if the donation is for the Food Bank and/or for the MaRIH Crisis Pregnancy Center.  Thank you.

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)
• cereal (low sugar)
• pasta (regular and gluten-free)
• instant potatoes
• Macaroni & cheese kits
• Coffee, cooking oil, flour, sugar 

Just Updated List of Needs for MaRIH Center (crisis pregnancy center)
MaRIH Center with its all volunteer staff has been providing 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
(Bold and  * are a critical need.)

Diapers (sizes newborn, 1, 2, 3, 4*, 5*, & 6*)
Baby wipes
Diaper rash ointment
Baby shampoo
Baby blankets
Sleeping -- Pack-n-Play* (not individual pieces of clothing)
Formula:  Simulac Advance Formula*
Wash clothes
Hooded towels
Grocery gift cards*
Copyright © 2023 St. Andrew & St. Margaret of Scotland, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
St. Andrew & St. Margaret of Scotland
1607 Dewitt Avenue
Alexandria, VA 22301-1625