Our parish will always be, I hope and pray, an explicitly Christian, and that means, explicitly Trinitarian community. God has revealed himself to us in the Three Persons of the Holy Trinity: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. I respect other faiths; but I am a convinced Christian. This means that I believe and confess to others that Jesus Christ is the incarnate Son of God who died and rose from the dead, and it means that I believe and confess that God is one in Three Persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
The mystery of God’s revelation was made known to humankind by the person of Jesus Christ and by the work of the Holy Spirit in the Church. It wasn’t easy. It took centuries, in fact, for those who believed in the risen Lord to come to understand God’s revelation of himself as one God in Three Persons. Different Christian communities may argue among themselves and each other about many, many things, but belief in Jesus as the Son of God and Son of Mary, belief in his death and resurrection and the confession of God as the Trinity define the Christian religion.
Some may be surprised to learn that the Standing Committee on Liturgy and Music of the Episcopal Church at the direction of our General Convention has produced Eucharistic rites that are in use in many places that avoid Trinitarian language. In these rites, produced with the name “Enriching Our Worship,” some Trinitarian language is retained but there is a deliberate effort to avoid referring to any persons of the Trinity using words that carry a masculine gender. One example: “The Lord is risen indeed” becomes “Christ is risen indeed.”
Christian common prayer, that is the corporate prayer of the Christian assembly, is normatively addressed to God the Father, through the Son, in the power of the Holy Spirit. Can or should the two great Sacraments of the Gospel, Baptism and the Holy Eucharist, to say nothing of other Sacramental Rites, be celebrated without naming the Trinity in the central prayers of the services? Can it be a Christian Baptism without naming the persons of the Trinity in the ministration of the water? Can it be a Christian Eucharist without naming the persons of the Trinity in the central prayer of the rite? Are there ecumenical implications that we need to consider? Would other Christians be comfortable with this enterprise?
I long for the day when every member of every Christian congregation experiences his or her presence as essential to the Body of Christ. I long for the day when clergy and musicians are experienced by the assembly as servants not surrogates. I long for the day when the assembly will want to see Jesus die and rise again in the adults and children coming to faith in baptism. I long for the day when the Episcopal Church will reclaim its missionary inheritance to convert and bring to faith the unbaptized. With all respect, do churches doing evangelism spend their energy on taking the Names of the Holy Trinity out of their prayers?
On Trinity Sunday we will hear the Great Commission from Matthew’s Gospel, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always to the close of the age.” This is indeed the Gospel of the Lord. Stephen Gerth
PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked for Bettyann, Eileen, Fred, Jerri, Myra, Mary, Sarah, Doreen, Mabel, Gloria, Marion, Olga, Peter, Betty, Kenneth, Maureen, Marie, Rick, Edgar, John, Joanne, Barbara, Amy and Charles, priest. Pray also for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Patrick, Edward, Christopher, Andrew, Robert, Joseph, Mark, Ned, David and John.
NOTES ON MUSIC . . . On Sunday, May 26, at the Solemn Mass, the prelude will be Präludium in Es-dur, BWV 552, by J. S. Bach (1685-1750), played by assistant organist Robert McDermitt. Bach, a deeply Christian man, used number symbolism in many of his works and this piece is often associated with the Holy Trinity due to occurrences of the number three. Just a couple of examples: the key signature, E-flat major, consists of three flats, and the pieces employs three fugue subjects. This is a complex subject and instances such as this in Bach’s music are truly amazing. The postlude will be Alleluyas by Simon Preston (b. 1938), and is based on a text from the Orthodox Liturgy of Saint James, which is also the final verse of our hymn Let all mortal flesh keep silence. The setting of the Mass ordinary is Mass in the Dorian mode by Herbert Howells (1892-1983) and the anthem at Communion is Duo seraphim by Richard Dering (c. 1580-1630). It is a lovely piece for two sopranos, and will be sung by Amanda Silverman and Karen Coker.
GRANT THEM PEACE . . . May 29: 1992 Robert William Anderson; May 31: 1995 Louis Stephen Stancill; June 1: 1993 Kenneth William Cloughley, Jr.
LITURGICAL NOTES . . . The Sunday Proper: Genesis 1:1-2:3, Psalm 150, 2 Corinthians 13:5-14, Matthew 28:16-20 . . . Confessions will be heard on Saturday, May 25 by Father Gerth and on Saturday, June 1 by Father Smith . . . The final Sunday Evensong of the season will be on Trinity Sunday at 5:00 PM. Beginning Sunday, June 2, Evening Prayer will be said at 5:00 PM on Sundays followed by a Said Mass at 5:20 PM. Solemn Evensong & Benediction will resume on Michaelmas, Sunday, September 29 . . . Friday, May 31, is the Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The evening Mass will be sung at 6:00 PM . . . The last Sunday of the choir season is Corpus Christi, June 2. The Solemn Mass on this day includes a Eucharistic Procession through Times Square. Benediction is given when the assembly returns to the church. It is a wonderful public witness, unique to an urban liturgical parish such as ours.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Dr. Ryan Lesh has successfully completed this stage of the Diocesan discernment process and is being made a Postulant for Holy Orders. He plans to begin seminary at the Church Divinity School of the Pacific, in Berkeley, California, this fall . . . Many, many thanks to all who have helped with Evensong this winter and spring. It’s been wonderful! . . . Attendance last Sunday 239.
NEW CHRISTIAN FORMATION CLASS . . .The Bible is replete with prayers in many different genres and forms. Some are familiar and beloved, others are unfamiliar and often overlooked. In a new class entitled “Prayers of the Bible”, Father Weiler will lead a group exploration through a significant number of prayers from the Bible with and eye toward deepening and widening our individual and corporate prayer life. Please join us in Saint Benedict’s Study from 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM on Wednesday May 29, June 5 and June 12 for what is sure to be a spiritually enriching time for all.
ALTAR FLOWERS NEEDED . . . Flowers are needed for June 16 and most of the Sundays in July and August. The minimum contribution for flowers is $100.00. We are able to keep the cost of altar flowers low because our volunteers hunt for bargains in the flower district early Saturday morning and then work their wonders for the glory of God and our enjoyment. To reserve an occasion please call Barbara Klett at 869-5830, extension 13, or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Calendar of the Week
Sunday Trinity Sunday
Monday Memorial Day
Federal holiday; one Mass only, at 12:15 PM
Eve of The Visitation 6:00 PM
Friday The Visitation No Abstinence
Sung Mass 6:00 PM
Saturday Justin, martyr
The Parish Clergy
The Reverend Stephen Gerth, rector,
The Reverend Matthew Weiler, curate, The Reverend James Ross Smith, assistant,
The Reverend Amilcar Figueroa, The Reverend Rosemari Sullivan, assisting priests,
The Reverend Canon Edgar F. Wells, rector emeritus.