CLERGY CORNER: What are your plans for the fall season?

Posted on 29 September 2016 by LeslieM

Now that most of us have had our summer vacations, it’s time to look at the calendar and plan for the things we can do this fall season. Our places of worship are certainly planning a full schedule of services and events to honor our Lord, encourage our fellowship and foster the commonweal. Our Lord is also making plans for each of us, and our enjoyment of what He has in store for us will not be nearly as costly as our vacations and will likely be more rewarding. Our Lord doesn’t charge for the splendors He has to give us!

Some of us are “morning people” and some of us are “evening people;” but it makes no difference to our Lord because He has gifts for us all. As for me, I’m a morning person and nothing gives me greater pleasure than to begin my day looking eastward at a glorious Florida sunrise and feeling the touch of our Lord in the warmth of His sun’s rays. I’m also an evening person, and how better can a day end than to spend some time in the coolness of a fall evening illuminated by the light of the moon which our Lord hung in the sky for our pleasure. These are times meant for reflection about our days, for wonderment at our Lord’s creation, for dialogue with Him, and to listen to what He has to say to us. If you include these times for reflection in your fall plans, our Lord will richly reward you for the time you spend with Him.

Our Lord has gifted us with Holy Scriptures so we can study and understand His will for us and make it a part of our lives. He has also inspired creative artists and enabled them to project His will in their artistry by using the language and imagery of their own generations. We are indeed fortunate here in South Florida to have so many venues where our Lord’s will is on display in the works of our creative artists – our museums are wonderful examples of this and many of them have “free admission days” – so you can enjoy them without even having to reach into your pocket! The Norton Museum, in West Palm Beach, has Paul Gauguin’s Christ in the Garden of Olives, a dramatic oil painting to help us understand Christ’s agony on the night before His crucifixion. The NSU Art Museum, in Fort Lauderdale, will soon offer a new exhibition of works by Anselm Kiefer, a contemporary German artist who depicts the human response to human suffering. Holy Scripture deals with this in the Book of Job; Kiefer deals with it with brush and paint. And then, there is the Pérez Art Museum in Miami. When you go there, please don’t miss the wonderfully moving painted plaster sculpture by George Segal of Abraham’s Farewell to Ishmael. It helps us understand that there are times our Lord may ask us to do something that is painful in the short term but needed in the long term. Make a museum visit part of your fall plans and you will have an opportunity to “read” Holy Scripture in a new and contemporary language.

And now for music. Why? Because as Thomas Carlyle said: “Music is the speech of angels.” You can make an argument that Holy Scripture is laid out like a classical symphony in four movements. First, there is chaos, until “the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” Then, there are generations of disobedience while mankind learned to live under our Lord’s laws until He “put His spirit within us, and caused us to walk in His statutes and keep His judgements.” Third, our Lord became incarnate and walked among us to make certain we understood He will keep every promise He ever made. And the symphonic story is resolved in the Book of Revelation. We see the Divine Presence on a throne, not dealing with chaos, but looking out upon a peaceful “sea of glass like unto crystal.”

We are very fortunate in South Florida because there are many places for us to go and hear the musical “speech of angels.” If you’ve got a few bucks, get a ticket to one of Seraphic Fire’s concerts. You ain’t heard an angel sing until you’ve heard them!

Finally, I’m the first to admit that I’m not as familiar as I should be with the music of our current generation. I don’t know how much of what they’re doing is a reflection of our Lord’s will in the world. If it isn’t, then I challenge our young musicians to listen to our Lord, and project His will in their music; it may be the first time their audience has ever heard from our Lord in a language they understand. That would be missionary work of the highest order.

Rev. M. Tracy Smith, SSA, is a rector at St. Peter’s Anglican Church at 1416 SE 2nd Terrace in Deerfield Beach, FL 33441. Morning prayer is Wednesday at 10 a.m., Holy Communion is Thursday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 10 a.m. For more information, call 954-695-0336.

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