From Father Mead: On The Scriptures
My grandfather spent his life working as a lobsterman; one of his sons was a lobsterman, the other a fisherman. I know that sound advice, a number of nets, traps, and locations of fertile fishing grounds were passed from father to sons. They were given the tried and true methods of fishing.
Like my uncles, I am fortunate to have had a number of things passed down to me. Last week I visited my godfather, a retired priest, in Maryland and went through his bookshelves with him. “This is a must have.” “This is useless.” “You might find this handy.” “I used this every week as part of my sermon preparation.” With such tools and advice from my godfather and other priests (in particular my dad and my colleagues at Saint Mary’s), I am learning the tried and true methods of being a “fisher of men”.
I love telling others about Jesus Christ. I love preaching at Low Mass when there is little more than a moment to instruct the congregation about who Jesus is or what Jesus said and what that means for us. I love preaching at Solemn Mass when there is a little more time to dig deeper into the day’s readings and, hopefully, reveal that much more about Jesus, who is the way, the truth, and the life. I love teaching classes, especially Bible studies. I can’t imagine being able to do any of this without having received what was passed on to me by others.
It’s certainly true that God is revealed to us in the people around us, after all if we truly believe that we are members of the Body of Christ then we see and hear Christ in each other. Jesus has been revealed to me through the words and actions of bishops, priests, deacons, and laity with whom I interacted throughout my life. I learned about Jesus by listening to and talking with professors and students and by reading treatises, commentaries, and histories at Chicago and Yale. From all of these (whether positive or negative examples), I learned that the tried and true methods of Christian ministry rely on being pointed again and again to the gospel of Christ revealed in the scriptures.
It makes perfect sense if you think about it. These Christian leaders, whether they are people living today or people who lived hundreds of years ago are all links in a chain of clergy, theologians, preachers, and other church leaders stretching back to the very apostles that Jesus himself sent into the world to teach and baptize all nations. The apostles and disciples who had followed Jesus during his ministry, who had seen him, spoken with him, and eaten with him after he rose from the dead passed on to others all they knew about who Jesus was and what he had taught them. They used the same Hebrew and Greek scriptures to talk about him that he used to talk about himself. They wrote letters and gospels, and inspired others to write gospels and letters so that there would be an accurate record of Jesus’ ministry, death and resurrection, as well as an accurate record of how Jesus was understood by those who were personally sent out by him to the rest of the world.
The Old and New Testaments have been passed down to us by the church. Christian worship is taken from them. Christian theology interprets them. Christian preaching exposits them. Why? So that Jesus Christ is revealed to us today the same way that he was revealed to the first apostles: as the way, the truth and the life; as our King and our God. The scriptures are not the only way God is revealed to us, but they are the tried and true method of knowing Jesus that has been passed down to us. Like fishing or anything else, we can always go it on our own through trial and error. Maybe I’ll catch a lobster with a fishing pole – I actually did it once by chance – but I can tell you for certain that going out with my grandfather, baiting and dropping traps in fertile lobster waters, and hauling in a catch of more lobsters than you can imagine is the tried and true method of catching lobsters.
This summer, I invite you to encounter Jesus in the exact same way Christians have encountered him for the past two thousand years, read what Jesus himself said, and find out what those who knew him said about him. If you don’t know where to start, read a Gospel or an Epistle or even take up the Daily Office and become familiar with the entire Bible. Matthew Mead.
PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked especially for Anthony, Daniel, Gloria, Roxanne, Grace, Tony, Michelle, Ray, Isa, Joy, Christine, Danny, Ann, William, John, Laura, Gabriela, Eve, Roy, Deborah, Virginia, Mary, William, Ana, Gilbert, Marion, Jeanne, Joseph, Rick, Thomas, priest and Charles, priest; and for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Fahad, Joseph, Patrick, Bruce, Brenden, Jonathan, Christopher, Timothy, Nestor, Freddie, Dennis and Derrick; and for the repose of the soul of MaryAnne;. . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . July 21: 1963 Frederick Webb Ross; July 22: 1960 Mary Waters.
CONFESSIONS . . . Confessions will be heard on Saturday, July 15, by Father Beddingfield and on Saturday, July 22, by Father Gerth.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . The rector returns from vacation on Tuesday, July 18. Father Beddingfield will be on vacation Monday, July 17 through Sunday, July 30 . . . Movie Night in July will follow the Said Mass on Friday, June 21 at 7:00 PM in Saint Joseph’s Hall. We are watching Pale Rider, a Clint Eastwood western in which Clint plays the Preacher whose preaching style is all gun-smoke and dynamite! It may be hot, so dress comfortably and join us for food, beverages and fun . . . The Spirituality and Reading group continues with the work of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. The next meeting, on Sunday, July 23, will continue with its discussion of The Cost of Discipleship and will also begin to discuss Letters and Papers from Prison . . . Flowers are needed for the Sundays in July. Please contact the parish office if you wish to give them . . . Attendance Last Sunday 254.
CHILD CARE & SUNDAY SCHOOL . . . Child care is offered from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM each Sunday and during Solemn Masses celebrated during the week. Sunday School is offered October through May from 10:00 AM to 10:45 AM. Please contact Father Mead for more information.
NOTES ON MUSIC . . . This Sunday at the Solemn Mass, the prelude is Intermezzo from Symphonie III, Opus 28 by Louis Vierne (1870-1937). The postlude is Crown Imperial (A Coronation March, 1937) by William Walton (1902-1983), arranged for organ by Herbert Murrill (1909-1952). The cantor is Mr. Steven Fox, tenor. The music at Communion is Then shall the righteous shine forth from Felix Mendelssohn’s (1809-1847) Elijah. Robert McCormick
ORGAN RECITAL ON JULY 20 . . . On Thursday, July 20 at 7:30 PM, Robert McCormick will play a recital on Saint Mary’s Aeolian-Skinner organ. This event is presented by the New York City chapter of the American Guild of Organists as part of the chapter’s Pipe Organ Encounters, a week-long event for high school organ students. The recital features works of Bach, Buxtehude, Vierne, Walton and an improvisation on submitted themes. All are invited to attend, and a donation of $10 per person is requested.
HONDURAS UPDATE . . . In the next few days Saint Mary’s will be sending a financial gift to our mission partner in Tegucigalpa, the Church of San Juan Evangelista. The gift will be the sum of our Maundy Thursday Offering and other gifts that have been given especially for Honduras, just over $3,000. Though we had initially planned to take the offering with us when we visit Honduras in January 2007, needs at the parish in Villanueva suggest that the gift might be more helpful now. The children’s lunch program needs additional support, water continues to be an issue and the church is hoping to finish construction of a wall around the playground to help with the security and safety of the children. It’s not too early to be thinking about joining us in January. The dates for the mission trip will be from January 15, 2007 through January 21, 2007. Missioners should budget for a total cost (including airfare) of about $1,200 per person.
SUNDAY ON SATURDAY NIGHT . . . Don’t forget the weekly Vigil Mass for Sunday each Saturday at 5:20 PM. Evening Prayer is offered at 5:00 PM. The Mass is exactly like the 9:00 AM Sunday morning Said Mass, using the proper readings and liturgy for the Lord’s Day. Especially if you’re going away or want to avoid the heat, remember Saturday nights at Saint Mary’s.
SUMMERTIME IN THE CITY . . . Saint Mary’s continues to be a busy place all week long. On an average weekday, 546 people come through our hot church. They pray over the noise of street traffic, doormen’s whistles and the occasional car radio blaring just outside the 47th Street doorway. About 200 people each day take time to sit in a pew. Almost 100 people light a candle at one of the shrines and say a prayer. We have from 4 to 10 people at Morning Prayer each day and from 5 to 15 at Evening Prayer. 20 to 60 people come for Mass on a typical weekday. To those of you who already pledge to the operating budget of Saint Mary’s, we say an enormous and heartfelt “thank you.” You make our hospitality possible. For the church to be open, a sexton has to be paid, the lights need to be on, and the space needs to be safe and clean. For Mass to be said twice a day, priests are needed. Your pledges make this happen and allow Saint Mary’s to continue reaching nurturing members, greeting visitors, and helping those who seek God. If you have not already pledged to the operating budget of the church, it’s not too late. There are pledge cards on the back table in the church, or if you give the same amount to the church periodically you can simply convert your gifts to a pledge. Support Saint Mary’s—it’s worth it.
The Calendar of the Week
Sunday The Sixth Sunday after Pentecost
Monday William White, Bishop of Pennsylvania, 1836
Friday Eve of Saint Mary Magdalene No Abstinence PM
Saturday Saint Mary Magdalene
Sunday: 8:30 AM Sung Matins, 9:00 AM Mass, 10:00 AM Sung Mass, 11:00 AM Solemn Mass,
5:00 PM Evening Prayer, 5:20 PM Said 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. The 12:10 Mass on Wednesday is sung.
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