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One can imagine the maelstrom of emotions that must have been in the heart of this young woman. Betrothed yet not yet married she is confronted by the archangel and presented with the extraordinary annunciation that she will carry God within her in a way hitherto unknown. Her womb will carry salvation for the world. But she is not coerced, nor is she forced. Yes she is afraid, yes she is astonished and yes she is perplexed, but neither fear, amazement nor incomprehensibility are able to deter her faithfulness. Her faithfulness is the source of her grace and her favor. She assents. Mary chooses to be faithful in the most extraordinary of ways in the most extraordinary of moments for the most extraordinary of days. But perhaps the painting is correct. Perhaps in that moment there is a premonition of pain; a posture not of defiance but of faithful expectation of what is to come.

As a good friend once reminded me, what we know is that Mary was the first to say yes to God’s particular grace for her. Maybe there were others. Maybe the angel had traveled through time and place searching among the grace filled women of Israel. Maybe others succumbed to fear. Maybe others were driven mad by the angel’s presence or message. Maybe others simply refused, unable to comprehend, incapable of carrying the holy burden the Spirit offered. Maybe the pain of the angel’s presence, message or promise was too much. And so Mary was the first. Mary’s was the faithful yes through which God brought salvation to the world.

But faithfulness is never without pain. From the beginning, we can imagine the stares and gossip from the lips of neighbors, the rumors and the innuendo. Maybe they became unbearable and Mary’s journey to the house of Elizabeth was a flight of fear, a faithful flight from pain. Separated from her family she waits for the appointed time. The travel to Bethlehem, the birth of her son in the manger, the coming of shepherds, the gifts of the magi, the hunting of Herod and the flight to Egypt. Let us be clear, Mary’s faithfulness was not repaid with an absence of suffering, and her faithful yes to Gabriel was not the last faithful yes she offered God on behalf of his son. Faithfulness in their flight, faithfulness in their fear. And the faithfulness that brings us to this night.

Tonight we celebrate two simple acts of her faithfulness; her purification in the Temple and Jesus’ presentation for circumcision. Ritually unclean from her giving birth according to the Law of Moses, Mary arrives with the meager sacrifice of the poor: two turtledoves and her child. There she is restored to worship and communion, there her child is presented before God. There Jesus is made part of the people of God and a sacrifice is made. Perhaps this is  a foreshadowing, an inversion; the sacrifice He will make will welcome all to become the people of God. Then the Song of Simeon and the words of the Prophet Anna, the joy of salvation come to Israel, the fruit of Mary’s faithfulness prophesied before all and then, then the terrible prophecy of pain:    (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also, that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.

The feast we celebrate tonight is a celebration of Mary’s faithfulness and the faithfulness of God. But, insofar as we celebrate their mutual faithfulness, we see especially in Mary’s example, the reality of true faithfulness. Faithfulness is never without suffering. Mary’s life is an example and archetype for the Christian life, not for its ease or comfort, but because her life is the bright reminder that a faithful life is not a life free from pain. In fact, to live a life of Christian faith is to invite a kind of holy pain.Beyond the natural pains of life and living, this holy pain is unique burden of the Christian.

When we are regenerated and restored to new life in the waters of baptism, we become the temple of God. Inspired by the Holy Spirit we are given new eyes to see the world around us anew. We see the world with the eyes of Christ. We see the world as Mary saw it; God’s beloved children scattered like a sheep without a shepherd. We see the pain of the world deep and wide and seemingly insurmountable. But, we are empowered by the same Spirit that empowered Mary to bear this holy pain faithfully. God will reconcile all pain to Himself, and we must be its faithful bearers until that Great Day comes. We see the world with Mary’s eyes.

We find ourselves in strange days. The news, the anger, the confusion and the great unknown. But the call of the Christian remains the same call made to Mary, the same call to which she said yes, the call to faithfulness. But faithfulness is not a thing without pain. May we be worthy of our call, may we be full of grace, may we know the divine favor that calls us. May we say, let be to us according to your will, O Lord. And may we have the strength of Mary for true faithfulness.

The Parish of All Saints concludes its Advent and begins to celebrate The Nativity of Our Lord, beginning with Lessons and Carols, December 18th, and reaching its climax with the Solemn Eucharist on Christmas Eve. Herewith our schedule.

Sunday Dec 18 at 4 pm

A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols

Sung by the Choir of Men and Boys
Andrew Sheranian, Organist and Master of Choristers

The truth from above

arr. Philip Moore

Adam lay ybounden

Frank Boles

The Blessed Son of God

Ralph Vaughan Williams

Bogoroditse devo

Sergei Rachmaninof

Ave Maria

Robert Parsons

The Annunciation

John Tavener

A maiden most gentle

Andrew Carter

Small wonder

Paul Edwards

Dormi Jesu

John Rutter

In the bleak midwinter

Harold Darke


Christmas Eve Saturday Dec 24 at 8 pm

The Eve of the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ

Choral and organ prelude 7:30pm

Missa ad Præsepe

George Malcolm

Psalm 96 Anglican Chant: Martin J R How

Carols  from Lesson and Carols

Organ

Greensleeves
Richard Purvis

Carols Rhapsody
Richard Purvis

Sunday Dec. 25 at 10 am (Christmas Day)

The Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ

Solemn Mass with Carols

 

Sunday Jan 1 at 8 and 10 am

The Feast of the Holy Name

Said Mass 8am
Sung Mass 10am

 

Friday Jan 6 at 7 pm

The Ephiphany of our Lord Jesus Christ

Solemn Mass

 

Under the direction of Andrew Sheranian, this ensemble of professional singers and instrumentalists, drawn from the Handel and Haydn Society, Boston Baroque, Emmanuel Music, Trinity Church in Copley Square, and the Church of the Advent, will perform organ, instrumental, and choral music of Johann Sebastian Bach. And....they will be joined by the All Saints' Boys Choir. Sponsored by Ashmont Hill Chamber Music. Tickets (EventBrite):  Adult: $25 - Student: $18 - EBT Card Holder: $3 - children under 13 free.

Though the texts are ancient, and the music spans all of church history, this form of service is modern - it was first drawn up for use in the wooden shed that served as the cathedral in Truro, and first sung on Christmas Eve in 1880. It took almost four decades for the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols to make its way to the choir of King's College at Cambridge University. For many today, this sacred service of hymns, carols, and readings – opening with "Once in royal David's city" – puts Christ back into Christmas, gently beckoning us away from the madding crowds of the secular yule 'holiday' season. Anchored by the Choir of Men and Boys, the Parish of All Saints' Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols is free - not even an offering will be taken. Bring your wonder, and behold.

Service Times

Sundays

7:30 a.m. Morning Prayer
8:00 a.m. Low Mass
9:00 a.m. Adult Christian Education*
10:00 a.m. Solemn Mass
11:30 a.m. Coffee Hour

* during the academic year

Weekdays

Low Mass
Wednesday 10 a.m. *
Friday 7 a.m.
Saturday 9 a.m.

* followed by coffee hour

 

Location and Parking

209 Ashmont Street
Dorchester MA 02124
(617) 436-6370

Map

All Saints is located in the south Dorchester neighborhood of Boston, just off Peabody Square, at 209 Ashmont St. and is a very short walk from the Ashmont T station on the Red Line. (Click icon for map.)

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The five principal levels of our buildings are handicap accessible, served by a five-stop elevator. Handicap access into both buildings is by a walkway and ADA-compliant ramp from the parking lot to the Ashmont Street door of the church.  There are handicap accessible bathrooms on four levels of the church and parish house.

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There is a private parking lot for 47 cars and on-street parking on both Ashmont Street and on the other streets surrounding the church.

Four of these spaces are reserved for Zipcars.

Parish of All Saints, Ashmont

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Our emphasis at the Parish of All Saints is on sacramental worship (the Mass or Holy Eucharist) celebrated in a traditional Anglo-Catholic style, with strong orthodox teaching and preaching, supportive pastoral care, a caring parish family, and responsibility to our community and the greater world.

 
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