From Father Beddingfield: Praying for Peace
Over the last few months several people have asked me if we could pray for peace. Could we include something special in the liturgy, have particular prayers for peace, or perhaps have a “peace candle” and invite people to pray near it? While I think I’ve understood what each person meant in asking the question, these questions have helped me to realize just how deeply we are praying for peace. The Paschal Candle continues to burn, the Peace of Christ continues to be shared, and prayers continue to be said for peace. Perhaps the challenge for us lies not in adding to our liturgy, but in allowing our liturgy to animate and invigorate our lives more deeply.
If the Paschal Candle does not burn for peace, I’m not sure any other candle will help us. A four-foot tall candle standing in a seven-foot tall holder, our paschal candle was lit at the Easter Vigil. It reminds us of the Light of Christ. It reminds us of the life of Christ that stared darkness down, looked evil in the eye, and burned through death and into eternal life. It stands for peace that is not always peaceful—that sometimes shakes the foundations, sometimes unsettles and questions. The paschal candle reminds us that conflict is sometimes a prelude and a part of peace, but it also gives us hope in the final triumph of the Prince of Peace.
At every celebration of the Holy Eucharist at Saint Mary’s, the Peace of Christ is shared. By connecting the Peace of Christ with human touch, we embody the words of Jesus when he said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.” If these words are true, then we already have a measure of Christ’s peace. It will not come to us from any person or organization or political leadership. It will not come to us in some distant day in the future. The peace of Christ in within us and is ours to share with each other and the world. The Russian hermit Seraphim of Sarov understood this when he said, “Be at peace, and thousands around you will be saved.”
And finally, in our spoken prayers, we pray for peace. When Gloria in excelsis is said or sung we pray for peace to God’s people on earth. In our Low Masses the Prayers of the People include the prayer for “all who govern and hold authority in the nations of the world; That there may be peace on the earth.” The celebrant often concludes these prayers with a collect that prays for peace and unity. During the Eucharistic Prayer (Prayer A) the celebrant leads us in “Sanctify us also that we may faithfully receive this Holy Sacrament, and serve you in unity, constancy, and peace.” We make the sign of the cross to recall our baptism and in so doing we remember that we were baptized into peace. At Solemn Masses we use Form IV for the Prayers of the People and pray that God would “Guide the people of this land, and of all the nations in the ways of justice and peace.” During the Easter season Eucharistic Prayer D is used at Solemn Masses and we pray for the Church, asking God to “Reveal its unity, guard its faith, and preserve it in peace.”
After Communion at every Mass, we pray that God would “send us now into the world in peace.” And whether we say the words of Agnus Dei or hear the choir sing them, the prayer is unmistakable: “Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world: grant us peace.”
When we pray the Daily Office we are also praying for peace: at Morning Prayer (Suffrages A and several of the Collects), at Noon Day Prayer (one of the Collects), and at Evening Prayer (the Song of Simeon, Suffrages B, and several of the Collects).
Admittedly, people have different ways of praying for peace. Some march in demonstrations. Some fly the American flag. Some write letters and others send care packages. Some seek to build peace through new friendships or coalitions or partnerships. And then some of us pray for peace, with our eyes, with our bodies, with all that we have and all that we may become. I invite you to come to church at Saint Mary’s and join us in praying for peace. John Beddingfield
PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked for Charles, Philip, Tom, Doreen, Steve, Gilbert, Robert, Jason, Robert, Gloria, Harold, Matthew, Bart, Margaret, Marion, Hugh, Rick and Charles, priest; for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Brenden, Jonathan, Jeffrey, Ned, Timothy, Patrick, Kevin, Christopher, Andrew, Joseph, Marc, Timothy, David, Colin, Christina, David, Nestor, Freddie, Matthew and Bennett . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . May 29: 1992 Robert William Anderson; May 31: 1995 Louis Stephen Stancill; June 1: 1993 Kenneth William Cloughley.
IN THIS TRANSITORY LIFE . . . The Committal of the Dead was offered on Sunday, June 23, following the Solemn Mass as the ashes of Joleen Laut were reposed in the Vault of the Lady Chapel. Rest eternal grant to her, O Lord, and let light perpetual shine upon her. May her soul, and the souls of all the departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
LITURGICAL NOTES . . . The Sunday Proper: Psalm 104:25-37, Acts 2:1-11, 1 Corinthians 12:4-13, John 20:19-23 . . . Confessions will be heard on Saturday, May 29 by Father Beddingfield . . . On Sunday, May 30, Father Beddingfield will be celebrant and preacher for the 9:00 AM Mass and preacher for Solemn Evensong at 5:00 PM. The Rector will be celebrant and preacher for the 10:00 AM and 11:00 AM Solemn Mass . . . Holy Baptism will be celebrated on Sunday, May 30, at 11:00 AM for Adrian Xavier Rochester, son of Stephanie Rochester and grandson of Abe Rochester and Suzanne Nagy-Rochester.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . On Wednesday afternoon Robert McCormick and Larry Trupiano gave a demonstration of our organ, Aeolian-Skinner Opus 891, for a group from the annual meeting of the Acoustical Society of America. As a part of the demonstration, Mr. McCormick played a short recital . . . Monday, May 31, is the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is also Memorial Day in this year of grace 2004. The parish office will be closed. and we will follow our Federal holiday schedule. The church will be open from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM. The Noonday Office will be prayed at 12:00 PM. Mass will be said at 12:15 PM . . . Altar flowers are needed for Sundays June 6 and June 13. If you are interested in contributing for any of these days, please call the parish office or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org . . . Attendance last Sunday 276.
NOTES ON MUSIC . . . This Sunday at the Sung Mass, played by associate organist Robert McDermitt, the prelude is Trio in F by Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847) and the postlude is Bell Symphony by Henry Purcell (1659-1695) . . . At the Solemn Mass, the prelude is Introitus from Missa brevis (1942-5) by Zoltán Kodály (1882-1967) and the postlude is Fanfare from Four Extemporizations (1933) by Percy Whitlock (1903-1946). The setting of the Mass ordinary is Missa brevis by Kodály. The Hungarian Kodály originally wrote this piece in a version for solo organ (hence the day’s prelude remains from that version). He arranged the piece for choir and organ (later orchestrating it) while he was in hiding from Nazi persecution in Budapest. It is a striking work with a complicated harmonic language, and commentators have suggested the influence of Liszt. Perhaps most notable is his setting of Dona nobis pacem, a dialogue between three solo sopranos and choir. The motet at Communion is Draw us in the Spirit’s tether, a brief and beautiful setting of that text by Jack H. Ossewaarde (b. 1918), for many years the director of music at Saint Bartholomew’s Church in New York . . . The organ recital at 4:40 is played by Mr. Richard Latham, intern in church music at Grace Church, New York, and features works of Buxtehude, Sweelinck and Messiaen. Robert McCormick
FRIDAY DISCIPLINE . . . The ordinary Fridays of the Church year, outside of the Christmas and Easter seasons, are observed by special acts of discipline and self-denial in commemoration of the crucifixion of the Lord. Friday abstinence resumes for Episcopalians on June 4. Traditionally this has meant abstinence from flesh meats, but except in Lent, any other spiritual exercise is not inappropriate. This spiritual discipline has been a hallmark of our parish spirituality since its inception, and I commend it to you. S.G.
VESTMENT CARE UPDATE . . . In celebration of the rector’s 20th anniversary of ordination to the priesthood last December, a new fund was established at Saint Mary’s for the conservation and care of vestments. This week we made a major move forward with a visit by Deborah Kraak. Ms. Kraak is a consultant in historic textiles, costume and interiors. She teaches at NYU and Parsons and has worked as the assistant curator of textiles and costumes at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and as the associate curator of textiles at Winterthur. She will be helping to evaluate our vestments, make recommendations for storage and care and will help us identify items for conservation. This is just the beginning, but it is a good beginning. Immediate need: Old bed sheets for lining drawers and boxes. If you have any you can donate please bring them to the sacristy. Monetary contributions are also welcome and should be made to the Saint Mary’s Vestment Conservation and Repair Fund.
The Calendar of the Week
Sunday The Day of Pentecost
Monday The Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Memorial Day – Federal Holiday Schedule
Tuesday Justin, Martyr at Rome, c. 167
Wednesday The Martyrs of Lyon, 177
Thursday The Martyrs of Uganda, 1886
Friday The First Book of Common Prayer, 1548 Abstinence
Saturday Boniface, Archbishop of Mainz, Missionary to Germany,
and Martyr, 754
The Parish Clergy
The Reverend Stephen Gerth, rector,
The Reverend John Beddingfield, curate,
The Reverend Ian Bruce Montgomery, The Reverend Rosemari Sullivan, assisting priests,
The Reverend Canon Edgar F. Wells, rector emeritus.