The Institute for Religion and Democracy (a non-profit group that resists the encroachment of liberalism in the churches) reported last week that Grace Cathedral in San Francisco recently held what they billed as a "Beyonce Mass." They conducted the Eucharist using music from the group Destiny’s Child. Now, don’t get me wrong. I like Beyonce. I actually saw her in concert once in Baltimore. She is a wonderful performer and gifted songwriter. She was not at the event. They simply used her music. I have no criticism of her. My criticism is reserved for the organizers of this event. As part of the “liturgy," the organizers of this gala composed a new version of the Lord's Prayer to be used during the service in place of the “old Lord’s Prayer." The Lord’s Prayer is called the Lord’s Prayer because Jesus, Our Lord, taught it to his disciples. It is, therefore, the sacred responsibility of the church to preserve His prayer and to pray it. But liberalism in religion is all about doing new things. The first premise of liberalism in religion is that if the church isn’t changing, it isn’t growing; and a church that isn’t growing is dying. By this reasoning, therefore, the more the church changes the better. So, if we can change the Lord’s Prayer and make it better, make it more “relevant” to the modern age, why not? The modern age is a feminist age. We have emerged from the prison of sexism and male chauvinism in which we were confined for so many centuries. Would not Our Lord, were he living today, also be a feminist? Would he not want us to have a prayer free from images of male dominance? Of course he would. Knowing this, the gurus of Grace Cathedral composed a new feminist or “womanist” version of the Lord’s Prayer. It goes as follows:
Our Mother, who is in heaven and within us,
We call upon your names.
Your wisdom come, your will be done
In all the spaces in which you dwell.
Give us each day sustenance and perseverance.
Remind us of our limits as we give grace to the limits of others.
Separate us from the temptation of empire,
But deliver us into community;
For you are the dwelling place within us
The empowerment around us and the celebration among us,
Now and forever.
I am sure that many people think that this is wonderful prayer that brings a much needed change to our religion; call it progress. There is a lot we could say about this prayer; blasphemy is a word that comes to mind. Let me just make two points. One is that we have a Mother in Heaven and she does go by many names. Her name is Mary but she is also known as Our Lady of the Rosary, Our Lady of Fatima, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Our Lady of Lourdes, The Immaculate Conception, Mother of Mercy, Queen of Heaven. The list goes on. Unfortunately, the gurus who composed this neo-pagan prayer to the goddess whom they believe dwells within us, were not thinking of her. There’s really no telling what or which deity they were thinking of or whether they were thinking at all. If they were thinking, they might have seen that this prayer is pure pantheism, a belief in the universal Spirit and in all spirits except the one and only Holy Spirit. They could never believe in Him; that would be too old fashioned. Either way this peon to new age narcissism is from liberals who are so anxious to change that they fail to see the heretical monster into which they have changed.
Or maybe they do see, but just don’t care. I have been waiting for a letter from the bishops denouncing this mockery of the Holy Eucharist, announcing that those who did this have been defrocked and sent packing. But I have not seen it yet. My guess is that we never will. Those who did this will no doubt be praised for their courage and prophetic voice and will soon be seated in the house of Bishops where they will be among other like–minded souls who also have been separated “from the temptation of empire,” whatever that means.
What it means to me is that this denomination called “Episcopal “has lost its mind. But that is old news. Anyone who has ever compared the 1928 Book of Common Prayer to the new one recognizes that this church lost its marbles long ago. Those of us who have stayed the course are like good sons and daughters. You don’t abandon your mother when she has dementia. But there are nights when you sit alone on the couch and cry and wonder aloud, “How much longer can this go on? How much worse can it get?”
Fr. Jansen String
Dates to Remember
Friday–Sat. May 11–12 Annual Convention of the Diocese of Maryland at Turf Valley ( George Miller will attend as our delegate. Anyone who is interest is welcome to come and be present )
Saturday May 12 Flower Sale on Rectory lawn 8 am–1 o’clock (Tom Collins does a great job organizing this event. Please come and buy flowers to support your church)
Sunday May 13, Mothers' Day Holy Eucharist 9 am, special Coffee Hour to follow
Sunday May 20, Day of Pentecost Holy Eucharist 9am (Please wear red in honor of the Holy Spirit)
Vestry Meeting to follow
Sunday May 27, Trinity Sunday Holy Eucharist 9 am ( Please wear white in honor of the Holy Trinity)
Pastoral notes; Keep the following people in your prayers:
Ed Kopicki is finally able to shake hands again! After four months in rehab Ruth Bunting is home, Tom Ogden is doing a great job caring for her; Judy Miller and her daughter Ginny Prietz are both at home fighting breast cancer and caring for each other; Dolores Bartol has not been able to get out and come to church in several months; it will be a year next month that Wes Green suffered a heart attack , he is still using a trach to breathe; Randy Harrison is still recovering from heart surgery with a wound that is slow to heal; a year later Pam Mancuso is still cancer free but Tony Mancuso had back surgery about six months ago and has not been able to return to work because of complications; Dr. Elise LaDouceur (Conni String’s daughter is due to give birth May 21, they’re expecting a boy to be named “Mel”! ). Some of you may remember Heather and her 12-year-old daughter Serenity, the last we heard Serenity has been taken to foster care and Heather is back on the street; keep them both in your prayers. Remember, if you have a prayer need you may call Cindy Kopicki 410 284 1665 and she will start the prayer chain for you.