TRINITY QUARTERLY Spring 2019
The WORD: In Word, Art and Music Anglican worship is very ‘word’ based. We listen to Scripture every time we attend a service and portions of it are included or alluded to in the liturgy. We also listen to sermons explaining Scripture, but this isn’t our whole experience. We sing and listen to music and the liturgy involves expressive, stylised, actions. We have images to capture our attention. At Holy Trinity, we have a dramatic triptych of windows depicting the Agony of Christ and his arrest, the Crucifixion, and the Deposition. Two recent experiences, a week’s holiday in Florence and attending the consecration of the new Episcopal bishop at the American Cathedral in Paris, made me reflect on the importance of the nonverbal, painting and music, to our religious life and insight. However, it’s not as though painting excludes words: if an artist depicts a scene from the bible, we remember the words used to tell the story. Similarly, choral music involves setting words to music, but this enriches the words, making them subordinate. Visiting Florence, what most impressed me, being used to English churches whose principal visual feature apart from their architecture is stained glass, was the wealth of paintings and frescoes in churches. I immediately realised that these were far from being merely decorative. The finest revealed and
communicated profound theological insight. In the Brancacci Chapel, you see Masaccio’s Expulsion from the Garden of Eden. Adam strides forward, covering his eyes, while Eve, innocence lost, is shamed by her body and covers her breasts and genitals, howling in despair. An angel hovers above uniting them in their self-revulsion. This so eloquently and succinctly expresses what we mean by The Fall, and humankind’s alienation from God. Explaining exactly how Christ’s death on the Cross undoes the consequences of The Fall and brings about salvation and the reconciliation of God and humankind has occupied and vexed theologians for most of Christian history. Masaccio in his Trinity in Santa Maria Novella manages to convey the sense that God the Father was there at the Crucifixion and at the same time expresses how the Persons of the Trinity are related to one another, three Persons but a Unity. Christ’s sacrificial death involves the totality of God, all three Persons. God the Father has not forsaken the Son – or humankind. The representation of the Trinity has God the Father
standing behind and supporting the Son. The Holy Spirit, depicted as a dove, appears as a white scarf tied around Godâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s neck. John the Apostle (usually depicted in paintings of the Last Supper as the Beloved Disciple closest to Jesus) and Mary, the Mother of God, contemplate the Trinity (as do, at a lower level, the patrons who commissioned the painting). Mary, notably, is depicted as a woman whose face has been worn by years of sorrow. It is hard not to be drawn into their contemplation of the two mysteries, the Cross and the Trinity. The Deposition, Christ being taken down from the Cross after his death, is a traditional subject but Pontormo breaks new ground is this great painting. In the traditional depiction of this scene there would have been a cross, a ladder and a sense of solid ground. Instead, we gaze at piled up tortured bodies which seem ultimately to rest on the big toe of the figure supporting Christ. There is a sense of everything being awry. Pontormo uses unconventional colours and forms to convey the grief of the mother and those around her. He conveys a sense of human suffering at its limit, that is so painfully beautiful that it strains to find visual expression.
Almost as soon as we returned from the artistic riches of Florence, we were off again, this time to Paris for the ordination of Mark Edington at the American Cathedral. He was consecrated bishop by the Presiding Bishop, Michael Curry, and installed as the twenty-sixth bishop of the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe. This was the first time that there had been an episcopal ordination at the cathedral. An enormous amount of thought and preparation had gone to the ordering of a remarkable and memorable service, in which music played a vital part. Before the service, the choir sang pieces by Duruflé, Victoria, Mendelssohn and Dvořák; many were known to us from our parish choir’s repertoire in London. They set the tone for the service that followed. During the Offertory, the choir sang ‘The Spirit of the Lord’ from Elgar’s Apostles, which was also familiar from my London parish. While we were quietly waiting for the Eucharistic Prayer to begin, this evoked a transcendent, almost elegiac, mood. Ultimately, I believe it is artificial to distinguish between words, painting and music. Each is a language and ultimately expressions of the Word which forms and creates all reality. Father Peter Mercy in the Movies Over the decades, many films have explored Biblical themes, from those opulent, Technicolor 1950s epics to more recent productions depicting the life of Christ. The Passion of the Christ is perhaps the most ignoble example, portraying the Passion with an almost sadistic relish, encouraging anti-Semitism and emphasising suffering over the Christian ideals of compassion and love. King of Kings, from 1961, is
perhaps the most endearing cinematic version of Christâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s life, with Jeffrey Hunter as an ethereal, hippie-like Jesus. Of course, trying to illustrate the Gospels in cinema is always a tricky business. While we know that Jesus was at once divine and an embodied man, we have no idea what he actually looked like, and performances by actors can come across as tawdry, false or trivial. Still, some of those films are quite moving. And then there are films which do not portray Biblical characters, or develop explicitly theological themes, but which are deeply Christian even so. In the recent film, Godâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Own Country, a 2017 British drama film written and directed by Francis Lee in his feature directorial debut, we meet a flawed, perhaps even a broken character, who nevertheless finds redemption through love. Johnny, from a Yorkshire farming family, is a pallid, listless young man. He seems defeated by the brutal life of the farm; he drinks too much and is sullen and guarded. In fact, one fears he is the kind of person who may not be able to love, who would regard affection with suspicion or hostility if it were offered. But into his life comes Gheorghe, a curiously gentle migrant worker from Romania. In painstaking detail, we see the two men together in circumstances that are alternately harsh and sweet: the landscape in which they work is wind-scoured, rain-soaked and grey, but Gheorghe is as tender with the animals as if they were his children. At first, the resigned and bitter Johnny resists Gheorghe, but gradually they achieve a true love that shows itself in many small ways: flowers on a table; cheese-making; ordinary kindness. This love even renders the landscape
beautiful. Johnny sees the familiar moors as if for the first time, splendid and shining. The power of love to redeem is a Christian theme that this film explores in an immediate, human way. Johnny, imprisoned in loneliness, does not know that he needs to be rescued, but when rescue arrives unexpectedly, he is transformed from bitterness to hope, and from hatred to love. Elizabeth Wassell Montague Bishop Michael Marshall Sends a Reflection ‘The trouble with this generation,’ Malcolm Muggeridge was reputed to have said,’ is that it’s got sex on the brain and it’s the worst place you can have it!’ Well, mutatis mutandis, we might venture to say something equally incisive though perhaps admittedly somewhat exaggerated, along the lines: ‘The trouble with the Church in this generation, is that it’s got religion and faith on the brain and it’s the worst place you can have it’ – and certainly, if it’s the only place you have it! A similar, though equally arresting generalisation from the pen of that craggy journalist and writer, G. K. Chesterton, asserted, that ‘The madman is not the man who has lost his reason, but rather the man who’s lost everything except his reason.’ For, since the enlightenment and especially in this age of the technological revolution with its accompanying information overload, our prayer, our worship and even what we like to call ‘our faith’ has become primarily located in the mind as an idea, a doctrine or a religious truth, checking the boxes of the various credal statements. Furthermore, the theologian, notably in the West, is regarded primarily as an intellectual, general located in a university, communicating theological truths. But, contrarywise, Christians in the Orthodox Churches of the East, define the theologian simply as the one who prays, often located in a monastery rather than a university; as the one who in prayer experiences the reality of God, not as an idea but as at least personal; the God who is known in relationship (connaitre knowledge)and not simply known about, (savoir knowledge) - what Pascal calls ‘the knowledge of the heart.’
Christianity is not an ideology (either to the right or the left). It is not a philosophy or even a religion in the strict sense of the word. (Indeed, as Tillich reminded us, ‘Jesus came to save us from religion,’ – a statement of particular relevance at the present time). No! Christianity isn’t anything: Christianity is somebody: to use St. Paul’s strap-line: It is ‘Jesus and the resurrection’ – the new life, in the here and now and not simply an insurance policy for some sort of life in the hereafter. It’s only when we begin to see our so-called faith not as something we acquire or lose, but as a relationship of faith and trust in a personal God, who has revealed himself (manifested himself, as in ‘epiphany’) in the person of the Jesus of history, yet known, experienced and worshipped as the Christ of faith through prayer and worship, through word and sacrament corporately as the church and personally through a relationship of discipleship, responding daily to Christ’s call to ‘Follow him.’ Perhaps it was something along these lines that Pope Francis in his New Year message was driving at, when he urged Christians not to speak to God in prayer ‘as if they were a parrot.’ ‘No!’ he claimed: ‘Praying is done from the heart, from within and may prefer to be done in silence.’ As one writer says, ‘God’s first language is silence.’ We must not trap God who is love only in words, for no vocabulary of any language is capable of adequately expressing a deeply loving relationship solely in words. So prayer and corporate worship need to use both words and silence, as expressions of the heart as well as the mind, which together fire the will to actions which speak louder than words, daily nurturing an amazingly intimate relationship with God in Christ. For although all our knowledge of God in this world is necessarily partial, as St. Paul reminds us, seen and perceived ‘through a glass
darkly’ in the dim reflections of the natural created order, nevertheless we press on so that ultimately we will come to know this God face to face, for (and here is the joker in the pack), for then, we shall finally ‘know as we are known’, as promised long ago in the words of the prophet Isaiah, by the God who has ‘called us by name and made us his own.’ So, ‘Why was I created?’ asks the Scottish Catechism. ‘I was created in order to worship God and to enjoy him for ever.’ Or if you prefer the words of the psychiatrist in Peter Schaffer’s play ‘Equus’ – ‘If you don’t worship you’ll shrink, it’s as brutal as that.’ For in true worship which engages both heart and mind, we experience that self-transcendence which draws us out of ourselves and beyond ourselves, in loving service to others and ultimately in the service of God, - finally, ‘lost in wonder, love and praise.’ Bishop Michael Marshall Pilgrimage – Part 1 Camino de Santiago To be a pilgrim means to be on the move, slowly, To notice your luggage becoming lighter, To seek treasures that do not rust To be comfortable with your heart’s questions, To be moving toward the Holy Ground of home with empty hands and bare feet.… M. Wiederkehr People go on pilgrimage for various reasons: to take a retreat from normal life, to focus on spiritual virtues, to honor a certain place, to fulfill a task recommended by their religion, to pray for a miracle, to feel closer to God and his creations. The idea of pilgrimage began to appeal to me after I heard about the Camino de Santiago in 2007. I have been fortunate as a budget traveler who has circled the globe, but I wondered: what is the difference between a tourist and a pilgrim? I discovered that the tourist demands, the pilgrim thanks. I
didn’t have any religious requirement to go on pilgrimage. I did it because I could. My pilgrimage turned into an adventure. I became a traveler on a journey to a holy site, a wanderer in a foreign place whose life opened to new challenges. There were moments of joy and moments of pain, but I would do it all over again. The journey became the destination. I intended to walk 751 kilometers across Spain alone but was grateful for the companionship of Christine, a friend from my college days in California. We made a compatible team: she was the logistics person and I was the cultural guide with rusty high-school Spanish. My lightweight backpack was appropriately filled with a change of clothes, basic first aid, and a water bottle. A scallop shell hung from my pack. We got our “credentiale” at the cathedral in Bayonne which allowed us to stay in the simple hostels intended for pilgrims. By the end, this passport would be filled with colorful stamps, testifying to our journey. On September 5th, 2017, we began the French Way in St Jean-Piedde-Port on the French side of the Pyrenees. Our first day began as the sun rose, and we joined a hoard of “pilgrims” on a 27 km walk over the mountains to Roncevalles. It was the first of 31 days of walking with the sun always at our back, following yellow arrows and learning about ourselves and the international community of fellow pilgrims on the way to Santiago de Compostela where St. James lies. Saint James the Greater was one of Jesus’ disciples. He worked as a fisherman with his brother John and his father Zebedee. John and James were followers of John the Baptist and later, Jesus. Following the crucifixion of Jesus, he made a pilgrimage to the Iberian Peninsula to spread the Word and when he returned to Judea, he was beheaded by King Herod Agrippa I in the year 44AD. The relics of St James were then transported by his followers to what is now known as Galicia in Spain
and are said to be buried in Santiago de Compostela. Pilgrimage to Santiago began after his remains were found there in 812 AD. The Camino is not just a long walk. It is physically challenging, even for the fittest, most prepared walkers. The road is sometimes smooth and easy. At other times it is steep, rocky and the risk of injury is considerable. Like life itself, the Way is full of ups and downs. A typical day on the Camino consisted of waking early after a snore-filled night, stretching, packing, and hitting the road in search of a cafĂŠ con leche. We rarely stopped for more than 20 minutes, then continued. We picnicked for lunch, buying from locals along the way, then walked to find a bed for the night. In the evening we had a simple meal and spent time getting to know our fellow pilgrims. These moments of fellowship were precious. Strangers became dear friends or walked on and were never seen again. The personal stories ranged from tragic to inspiring. Although we fell into a routine, it was never boring as each day was new, each place different and each encounter a gift. The landscape was also mysteriously beautiful, and the good weather was just amazing. Some aspects of our pilgrimage were surprising. There were too many people who raced to find a bed and I felt that there was a lack of spirituality. This changed on day 16, half way through, after speaking with one of the singing nuns at Santa Maria hostel in Carrion de los Condes. They wanted to be remembered as yellow
arrows and for us to remember that God illuminates our way. We just had to open our hearts and listen. I went to the mass that followed our sing-along and received the benediction for pilgrims. For the remainder of my journey, I felt a deep, inner peace. My walking companion was not particularly religious, but she respectfully stopped and visited churches along the way with me. We visited Templar castles, 9th-century churches and saw the most amazing golden retablos in tiny villages. There was a spiritual side to the pilgrimage that was undeniable. At times, physical issues compromised our journey, but we never gave up. We walked, laughed, sang, and lived out on the dusty roads of Spain all the way to the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. We stood in line, covered in sweat, to receive our â&#x20AC;&#x153;compostelaâ&#x20AC;? certificate written in Latin. This was written proof of our pilgrimage. It was a blessing to sit under the giant, swinging botafumeiro after having prayed at St Jamesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s tomb, and I felt a certain sadness that it was over. However, there was also great joy in seeing our pilgrim friends who made it all the way.
At the beginning of our pilgrimage, the comment "everyone walks his own Camino" seemed like a trivial clichĂŠ. It took me a month of walking to see the truth in this phrase. Putting faith in each footstep was necessary to keep moving on without fear. The simplicity of life along the way was resourcing. We walked in the footsteps of millions and met some wonderful people along the way. The Latin expression "ultreĂŻa" (go forward) was used as a greeting between pilgrims in medieval times. It is about going beyond what is physically and spiritually possible. That was MY Camino and I walked it, gritting my teeth at times but I continue moving forward, knowing that there is always light up ahead, and yellow arrows are pointing the way. Claire Ery Fostering Friendship and Floral Fun I am sure many readers would agree that the first Trinity quarterly magazine was an enjoyable read for the diverse and informative articles it included. Devin Jacobsen's analogy of the falling in love experience matching the interior beauty of Holy Trinity was rather apt as it is a feeling many of us share when we are inside church with its towering stone walls and stunning stained-glass windows. What's not to love when the sun's rays filter through those stained-glass windows on a hot summer's day? However as Devin also pointed out, it is the people who come together as a community that make Holy Trinity a unique place of worship. As an occasional visitor myself, I too have been fortunate to share the warmth and genuine friendship of folk who generously give of their time, their talents and their skills for the benefit of all who come to worship in this beautiful and special place. It has therefore
been a pleasure and a privilege to contribute to this welcoming community by way of flower arranging whenever I am in Nice. Being allowed creative licence, whether it be at Christmas, Easter, Assumption or Harvest time to enhance the beauty of what lies within its walls, is always a delightful sensory experience which usually begins on the Cours Salaya where the visual canopy of floral displays sparks inspiration for arrangements in church. Visitors venturing through the doors when creative work gets underway are often curious to know what is going on and stop to chat awhile and watch progress. Whatever brings them inside, they invariably leave with smiling faces uplifted by the beauty and experience that is Holy Trinity church. Volunteers too willing to lend a hand and experiment with their own creative flair- have often been pleasantly surprised (after a quick lesson in some basics!) at the results of their efforts. It is indeed a humbling experience. Despite the fact that some would say flowers are expensive (and it is true we need to raise funds for displays on special occasions), I would argue that they are not a luxury in churches today. They do have a role to play in religious life as in life in general; • Flowers are around when we are born for they express joy and happiness • They are there when we leave this world to pay tribute and console the grieving • They are there to glorify the union of two beings in marriage and show love on anniversaries • They are there to help someone feel better when they are ill or maybe just sad
â&#x20AC;˘ Flowers are an offering of thanksgiving, in remembrance and in acknowledgement of our many blessings. Imagine all of these things without flowers. In short, flowers are food for the heart and soul much like the experience of visiting or sharing worship at Holy Trinity. Whatever brings people to its doors, few fail to be enriched by entering therein and meeting the community of friendly faces found there each Sunday. To all those who make that experience memorable, we are indeed fortunate. It is a privilege to be a (sometimes long distance) part of that community where not only the sunshine- but the welcome there - is always warm! Christine Harvey As a Goat to the Slaughter Thirty years ago, my brother John was in Chennai (Madras) when he 'discovered' Kunnan. What caught his attention were the tell-tale patches on the young lad's body that fore-told leprosy - the type of leprosy that, untreated, would result in the terrible clawing of his hands and feet. Kunnan's family were itinerants who follow festivals around to the many temples in Tamil Nadu, south India, selling temple-ware, masks, prayer beads etc. John asked Kunnan if he could meet his family who were living under a bridge in the city. They agreed that the boy return with John to the project named Arogya Agam to be treated. After two years Kunnan left completely cleared of leprosy but returned a few years later with a driver's licence under his belt; he is now the official driver for the project. Handsome Kunnan was popular with the ladies! Many a time he had to be disentangled from various situations. People are extremely conservative in Tamil Nadu - love marriages are frowned upon and in any case Kunnan had been promised his sister's daughter in marriage. He was always telling us "I'm marrying next year," but it never happened. Finally, his niece was old enough to marry. Rani was twenty-one whilst he was thirty-six. The day that Rani conceived they went to the temple to pray that the child be born healthy especially as the close relationship could
lead to problems for the future baby. Two gods were involved. Firstly Murugen, a vegetarian deity, and Karupusami, guardian god of the village and meat-eater. To the former promises of pongal rice; to the latter the gift of a goat to be sacrificed after the birth of the child. Soon after their daughter Kanishka is born a friend happens to have a baby goat for sale. Kunnan made a down payment of 500 rupees (approximately ÂŁ5) to reserve it. This is all he ever had to pay as the kid was then raised by a relation and his friend never asked for any more money. (An adult goat can cost as much as 10.000 rupees.) To make sure that the goat was 'pure' it was castrated when young and for the next three years it lived a happy and peaceful existence. Two weeks before Kanishka's third birthday the goat is brought to Kunnan's house and tethered by the side of the path. It is a handsome creature: black and grey with long legs and proud swept back horns - my heart sinks to think of its fate. I tell myself, however, that what is most important about eating meat is the way animals are brought up. If everybody had to raise, kill, skin or pluck an animal it would do away with the mass slaughtering and often bad treatment of creatures in the west. Kunnan's goat is fed tit-bits, bushed and taken for walks, what more could it ask? To live, we may reply, but goats are raised for meat and it would have been killed in any case. I'm curious to know what will happen at the temple as I have decided to participate only at the actual meal when the deed has been done and the goat has been turned into stew! "The priest will sacrifice it. He will pour tamarind water over it's head, if it shakes its head it means that it is pure, if not... well he just keeps pouring the water until it does!" explains Kunnan. "All the family will gather round to see the sacrifice. Then we go to offer gifts of pongal rice to Murugan the temple further up the hill and by the time we return the meal will be ready." A crowd of Kunnan's family and friends relax on sheets spread out under the shade of a tree whilst beyond men stir the stew and boil rice in vast cooking pans. We have arrived at the right time. We are
ushered up and onto a covered platform, sit cross-legged along the long walls, the women on one one side, the men opposite. Banana leaves are distributed which we sprinkle with water to rinse off any dust before we are served. First a mound of white rice, then buckets each filled with delicious sauces and of course... goat curry. There is something different about eating a creature that you have known personally! I keep telling myself not to be silly, if you eat meat an animal has to be killed. Normally I avoid eating meat as much as possible, but this is an important occasion and great trouble has been taken to provide a feast in honour and thanksgiving for Kanishka's birth and health. That evening many of Kunnan's close relations are staying at his house a few metres from my guest room. The children that I met earlier crowd round me again, bright faces lit by the light of a woodfire where the women are boiling up the evening meal in the open air. There are requests for more English songs, and somehow, we manage to understand each other with my rudimentary Tamil, the odd word in English, mime and lots of laughter. That night I lie back and wonder at how fortunate I am to be embraced so warmly into people's lives and traditions here. And this morning as I write squirrels run along the window-sill nibbling at the crumbs I have put out for them; a soft breeze stirs the leaves of the kapok trees and all is well with the world. Jill Pirdas Easter Life There were once four Anglican churches in Nice. Holy Trinity was the first, organized in 1820. Then Nice also became home to Holy Spirit Church, an American Episcopal parish on Blvd Victor Hugo; an English church in Carabacel for Anglicans who didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t wish to make the trip down to the CarrĂŠ dâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Or; and yet another English church behind what is now Galeries Lafayette for Anglicans who wanted more ceremony. Eventually these parishes joined together.
Holy Spirit was the last to join with the parish of Holy Trinity. Following Président de Gaulle’s withdrawal of France from NATO military structures, the US Navy’s Sixth Fleet left its port in Villefranche sur Mer. With the decline of the number of US military personnel in the area, the Episcopal Church decided to close Holy Spirit Church. A contraction from four churches to one may seem like loss or failure – a metaphor for the decline of Christianity. At the recent Consecration of Mark Edington as the bishop for the Convocation, the preacher declared the end of Christianity – and told us to rejoice. The Very Reverend Dr Andrew B. McGowan1 preached: … despite the beauty of these stones (of the American Cathedral in Paris) and the powerful witness of which they and their inhabitants will yet prove capable by the grace of God, there is a sense we are actually living among the ruins now. Let me quickly say that this is not all bad news. Christendom - that easy assumption that the external trappings and some other elements of Christian faith were part and parcel of the life of the West - is over. But the Jesus Movement is not over, the Way of Love is not over - and even the Church is far from done. There is something essential to being Church about itinerancy. Christians are pilgrims, not colonists. “Here," the Letter to the Hebrews says, "we have no lasting city, for we seek the city that is to come.” If Christendom is dead, then pilgrimage, itinerancy, is what we have now - and of course what Episcopal (and all Anglican) Churches in Europe have always had. For the Christian there must be a hint of excitement in itinerancy, of promise, of a memory often left to languish but which may now come flooding back, to tell us these are not times of despair but times of hope. But this is our core identity, Jesus reminds us "The harvest is plentiful, but 1
The Dean and President, and the McFadden Professor of Pastoral Theology and Anglican Studies at Berkeley Divinity School at Yale.
the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. Go on your way.” … Jesus has a way of saying, “go,” or even “go away….” “Go away,” as the risen Christ says … to the awestruck and only slightly … equipped apostles at the end of Matthew’s Gospel, leading to that pilgrimage that becomes Church; “go away” and make disciples of all nations. That is what inclusion looks like; not the invitation into our tiring organizations for their sake, but the recognition that it is God who has already included us all in Christ, who calls us to look out rather than in, and thus sends us. “Go away.” A week after the Consecration in Paris, we were in Rome for the Chrism Mass at which Bishop David blessed the holy oils we will use throughout the year to anoint baptismal candidates and the ill. The night before the service, we watched in horror as Notre Dame burned. It felt indeed like death of Christendom. But the Way of Love – the way of Jesus was evident in the prayers and singing of the faithful in the streets of Paris, and around the world. In the morning, Notre Dame still stood – damaged, but awaiting rebirth. And the image of the high altar, with the cross above it became an image of resurrection – or Easter joy. Returning to the story of the churches in Nice, the closing of Holy Spirit began the close connection between Holy Trinity and the American Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe which continues today. Holy Trinity partakes in many activities of the Convocation, often receiving significant grants for mission and outreach. Our local history binds us together and strengthens us so we can ‘Go away.’ Joseph Voelker
Bishop David and the Chrism Mass at All Saints Rome