From the Rector: Full Gospel Christians Getting Up For Us
The other day I was in the church listening to organ music while standing across from the third station of the cross which commemorates Jesus falling for the first time. For whatever reason, I found myself thinking not about Jesus falling but about Jesus getting up for us. It mattered that he got up and kept going. It matters too that you and I get up and get going for others and for Jesus.
The Prayer Book provides lessons and collects (our traditional name for the prayer of the day) for every day of the year. Some of these are rarely used. This was true of the weekday lessons we had this year just after Pentecost, because of the early date of Easter. Since these lessons for Morning and Evening Prayer have not been used by the Church since 1989, we had not yet prepared them for use. I was saddened to discover that more passages were omitted from public reading in church than I had realized.
Fortunately, the Prayer Book permits us to include omitted portions. For a variety of reasons it is impossible and not wise to include all of the Old Testament – this may be a subject for a future article. But it is possible to include all of the New Testament, and this is what we do at Saint Mary’s. I believe that my Baptist childhood made me especially sensitive to fundamentalist interpretations of Scripture. Sadly, this is alive in too many quarters of our own worldwide denomination.
There are two great defenses against fundamentalism: (1) reading the whole Bible and (2) being honest about what it really does say. Especially because the Anglican Communion is going to be in the news this summer about the inclusion of homosexual persons in the life of the Church, not to mention women and divorced persons, I thought it might be helpful to read a passage from the Daily Office Lectionary (see the Book of Common Prayer, pgs. 966-967) that was omitted during the week after Trinity Sunday 2008.
Actually, two passages were omitted from the sequential readings from the First Letter of Paul to Timothy. The first omission is on the long side for the purposes of this newsletter. I will let you look it up and read it yourself: 1 Timothy 5:1-16. Here’s the second one, 1 Timothy 6:1-5:
Let all who are under the yoke of slavery regard their masters as worthy of all honor, so that the name of God and the teaching may not be defamed. Those who have believing masters must not be disrespectful on the ground that they are brethren; rather they must serve all the better since those who benefit by their service are believers and beloved. Teach and urge these duties. If any one teaches otherwise and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching which accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit, he knows nothing; he has a morbid craving for controversy and for disputes about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, base suspicions, and wrangling among men who are depraved in mind and bereft of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain.
I don’t believe this at all. Nor do I believe it is wise for the Church to omit the reading of any uncomfortable passage from its worship. The Daily Office, that is, Morning and Evening Prayer, gives the Church a wonderful opportunity to move past its prejudices and sins to a deeper knowledge of God’s truth for us – which doesn’t include slavery and “respect” for “masters” – at least not from me.
Every ten years the bishops of the Anglican Communion are invited to a conference in England by the archbishop of Canterbury. It’s called the Lambeth Conference because it was originally held at Lambeth Palace, the London residence of the archbishop of Canterbury. This year the archbishop of Canterbury has excluded the bishop of New Hampshire. For some bishops, like the archbishop of Nigeria, this exclusion is not enough. The primate of Nigeria and all 171 of his episcopal colleagues in Uganda and Nigeria will be staying home.For a few years I’ve been paying off a small pledge to the building fund of Saint Gregory’s Abbey, the Episcopal Benedictine foundation in Three Rivers, Michigan. It’s not much, but it is something that I do for a place apart from my tithe to my home parish. I know of the generous support of many in our community for the AIDS Walk. I know of the private support of many for our parish mission to an Episcopal parish in Tegucigalpa. Frankly, in my job I also know that a great number of people in our community, quietly, consistently, and in their own way “work, pray, and give for the spread of the kingdom of God.”
On a personal note, I’m planning to watch more baseball and far less news this summer than I usually do. One can be informed about the presidential election without following it daily, if not hourly. I’m also already tired of the news heading our way about the 2008 Lambeth Conference. I bear a lifelong weariness with anti-intellectual appeals to Scripture – those kinds of appeals and moral cowardice are at the heart of the controversies in the Church today.
There are many things that make this parish a wonderful and important part of our lives. There is an integrity and commitment to the gospel here that our parish traditions remind us of frequently. Worship leads us to God, to each other, to mission, to service and to the humility of truth. Stephen Gerth
PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked for Brannon, who is gravely ill,Richard and for Carl, PRIEST, who is are hospitalized, and for Richard, Hazel, Esther, Marietta, Doreen, Allison, Bill, Eugene, Mary, Gert, William, Gilbert, Rick and Charles, PRIEST; and for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Benjamin, Katharine, Keith, Dennis, Terrance, Andrew, Patrick and Brenden; and for the repose of the soul of Rita . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . June 10: 1963: 1993 Kenneth Wilmot, 1970 Florence B. CrouchWilliam Cloughley; June 12: 1986 James P. Gregory; June 17: 1972 Charles Henry Genet.
IN THIS TRANSITORY LIFE . . . Rita M. Christiani, a friend and supporter of Saint Mary’s for many years died on May 23 at the age of ninety. Please pray for Rita and for all who mourn . . . On June 9, 2007, a Requiem Mass was celebrated for the soul of Eileen L. Whittle, who died on May 23, 2007. Eileen was a longtime and faithful member of the parish. We continue to mourn her death and celebrate her life.
T6: 1959 Grace Frisby Conklin, 1966 Dudley Harrison Briggs
HE ORDINARY FRIDAYS OF THE YEAR are observed by special acts of discipline and self-denial in commemoration of the crucifixion of the Lord.
ABOUT FRIDAY ABSTINENCE . . . The words quoted immediately above in this newsletter are from the Prayer Book. Traditionally, this has meant for Episcopalians no flesh meats on Fridays. Fish is okay, fowl and livestock are not. Like so many Church traditions, what has come down to us has been especially treasured by this community. Without being a nut about it, I think you and I can quietly remind ourselves that this kind of weekly discipline is about who we are, the sons and daughters of God, the brothers and sisters of Christ. My own personal rule is this: If I am a guest on a Friday and served steak, I enjoy it. If I go out and the fish on the menu doesn’t look good to me, I order something that does. When I am home, I eat fish or something else that is meatless. Eating meat on Friday is not a sin. Not eating meat on Friday is simply a spiritual discipline many, many Christians have found useful for many, many centuries. I hope it may continue to be helpful to many. S.G.THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY’S . . . Join us for Sung Mass at 12:10 PM on Saint Barnabas Day, Wednesday, June 11 . . .The full summer schedule is now in effect. Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer are said on Sundays, instead of being sung. Following Sunday Evening Prayer an additional Eucharist is offered at 5:20 PM . . . Father Mead will hear confessions on Saturday, May 31. The Wednesday Night Bible Study wrap-up party will take place on the Mead family roof terrace on Wednesday, June 11, 2008. Please RSVP to Father Mead . . . Father Smith will hear confessions on Saturday, June 7. Father Gerth will hear confessions on Saturday, June 14.
COMING EVENTS . . . Tuesday, June 24: The Feast of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist, Sung Mass at 6:00 PM . . . Saturday, August 2, Acolyte Picnic in Dover, New Jersey . . . Friday, August 15: The Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Solemn Mass at 6:00 PM, followed by a reception in Saint Joseph’s Hall.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . We will be mailing mid-year pledge statements in mid-July. Traditionally, we experience some cash-flow difficulties during the summer months. If you’ve forgotten to make a payment and would like to catch up on your pledge, this would not be a bad time to do it. If you have questions, please contact the Finance Office; and thanks to all for your support of Saint Mary’s . . . On Wednesday, June 10, Father Smith will celebrate the nineteenth anniversary of his ordination to the diaconate. Thursday, June 11, will be Father Gerth’s twenty-fifth anniversary of ordination to the diaconate . . . We have received a Letter of Transfer for David G. Sewell. David’s son, John, was baptized here on Pentecost. David, his wife Alexandra, and his daughter, Anna, have been worshipping here for several months now. We welcome David, our newest member, to the parish . . . Father Carl Gerdau is at NYU Hospital for Joint Diseases as he recovers from surgery. Richard Theilmann is at home recovering from surgery. Please keep himFather Gerdau, Michael, and Richard in your prayers . . . Father Mead is on vacation from Tuesday, June 3, until Tuesday, June 10 . . . Father Smith will be on vacation from Monday, June 9, until Sunday, July 6. Father Smith returns to the parish office on Monday, July 7 . . . Sister Laura Katharine will be away from the afternoon of Sunday, June 8, until the afternoon of June 14. Sister Laura Katharine returns on Sunday, June 15. Sister Deborah Francis will be away from the afternoon of Sunday, June 8, until Tuesday, June 24 . . . Attendance: Third Sunday of Pentecost 257Corpus Christi 353.
THIS IS THE GUILD FOR YOU TO JOIN TODAY . . . Members of the Saint Vincent’s Guild serve as acolytes at the high altar for all Masses on Sundays and throughout the week. All are welcome to serve; please speak to Father Mead if you are interested in serving at the altar. The Saint Vincent’s Guild members are very friendly, and they currently hold the record for most Guild parties each year. If you are interested in meeting some great people and playing an integral part in Saint Mary’s beautiful liturgies, this is the Guild for you! Matthew Mead
NOTES ON MUSIC . . . At the Solemn Mass on most Sundays of the summer months, a cantor from the professional choir chants the Gregorian propers (in our practice, the Introit, Alleluia, and Offertory and Communion antiphons) and sings a piece during Communion. The congregation sings the “ordinary” (Gloria, the Nicene Creed or Credo, Sanctus, Benedictus and Agnus Dei) . . . This Sunday at the Solemn Mass, the prelude is an improvisation on Kingsfold. The postlude is Carillon (sur la sonnerie du Carillon de la chapelle du Château de Longport) from Vingt-quatre pièces en style libre, Opus 31/21, by Louis Vierne (1870-1937).Andante tranquillo from Sonata, Opus 65/3, by Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847). The postlude is Nun danket alle Gott, Opus 65/69 (Marche triomphale), by Sigfrid Karg-Elert (1877-1933). The cantor at today’s Mass is Ms. Ruth Cunningham, sopranoElizabeth Baber, soprano, and the music at during Communion is O virtus sapientiae by the great medieval mystic Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179) . . . The final hymn at the Solemn Mass, When Jesus left his Father’s throne, is sung to a fine English folk tune, Kingsfold. This tune in England is most closely identified with the text I heard the voice of Jesus say, which is found in our hymnal to a tune by Thomas Tallis.Sit nomen Domini benedictum from Laudate pueri, HWV 237, by George Frideric Handel (1685-1759) . . . The hymn selection at the Solemn Mass hints at the diverse array of hymnody now widespread in the Episcopal Church. Two of Sunday’s hymns, How firm a foundation (tune: Foundation) and Come, thou fount of every blessing (tune: Nettleton) are American folk hymns, and the third, Now thank we all our God (tune: Nun danket alle Gott), is a well-known German chorale. Robert McCormick
RECEIVE THE ANGELUS BY E-MAIL . . . The Angelus is a vital communication tool, keeping us in contact with our local and international members. We don’t want to lose this opportunity to keep in touch, but postal rates continue to rise. As of this reading it costs us $82.74 a week to mail the Angelus and approximately $4202.96 for the year. In 2007 ten people contributed $378.32, and in 2008 two people contributed $71.32. We understand belts are tightening and we ask this not to increase your burden but to reduce ours. Please consider receiving the Angelus by e-mail at a cost of just pennies per e-mail. Contact Sandra at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit our website to join online.
THE GIFT SHOP . . . There are brand-new copies of the pew edition of the Book of Common Prayer on sale in the Gift Shop. A member of the Board of Trustees recently suggested the following idea: “adopt a Prayer Book” – remove one of the Prayer Books in the pews that is beyond repair and replace it with a copy you’ve purchased in the Gift Shop . . . Copies of Kyle Babin’s doctoral dissertation, Music at the Church of Saint Mary the Virgin, New York City (1868–Present), and Its Importance in the History of Sacred and Secular Music, are also on sale in the Gift Shop.
The Calendar of the Week
Sunday The FourthThird Sunday after Pentecost
Monday Columba, Abbot of Iona, 597
Tuesday Ephrem of Edessa, Syria, Deacon, 373
Eve of Saint Barnabas the Apostle
Monday The Martyrs of Lyons, 177
Tuesday The Martyrs of Uganda, 1886
Wednesday Saint Barnabas the ApostleWeekday
Thursday WeekdayBoniface, Archbishop of Mainz, Missionary to Germany & Martyr, 754
Friday Weekday Friday abstinence
Saturday Basil the Great, Bishop of Caesarea, 379Of Our Lady
Eve of the FifthFourth Sunday after Pentecost
Sunday: 8:30 AM Morning Prayer, 9:00 AM Sung Mass, 10:00 AM Said Mass, 11:00 AM Solemn Mass,
5:00 PM Evening Prayer, 5:20 PM Said Mass.
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 PM 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.