From the Rector: 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.
Most of the time when I pray or stop to think about the Stations of the Cross, I think about Jesus’ suffering. But it really did hit me hard the other day that suffering is not the whole story of the way of the cross, even in the usual artistic depictions found in most churches. How we look matters. What I saw the other day was a shot of spiritual adrenaline, as it were, that I did not expect. Jesus could get up for us. It made me wonder what I could do for others.
The Catechism in the Prayer Book has many good questions and answers (question and answer being the traditional form for a catechism). One of my favorites is “What is the duty of all Christians? The duty of all Christians is to follow Christ; to come together week by week for corporate worship; and to work, pray, and give for the spread of the kingdom of God” (page 856). That’s pretty good. And when you and I try to do that, I think not only are there many graces for us along the way, but some really good things get done. It’s a way you and I stand up for Jesus. It’s a description of how you and I let Jesus help us stand for others.
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.”
Despite the obstacles tradition and the ordinary foibles of our human condition place in front of people, I remain inspired by the devotion I observe daily in our church. I often wish I knew how to help people bridge the gap that exists between individual and common prayer, individual and corporate Christianity. It’s an old breach for Western Christians and one that will not be healed in our generation. It’s not something that you and I can fix. But I do think that you and I can be purposeful about our parish being a place of common prayer, common commitment and standing up with Jesus in ways that others may see and know Good News. We are not invited to “work, give, and pray” for ourselves but for the kingdom of God. In our own way, when we do this, we are standing up with God’s help. Stephen Gerth
PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked for Richard and Carl, PRIEST, who are hospitalized, for Michael, Rosemary, 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 . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . June 1: 1993 Kenneth William Cloughley; June 6: 1959 Grace Frisby Conklin, 1966 Dudley Harrison Briggs.
THE 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 . . . 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. Father Smith will hear confessions on Saturday, June 7.
COMING EVENTS . . . 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 . . . Tuesday, June 24: The Feast of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist, Sung Mass at 6:00 PM . . . 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 . . . Father Carl Gerdau is at NYU Hospital for Joint Diseases as he recovers from surgery. Michael Innis-Jiménez is home from Saint Vincent’s Medical Center. Richard Theilmann is at Long Island Jewish Medical Center, New Hyde Park, New York, recovering from surgery. Please keep Father Gerdau, Michael, and Richard in your prayers . . . Thanks to all who did so much to make Corpus Christi such a spectacular day – those who arranged the flowers, our musicians, our acolytes, our ushers, those who carried the canopy, stage managed the procession, and dealt with the street traffic. Thanks also to our guest preacher Father Alan Moses, vicar, All Saints, Margaret Street, London. It was a beautiful day and a wonderful witness to our neighborhood . . . George Handy, parishioner and head of the Saint Raphael’s Guild, will celebrate his 90th birthday on Thursday, June 5. Mr. Handy was confirmed here at Saint Mary’s on May 5, 1927 . . . Parish administrative assistant Sandra Schubert returns to the office on Monday, June 2 . . . Father Mead will be on vacation from Tuesday, June 3, until Tuesday, June 10 . . . Father Smith will be on vacation from Monday, June 9, until Sunday, July 6. . . Attendance: Corpus Christi 353.
AMERICAN FRIENDS TO THE EPISCOPAL DIOCESE OF JERUSALEM . . . Among the many, many great surprises and blessings of my visit to Jerusalem in 2006 was to visit Saint George’s Cathedral and to meet an American priest who was then serving there as curate. The Episcopal Church has strong and important ties to the Christian community that still perseveres in the Holy Land. Its ministries of education and medicine in particular are of special note. If you are not involved in Saint Mary’s mission to the Episcopal Church in Honduras, I wonder if the Lord may be putting something in your heart to help with the work of the Anglican Church in Jerusalem. Yes, we are there and we make a difference. If so, please speak to me. I would like to gather a group of us to see what we can do. S.G.
THE GIFT SHOP . . . There are two copies of Master Carver: Johannes Kirchmayer, 1860-1930, by F. Shirley Prouty (2007) now on sale. Kirchmayer carved a number of pieces at Saint Mary’s, including the pulpit, the rood, the cover to the baptismal font, and the statues of Christ the King and the Blessed Virgin at the crossing. Also in the Gift Shop: brand-new copies of the pew edition of the Book of Common Prayer. 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.
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 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 Elizabeth Baber, soprano, and the music during Communion is 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
NOTES FROM THE ARCHIVES . . . Parish historiographer Dick Leitsch continues his research on the history of the parish. This week he realized that four of Saint Mary’s original eight trustees were related. William Scott, the first president, and his son, William H. Scott, were trustees. The Reverend Thomas McKee Brown, first rector, was married to William Scott’s daughter, Mary Elizabeth. Bowie Dash was married to William Scott’s daughter, Louisa. Then, at the first board meeting after incorporation, the Reverend Flavel Scott Mines resigned to be replaced by Willett Bronson, the husband of Father Brown’s sister. We don’t know yet whether Father Mines was related to Mr. Scott. It would be very interesting to know more about the Scott family and the Brown family. I suspect we might learn more about Saint Mary’s by studying the Scotts more than the Browns. S.G.
The Calendar of the Week
Sunday The Third Sunday after Pentecost
Monday The Martyrs of Lyons, 177
Tuesday The Martyrs of Uganda, 1886
Thursday Boniface, Archbishop of Mainz, Missionary to Germany & Martyr, 754
Friday Weekday Friday abstinence
Saturday Of Our Lady
Eve of the Fourth 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.
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.