About Bishop Andrew St. John

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So far Bishop Andrew St. John has created 35 blog entries.

The Easter Mystery — Ascension Thursday

Yesterday was the Feast of the Ascension of Our Lord. I remember a sermon on Ascension Thursday some years back when the preacher claimed that "important things happen on Thursdays." He we referring to the Institution of the Eucharist on Maundy Thursday as well as to the Ascension. These days both for convenience and accepting certain realities, we are permitted to celebrate the Ascension on the following Sunday as we will do this Sunday. At least that way we get to sing the wonderful Ascension hymns and to hear the Ascension texts from Luke and Acts. In our recent Adult Christian Education classes on the development of the New Testament we looked at Luke/Acts, "One story in two parts." The Ascension is only mentioned in Luke/Acts and for good measure is mentioned twice. Luke's Gospel ends with the Ascension thus bringing to a close the "orderly account" of the life of Jesus, while Acts begins with the Ascension as the commencement of the account of the life of the Church....No longer is the Risen Christ bounded by time and place but moves beyond these limitations to the universal dimension of heaven itself. All our spatial language is to some degree metaphorical. There is a sense that all that we try to give language to with regard to spiritual realities is futile since they are "beyond language." But be that as it may, our celebrations of the three aspects of the Easter Mystery: Resurrection, Ascension and Pentecost; a "celebration in three stages" if you like; helps we mere mortals to grasp the full dimensions of the Easter Faith. So, let those Alleluias roll on up to and including the Feast of Pentecost itself.

The Easter Mystery — Ascension Thursday 2018-05-09T18:40:14+00:00

In Remembrance of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps

On Wednesday, April 25, this week was the Feast of St. Mark the Evangelist. That day coincides with Anzac Day, an annual commemoration for Australians and New Zealanders marking the landing on April 25, 1915, of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZACS) on the beach at Gallipoli, Turkey, as part of the planned invasion to capture the Dardanelles and cut off the Ottoman Turks (who had allied with the Germans). It was the first and only time Australians and New Zealanders went to war as a united force. As the only Australian or New Zealand cleric in town as it were I get involved each year in the New York commemorations: a service on the nearest Sunday in the Anzac Memorial Garden atop the British Pavilion at the Rockefeller Center; and a Dawn Service at the Vietnam War Memorial in Water St. in Lower Manhattan on the actual day (the 1915 landing took place at dawn)....

In Remembrance of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps 2018-04-27T20:29:23+00:00

The New Birth of Eastertide

My latest and sixteenth great nephew or niece was born here in New York to my niece, Phoebe, and her husband, Mathias Mueller, on Easter Monday. They have given him the grand name, Otto Richard St John Mueller! He is surely destined for great things. But there is nothing quite like a new birth in Eastertide to bring home the wonder of new life and resurrection.

The New Birth of Eastertide 2018-04-09T19:58:33+00:00

Lift High His Cross

One of the most powerful experiences of my spiritual life was spending a month in Jerusalem and the Holy Land in 1993 undertaking a course, “The Bible and the Holy Land,” at St George’s College in Jerusalem. During that time, we visited many ancient sites throughout the region. But at its heart were the holy sites in Jerusalem itself associated with the events of Holy Week. As a modern pilgrim visiting ancient sites which have often been built over again and again you have to use your imagination while noting the archeological clues. But for me the most memorable experience of the course was walking the Via Dolorosa, the Way of the Cross, with 25 members of the class, carrying a large wooden cross.....This cross, this instrument of cruel death had become paradoxically the sign of healing, of reconciliation between God and humankind, a sign of new life and hope. From feeling unworthy to carry the cross, I felt humbled and then deeply honored to carry the cross of Jesus. After walking for over an hour and a half we wended out way up the Via Dolorosa to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher where we completed our walk and our devotions. We walked back to the College in silence, deep in our own thoughts.

Lift High His Cross 2018-03-26T16:56:36+00:00

Changes of Seasons — Changes in Life

We are in the midst of a transitional time in terms of the seasons: Winter is transitioning into Spring with all its equinoctial storms, gales, and general unsettled weather. We say: "Winter one day; Spring the next." It has little to do with climate change (amazing how all weather seems to be blamed on that these days!) but is part of well-established weather patterns. If you don't believe me just look around you at what is happening in nature: the forsythias and crocuses are in flower; the trees and shrubs are budding; even the birds are singing. Nature has its way! It is not surprising that our church year is built in part around what is happening in nature. In the deep mid-winter we celebrated the 3 seasons of light: Christmas; Epiphany and Candlemas. The current season of Lent with its more sober spirit reflecting the rather dreary weather leads into all the riotous joyfulness of Easter and Spring. These particular transitions are familiar to us.

Changes of Seasons — Changes in Life 2018-03-13T16:42:20+00:00

The Selection of Matthias The Apostle

Tomorrow happens to be the Feast of St. Matthias, the apostle chosen to replace the traitor Judas. You can read the account of the search process and outcome in Acts 1: 15-26. With the death of Judas by his own hand it was seen as important to maintain the 12-fold Apostolic leadership as founded by Jesus. In terms of qualifications it was deemed that a person who had known Jesus throughout his earthly ministry should “become with us a witness to his resurrection.” That is not a bad description of what Christian ministry is all about. We are all called by our baptism to be “witnesses of the resurrection of Jesus.”

The Selection of Matthias The Apostle 2018-02-21T19:53:44+00:00

Ways To A More Spiritual Lent

As a child I was always fascinated by my maternal grandmother’s rather ostentatious observance of Lent. She would make sure that we all knew that she had given up sugar in her many cups of tea for Lent! Even as a boy I found this somewhat amusing and questioned whether it had much to do with God. There is nothing wrong with the practices of self-denial and of abstinence from certain foods or alcohol or other activities during Lent....

Ways To A More Spiritual Lent 2018-02-16T16:49:49+00:00

A Few Words on the Feast of the Presentation of Christ in the Temple

Today is the Feast of the Presentation of Christ in the Temple, often known by its nickname, Candlemas. It is the third feast of light along with Christmas and Epiphany illuming the darkness of winter. However, I will be celebrating it in Australia where it is summer time with long light-filled days! I had always found it a difficult feast to celebrate and make full sense of in the southern hemisphere. It took my time in London in the 1970s to really appreciate the full meaning of the feast....

A Few Words on the Feast of the Presentation of Christ in the Temple 2018-02-07T23:50:15+00:00

Elections in the Episcopal Church & The Parish

As we prepare for our Annual Meeting this Sunday it is helpful to look back at the history of the Episcopal Church and give thanks for the institution it is today. Some of us have been enjoying studying this history in recent Adult Education classes. I certainly found it helpful in realizing the distinctiveness of the Episcopal Church within the family of churches which make up the Anglican Communion....

Elections in the Episcopal Church & The Parish 2018-01-18T00:01:23+00:00

As Christmas Ends…Epiphany Begins

Today (January 5) is the Twelfth Day of Christmas and tomorrow (January 6) is the Feast of the Epiphany (we will keep it on Sunday). The Epiphany or to give it its alternative name, The Manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles, is the second of the Feasts of Light that illuminate the darkness of Winter. Christmas, Epiphany and Candlemas (the Feast of the Presentation on February 2) all celebrate the Light of Christ which scatters the darkness of sin, evil and death. I can remember so clearly my first Northern winter in England in the early Seventies when I experienced these three festivals in their traditional setting....

As Christmas Ends…Epiphany Begins 2018-01-03T17:37:41+00:00