photo by tracy russell, baptism of Our Lord Jesus Christ, january 13, 2013
Pax EASTER 2013
photo by sean birch, st. jamesâ€™ baptismal font, january 13, 2013
Baptism: The Pilgrims’ Way | Fr. Mark Greenaway-Robbins
aptism, like a precious gem, has many facets. Once baptized into the mystery of Christ we embark upon a life-long pilgrimage. As baptized companions in the pilgrims’ way, the riches of our baptismal dignity are revealed to us throughout our life. What are these aspects of grace which we glimpse like light refracted through a jewel? A change of ownership takes place through baptism. We are claimed by God as God’s own. “I sign you with the cross, and mark you as Christ’s own forever,” says the minister of the sacrament whilst making the sign of the cross upon the forehead of the candidate (BAS 160). We live under new ownership as baptized pilgrims— our motto might be: “If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s” (Rom. 14:8). Baptism effects a change in our allegiance. During the ‘examination’ in the sacrament (BAS 154) each candidate renounces evil and sin, and then turns to Jesus Christ with acceptance, trust and obedience. Daily we struggle to maintain our allegiance to Christ during our earthly pilgrimage by renouncing the ‘evil powers of this world’ and our ‘sinful desires.’ As Jesus arose from the baptismal waters, so we too can hear God speak to us, “you are my beloved child; with you I am well pleased.” We experience a stripping off of our old selves and the putting on of a new self who is Christ. “As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ” (Gal. 3:27). We are clothed with Christ in order that we might “seek and serve Christ in all persons” (BAS 159). Baptismal pilgrimage is marked by trial and testing, so we can expect to be stripped by Christ and clothed in Christ during the course of our earthly pilgrimage. The sacrament of Baptism is “the water of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5). Born again through water and the Holy Spirit, as pilgrims we are raised to the “new life of grace” (BAS 160). Having been
reborn we can expect to be renewed by grace throughout our life’s journey. Transformation and change are the condition of baptismal pilgrimage. Enlightenment is a further grace. “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light” (1 Pet. 2:9). “Receive the light of Christ to show that you have passed from darkness to light” (BAS 160), says the minister to the newly baptized. So by grace we live in and by the light of Christ. Baptism makes us sharers in Christ, the anointed King and Priest. This is evident in the sacrament when the newly baptized are anointed on the head with the oil of chrism which evokes “the anointing of kings (1 Samuel 16:13) and the royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9)” (BAS 148). So through baptism we share in the royal and priestly dignity of Christ. Indeed, it is a high calling to be a baptismal pilgrim in this life. Through baptism we are adopted as God’s own children. “He destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace that he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved” (Eph. 1:5-6). Adoption describes the relationship between God and the baptized: it is made through God’s initiative, and the effect of the relationship is that the baptized become co-heirs with Christ. Here we can understand the mystery of grace. When anyone seeks baptism it is a response to God’s initiative. An effect of baptism is that we become inheritors of the riches of God’s grace. So we have gazed upon the jewel that is baptism and glimpsed the aspects of grace which unfold throughout our baptismal journey. No wonder, then, that the newly baptized are received into the household of God with this acclamation by the People of God: “Confess the faith of Christ crucified, proclaim his resurrection, and share with us in his eternal priesthood” (BAS 161).
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Of Water and the Spirit | Tim Firth
aptism, the Book of Alternative Spirit.” (BAS, 148) Our understanding Services (BAS) tells us, “is is deepened: water is both death and the sign of new life in Christ. resurrection, Schmemann notes, but Baptism unites Christ with not “naturally” or “magically”; rather his people. That union is both individ“only inasmuch as the one who is to ual and corporate.” (BAS, 146) be baptized wants ‘in faith, hope and Orthodox priest and author love’ to die with Christ and to rise with Alexander Schmemann (1921-1983) him from the dead,” by making the makes impressively clear what the sacrament central to his or her life and Church is doing in this sacrament: being. (43) pointing and tending “beyond itself He is similarly insightful and thorand the present,” Baptism is preparaough in his discussion of the symbolic tion for transformation of our lives, by use of oil. Like water, oil was of vital referring them to their “fulfillment in importance, a necessary and daily the kingdom of God.” (16) When we requirement in the ancient world. Oil, speak of the kingdom, we understand he explains, was used primarily as it has both an “already” and a “not yet” medicine (the Good Samaritan poured dimension. The “already” is the gift of Alexander Schmemann oil and wine on the wounds of the man grace, in the life and person of Christ. on the roadside, we remember). What Of Water and the Spirit: In this paschal sacrament (“pascha” is more, oil was of special significance A Liturgical Study of Baptism means “passage” or “pass over”)—the as a “natural source of light and thus pass-over of Jesus from death to life— Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir’s of joy.” (51) “the whole Church acknowledges Seminary Press, 1974 Much debate has taken place in herself as passage . . . from this world Christian history on infant versus into the kingdom of God,” as participating “in the adult Baptism. In the Orthodox Church, Schmemann decisive events of Christ’s death and resurrection.” (38) says, “understanding” is not a necessary pre-condition Among the many memorable and penetrating for Baptism. The Church “would rather say that true passages in this book are the minutely sketched ‘understanding’ is made possible by Baptism [and] is its descriptions of the symbols involved in the rite. The result and fruit, rather than its condition.” Moreover, meaning and significance of Baptism, Schmemann “[m]aybe the ultimate grace of Baptism is indeed that says, are laid bare in the consecration of the water it makes us children, restores in us that ‘childhood’ (called “Thanksgiving over the Water” in the BAS). without which, in the words of Christ himself, it is In water we have “one of the most ancient and uniimpossible to receive the kingdom of God.” (18) versal” of all religious symbols. (39) The waters of Creation, the Exodus, and the Baptism of Jesus are all recalled (BAS 147). The Thanksgiving Prayer “asks Editor’s note: the Parish library does not yet own a copy that those who are baptized may be buried and raised of this book. But it should be available from a variety of with Christ, cleansed of sin, and reborn by the Holy usual outlets.
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photo by saint james music academy, christmas recital, december 7, 2012
Easter Conversations | Margo Swiss The angels said unto them, why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spoke to you when he was yet in Galilee. (Luke 24:5-6) Jesus Christ knows flesh, Bodies speaking, always did do what his Father said. His motherâ€™s hard labour, first, in time, his own: walked his talk, then was crossed, tombed, shut up for good dead (it was said) until He heard his Father say, rise, be born again this day. It was Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and other women that were with them, which told these things unto the apostles. And their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not. (Luke 24:10-11)
From Here Now (Toronto: Arkwark, 2012); reprinted by permission.
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The Body of Christ | Sr. Mary Christian Cross
ike so many of the teachings of St. Paul, we can be moved by the beauty of the concepts presented in his teachings; but it is in the practical living out of these teachings that we are daily challenged. The body of Christ: not only are we baptized into that body, but weekly, or more often, we are renewed at the Altar as we receive the Body and Blood of Jesus Glorified. It is our calling as Christians daily and hourly to live out what that signifies. As in any body all the members are not proverbial “peas in a pod,” but are unique. Paul lists in 1 Cor. 12 the many members of Christ’s body, starting with the fact—revolutionary in his time and culture—that the body is made up of Jews, Greeks, slaves and free. If it was true for the Corinthians, this is true for us. We are all with our various gifts expected to work for the common good. This is a lofty concept that history shows to have been a constant struggle to maintain. Richard Rohr, in his book Things Hidden: Scripture as Spirituality, draws our attention to a familiar passage in Genesis. In order to renew the world that existed at the time, God orders Noah to build an ark and fill it with two of every creature. It is a well-known story, but Rohr makes the unfamiliar observation that
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once all the creatures were admitted to the ark, the door was shut. The creatures, human and otherwise, have to put up with one another for the duration of the flood. If we project this image to the Church it conjures up all manner of considerations, including a thought that sometimes, just sometimes, it might be difficult to maintain peace and decorum under our contemporary conditions.
“You are members of the body of Christ, and individually members of it.” 1 Cor. 12:27 Archbishop Rowan Williams, in his book Silence and Honey Cakes (Oxford: Lion Publishing, 2003), draws an anecdote from the “Sayings of the Desert Fathers” lest we are tempted to think that “holy” people are immune to understanding diversity among the members of the body, or that holiness conveys uniformity; rather, there are times when it is difficult even among the “holy” to understand one another. “A certain brother came to see Abba Arsenius at Scetis. He arrived at the church and asked the clergy if he could go and visit Abba Arsenius. ‘Have a bite to eat,’ they said, ‘before you go to see him.’ ‘No,’ he replied,
‘I shan’t eat anything until I have met him.’ Arsenius’s cell was a long way off so they sent a brother along with him. They knocked on the door, went in and greeted the old man, then sat down; nothing was said. The brother from the church said, ‘I’ll leave you now; pray for me.’ But the visitor didn’t feel at ease with the old man and said, ‘I’m coming with you.’ So off they went together. Then the visitor said, ‘Will you take me to see Abba Moses, the one who used to be a highway man?’ When they arrived Abba Moses welcomed them happily and enjoyed himself thoroughly with them until they left.
“For in the Spirit, we are all baptized into one body.” 1 Cor. 12:12 The brother who had escorted the visitor said to him, ‘Well, I’ve taken you to see the foreigner and the Egyptian; which do you like better?’ ‘The Egyptian [Moses] for me!’ he said. One of the fathers overheard this and prayed to God, saying, ‘Lord, explain this to me. For your sake one of these men runs from human company and for your sake the other receives them with open arms.’ Then two large boats floating on the river were shown to him. In one of them sat Abba Arsenius with the Holy Spirit of God, in complete silence. And in
palm sunday procession, march 24, 2013; photo by tracy russell
the other boat was Abba Moses, with the angels of God: in this boat they were all eating honey cakes.” (p. 42ff) Williams points out, “What could put more clearly the sense of distinctiveness of vocation: Arsenius’ austerity, and Moses’s exuberance of life?” And so, as struggling members, as baptized members of the Church, we make up one body; but in this life, it is a body still yearning for reconciliation of our differences. Archbishop Rowan offers direction: To be the means of reconciliation for another within the body of Christ we must: 1 be consciously [ourselves], 2 know a bit about what has made us what we are, 3 know what are our typical problems and brick walls, and 4 know what are our gifts. (p. 39) This reconciliation requires self-knowledge, repentance, renewal in Christ, the daily slogging away and stumbling at our efforts, being picked up by a forgiving God and then just getting on with our daily lives. Getting on, knowing that we are indeed baptized into the one body of Christ—Christ Crucified, Resurrected, Ascended and Glorified—and that in this body of Christ we are healed, renewed and transformed.
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Puzzling Baptism | Barton Hewett
’ve been a Christian for less than five years. Since November 17, 2008 to be exact. Back then, I got on my knees and read the words that a friend sent me, a little shorthand on conversion. A scrap of paper that led me in the unlikely way that we all perhaps are led to this unlikely God. A memory pulled from the past of a seven-year-old girl who did the same, in the quiet of her bedroom on a hot night in July. My night was a cold, rainy night in November. In essence, it was a simple thing to do. So simple, in fact, that anyone can do it. You just have to begin the conversation. But what do you say to God? Nothing seemed to change that night. Not that I noticed. I went to bed feeling the same and woke the same as always. However, I held a conviction that I could never go back to the way I was. I could never say I was just kidding. “Hey God, you know that night…?” I don’t think God works like that. But still, a nagging sense of something not quite right. Groucho Marx once said he didn’t want to join a club that would have him as a member. I feel like that sometimes, as the contemplation of Christ leads me to a sense of unworthiness. Like, I can’t do this. Wasn’t being a sinner easier somehow? Wasn’t not caring about anything easier than this burden, to live as He lived? I remember that old life, but dimly. I feel like a counterfeit Christian at times. Like I’m missing something that others seem to get. I live in this world. And the secular is always there quietly mocking me, like a parasitic lover slowly sucking whatever will I have to believe in a world beyond this one. To believe that there is love, grace, and hope; that there is something more.
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Baptism: paint a picture and make it a confession. Buried with Christ/raised to a new life. Christ my Savior, my murderer, my delight in killing me, and in so doing blast me new and scour me fresh. Burnish me. Bend me, break me, crush me, and form me from the dust of my old life. Hold my new life in Your Loving Hands, gentle, morning, mourning dove, graceful, patient. Help me emerge into the light of this new life. Help me see that there is something more than this bedraggled world. For I need help, every day, every minute, every second. We all need help because faith itself is a burden and a struggle, a nagging, niggling doubt that somehow outs us during our prayers and quiet moments. Or at a traffic light, waiting in line blank and bored, or having a drink somewhere in the dark cloister of the place you used to go to forget. But I need to light a candle, look at the words “in the beginning,” look at the words “he was there from the start,” know the words “this is my Son with whom I am well pleased.” Believe that somehow he is well pleased, even with me. I never had a “God-shaped hole” in my heart. I was a hole from the start. After I became a Christian, after I was baptized, I recall standing in the kitchen one night, staring out into the darkness beyond the window and thinking that all my life I have been this puzzle piece, a lost but unique fragmented shape that only needed a place to fit. And the universe, God’s universe, is THE puzzle and suddenly I found my place in it. It’s still a puzzle, but now, at least, I know that I fit. It just took having a conversation with some water on the side.
Baptism: Sharing the Divine Life | Br. James Koester, SSJE The following reflections are excerpted from Br. James’s article that appeared in “Monastic Wisdom,” in Cowley, the magazine of the Society of Saint John the Evangelist (Winter 2013). Abridged and slightly edited for PAX by Paul Stanwood.
palm sunday, march 24, 2013; photo by tracy russell
n the Incarnation, we believe that as Christ shared in our human life, so we share in his divine life through baptism. The catechism in the Book of Common Prayer declares that we are made the children of grace by the power of the Holy Spirit. We share in the divine life of God by being made children of God, by being made members of Christ’s body, and by becoming heirs of the kingdom of God… All of this happens at the font where we die to sin and rise to newness of life through the waters of baptism. When we begin to understand that baptism does something to us now, and that that something is nothing short of incorporation into the divine life of God, then we can begin to experience the Trinity; for by our baptism we are invited not merely to understand, but to experience the Trinity… Baptism, indeed, is about union and communion. “We will certainly
be united with him,” says St. Paul. And we experience baptism as both a sign and a seal of that hope… In baptism, we glimpse the mutuality and reciprocity that is at the heart of community. We have the opportunity to experience and to renew our baptism Sunday by Sunday in the Eucharist. Tradition frequently calls the Eucharist the Blessed Sacrament… Yet the Eucharist renews and sustains the life we were given in baptism. Baptism is the fundamental event by which we are invited to share in the divine life. In the Eucharist, we have an opportunity to renew, reaffirm, and nourish that life. Even those of us who were baptized as infants and have no memory of the event can have an ongoing, powerful experience of our baptism—of meeting God and being embraced by God—when we are fed by God in the Eucharist. For in the Eucharist we are again brought into communion and community with God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. As we reach out for the Bread and Wine, we can remember the divine life which it sustains in us, and by which we are made members of Christ, the children of God, and inheritors of the Kingdom of Heaven. The weekly renewal of our baptism through the Eucharist aims to remind us that the life we share with God is not a life that is “yet to come.” We are not simply waiting for some day in the future when we will share in the life of God or be united with God. Baptism promises us that we are already sharing the life of God… already joining the Trinity… already sharing in the glory of the life of the Ascended Christ. Baptized in the name of the Trinity, we are already sharing in the mystery of this communion.
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baptism ofbirch graham gibson, january 13, 2013; photo by tracy russell photo by sean
photo by elaine jan
baptism of maximus lacerte, january 13, 2013; photo by tracy russell
baptism of ira maley, january 13, 2013; photo by elaine jan
baptism of rochelle maley, january 13, 2013; photo by tracy russell
baptism of shyla coan, january 13, 2013; photo by elaine jan palm sunday procession, march 24, 2013; photo by sean birch
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The Sacrament of Inclusion | Ryan Kelley
hen the Apostles’ Creed is said during spiritual reality. In Christian thinking, then, baptism’s the Rite of Baptism, the celebrant significance is twofold: formally, it welcomes the new introduces it by saying, “Let us confess convert into the community of believers, allowing him the faith of our baptism.” Following or her to participate in the activities of the Church; on, the creed succinctly outlines the basic narrative of and materially, it absorbs the newly Christian indiChristianity, announcing the fundamental beliefs of vidual into the purposes of God. Practically, it was the the faith. Where it does make explicit the components end result of introductory Christian education; mysof Christian belief, it leaves implicit the significance of tically, it catalyzed the process of spiritual growth. the baptismal effects themselves. The Creed declares As Clement of Alexandria put it in the Pedagogus, his the faith of the Church while it implies the meaning treatise on Christian ethics: “Baptized, we are enlightof the sacrament of baptism. In order to understand ened; enlightened, we are adopted; adopted, we are more fully the consequences of baptism, it is helpful to made perfect; perfect, we become immortal.” In short, consider its historical and liturgical context. When it baptism is the first step of Christian living. The words is seen in this light, it will of the late Michel Meslin become apparent that the are helpful in understandThe ultimate consequence of Christian ultimate consequence of ing its importance in early baptism is inclusion—inclusion into Christian baptism is inclutraditions of the Church: the Christian community and into the sion—inclusion into the “As a gateway to the sacrapurposes of God. Christian community and ments, baptism opened the into the purposes of God. way into the church comThroughout human history, water rites have often munity, and prayers and rites increasingly describe it been linked with initiation. In the pre-Christian era, as the entrance to a holy place, the opening of… routes Egyptians, Greeks, and the Israelites all practiced offered by the faith.” (Encyclopedia of Religion) some form of ‘baptism.’ Generally speaking, the use of Here, the Anglican tradition is faithful to the incluwater was seen as an important symbol in the process sive history of baptism. In Anglican theology, baptism is of incorporation of new members. After undergoing likewise understood to be the introductory act of one’s the rite of baptism, one was able to participate in sacChristian life, one’s life in accord with God. Article rifices, rituals, and meals of the community. Similarly, XXV of The Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion describes baptism was integrated into Christian teaching at the the sacraments—baptism and Eucharist—as “signs behest of Jesus himself. In what is known as the Great of grace and God’s good will toward us.” Specifically Commission, Christ exhorts his followers to “make relating to baptism, Article XXVII states, “[T]hey that disciples of all nations” by “baptizing them.” From receive Baptism rightly are grafted into the Church… the outset, baptism signified one’s admission into the [signaling] our adoption to be the [children] of God by Christian movement. the Holy Ghost.” The Church is understood to be the Subsequent Christian reflection determined baptism family of God—and fittingly, baptism is, as it were, the to be a sacrament, an external sign that indicates a means of adoption.
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The baptismal liturgy, as it is found in the Book of Common Prayer, only clarifies the connection between baptism and inclusion. Here, the rite is considered a testimony to “the receiving of them that be newly baptized into the number of Christ’s Church.” Beginning as a petition of the congregation to God on behalf of the inductee(s), it asks the Lord to “open the gate unto us that knock… that [one] may come to the eternal kingdom which thou hast promised by Christ our Lord.” The priest then pronounces that the newly baptized individual is indeed “grafted into the body of Christ’s Church.” Upon the administration of the sacrament, the celebrant announces with thanksgiving that the individual is now a full-fledged member of the Christian community, becoming an adopted child of God. As such, the newly baptized has become both a “partaker” of the resurrection of Christ and an “inheritor of his everlasting kingdom.” In sum, it is the hope and faith of the Anglican tradition that baptism truly does serve as the mode of inclusion for the Church. With this in mind, the Easter season brings the notion of Christian inclusion to the fore. To those who have not been baptized, it demonstrates the receptivity of the Church toward those who incline to the Christian message. Baptism, the sacrament of introduction, as it were, marks the first step toward the hope of the faith. To those who have already been baptized, it serves to encourage the Christian believer. Although they have already been included within the Christian fold that does not mean that their baptism is no longer of any importance. Rather it should be seen as a divine deposit upon the life of the faithful. For the Christian, the words of John Henry Newman in his Parochial and Plain Sermons serve as a fitting conclusion to this reflection: “Baptism, though administered to them once and long since, is never past, always lives in them… that ‘He who hath begun a good work in them will perform it.’”
ASK ! BEAR
Dear Bear, What is the baptismal covenant and why should I care about it? — Name withheld It is that part of the baptismal liturgy where the candidates, their sponsors and all the gathered People of God confess the faith of the Church as given in the Apostles’ Creed, which appears in the form of three questions. The 1662 Book of Common Prayer added this question after the Creed: “Wilt thou then obediently keep God’s holy will and commandments, and walk in the same all the days of thy life?” The American (ECUSA) Prayer Book of 1979 replaced this one question with five questions that expand upon what is required to “keep God’s holy will and commandments.” Our Canadian Book of Alternative Services (1985) followed the American revision with the same five questions (BAS 159). These additional questions are truly an inspired example of modern liturgical innovation! Here we find a concise and comprehensive summary of how to live as baptized Christian pilgrims. These questions can serve us as a source for constant reflection upon the requirements of our baptismal dignity. The Apostles’ Creed grounds us in what we believe. The five questions that follow offer us a way of practicing our faith which keeps God’s will and commandments. Why not read them again? — Bear Bear is the first resident canine at St. James’ Rectory. As a member of the Greenaway-Robbins and Parish family he is privy to many and varied meetings, conversations and gatherings. Though usually silent, in this column he offers his perspective on Parish life.
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Reflections on Holiness | Rowan Williams
n this address to young adults in Christchurch, New Zealand, on Sunday 4th November 2012, Archbishop Rowan Williams explored what it means to be a holy person. If you look up ‘holy’ in some sort of biblical index, you might get from bits of the Old Testament a very, very strong impression of what being holy means, very much to do with being set apart, very much to do with being on rather dangerous territory. Remember when Moses meets God at the burning bush, God says, “Take your shoes off. This is holy ground.” And when the people of Israel come to Mount Sinai, and it’s sort of blazing with lightning and all the rest of it, it’s holy and it’s very, very dangerous. And then, if you turn to the New Testament, at first sight you get a bit of a contrast… St. Paul, when he writes to the people he writes his letters to, often addresses them as holy people: To the Saints, to the Holy People at Corinth, the Holy People at Ephesus, the Holy People at Philippi. And that might give us a bit of a pause to start with, because it doesn’t sound from the way that Paul uses that word, or the way it plays out in his letters, it doesn’t sound quite as though ‘holy’ there means dangerous and weird in quite the same way it does in the Old Testament. And then, in St John’s Gospel, where Jesus says to his friends at the Last Supper that he’s just about to consecrate himself, he’s just about to make himself holy, and he wants his disciples to be holy in the same way. And what that means is that Jesus is making himself holy by stepping forward towards his death, stepping forward towards the cross. And the New Testament makes it very clear in all sorts of passages that the crucifixion is in one sense the supremely holy thing that happens, and yet it’s found outside holy places… It’s an execution machine on a rubbish dump outside the city wall. Holiness seems to be not being separated off and protected here.
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Holiness in the New Testament is Jesus going right into the middle of the mess and the suffering of human nature. Being holy is being absolutely involved, not being absolutely separated. And that’s one first thing to bear in mind about the Christian idea of holiness. It’s something to do with going where it’s most difficult in the name of the Jesus who went to where it was most difficult. And he wants us to be holy like that. And we really misunderstand the whole thing very seriously if we think that holiness is being defended from our own humanity or other people’s humanity: quite the opposite. Now, that makes me think about something which somebody said to me many, many years ago about the difference between being holy and being good, or even being saintly. There’s a fine phrase in one of Evelyn Waugh’s novels, when someone says to another character, “She was saintly, but she wasn’t a saint,” meaning that this person was actually very, very irritating. Saintly, very strict, very devout, very intense, but somehow the effect she has on the people around her is to make them all feel worse. They’re made to feel guilty, they’re made to feel inadequate, and I think that’s probably what most of us experience when we encounter people we think are Good—they make us feel rather worse. But, this friend of mine said years ago, holy people actually make you feel better than you. Good people make you feel worse than you are. Because goodness always comes across just a little bit as a competitive examination. Some people are scoring very well and some people are on the borderline, and some people are sinking below the line. But the holy person somehow enlarges your world, makes you feel more yourself, opens you up, affirms you. They’re not in competition; they’re not saying, “I’ve got something you haven’t.” They’re saying, “There’s an enormous amount of room for you in the world we occupy together.”
So, we’re beginning to build up a picture, I hope, of holiness. It’s not goodness, it’s not a sort of extra special kind of goodness. Because somehow it’s not about competing levels of how good you are. It’s about enlarging the world, and it’s about involving in the world. A holy person is somebody who is not afraid to be at the tough points in the centre of what it’s like to be a human being. And a holy person is somebody who in the middle of all that actually makes you see somebody new. And I guess that all that boils down to something horribly simple and horribly difficult, which is that holy people, however much they may enjoy being themselves, just aren’t obsessively interested in themselves. They actually allow you to see, not them, but the world. They allow you to see not them, but God. You come away from them, not feeling, “Oh, there’s a remarkable bloke or blokes,” you come away feeling, “There’s a remarkable world or there’s a remarkable God,” and even, “What a remarkable person I am too.” That’s the transforming thing. If you want to be holy, stop thinking about it. If you want to be holy, look at God. If you want to be holy, enjoy God’s world, enter into it as much as you can in love and in service. So being holy is certainly being unselfish, but not in the sense of, again, having a policy about how to become unselfish, but being so interested in God and the world that you don’t really have too much time to brood on yourself. And we’re all called to it, and we’re all in Jesus’ spirit empowered for it, because the spirit of Jesus is the spirit that constantly renews in us the ability to pray with integrity and conviction; to pray to God intimately, as to a parent, to say Abba, Father… We start, then, on the path of holiness, by two very simple things—simple in this case meaning difficult as before—and that is looking, looking at Jesus, looking at what God is like, looking at the Gospel, looking at all that that means, and by exploring. Exploring where
human beings are, what their needs are, and what they are calling you to do. How you may help make them more human. That, I think, takes us a bit further towards what I think is the really biblical idea of holiness… I suppose that in the Old Testament that sense of the danger of holiness is a way of getting us to think of just how alarmingly different the world can be when God is really around. One of the most powerful images in the Old Testament is when Solomon dedicates his new temple and prays that the presence of the Lord may fill it, and the presence of the Lord does fill it, and we’re told it’s like a thick, choking cloud coming down on the temple so that the priests of the temple can’t stay there. Now, that gives you a sense of danger all right, but the danger is all to do with just how different it is, and therefore just how much we have to change in order to cope with it… You can see the connection, and that’s why people have talked about the Glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ being from some points of view a terrifying reality because of just how far we have to travel, just how much we have to change for us to be able to live with it. In the Eastern Orthodox Church on the Feast of the Transfiguration, one of the prayers that’s said is a thanksgiving to Jesus for having revealed his glory to his Apostles on the Holy Mountain as far as they were able to bear it. As far as they were able to bear it, because it’s a big change, it’s a long way, and the holiness that in one sense gives us life, enhances our joy, is also terrifying because of that level of change, conversion.
© Rowan Williams 2012. Excerpted for PAX from http://rowanwilliams.archbishopofcanterbury.org/articles. php/2689/archbishop-reflects-on-holiness-with-young-adults-inchristchurch (accessed 18 March, 2013).
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The Beauty of Lent | Christine Hatfull
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time, or from hearing my voice alone while singing the Alleluia before the Gospel reading. Last year I moved beyond the music to the liturgy and participated in a Lenten sacrifice of my own. It was a simple act that had a profound effect on my spiritual and physical life. For the first time, I moved beyond the childish pleasures of Christmas to understanding the more mature and demanding requirements of the Paschal season. In a modern world filled with material distractions and over-indulgence, the act of giving up an unnecessary or unhealthy habit and the discipline involved therein are soul-nourishing. There is here a place for me to re-establish a relationship with God which, although still private and fiercely personal, is nevertheless alive. Each and every one of the forty days of Lent is an opportunity to begin again a life of focus, connection and purpose—no other practice has brought such meaning and given me the desire to live again. Due to this living tradition I can look forward already to the new and better place I will be in by this time next year.
photo by christine hatfull
hen I joined the St. James’ Anglican High Mass Choir, on Ash Wednesday four years ago, I was surprised by the sheer volume and difficulty of the music put before me. Fortunately, I had studied early music and Gregorian chant at Capilano College as a teenager, and realized that reading the square notes in the Kyriale was akin to getting back on a bicycle after thirty-five years. Indeed, everything about St. James’ was new and stimulating to my senses. Although I occasionally went to Latin Mass as a child with my Roman Catholic grandmother, my principal acquaintance with Christianity came via the small, wooden and very plain United Church in Pemberton Heights, where I attended Sunday services with my family and learned to read music while standing next to my father who told me to “just follow the notes.” Not until I inadvertently came to a Sunday Mass at St. James’ in early 2009 did I know that such a marvelous congregation of people and traditions existed. What would transpire is a central part of my own resurrection. I celebrated four years at St. James’ this past Ash Wednesday and count them as transformative. After re-locating in the downtown as an artist in 2007, I was soon taken down by a chronic illness that left me for dead in every way but one. As everyone in the Parish knows, this neighbourhood is not a good place to be vulnerable, and the peril is very real. But slowly, steadily and with the help of music, clergy and fellowship I have been able to rebuild a worthy life far beyond my original, desperate hopes for mere existence. I have come to understand better the sanctity of the Lenten season and thrill at the prospect of singing such glorious music as is the custom of our Church. Although unable to function as physically well as I once did, I can now experience the “extreme sport” and the fear and adrenaline rush that comes from sight-singing an unfamiliar Mass setting for the first
Review of Bach Albums | Tim Firth Johann Sebastian Bach’s Concertos and Sinfonias for Oboe Bach
Heinz Holliger, Camerata Bern
wo Voyager spacecraft were launched into the great beyond in 1977. On board were, among other things, gold-plated phonograph recordings which, in addition to spoken greetings, contained music of J.S. Bach. The first music from earth to greet such listeners as may exist will be from Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 2, chosen because of its feeling of “energetic optimism.” The music of Bach does not belong to any time or place or class of persons. And could we not all benefit from a shot of “energetic optimism”? Here are two fairly recent recordings of Bach’s instrumental music that exemplify very well just such a life-commending quality. Both are exceptionally well-recorded, the sound is crisp and clear; well balanced between instruments, and with extensive dynamic range. Richard Galliano is a master of the accordion, “a portative organ with vast expressive potential,” he notes. And so it has, in evidence from the first notes of the first track. Backed by a superlative string ensemble with which he blends wonderfully, they play various transcriptions of Bach compositions for flute and harpsichord, cello, oboe, violin and various keyboards. While there is some breathtaking virtuosity on display, it never amounts to showing off, and is never at the expense of the music.
People may be accustomed to hearing the accordion in other settings which may have “tarnished” its reputation, Galliano admits. If you thought you didn’t like accordion, this may give you cause to reconsider. Heinz Holliger is an oboeist of the first rank with an extensive discography going back decades. This disc is composed of “reconstructions”—as he explains in the notes—“none of [Bach’s] surely numerous concertos or chamber works for oboe survived… the ‘fury of disappearance.’” Listeners will find that, like the accordion, the oboe possesses a rich and full palette of colour and tone possibilities. In Holliger’s hands, it is capable of whispering, soaring, and shimmering. The backing from Camerata Bern, strings and harpsichord, is very sympathetic; both urgent and elegant. Johann Sebastian Bach had a great gift for melody. This was often expressed in a yearning, perhaps even soulful and ennobling fashion. As the tunes linger in our brain and resonate inside us, it is as if we are being developed, shaped and transformed by a presence that points away from us to something higher. It is difficult to convey the marvels of sound and music with mere words. Listen to this unpretentious, comforting, and revealing music. While these recordings offer a window on another age, it may be you’ll find that the music transcends any age.
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Did You Know? Parish Life at St. James’ NEW MEMBERS OF OUR CHRISTIAN FAMILY On January 13, the Baptism of Jesus, we welcomed five new members to the family of God: Shyla Coan, Graham Gibson, Maximus Lacerte, Ira Maley, and Rochelle Maley. At the Easter Vigil, we also celebrated the baptism of four children: Alexander James Bustin, Maddison May Jennifer David, Anderson Kendall Lewis, and Jaxon Harley Tait-Morgan. Congratulations to all! IN MEMORIAM A Requiem Mass was offered on February 8th for our Business Manager and long-time parishioner John Van Luven, who died suddenly at the end of January. Retiring People’s Warden Paul Stanwood gave a tribute to John at the Annual Vestry Meeting on February 24th, especially reflecting on John’s “willingness to serve wherever needed or asked, ever providing faithful Christian witness to all his endeavours.” SPRING EDUCATION AND FORMATION SESSIONS In January, in celebration of our commonality as Christians, we explored ecumenicism — the promotion or movement toward worldwide Christian unity or cooperation. Bishop Remi de Roo led a session on Roman Catholic ecumenicism, and Fr. Mark spoke on ‘The Ecumenical Life.’ Parishioners also attended a service at Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church to mark the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. Fr. Mark preached at this service. These sessions were followed by talks led by Leslie Arnovick, Tim Firth, and Gordon Carkner exploring the ‘myth’ of today’s secular world view
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and the idea that religion has disappeared from modern society, when in fact it is thriving all over the world. In Lent the Formation Sessions presented ‘The Theology of Salvation,’ called ‘soteriology.’ From what are we saved? How does Jesus save? Why are we saved? Presentations have been offered by the Reverend Dr.Richard Topping (of VST), and our good friends Fr. Bill Crockett and Canon Douglas Williams. In April a series will begin entitled ‘The Christian Imagination: The Life of Christ in Poetry.’ This will be followed by ‘The Doctrine of the Holy Spirit,’ also called ‘pneumatology.’ The Formation Sessions are a wonderful opportunity to learn about many aspects of Christianity, and we thank all who volunteer to lead us in exploring such a wide-ranging and interesting selection of topics. TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION The St. James’ Social Justice Group has continued to lead us in preparing for the final national event of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, to be held in Vancouver in September. They have prepared a display table of resource materials on the landing outside the Bishops’ Room, shown a film entitled ‘The Spirit Has No Colour,’ and invited a Residential School survivor to tell his story. More presentations will be held throughout the year, and all are invited to attend. Please see the following websites for information about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the September event: Truth and Reconciliation Commission (www.trc.ca) and KAIROS Canada (www.kairoscanada.org). Please check the Diocesan website as well.
ANNUAL VESTRY MEETING On February 24th the Parish held its Annual Vestry Meeting. The meeting included the election and appointment of Parish Officers for the coming year. Their ministries were supported and blessed at High Mass on Sunday, March 3rd. We thank these people, and all who will be heading our many groups and guilds in 2013, and appreciate their willingness to exercise servant ministry at St. James’. MUSICAL EVENTS Two excellent concerts were held at St. James’ this spring. In February we were very fortunate to have eminent organist David Palmer present a program of varied and entertaining works. Mr. Palmer is Professor Emeritus in the School of Music at the University of Windsor, and has performed across Canada and the United States, and in England and France. In March the Pacific Baroque Orchestra gave a concert featuring the music of Henry Purcell. These free concerts are an outreach to the people of this area; and in recognition of their efforts the St. James’ Outreach Committee subsequently sent them a generous donation. PRE-DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE The Pre-Development Committee is continuing to explore the redevelopment of the St. James’ Parish Hall. A consultant has been engaged to conduct a feasibility study to help determine if this is a viable enterprise. The Parish is eagerly watching for updates on what could be a very exciting project.
Bishop John Hannen and Mother Alexis March 24, 2013
photo by sean birch
photo by tracy russell photo by elaine jan
Farewell to the Amundgaards January 6, 2013
photo by elaine jan
Bishop Remi de Roo January 13, 2013
photo by sean birch
photo by sean birch
Palm Sunday Procession March 24, 2013
photo by tracy russell
Proclamation of the Date of Easter January 6, 2013
Induction of Parish Officers March 3, 2013 Sophia Amundgaard and Ana Greenaway-Robbins January 6, 2013
photo by tracy russell
Helen Tataren and Judi Paterson January 6, 2013
303 East Cordova Street, Vancouver, BC, v6a 1l4 Telephone: 604 685 2532 Fax: 604 685 7605 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
PAX no. 18 © 2013 St. James’ Anglican Church Editorial Panel: Paul Stanwood, Tracy Russell, Mother Jessica Schaap Designer & Art Director: Miles Linklater Writers: Fr. Mark Greenaway-Robbins, Tim Firth, Margo Swiss, Sr. Mary Christian Cross, Barton Hewett, Br. James Koester, Ryan Kelley, Bear, Rowan Williams, Christine Hatfull Photography: Sean Birch, Christine Hatfull, Tracy Russell, Elaine Jan Distribution: Mary Brown Archivist: Jane Turner PAX is free, but voluntary subscriptions of $10/year are welcome. PAX aims to be financially self-sustaining and therefore donations to support this ministry are greatly appreciated, and may be offered through your envelope (clearly marked PAX ), mailed to the church office, or submitted on the church website with a credit card. The material printed in PAX is produced by members and friends of St. James’ Church in Vancouver, Canada. A theme-based call for submissions is issued two to six weeks prior to each edition in the Sunday church bulletins. All submissions to PAX will receive acknowledgement of reception and be reviewed and edited by an editorial panel made up of the managing editor of PAX, a Warden, a member of the clergy, and one additional parishioner. Submissions are reviewed to the extent that they fit the mandate of PAX. All submissions may be edited for length, the maximum being 500 words unless otherwise specified.
photo by tracy russell, st. james’ baptistry gate, december 2011
our vision: Discovering the beauty of holiness in our lives and neighbourhood, by living a Christ-centred sacramental life rooted in the Anglo-Catholic tradition.