Thursday, October 25, 2007

Meanwhile the world goes on

I was sorry not to have gone to St James, Fordham, with the other bloggers this past Sunday, but it was important for Liz and me to be at St Mary’s and not just for the 8 AM service. The real locus of church is in the local congregation, and St Mary’s is my local congregation. St Mary’s is like home to me – the people are family and the buildings are truly homelike. Also, we are a small congregation – so our presence makes a difference. So, much as part of me would like to visit other churches on a Sunday morning, I go to St. Mary’s.

On Monday, the OCICBINY crew went to Solemn Evensong in the chapel at General Theological Seminary. Mimi and Liz and I were among the last of our group to be seated, because Liz had waited while Mimi changed a shoelace, and had waited for both of them. When we got inside, Liz and I sat with, I think, Shel, who had already scoped out the books we needed to go through the service. There was the GTS looseleaf binder, the GTS psalter, The Hymnal 1980 and the LEVAS hymnal. All of the Prayer Book stuff was in the GTS looseleaf or the printed service sheet we got on the way in. Others have commented about the service. I myslef enjoyed the service – part of the enjoyment I must confess was being able to keep up. But I do have to admit that in some ways it is simply good theater. In another way, it was the ritual of an in group, the GTS community (or part of it,) at which we were outsiders. The officiant was Bob Wright – Liz knows him moderately well and spoke to him after the service. The propers observed the Eve of St. James of Jerusalem.

Perhaps I should interject here that shortly after I first met Rex on election night in 1958, he took me to Evensong at the Cathedral of St John the Divine. It was my first experience of the Episcopal Church and it was very strange, for grafted on to the straight 1928 Evening Prayer was the annual service of the Knights of something or other, complete with a bagpipe procession in the enormous nave of the cathedral. Ever since, I have had an affection for the silly side of Anglican worship, and have even at times taken the silliness seriously. Anyway, before the month was out, I attending St Mary’s on Sunday mornings. We were fairly low church then – Morning Prayer first, third and fifth Sundays, Holy Communion second and fourth – sung canticles but spoken psalms, preces, etc, never incense (we still don’t own a censer,) cassock, surplice and stole, not eucharistic vestments, and so on. But I digress.

There has been a flurry of activity in the Anglican world in the past several days. On our side, a few dioceses in North America have adopted resolutions favoring same-sex blessings. On the other side, a few dioceses are preparing to declare their independence of The Episcopal Church and affiliate with another province. It remains to be seen how all this will play out.

It’s been obvious for months that will be more moves towards schism – the only thing being, no one knows exactly what they will be and exactly what the response will be. Meanwhile a lot of silly things are being said. If I ever get time, I’ll write about some of them.

Gotta go now – it’s a bright, sunny, Thursday morning at Heart Lake and we have some outdoor work to do to prepare the cottage for winter. More later.

1 comment:

PseudoPiskie said...

Silly side of Anglican worship? Isn't that why most of us go? Men (and hopefully women) in dresses. Strange perfume filling the church. Parades. Candles. Mysterious chanting. Har.

It was good to sit with the two of you and help with the book juggling. Tobias on my other side was a tremendous help. He is obviously used to all the book and page business. And he knew the chants and has a lovely voice.

Looking forward to our next gathering!