Monday, December 29, 2008

Holy Innocents - A Very Special Day

There is something crazy wonderful to me about spending time in a church during "off hours" ... during hours of the day in which one is not typically in church. Yesterday, St. Bartholomew's had a day-long prayer vigil for the unborn, lasting from the end of the 10:10 am Holy Communion until the 6 pm Evensong/Benediction service.

Parishioners had signed up for half-hour time slots to come and light candles and pray for the protection of the unborn (something that I feel is particularly needed given the pro-abortion views of our President Elect, for whom we also prayed, of course).

My wife and I had signed up for an early time slot, after which we went over to watch movies with Mrs. G (the Rector's wife and Youth leader) and the youth of our parish: Miracle on 34th Street and The Keys of the Kingdom.

Then back to St. Bart's with the whole Youth Group in tow. The evening services were wonderful. I think it is the first time I'd been to Benediction at St. Bartholomew's, as I don't recall having seen the monstrance before yesterday. It was very moving.

But going back to the prayer vigil, and the subject of off-hours church-going: praying in the stillness of the early afternoon church, surrounded by many lit candles, reminded me of two of my favourite stories. I won't spoil either of them for you, but simply commend them to you as possible additions to your holyday reading list:

James Agee - The Morning Watch - set during Holy Week at an Anglo-Catholic boarding school.

Henry James - The Altar of the Dead (Click on link to left or this one to read it FREE online). This story has always haunted me, and did so particularly yesterday, as I lit a candle (in part) for those dead by abortion. I have recommened this story, I think, to over 100 people now, and so far I don't know for sure if any of them actually read it. If you do read it (or have read it) please be kind enough to comment here. I'd love to know what you think!


Douglas Bienert said...

As if my reading list isn't backing up already! GREAT!

Hope you had a blessed Christmas. I x-country skied to Mass for Advent IV! Ah... if only I had kids to rub this on in with "Back in MY DAY...."

On an Anglican note... I think my ACA parish is going to defect to Anglican Province of Christ the King. ACA is determined to ram some sort of union with Rome. Im not one of those rabid anti Romanist (though I think their current liturgy sucks!) But reunion via capitulation is not my cupa tea.

Well, (70's Sat. morning flash back tune) Lolly Lolly, get your indulgences here! I think not...

"Anglicanism is a 500 year experiment in disobedience." was one choice comment by a bishop. Also, somewhere in England a bunch of ACA/TAC bishops signed a copy of the current Roman Catechism while it sat upon an Altar. I think that if they believe this they need to take off their pointy hats, apply for reordination, and grab a nice nylon chasuble.

The APCK seems more concerned with building what they have here in the US then pretending to be some huge world wide branch. Oh - and they actually have a seminary. This is something the ACA/TAC has failed to do in 30 years. We put it to a parish vote in a couple of weeks. Say a prayer that we are guided to make the right decision.

Anglican Beach Party said...

Thanks for your update on you life, Douglas. I still pray for you and think about you often.