Yet more thoughts…

Pentecost 17/Ordinary Time 22 – Sunday

I went to St. John’s Cathedral today for Mass given that most of the congregation from CMCA-EMP was at Family Camp this weekend. And by gosh the Cathedral Church of St. John the Evangelist was absolutely stunning in full light and with everyone leading the service as altar servers or clergy in their vestments (complete with a beautiful set of “Gothic” chasuble and dalmatics in the green color of Ordinary Time/Pentecost in the tradition of the Anglican Diocese of Brisbane).

Had the privilege to be present at the baptism of one person alongside his Confirmation and the confirmation of another person (a young girl who’d have turned 12 recently, about the typical age where confirmation tends to happen in the Anglican tradition). And while watching the entrance procession, I was reminded back to my time in high school where I had the privilege (not that I knew it back then) of being the cross-bearer in the entrance procession at a number of school functions.

Bishop John Parkes was the presider at today’s Eucharist, baptism and confirmation. Of which baptism and confirmation was included within the main body of the service. Had the good fortune of receiving the Body of Christ from him. And I have never seen one of those “supersized” hosts of altar bread before until this morning. So that’s what the Trappists of Tarrawarra bake for distribution nationwide.

Rev’d Deacon Gillian Moses was present as his assistant throughout Mass. I particularly liked how the liturgy works when she as deacon, processed down into the middle of the nave of the cathedral and from there, with the whole congregation surrounding her, the Gospel reading for today was proclaimed before they all processed back to the nave altar.

Rev’d Fr. Rupert Jeffcoat (in full Anglican choir dress no less!) led his choristers jolly well through the various pieces that made up today’s Mass. Most of the musical pieces that formed the “Ordinary” were taken from Britten’s Missa Brevis. Thorougly enjoyed the Gloria and Sanctus that were both sung and prayed in Latin (something I’m familiar with through my use of both of these in Latin during my devotions).

But Sub-Dean of the Cathedral (and soon to be Dean of the Cathedral), the Rev’d Fr. Peter Catt gave a thoughtful homily today. The one thought I had running through my mind this morning on the train in was:

I am a dumbass (and at times a complete f**k up) for thinking I can “work out” what God is trying to do or tell me in and through my life.

And yes, pardon my Français. For in the readings in today’s Mass (Moses and the Burning Bush [Ex 3:1-15] and the rebuke of Christ to St. Peter [Matt 16:21-28]), they were a sharp rebuke to me. That in my discernment of vocation, there lays within a call to “be still” and to wait for that “still, small voice” of the Lord (as Elijah heard). Instead of trying to impose my presuppositions and deep longings onto what I think is “the call”. And that in this moment, I am to live this “walk of faith” rather than to pointlessly pontificate over it and the future.

This living includes working to the best of my ability in the job I currently am in and to form myself in prayer and studying Holy Scripture so that no matter if the call does or doesn’t come, I will still be a servant of the Lord (however flawed and imperfect I may be to paraphrase words from the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI just after he was elected Pope). Irrespective of whichever denomination I am in communion with in the future (Methodist, Anglican or Roman Catholic).

I guess I’ll be re-reading soon Thomas Merton’s The Seven Storey Mountain alongside Andrew Krivak’s A Long Retreat: In Search of a Religious Life. I can only pray this prayer for myself that was in today’s order for Confirmation (well, this is the BCP 1662 version of it rather than the modernized version that appeared in today’s service notes), which sums up this heart of mine:

Defend, O Lord, this thy Servant with thy heavenly grace, that he may continue thine for ever; and daily increase in thy Holy Spirit more and more, until he come unto thy everlasting kingdom. Amen.

+ Pax et bonum,
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