Sunday, May 22, 2016

Trinity Marching Orders

This is an update of a post originally published in 2012. 

Today is Trinity Sunday, and I stopped to reflect on how long the Trinity has been a part of my life.

As a child attending Trinity Grammar School, the following was our Alma Mater,
"O Trinity we sing to thee, our love and praises hear and see. Be with us now and always give the strength we need to grow and live. O guide us well and make us free to honor and remember thee."
That Alma Mater is as fitting a praise of the Holy Trinity as one can give. No need to sermonize any further.

In grammar school, we had chapel daily and "big church" on Wednesdays. I can't say that I remember any of the sermons on the Trinity I heard back then, but of all the things that Trinity School taught me, the most important skill was the practice of being still and quiet in daily prayer with others in a sacred space. The importance of this earthly trinity of people, place, and worship remains one lesson that did "take".

Another lesson came from the song we had to sing during our sixth grade graduation ceremony, and that is the lesson to always look heavenward for Truth,

Come my friends and comrades
We’ll sing a song today
As on the path of learning
We take our happy way
Oh sing... our song... today...ay...ay...ay...ay. 
 
Chorus: We’re marching, marching together
To hills far away.
On the path of learning and duty
We’re marching today,
And we will never forget our school days
When truth shone on high
So march, march on my comrades,
Truth’s still in the sky.
 
Sing then friends and comrades
Wherever we may be,
And always we'll remember
Our days at Trinity
Oh sing... our song... so free...ee...ee...ee...ee.
       
Chorus:
We’re marching, marching together
To hills far away.
On the path of learning and duty
We’re marching today
And we will never forget our school days
When truth shone on high
So march, march on my comrades,
Truth’s still in the sky.
I believe the words were written by the school's founder and our Librarian, Miss Aiken. This was back during the Cold War and we always suspected Miss Aiken of being a Communist because of the repetitive use of the word "comrades."

Sadly, on one of my visits to my old school and its historic church, I saw that the Wednesday speaker series invited people to learn about "being a good Muslim parent in the modern world". I was also disappointed in the Sunday sermon. I was obliged to write a tactful letter to the preacher regarding the negative comments he made in the course of his sermon about evangelists and fundamentalists. His reply was that he said nothing wrong, and that he hoped I found a church where the preaching was more to my liking.

I was still shaking the dust from my shoes over that one, when I returned to deliver the homily for my mother's funeral. The priest sat silently as started with Matthew 5:8 and quoted
Athanasius (373), then Richard Sibbes (or Sibbs) (1577–1635), John Newton, and finally the Anglican evangelical great, J.C. Ryle,  first Anglican bishop of Liverpool,  1885.  I preached on the subject of Heaven as something that is rarely spoken about from the Episcopal pulpits these days. I hope the lesson "took". At least the roof didn't fall down and the priest didn't say one positive or negative word about my sermon.

Thank you Trinity church, I shall return one final time. In the meantime, I have been given my marching orders.
Marching on my comrades...
Oh sing... our song... so free...ee...ee...ee...ee.

5 comments:

  1. 'I hope the lesson "took".'

    One can but hope, brother in Christ, but, given my last vicar whose theological outlook wasn't too different to the priest at your school's church, it was probably a foreign language to him. It certainly was for my priest, who I suspect is an agnostic or an atheist. He ridiculed me in front of other congregants for my love of the writings of Church fathers and the great Reformers.

    May God continue to bless you on this Trinity Sunday and in the season ahead.

    Churchmouse

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    1. Thank you and God bless you and spousemouse too.

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  2. Pewster, you still haven't mastered the art of modern sermons. Pepper your creation with humorous references to popular culture icons, and be sure to quote popular music lyrics. In that way, our church will become more - uh - popular.

    Nick Goomba (fradgan)

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    Replies
    1. And don't forget to toss in a few anecdotes about what the grandchildren did last week!

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