I’ve been jogging on the bridle path and around the Central Park reservoir a lot this summer. For the first time since the summer of 1998, my knees and feet seem to be cooperating with my desire to jog. I’m sure the gentle tracks of the bridle path and the reservoir are helping. It takes me about 50 minutes to do a little more than 4 miles outside.
My path is pretty well known to me now. I start where the bridle path begins just north of 59th Street & Seventh Avenue. I go up the west side of the park, once around the reservoir and return. There was a period, after the first few weeks of summer, when I found myself confused on the return runs. I found myself asking each day, and more than once, “Did I come this way?” I found the short-term memory loss pretty disturbing.
As time passed, I realized that what I was forgetting on the return trips were the parts of the trail which were the easy parts going up to the reservoir. In other words, I could remember the harder parts of the trail – going up hills. What was easy to forget were all the flat parts and descending bits. The parts that were easy. And most of the trail, like most of life, is easy.
There was a good while after I recovered from a brain abscess in 1995 when small physical complaints did not bother me at all. What’s a week with a cold compared to two months on a penicillin drip? Nada. The more time that has passed since a really serious illness, however, the more opportunity for small things to worry me.
Perspective is a gift of inheritance and of time. Yes, I think it is inherited in this sense: Many who are surrounded in their early childhood by personally mature people seem to have perspective, or maturity, about many things from a very early age. Perspective can also be a gift we learn to accept as we live out our lives, usually with the assistance of mentors and friends and the application of our own individual energies. Many are familiar with the “Serenity Prayer” written by Reinhold Niebuhr.” I think one way to read it is as an intercession for courage to grow: God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference. Amen.
There is never enough time, and except for a very few human beings, never enough money to do all the good things we might like to do. But every day there are opportunities to live as children of God and to pursue the work of God’s kingdom in our lives and in our world. It is always too easy to forget the blessings of life. Stephen Gerth
PRAYER LIST . . . Your prayers are asked for Eileen, Gloria, Robert, Jerri, Myra, Tessie, Marion, Olga, Rick 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 . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . July 30: 1986 Edith Collins; August 1: 1969 Mabel Upson.
LITURGICAL NOTES . . . The Sunday Proper: 1 Kings 3:5-12, Psalm 119:129-136, Romans 8:26-34, Matthew 13:31-33, 44-49a . . . Confessions will be heard on Saturday, July 27, by Father Smith and on Saturday, August 3 by Father Gerth.
NOTES ON MUSIC . . . On Sunday at the Solemn Mass, the prelude will be Vater unser im Himmelreich, BWV 737 by J. S. Bach (1685-1750), and the postlude will be Präludium und Fuge in e-moll by Nicolaus Bruhns (1665-1697). The soloist is Steven Ziegler, tenor, and the anthem at Communion is Benedictus from Messe in h-moll, BWV 232, also by Bach. It is good to hear such wonderful vocal music by Bach this summer!
AROUND THE PARISH . . . We thank the three young men who have completed the Lilly internship at Saint Mary’s this summer: Charles Jenkins, Jon Owens, and Ben Skeen. Their questions, their energy, and their faith have contributed much to our parish. May God bless them as they return to college. We look forward to seeing them when they visit New York City in the future . . . News from Britain: Father Allen Shin and Clara Mun have moved to an apartment at All Saints’, Margaret Street, London, where Father is assisting while he continues his principal work in patristics at Oxford . . . Many, many thanks to Father Smith for taking a few extra Masses while Father Weiler is on vacation . . . Mark your calendars: Saint Vincent’s Guild: Brass polishing is scheduled for Saturday, August 10, at 10:30 AM . . . Many thanks for the generous donations for flowers for August. Flowers are still needed for August 18, for Solemn Mass for the Eve of Holy Cross Day which will be celebrated on Friday, September 13, at 6:00 PM, and for the last two Sundays in September . . . Attendance last Sunday 221.
ABOUT THE HYMNS . . . One of the hymns to be sung this Sunday is 488: Be thou, my vision, O Lord of my heart. Of Irish folk origin, the hymn tune Slane is said to have been named for a particular hill in County Meath. It is on Slane Hill, according to an account in the Confessions of Saint Patrick, that Patrick defied the command of the pagan King Loigaire by lighting the Paschal Fire on Easter eve. Saint Patrick’s act was done in defiance of the king’s edict that no fire could be ignited before the royal fire was lit by the king’s hand on a nearby hill. The royal fire was kindled to celebrate the pagan Spring festival and symbolized the return of light and the change of season following winter. The tune sung to Be thou, my vision, is a slightly adapted version of the Irish folk tune. The words to the hymn are probably from the 8th century Irish monastic tradition, and exemplify the lorica or “breastplate” tradition. In this tradition, a prayer is recited for protection to arm oneself for a spiritual or physical battle. (Saint Patrick’s Breastplate, Hymn 370, is the other example in our hymnal.)
ECUMENICAL . . . I’ve just looked at the new edition of a lesson calendar published by Morehouse Publishing. The Daily Mass lectionary is finally in. This is good. But there is one thing I do not like very much at all. Again this year this lesson calendar includes something called the “Revised Common Lectionary.” Introductory notes include the following reason as the first advantage for using this lectionary: “Worship will be guided by an ecumenical lectionary shared by most Protestant denominations and widely used throughout the Anglican Communion.” This neglects to say at least two important things. First, most Christians belong to the Roman Catholic Church. Our present lectionary is already ecumenical in that we share most of it with the largest group of Christians. Second, most non-Anglican Protestant denominations do not begin to make full use of the lectionary. Except for liturgical congregations in the Lutheran Church and a very few others, there might be a short reading from one of the appointed Scriptures but that’s all. The new proposed lectionary can be significantly different from the Roman Catholic Lectionary and our own present Lectionary in some of its variations. These differences betray a stepping back from the experience of the Church with the new Prayer Book that every celebration of the Eucharist is shaped by the Gospel Word and the Gospel Sacrament. That’s something which is profoundly “ecumenical” and one which I would not want to loose because some people want to be able to preach on the life of David. I grant that one of the advantages of the Revised Common Lectionary is that one could hear the story of David read as the Old Testament lesson. As much as I love this story, I prefer to preach on the life of a Son of David. S.G.
The Calendar of the Week
Sunday The Tenth Sunday after Pentecost
Monday Mary and Martha of Bethany
Tuesday William Wilberforce, Abolitionist
Wednesday Ignatius of Loyola, Priest
Thursday Joseph of Arimathaea
Friday Weekday Abstinence
Saturday Of Our Lady
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.