From the Rector: Unity
I was a new student at Nashotah House in the fall of 1980 when I first encountered what would become our hymnal’s standard tune for the contemporary version of the Lord’s Prayer. The tune was written by McNeil Robinson in 1973 while he was serving at Saint Mary’s as organist. I have always liked the tune and, although I haven’t revisited the issue with any scholars lately, I seem to recall that the contemporary version of the prayer is actually a slightly more faithful rendering of the Greek than the one which we use and is now almost universal among English speakers.
The contemporary version of the Lord’s Prayer has not been sung at any service at Saint Mary’s since I’ve been rector. The only time it has been sung is once or twice by yours truly when the church was empty. I’ve never asked Mr. Robinson, but I’m sure Saint Mary’s acoustic was in his head when he composed the setting. Someday I may ask the congregation to sing it on an occasion or two (it is wonderful), but something happened this summer that put the question in a new way for me.
Many of you know I was able to go to Jerusalem at the beginning of July. Of course the trip was spiritually powerful, and I couldn’t begin to keep track of everything I experienced. I did try to pay attention to moments when emotion would bring tears to my eyes and alter my body chemistry. One such moment happened in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, built over what most Christians believe was Jesus’ tomb. The church has been built and rebuilt over the centuries. Like the Christian world itself, it is a place of faith and of division. If I recall correctly, there are three principal Christian groups in this church and three smaller ones. They fight often with each other – the police had to be called in 2004 to stop a small riot after someone left a door open inside the building – it was considered an insult for that particular door to be left open during a service. (I’m not making this up.)
Despite this division, among the things that moved me so deeply this past summer was hearing some group in the church singing the ordinary and ancient tone for the Lord’s Prayer, the one we use at Saint Mary’s. I couldn’t recognize the language – it wasn’t English or Latin. But it was recognizably the same tone. In my head I was praying too.
Like the Church, I don’t know of any human family where everyone gets along completely – and even if a nuclear family is pretty functional, you can be sure some of the relatives are not. Jesus did show us a way ultimately to be one – in his death. The forgiveness of which he spoke and the unity among his followers for which he prayed didn’t take root before or after he died. Jesus’ invitation to believe continues to call us to the place where the sins we have committed and those of the distant past that still stain our lives will not matter. That place is our death. It was in death that God’s greatest power was shown in Jesus Christ – and it is in death that he promises to raise all who believe in him.
I’m sure on that day last summer that I wasn’t the only pilgrim in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre who recognized the tune but not the words. I’m sure the bonds of unity among all of the people in the building are greater in God’s sight than in our own, in this world and in the world to come. In the Revelation to John we read that in the New Jerusalem all of the saints sing. There they all know the tunes and the words. Stephen Gerth
PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked especially for William who is hospitalized, for Saint Mary’s missioners in Honduras, for Daniel, Arturo, Kevin, Brian, Ana, José, Gert, Peter, Harold, Robert, Gloria, Ray, Tony, Joy, William, Gabriela, Eve, Virginia, Mary, William, Gilbert, Rick, Thomas, priest, Louis, priest, and Charles, priest; for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Fahad, Barron, Joseph, Patrick, Bruce, Brenden, Jonathan, Christopher, Timothy and Dennis and for the repose of the soul of Haydon . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . January 15: 1983 Faith Trumbull Cleveland Booth; January 17: 1967 Letitia Fidelia De Sousa, 1998 John Zippler Headley.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Flowers are needed for the last two Sundays in January (and many other days during 2007). If you would like to give flowers, please contact Sandra Schubert in the parish office for full details . . . The 2007 Ordo Calendar is available in the gift shop . . . Confessions will be heard on Saturday, January 13, by Father Gerth and on Saturday, January 20, by Father Mead . . . Attendance Epiphany 273, Last Sunday 306.
NOTES ON MUSIC . . . This Sunday at the Solemn Mass, the choral music is sung by the choir of Christ Church St. Laurence, Sydney, Australia, directed by Dr. Neil McEwan. The choir, considered by many to be among Australia’s finest liturgical choirs, was founded shortly after the consecration of the church in 1845. It performs an extensive repertoire incorporating music from Gregorian chant through to the works of living composers, with a special emphasis on music from the polyphonic school of the sixteenth century. The choir’s visit to Saint Mary’s is part of an international tour that includes services and concerts at such great churches as Westminster Abbey and Canterbury Cathedral. The prelude before Mass is Christ unser Herr zum Jordan kam (“Christ our Lord to the Jordan came”), BuxWV 180 by Dietrich Buxtehude (c. 1637-1707). The postlude is an improvisation on ‘Kingsfold’. The setting of the Mass ordinary is Cantus Missae (Messe in Es-dur), Opus 109 by Josef Gabriel Rheinberger (1839-1901). Rheinberger, an important composer and teacher of the German Romantic period, is known especially for his organ and sacred choral music. His aesthetic and style is in many ways similar to the great Johannes Brahms (both men wrote music in a classical disposition, as opposed to the more free and “wilder” music of composers such as Franz Liszt and Richard Wagner). This setting for double choir, the composer’s only such setting, was composed in 1878 and dedicated to Pope Leo XIII. The motet at Communion is O sacrum convivium by Thomas Tallis (c. 1505-1585) . . . The organ recital at 4:40 PM is played by Christopher Jennings . . . The choir of Christ Church St. Laurence sings at Evensong & Benediction as well, including music of Howells, Anne Boyd, La Rue and Duruflé. Robert McCormick
HONDURAS MISSION . . . Rebecca Weiner, Andrew Smith and Sue Moshier leave for Honduras on Sunday morning to coordinate advance preparations. Father Beddingfield and the rest of the mission team leave on Monday, January 15 and return on Sunday, January 21. Through the generosity of the alternative gift program, Saint Mary’s and friends of the parish are sending $2,700 that will be used for mission projects. An additional $2,000 for mission projects has been contributed from the Saint Mary’s Gift Shop, which has pledged to give 15 per cent of all sales to the mission in Honduras. Please pray for the mission team and look for photographs next week in the photo gallery in the church web site.
CHRISTIAN EDUCATION . . . Our weekly parish Bible Study resumes Wednesday, January 17, at 7:00 PM in Saint Benedict’s Study. Throughout the Epiphany Season we will study the Parables of Jesus . . . On Sunday, January 21, Father Mead will offer a class on the Daily Office: “All you ever wanted to know about Morning & Evening Prayer” . . . On Sunday, January 28, Father Mead will offer a class entitled: “The Structure of Solemn Mass: Ordinaries, Propers, Minor Propers” . . . On Sunday, February 4 (following Evensong & Benediction), Father Mead will offer a “class” entitled “Football for Anglo-catholics.” This class will precede the Super Bowl party in Saint Joseph’s Hall . . . On Sundays, February 11 & 18, Father Beddingfield will offer a two-part class entitled: Anglo-catholics & Mission: The Good, the Strange and the Holy . . . On Sunday, February 25, the Reverend Louis Weil, professor of liturgics at the Church Divinity School of the Pacific, will offer a class on The Liturgy of Lent . . . Unless otherwise noted, Sunday classes begin approximately 15 minutes after Solemn Mass concludes. For details and resources please visit the Adult Education section of our parish website.
A SPECIAL GUEST AT SAINT MARY’S . . . There are many reasons why one might want to come to Evensong at Saint Mary’s but there’s a very special reason on Sunday, January 21. It’s the Sunday in the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity and our guest preacher is the Reverend Dr. Keith F. Pecklers, S.J. Father Pecklers is a Jesuit of the New York Province who has lived and taught in Rome since 1992. He is professor of liturgy at the Pontifical Gregorian University and professor of liturgical history at the Pontifical Liturgical Institute, Rome. Father Pecklers has published five books and numerous articles and reviews. His most recent volume “Worship” (Continuum and Liturgical Press, 2003) was featured in “The Tablet” in a review by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, and won the Catholic Press Association’s First Place Book Award in “Liturgy.”
Father Pecklers lectures widely throughout Asia, Europe, North and South America, and last May at the University of Belgrade-Montenegro at the invitation of the Serbian Orthodox Church. He is the founding president of the International Jungmann Society and founder of the International English-speaking liturgical community at the Oratory of Saint Francis Xavier “del Caravita.” He is a close collaborator of the Anglican Centre in Rome and was one of the organizers of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s visit to Pope Benedict XVI last November. In addition to his academic and pastoral responsibilities, Father Pecklers is a Vatican commentator and “on-air expert” for ABC News. He currently holds the Gasson Chair in Theology at Boston College. It will be a great honor for us to have Father Pecklers with us.
The Calendar of the Week
Sunday The Second Sunday After Epiphany
Monday Weekday – Federal Holiday Schedule: Martin Luther King Day
Wednesday Antony, Abbot in Egypt, 356
Eve of the Confession of Saint Peter the Apostle
Thursday THE CONFESSION OF SAINT PETER THE APOSTLE
The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity begins today.
Friday Wulfstan, Bishop of Worcester, 1095 Abstinence
Saturday Fabian, Bishop and Martyr of Rome, 250
Sunday: 8:30 AM Sung Matins, 9:00 AM Mass, 10:00 AM Sung Mass, 11:00 AM Solemn Mass, 5:00 PM Solemn Evensong & Benediction. 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