FROM THE RECTOR: SAINT MICHAEL & ALL ANGELS
This Sunday is the Feast of Saint Michael and All Angels. Our guest preacher will be the Reverend Dr. David Graeme Wood, parish priest, Grace Church, Joondalup, Perth, Australia. Father Wood has been staying in the rectory this month and has been helping with weekday Masses—all of which I am very thankful for, especially as I have been away so much. David was last with us in 2010 as preacher for Father Wells’s fiftieth anniversary of ordination to the priesthood. He has just led his congregation through the construction of an already acclaimed new church home. He leaves us on Sunday afternoon to begin his journey home—and I hope very much in God’s providence he will have an easy journey and be with us again in New York, sooner than later.
Angels have been hard for modern man, but they weren’t hard at all for people in the time and place in which Jesus was born. Peter Brown in his book The Cult of the Saints (1981) makes clear they were also very much a part of the world in which Christianity developed—though there is continuing research and discussion about how they were part of that world.
Angels, of course, appear across the New Testament—far more often than in the much longer Old Testament. I’m sure those who first heard these Scriptures heard them very differently than most of us do. They weren’t ideas or metaphors but were experienced very much as a part of reality. Saint Paul warned the Colossians against worshiping angels (Colossians 2:18). In the Revelation to John, John falls down to worship an angel who stops him with the words, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brethren who hold the testimony of Jesus. Worship God” (Revelation 19:10).
Generally speaking, the word “angel” means “messenger”—though sometimes in the text of the Old Testament the angel turns out to be the Lord himself, as for example in one of Jacob’s dreams (Genesis 31:1-16). The most famous angels are Gabriel (in the books of Daniel and Luke) and Michael (in the books of Daniel, Jude and Revelation).
At the Reformation the Church of England kept one feast about the holy angels—Saint Michael and All Angels, September 29, commonly called “Michaelmas.” In the Prayer Book tradition, Saint Michael and All Angels has been observed on a Sunday when it falls on a Sunday. Since the adoption of the 1979 Prayer Book it is now permitted to do this, but not required.
I fell in love with the feast while in seminary at Nashotah House—the lessons and the hymns spoke to me. The texts speak to God’s care for us and about God’s plan for good to triumph over evil. One example: the New Testament lesson is from the Revelation to John. It begins, “Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they were defeated and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him” (Revelation 12:7-9).
Evil still needs throwing down. I want evil thrown down. I think I recall correctly that Father William, O.S.B., Saint Gregory’s Abbey, Three Rivers, Michigan, once wrote of the light and incense rising at the Easter Vigil as the sight and smell of Satan’s kingdom falling and God’s kingdom rising. I hope you may be able to join us for this very special Sunday.
YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR Dick, James, Takeem, Charles, Christian, Barbara, Linda, Albert, Babak, Tyler, Mary, Casey, Eloise, Sharon, Arpene, and Paulette, priest; and for the members of our Armed Forces on active duty, especially Alex, Elizabeth, Ben, and Daniel . . . GRANT THEM PEACE . . . September 29: 1920 Helen Wade Stetson.
FRIDAY ABSTINENCE . . . The ordinary Fridays of the year are observed by special acts of discipline and self-denial in commemoration of the crucifixion of the Lord.
I PUBLISH THE BANNS OF MARRIAGE between S. Clark Mitchell of New York, New York, and David Lapham, of New York, New York. If any of you know just cause why they may not be joined together in Holy Matrimony, you are bidden to declare it. This is the third time of asking. S.G.
THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY’S . . . Sunday, September 29, Saint Michael & All Angels, Morning Prayer 8:30 AM, Mass 9:00 AM & 10:00 AM, Solemn Mass 11:00 AM, the Reverend Dr. David Graeme Wood, preacher . . . October 2, 6:30 PM, Wednesday Night Bible Study Class, Saint Joseph’s Hall . . . Confessions will be heard on Saturday, September 28, and on Saturday, October 5, by Mother Mary Julia Jett.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . Parishioner Dick Leitsch had surgery at Saint Luke’s Hospital on Wednesday, September 25. We expect that he will be at Saint Luke’s through the weekend and then will continue his recuperation at home. We look forward to his return to Saint Mary’s very soon. Please keep him in your prayers . . . Altar flowers are needed for Sunday, October 20, and Sunday, October 27. If you would like to make a donation, please contact the parish office . . . We welcomed a number of visitors from the Episcopal Church Center to the exhibition of Toussaint Auguste’s paintings in the gallery in Saint Joseph’s Hall this week . . . The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, Christian education for young children, begins its 2013-2014 season on Sunday, October 6, at 9:45 AM, in the Atrium on the second floor of the Parish House. For more information, please speak to Deacon Rebecca Weiner Tompkins. If you know families with children that might be interested in a vibrant and effective church-school curriculum, please tell them about the Catechesis and invite them to Saint Mary’s! . . . Attendance: Last Sunday 179.
MUSIC THIS WEEK . . . Johann Baptist Joseph Maximilian Reger (1873–1916) was born in Bavaria, and grew up in the town of Weiden, receiving musical instruction from an early age. As a boy, Max helped his father rebuild an organ that was going to be thrown away. This was the instrument on which he learned to play, largely self-taught. It was some time before he started proper lessons, but by the time he was a teenager he was playing the organ for church services. Reger studied music in Munich and Wiesbaden with a famous teacher, Hugo Riemann. He composed a great deal of music, especially for the organ. His musical style was similar to that of Brahms, but he also learned a lot from the music of Bach, Mendelssohn, and Schumann. He liked the symphonic poems of Liszt and these inspired his chorale fantasies for the organ. Reger, himself a Roman Catholic, was married in 1902 to a divorced Protestant, which caused his excommunication. During a concert stay in Karlsruhe in 1907, Reger received his appointment as university musical director and professor Leipzig’s Königliches Konservatorium der Musik (“Royal Conservatory of Music”); he retained his concert and composition activities but resigned his university post in 1908. He accepted the position of court conductor at Meiningen in 1911 and held that position until the beginning of 1914. A great lover of food and drink, Reger suffered from ill health and succumbed to heart failure in May 1916. Reger attained continuous fame largely through his organ works, although he also achieved significance in chamber music, Lieder, choral and orchestral composition. Like so many German composers of his time, he has been largely forgotten except by organists. At the ministration of Holy Communion this Sunday, we will hear baritone Joe Chappel sing “Ich sehe dich in tausend Bildern,” from Reger’s set of Sacred Songs, Opus 105. Mark Peterson
AN INVITATION . . . On Saturday, October 5, at 2:30 PM, parishioners Clark Mitchell and David Lapham are to be married in the church. They would like to extend an invitation to all the members of the parish to join in the celebration that day. A reception in Saint Joseph’s Hall follows the liturgy and all are welcome.
ADULT EDUCATION . . . The Wednesday Night Bible Study Class continues on October 2, at 6:30 PM, in Saint Joseph’s Hall. The class, which is led by Father Jay Smith, is reading the Acts of the Apostles this year. All are welcome. During the next two weeks we will be reading Acts 2-3. The class will not meet on October 16 or November 6 . . . Sunday, October 6, 1:00 PM, Adult Forum (note later time), The Art and Architecture of Saint Mary’s, Lecture-Tour led by Dr. Dennis Raverty. The class begins with a short lecture in Saint Joseph’s Hall and a tour of the church and chapels will follow . . . Sunday, October 13, 20, & 27, The Poetry and Hymnody of Syriac Christianity, led by Mother Mary Julia Jett.
MARK YOUR CALENDAR . . . Sunday, October 6, Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost, Sung Matins 8:30 AM, Mass 9:00 AM & 10:00 AM, Solemn Mass 11:00 AM, with full choir, Solemn Evensong & Benediction 5:00 PM. Church School for young children resumes at 9:45 AM. The Adult Forum resumes at 1:00 PM (note later time on this day) . . . Friday, October 18, Saint Luke the Evangelist, Mass 12:10 PM and 6:20 PM . . . Wednesday, October 23, Saint James of Jerusalem, Mass 12:10 PM and 6:20 PM . . . Monday, October 28, Saint Simon & Saint Jude, Mass 12:10 PM & 6:20 PM . . . Thursday, October 31, Eve of All Saints’ Day, Evensong 6:00 PM . . . Friday, November 1, All Saints’ Day, Sung Mass 12:10 PM & Solemn Mass 6:00 PM . . . Saturday, November 2, All Souls’ Day, Sung Mass & Blessing of the Vault 11:00 AM . . . Sunday, November 3, 2:00 AM Daylight Saving Time ends.
CONCERTS AT SAINT MARY’S . . . Friday, October 18, 8:30 PM, Organ Recital, Graham Blyth, recitalist, in a program of César Franck . . . Saturday, October 19, 8:00 PM, New York Repertory Orchestra, David Leibowitz, conductor & music director. Program: Bohuslav Martinů, Memorial to Lidice; Franz Joseph Haydn, Cello Concerto in D Major; Vincent d’Indy, Symphony No. 2. Admission is free. A $10.00 donation at the door is suggested and welcomed. For more information, please visit the NYRO website.
OUTREACH AT SAINT MARY’S . . . We are already gratefully accepting donations of warm clothing, as well as new, unopened packets of underwear and socks, especially white cotton socks. We send some items of clothing to the Saint Clement’s Food Pantry. Other items are kept here for distribution to those in need . . . The Book Sale continues this week. All donations are used to help those in need.
AWAY FROM THE PARISH . . . The Congregation of Saint Saviour at the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, 112th Street and Amsterdam Avenue, is pleased to announce that Dr. Robert Bruce Mullin, Society for the Promotion of Religion and Learning Professor of History and World Mission and Professor of Modern Anglican Studies at General Theological Seminary, will be teaching a three-session course on "The History of the Anglican and the Episcopal Church" on Wednesday evenings, October 23, 30 and November 6, from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. in the second floor Conference Room of Cathedral House. Registration for the course is $35; scholarships are available. To enroll, please contact Christian DeRuiter. Prof. Mullin will also be here at Saint Mary’s in February and March 2014, speaking about the early history of the Episcopal Church in our Sunday-morning Adult Forum . . . At the Rubin Museum of Art, 150 W. 17th Street, between Sixth and Seventh Avenues: “The Art of Prayer Beads in Asia,” August 2, 2013 –March 24, 2014. “This exhibition focuses on aesthetic and ritual aspects of the prayers beads used in Buddhist traditions of Tibet, Bhutan, Mongolia, China, Korea, Japan, Thailand and Burma. It addresses the origins of prayer beads 108 beads in a set, the structure of prayer beads, their materials and symbolism, and status versus practice aspects of their use.”