A Letter from ‘Father B’

Spanish Fort, Alabama
The Feast of Saint Barnabas, Apostle, 2014
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

Beloved in Christ:

Thanks be to God…..and thanks to you, from this old D’m Yankee, who, right at the end of the procession on the Day of Pentecost, found himself in the wrong seat!

Preachers are to preach — so, indulge me…..

The Prayer Book lists seven “Principal Feasts” in the Church Year (page 15). Unhappily, we pay little attention to some of the seven. Traditionally, three “Great Feasts” do get some attention, in one way or another: Christmas, Easter and Pentecost. The Church, and the world, probably do a fairly good job with keeping Christmas. The world generally misses Easter. However, the Church sometimes is over-concerned with how many white lily plants one can put in the church building. Pentecost is completely missed, not only by the world; but, often, also by the Church, not always sure what it is about.

NOT SO AT ALL SAINTS…..and, the People of God in that place welcomed the Branscomb clan, allowing them to bring the remembrance of some of the milestones of their pilgrimage to the Font and the Altar of the parish church. It was truly a Day of celebration. The church remembered the Mighty Acts of God, especially the gift of the Holy Spirit – the “…giver of Life…” – a gift that is truly present and bearing fruit in this remarkable parish.

The Branscombs have a favorite icon – one that depicts Abraham and Sarah entertaining the strangers at the Oaks of Mamre. The story is told in the Book of Genesis. I truly believe that that icon, which is sometimes called, The Icon of Hospitality, should hang at the entrance of every church, as a reminder of our Lord’s words, “…welcome the stranger.”

And strangers the Branscombs were to many of you. Yet, you welcomed us, and rejoiced with us. There were lovely flowers, and a seat of honor (once this old man found the right one!), with words and songs, and the breaking of bread. We became fellow-worshippers of the Living God, present in that Holy Place known as All Saints Church.

We are grateful to be so welcomed and honored.

Thanks be to God, indeed.

Blessings+ to all,
Faithfully,

Wm Maurice Branscomb+
The Reverend Canon