Notes from St. Paul's - March 21
Earlier this week one of our members asked me, “How should I pray?” It’s a very good question, though my answer is modest. Pray for the obvious.
It’s one of the lessons of the Lord’s Prayer: “Give us this day our daily bread.”
So we pray that the spread of the Covid-19 virus might be curtailed.
We pray for success in the search for a vaccine.
We pray for all those who are caring for the ill, looking for a vaccine, and leading nations, cities and communities in an uncertain time.
It’s a good foundation. Pray for the obvious.
And remember where the prayer begins: “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done.”
The readings for Morning Prayer this week have been about Joseph who had been cheated and betrayed by almost everyone who matters in life. And yet, at the opportune time, was elevated to the 2nd highest position in the land to help Pharoah navigate a devastating famine. And when asked by his treacherous brothers if he would take revenge upon them, he answered, “What you intended for harm, the Lord intended for good.”
It is above my pay-grade to predict the future or to understand how all this will work out. But I trust God and believe that his purposes will be accomplished for the sake of the world he loves. In the meantime, by God’s grace I am guided by the pattern of his Son, Jesus Christ.
Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. (Romans 12:9–12, NRSV)
*One other thought. It’s a hard but wise maxim that we should prepare for the worst and hope for the best. I’m neither a soothsayer or an economist, but already people are being laid off work and it is not clear that the recovery will be as decisive as the end of emergency measures, whenever that may be.
So for now, simplify and pull together. We can spread out when times are good. We need to pull together when times are hard. This may mean, for instance, families and friends living together under one roof, and working together to meet daily needs until the troubles lift. And unless it’s a sure thing, this is not the time for experimentation. If you’ve got a job, keep it. If you’ve got a roof over your head, stay under it. And if you’re caught in a corner, ask for help.
This is a defining moment: “They will know we are Christians by our love.”
Why, in the past, did so many Anglican churches have bells? One reason was that the pattern and cycle of prayer ran alongside the pattern and cycle of daily work. And so, at the sound of the bell, people working in fields, in their shops, in the homes knew that accompanying their work was the prayer of the church.
Something along those lines is our intention, tomorrow morning at 10.30 a.m.. By that time, a simple recording and an outline of the prayers will be available on our website. And for anyone who does not have internet access, they can still join us at 10.30 a.m. and say the Lord’s Prayer, say a prayer for their parish, and if they have a prayerbook, the Collect for the 4th Sunday of Lent.
Almighty God, through the waters of baptism your Son has made us children of light. May we ever walk in his light and show forth your glory in the world; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen. (The Book of Alternative Services)
GRANT, we beseech thee, Almighty God, that we, who for our evil deeds do worthily deserve to be punished, by the comfort of thy grace may mercifully be relieved; through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen. (The Book of Common Prayer)
A couple of things.
*A backup website has been created, and can be found here: https://deanmercer8.wixsite.com/stpl
My advice would be, don't try to memorize the site address. Simply type it in once and then "bookmark" it. Once the old site is repaired, we'll go back to it, though hopefully freshened up.
*The new website has a “blog” (upper, right hand corner) where these notes are being saved.
*We are updating our email contact information as quickly as possible. If you know someone who would like to receive them, please have them pass along their email addresses. If you would prefer not to receive these notices, kindly let us know.
*Of greatest immediate concern is the welfare of any member who is frail and those, young and old, who are on their own. Please check in with those you know. Don't hesitate to contact us if you are aware of anyone in need or distress.
*A basic schedule of services continues at the church: the daily offices and a Sunday eucharist. From home, every member is invited to join.
*The financial needs of the parish remain and your faithful support is sought - through the mail service or the Pre-Authorized Giving Program. We hope to have an online means of giving available on the website next week.
*The clergy of St. Paul's are all in the vicinity. If any one of us can be of service, don't hesitate to call or write.
Church website (backup): https://deanmercer8.wixsite.com/stpl
Church phone: 416-499-1545
Church email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Fr. Dean Mercer: email@example.com
Rectory phone: 416-497-6352
God bless you.
Fr. Dean Mercer+