THE CAT’S MEOW
St. Mark’s Anglican Church, Port Hope
Corpus Christ Sunday 14 June 2020
From Fr Randy
Mutual Desire and God’s Hug in the Eucharist: A Corpus Christi Reflection
When you have eaten all you want, when you have built fine houses to live in, when you have seen your flocks and herds increase, your silver and gold abound and all your possessions grow great, do not become proud of heart. Do not then forget the Lord your God who brought you out of Egypt, out of the place of slave-labour, who guided you through this vast and dreadful desert…who in this desert fed you with manna unknown to your ancestors, to humble you and test you and so make your future the happier.
Jesus said, I am the living bread which has come down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live for ever; and the bread that I shall give is my flesh, for the life of the world.’
In 1966, a friend took me to the Atlanta Airport. When we were saying good-bye she asked, “Is it all right to hug a Buddhist monk?” In my country, we’re not used to expressing ourselves that way, but I thought, “I’m a Zen teacher. It should be no problem for me to do that.” So I said, “Why not?” And she hugged me, but I was quite stiff. While on the plane, I decided that if I wanted to work with friends in the West, I would have to learn the culture of the West. So I invented hugging meditation. Hugging meditation is a combination of East and West. According to the practice, you have to really hug the person you are holding. You have to make him or her very real in your arms, not just for the sake of appearances, patting him on the back to pretend you are there, but breathing consciously and hugging with all your body, spirit, and heart. Hugging meditation is a practice of mindfulness. “Breathing in, I know my dear one is in my arms, alive. Breathing out, she is so precious to me.” If you breathe deeply like that, holding the person you love, the energy of your care and appreciation will penetrate into that person and she will be nourished and bloom like a flower. —Thich Nhat Hanh
These three writings, though separated by time and tradition, speak of the universal human need and desire for touch and physicality, for warmth, intimacy and understanding. They speak of qualities innate to our human make-up: of our ardent desire for connection, to be wanted and recognized as unique individuals who are as ardently wanted by another as we so ardently wish another to want us in their lives.
The two readings from scripture express this ardent human desire. But they express also God’s own ardent desire for us. Such mutual desire is the expressed wish of these readings: that the ardent desire of both God and humanity for love and intimacy will be realized in the meeting of one with the other. In Deuteronomy, the wish is expressed by God in words delivered by Moses to the people of Israel who are about to cross into the land promised them by God before they were liberated from bondage in Egypt. They are spoken, however, in words that take into account the propensity of human beings to forget their ardent longing for love that is genuine, and replace it with a longing that has no permanent substance, in this case houses, flocks and herds, silver and gold. The result of such forgetting is the loss of the great love, of that which makes life precious and meaningful indeed.
In John, Jesus promises that he will offer himself as bread from heaven, a tangible sign that will unite human longing (for something we sometimes can’t put our finger on) to God’s unclouded longing for us: a spiritual maelstrom of love made actual on the cross, and tangibly brought home to us in the eucharist bread and cup. In this we see that God’s longing for us is freely given, not coercive. God is not the emperor in the sky demanding from us a love that matches his own. Such would be as impossible for us as it proved to be for the ancient Israelites; we share with them, and with all human beings, a propensity to forget our truest desire, replacing it with multiple false loves—false gods, idols—that return nothing. No, “God’s power lies [soley] in the attractiveness of life and light to those who yearn for them,” regardless of how inconstant and conditional our yearning is.
The brief reflection by Vietnamese spiritual teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh, reminds me of some the best expressions of human love for God—and God’s for us—that I have witnessed in ministry. These occur at the communion rail when, as if savouring the bittersweet intoxication of a lover’s visit, someone will, having received communion, linger at the rail for several more seconds. As if enchanted, and seemingly unaware of the passage of time or of the movement surrounding them, they are intensely aware and understanding of the mutual love that is being exchanged between themselves and God. They have “really hugged” the lover they have briefly held. The love has become real in the person’s hands and they have become aware that the care and appreciation of the divine lover for them is even now penetrating them, nourishing them and causing them to bloom like a flower.
And so it is with anyone at this moment whether or not one is so overtly aware of it. The great cosmic dimensions of the eucharist—so often reflected upon, written about, and debated over centuries—humble themselves and become small. The immensities have become friendly and approachable; they are given for you, they envelope you. The externals we often preoccupy ourselves with at other times in life melt away. In this time of communion, we know it is safe to be completely who we are. Self-consciousness is put to sleep. God is God, you are you, and you have met. In the eucharist, in this sacrament, you have been hugged, and you have hugged back. You have met one who knows you and loves you better than you either know or love yourself. RM+
FLOWERS THIS WEEK
We will print the dedications for flowers that would have been placed in the church each Sunday.
June 14: In memory of Winnifred and Herbert Langridge given from Kathryn Carnegie
This Week’s Readings
Should you wish to follow the Lectionary at home, here are the readings: Dt 8: 2-3, 14-16; Ps 147:12-15, 19-20; Psalm 147: 12-15, 19-20; 1 Cor 10: 16-17; Jn 6: 51-58
Corpus Christi Sunday, June 14, 2020
Here is the Youtube link for this week’s Evensong:
The video will also be shared on St Mark’s facebook page.
This week’s service leaflet link is at the end of this issue – the service features cantors Kate and Sarah, with Fr Randy leading the prayers. The service includes Edward Elgar’s Ave verum corpus as a motet, and closes with a full postlude (Buxtehude) this week.
Through The Cat’s Meow we can gather in the names of those who are suffering in body, mind or spirit at this time and for whom you have a special concern and we can each undertake to lift them up in prayer before God.
For those wrestling with life-changing decisions;
For patients in hospitals and residents of long-term care facilities, and their families;
For the lonely and forgotten in this time of social isolation;
For those who mourn at this time.
Let us have names by next Friday and they will be included in the next issue.
Churches to remain closed for summer worship
Anglican church buildings across the Diocese of Toronto will remain closed for in-person worship until at least September. This decision was outlined in a letter from Archbishop Anne Germond, Metropolitan of the Ecclesiastical Province of Ontario, on behalf of the House of Bishops of the Ecclesiastical Province of Ontario, and was made in consultation with public health experts and other diocesan officials.
An excerpt from her letter:
“…regardless of where the Government of Ontario is with its reopening plan, our churches will not be reopening for in-person worship until at least September. This decision was made in consultation with public health experts as well as our diocesan executive officers and chancellors, with the well-being and safety of all our parishioners and the communities we serve uppermost in our hearts and minds.”
From The Rt. Rev. Andrew Asbil
Bishop of Toronto, circulated on Wednesday, June 10, 2020
We believe … that the difficult but safest decision is to keep our church buildings closed until the fall. The bishops are asking clergy and lay leaders to “stay the course” of distanced ministry using technology with virtual and online worship – not because it is easier, more restful or preferable, but because we hope that the summer months will allow parishes to take the time to carefully plan for what re-opening safely will look like. We are working on guidelines (and waiting to see the Provincial Health Authority’s) to help you prepare. You will hear from Rob Saffrey later this week with guidelines regarding your tenants and licensees. Other guidelines regarding re-opening for worship and parish life will be shared with you by the end of June. Summer is a good time for leadership teams to consult about such things as cleaning, social distancing, space capacity and usage. Additionally, continuing in the way we have been operating now for many weeks will allow our leaders to take a break that they might otherwise have felt was impossible with re-opening.
There is no question that “pandemic fatigue” has set in among us. We are all tired of this. Yet the COVID-19 crisis is not finished, particularly in our part of the country, and we are very conscious that a good number of our faithful parishioners would be considered at high risk for infection. We believe that God is calling us to model for society how to re-engage safely and carefully.
Canon Stuart Mann, Director of Communications for the Diocese of Toronto.
“The College of Bishops in the Diocese of Toronto upholds this decision [of the Provincial House of Bishops], which was made in consultation with public health experts and other diocesan officials.”
Ed: — We hope that the foregoing statements make it clear that we will not re-open until at least September. There is no doubt that attending St. Mark’s in the future will very different.
Isaiah 43:18-19 “Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it?
A GIFT FOR FATHER RANDY
You are invited to consider making a donation in celebration of Fr Randy’s incumbency at St. Mark’s to either of the following charities:
Doctors without Borders
551 Adelaide St. West
Toronto, ON M5V 0N8
Nature Conservancy of Canada
245 Eglinton Ave. East, Suite 410
Toronto, ON M4P 3J1
The bills keep coming in, even though we are shut. If you usually use your envelopes to give, please consider mailing in your donation or putting it in the mail box by the parish hall door.
Better still, change to PAR and avoid having to remember each month. It’s so easy!
Despite the Jubilee relief granted by the Diocese for April, May, and June, our overall financial picture is tenuous at best and we mustn’t become complacent about the real costs of keeping St. Mark’s open as a living faith community, physically and spiritually.
Like it or not, we continue to pay for utilities and services of all kinds to keep us in good shape behind the scenes and our givings are simply not keeping up. Give from the heart!
St. Mark’s Annual FaithWorks Campaign Has Begun
FaithWorks is the annual appeal of the Anglican Diocese of Toronto. FaithWorks has been active since 1996. Ministry Partners provide help and hope to thousands of individuals and families caught up in the seemingly overwhelming challenges of homelessness, domestic violence, terminal illness, or the enormous pressures facing today’s youth, all exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Information packages have been be hand-delivered to your home. Please prayerfully consider your ability to help. Thank you!
Attic Treasures & Basement Bargains
Because St. Mark’s will not be open for general public use by August 15th, this sale cannot take place as was hoped. Thank you for your understanding.
TCS Grad Parade will include King St.
A parents’ committee has organized a real motorcade on Speech Day (‘virtual’ ceremonies only, this year) which will include a drive along King St.
Approved by the town and with a police escort, the cars are scheduled to leave the TCS Arena parking lot at 4pm on Fri. June 19, and the route will take them along King St. (and past St Mark’s), ending at the old Canadian Tire lot, where police will permit families to remain in their cars to mark the day.
Corpus Christi Sunday – June 14, 2020
St Mark’s Anglican Church, Port Hope
Presider: Fr Randy D. Murray,
Cantors: Kate and Sarah
Welcome and Opening Sentence
The Preces BCP p.20 Smith of Durham
Psalm 147.7-20 BCP p.518 Tone VIII.1
First Lesson Deuteronomy 8.2-16
Magnificat Tone VIII.2
Second Lesson John 6.51-58
Nunc Dimittis Tone I.4
Then shall be said the Confession of the Faith, called the Apostles’ Creed
I BELIEVE in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth: And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord, Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, Born of the Virgin Mary, Suffered under Pontius Pilate, Was crucified, dead, and buried: He descended into hell; The third day he rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, And sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Ghost; The holy Catholic Church; The Communion of Saints; The Forgiveness of sins; The Resurrection of the body, And the Life everlasting. Amen.
And after the Creed, further prayers will be sung, then:
OUR Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy Name, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; And forgive us our trespasses, As we forgive them that trespass against us; And lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil. Amen.
Anthem Ave verum Corpus Sir Edward Elgar
Ave verum Corpus, Natum ex Maria Virgine,
Vere passum, immolatum In cruce pro homine,
Cujus latus perforatum Vero fluxit sanguine:
Esto nobis praegustatum Mortis in examine.
O clemens, O pie! O dulcis Jesu, Fili Mariae. Amen.
Hail, real body, born of the Virgin Mary,
who truly suffered, sacrificed on the cross for mankind,
whose pierced side flowed with water and blood;
be unto us the foretaste in the trial of death.
O merciful, O holy one! O gentle Jesu, Son of Mary. Amen
THE grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Ghost, be with us all evermore. Amen.
Postlude: Toccata and Fugue in F
BuxWV 157 Dieterich Buxtehude
 Thich Nhat Hanh, To How Love (Berkeley, CA: Parallax Press, 2015) p. 28.
 Martin L. Smith, Love Set Free. (Boston: Cowley Publications, 1998). p. 23.