From the Rector: Learnings in Luke
One of our parish friends from Perth, Australia, the Reverend David Wood, rector, Grace Church, Joondalup, and Anglican chaplain to Edith Cowan University, Perth, sends me a copy of his sermon every week. In this past Sunday’s sermon he wrote, “Jerusalem stands for all that matters most, for all that is most real . . . ” His remark reminded me of something I am still trying to get on top of as a preacher during this year when our Sunday readings come primarily from Luke.
On the first Sunday in July of this year, we heard the passage in Luke’s gospel where Jesus “set his face to go to Jerusalem” (Luke 9: 51). I remember saying from the pulpit that I knew geography was important in Luke’s gospel but I hadn’t done enough reading and thinking about it to preach on it. I’m still working on it. But there have been other things to learn too.
I think the greatest insight this year for me has been to realize that forgiveness in the Bible is almost unique to Jesus. The culture and language of Christian community for centuries has been suffused with the notion of forgiveness, but in the Bible, with the possible exception of Joseph in Genesis (thank you for bringing this to my attention, Father Kent Johnson), I don’t find any other examples of reconciliation. Forgiveness is something Christians talk about a lot. The well known parable of the Prodigal Son is just that, a parable, a story, not real. And, again, this is one reason Father Woods’ observation caught my eye, “Jerusalem stands . . . for all that is most real.”
I want to claim another truth in the New Testament that hit me full force this year as we have heard Luke proclaimed on Sundays: money and possessions are never a problem for New Testament Christians. In the New Testament, Jesus’ followers are absolutely clear about the usefulness of money and possessions to live, to help others, to feed others. There are very few things that I would urgently change in our wonderful Prayer Book. One of the few would be to restore one of the opening sentences of the Burial of the Dead, “We brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out” (The Book of Common Prayer, 1928, page 324). I would also include the second verse of the traditional anthem for bearing a body from the church, “May the choirs of angels welcome you, and with Lazarus who once was poor may you have peace everlasting” (Hymn 354, The Hymnal 1982). I have been led to wonder afresh what our common life and mission at Saint Mary’s would and could be if we were a community where money was not a problem.
I’m still working on forgiveness, money and Jerusalem. I probably will be working on them for many years. But my year with Luke’s gospel really began on the eve of our patronal feast, December 8, the Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. At Evensong that night, Luke’s genealogy of Jesus was read. In this passage, Jesus is described, finally, as the son of Adam, the son of God. We are all children of God. It’s not just Jesus who is the son of God. Adam is too. One of the ways Luke seems to understand Jesus’ mission is for all to become aware of who they and others really are, that all are the children of God. At the end of this Church year, I hope I can truly be a little more aware of being first and foremost a child of God than I was when the year began. Stephen Gerth
PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked for Doreen, Fred, Gert, Virginia, Ana, Kevin, Gloria, William, Gilbert, Rick, Suzanne, Thomas, priest; Bruce, priest; and Charles, priest; for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Steve, Patrick, Brendan, Christopher and Marc . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . September 21: 1976 Harold E. Pim; September 23: 1969 Rosie Matilda Flemister Erwin.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Reminder: Pathways To God, A Quiet Day on Saturday, September 15, led by Sr. Laura Katharine, begins with coffee and light refreshments in Saint Joseph’s Hall 9:45 AM . . . The Rector will leave on Sunday afternoon, September 16, to attend the semi-annual meeting of a clergy leadership course (www.leadershipinministry.com). He returns to the parish on Wednesday evening, September 19 . . . Friday, September 21, is the Feast of Saint Matthew, Apostle & Evangelist. Our commemoration begins on the eve, Thursday, September 20, with Evening Prayer and the first Eucharist for the feast . . . Confessions will be heard on Saturday, September 15, by Father Smith and on Saturday, September 22, by Father Mead . . . Attendance last Sunday 273, September 11, 108.
NOTES ON MUSIC . . . The prelude before Mass today is from Messe pour les paroisses by François Couperin (1668-1733). The postlude is Prélude (Entrée) from Suite médiévale (1947) by Jean Langlais (1907-1991). The cantor is Ms. Elizabeth Baber, soprano, and the music at Communion is O Jesu, Nomen dulce from Kleine geistliche Konzerte I, SWV 308 by Heinrich Schütz (1585-1672). Robert McCormick
THE MINISTRY OF HOSPITALITY . . . Don’t be shy, you may be more extroverted than you think! Help the ushers, the clergy and hosts at coffee hours to welcome newcomers to Saint Mary’s. There are several things you can do: help guests to locate hymnals and bulletins; discreetly help latecomers to locate their place in the service; introduce yourself to guests at Coffee Hour; introduce newcomers to other parishioners with whom they share things in common; ask our guests if they would like to fill out a card (located in the back of the church and in Saint Joseph’s Hall) if they are interested in learning more about Saint Mary’s. J.R.S.
SOLEMN EVENSONG & BENEDICTION RESUMES SOON . . . Mark your calendars! On Sunday, October 7, weekly Solemn Evensong & Benediction resumes at 5:00 PM. Each service is preceded by an organ recital by a visiting organist at 4:40 PM. This fall Sunday Evensong & Benediction will be followed by a brief reception with refreshments in Saint Joseph’s Hall.
CHRISTIAN FORMATION IN SEPTEMBER . . . The Wednesday Night Dinner & Bible Study is now meeting weekly at 7:00 PM in Saint Benedict’s Study. We are studying Saint Paul’s life and writings (visit the Gift Shop for some books on New Testament study and on Saint Paul) . . . The Introduction to Christianity Series continues on Sunday, September 16, following Solemn Mass. Father Smith begins his three-part series on Church History. This week the class will look at the history of early Christianity from the death and resurrection of Jesus until around AD 600. M.M.
A GREAT CLOUD OF WITNESSES . . . On Tuesday, September 18, we commemorate Edward Bouverie Pusey. Along with John Keble and John Henry Newman, Pusey was one of the three great leaders of the Oxford Movement. A linguist and a scholar, Pusey was professor of Old Testament at Oxford for many years. He defended the doctrine of Our Lord’s Real Presence in the Eucharist; he helped found the first Anglican sisterhood since the Reformation; he promoted sacramental confession; he articulated a catholic understanding of baptism and of the church; and he encouraged the study of the writings of the Church Fathers. Though less sympathetic than Keble, and perhaps less brilliant than Newman, Pusey still deserves our respect, our attention and our gratitude. J.R.S.
PAUL JACOBS AT SAINT MARY’S . . . Mark your calendars: on Tuesday, October 9, at 8:00 PM, concert organist Paul Jacobs, head of the organ department at the Juilliard School, will play Olivier Messiaen’s Livre du Saint Sacrement on our Aeolian-Skinner organ, uniquely suited to the music of Messiaen. This concert is sponsored by the Juilliard School and is free to the public. There will be a pre-concert lecture at 7:30 PM. R.M.
PADDOCK LECTURES AT THE GENERAL THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY . . . This annual lecture series was founded in 1880. This year, the Reverend Dr. Louis Weil, Hodges-Haynes Professor of Liturgics, Church Divinity School of the Pacific, will give the addresses. Father Weil is well-known to our parish.
Father Weil’s topic is “Looking at the Liturgy: ‘As it was...’, ‘Is now...’, ‘and shall be.’” The three-part series will be given on Tuesday, October 2, at 8:00 PM and on Wednesday, October 3, at 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM. He will offer a personal view of the evolving liturgical life of the Church during the four decades in which he has been a professor of liturgy and sacramental theology. The seminary is located in Chelsea, 175 Ninth Avenue (20th Street). There is no admission charge and no reservations or tickets are required.
The first lecture will explore the era of Prayer Book stability represented in The Book of Common Prayer (1928), ending at the threshold of prayer book renewal. The second lecture will consider the more complex situation of liturgical worship in our own time, represented in present Prayer Book (1979) and in later developments, both authorized and unauthorized. In the final lecture, Professor Weil will look at the realities on the horizon of the Church’s life which will require significant evolution from within the framework of the inherited tradition.
Father Weil was with us at Saint Mary’s on the first Sunday in Lent 2007 and gave an address on “The Rites of Holy Week.” This is an extraordinary opportunity for us to hear Father Weil again. I plan to be at all three of the lectures and I hope many from Saint Mary’s will be able to attend one or more of them too. S.G.
The Calendar of the Week
Sunday The Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost
Tuesday Edward Bouverie Pusey, Priest, 1882
Wednesday Theodore of Tarsus, Archbishop of Canterbury, 690
Thursday John Coleridge Patteson, Bishop, and his Companions, Martyrs, 1871
Eve of Saint Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist
Friday Saint Matthew, Apostle And Evangelist
Saturday Of Our Lady
Sunday: 8:30 AM Morning Prayer, 9:00 AM Mass, 10:00 AM Sung Mass, 11:00 AM Solemn Mass, 5:00 PM Evening Prayer, 5:20 PM Mass. Childcare from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM.
Monday – Friday: 8:30 AM Morning Prayer, 12:00 PM Noonday Office, 12:10 PM Mass, 6:00 PM Evening Prayer, 6:20 PM Mass.
Saturday: 11:30 AM Confessions, 12:00 PM Noonday Office, 12:10 PM Mass, 4:00 PM Confessions, 5:00 PM Evening Prayer, 5:20 PM Sunday Vigil Mass.