FROM THE RECTOR: OMISSIONS
We are still in Year B of the three-year Eucharistic lectionary during which the gospel text appointed for Mass on Sundays is mostly taken from the Gospel of Mark. It must be said that Mark gets shortchanged a fair amount during Year B, but it could be worse. Here at Saint Mary's, we still use the lectionary found in editions of the Book of Common Prayer 1979 until sometime after 2006, when General Convention approved the Revised Common Lectionary (RCL) for use in our church. In the BCP lectionary, on four Sundays in August, we stop reading Mark so that we can hear passages from the sixth chapter of the Gospel of John. However, those parishes that use the RCL hear John 6 on five Sundays. And, on the Sunday before the John 6 series begins, the RCL appoints a version of a passage from Mark that has been edited in a way that I find to be intellectually dishonest.
Two Sundays before the John 6 series began, the appointed gospel was Mark 6:30-44, Mark's account of the feeding of the five thousand. The next Sunday was Mark's next story, Jesus sending his disciples across the sea by boat and him walking on the sea to join them (Mark 45-52). If your parish is using the RCL, this is what you heard that day, Mark 6:30-34,53-56:
The apostles gathered around Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught. He said to them, "Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while." For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. And they went away in the boat to a deserted place by themselves. Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they hurried there on foot from all the towns and arrived ahead of them. As he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.
When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret and moored the boat. When they got out of the boat, people at once recognized him, and rushed about that whole region and began to bring the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was. And wherever he went, into villages or cities or farms, they laid the sick in the marketplaces, and begged him that they might touch even the fringe of his cloak; and all who touched it were healed.
The passage as edited makes it seem that the people were looking to Jesus for teaching and healing. But that's not how Mark tells the story. Because his apostles have been teaching and healing, Jesus puts them in a boat to take them to "a lonely place by themselves" (Mark 6:32). But the crowd wanted more. Jesus' teaching in Mark leads to Jesus feeding those who have hungered for his words. When the people had been fed, Jesus sent his apostles by boat to Bethsaida (Mark 6:33). The wind made it difficult for them to sail. And they become terrified when Jesus walks by on the sea. After all they have done and seen, they can't recognize Jesus. Mark writes, "And [the apostles] were utterly astounded, for they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened (Mark 6:51b-52). They land. They are recognized by the crowds. Jesus begins healing. In Exodus, the sea obeys God, the teaching comes from God, manna comes from God, and healing comes from God. In Mark, it comes from the Son of God. And this leads to the next story in Mark in which has new teaching about Moses (Mark 7:1-23).
The new lectionary uses John's feeding of the five thousand and walking on the sea on the first of the five Sundays now given to John 6. With respect, I think one better solution might have been to give an Eastertide Sunday in one of the years to John 6:1-21 and to take two Sundays in August to hear the rest of John 6.
Let me acknowledge that the 1979 Lectionary omits five challenging verses from these four Sundays. The new lectionary omits nine. We hear them all at Saint Mary's. Full Gospel. The Prayer Book permits us to lengthen lessons, and, where possible, we include as much of Mark as we can during Year B so that we can hear more of this evangelist's understanding of the Good News that the dominion of God has come. —Stephen Gerth
YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR James, Joseph, Karen, Timothy, Ilona, Sheila, Eloise, Angie, Maxine, Carlos, Susan, David, Marilouise, Ridhima, Dennis, Robert, Abraham, Randy, Burton, Michael, Kyle, Greta, May, Heidi, Takeem, and Sandy; for Horace, Gaylord, Louis, and Edgar, priests; for Michael, bishop; for all the benefactors and friends of this parish; and for the repose of the souls of Melissa Dorssom and Eugenia Kemble . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . August 19: 1887 Edward Joseph Meehan; 1896 Mary Moore; 1927 Frances Elizabeth Barker.
IN THIS TRANSITORY LIFE . . . Melissa Lynne Dorssom, the sister of parishioner John Conner, died at home in Lincoln, Nebraska, on July 25, 2018, after a long battle with cancer. Her obituary may be read online . . . Eugenia Kemble, first cousin of parishioner Dr. Leroy Sharer, died on August 14, 2018, after a long battle with fallopian tube cancer. She was the founding executive director of the Albert Shanker Institute. Her obituary may be read online. Please keep Melissa, John, Eugenia, Leroy, their family and friends, and all who mourn in your prayers.
MITTIES McDONALD DeCHAMPLAIN, priest . . . Mother Mitties' funeral took place here at Saint Mary's on Saturday, June 2. A video of the funeral is now available for viewing on the parish's YouTube channel and on the Saint Mary's website. We are very grateful to parishioner Ricardo Gomez, who was our videographer at the funeral and to those whose gifts helped make this possible.
THE ORDINARY FRIDAYS OF THE YEAR are observed by special acts of discipline and self-denial in commemoration of the Lord's crucifixion.
THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY'S . . . Wednesday, August 22, Sung Mass 12:10 PM . . . Thursday, August 23, Mass and Healing Service 12:10 PM . . . Friday, August 24, Saint Bartholomew the Apostle, Mass 12:10 PM and 6:20 PM . . . Friday, August 24, 7:00 PM, Centering Prayer Group, Atrium, Parish Hall, Second Floor.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . We are very grateful to all those who worked so hard to make the Feast of the Assumption a success here at Saint Mary's: our faithful acolytes, altar-guild members, ushers, musicians, sextons, office staff, assisting clergy, and all those who provided hospitality at the reception after Mass. We couldn't do what we do without you. We had good-sized congregations at both the 12:10 and 6:00 PM Masses, and it was good to be able to welcome so many friends and visitors to the parish . . . Recent sermons by the parish clergy have been posted on the parish webpage . . . The Right Reverend R. William Franklin is the bishop of Western New York. He is a former member of this parish and of the parish's board of trustees. He remains a good friend of Saint Mary's. The Episcopal News Service published an interesting article this week about the collaboration between the diocese of Western New York and the diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania, as well as between those dioceses' two bishops. The article has something to say about the challenges we Episcopalians face at this moment in our history and about the possibility for creative leadership during this time of change . . . Pledge to keep up with your pledge! During the summer months we sometimes experience cash-flow problems as many friends and members of the parish are away, taking much-needed vacations. We are grateful to all those who continue to support the mission and witness of this parish . . . Attendance: Last Sunday 145; Assumption 246.
THE WIDER PARISH COMMUNITY . . . Many will recall that this year Bishop Allen Shin was celebrant and preacher for the principal liturgies on Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Eve. And many may recall that the Right Reverend Moses Yoo, bishop of the diocese of Daejeon in the Anglican Church of Korea and his wife, Dr. Songwoo Hur, were guests of Bishop Shin and his wife Clara Mun for these holy days. They were extremely appreciative this tradition of Anglican worship. So, I was really delighted to read that Bishop Yoo has been elected primate of the Anglican Church of Korea. I hope we may have an opportunity to welcome him again to Saint Mary's. -S.G.
FROM THE MUSIC DIRECTOR . . . The cantor at the Solemn Mass on Sunday morning is soprano Elaine Lachica, a member of the Choir of Saint Mary's. During the ministration of Communion, she will sing In deine Hände from Cantata 106 by J. S. Bach (1685-1750). Unlike many cantatas of Bach which consist of several clearly defined movements, Cantata 106 is better described as a through-composed work in several sections. This cantata-scored modestly for four voices, two recorders, two violas da gamba and basso continuo-is thought to have been one of Bach's earliest cantatas, composed when he was in his early twenties, and was probably performed at one or more funerals in Mühlhausen around that time. The earliest surviving manuscript, however, is a copy made eighteen years after Bach's own death. Cantata 106 was included in the first complete edition of Bach's works in 1876. The section sung today derives its text from Psalm 31:5, a psalm verse sung daily in many communities at Compline, and is scored for solo voice and basso continuo.
Sunday's organ voluntaries conclude a series, begun earlier this summer on July 22, of the eight "Little" Preludes and Fugues, traditionally attributed to J. S. Bach. These pieces are now widely believed to have been composed by one of his pupils, possibly Johann Tobias Krebs (1690-1762), or his son Johann Ludwig Krebs (1713-1780). Of these eight preludes and fugues, four are in major keys of C, F, G and B-flat, and the remaining four are in their relative minors of A, D, E, and G. The standard ordering of these eight pieces begins with BWV 553 in C Major and progresses up the scale to BWV 560 in B-flat. This morning's prelude will be BWV 558 in G minor, and the postlude will be BWV 560 in the relative major key of B-flat. BWV 558, for the prelude, begins with a clear harmonic plan, almost suggestive of a chaconne, simply and directly stated. Its accompanying fugue has a charmingly delicate quality. BWV 560, the last of the collection and played for the postlude, is probably the most extraverted of the eight preludes and fugues. Its prelude includes a distinctive pedal solo, and its fugue is angular and emphatic. —David Hurd
ALTAR FLOWER DONATION OPPORTUNITIES. . . The following Sundays have not been covered by donations: September 23, October 14, 21, and 28, November 11, 18, and 25, and Sunday, December 16, Gaudete Sunday. We are also happy to receive donations for Christmas flowers and decorations. If you would like to make a donation, please contact the Parish Office.
OUTREACH AT SAINT MARY'S . . . Donations and volunteers are needed for our next Drop-in Day on Wednesday, September 26, and for the many requests for assistance between Drop-in Days. We are in particular need of basic items such as the following: packs of new underwear in various sizes for both men and women; slacks for both men and women, including jeans, chinos, khakis, etc.; packs of new socks, white and black; rainwear; knapsacks; and toiletry articles. Please contact Sister Monica Clare if you would like to volunteer for this important ministry or if you would like to make a donation . . . We continue to receive nonperishable food items for our outreach partner, Saint Clement's Food Pantry. Please place those items in the basket near the ushers' table at the Forty-sixth Street entrance to the church . . . This week we received five large boxes of clothing from our good friends and very generous neighbors at Forever 21 in Times Square. The donated clothing is first sorted by our volunteers. Then, some goes to our in-house Clothes Closet, and the rest is sent to the Saint Clement's Food Pantry. We are very grateful to all those who continue to support these ministries.
LOOKING AHEAD . . . Monday, September 3, Labor Day . . . Friday, September 7, Eve of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary . . . Friday, September 14, Holy Cross Day . . . Friday, September 21, Saint Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist . . . Friday, September 28, Eve of Saint Michael and All Angels . . . Wednesday, October 3, Eve of the Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi, Transitus Prayer Service led by our resident Franciscan friars in the Lady Chapel 6:30 PM . . . Thursday, October 4, Saint Francis of Assisi, Mass and Healing Service 12:10 PM and Solemn Mass 6:00 PM.
AT THE GALLERIES . . . At the New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West at Seventy-seventh Street, "Rockwell, Roosevelt & the Four Freedoms." From the society's website: "The first internationally touring exhibition devoted to Rockwell's iconic depictions of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's Four Freedoms launched at the New-York Historical Society in May. The traveling exhibition, which was organized by the Norman Rockwell Museum, Stockbridge, Massachusetts, explores how Rockwell's 1943 paintings-Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Worship, Freedom from Fear, and Freedom from Want-gave visual voice to Roosevelt's call to the defense of freedom worldwide and took their place among the most enduring images in the history of American art. In addition to Rockwell's Four Freedoms, the exhibition encompasses numerous other examples of painting, illustration, and more, by both Rockwell and a broad range of his contemporaries, as well as historical documents, photographs, videos, artifacts, and interactive digital displays, all on the theme of the Four Freedoms, from FDR's initial enunciation of them as a reason to enter the War to their powerful post-war legacy."