From the Rector: Layers
Three of the most important years of my life were spent in Baton Rouge where I served as curate at Saint Luke’s Church. There I was introduced to many things, among them, the food of Louisiana. A number of women at Saint Luke’s were part of the local club that produced what remains the top-selling club cookbook of all time, “River Road Recipes.” And shortly after I moved there, Paul Prudhomme published his first cookbook, “Chef Prudhomme’s Louisiana Kitchen.”
There were in Louisiana – and probably continue to be – unending discussions of how to make a roux, that is, how to cook flour and fat together to thicken and enrich sauces. I can remember clearly sitting in the home of friends while perhaps fifteen men and women engaged the pros and cons of making it in a microwave. Prudhomme’s recipes are spicy and full of butter. With respect, it seemed to me that Louisiana food generally had less of both – and again, I remember the level of pepper being a subject that could occupy a dinner party for half an hour or more.
What was new to me in Prudhomme’s work was his layering of spice, usually different kinds of pepper. Adding different forms of pepper, white, black and cayenne, at different points in the cooking of many dishes produced great flavors that one could not get by simply adding pepper any other way.
The reading of the Bible at Mass and at Morning and Evening Prayer is about layers too. The foundation is the Sunday cycle, Christians gathering to hear the Word and to break Bread on the first day of the week. By the fourth century Holy Week and Christmas had been added. The Church has been adding layers of cycles ever since. As I write on Thursday, July 14, we heard at Morning Prayer lessons from the First Book of Samuel (Saul is king and Saul’s son Jonathan is defending his friend David) and from the Acts of the Apostles (Barnabus and a different Saul are set apart for a mission by prayer and the laying on of hands). At the Masses today, Moses asks God his Name in the lesson from Exodus and Jesus speaks of his gentle yoke in the appointed gospel. At Evening Prayer, the people of Israel under Joshua will be preparing to cross the Jordan to enter the Promised Land and Jesus will making some people very mad by healing someone on the Sabbath.
Very occasionally I am bored by one or more of the daily lessons – for whatever reason the Acts of the Apostles is my least favorite book at the Daily Office, number two is the Book of Job. After many years of the Office, however, most books of the Bible for me are great friends. We just had the lesson about Jesus’ yoke at the Sunday Mass a few weeks ago. Tonight the crossing of the Jordan may bring to mind the crossing of the Red Sea, which may bring to mind Baptism and then Jesus’ resurrection. Or perhaps, I’ll find myself thinking simply about water and creation and the Samaritan woman who encountered Jesus at a well.
With some discipline, the layers of Christian tradition offer enrichment and delight to the mystery of life. The richness of the layers of Christian tradition and living unfold across the course of our lives. Some moments will be particularly intense and will stay with us always. (I can still remember the first time I ever sung the great Corpus Christi hymn, “Sion, praise thy Saviour singing.” I can’t remember a time when I didn’t know “Alleluia! Sing to Jesus!” because it is a hymn I know I heard as a baby before I could say my first word.)
I invite you to reflect on the layers of God’s work in your life and in the life of this parish. I invite you to taste the richness as often as you can. The Holy Spirit does take us to new places in our lives, to new crosses and to new joys. Stephen Gerth
PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked for Lloyd, Mikhail, Deborah, Henry, Charlton, Virginia, William, Mary, Virginia, Tony, Ibo, Penn, Gilbert, Robert, Gloria, Marion, Mamie, Rick, Michael, priest, Thomas, priest and Charles, priest; and for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Bruce, Brenden, Jonathan, Joseph, Timothy, Christopher, David, Nestor, Freddie, Derrick, Christina and Barbara. . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . July 21: 1963 Frederick Webb Ross; July 22: 1960 Mary Waters.
LITURGICAL NOTES . . . The Sunday Proper: Wisdom 12:13,16-19, Psalm 86:11-17, Romans 8:18-25, Matthew 13:24-30,36-43. . . Father Gerth will be the celebrant and preacher for the 9:00 AM and the 5:20 PM Masses. . . Father Beddingfield will be the celebrant and preacher for the 10:00 AM Sung Mass the 11:00 AM Solemn. . . On Saturday, July 16, Father Gerth will hear confessions. . . On Saturday, July 23 Father Beddingfield will hear confessions . . . Friday, July 22 is the Feast of Saint Mary Magdalene. Mass will be offered on the Eve at 6:20 PM and on the Day at 12:15 PM and 6:20 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.
CLERGY & STAFF NOTES . . . Father Mead continues on vacation through July 30 . . . We were disappointed to learn that Robert McCormick was not selected as a finalist at the St. Alban’s International Organ Festival. But we are delighted and proud that he was a part of this competition. He returns to Saint Mary’s on July 28 . . . Hector Rojas has joined Saint Mary’s staff as our new building mechanic. Welcome, Hector!
NOTES ON MUSIC . . . We welcome Mr. Jason Roberts, assistant organist of Saint Peter’s Church, Morristown, New Jersey and a doctoral student of McNeil Robinson at the Manhattan School of Music, who will play for the Sung and Solemn Masses this Sunday. At the Solemn Mass, the voluntaries (respectively) are Prélude et fugue en sol mineur, Opus 7/3 by Marcel Dupré (1886-1971). The cantor this Sunday is Mr. Joe Damon Chappel, bass-baritone. Mr. Chappel sings often with our choir, though most Sundays he may be found at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, New York, where he is a soloist in that church’s famed Bach Vespers series. At Communion, he will sing Quia fecit mihi magna from Magnificat, BWV 243 by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750). Robert McCormick
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Flowers are needed for Sunday, July 24. The cost is $200.00. Please contact Sandra Schubert in the parish office if you would like to give them for one (or more!) Sundays . . . Wish list – Saint Mary’s needs a donation or resource for used flat files to store our 24” x 36” signs that are posted on the two placards on the 46th and 47th entrances for the church. Currently they get rolled up and stored in the basement and become damaged . . . The Board of Trustees meets on Monday, July 18, at 7:00 PM in Saint Benedict’s Study . . . Attendance: 243.
SPIRITUALITY AND READING GROUP . . . Coordinated by Rosemary Kulp, this group will meet next on Sunday, July 17 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 books to be discussed are Madeleine L'Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time and A Wind in the Door. 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.
MOVIE NIGHT AT SAINT MARY’S . . . Join Father Beddingfield in Saint Joseph’s Hall on Friday evening, July 22, after the Mass for movie night. This week we will explore the difference between truth and factuality, mythmaking and storytelling as is portrayed in Big Fish, the 2003 movie directed by Tim Burton. Please bring a few extra dollars if you are able for food so that we can order pizza and soda for everyone.
MORE ON BEING AN ENTREPRENEUR . . . To learn about several people who have overcome limited resources to meet enormous opportunities, check out http://www.pbs.org/opb/thenewheroes/ This site grows out of a two-week series that aired on PBS and offers resources on social entrepreneurship.
ABOUT MARY MAGDALENE . . . Is there a figure in Christian history who has been portrayed more incorrectly than Saint Mary Magdalene? In the Eastern Churches she is ranked as an apostle. After all, she was healed by Jesus (Luke 8:1-12) and she was the first witness and messenger of the resurrection. In the West, regrettably, Gregory the Great, bishop of Rome (591- 604), identified Mary Magdalene as the forgiven prostitute in Luke. The problem with this identification is that there is absolutely nothing in Luke that identifies her as this person. It would take almost 1500 years for this teaching to be reversed by the Roman Catholic Church’s Second Vatican Council (1962-1965). Yet, in art and in popular culture (“The Da Vinci Code”) this error persists. The Feast of Saint Mary Magdalene ranks as a “feast” in the Episcopal Church and among Anglicans generally but only as a “memorial” for Roman Catholics.
Almighty God, whose blessed Son restored Mary Magdalene
to health of body and of mind, and called her to be a witness
of his resurrection: Mercifully grant that by your grace we
may be healed from all our infirmities and know you in the
power of his unending life; who with you and the Holy Spirit
lives and reigns, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
The Calendar of the Week
Sunday The Ninth Sunday after Pentecost
Eve of Saint Mary Magdalene 6:00 PM
Friday Saint Mary Magdalene 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 R. William Franklin, assisting deacon,
The Reverend Canon Edgar F. Wells, rector emeritus.