June 7, 2019: Footnotes at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine

From Fr. Steven

One of the most unusual sources of "pastoral care" I received came from a footnote to a letter written by the French writer Gustave Flaubert to his friend Maxime DuCamp in June of 1852.

In the letter, Flaubert expresses frustration with his friend's insistence that he move to Paris to join the "literary elite" and begin his writing career. At the time, Flaubert was living out in the country at his family home, and he was just starting to write, with great difficulty, his astonishing novel Madame Bovary:

Mon cher ami

It seems to me that where I am concerned you suffer from a tic, or an incurable lack of comprehension that vitiates your judgment... I shall merely tell you that all the words you use -- "hurry," "this is the moment," "it is high time," "your place will be taken," "become established" ... are for me a vocabulary devoid of sense.

"Get somewhere?"--where? To the position of MM. Murger, Feuillet, Monselet, Arsène Houssaye, Taxile Delord, Hippolyte Lucas, and six dozen others? Thank you.

After that "thank you," the editor and translator Francis Steegmuller adds the following footnote: 

The present obscurity of these names speaks for itself.

It is especially easy for those of us who live in New York City to get caught up in the hype of whatever career we have chosen--who is up and who is down, who is hot and who is not. We can all come up with a list of people in our fields who seem so famous now and yet, within a generation, they and their work will turn to dust and be forgotten. 

As worshippers at the Cathedral, however, we don't have to read Flaubert's letters to be reminded of the importance of not getting distracted by the glitterati, or the literati, or whatever.

The very stones of the Cathedral themselves preach the imperishable Gospel message: That no matter how many times we betray God and crucify his Son upon the Cross of Worldly Acclaim or Cultural Respectability, no matter how many times we are faithless to the mission entrusted to us, Jesus always remains faithful—"for he cannot deny himself."

The Rev. Steven Lee

From Marsha and Tim

Friday, June 7, 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM (Tonight!) Cathedral House Conference Room   Action Potluck/Sanctuary Neighborhoods  -- a chance to learn what you might be able to do to help asylum seekers

Did you know that we are surrounded by a network of volunteers from many faith communities that are devoted to providing direct support to families affected by cruel immigration policies?   What role can the Cathedral play in helping people struggling to find sanctuary?  How can the congregation help asylum seekers as they wait for their court dates?  Is there a role for us?  Come learn more and hear from those who are already involved.  RSVP to wardens@saintsaviour.org    Or just show up!!!
Saturday, June 8, 10:30 AM: Diocesan Confirmation Service, Cathedral Nave

Come celebrate as youth from across the Diocese of New York, including from the Cathedral Congregation, are confirmed and received into the church.
Sunday June 9 PENTECOST / Second Sunday, 12:30 PM: Cathedral House

All rolled into one:  Pentecost with baptisms at both the 9:00 and 11:00 a.m. services, special readings in multiple languages at the 11:00.  AND THEN….

Second Sunday Strawberry festival! The Strawberry festival will be a lovely opportunity to celebrate with the five Saint Saviour members who were confirmed on Saturday and their families.  There will be lunch, a special cake and strawberries.  To top it all off, the Congregation will be sharing pounds of strawberries with the Cathedral Community Cares soup kitchen.     

Wednesday, June 12, 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM:  SAGE Table event introducing “Stonewall Out Loud”  

A SAGE TABLE event will take place to introduce the idea of capturing stories related to the LGBT experience. SAGE is working in partnership Story Corps on the Stonewall Out Loud project.  Founded in 2003, Story Corps is a national nonprofit oral history project based in Brooklyn whose mission is “to preserve and share humanity’s stories in order to build connections between people and create a more just and compassionate world”.  The Stonewall Out Loud project is gathering the stories of LGBT people who were alive before Stonewall occurred in 1969.   At the Sage Table event on June 12, Tim Farrell will introduce project, will play some sample audio clips, and encourage folks to pair up to share (and rehearse) their stories in a setting that is comfortable, supportive and "low-stakes." Then, if people are so moved to want to record their stories for this project, they will be helped to do that.

Sunday, June 23 4:00 PM:  Come to a special Choral Evensong followed by a party to celebrate Pride month.  Food, drink, entertainment! 

Looking ahead—Back Packs

July and August things get slower-- the Cathedral heats up, fans whirl, people go off on vacation.  The one major project that will be taken on is collecting funds for the Back Pack project.  Last year we collected enough to fill 48 bags for children up to the 4th grade.  This year we hope to add bags for older children, 4th – 8th grade.   Once we have gotten the supply lists and found the best prices we can, we will let you know how much it will cost to fill a bag.  We hope to stuff and bless the bags a little earlier than last year so that they can be given out well in advance of the start of the school year.  We enjoyed this very concrete project that was a gift to children in our neighborhood whose parents have a hard time filling those bags for school.

Enjoy the week ahead!
Marsha and Tim