Ascension’s Twelfth Rector
It is with great pleasure that the wardens and vestry announce that we have called the Reverend Elizabeth G. Maxwell as the twelfth Rector of The Church of the Ascension in the City of New York, and that she has accepted the call. She will take up her duties on January 12, and her first services at Ascension will be on the second Sunday after the Epiphany (January 18).
Services at Ascension
Ascension is a welcoming, diverse, and inclusive community of people who gather to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ, to give praise and thanks to God through the beauty of worship, and to love and serve God and our neighbors.
Worship Schedule: Monday – Friday 6pm at Side Altar
Sunday 9am Holy Eucharist at Side Altar
Sunday 11am Holy Eucharist in the Parish Hall with sermon, music & choir
Sunday 7pm Service of Meditations and Sacrament including chant, interfaith readings and communion
Sunday, October 19, 2014
Fantasie in G
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Chorus (from Ein Deutsches Requiem)
Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)
Johann Michael Haydn (1737-1806)
Fugue in G Major
Johann Sebastian Bach
I got me flowers to strew thy way; I got me boughs off many a tree: But thou wast up by break of day, And brought’st thy sweets along with thee. The Sunne arising in the East. Though he give light, and th’East perfume; If they should offer to contest With thy arising, they presume. …
Oh, how these words grasp you and leave a chilling sensation throughout your body. Here it is, written so matter-of-factly: “Then they took the body of Jesus and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews to bury.” It brings an odd feeling because here is our Lord, our Jesus, being treated like any other person who dies.
The brutal way in which Jesus suffered and died that we may live is the contradiction God used to prove his love for us. This day, some 2,000 years after the Crucifixion, we are flies buzzing about a cross, seeking Jesus as our host, knowing this love is our salvation.
On the Night Before… “It was as if a shadow passed across the floor in that upper room. I wanted to scream, to stop him, but my lips were fastened shut as if gripped by invisible fingers; I watched in mute silence, an inexpressible grief gripping my heart as he began washing our feet and wiping them with the towel he was wearing. Simon Peter had protested but relented; I too wanted to refuse him, to hold back my feet… ”
In today’s readings, three great men are suffering: King David (who is most probably the author of the psalm), Isaiah and Jesus. They have been betrayed, scorned, spit at and shamed for the Lord’s sake. Yet they confess confidence in God’s presence and seek refuge in his love. The beauty of these Scriptures seems to tear down our childhood dream of good things happening to good people.
If Lazarus were really dead, Christ couldn’t have brought him back. He must have been in a deep coma or something. Burning bushes? Loaves and fishes? I don’t think so. These colorful stories and hundreds more like them surely were fables designed to enthrall the easily enthrallable, not me. I hoped that God existed. But he had not as yet revealed himself to me in any way that I understood. I would figure him out and find my faith on my own in my own good time.
“Let us also lay aside every weight and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us….” Easier said than done! How can we “lay aside” our sins, and what is “the race that is set before us”?
We are but six days away from the Crucifixion. Caiaphas, high priest, has persuaded the Pharisees that by executing Jesus they will keep the Romans at bay. And so now it is just a matter of time. Another human atrocity — the worst atrocity ever — is about to be committed.
“I love thee, O Lord, my strength” These are words of joy — they leap out to me, and I am smiling as I open my arms to receive them. This is God! Perfect love! Love has always been important to me. Knowing and understanding love is a lifelong project. As a child I used to watch adults and wonder what love was. Perfect love. How I longed (and still long) to give and receive perfect love. Of course, as I am working in my classroom, I sometimes forget about love and God…
M.F.K. Fisher remembers a time when, on Maundy Thursday, there was in Aix-en-Provence a kind of fiesta of reposoirs, or Altars of Repose:
Chapels that were forever otherwise closed to the lay public were open that day…. In the small convents and monasteries the whole main altar, with, as I remember it, no candle or flame burning, was turned into a wall, a solid wall, of the most beautiful flowers that could be found….