From Father Mead: Through the glass, darkly
Every autumn I write an Angelus article outlining the upcoming Christian Education Program that is being offered at Saint Mary’s. In addition to that, this year I’d like to try to explain why I believe these classes are useful for all of us, and why I hope you will attend if you are able to.
Last year I led a weekly Bible study on the life and writings of Saint Paul. Over the course of the year we read every one of Paul’s letters. For many in the class, it was their first real experience with Paul. Most people knew of Paul and vaguely knew what he said, but that limited knowledge was often based both on the selections heard every year at Christmas, Holy Week and Easter and on a few difficult passages dealing with slavery, homosexuality, women, and, of all things, imitating Paul. I’ve found that many people have strong feelings toward Paul, regardless of whether they have actually read what he wrote. I will never forget when a good friend of mine confessed that she had hated Paul until she had read what he wrote. I am convinced that understanding who Saint Paul was and what he wrote is of enormous importance for every Christian who wants to better understand what it means to be a Christian struggling with other Christians and struggling to live in a world that is very much not Christian, all the while striving to find and reveal the love of God in Christ to others. I’m a huge fan of Paul because he’s a real person who’s just trying to be a Christian in the face of lots of adversity. Every time I read Paul’s letters I find out more about him, more about myself, and more about Jesus, and last year was a wonderful opportunity for me and everyone who came to the class to do just that.
The Wednesday night Bible study this year will attempt to read all of the prophets. As with Paul, I assume many Christian’s primary association with the prophets is Christmas, Holy Week and Easter. That’s good; one important facet of the Mass lectionary is that everything ties into the good news of the resurrection. Beyond those “greatest hits”, however, are an enormous number of other sayings that Christians have read in reference to Jesus, and there are fascinating historical situations in which these impressive prophets lived. I remember the first time I read Ezekiel. I was struck by one of the challenges he makes to the people of Israel to stop living in the past and let each person answer for himself or herself instead of pointing to sinners or saints in the family genealogy. I will also never forget reading some of the zany things he undertakes to illustrate a particular point. Jesus and his disciples knew what the prophets said and they interpreted many of those sayings to refer to their own time. Understanding and knowing what the prophets said and who they were can be very helpful in understanding who Jesus is and what his disciples thought about him. It’s no coincidence that Jesus is asked over and over if he is “the prophet,” nor is it by accident that Saint Luke presents Jesus as the prophet par excellence, fulfilling ancient prophecies as well as making and fulfilling his own.
Father Smith and I will once again offer the Christian Essentials on Sunday mornings. This year each class will span roughly a month (divided into three or four forty-five-minute sessions). During October we will explore the Bible. I will lead two sessions on the history and background of the texts; Father Smith will lead two sessions on interpretation and other issues one might have when reading and understanding the Scriptures. In November we will survey the Sacraments. In December we will study some of the rituals that we do and do not practice in our worship here at Saint Mary’s. These classes are not designed to be lectures. Instead, we hope that participants will come ready with questions.
Saint Paul famously wrote: “Now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known” (KJV). Paul recognized that in this life there is always more that each of us can learn about God and about each other. I hope you’ll join me this autumn; I learned a great deal last year, and I hope to learn more this year with you. Matthew Mead
PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked for Steven, Clare, Madeleine, Marc, Linda, Janelle, Joanne, Kevin, Olga, Jennie, Gloria, William, Gert, Mary, Terry, Daisy, Katherine, Rozalind, Marietta, Connie, Rick and Charles, priest; for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Timothy, Benjamin, Christopher, Marc, Keith, Dennis, Terrance, Steven, Patrick, Andrew and Brendan . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . September 21: 1901 Mary Rabe; 1913 Orvill Leonard Allen; 1915 Elizabeth Westervelt; 1951 Lillian Elizabeth Kennedy; 1976 Harold Pim.
THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY’S . . . Father Smith will hear confessions on Saturday, September 20. The Rector will hear confessions on Saturday, September 27.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Altar flowers are needed for the remaining Sundays in September . . . The Rector is away in Maryland taking care of business related to his mother’s care and other family affairs until Sunday, September 21. He will be back in the office on Monday, September 22 . . . Attendance: Holy Cross Day 269.
COMING EVENTS . . . Monday, September 22, is the Feast of Saint Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist (transferred); the Board of Trustees will meet at 7:00 PM; The Reverend Dr. Mitties DeChamplain will be instituted as the seventh vicar of Saint Clement’s Church, 423 W. 46th St., at 7:00 PM . . . September 28, and Monday, September 29, “Primary Things: A Liturgical Conference of the Church of Saint Mary the Virgin” . . . The fall schedule begins on Sunday evening, September 28, the Eve of Saint Michael and All Angels. The Right Reverend Frank T. Griswold, XXV Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, will be celebrant and preacher for Solemn Pontifical Mass on Monday, September 29, at 6:00 PM. Solemn Mass is preceded by an organ recital at 5:30 PM played by James Kennerley . . . Saturday, October 4, 6:00 PM, Marian Hymn Sing and Oktoberfest, Saint Joseph’s Hall & Organ Loft . . . Sunday, October 5, 8:30 AM, Ordination of Mr. Jedediah Fox to the Diaconate in Billings, Montana . . . Sunday, October 12, Sunday School will begin at 10:00 AM, and will be led by our seminarian, Mr. Jedediah Fox . . . Monday, October 13, Columbus Day, Federal Holiday Schedule – the Parish Office is closed, only the noon services are offered, and the church closes at 2:00 PM.
DOES YOUR CHILD WANT TO BE AN ACOLYTE AT SAINT MARY’S? . . . Saint Mary’s liturgical tradition is world-renowned; does your child want to be an altar server at Saint Mary’s? If you are interested, please contact me at email@example.com. I am recruiting children to serve at the high altar at the 9:00 AM Sunday Sung Mass and the 5:00 PM Christmas Eve Family Mass. Matthew Mead
STEWARDSHIP MATTERS . . . What “pledging” means and how to make a pledge: As part of the 2008–2009 Stewardship Campaign, we plan to explain in some detail what it means to pledge and how to go about making a pledge. However, if you already have questions and would like to know more about pledging – the mechanics of pledging; what kind of a commitment pledging entails; payment issues, including payment by credit card; unexpected financial difficulties that make it difficult to fulfill a pledge by year’s end, etc. – please don’t be shy! Feel free to ask questions. We know that talking about money can be difficult, but you should always feel free to speak to one of the priests on staff, to Barbara Klett in the Finance Office, or to MaryJane Boland or Steven Heffner, who are on the Stewardship Committee. One of us will be sure to be able to answer your questions, as simply and as discreetly as we can. J.R.S.
FROM THE MUSIC DIRECTOR . . . The Saint Mary’s Singers will have its first rehearsal on Sunday, September 28, from 3:00 to 4:30 PM. We would love to have you join us – if you are interested, please contact the Music Director (firstname.lastname@example.org). The organist this Sunday for Solemn Mass is James Kennerley, interim organist and music director, and the Cantor is Mr. Alan Champion. During Communion, Messrs. Champion and Kennerley will sing the duet Salve mater gracie, which is taken from the fifteenth-century Codex Speciálník (literally, “Special Songbook”) originating from a monastery near Prague. It contains an eclectic selection of Medieval and Renaissance unaccompanied sacred music by both well-known and obscure composers. As is typical of many manuscripts of the period, little attention was paid to the composer’s name or identity. Some composers may have thought it immodest to add his name to the composition, particularly if he belonged to a religious order. James Kennerley
MARIAN HYMN SING & OKTOBERFEST . . . Join a very jovial group of Saint Marians for the second annual Marian Hymn Sing and Oktoberfest in Saint Joseph’s Hall (and the organ loft!) on Saturday, October 4, at 6:00 PM. We hope you can join us! J.K. & M.M.
CHILDCARE . . . Children are always welcome at Mass at Saint Mary’s. The Rector encourages families with children to sit at the front of the church – so the children can see easily and clearly. However, there are some Sundays when young children might need somewhere else to go. The Saint Benedict’s Nursery & Playroom is staffed by Ms. Laura Minor, a professional childcare provider. The Nursery & Playroom is open and available every Sunday from 8:45 AM until 12:45 PM.
SUNDAY SCHOOL BEGINS OCTOBER 12, 2008, AT 10:00 AM . . . The Saint Mary’s Sunday School for Children meets in the Morning Room (follow the blue signs in Saint Joseph’s Hall to reach the Morning Room). Our Sunday School will be led by our seminarian, Mr. Jedediah Fox. We are looking for volunteers to assist Jed one Sunday each month. If you have any questions about Sunday School or if you would like to volunteer please speak to Father Mead.
ADULT CHRISTIAN EDUCATION BEGINS OCTOBER 5 . . . During October, Father Mead and Father Smith will teach Opening the Good Book: Reading & Interpreting the Bible. This four-session class (October 5, 12, 19, 26) aims at helping participants feel more confident and comfortable when they are reading, interpreting and discussing the Bible. We will propose some solutions to a number of commonly asked questions about reading and interpreting the Bible.
The Calendar of the Week
Sunday The Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost
Monday Saint Matthew, Apostle & Evangelist
Thursday Sergius of Moscow, Abbot, 1392
Friday Lancelot Andrewes, Bishop, 1626 Abstinence
Saturday Of Our Lady
Eve of the Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost
Sunday: 8:30 AM Morning Prayer, 9:00 AM Sung Mass, 10:00 AM Said Mass, 11:00 AM Solemn Mass,
5:00 PM Evening Prayer, 5:20 PM Said Mass. Childcare is available from 8:45 AM until 12:45 PM every Sunday.
Monday–Friday: 8:30 AM Morning Prayer, 12:00 PM Noonday Office, 12:10 PM Mass, 6:00 PM Evening Prayer, 6:20 PM Mass. The Wednesday 12:10 PM Mass is sung. Thursday Masses include anointing of the sick.
Saturday: 11:30 AM Confessions, 12:00 PM Noonday Office, 12:10 PM Mass, 4:00 PM Confessions,
5:00 PM Evening Prayer, 5:20 PM Sunday Vigil Mass.