FROM THE RECTOR: LENT WITH LUKE
In the Christian West, the First Sunday in Lent, by long tradition, belonged to the story of Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness in Matthew. That changed, of course, when the three-year lectionary, originated by the Roman Catholic Church, was published in 1969. We now hear all three gospel accounts of the temptation, a different one each year. We are currently in the third year of the cycle—Year C—and last Sunday we heard Luke’s version of the temptation (4:1–13). I prefer Mark’s account: Jesus was driven into the wilderness by the Spirit, tempted by Satan, with the wild beasts, angels taking care of him, no dialogue (Mark 1:12–13).
It’s worth noting that in Year A, Matthew shares the Sundays in Lent with four passages taken from the Gospel of John: Jesus and Nicodemus (3:1–17); The Woman of Samaria (4:1–42); The Man Born Blind (9:1–38); and The Raising of Lazarus (11:1–44). Mark also shares Lent of Year B with John. Mark gets the first two Sundays: the first of Jesus’ three predictions of his passion, along with Peter’s objection and Jesus’ rebuke thereof (8:31–38)—but missing the context of Peter’s recognition of Jesus as the Messiah (8:27–30) and Jesus’ teaching on the discipleship of the cross, saving one’s life by losing it (8:34–38), and his promise that some hearing him will not die before they see that “the kingdom of God has come with power” (9:1). Luke, however, is heard on all five Sundays during Lent in Year C. Curiously, the passages from Luke are not heard in the order in which they fall in his gospel—and I’m not sure why that’s the case.
This Sunday we hear Jesus’ teaching on the end of the age (Luke 13:22–30). On the following Sunday the lectionary takes us back to the beginning of chapter 13, Jesus’ teaching on repentance (13:1–9). Again, I’m not sure why the appointed lessons come in this order, but they do. On the Fourth Sunday in Lent, we hear the Parable of the Prodigal Son (15:11–32). On the Fifth Sunday we hear Luke’s version of the Parable of the Vineyard (Luke 20:9–19). I don’t know Luke well enough to know what I’m going to find this year when I begin working on all of these gospel lessons in this order for this season, but I’m looking forward to it.
Five years ago, Father Pete Powell put me on to a very helpful book by Adele Reinhartz, Befriending the Beloved Disciple: A Jewish Reading of the Gospel of John (2001). She’s Jewish, and she’s a specialist in New Testament and Second Temple studies. Since 2005 she has been a professor in the Department of Classics and Religious Studies at the University of Ottawa. Her work has made clear to me that we really should pay attention to the parts of the New Testament that we don’t like. The strong anti-Jewish language in the gospels of John and Matthew cry out for us to be clear that we know that this language is there and we reject it, especially with the rise of anti-Semitism “within living memory of the holocaust,” to use a phrase by Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks.
It will soon be Easter Day. I hope our fellowship and our prayer will surprise our spirits with new love for God and for others. —Stephen Gerth
YOUR PRAYERS ARE ASKED FOR Carmen, Patrick, Daniel, Michelle, Michael, Robert, Julia, Selwyn, Cynthia, Brian, May, John, Alexandra, Kyle, Eloise, Karen, Susan, Marilouise, Takeem, and William; and for Horace, Buddy, Gaylord, Louis, and Edgar, priests; for all the benefactors and friends of this parish; and for the repose of the souls of Roy Molitor Ford, Sr., and Robina Winbush, pastor.
IN THIS TRANSITORY LIFE . . . Roy Molitor Ford, Sr., the husband of the Reverend Buddy Stallings, former rector of the Church of Saint Bartholomew, Park Avenue, died on February 25, 2019, in Memphis, Tennessee, after a long illness. He is survived by Father Stallings, his two sons, his five grandchildren, and Father Stallings’ son. Please keep Molitor, Buddy, their family and friends, and all who mourn in your prayers.
GRANT THEM PEACE . . . March 17: 1880 Francis P. Gessner; 1911 Mary Egan; 1932 Elizabeth Oget; 1949 Karen Marie Tyler.
THE WEEKDAYS OF LENT and the ordinary Fridays of the year are observed by special acts of discipline and self-denial in commemoration of the crucifixion of the Lord.
AROUND THE PARISH . . . The conveners of the Saint Mary’s Centering Prayer Group are considering the possibility of holding a second session, in additional to their Friday meeting at 6:30 PM, on Sunday afternoons. If you are interested, or if you would like to know more about Centering Prayer, contact Blair Burroughs, Renée Pecquex, or Ingrid Sletten . . . We are looking for donations for altar flowers on March 31, The Fourth Sunday of Lent and the Sundays of Eastertide . . . Mass Attendance: Last Sunday 160.
THIS WEEK AT SAINT MARY’S . . . Sunday, March 17, The Second Sunday in Lent, Sung Matins 8:30 AM, Mass 9:00 & 10:00 AM, Adult Education 10:00 AM, Solemn Mass 11:00 AM, Solemn Evensong and Benediction 5:00 PM . . . Tuesday, March 19, Saint Joseph, Mass 12:10 PM and 6:20 PM . . . March 20, Sung Mass 12:10 PM; The Wednesday Night Bible Study Class will meet on Wednesday, March 20, at 6:30 PM . . . Thursday, March 21, Mass with Healing Service 12:10 PM . . . Friday, March 22, Evening Prayer 6:00 PM, Stations of the Cross 6:30 PM; Centering Prayer Group, 6:30 PM in the Atrium in the Parish House, Second Floor.
STEWARDSHIP CAMPAIGN 2018–2019 . . . Our campaign and pledge drive continue. Some statistics may be helpful. We mailed packets to 124 households that pledged last year and to 673 households that have expressed an interest in supporting the parish. We also, for the first time, sent a separate appeal to 157 households that have made donations in the past, but have not made a pledge. We have asked those donors to consider making a regular, periodic sustaining donation to Saint Mary’s. Once again this year, our goal for the campaign is $425,000. As of February 27, we have received $371,147 in pledges from 116 households, 87.3% of our goal. We still have a ways to go, but our goal is in sight. Our needs are urgent. Our mission is clear. We welcome your support. We are very grateful to all those who have made a pledge for 2019 and to all those who continue faithfully to make regular payments on their pledge.
FROM THE MUSIC DIRECTOR . . . The setting of the Mass on Sunday morning is Missa Cuiusvis Toni (“Mass in Any Mode”) by Johannes Ockeghem (c. 1420–1497). Ockeghem is regarded as the most notable composer of the Franco-Flemish School in the later fifteenth century. Although many of his compositions have been lost, his surviving authenticated works include fourteen Masses, one of which is the earliest surviving polyphonic Requiem. Two other Masses of his are based upon chansons that he had previously composed. Thus, he is credited with foreshadowing the parody Mass techniques of the sixteenth century in which composers based Mass settings on themes of pre-existing compositions. On the other hand, of the Masses of Ockeghem which appear to be freely composed, Missa Cuiusvis Toni stands out as a technical tour de force. This setting for four voices is so ingeniously crafted that, by assigning clefs to the vocal staves as directed by certain modal reference indicators, the same voice parts can be rendered in several different modes. On Sunday, the rendering of this music will be in the Phrygian Mode, which some scholars suspect may have been Ockeghem’s point of departure in composing this Mass. For the sake of brevity today, an eleventh-century plainsong setting will be substituted for Ockeghem’s Benedictus qui venit following his Sanctus.
The earliest record of the English composer Richard Farrant (c. 1525–1580) is in a 1552 list of the Gentlemen of the Chapel Royal. He became Master of the Chapel Royal choristers in 1569. He also served as organist at Saint George’s Chapel, Windsor. Farrant’s most distinctive contribution may have been his writing of plays, in the creation of the first Blackfriars Theater, and in his pioneering work in combining music and drama. The church remembers Farrant for his anthems and canticle settings. His anthems Call to remembrance, Hide not thou thy face and Lord for thy tender mercy’s sake have become staples of the Anglican Lenten choral repertoire. These three anthems are both primarily chordal in construction with clear alignment of words for heightened intelligibility. Today’s Communion motet is Farrant’s Hide not thou thy face which takes its inspiration from several psalm texts, 27:12, 32:5, and 79:9 — David Hurd
NEWS OF THE MIDTOWN CLERICUS . . . The Midtown Clericus consists of the active, and sometimes the retired, Episcopal priests who have served or who are now serving in parishes in Midtown Manhattan. The clericus meets four or five times each year at one of the Midtown parishes. Father Gerth was recently chosen to be dean of the clericus. Last Tuesday, he hosted the members of the clericus for lunch and conversation in the rectory. Some announcements were made. Mother Adrian Dannhauser, associate at the Church of the Incarnation, who is spearheading efforts in the diocese to combat sex trafficking in New York City and New York State, told the gathering that legislation is now being drafted in Albany to decriminalize the sex trade in New York State, which, she said, would lead to an increase in sex trafficking. She urges Episcopalians to write to a sponsor of the legislation, Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, to register their opposition to this legislation and to encourage him and his colleagues to look for ways “to offer comprehensive services to those who are exploited and exit strategies for those who wish to leave the sex trade” . . . Mother Anna Pearson, rector of the Church of the Holy Apostles, told the gathering that her parish would, once again, be hosting the annual fundraiser for their Soup Kitchen, Farm to Tray, on Thursday, May 16, beginning at 6:00 PM. The event is a popular one, and it is worthy of support. The Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen does remarkable work and has been an important resource for those whom we serve in our own ministry to the unsheltered. Visit the event website for more information.
CHRISTIAN EDUCATION . . . Father Peter Powell continues his series, begun in November 2018, on the Elijah/Elisha cycle in 1 Kings 16:23–2 Kings 13:25 in the Sunday Adult Forum at 10:00 AM through Palm Sunday. You are welcome to join us . . . The Wednesday Night Bible Study Class, led by Father Jay Smith, will not meet on March 13. The class resumes on March 20, when the class will start reading the Passion Narrative in the Gospel of Luke, which is heard at Mass this year on Palm Sunday.
HOSPITALITY MINISTRY AT SAINT MARY’S . . . We hope to receive donations to help pay for the holy-day receptions on March 25 (Annunciation), April 20 (Easter Eve), and Thursday, May 30 (Ascension Day). If you would like to make a donation, please contact the parish office. The total cost of each reception is around $500.00. We appreciate all donations in support of this important ministry. Any and all donations are always used to make up the deficit each year we normally experience in the hospitality budget. When making a donation, please make a note that it is for the Hospitality Ministry, and we thank you.
OUTREACH AT SAINT MARY’S . . . Through the generosity of our members and friends around the country, Saint Mary’s continues to offer free clothing and related items to any in need. We’ve recently expanded this ministry to provide assistance every week: DROP-IN AND CHAT: One Wednesday each month from 2-4 PM, our full clothing room (in the basement of the Mission House) is open to all with a wide variety of clothing, linens, hygiene items, and time to chat and visit over coffee with new friends and old. Free legal aid and connection to social services is also available. Our guests at this event include individuals without shelter, people experiencing homelessness, low income seniors, and others . . . GRAB-AND-GO: On other Wednesdays from 2-4 PM, our former gift shop space is open to provide basic items like socks, underwear, blankets, and hygiene essentials without the frills and socializing. This opportunity is intended primarily to provide for immediate needs of our neighbors living part or all of their day without shelter . . . DID YOU KNOW?: Our clothing program, like many others, has the highest demand for men’s clothing of larger sizes, while we receive the most donations of women’s clothing. This is one reason why your financial gifts to this work are so important: they allow us to buy items that are in highest demand and lowest supply. As always, clothing donations can be dropped off at the church any time the building is open. Financial contributions can be made any time by mail, in person, or on-line. For more information or volunteer opportunities, contact me. —Damien Joseph SSF
AROUND THE CITY . . . Wednesday, March 27, 3:00–5:00 PM, 241 West 72nd Street, New York, NY, National Council of Jewish Women New York presents “Ten Women of Valor.” The NCJW NY Eleanor Leff Jewish Women’s Resource Center Steering Committee is pleased to welcome author Anne Hosansky and invites you to become reacquainted with ten biblical heroines through her book, Ten Women of Valor. In dramatic monologues, the women reveal how they managed to triumph in a male-dominated world. Ranging from indomitable Sarah to legendary Esther, they confide frank feelings of faith, ambition, passion, and sibling rivalry. They emerge as women coping with many of the same issues women face today. This program is free, but RSVPs are recommended. Light refreshments will be served. RSVP here. Anne Hosansky is the author of Widow’s Walk and Turning Toward Tomorrow. Her articles and short stories have been published in the United States, Canada, England, and Australia. A former actress, she currently leads workshops in memoir writing.