FROM THE RECTOR: OPPORTUNITIES
As I write on Friday morning, July 8, the news from Dallas, Texas, continues to come in. Sometime today—after this newsletter gets out—I expect to post on the parish webpage two very fine sermons preached by Father Peter Powell. I invite you to read both of them. In his sermon preached on June 19 he said, “The tragedy in Orlando points out for the umpteenth time that we compromise with evil to our peril.” Last Sunday he said, “We frequently act as if the only rational response to evil is to meet it head on and in kind. Is there another way?” I invite everyone to read these sermons.
The current focus on police shooting of armed and unarmed suspects seems to block out the discussion of the murders of large numbers of people in cities like Chicago, New Orleans, and elsewhere. Until the call to serve at Saint Mary’s came, Chicago was the big city I knew best. I loved it as a graduate student at the University of Chicago, from Nashotah, Wisconsin, while in seminary, and while rector in Michigan City, Indiana. New Orleans, Louisiana, is another city I know from my time in Baton Rouge and many visits there over the years. There were 468 murders in Chicago in 2015. There were 164 murders in the now much smaller city of New Orleans in 2015. Perhaps if our society found the leadership to address honestly the larger reality of murder across the country, it might help to reset the relationship between individuals and police that has become so anxious in too many places.
The gospel this Sunday is the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25–37). At the beginning of his remarks on this passage, François Bovon (1938–2013) wrote, “Since [Luke] was a theologian of relationships, the Gospel writer could not conceive of an act of love directed toward one’s neighbor outside of the framework of divine love, nor of loving allegiance to God outside of a community framework” (Luke 2 , 52). By community, Bovon meant the local church.
Most weeks I have the 12:10 Mass on Friday. For a while I’ve taken to saying to people during the announcements on Fridays, “Plan to go to church on Sunday somewhere.” I like to read the “36 Hour” column in the New York Times and the “Take Mondays Off” column in the Wall Street Journal, but I can’t remember either column ever recommending attending a church service on Sunday or a religious service of any kind.
I’m not sure how to invite more people into a relationship with Jesus Christ and his church. I know how to pray, and I know something about living a Christian life. Another plug for Pete Powell’s sermons. Last Sunday he pointed out that though the Greek in Luke 10:19 is translated in every Bible he could find as, “I [Jesus] saw Satan fall like lightening from heaven,” the verb is not first person singular, but third person plural. Its subject is the demons in the previous verse. So, Jesus said, “They [the demons] saw Satan fall like lightening from heaven.” The game was up long before Calvary. As we sing of the devil in Martin Luther’s great hymn “A mighty fortress is our God”:
And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undue us;
we will not fear, for God hath willed his truth to triumph through us;
the prince of darkness grim, we tremble not for him;
his rage we can endure, for lo! his doom is sure, one little word shall fell him.
That word of course is Christ. God bless those who were murdered today. God help their families and friends. God help us to witness to God’s truth, Jesus Christ. —Stephen Gerth
YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR Dominque, Chandra, Charlie, Julie, Carolyn, Jean, Barbara, Juliana, Margaret, David, Dolly, Sharon, Penny, Heidi, Catherine, Sally, Donald, Sam, Burton, Toussaint, Dennis, Arpene, Takeem, Sidney, deacon, Horace, Paulette, Gaylord, Harry, Louis, priests, and Russell, bishop; and for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Mark and Nicholas . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . July 10: 1904 Samuel Hughes; 1913 Aubrey Boucicault; 1916 Hermione Schmitt; 1937 Catherine Sting Tavour; 1955 Adele McAllaster.
THE ORDINARY FRIDAYS OF THE YEAR are observed by special acts of discipline and self-denial in commemoration of the crucifixion of the Lord.
THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY'S . . . On Wednesdays, the daily 12:10 PM Eucharist is a Sung Mass; on Thursdays the daily 12:10 Eucharist is a Mass with Healing Service.
SAINT MARY’S AIDS WALK TEAM SAYS THANK YOU . . . Our team wishes to report our extraordinary success in the 2016 AIDS Walk and to thank all the friends and parishioners who supported us. Our team ranked No. 9 of all teams walking, and we raised a total of $55,035 of the $4,504,228 raised overall. For facts and figures: 14 people were on our team; more than 280 people supported us; they were from 21 states and 4 countries; and 9 of our walkers raised more than $1,000 each. This was a Saint Mary’s event, and we couldn’t do it without you. We will walk again on May 21, 2017.
MUSIC THIS WEEK . . . This Sunday, we again welcome Stephen Rumpf as guest organist. He will play “Adagio" from Sonata No. 5 and “Grand Choeur” from Sonata No. 7 by Alexandre Guilmant (1837-1911). Our cantor on Sunday is Chris Howatt, a member of the parish choir. During the ministration of Communion, he will sing Arise my Love to a setting by Richard Hundley (b. 1931) —S.G.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Altar Flowers are needed for the following Sundays: July 24 and 31; August 21 and 28; and September 4 and 18. If you would like to make a donation, please contact the Parish Office . . . Attendance: Last Sunday 151.
PARISH STAFF NOTES . . . Father Jay Smith will be on vacation from Monday, June 27, until Sunday, July 31 . . . Deacon Rebecca Weiner Tompkins is on sabbatical. She will be away through the summer and early fall. We expect her to return on All Saints’ Day . . . Sister Laura Katherine is on vacation. She returns to the parish on Friday, July 15 . . . John McHale, our bookkeeper, is also on vacation. He will return to the parish on Monday, July 18 . . . The Rector will be away from Friday, July 15, through Monday, July 18. Father Pace will be in residence while he is away.
A GENTLE REMINDER . . . As you have read in countless church bulletins, “Our costs do not decrease during the summer months. There are still bills that must be paid.” We urge all those who have made financial pledges to the parish to do their best to stay current with their pledge payments in order to prevent cash-flow problems. We are grateful to all those who continue to support Saint Mary’s so generously.
MARK YOUR CALENDARS . . . Friday, July 22, Saint Mary Magdalene, Mass 12:10 PM and 6:20 PM . . . Monday, July 25, Saint James the Apostle, Mass 12:10 PM and 6:20 PM . . . Friday, August 5, Eve of the Transfiguration, Sung Mass 6:00 PM . . . Saturday, August 6, Transfiguration, Mass 12:10 PM . . . Monday, August 15, The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Sung Mass 12:10 PM, Solemn Mass 6:00 PM.
OUTREACH AT SAINT MARY’S . . . In anticipation of the inevitable arrival of colder weather, we are collecting warm clothing (coats, jackets, scarves, hats, and gloves). We are also collecting packets of socks and underwear, jeans and T-shirts (useful all-year round), and dress shirts (useful for job interviews). All of these will be distributed here at the parish to those in need. Please bring donations to the parish kitchen on Sunday or contact Father Jay Smith or Sister Monica Clare, C.S.J.B. Sister Monica and parishioners Clint Best and Grace Fernandez have been organizing the clothing in recent weeks in order to expedite distribution . . . We continue to collect nonperishable food items for our outreach partner, the Food Pantry at Saint Clement’s Church, 423 West Forty-sixth Street. —Jay Smith