Calendar

Open Doors

Monday, December 11, 2017

7:30 am – 6:30 pm, Fifth Avenue Entrance

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

7:30 am – 6:30 pm, Fifth Avenue Entrance

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Lucy

Collect:

7:30 am – 6:30 pm, Fifth Avenue Entrance

Thursday, December 14, 2017

7:30 am – 4:00 pm, Fifth Avenue Entrance
The Fifth Avenue doors close to the public at 4pm. They re-open at 4:45pm for those who would like to attend the concert, which begins at 5:30pm.

Friday, December 15, 2017

7:30 am – 6:30 pm, Fifth Avenue Entrance

Saturday, December 16, 2017

9:00 am – 5:00 pm, Fifth Avenue Entrance

Monday, December 18, 2017

7:30 am – 6:30 pm, Fifth Avenue Entrance

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

7:30 am – 6:30 pm, Fifth Avenue Entrance

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

7:30 am – 6:30 pm, Fifth Avenue Entrance

Thursday, December 21, 2017

SAINT THOMAS

December 21 is the feast day Saint Thomas the Apostle, which we transfer to Monday if December 21 falls on a Sunday. We celebrate Saint Thomas two other times through the year: (1) on Dedication Sunday (always the first Sunday of October), in which we celebrate the dedication of our church and therefore Saint Thomas as its patron saint, and (2) on Low Sunday (the Second Sunday of Easter), when the resurrected Christ shows himself to the doubting Thomas.

To learn more about Saint Thomas the Apostle, consider these sermons in the archive.

Collect:

Everliving God, who didst strengthen thine apostle Thomas with sure and certain faith in thy Son’s resurrection: Grant us so perfectly and without doubt to believe in Jesus Christ, our Lord and our God, that our faith may never be found wanting in thy sight; through him who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

7:30 am – 6:30 pm, Fifth Avenue Entrance

Friday, December 22, 2017

7:30 am – 6:30 pm, Fifth Avenue Entrance

Saturday, December 23, 2017

9:00 am – 3:00 pm, Fifth Avenue Entrance

Sunday, December 24, 2017

CHRISTMAS EVE

A bit on the history of the development of the feast called Christmas, in which the Church sets aside a day and season to celebrate the incarnation of God in Jesus:

About 1,700 years ago the Church settled on December 25 as Jesus’ birth date for the Christian Year. It seized upon the pagan feast of Natalis Solis Invictus, which among other things marked the lengthening of the light at the winter solstice. The Church appropriated this feast for the Nativity of Christ, baptizing it and reasoning that the Lord’s Incarnation was the beginning of the lengthening of the light of the Sun of Righteousness. So our feast of Christmas began by rubbing shoulders with secular or pagan festivals. Some writers of Antiquity complained that the new rising Christian movement was weakening the Roman Empire and that before long the old gods of Rome would be pushed out. The Emperor Constantine the Great, whose mother Helena was a devout Christian, had already ascribed his military ascendancy to the throne to a vision he had of the cross of Christ; and he had issued an Edict of Toleration for the formerly persecuted faith. Christianity now enjoyed imperial favor, and the celebration of Christmas adorned the Church’s new position.

One very good effect of Christmas in modern times has been the increased American Jewish observance of Hanukkah, which celebrates the victory of Judas Maccabeus over the pagan tyrant Antiochus IV Epiphanes in 167 BC. Antiochus was a king in one of the Hellenistic empires stemming from the conquests of Alexander the Great. He had ordered an altar to Zeus built in the Jerusalem Temple and had swine sacrificed on the Jewish altar. Hanukkah, or the Feast of Lights, celebrates the cleansing and dedication of the temple – it is the Feast of Dedication referenced in St. John 10:22-23 when Jesus walked in the temple in winter. You may find the original Hanukkah story in I Maccabees, chapters 1-4, in the Apocrypha. It is not only a Jewish feast; it is an important antecedent to the time of Christ.

By no means are all modern developments with regard to Christmas reason to lament, O tempora, O mores! The centennial observance of our current church building in 2013 shed light on the influence of the twentieth century on the way the Church celebrates Christmas – a very good influence indeed. In September 2013 we had our parish Hymn-Sing, featuring hymns that were sung a century ago in 1913. The surprise: not one Christmas hymn from that year would be familiar to us today.

The twentieth century has made all the difference. What happened?

The fact is, Christmas as we know and love it is largely the product of the great English choral foundations – collegiate chapels such as King’s College, Cambridge, and great churches such as Westminster Abbey and Saint Paul’s Cathedral, London. Particularly through the development and ensuing popularity of the services of Nine Lessons and Carols led by Boris Ord and David Willcocks at Kings, the beautiful carols, hymns and anthems we cherish made their way across the Atlantic and around the world – thanks in no small measure to recordings.

Before the twentieth century, Protestantism, deeply influenced by its puritan strain, regarded Christmas with suspicion as “popish.” In the nineteenth century, the Oxford and Anglo-Catholic movements promoted the liturgical celebration of Christmas. Pioneering hymnals such as Hymns Ancient and Modern brought the hymnody promoted by English High Churchmen to the pews; but this did not reach the United States and the Episcopal Church’s hymnal until our Hymnal 1916, which was only a beginning. Hymnal 1940 and Hymnal 1982 fully adopted the work of Anglo-Catholic musicians and hymnologists. It is hard to believe, but in 1913 they did not sing Hark the Herald Angels Sing or O Come All Ye Faithful at Saint Thomas Church Fifth Avenue.

What Saint Thomas has now is in many people’s opinion as good as it gets for Christmas music and liturgy. But we are deeply indebted to the Church of England’s great choral foundations, which we both emulate and rival, for this wonderful repertoire.

Collect:

Almighty God, who hast given us thy only-begotten Son to take our nature upon him and as at this time to be born of a pure virgin: Grant that we, being regenerate and made thy children by adoption and grace, may daily be renewed by thy Holy Spirit; through the same our Lord Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Spirit ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

10:00 am – 12:30 pm
The Fifth Avenue doors open at 10am and close shortly after the end of the 11am service. They re-open at 3pm for those who would like to attend the service beginning at 4pm, and then re-open again at 10pm for those who would like to attend the service beginning at 11pm.
12:30 pm – 1:15 pm, Saint Thomas Church (meet in Narthex, just inside the Fifth Avenue entrance)
3:00 pm, Fifth Avenue Doors
The Fifth Avenue doors open at 3pm. If you arrive before then, you may line up along Fifth Avenue.
10:00 pm, Fifth Avenue Doors
The Fifth Avenue doors open at 10pm. If you arrive before then, you may line up along Fifth Avenue.

Monday, December 25, 2017

CHRISTMAS DAY

A bit on the history of the development of the feast called Christmas, in which the Church sets aside a day and season to celebrate the incarnation of God in Jesus:

About 1,700 years ago the Church settled on December 25 as Jesus’ birth date for the Christian Year. It seized upon the pagan feast of Natalis Solis Invictus, which among other things marked the lengthening of the light at the winter solstice. The Church appropriated this feast for the Nativity of Christ, baptizing it and reasoning that the Lord’s Incarnation was the beginning of the lengthening of the light of the Sun of Righteousness. So our feast of Christmas began by rubbing shoulders with secular or pagan festivals. Some writers of Antiquity complained that the new rising Christian movement was weakening the Roman Empire and that before long the old gods of Rome would be pushed out. The Emperor Constantine the Great, whose mother Helena was a devout Christian, had already ascribed his military ascendancy to the throne to a vision he had of the cross of Christ; and he had issued an Edict of Toleration for the formerly persecuted faith. Christianity now enjoyed imperial favor, and the celebration of Christmas adorned the Church’s new position.

One very good effect of Christmas in modern times has been the increased American Jewish observance of Hanukkah, which celebrates the victory of Judas Maccabeus over the pagan tyrant Antiochus IV Epiphanes in 167 BC. Antiochus was a king in one of the Hellenistic empires stemming from the conquests of Alexander the Great. He had ordered an altar to Zeus built in the Jerusalem Temple and had swine sacrificed on the Jewish altar. Hanukkah, or the Feast of Lights, celebrates the cleansing and dedication of the temple – it is the Feast of Dedication referenced in St. John 10:22-23 when Jesus walked in the temple in winter. You may find the original Hanukkah story in I Maccabees, chapters 1-4, in the Apocrypha. It is not only a Jewish feast; it is an important antecedent to the time of Christ.

By no means are all modern developments with regard to Christmas reason to lament, O tempora, O mores! The centennial observance of our current church building in 2013 shed light on the influence of the twentieth century on the way the Church celebrates Christmas – a very good influence indeed. In September 2013 we had our parish Hymn-Sing, featuring hymns that were sung a century ago in 1913. The surprise: not one Christmas hymn from that year would be familiar to us today.

The twentieth century has made all the difference. What happened?

The fact is, Christmas as we know and love it is largely the product of the great English choral foundations – collegiate chapels such as King’s College, Cambridge, and great churches such as Westminster Abbey and Saint Paul’s Cathedral, London. Particularly through the development and ensuing popularity of the services of Nine Lessons and Carols led by Boris Ord and David Willcocks at Kings, the beautiful carols, hymns and anthems we cherish made their way across the Atlantic and around the world – thanks in no small measure to recordings.

Before the twentieth century, Protestantism, deeply influenced by its puritan strain, regarded Christmas with suspicion as “popish.” In the nineteenth century, the Oxford and Anglo-Catholic movements promoted the liturgical celebration of Christmas. Pioneering hymnals such as Hymns Ancient and Modern brought the hymnody promoted by English High Churchmen to the pews; but this did not reach the United States and the Episcopal Church’s hymnal until our Hymnal 1916, which was only a beginning. Hymnal 1940 and Hymnal 1982 fully adopted the work of Anglo-Catholic musicians and hymnologists. It is hard to believe, but in 1913 they did not sing Hark the Herald Angels Sing or O Come All Ye Faithful at Saint Thomas Church Fifth Avenue.

What Saint Thomas has now is in many people’s opinion as good as it gets for Christmas music and liturgy. But we are deeply indebted to the Church of England’s great choral foundations, which we both emulate and rival, for this wonderful repertoire.

Collect:

Almighty God, who hast given us thy only-begotten Son to take our nature upon him and as at this time to be born of a pure virgin: Grant that we, being regenerate and made thy children by adoption and grace, may daily be renewed by thy Holy Spirit; through the same our Lord Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Spirit ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

10:00 am – 12:30 pm, Fifth Avenue Doors

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

SAINT JOHN

Apostle and Evangelist

Saint John the Evangelist was the only one of the apostles who did not suffer martyrdom. The young Beloved Disciple lived, says the tradition, to quite an old age. Although Jesus called him and his brother James “sons of thunder,” and although John could be fierce against heresy and false teaching (especially those who denied God’s Incarnation in Christ); yet this last story about John throws soft warm light back upon his whole career as a disciple, indeed Christ’s beloved disciple:

As he grew old and infirm, John’s followers in the Church would bring him in on his bed into the assembly at the Eucharist, where the old man would simply repeat, over and over, “My little children, love one another; love one another; love one another.” Sometimes the flock found the repetition a little tedious. Perhaps we would too. But it is a sentiment, a commandment, which bears much repeating. “This I command you,” said Jesus, “that you love one another, even as I have loved you.” No wonder Saint John kept on saying and writing it.And so let us love one another. When we love, as the old apostle says, we abide in life; when we do not love, we abide in death. So by all means let us love in deed and in truth.

Collect:

Shed upon thy Church, we beseech thee, O Lord, the brightness of thy light; that we, being illumined by the teaching of thine apostle and evangelist John, may so walk in the light of thy truth, that we may at length attain to the fullness of life everlasting; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

9:00 am – 1:00 pm, Fifth Avenue Entrance

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

SAINT STEPHEN

There are several noteworthy details about the martyrdom of Stephen. Stephen was one of a group of the first Deacons in the Church who were called and ordained to minister to the poor widows, so that the apostles could continue their presiding ministry of preaching. Yet Stephen wound up making a speech for Christ to his fellow Jews that cost him his life. He pulled no punches. Neither did his opponents, who seized him to stone him to death. Stephen then cried out as he saw Jesus standing at the right hand of God. Many writers have commented that the Lord was seen standing (rather than seated) because he identified with Stephen as his first martyr/witness. The identification with Jesus continues, because Stephen, as he died, prayed the Lord to forgive his killers and then commended his spirit to Jesus just as the Lord had done to the Father.

One other detail is the presence of the young man who consented to Stephen’s death and kept the garments of those who stoned him, the man named Saul. He is none other than Saint Paul the Apostle before his conversion. Saul had not apparently known Jesus in the flesh but was a leading persecutor of the Church. Perhaps, when Saul was struck blind on the Damascus Road, when Christ revealed himself to him, perhaps the voice of the risen Lord sounded like Stephen’s: “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” Or perhaps like a harmony of the voices of all those Saul had hurt or imprisoned. Felix Mendelssohn’s beautiful oratorio, Paulus, uses a female chorus for this line, perhaps reflecting Christ speaking through the whole Church.

Collect:

We give thee thanks, O Lord of glory, for the example of the first martyr Stephen, who looked up to heaven and prayed for his persecutors to thy Son Jesus Christ, who standeth at thy right hand; where he liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

11:00 am – 6:30 pm, Fifth Avenue Entrance

Thursday, December 28, 2017

THE HOLY INNOCENTS

The children known as the Holy Innocents are mentioned in Saint Matthew 2:16-18: “Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying, in Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.” The Church venerates these children as martyrs; Saint Augustine writes “they died not only for Christ, but in his stead.”

Collect:

We remember this day, O God, the slaughter of the holy innocents of Bethlehem by the order of King Herod. Receive, we beseech thee, into the arms of thy mercy all innocent victims; and by thy great might frustrate the designs of evil tyrants and establish thy rule of justice, love, and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

7:30 am – 6:15 pm, Fifth Avenue Entrance

Friday, December 29, 2017

7:30 am – 6:15 pm, Fifth Avenue Entrance

Saturday, December 30, 2017

9:00 am – 3:00 pm, Fifth Avenue Entrance

Sunday, December 31, 2017

THE FIRST SUNDAY AFTER CHRISTMAS DAY

Today's Gospel, in which Saint John unfolds the mystery of the Incarnation, is also read at Lessons & Carols and on Christmas Day. Over the years there have been many sermons on this passage, including:

The Threefold Birth of the Son (2011) by Fr Mead
Translation (2010) by Fr Daniels
Where Art Thou? (2009) by Fr Austin via Fr Mead
A Sermon for the First Sunday after Christmas Day (2008) by Fr Stafford
The Light Shines On, and the Darkness is Clueless (2007) by Fr Austin
Christmas Day 2007 by Fr Mead
Light (2006) by Fr Austin
Christ is God (2006) by Fr Mead
The Scandal of the Incarnation (2001) by Fr Mead

Collect:

Almighty God, who hast poured upon us the new light of thine incarnate Word: Grant that the same light, enkindled in our hearts, may shine forth in our lives; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

12:30 pm – 1:15 pm, Saint Thomas Church (meet in Narthex, just inside the Fifth Avenue entrance)

Monday, January 1, 2018

9:00 am – 1:00 pm, Fifth Avenue Entrance

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

7:30 am – 6:30 pm, Fifth Avenue Entrance

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

7:30 am – 6:30 pm, Fifth Avenue Entrance

Thursday, January 4, 2018

7:30 am – 6:30 pm, Fifth Avenue Entrance

Friday, January 5, 2018

7:30 am – 6:30 pm, Fifth Avenue Entrance

Saturday, January 6, 2018

9:00 am – 3:00 pm, Fifth Avenue Entrance

Sunday, January 7, 2018

12:30 pm – 1:15 pm, Saint Thomas Church (meet in Narthex, just inside the Fifth Avenue entrance)