My dear friends,
The sixth Sunday of Easter is sometimes call Rogation Sunday, a term derived from the Latin word rogare which means “to ask.” In Western Christendom, the Rogation days were days of prayer and fasting which happened in the early summer. They were especially associated with intercession for the harvest, which in the Prayer Book tradition were observed on the Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday before Ascension Day. In 1559, Queen Elizabeth I ordered the “perambulation of the parish” at Rogationtide (a custom still observed in some places) where the priest and wardens walked around the boundary of a parish to be certain all knew just where those boundaries were, as well as who was inside them and, thereby, a parishioner.
Needless to say, for us at the Cathedral, such an observance must seem rather quaint and passé. We are most decidedly not in a rural location; the harvest of the fruits of the earth is remote from our reality. But an observance of Rogation Sunday here need not be ignored altogether. We often talk of being "a place for the Soul in the Heart of the City” but I wonder how we really live that out? There is a danger, of course, with this simply being an empty slogan; there is a danger that it will simply being something we say not something we are; there is a danger it will, in short, be a kind of pious falsehood.
This Cathedral Church has a particular ministry within Calgary itself, and within the Diocese of Calgary. All too often, I think, we tend to get caught up in the idea of being a cathedral without really understanding what being a cathedral is. Yes, we are the mother church of the diocese; we are the seat of the Bishop’s throne and, thereby of his authority; we are an important and historic corporation; we are a place where important diocesan and civic events are held; we try to embody the long and glorious traditions of Cathedral liturgy and music. And I am glad that you have seen fit to provide resources for the proper discharge of these key aspects of our common life. But all of this is easy – it is, even, expected. We all know this is what we are supposed to be doing. And we love it – and therein lies the trap.
It is easy for us fixate and obsess on the things we love, the things, we expect, the things we think we are supposed to be and do. These things require no imagination. But what if we were to look beyond what is expected, desirable, and comfortable? There is no denying the fact that the gospel calls us from a life that is easy, comfortable and sure into one which is uneasy, uncomfortable, and uncertain. Our imaginary Rogation procession will take us not just past gleaming and well-kept towers of commerce but also into seedy alleys and past drop-in shelters for the homeless. On the way, we will preach the redemption offered by Christ not only to the literate and well-educated but to the poor and despised of society whose humanity, nonetheless, calls out to the author of all things. And at the centre of our life will be this place, planted here in this strategic, if somewhat less than desirable and accessible, location from which week by week the Kingdom is bodied forth in bread and wine.
Does this place reflect the priorities of that Kingdom? Is it inclusive, or is it exclusive? Does it exist to point us away from this shabby world of division, strife and lostness towards the perfect realm of God’s majestic righteousness? Does it serve us and our own needs and, or do we serve God and all people in it? May God give us grace and strength that we may lay seriously to heart our desire to be a place for all souls in the heart of this city.
Grace and peace,
Upcoming at the Cathedral
On Friday, May 26 at 7:30 pm, we will begin a new series of "Congregational Connections." The speakers at this series will be members of the Cathedral Parish. The presenter will be Dr Vaughan Bowen who will give a talk entitled "It's Always Been About Him - A Surgeon's Tale." If you wish to attend, please RSVP the Cathedral office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Former Choristers' Reunion
On Saturday, June 3, there will be a special service of Choral Evensong at 4:30 pm. This will be the first of what we hope will become an annual event: a Former Choristers' Reunion. We have been in touch with dozens of former choristers and have invited them to join us (either in the choir or the congregation.) The music will be some of the grandest in the repertoire: George Dyson’s Evening Canticles in D and Charles Parry’s I Was Glad. Please plan on joining us as we welcome old friends back.
Archbishop Greg Kerr-Wilson is pleased to announce that late on the afternoon of Saturday, April 23, the Indigenous delegates of the Diocese of Calgary elected the Venerable Sidney Black to be Indigenous Bishop for Treaty 7 Territory. The consecration will take place at 11 am on Saturday, June 3 at the Arbor at Siksika. Please pray for Sidney and his family as he prepares for this important role.
The Open Cathedral program will be in full operation from May through October. Welcoming visitors into our Cathedral is important in so many ways. On a local level, it provides our neighbours with a place to sit and reflect, and to learn who we are. To visitors from across the country and around the world, we are able to share our history and our culture. And, being open and accessible provides us with opportunities for designations and funding. We have a strong core team, but in order to be open each weekday from 11:30-1:30, we require a few more volunteers. Training is provided, and everyone works in pairs. Please contact Ruth Parent at email@example.com for further information.