Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Brian’s Reflection: Wednesday, June 11, 2008
The Feast of St. Barnabas the Apostle

It is absolutely unimportant in the eyes of God how many people
follow the "Anglican tradition" of belief and practice. It is of the
greatest importance how many people there are who have come
to know and love our Lord because of what we Anglicans have
said and done.

- Bishop Stephen F. Bayne, Jr. (1908-1974), ordained priest on
this day, 1930, at the Chapel of the Intercession, NYC [His con-
secration as a bishop was on the Feast of Barnabas as well.]

Stephen Bayne was, to me, a wonderful, wise, dry-humoured, vulnerable, gloriously blessed and flawed man - just like the rest of us human beings! I loved him! He had been Bishop of Olympia, and then the first Executive Officer of the Anglican Communion. When I met him, he was on the staff of the General Seminary, and then the Dean. I was a monk at the time, at GTS, and he would greet me in the lobby with the words, “Morning Monk!”. And when I refused to take the test on the 1928 Book of Common Prayer, he said simply, in his gravelly martini voice, “No screeds, monk!”.

He used to come up to my “rooms” for cocktails before Evensong every now and then. He had serious breathing issues – either emphysema or tuberculosis (according to the then bishop of Puerto Rico). I would send down a martini to the first floor landing, and he would amble slowly upstairs, and have his second upon arrival at the third floor. His lungs prevented him from ordaining me to the diaconate at Holy Cross Monastery – how sorry I am, as I would have delighted in that! He was in the hospital ………. getting people to bring him cigarettes and scotch, I heard!

Anyway: he was one of the most wonderfully human humans I ever met! He is one of the few human beings I aspire to be like. He wrote a prayer, based, I think, on Archbishop Temple. I share it with you. (I dislike the “conqueror in triumph” bit, but the rest, wonderful!) I use it often in the Liturgy.

O Lord,
we ask You not to lift us out of life,
but to prove Your power within it.
We do not ask for tasks more suited to our strength
but for strength equal to our tasks.
Give us the vision that inspires
and the strength that endures.
And give us, O Lord,
the grace of Jesus Christ,
Who wore our flesh like a king's robe,
and who walked the earth like a conqueror in triumph,
and who now lives and reigns
with You and the Holy Spirit,
One God, World without end.


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