"A bribe works like a charm for the one who offers it; in whatever he does he succeeds."
"A wicked person receives a bribe secretly to pervert the ways of justice."
At a recent youth Bible study, several of the kids drew attention to the confusing way the book of Proverbs talks about bribery. The verses above are two of the four proverbs which address the subject of bribes, and the other two follow the same pattern. As one teenager put it, "So, according to the Bible, taking bribes is bad and you should never do it, but bribing other people is smart and a good idea."
He's not wrong in that assessment. A plain reading of the text clearly recognizes the benefits of bribery, while denouncing those who accept bribes. So, why the disconnect?
Like the rest of the biblical Wisdom Literature, the Proverbs exist in a tension between two competing narratives: the world as it is; and the world as it ought to be.
On the one hand, Proverbs wants to impart guidance on the benefits of living a life of righteousness and good moral character. Accepting bribes is unethical, and people who do it are corrupt. Don't be one of those people.
On the other hand, wise instruction should reflect reality. Like it or not, there are people who do accept bribes, and if you can't put a stop to the corruption, the next best option is to ensure you're the one who benefits from it.
I would argue that this is not so much a contradiction as it is a necessary part of providing wise instruction. If we only ever describe the world in regard to how it should be, we wind up with a naive idealism that does not survive contact with reality. If we only describe the world in regard to how it is, we wind up cynical and unable to imagine a better way.
Be prepared to confront the world as it is. Never stop working to make it as it should be.
Renewal House for victims of domestic and sexual violence located in Canton, NY is the focus for this month’s mission. Jackie Washburn works for renewal house. She is also a resident of Hammond and for many years a part of our church community. She spoke about the many services Renewal House offers and the population they serve.
Their mission statement is to respond immediately to the needs of victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in St. Lawrence County through services and empower victims and increase community.
Some of the services offered are crisis counseling/intervention, women’s support group, advocacy, information and referrals, children/youth program, transportation, safe housing, sexual assault nurse examiners, and community outreach/ education. Renewal House helps women, men, elderly, teens, individuals and families.
In 1981, a group of concerned citizens got together because they saw there was no help for victims of domestic abuse. In 1982, Renewal House became certified as a safe home network provider and a safe dwelling provider. Renewal House is the only agency in St. Lawrence County doing this kind of work. This time listening to Jackie, I started to tear up realizing how difficult life is for some people, how fortunate I am for all the love experienced in my family and the gratitude I felt that there are dedicated people like Jackie doing this work. I plan to donate.
There are many ways to help Renewal House. Let people know there is help available. You can donate through the Renewal House mission envelopes on the table as you enter church and place them in the offering plate. If you pay by check, the check should be made out to HPC with a memo note Renewal House. Their website is SLVrenewalhouse.org and they offer a way to donate directly. They also are in need of clothing, furniture and household items. You can contact them during business hours: 8-4, M-F at 315 379 9845 to check on what they currently need.
Their 24 hour crisis line is 315 379 9845.
My daughter and I were talking today about what mommy does for work. Since I work for Hammond Presbyterian Church and for the Presbytery of Northern New York, I do a lot of Church talk at home. If I have meetings that happen on a weekend, there’s a good chance that I will be bringing my daughter with me, and she enjoys seeing different churches and meeting new people. After all, she has grown up in a church, so going to another church is like going to a family member’s house. It’s a little different, but still very comforting. So, when my daughter asked to be liturgist for a Sunday service, I saw a little glimpse of myself in her. She sees how much I love being at church and doing the work that I do, and it was almost as if I was watching her trying to walk in my footsteps. Almost like when a little kid tries on their parent’s shoes. They clop around and stumble a bit, but you can’t help but to think that one day they will be in their own big shoes, and you hope that whatever steps they take in those shoes are the right steps to take. For a moment, I saw my daughter loving church the way I do and I thought one day, she might be doing what I do, something that she loves and makes her happy.
We all are walking the road that God has made for us. Each step we take, whether it’s good or bad, is where we need to go. For a moment, I was able to see my daughter on my path with me. Wondering if she will continue my journey, but also knowing that she has her own journey to walk. Have you ever stopped and looked back on the road that you have walked so far? Knowing that if anything had changed, you would not be where you are in life and that this is exactly where you were meant to be. And we continue to walk our road know that God has weaved us all together knowing that wherever Gods Road takes us, we are never alone.
This June, you are invited to join a three week book study group discussing Enough: Scarcity, Contentment, and the Temptation of Jesus, by Rev. Dr. Shea Zellweger. This book is an in-depth reflection on the temptation story found in Matthew chapter 4, which will also be the subject of a three week sermon series. Gatherings will be at 2 PM in the Hammond pastor's office, or you can join via Google Meets. The first meeting will be on June 11. See pastor Shea to request a copy of the book, or order yours at https://www.amazon.com/Enough-Scarcity-Contentment-Temptation-Jesus-ebook/dp/B0BLP793QH/
Our Founder’s Monument is reaching completion very soon. Our hope is that it will be installed sometime in June. There have been delays in its delivery, but we have been assured that the engraving is completed, and it will be ready for installation. We will be planning a service of dedication after it is installed so look for that announcement coming soon. If you have not yet made your donation to the Monument Fund, this is your opportunity to do that before the project’s completion. Make checks payable to Hammond Presbyterian Church with Founder Monument Project in the memo.
Thank you to everyone who has supported this project.
We will be having a Pulled Chicken Dinner on Thursday, June 15 from 4:30pm-6pm for Dine in or takeout. Adults are $15 and Children are $8.
Hammond Presbyterian Church is now selling our very own T-Shirts!!! All proceeds from these shirts will be helping our church to continue to do amazing work. And keep an eye out for certain events/dinners where your church t-shirt might be able to get you a discount. Order form can be picked up in Tara's office or printed out below.
The annual Per Capita Assessment is based on the membership reported by each church. The 2023 Per Capita fee for our Presbytery has been confirmed at $32.00. Each per capita payment is divided, with $9.85 for General Assembly, $4.10 for the Synod of the Northeast, and $18.05 going to the Presbytery of Northern New York.
Many members of our church have already made their per capita payments. Our Church must pay per capita for each member, whether or not the member pays us. Your contribution helps Hammond Presbyterian Church cover our portion. Per Capita payments can be mailed to the church or dropped in the Offering with “Per Capita” written in the memo line. If you have any questions about Per Capita, please contact Tara in the church office. Thank you!
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