From the Rector: Generous and Forgiving
The Bible and the liturgy are the foundations of Christian life and living. Encountering Scripture and Christian worship is the primary way most of us engage the mystery of God. How we came to be in this world, how we live our lives, how we respond to the Good News we have heard and how we relate to others shapes our conversion and formation as Christians.
The more I read and pray with Scripture, all of it – even the parts I don’t like – the more confidence I have in a generous and forgiving God. One can easily hear clergy and other Christians striking a different note. One can find a God of judgment in every book of the Bible I suspect, but I haven’t gone looking for him for a long time. I’ll leave that to others. The Good Shepherd does not punish the sheep who was lost. He loves him.
I think that one of the things which unites us as a parish at Saint Mary’s is that we believe in God’s compassion. A small example: At weekday services the clergy and regulars who are present almost always can be observed making a special effort to enable visitors – of which, thankfully, we almost always have many – to join in worship. How we welcome and help others – in church and outside of church – has a tremendous impact on how we encounter the Bible and the liturgy. We try to be like the Lord Jesus, the Good Shepherd, a generous and forgiving community.
It’s easy for some to miss this. Sometimes we’re off our game, as it were. We’re not perfect. We can have a bad day. We don’t always say the right thing or do the right thing. But this community is about living the Good News of Jesus’ resurrection, Jesus’ love for all people and Jesus’ transforming presence among us.
That being said, I also think it’s useful to ask what can you and I do or should do about all the difficult people in our own lives, the difficult days on the job, all of the heartaches and challenges of the past and present, and our fears of the future? Sometimes therapy helps. Certainly confession helps. Chocolate has been known to be helpful. Human beings generally do not respond well to being told they have done something wrong. We can’t really relive our past. It may not be the only way, but at the present time, my own answer is that when I start to feel stuck, I try to look to the future, to move on.
The Christian community of the New Testament was not committed especially to the virtue of stability. Jesus loved Jerusalem more than any place on earth yet he was there very little of his time on earth. Mission was the byword of the first Christian leaders and communities. It seems to be the case that over the course of our lives we human beings have many opportunities to move to new places, literally and spiritually. And even if we are called to stay physically in the same place, spiritually God continues to ask us to go to new places.
It’s not always easy to move on to a new place. Sometimes the confrontations we have had in life do leave scars whose marks remain visible even after most of the healing has been done. How we respond to the reality of what we have been and done – and the reality of what has sometimes been done to us – is something over which we have generally have some control. Where we have choice in our personal life and in the life of our community, let us choose to be generous and forgiving, as hard as that may be. It is the way of Jesus Christ. Stephen Gerth
PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked for William who is hospitalized and for Lloyd, Mikhail, Deborah, Henry, Charlton, Virginia, William, Mary, Virginia, Tony, Ibo, Penn, Gilbert, Robert, Gloria, Marion, Mamie, Rick, Hobart, priest, Thomas, priest and Charles, priest; for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Bruce, Brenden, Jonathan, Joseph, Timothy, Christopher, David, Nestor, Freddie, Derrick, Christina and Barbara, and for the repose of the soul of Bob. . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . June 26: 1985 Kenneth Mealy.
LITURGICAL NOTES . . . The Sunday Proper: Isaiah 2:10-17, Psalm 89:1-4,15-18, Romans 6:3-11, Matthew 10:34-42 . . . Father Mead will be the celebrant and preacher for the 9:00 AM and the 5:20 PM Masses. Father Gerth will be the celebrant and preacher for the 10:00 AM Sung Mass and the 11:00 AM Solemn Mass . . . On Saturday, June 25 Father Mead will hear confessions. On Saturday, July 2 Father Gerth will hear confessions . . . There will be a Sung Mass on Wednesday, June 29 at 6:00 PM for the Feast of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, Apostles.
THE ORDINARY FRIDAYS of the year are observed by special acts of discipline and self-denial in commemoration of the crucifixion of the Lord.
CLERGY NOTES . . . Our most recent seminarian, the Reverend Clare Nesmith, will be with us on Sunday, June 26. She will be serving as deacon at the Solemn Mass . . . On Wednesday, June 29; the Reverend R. William Franklin will join the clergy of the parish for the summer to serve as an assisting deacon. Father Franklin was sponsored for ordination by our parish and is to be ordained priest in September. Bill and his wife Carmela Franklin have both accepted positions in Rome, Italy. Bill will be working for the American Academy and will become Associate Priest and Visiting Fellow of the Anglican Centre in Rome after his ordination to the priesthood on September 17, 2005 at the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine . . . Father Beddingfield continues on vacation through July 2. Father Mead will be on vacation Sunday, July 3 through Saturday, July 30.
NOTES ON MUSIC . . . This Sunday at the Solemn Mass, the prelude is an improvisation on Matthew 10:34-42, the Holy Gospel appointed for the day. The postlude is an improvisation on the hymn tune ‘Bourbon’, our final hymn at Mass. The cantor this Sunday is Mr. Geoffrey Williams, countertenor. Mr. Williams is an alumnus of Westminster Choir College, Princeton, New Jersey and has frequently sung with our choir. He and his wife Emilie (who also sings on occasion with our choir) are returning to New York from a year in Washington, DC. At Communion, he will sing Agnus Dei from Messe h-moll, BWV 232 by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750). The B minor Mass, one of the great works of the Baroque period, was conceived initially as an audition piece for Elector Friedrich August I of Saxony in the hopes of receiving a position at his court. Agnus Dei is in fact a re-worked alto aria from the Ascension Oratorio (BWV 11, Lobet Gott in seinen Reichen). The intimate scoring, minor tonality, chromaticism and ornamentation contribute to a feeling of lowliness, pleading and humility. Robert McCormick
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Reminder: Sung Mass for the Feast of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist, Friday, June 24, 6:00 PM . . . Robert McDermitt, associate organist, also is conductor of the Marsh Singers – a group compromised of singers who work at our Sixth Avenue neighbor Marsh McLennan. Many of us enjoyed their Spring Concert in the plaza behind 1166 Avenue of the Americas (at 46th Street) at on Thursday, June 23. It was really great. Robert has promised to give us advance notice next time! . . . Flowers are needed for several Sundays in July. The cost is $200.00. If you would like to give them, please contact Sandra Schubert in the parish office email@example.com . . . The parish office will be closed on Monday, July 4, in observance of Independence Day. The church will be open from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM . . . Attendance last Sunday 206.
THINGS SOMEONE CAN DO FOR THE CHURCH . . . New Credence Cloth Needed: We need a new cloth for the high altar credence table (the name given to the serving table where vessels and books are placed during Mass). We continue to use traditional cloths made of linen and sewn by hand. We estimate the cloth will cost $300.00. A simple memorial inscription, usually the first letters of the name of the person memorialized and the years of his or her life, may be added. If you would like to give a new cloth contact the Rector . . . Equipment Needed For Recording: It turns out we have everything set-up in the choir gallery and church to make recordings of our service music, largely for archival purposes, except for something called a “microphone pre-amp.” $1,200.00 is needed to buy the one missing piece of equipment. If you are interested in giving all or part of the money for this, please speak with the Rector or the Music Director.
The Calendar of the Week
Sunday The Sixth Sunday after Pentecost
Tuesday Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons, c. 202
Eve of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, Apostles
Wednesday Saint Peter and Saint Paul, Apostles
Friday Weekday Abstinence
Saturday Of Our Lady
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.