That We May Continue For Ever in the Risen Life of Christ
On the First Sunday in Lent, when the gospel lesson is always Matthew, Mark or Luke’s account of Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness, we choose at Saint Mary’s to include in the Eucharistic Prayers these words,
Through Jesus Christ our Lord, who was tempted in every way as we are, yet did not sin. By his grace we are able to triumph over every evil, and to live no longer for ourselves alone, but for him who died for us and rose again. (BCP page 379)
Although these words can be used during the rest of Lent, we choose instead to use the other seasonal preface,
You bid your faithful people cleanse their hearts, and prepare with joy for the Paschal feast; that, fervent in prayer and in works of mercy, and renewed by your Word and Sacraments, they may come to the fullness of grace which you have prepared for those who love you. (BCP page 379)
These words point us directly to Easter, that is, the Paschal (“Passover”) Feast, and I like that. I don’t like the suggestion in the first preface that it is you and I, even “by his grace”, who triumph over every evil. There is much evil in this world – and some perhaps even in our own lives -- over which probably we will never triumph in this world. But I don’t think either preface gets to the heart of the matter as expressed by the great prayer of thanksgiving and blessing which is said over water in Holy Baptism. Look at the whole prayer but notice especially these crucial passages,
We thank you, Father, for the water of Baptism. In it we are buried with Christ in his death. By it we share in his resurrection. Through it we are reborn by the Holy Spirit.
Now sanctify this water, we pray you, by the power of your Holy Spirit, that those who here are cleansed from sin and born again may continue for ever in the risen life of Jesus Christ our Savior. . . (BCP pages 306-307)
Through Holy Baptism you and I share Christ’s risen life in this world and in the world to come. I continue to think that our efforts as a parish community and as individual Christians should be in rejoicing and growing in our present heritage as Christ’s brothers and sisters, as God’s children.
Yes, we should return to the Father as did the Prodigal, who remained the father’s son even when he was squandering his inheritance. Yes, we should do the work God gives each of us to do in this world. But I don’t think God intends for us to be apart from him now. I think he wants us to trust in his love and his life. I think he wants the truth of the resurrection of Jesus Christ to strengthen our life now. It is important for us to cleanse our hearts and to prepare with joy for the Passover. It is even more important for us to know that we share today the risen life of Jesus Christ. Stephen Gerth
PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked for Adele who is hospitalized and for Bart, Brett, Nora, Nicole, Jack, Thomas, Sarah, Grover, Annie, Patricia, Paul, Robert, Gloria, Jerri, Margaret, Marion, Olga, Rick, Charles, priest, and Paul, bishop and Walter, bishop, and for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Timothy, Patrick, Edward, Keith, Kevin, Christopher, Andrew, Joseph, Mark, Ned, Timothy, David, John and Colin . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . March 18: 1947 Howard Noble Place; 1965: Marie Louise Barreaux; March 20: 1954 Karl Irving Bennett; March 22: 1971 Mary E. Fargher.
LITURGICAL NOTES . . . The Sunday Proper: Genesis 22:1-14, Psalm 16:5-11, Romans 8:31-39, Mark 8:31-38 . . . Confessions will be heard on Saturday, March 15, by Father Gerth, and on Saturday, March 22, by Father Weiler . . .. The faithful are reminded that the weekdays of Lent are observed by special acts of discipline and self-denial in commemoration of the crucifixion of the Lord. The Fridays of Lent are also days of abstinence from meats.
NOTES ON MUSIC . . . This Sunday at the Solemn Mass, the setting of the Mass ordinary is Missa super ‘Un gay bergier’ by Jacob Handl (1550-1591) and the motet at Communion is Versa est in luctum by Tomás Luis de Victoria (1548-1611). This extra-liturgical piece was composed by Victoria along with his six-voice Missa pro defunctis (1605), which was sung here on September 11, 2002.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Flowers are needed for the Feast of the Annunciation, Tuesday March 25 . . . A Memorial Mass for Philip Dean Parker’s father, Glen Lawhon Parker, will be held at Saint Mary’s at 6:20 PM on Wednesday, March 26 . . . . It’s not too late to join those who will be making a retreat at Mount Saviour Monastery from March 20 to 23. If you would like to reserve your place or find out more about the retreat, speak to Penny Byham or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org . . . Congratulations to our former curate Father Allen Shin who has been named as a scholarship fellow of the Episcopal Church Foundation for the coming academic year. Father served at Saint Mary’s from 1996 to 2001. He is now at Oxford University and assisting at All Saints, Margaret Street, London . . . Attendance last Sunday 322.
FROM THE NEW DEACON: THANKS FOR AN EXTRAORDINARY WEEKEND . . . Thank you so much for your words and expressions of support and encouragement around my ordination as a deacon. I was stunned by the huge number of Saint Marians at the cathedral on Saturday. It made me extremely proud to be from Saint Mary’s (if a new deacon is permitted a bit of parish pride). Many of you might not have been able to see the wonderful moment when I was kneeling in front of the bishop and Father Gerth and Barbara Klett were placing the deacon’s stole on me. Before putting it on, Father Gerth put it in front of me. I hesitated for a moment, until he said, “Kiss it.” After my kissing it, he and Barbara placed it upon me. As the bishop was looking at me and smiling, I simply looked back, as if to say, “I’m from Saint Mary’s. This is what we do.” Whether as deacon, or eventually as priest, I will never forget to kiss my stole. Serving as your deacon on Sunday-- at the Solemn Mass in the morning and at Evensong & Benediction on Sunday night-was the beginning of a ministry at the altar for which I will always feel deeply blessed and will remain tremendously grateful. John Beddingfield
TWENTY AND THIRTY-SOMETHING ICE SKATING IN CENTRAL PARK . . . Come make the most of the remaining days of Winter. The 20 and 30-Something members and friends of Saint Mary’s are going skating in Central Park. Wollman Rink (East Side between 62nd and 63rd Streets) closes at the end of March. Now is your last chance to feel the nip of New York's crisp winter air, enjoy the music, and take in the incomparable surroundings. We will meet on Thursday, March 27 at 6:30 PM but we’ll be skating until 8:30 PM so come when you can. Afterward, we’ll head to a nearby restaurant for dinner. RSVP to Father Weiler by email email@example.com or by telephone at 212-869-5830, extension 16.
The Calendar of the Week
Sunday The Second Sunday in Lent
Monday Weekday of Lent
Tuesday Weekday of Lent
Eve of Saint Joseph 6:00 PM
Wednesday Saint Joseph’s Day
Thursday Weekday of Lent
Friday Weekday of Lent Lenten Abstinence
Saturday Weekday of Lent
The Parish Clergy
The Reverend Stephen Gerth, rector,
The Reverend Matthew Weiler, curate, The Reverend James Ross Smith, assistant,
The Reverend Rosemari Sullivan, assisting priest,
The Reverend Robert Rhodes, The Reverend John Beddingfield, assisting deacons,
The Reverend Canon Edgar F. Wells, rector emeritus.