From the Rector: Security
When I was at the security check point in Ben Gurion Airport, Tel Aviv, on Monday, July 17, three things packed in my suitcase attracted the attention of the security team. I had bought one small jar of honey and two small jars of date syrup. During the first pass through an x-ray machine, a computer image was taken and sent to a second screening station. There, with a computer image of the contents of my suitcase in front of her, the screener went right for the jars.
These were Israeli products, labeled in Hebrew only, and each secured with the local version of a tamper-proof seal. The screener removed them, examined the jars and held them up to the light. She then tested them with some kind of hand-held device. Then she put the jars into another machine for further testing. She helped me repack my bag and off I went.
The security folks didn’t require me to put my Dopp kit in my checked luggage. They didn’t make me take off my shoes. They were polite and serious at the same time. Though the supervisors were older, the front-line screeners were all young, twenty somethings. I was happy for the thorough, professional approach. I could not help but reflect how different the screening and the screeners were in our own country. Again, this was on Monday, July 17, two weeks before the latest terrorist plots involving liquids in Britain were uncovered.
When I was in the tenth grade I remember being shown a film about critical thinking. It began with the photographing of what looked at first like a chair, but as the camera panned around the object one could see it was only half of a chair-like thing, constructed to make it look like a chair from one angle when it really wasn’t. That part of the film clearly made an impression on me, as I still remember it. As much as I welcome things being what they appear to be, I am rarely surprised when the “inward and spiritual reality” of an event, object or action turns out to be different from the “outward and visible signs.”
Sometimes I have to work hard not to be cynical about life and I presume that I am not alone at all in this struggle. I’m not looking forward to my next airport check-in at all. I’m sure it’s going to be even harder for me to just to put up with what passes for security at our airports at the present time. Truth and perception are going to collide, explode in my brain. And I know this is when I am most tempted to act from cynicism instead of hope, from fear instead of reality.
You and I almost always have some opportunity to affect our futures. I will pack intelligently before my next airplane trip. Knowing myself as I do, I will try to be in a good frame of mind so that I can put up with a system I think is inadequate in design and staffing.
Now this is the spiritual point of this article: Part of my preparation for travel is going to be prayer. Security for my daily spirit seems to come most from the relationship I have with God. When I have the opportunity to make a difference for myself, I want to do so.
Truth, perception and choice come into play all of the time in life. It will not surprise many of you that it is in my favorite gospel that the word “truth” really gets used (it is hardly used at all by the other evangelists). In John’s gospel, at supper on the night before he died, Jesus washed his disciples’ feet, including the feet of Judas Iscariot, and ate with them, again, including Judas. After Judas departed, Jesus speaks at some length about truth, reality and the choices he and the disciples will shortly make. It is in this context that Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father but by me” (John 14:6). Judas did not find security in betrayal. Peter did not find security in denial. Jesus remained one with the Father in life and in death. Prayer, not fear, is where we can be secure. Stephen Gerth
PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked especially for Robert, Gloria, John, Mansell, Terry, Sandra, Daniel, Gloria, Roxanne, Grace, Tony, Michelle, Ray, Isa, Joy, Christine, Danny, Ann, William, John, Laura, Gabriela, Eve, Roy, Deborah, Virginia, Mary, William, Ana, Gilbert, Jeanne, Joseph, Rick, Thomas, priest, Louis, 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 . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . August 22: 1947 Mattie Myrtle Jones, 1997 Charles Bertram Harmon; August 24: 1959 Mabel Lenora Heyny; August 25: 1983 Albert Atkinson III, 1990 Eliphal B. Streeter.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Remember: child care is offered from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM each Sunday and during Solemn Masses celebrated during the week . . . The Spirituality and Reading group meets this Sunday August 20 and continues with Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Letters and Papers from Prison . . . Flowers are needed for Sundays for August 27. . . . Please contact the parish office if you wish to give them . . . Many thanks to George Handy, Dennis Smith, Eileen Whittle, Dick Leitsch and Jay Smith for getting the Assumption mailing out on time . . . Many thanks to all who polished brass last Saturday and to Sean Cassidy and Pat Higgins for organizing the work. The altar on Assumption gleamed! . . . Thanks to Jesse Liew for assisting in the nursery and to Christine Kim for assisting with the altar linens while our regular nursery and laundry staff person was away in July . . . Thanks to Dale Bonenberger for the glorious flowers on Assumption . . . It was great to have Bishop Don Taylor, vicar bishop for New York City, with us in choir for the Solemn Mass on Assumption . . . Father Beddingfield will be on vacation until August 29. . . Sandra will be on vacation beginning August 21 and will return on Monday the 28th. Beth Mahaffey will cover the office and the office will be open 10 – 6 PM instead of the summer schedule. . . Confessions will be heard on Saturday, August 19, by Father Gerth and on Saturday, August 26, by Father Mead . . . Attendance Last Sunday 230, Assumption 473.
PARISH TRADITIONS . . . Our Saint Mary’s community has a number of traditions, among them the custom of attending Mass on “Major Feast” days. This used to be easier to do when more parish churches regularly offered weekday services. But there are plenty of churches which do offer them, even if one has to look a little harder to find them. Thursday, August 24, is the Feast of Saint Bartholomew the Apostle. As is our custom, Mass for Saint Bartholomew will be said on the eve at 6:20 PM, and on the day at 12:10 PM and 6:20 PM. A good rule of life for any Christian is to be at Mass on Sundays and on Major Feast days. Feast days have a wonderful way of interrupting the week and reminding us of God’s love for us. S.G.
NOTES ON MUSIC . . . This Sunday at the Solemn Mass, the prelude is an improvisation on ‘St. Columba’, hymn 645, The King of love my shepherd is. The postlude is Bryn calfaria from Three Preludes founded on Welsh Hymn tunes by Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958). The cantor is Ms. Ruth Cunningham, soprano. The anthem at Communion is Ms. Cunningham’s setting of Vidi speciosam. Robert McCormick
METROPOLITAN OPERA IN CENTRAL PARK . . . Join Saint Mary’s on the Road on Wednesday, August 23 at 8:00 PM in Central Park for Rigoletto. We will meet around 5:00 PM near the closest softball field to the stage – the west side of the Great Lawn (an easy way to find the group is to enter from Central Park West at 81st Street). To ensure that everyone is able to find the group, we have set up an e-mail/phone system. Simply e-mail us at email@example.com and we will send you some of the cell phone numbers of people who are going to be there early. Bring your cell phone (with those numbers) and we’ll “talk you in” when you get to the park. Please bring some food and drink to share, and something to sit on. We’ll supply the plates, napkins and cups. Matthew Mead
MOVIE NIGHT . . . Join us in Saint Joseph’s Hall for Movie Night at Saint Mary’s on Friday, August 25 at 7:00 PM, following 6:00 PM Evening Prayer and the 6:20 PM Mass. We will watch Master & Commander, a dramatic story of life in the British Navy during the Napoleonic Wars, starring Russell Crowe. Food and beverages are provided for every movie night; we ask for a donation (about $5 to $10 per person) to cover the cost. Matthew Mead
CHRISTIAN EDUCATION THIS FALL . . . October begins our regular programming of Adult Education at Saint Mary’s. On Sunday, October 1, Father Mead leads a class on the Revised Common Lectionary (RCL). The RCL is the new three-year lectionary adopted by the Episcopal Church at the summer’s General Convention. It officially replaces the lectionary at the back of the Prayer Book beginning in Advent 2007 . . . On Monday, October 2, The Visual Arts program presents St. Francis: Sermon to the Birds and Hymn to the Sun by Dr. Pamela Tudor-Craig, Lady Wedgwood . . . On Sunday, October 8, the Right Reverend C. Christopher Epting leads a discussion on the Anglican Communion and Ecumenical Issues . . . Beginning Sunday, October 22, the Reverend Anne Richards leads a three-part class on twentieth century Anglican writers The Inklings . . . On Tuesday nights throughout October and November, the Tuesday Night Bible Study will read Genesis . . . Visit the Adult Education section of the parish website for more information. Matthew Mead
The Calendar of the Week
Sunday The Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost
Eve of Saint Bartholomew the Apostle
Thursday Saint Bartholomew the Apostle
Friday Louis, King of France, 1270 Friday Abstinence
Saturday Of Our Lady
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