One Bright Spot

“It is well known that the ritual of St. Peter’s is not a mere aesthetic embellishment but the outward expression of a great reality. It exactly meets the wants of those who have been taught to value their Lord’s Sacramental Presence; they rejoice to see His Throne made glorious, His priests ordering themselves as His representatives, and the whole arrangement of the service typical of its heavenly counterpart. The poor and uneducated are thus taught by the eye and ear, as well as by the understanding; and when they find that those who set these great truths before them in the ritual of the Church are at the same time commending their priestly office in the daily sacrifice of their lives, they acknowledge the truth and consistency of the doctrine. Surely those who know the trials and hardships of the working classes, the dreariness of their homes, the dark and cheerless surroundings of their work, and the few innocent pleasures which are within their reach, cannot deny them the gratification to be derived from the one bright spot in their neighborhood. To many the church is their only quiet retreat, the daily sacrifice or service the one happy occupation; all that they have to soothe and cheer them in the privations of a hard life. … Festival seasons duly observed; vestments, processions, lights, incense, choral services, flowers, pictures; music-grand, hearty, and inspiriting; the details of ceremonial carried out carefully and reverently; — these accessories of worship are the rightful claim of the clergy and people of such a church as St. Peter’s. The people love and glory their church. It is their home-it is God’s, but it is also theirs-and they feel a just pride in its adornment….But their love goes far deeper than this. They have found by experience that the whole system and teaching of the church meet the special wants of their spiritual life. Its reality, its heartiness, its outward manifestation, are a constant witness to themselves and others of the continual sacrifice which they should offer of their lives to the service of God. They feel its influence on themselves; they see it in their families; they carry it with them into the streets, and courts, and alleys in which they live.”

Fr. Charles Fuge Lowder, 21 Years at S. George’s Mission

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