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Evensong Homily

Preached by the Rev’d Nicholas Lang
St. Paul’s on the Green, Norwalk, CT
The Fourth Sunday of Lent – Evensong Honoring Genie Sherer — March 15, 2015

This Fourth Sunday in Lent is our respite time from the more somber trappings of this season a day we refer to as Refreshment Sunday. Rose-colored vestments and flowers signal the reality that we are only two short weeks away from Holy Week and at its end the glorious celebration of Resurrection. Perhaps, more on our minds today is that the official start of spring is only five days away.

It is also called “Mothering Sunday,” an English tradition we have incorporated at St. Paul’s to honor all those who have in any way nurtured us, men and women, actual birth mothers or not, friends and supporters on our journey. It seems very fitting to be remembering someone who has been a friend and advocate and stalwart participant in the arena of sacred music.

Genie Sherer has been a fixture at St. Paul’s on the Green for 12 years . . . Genie has been a faithful member of the Compline Choir and the Evensong Choir, as well as joining St. Paul’s Choir for Lessons and Carols, Christmas Eve, Good Friday and the Easter Vigil. On Sunday mornings, Genie was a faithful member of the Choir at First Congregational Church in New Canaan, where St. Paul’s parishioner Jody Davis is the Director of Music.

I first met her through a former director of music here back in 1994. She was very supportive of our fledgling music program back then in her capacity as editor of the Clarion, the local AGO chapter’s newsletter. A few years later, Genie would help me negotiate the rough waters of an unexpected vacancy in the music director position. She was a very helpful resource to me at that time.

Genie was a proud Alto, frequently seen wearing a T-shirt or Sweatshirt bearing the word “SopraNOT”!

Her sister Frances Caldwell is here today along Genie’s nephews, nieces and other family members. We also welcome members of the Fairfield-West American Guild of Organists Chapter. About 20 minutes or so into the Reception downstairs, there will be a time for sharing memories and stories of Genie.

The concluding verses of the reading from Mark’s Gospel today suggest the wonder of God’s abundance. Referencing the feeding of the thousands of people and the surplus of leftovers for another meal, it speaks to the way God wants to feed us in our hunger.  Yesterday, more than fifty members of the parish packaged 10,000 rice and soy meals that will feed hungry people around the world. It was a striking reminder of the urgency of the problem that food shortage presents. We can be oblivious to it because we are, quite frankly, so well sated.

It also points to the other hungers with which we live, even the best fed and prosperous among us. There is that deep, deep hunger of the soul for peace and affirmation of self, a sense that our life has meaning and that we are loved. I continue to believe that those who have given us the magnificent treasure of sacred music were so in tune with that kind of hunger. And I continue to believe that it is through the conduit of sacred music in our worship that our weary souls are nourished along with God’s Word and the Holy Food and Drink of our sacramental life.

Great thanks to the Genie Sherers of the world, to all our musicians—both those who are part of our rich and long history and those who bring joy and life to the church today. To Genie and to all of you who have committed yourself to the ministry of feeding us by your gifts, I offer in profound gratitude and tribute the last three words of our closing hymn, “Servant, well done! Servant, well done!”

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