The New York Times has the moving story behind a musical offering that was made today at St. Bartholomew’s in midtown Manhattan.
It’s the story of Dr. Robert Marion, an uncommitted atheist whose life makes a sharp turn toward faith when he hears Rev. William Tully preach on questions of doubt and faith.
The rector readily admits that belief can seem like foolishness. But he also quotes from Paul: “God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.”
Over the years, Marion becomes interested in the poetry of Franz Wright. Wright’s poem “The Hawk” seem particularly penetrating, spiritually apt.
In the years to come, he gets the rights to the poem from Mr. Wright, a Catholic; he meets a composer named Evan Solot, a Jew who blows the shofar for his temple; he mentions his improbable dream to a patient, an elderly woman who had studied music at Juilliard. A fervent atheist herself, she promises on the spot to commission the composition in Dr. Marion’s name….
“Humans make all kinds of offerings,” Dr. Marion says. “We burn offerings. We give money. We write checks. This felt to me both less tangible and more concrete. To me, it captures the mystery of why we offer anything at all.”
It’s a busy Sunday at All Saints, Pasadena, CA, as well, Susan Russell writes, with plans to “baptize eleven adults and welcome 21 other new members.”
THIRTY-TWO new members of All Saints Church … folks who have decided after our 8-week new member class that they want to (as the rector puts it) make All Saints their spiritual headquarters and be part of the adventure of putting their faith into action as we work together to turn the human race into the human family.
Don’t tell me there aren’t people out there in the market for what the Episcopal Church has to offer! And it isn’t just where I hang out ….
I’m filing it all under Matthew 5:15 in hopes that the light shining out from St. Bart’s in the New York Times and from All Saints in Pasadena tomorrow as we welcome these new folks into the household God and invite them to share with us in Christ’s eternal priesthood will spread a little light unto everyone in the house.