Lots of people just walk by the open doors of Saint Mary’s this time of year. It’s New York. Most people are going someplace, usually in a hurry. But lots of folks stop too. Some stop because the organ is being played. Some climb the steps to look in. Some actually come in. It is unusual though for someone to come in and walk up the aisle. Something keeps most folks in the back or on the sides.
To me, especially in the summer, our open doors and the way in which we light the sanctuary of the church are an invitation to enter, to rest and to pray. Our open doors are an invitation at many, many levels to approach the fellowship of the table of the Lord. I think even many practicing Christians are very circumspect about entering Saint Mary’s for the first time. The building is powerful. It is unashamedly Christian and catholic. The building doesn’t invite debate; it invites worship. It is a place where joy starts to light up the hearts of those who know Jesus. It is a church. It is where the family of the Lord gathers. It is in some real sense our true earthly home and an icon of our true heavenly home.
Most of us who are committed to Saint Mary’s are related closely to people who are not committed, practicing Christians. We grew up in the same homes with them, we may work or play with them. Sometimes our immediate family members do not understand the way in which we feel claimed and called by God. Some of us have always found the Gospel compelling, some of us have not. Most of us have some close friends who have no community of faith. Long ago I realized that when it comes to these other people—I simply have to trust that God is working with them in his own way and that they, like me, are on their own journey in God. But I can and do worry about is how I am towards those who may be searching. I want to be helpful for those who, as I once did, enter a church building as a young adult with a heavy heart and come to know that this is where he or she belongs. When that person was me, there was someone there to welcome me and to help. It was just a door that was open, it was the heart of a priest and the heart of a community of faith.
It is hard to be a human being. In the midst of all the simple joys of the gift of life there is sin and hardship. Not everyone will need to be a member of this parish community. But I hope that over the years I have grown and will continue to grow to be a person who trusts deeply that the future, like the past, like me, is in God’s loving and open hands. I invite you to join me in this kind of openness.
PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked for Marisol, Beatrice, Jack, Harold, Olga, Carl, Eleanor, John, Peter, Joseph, Elwyn, Shirlah, Michael, Kenneth, Ursula, Jessica, Russell, Susan, Esme, Tessie, Richard, Jennifer, John, Barbara, priest, Charles, priest, and Arthur, priest . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . August 12: 1987 Toyoko Anne Tsutsumi Morton; August 15: 1963 Rose Macchia.
LITURGICAL NOTES . . . The Sunday Proper: Genesis 15:1-6, Psalm 33:12-15, 18-22, Hebrews 11:1-16, Luke 12:32-40 . . . Confessions will be heard on Saturday, August 11 by Father Shin and on Saturday, August 18 by Father Gerth.
NOTES ON MUSIC . . . The prelude before the Solemn Mass on Sunday will be Andante cantabile from Symphonie IV by Charles-Marie Widor (1844-1937). The postlude will be Fugue, also from Widor’s fourth organ symphony. Mr. Bill Burges, bass-baritone, a regular member of our choir, will be our soloist. The solo at communion will be Quia fecit mihi magnam from Magnificat, by J. S. Bach (1685-1750) . . . The music for Assumption includes an organ recital by Robert McCormick at 5:30 PM, including works of Buxtehude, Near, Widor, and Bach. The setting of the ordinary of the mass, sung by the full choir, is Missa ‘Dixit Maria’ by Hans Leo Hassler (1564-1612). The motet at communion is Ave Virgo gloriosa by Richard Dering (c. 1580-1630).
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Thanks to overtime work by Robert McCormick a music schedule including ordinary of the Mass and motets will be available on Assumption. Copies will be on the table in the back of the church and the schedule will be posted on the church website . . . The parish office is gathering a list of contacts to be used when we send out press releases. If you have a neighborhood newspaper that publishes musical events, etc., and you would like us to know about it, please send the information (address and contact person/editor) to the Parish Office or email firstname.lastname@example.org . . . The Rector will be out of town Saturday, August 11, and Sunday morning, August 12. He returns in time to celebrate and preach the 5:00 PM Sunday evening Mass . . . Attendance last Sunday: 152, Transfiguration 97.
A NOTE ABOUT THE ASSUMPTION . . . We are honored that the Right Reverend C. Christopher Epting, ecumenical officer of the Episcopal Church, is presider and preacher for the Solemn Mass on Assumption. Father Shin will be celebrant for the Liturgy of the Eucharist. Father Weiler will be deacon of the Mass. Because of Sibelius, a software music program, we will be able to sing all the verses of some of our favorite hymns – and to sing the refrain of Immaculate Mary the way most of us know it best! Mr. McCormick will be playing his inaugural recital. I will be in my stall trying not to be too prideful about how blessed we are by our new church staff members. You may well see a familiar face in choir, as Father William Parker, former curate, interim rector of the parish and colleague of Father Shin, will be joining us this evening. Following the liturgy there will be a splendid reception to celebrate the reopening of the hall and to welcome Robert McCormick and Matthew and Janna Weiler. S.G.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK . . . From a paper recently recovered, published some years ago by the Church of the Advent, Boston entitled “Miserable Offenders: An Interpretation of Prayer Book Language” by C. S. Lewis . . . “One of the advantages of having a written and printed service, is that it enables you to see when people’s feelings and thoughts have changed. When people begin to find the words of our service difficult to join in, that is of course a sign that we do not feel about those things exactly as our ancestors. Many people have, as their immediate reaction to that situation the simple remedy – ‘Well, change the words’ – which would be very sensible if you knew that we are right and our ancestors were wrong. It is always at least worth while to find out who it is that is wrong.”
O Glorious Lady throned in rest
amidst the starry host above,
who gavest nurture from thy breast
to God, with pure maternal love
All honor, laud and glory be,
O Jesus, Virgin –born to thee;
all glory, as is ever meet,
to Father and to Paraclete.
The Calendar of the Week
Sunday The Tenth Sunday after Pentecost
Monday Jeremy Taylor, bishop
Tuesday Jonathan Myrick Daniels, seminarian
Assumption Eve 6:00 PM
Wednesday The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Procession & Solemn Mass 6:00 PM
Friday Weekday Abstinence
Saturday William Porcher DuBose, priest
The Parish Clergy
The Reverend Stephen Gerth, rector,
The Reverend Allen Shin, The Reverend Matthew Weiler, curates, The Reverend Thomas Breidenthal, assistant,
The Reverend Arthur Wolsoncroft, The Reverend Canon Maurice Garrison, The Reverend Amilcar Figueroa,
The Reverend Rosemari Sullivan, The Reverend James Ross Smith, assisting priests,
The Reverend Canon Edgar F. Wells, rector emeritus.