FROM THE DEACON: WALK IN THE LIGHT
Tuesday morning in Holy Week, I walked in the front doors of Saint Mary's and headed straight toward the back, a shortcut. Busy preparations for the Thursday and Friday altar of repose were already going on. In the pews, many homeless men and women had settled in for a day of undisturbed rest, guaranteed since the church had already opened. Most were sleeping, coats or blankets wrapped around them in that still-cold early hour. Coming in from the street with its
FROM THE RECTOR:
One memory from my seminary days that almost always brings a smile to my face is remembering that at Morning Prayer or Evensong (depending on the lectionary year), on the Friday of the second week of Easter, the lector for the week, a middler (a student in the second of three years), would have to read Daniel 3:1–18. It’s the first part of the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego being cast into the fiery furnace. They survive the furnace because of the intervention of their God (Daniel 3:19–30). Smirking—giggling—would begin early.Read More
FROM THE RECTOR: MORE THAN FRIENDS
In this lectionary year (BCP , 904-06), the gospel appointed for the Eucharist on Easter Day was from Mark; on the third Sunday of Easter it will be from Luke. On the other Sundays in Eastertide the gospel is from John. This "fourth gospel"-so named, I think, because of its order in the New Testament canon, and because it is thought to be the latest of the four gospels-has a distinctive theological point of view on two issues of continuing relevance. Both invite us to think in a different way about our relationship to Jesus Christ and to each other. (One of those issues is the Eucharist-a subject for another day!)Read More
FROM THE RECTOR: RESURRECTION
In the gospels, the words about the Risen Lord were met at first with fear, confusion, and disbelief by all, except in the gospel of Matthew. In Mark, the empty tomb and the word of the resurrection bring fear and silence to the women who have gone to the tomb (Mark 16:1-8). They go inside the tomb. A young man tells them, " 'Do not be amazed . . . He has risen . . . go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him.' And they went out and fled from the tomb . . . and they said nothing to any one, for they were afraid."Read More
FROM THE RECTOR: HOLY WEEK 2018
The Right Reverend Allen K. Shin, bishop suffragan, will be with us as celebrant and preacher for the liturgies of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday at 12:30 PM, and the Great Vigil of Easter. But first, some words about the beginning of Holy Week.
In the Prayer Book Calendar, Holy Week begins with "The Sunday of the Passion: Palm Sunday" and concludes on Holy Saturday; the Easter Season begins on Easter Eve (BCP , 31-32). As I write on Friday morning, March 23, it seems likely that we will be able to have a procession through Times Square as part of our Liturgy of the Palms at the Solemn Mass on Sunday. This will be my twentieth Palm Sunday at Saint Mary's-and we've only been rained out once.
FROM THE RECTOR: FEED ON JESUS
My thinking about the worship of Holy Week and Easter has continued to be shaped by a remark Jeffrey Lee made to me shortly after I became rector of Trinity Church, Michigan City, Indiana, in 1988. Jeffrey was then canon to the ordinary in the diocese of Northern Indiana. Since 2008 he has been the bishop of Chicago.Read More
FROM FATHER SMITH: A WITNESSING PRESENCE
For hundreds of years, many Christians believed that it was possible for the biblical text to mean more than one thing and that multiple meanings need not be in conflict. They firmly believed that a passage might have both a literal and a spiritual sense, or, indeed, more than one spiritual sense. As a result, biblical commentary became a complex and creative task. The Song of Songs seemed particularly to invite such readings. Medieval monks were aware
FROM THE RECTOR: CERTAINTY
Until the present Prayer Book was adopted, the last anthem prayed at the beginning of the Burial of the Dead was, "We brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord" (BCP , 324). The first of these combined sentences is from Job 1:21, the second 1 Timothy 6:7. This anthem was replaced in the traditional language rite of the Prayer Book with these words,
FROM DEACON REBECCA WEINER TOMPKINS: ABIDE IN LOVE
In the passage from John's gospel, read at the Eucharist last Wednesday, February 21, the day commemorating John Henry Newman, the nineteenth-century priest and theologian, we hear that "God is love, and those who abide in God abide in love, and God abides in them" (1 John 4:16). It is easy for us believers to hold that in our hearts.
Many members and friends of the parish may remember that on Sunday, December 31, 2017, and on New Year's Day, we worshiped in Saint Joseph's Hall. The valve that controls the heat to the church, but not the rest of the complex, was broken. Relatively mild weather on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day meant the church could be used. Bitter cold arrived later in the week. We moved to the hall. The problem was not fixed until Friday, January 5. That said, there were many graces in our worship there.Read More
FROM THE RECTOR: LENT TODAY
In his new book Classical Principles for Modern Design (2018), parishioner Thomas Jayne writes, "I define traditional decorating as contemporary decorating using historic models. We use them not because we lack imagination, but because their core elements have been perfected over two millennia" (page 15). His inspiration is Edith Wharton and Ogden Codman's The Decoration of Houses (1897)-the book that is regarded as "the Bible of interior decoration" (page 7). For us Episcopalians, our indispensable resources for worship are the Bible and The Book of Common Prayer. I think it can be said of them also, that we use them "not because we lack imagination, but because their core elements have been perfected over two millennia." One recalls the words of Jesus in Matthew, "Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old" (Matthew 13:52). So, if I may put it this way, where is my thinking about Lent today?Read More
I write on the morning of February 1. Yesterday I completed nineteen years of service as rector of this congregation. This morning I find myself thinking about all those who have gone before me in this work, especially my predecessor, the Reverend Canon Edgar F. Wells, our rector emeritus.Read More
This week we celebrate the Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Temple. The celebration begins on the eve of the feast, Thursday, February 1, with Solemn Evensong at 6:00 PM. On Friday, February 2, the daily 12:10 service will be Blessing of Candles & Sung Mass. The organ recital at 5:30 PM will be played by Dr. Claudia Dumschat, director of music, Church of the Transfiguration, New York City. Our principal service will be Blessing of Candles, Procession & Solemn Mass at 6:00 PM. Of course, a reception will follow in Saint Joseph's Hall.Read More
FROM THE RECTOR: TO GROW UNDERSTANDING
The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity has its origins in the diocese of New York. Paul James Francis Wattson, S.A., born Lewis Wattson, was still an Episcopal monk and priest in 1908 when he suggested that the week between the January feasts of Saint Peter and Saint Paul (now known by Anglicans as the Confession of Saint Peter on January 18 and the Conversion of Saint Paul on January 25) be observed as a "Week of Prayer for Christian Unity." But by this time Wattson was on his way to Rome. In 1909 his Episcopal religious community, the Society of the Atonement, was received into the Roman Catholic Church. He continued his ecumenical work throughout his life. He died in 1940.
FROM THE RECTOR: BACK TO GENESIS
Every year on Monday after the First Sunday after the Epiphany (this year, Monday January 8), the church begins reading Genesis at either Daily Morning Prayer or Daily Evening Prayer (this year in the morning). For some years now, Genesis has ranked in my heart and mind as my very favorite book in the Old Testament. (For the New Testament, John's gospel still has a slight lead over Mark-but it's close.) We're reading more of Genesis than required by the lectionary-it's always permitted to read more, but not less, than the appointed lessons. We don't read everything, but I've been surprised by how much good stuff we've been able to add.Read More
FROM THE RECTOR: EPIPHANY SEASON
On the day after the Epiphany, January 6, most years there will be one or more pictures of Orthodox Christian men and boys diving into often frigid waters to retrieve a cross that has been tossed into the waters. In the Christian East, the Epiphany is not about the visit of the wise men-probably astrologers, but about the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan. The history of this feast is complicated, but after Easter and Pentecost, it is the third most ancient festival.Read More