From the Rector: Expulsion
One of the most profound experiences one can have is to encounter Masaccio’s frescos in the Cappella Brancacci in Santa Maria del Carmine in Florence, Italy. His painting of the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the garden (Cacciata dal Paradiso) is the most moving. Adam and Eve are naked. They have already lost Eden and the garments of skin the Lord made for them. Adam’s hands cover his face. Eve’s hands cover her chest and abdomen. Shame, grief and pain have altered them and given them a terrible countenance. Yet they are still beautiful. They are still alive. The painting speaks to a single, terrible moment – at least I read it that way. For me that moment is not by any means the whole story, even while one stands before it, frozen by its power.
Jesus expelled demons regularly and, on one occasion, some bankers who had by long custom traded in the precincts of the Temple in Jerusalem. I don’t know what demons look like when they get expelled – at least I don’t think I have any firsthand knowledge of this phenomenon. My guess is the bankers really knew in their hearts – as did everyone else – that they didn’t belong in God’s house. I think we Christians really do know in our hearts that our mission of the Church is to welcome people, to clothe them, to feed them, and to give all a home. This is what the Sacraments do.
Here at Saint Mary’s at sung and solemn Masses, announcements are made near the end of the liturgy and words of welcome are included in the printed service sheets. At said Masses there is no service sheet. The celebrant welcomes people just before the Preparation of the Gifts. The celebrant usually needs to say something like, “Saint Mary’s is a parish in the Episcopal Church and it is our tradition as Episcopalians to welcome all who receive Communion in their own churches to receive Communion in our Church.” I’m proud of being an Episcopalian. For all the shortcomings of our Church it is absolutely the place I want to be. And as much as I want to promote what I think is best about our Church, I wish it were possible to use the word “Christian” instead of the word “Episcopalian” more often than not. It is in Christ that we find our true identity and call. It’s Christ who overcomes the sin that separates us from each other and from God.
There is one other painting in the Brancacci Chapel by Masaccio that is considered by many to be equally great, The Tribute Money (Pagamento del tribute). It is indeed a great work of art, but it doesn’t touch the soul and the mind in the same way as the Expulsion from Paradise. It too doesn’t stand alone. All of the other art and the church- itself, Santa Maria del Carmine, is a sign to any who stop to think of the greater story of God’s goodness. When you and I face sin, what we have done or what has been done to us, it is the greater story of God’s love that the Church should hold before us. This is the Good News the Christ proclaimed. Christ came to beat down and cast out sin, not people. It should always be clear, as I hope it is clear, that this is our mission too as the Body of Christ in this place. Stephen Gerth
PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked for Ana, Robin, Michael, Daniel, Virginia, Roxanne, Tony, Christina, Charlton, Patrick, Elizabeth, Eileen, John, Virginia, Mary, Ruth, William, Jane, Thomas, Brian, Deborah, Ibo, Penn, Gilbert, Robert, Gloria, Bart, Marion, Mamie, Rick, Thomas, priest and Charles, priest; and for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Jonathon, Patrick, Bruce, Joseph, Brenden, Christopher, David, Nestor, Freddie, Patrick, Derrick and Christina.
GRANT THEM PEACE . . . June 6: 1959 Grace Frisby Conklin, 1966 Dudley Harrison Briggs; June 8: 1967 Mary E. Longley, 1998 Anthony Guarino; June 9: 1952 Roy Whitson Lay; June 10: 1963 Kenneth Wilmot, 1970 Florence B. Crouch.
LITURGICAL NOTES . . . The Sunday Proper: Hosea 5:15 -6:6, Psalm 50:7-15, Romans 4:13-18, Matthew 9:9-13 . . . Father Mead will be the celebrant and preacher for the 9:00 AM Mass. The Rector will be the celebrant and preacher for the other Sunday Masses . . . .On Saturday, June 4, Father Beddingfield will hear confessions. On Saturday, June 11, Father Mead will hear confessions . . . Saturday, June 11, is the Feast of Saint Barnabas the Apostle. Mass will be offered Friday on the eve at 6:20 PM and the day of the feast at 12:15 PM.
THE ORDINARY FRIDAYS of the year are observed by special acts of discipline and self-denial in commemoration of the crucifixion of the Lord.
FLOWERS FOR THE ALTAR . . . Robert McKinnon of Fresh Cut Flowers has been our regular outside florist for some years now. We are delighted he has agreed to provide flowers on ordinary Sundays for us. Effective immediately, the cost for giving flowers will now be $200.00 – and if anyone has tried to purchase flowers in Manhattan he or she will know what a good arrangement this is. We will be asking those who have already signed up to give flowers this year at the old rate to confirm that they wish to do so under the new rate. I hope over the summer to reorganize our Flower Guild. I hope it will still be able to do flowers for us during Christmas, Holy Week and on other special days. S.G.
NOTES ON MUSIC . . . This Sunday at the Solemn Mass, the prelude is an improvisation on ‘Nettleton’, the Postcommunion hymn. The postlude is Fuge C-dur by Georg Böhm (1661-1733). One most Sundays of the summer months, the Mass ordinary is sung congregationally. The cantor this Sunday is Ms. Ruth Cunningham, soprano, who will sing the minor propers and, during Communion, the plainsong antiphon Alma redemptoris Mater with a free organ accompaniment. Ms. Cunningham, a former member of the acclaimed ensemble Anonymous 4, currently is a sound healing practitioner who uses vocal and instrumental music (primarily improvised) to help “connect people to the healing power of music.” Robert McCormick
SUMMER CHORAL RECITALS . . . The Boy Choristers of the Washington National Cathedral will present a free choral recital on Wednesday, June 8, at 12:45 PM. They will sing for approximately 45 minutes in the wonderful acoustics of our church . . . Many thanks to the choir of the Episcopal Collegiate School of Little Rock, Arkansas for their concert on Wednesday, June 1.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Reminder: Feast of the Sacred Heart, Friday, June 3, Sung Mass, 6:00 PM . . . Father Beddingfield will be on vacation from Sunday, June 5 through Saturday, July 2 . . . Noel Hennelly did the design and typography for a Lives at St. Luke’s: An Oral History Book. The newly published volume is a project of the Seniors Group at the Church of Saint Luke in the Fields . . . Many thank to Steve Potanovic and to the curates for their work on the new photo gallery on the web page. A recording of our choir singing Gloria in excelsis Deo at the Easter Vigil 2005 can be heard when one clicks on the music page . . . Your prayers and presence are asked for Clare Nesmith who will be ordained deacon on Saturday, June 11, the Feast of Saint Barnabas the Apostle at Trinity & Saint Philip’s Cathedral, Newark, at 10:00 AM. Her classmate Nick Szobota, who often served at Evensong during his time at General Theological Seminary, will also be ordained at this service. Congratulations to both of them! . . . Position Open: The parish needs to hire a new person to do altar and kitchen linens and to iron them. This is an eight-hour per week position. Please refer interested persons to Sandra Schubert in the parish office . . . Attendance last Sunday 352, Visitation 86.
BROTHER LAWRENCE GUILD . . . The group of volunteers who organize and staff coffee hour after the 10:00 AM and 11:00 AM Sunday services (and receptions after Solemn Masses on greater festivals) do not take a holiday in the summer. The Guild welcomes new members. You can learn more about helping or about making donations to the work of the guild by speaking to any member or to their chair, Jim Dennis.
SPIRITUALITY AND READING GROUP . . . Coordinated by Rosemary Kulp, the group will meet on the third Sunday of each month, from approximately 1:00 PM to 2:30 PM, in Saint Benedict’s Study. Participants are asked to bring a little something to eat and some to share, if possible. The book that will be discussed at the June 19 meeting is The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd. For more information, see the Spirituality and Reading Group flyer in the back of the church or the summer edition of Life at Saint Mary’s.
The Calendar of the Week
Sunday The Third Sunday after Pentecost
Thursday Columba, Abbot of Iona, 597
Friday Ephrem of Edessa, Syria, Deacon, 373 Abstinence
Eve of Saint Barnabas the Apostle 6:00 PM
Saturday Saint Barnabas the Apostle
The Parish Clergy
The Reverend Stephen Gerth, rector,
The Reverend John Beddingfield, The Reverend Matthew Mead, curates,
The Reverend Ian Bruce Montgomery, The Reverend James Ross Smith, assisting priests,
The Reverend Canon Edgar F. Wells, rector emeritus.