Identity and Incarnation
An abbot of a monastery was distressed because the monastery had not gotten any new aspirants for a long time. The abbot was beginning to see the day the monastery would have to close. And the brothers were caught in the anxiety over changes they needed to make to revive the monastery, changes of which they were divided.
One day the abbot in his weariness went to see an ascetic in the nearby forest. The abbot told the ascetic of his worries and asked him for some insight or advice. The ascetic nodded his head in sympathy and said, “I know what you are worrying about. I once had a community that dwindled and had to close it. I wish I had a good advice how to save your monastery. But maybe one of your brothers will turn out to be the messiah.”
The abbot came back and the brothers asked him what the ascetic had told him. The abbot said, “Well, he didn’t have much to say – no good ideas or insight. But he did say that maybe one of us might turn out to be the messiah.” The brothers went on with their daily chores. But gradually they began to wonder secretly who among them might be the messiah. Some even wondered it might be themselves. So they began to treat one another with care and respect. And they began to treat themselves with care and respect.
As the days went by the visitors began to notice how the brothers treated one another. Some of them even wanted to join the community to live such a life, a life in which they cared for and respected each other. Before they realized what was happening, the monastery became once again a vibrant and lively community with many new members.
Baptism gives us Christian identity. And maybe that’s good enough. But do our neighbors know us by virtue of our baptism alone? Or do our actions and speech matter to our identity as Christians? In the way they lived out their life together, the brothers collectively became a messiah for their own community. Christ became enfleshed in their communal living.
Often we get caught up in the anxiety about changes in our life. This anxiety takes us to static resistance, to paralysis from living, and to death of soul. Rather than being caught up in the anxiety of necessary and inevitable changes in our life, wouldn’t it be wiser to simply focus on our life together at hand? We want to improve but we don’t want to change. We want to progress but we don’t want to step out of our comfort zone. A. Shin
PARISH PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked for the members our Armed Forces on active duty in Kosovo and for, Shirley, Mark, Maria, Ellen, Louise, Dorothy, Warren, Thomas, Robin, Shawn, George, Richard, Anthony, Karen, Margaret, Ken, John, Nel, Daisy, Michael, Maxine, Gloria, Nina, Mary Ellen, Rodney, priest, and Maurice, priest.
GRANT THEM PEACE . . .May 3: 1947 Rachel Howland; May 4: 1945 Alexandrina Patricia Hunter; May 5: 1965 Elizabeth Perrigo: May 6; 1991 Homer Lee Hennig.
LITURGICAL NOTES . . . The Sunday Proper: Acts 17:1-15, Psalm 66:1-8, 1 Peter 2:1-10, John 14:1-14 . . . 9:00 Celebrant Father Shin, Preacher Mr. Burnette, 10:00 Celebrant & Preacher Father Choate, 11:00 AM Celebrant & Preacher Father Parker, 5:00 PM Celebrant & Preacher: Father Parker . . . On Saturday, May 1, Father Shin will hear Confessions. On Saturday, May 8, Father Smith will hear Confessions.
AROUND THE PARISH . . .The Rector is on vacation. He will return to the parish office on Saturday, May 8 . . . Fr. Parker attended the diocesan clergy conference last Sunday through Tuesday. The conference focused on priestly identity. . . . . Holy Days this week: Saturday, Saint Philip and Saint James, Apostles,. . . Nursery Donations to date total: $713.00. More is needed. Please make your checks payable to the Church of Saint Mary the Virgin and mark them for the nursery . . . Attendance last Sunday: 142.
MARIAN MAY FESTIVAL. . .This Sunday, May 2, we will have a procession after the 11:00 Solemn Mass to the statue of Our Lady. Amanda Crommett will place a crown of flowers on the statue in honor of the Virgin. It is a long standing tradition in the Church to honor Mary during the Month of May.
THE PRINCETON SINGERS will perform Sunday, May 9 (Mother’s Day) at 3:00 PM. This group, comprised of volunteer musicians, is nothing short of extraordinary!. A recent review described them as “fresh voiced and convincing.” The American Boy Choir will join them for part of the program. The concert is free and their fine recordings will be available for sale.
GREETINGS FROM THE CHURCH ON THE WEST COAST I had a wonderful and restful time on my recent trip to San Francisco (where I had lived for 10 years), and Seattle (where I had lived for 4 years). The weather was a bit chilling, but then again, San Francisco is usually that way. Bill Rhodes, the rector of The Church of the Advent where I was a member in SF asked me to celebrate the Solemn High Mass on low Sunday. It was quite a treat, and I was very grateful to return and preside at the altar where I most feel I received my call to priesthood. AND, it was the first time I had presided at a western facing altar! After seeing family and friends in the Bay Area, I traveled by train to Seattle. It takes about 24 hours. One boards in Oakland at night, then wakes up in the mountains of northern California. Breakfast and lunch are enjoyed while panoramic views of the Cascade mountain range whisks past the window. Of course there is always the lounge car . . . .a favorite haunt for traveling Episcopalians!
Seattle had one beautifully clear day, when the "mountains were out," as they say, and one could see the mountain ranges of the Cascades and Olympics towering in the distance. Of course, Mt. Ranier was visible as well, and as I flew back to New York, I could see all the great volcanic peaks of the Northwest: Ranier, Baker, Hood, and of course, the famous, or infamous, Mt. St. Helen's.
All and all a good trip, and a wonderful pilgrimage back to those places that were so vital in my formation as a Christian and as an adult. Perhaps more on that next week . . . . . . B. Parker
THE FIFTH SUNDAY OF EASTER
THE MARIAN MAY FESTIVAL
Solemn Mass & Crowning of Our Lady
Sunday, May 2, 11:00 am
Celebrant and Preacher - Fr. Parker
Missa brevis, KV 194 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
My beloved spake Patrick Hadley
and motets by Franz Biebl and Andrea Gabrieli