From Father Mead: Something about the Scriptures
One of the features of daily life at Saint Mary’s is the occasional overlap of lectionaries that are used. For instance, right now the Gospel according to Mark is being read at Sunday Mass, at Evening Prayer, and at daily Mass. Because each of these three services follows a different lectionary the Gospel is being read at differing paces, and we are at three different places in the narrative. This Sunday we continue to read from the first chapter of Mark, and we will crawl through the narrative all year. At Evening Prayer this week we are reading the ninth and tenth chapters of Mark, and we will have read the Gospel (minus the concluding events narrated in chapters 13-16) in six weeks. This week at daily Mass we are reading the seventh chapter of the Gospel, and it will take a total of nine weeks to read at daily Mass what was read in six weeks at Evening Prayer.
When it happens, this overlap can be confusing, and to be honest, somewhat annoying. “Didn’t we just read that?” is a common sentiment of those who attend the daily services. A few weeks ago the same Gospel passage was read at Evening Prayer and then read again at the evening Mass. That said, the benefits far outweigh any negatives. Hearing the same passages read by different people in different contexts has often had the effect of revealing new things to me, things that I hadn’t ever noticed. Until recently, I had never noticed how much healing Jesus does in the Gospel of Mark.. Time and again Jesus is surrounded by those seeking healing: at one point we are told that the market in a local town was completely filled with the sick, at another point we read that the crowds of those who were sick were so thick that it was enough simply to try to touch Jesus’ clothes.
Because we are reading slowly through John’s Gospel at Evensong – yet another lectionary cycle – I have felt a sharper contrast in the way John and Mark tell the story of Jesus than I had ever felt before. John focuses so much on the words of Jesus as a means for interpreting what has just happened, whereas Mark rarely takes a break from narrating events and scenery. The image of Jesus completely surrounded by people desperately seeking healing might appear in John’s Gospel (certainly at Bethesda that is true), but it’s not an image I associate with that Gospel. Likewise I believe Jesus’ extended remarks on the Bread from Heaven at the feeding of the 5000 would feel extremely out of place in Mark’s narrative.
For me, hearing these different texts makes it seem obvious that the different writers spoke about Jesus in very different ways. The lectionary doesn’t provide Gospel passages only, we also read great swaths of the Old and New Testament throughout the year. This week at daily Mass the Biblical account of creation was read. The story of creation is told in the first chapter–we are told that “it was good”. The story of creation is told again in chapters two and following. We are told that early on things took a slightly less “good” turn. I think that the account of creation also illustrates that there are different ways of speaking about the same thing: in this case, the centrality of God in every part of our lives, beginning at creation.
I believe that for the most part Christians accept that the Scriptures speak with many voices from history while still speaking with one voice in the Holy Spirit. Christians deal with that seeming contradiction, sometimes picking favorites and identifying least favorites – Martin Luther famously referred to the letter of James as “an Epistle of straw” – but rarely taking the step of actually trying to remove those texts they have difficulty with from the Scriptures. The Scriptures, to my eyes and ears, look a whole lot like the Church. Like the Bible, the Church contains enormous variety that is not always easy to accept; I wonder if that sometimes-begrudging acceptance of certain difficult texts is more often paralleled with acceptance of certain difficult Christians or not.
Prayerful and academic Bible study has led me to a deeper understanding of the Scriptures, and I appreciate more than I used to that different people express their faith in God in radically different ways. Not every passage of the Bible is my favorite, but I have found that when I let the text speak for itself, rather than assuming I already understand and know what it has to say, something new is often revealed to me, and I gain insight and perspective into someone else’s faith. Honestly, not every denomination, nor even every Episcopal church, is my favorite, but I have found that prayerfully listening with patience to those with whom I have difficulty often allows me to gain equally great insight and perspective into how someone else lives out their faith in Jesus Christ. Matthew Mead
SUNDAY PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked for Charles, priest, who is gravely ill, and for Jack, Ben, Angie, Lawrence, Alice, Harold, Patrick, Sean, Jocelyn, Mimi, Marcia, Richard, Deloris, Mary, Gloria, Stephen, Brooke, Donna, Laura, Margaret, Madeleine, Marc, Janelle, Jennie, William, Gert, Mary, Terry, Daisy, Rozalind, Rick, and Stephen, priest; for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Christopher, Omar, Curtis, Timothy, Benjamin, Marc, Dennis, Terrance, Steven, Patrick, Andrew, and Brendan; and for the repose of the souls of Jere Admire and Larry Rice . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . February 15: 1909 Antoine Recousie; 1938 Elizabeth Nimmo Grossman; 1955 Mary R. Brettman; 1967 Nina Gay Dolan; 1973 Dorothy L. McCormack; 1978 Raymond Carrington; 1994 Florence Crawford.
IN THIS TRANSITORY LIFE . . . Former parishioner Mr. Jere Admire, died on February 2, in Fort Worth, Texas, at the age of 77. Mr. Admire attended The Juilliard School and performed as an actor and dancer on Broadway during the 1960s; he was also a professor of theater arts at Nassau Community College. He retired in 1990 and returned to Fort Worth, where he was an active member of the Episcopal Church of All Saints. Mr. Admire continued to support Saint Mary’s even after his return to Texas. Please pray for Jere, for his family, and for all who mourn.
LENT AT SAINT MARY’S . . . Lent begins on Wednesday, February 25, 2009. The church will open and ashes will be offered from 7:00 AM until 8:00 PM. Said Mass will be offered at 7:00 AM and 8:00 AM, Sung Mass will be offered at 12:10 PM, Solemn Mass with the choir will be offered at 6:00 PM . . . Fridays during Lent are observed with special acts of discipline and self-denial in commemoration of the crucifixion of the Lord. Stations of the Cross are offered on Fridays in Lent at 7:00 PM . . . Sister Laura Katharine will offer a Lenten Meditation Day of Personal Reflection through the use of the Mandala on Saturday, March 14, from 10:00 AM until 4:00 PM . . . The Reverend Peter Powell will offer a Lenten class on the Psalms at 10:00 AM each Sunday in Lent . . . During Lent we are excited to have a number of guest preachers at Sunday Evensong & Benediction, including the Right Reverend Andrew St. John, The Reverend E. Clare Nesmith, the Reverend Dr. Ryan Lesh, and the Reverend Robert Rhodes . . . Lent is a season of simplicity: throughout Lent there are no flowers on the high altar, organ music is used only to accompany singing, and there are no pre-service organ recitals, preludes or postludes.
LEARN ABOUT THE GOSPEL PASSION NARRATIVES THIS LENT . . . In addition to our regular observance of Lent, this year Father Mead and Father Smith will offer a six-part, twenty-minute midday Bible study on the Gospel narratives of the Passion and Resurrection of Jesus. The class will meet in the choir area every Wednesday in Lent (not in Holy Week) immediately following the 12:10 PM Sung Mass, and it will feature a 15-20 minute lecture (the lecture will end at 1:00 PM) followed by a ten-minute question-and-answer period for those who do not have to rush back to work. The first class will be led by Father Mead on Ash Wednesday, February 25.
FROM THE MUSIC DIRECTOR . . . The prelude at Solemn Mass this Sunday is Ground for my Lady Nevell from My Lady Nevell’s Book by William Byrd (c. 1540–1623). The setting of the Mass ordinary is Missa ‘Le bien que j’ay’ by Claude Goudimel (c. 1514-1572). This “parody mass” takes as its model a chanson, a type of French polyphonic secular song, of the same name by Jacques Arcadelt (?1505-1568). Goudimel, a French composer once believed to have been Palestrina’s teacher (now this is known not to be so), may be known best for his metrical (what we know as hymn-like) psalm settings, which found an important place in the worship of the Reformed tradition. He also wrote numerous chansons, motets, and masses. At the ministration of Communion, the choir sings the motet Tu solus qui facis mirabilia (“You alone can do wonders”) by Josquin Desprez (c. 1440-1521). At Solemn Evensong, we welcome the choir of Guildford Cathedral, UK, a traditional cathedral ensemble of men and boys. They are performing some wonderful music by Francis Jackson and Haydn . . . There is no rehearsal for the Saint Mary’s Singers this week. We meet next on February 22 at 3:00 PM to rehearse and to sing at Solemn Evensong. Please note that we have professional singers leading each voice part, so, if you were thinking of joining us, do not be worried that you’d be the only one on your section! James Kennerley
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Special thanks to Father Peter Powell for writing last week’s Angelus article . . . The Rector began his sabbatical on January 1. He returns to New York at the end of March and to the office on April 1, in time for Holy Week . . . Sister Deborah Francis, C.S.J.B., will be accompanying parishioner, Dr. Michael McNett, on a mission trip to South Africa until February 21, 2009 . . . Thank you to parishioner, Carol Pepper, who delivered a large collection of donated toys, worth around $500.00, to the New York Foundling Hospital on Thursday. Thank you to those who donated the toys and to all who support our outreach efforts . . . Father Smith will hear confessions on Saturday, February 14; Father Mead will hear confessions on Saturday, February 21. Confessions are also heard by appointment . . . Saturday, February 14, Concert at Saint Mary’s: The Miller Theatre at Columbia presents “Songs of Love, Lust, and Lamentation”: The Vox Vocal Ensemble, George Steel, conductor. Ticket price: $7-$35. To order tickets by phone, please call 212-854-7799 . . . Sundays, February 15 and 22, at 10:00 AM, on the second floor of the Mission House: Father Smith will conclude the series on the Revelation to John . . . Sunday, February 15, Solemn Evensong & Benediction at 5:00 PM will be sung by choristers from Guildford Cathedral and the cathedral’s dean, the Very Reverend Victor Stock, will preach . . . February 16, Presidents’ Day: Federal Holiday Schedule – the church opens at 10:00 AM and closes at 2:00 PM, only the noon services are offered, and the Parish Offices are closed. . . Father Mead’s class on the Prophets will meet on Wednesday, February 18, at 7:00 PM, after the evening Mass . . . Sunday, February 22, Solemn Mass at 11:00 PM. Bishop C. Franklin Brookhart, Jr., IX Bishop of Montana, will be the celebrant and preacher . . . The Board of Trustees will not meet on Monday, February 23 . . . Attendance: Last Sunday, 5 Epiphany 276.
CHILDREN AT SAINT MARY’S . . . Children are always welcome at Mass at Saint Mary’s. The Rector encourages families with children to sit at the front of the church – so the children can see easily and clearly. Childcare for younger children is available in the Saint Benedict’s Nursery & Playroom which is open and available every Sunday from 8:45 AM until 12:45 PM . . . Sunday School for children meets on Sundays during the academic year at 10:00 AM, in the Morning Room (follow the blue signs in Saint Joseph’s Hall to the Morning Room). Sunday School is led by Deacon Jedediah Fox and Sister Deborah Francis, C.S.J.B.
CHRISTIAN FORMATION & EDUCATION FOR ADULTS . . . All classes meet in the Arch Room on the second floor of the Mission House (133 West 46th Street; access is also possible through the church’s narthex and the sextons’ lodge). Sunday classes meet at 10:00 AM. Coffee and doughnuts are provided. The Wednesday Night Bible Study and other weeknight classes meet at 7:00 PM. Detailed information on upcoming classes is below. All are welcome at every class. One need not have attended earlier sessions in order to drop in on later sessions in the series. Matthew Mead
THE REVELATION ACCORDING TO JOHN . . . On Sundays during Epiphany Season Father Smith and Father Mead are leading a class examining the most famous apocalyptic book of the Bible.
THE PROPHETS . . . The Wednesday Night Bible Study is reading all of the prophetic books.
THE PSALMS . . . The Reverend Peter Powell will lead a class on the Psalms in Lent 2009. Father Powell is the president of the Interfaith Housing Corporation, Westport, Connecticut. He is a graduate of Virginia Theological Seminary and holds advanced degrees from Princeton and the University of the South.
MISSION & OUTREACH . . . Food Pantry at Saint Clement’s Episcopal Church, 46th Street: Saint Marians are invited to bring non-perishable food items on Sundays and place them in the basket at the ushers’ table in the back of the church or in Saint Joseph’s Hall during Coffee Hour. The food is then delivered to the Saint Clement’s Food Pantry on 46th Street, between 9th and 10th Avenues. Cash donations can also be made: please write the check to the Church of Saint Mary the Virgin and put “Fr. Smith’s Discretionary Fund” in the memo line. (Both diocesan and parish guidelines stipulate that such funds are only to be used for outreach and for those who are in need. They are not used for personal reasons. Here at Saint Mary’s the clergy’s discretionary funds are administered by the Finance Office.) Lightly used clothing may also be donated and should be placed on the table near the Kitchen in Saint Joseph’s Hall. During the winter months, coats and sweaters, hats and gloves are particularly welcome. Thank you to all who continue to give so generously to the Food Pantry! . . . Mission Trip: Hope for South Africa/Hope for Richmond. A group of partners in South Africa and the United States, including Saint Matthew’s Anglican Church, Richmond, South Africa, have come together to try and address the many needs in the areas of health, sanitation, education, job training, nutrition, and pastoral care in the town of Richmond, South Africa. Richmond is located in the southernmost tip of South Africa’s Northern Cape, halfway between Johannesburg and Cape Town. Unemployment there is in excess of 70% and the current rate of HIV/AIDS infection is estimated to be in excess of 35% of the town’s population. Saint Mary’s parishioner, Dr. Michael McNett, has traveled to Richmond on three mission trips and is there now, along with Sister Deborah Francis, C.S.J.B. They return on February 21 and will be discussing their work at the next meeting of the Mission and Outreach Committee in March (the date of the meeting will be announced shortly). Jay Smith
HOSPITALITY AT SAINT MARY’S . . . During this time of belt-tightening and budget cuts, we would like to invite those members and friends of Saint Mary’s, who are able to, to consider making a donation to support the parish’s hospitality efforts. There are several ways that one can do that. First, you can sponsor a feast-day reception. (We try, when possible, to pay for such receptions through the generous gifts of friends and parishioners.) The next planned reception will be on the Feast of the Annunciation on March 25. We now have a donor for that reception and are looking for donors for the reception at the Easter Vigil. If you would like to sponsor (or co-sponsor) that reception, or some other upcoming reception, such as the reception on Ascension Day, please let me know, or, if you would like to plan and host a reception, please contact me. Second, you can donate unopened boxes of cookies or other sweets or pastries for use at our receptions on Sunday evenings after Evensong & Benediction. (One friend of the parish is providing a sheet cake for the reception this coming Sunday, February 15, when we have a large group of visitors from Guildford Cathedral in the United Kingdom.) Third, you can make a cash donation. Checks should be written to the Church of Saint Mary the Virgin and “Hospitality Fund” should be written in the memo line. Finally, if you feel called to be a server and host at a reception, please let me know. The only job requirements are a calm and welcoming disposition, a friendly smile, the ability to engage newcomers in conversation, and a willingness to be helpful and to work with others to organize, prepare, and host receptions and other events. Since Saint Mary’s welcomes so many visitors, our hospitality efforts are an essential means of evangelism and church growth. If you are interested, please speak to me; and thank you very much to all those who have been helping out so energetically and so creatively with our hospitality efforts. Jay Smith
COME AND SING WITH US! . . . Saint Mary’s Singers is looking for members. We are a group of parishioners and non-parishioners who now sing twice a month at the Church of Saint Mary the Virgin, Times Square. The church has one of the finest acoustics in the city, as well as one of the city’s greatest organs. Why don’t YOU consider taking a break from work on Sunday afternoons to come sing and socialize with a group of Saint Mary’s neighbors, friends, and parishioners? (Trips to the local pubs and restaurants of Hell’s Kitchen immediately follow the rehearsals and performances!) If you are able to match pitch and have a desire to sing, especially some of the great Anglican choral repertoire, why not consider being part of our new choir? We promise that you will have fun! If you would like to join, or just come along for a rehearsal, please email me at email@example.com. James Kennerley
CONCERTS AT SAINT MARY’S . . . Saint Mary’s offers a wide variety of concerts each year. In addition to concerts offered by our music department, we also host a number of outside groups who offer concerts in the church. See below for upcoming concerts at Saint Mary’s . . . Every Sunday, 4:40 PM (October to June, except during Lent): Before Sunday Evensong & Benediction Saint Mary’s offers a weekly organ recital by a visiting musician. For more details, please see the current music schedule HERE . . . Saturday, February 14, 8:00 PM: “Songs of Love, Lust, and Lamentation”: The Vox Vocal Ensemble, George Steel, conductor. Music of Palestrina, Forest, Clemens non Papa, Gibbons, Crequillon, Cornelius, Certon, Payen, Lassus, Howells, Sermisy, and Daniel-Lesur. (From the Miller Theatre website, “This Valentine’s Day, Vox Vocal Ensemble performs sacred and secular music in which the spiritual and erotic find common expression, as well as works of heartbreaking lament. This alternatingly moving and racy program spans five centuries of composition, including a rare performance of Crequillon’s Lamentations of Jeremiah.”) Ticket price: $7-$35. To order tickets by phone: 212-854-7799 . . . Saturday, March 21, 1:00 PM: Lenten Recital by the Choir of Saint Mary ’s School, Calne (near Salisbury), England.. Admission is free . . . Thursday, April 2, 2009, 8:00 PM: Music for Double Choir, The Tallis Scholars, Peter Phillips, director.
The Calendar of the Week
Sunday The Sixth Sunday after Epiphany
Friday Weekday Abstinence
Saturday Of our Lady
Eve of the Last Sunday after Epiphany
Sunday: 8:30 AM Sung Matins, 9:00 AM Said Mass, 10:00 AM Said Mass, 10:00 AM Sunday School & Adult Christian Education, 11:00 AM Solemn Mass, 4:40 PM Organ Recital, 5:00 PM Solemn Evensong & Benediction. Childcare is available from 8:45 AM until 12:45 PM every Sunday.
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 Wednesday 12:10 PM Mass is sung. Thursday Masses include anointing of the sick.
Saturday: 12:00 PM Noonday Office, 12:10 PM Mass, 5:00 PM Evening Prayer, 5:20 PM Sunday Vigil Mass. Confessions are heard Saturdays at 11:30 AM and 4:00 PM or by appointment.