We visited St. Peter’s Oakland today, this first Sunday in September, the sun a September sun, warm as though still holding summer but cooled with a brisk breeze. The Bay Area is clear this Labor Day weekend, the sister towns spread beneath a dome of blue. The air reminds me of going back to school in the fifties, those first days of early rising, skirt and sweater donned, saddle shoes shined, a boiled egg washed down with fresh/frozen orange juice, the walk up the hill to the bus stop carrying the stack of books in the crook of my elbow, close to my heart. The days were shortening, and soon we would be rising in the dark.
Before the opening procession moved up the aisle, the organist played the melody of that old childhood hymn, “I love to tell the story…” and I smiled. For I had been working feverishly on my story all week with my OakTara editor. Sometimes God’s timing is so perfect, it astounds me.
And for the Offertory we sang (for the third time this summer) my favorite hymn, “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty, early in the morning my song shall rise to thee…” Boulder First Pres, St. Thomas’, and now St. Peter’s. Such joy!
Father Pomroy preached on the Good Samaritan, the Gospel for today, Luke 10, the well known parable Jesus told about the priest and the Levite who did not help the wounded man on the side of the road, but the Samaritan, a man from a group scorned by the Jews, stopped to help. It is a story told in answer to the question, “If I must love my neighbor, then who is my neighbor?” The answer is, of course, everyone, but most particularly those with whom we have contact.
But our preacher shed light on another aspect of this tale. The lawyer who asked the question was looking for a “loophole,” a narrowing of commitment, a way to get around Christ’s commandment of love. Christ didn’t offer him a loophole. Just so, there are none in Christianity. We must believe it all, recite it all, live it all, give all of ourselves. There is no halfway, no being lukewarm as St. Paul says.
I was grateful for Father Pomroy’s words, for it is this whole legacy of faith that I have been immersed in telling. It is this legacy, as practiced by our Anglo-Catholic community, our Anglican Body of Christ, that forms the inheritance in my third novel, Inheritance.
I was grateful too that Inheritance is now on its way to the printers, and from there to Amazon, and from there (and other merchants) into the hearts and minds of a few friends and fans. The book cover is a scene taken from Glastonbury, where Joseph of Arimathea planted his flowering staff and the beginnings of Christianity in England took root.
And today, in St. Peter’s, I saw some of the flowering of that staff planted two thousand years ago. Thanks be to God.
www.SaintPetersOakland.com; 10:00 Sunday Mass, 6113 Lawton.