Monthly Archive for August, 2009

Pentecost 12 August 23, 2009

Ephesians 6:10-20                               The Rt. Rev. Arthur E. Walmsley, Bishop of Connecticut (ret.)

John 6:56-69

Have you ever been lost? I mean, physically lost? I can think of one occasion. It would have been forty years ago. I was solo camping and climbing in the White Mountains during the Memorial Day weekend. On my day to return home, the weather turned foggy and cold. Looking at my trail options, I decided to follow one off the barren granite peaks above timberline, stay on that trail for a time, and then bushwack straight off the mountain to where my car was parked. And then it happened; I misread the contour of the peak, and I was lost. Lost in the wilderness of the White Mountains National Forest on a cold and foggy day.

That’s one sort of lostness. This morning, as part of our series on the Holy Eucharist, I want to talk about another, I think much more serious, lostness. Continue reading ‘Pentecost 12 August 23, 2009’

Burial of Otto Heino August 17, 2009

Otto Heino's ashes rest in a burial urn that he made, wood-fired with his famous yellow glaze.

Otto Heino's ashes rest in a burial urn that he made, wood-fired with his famous yellow glaze.

Otto Heino was one of the most famous potters in the world, certainly in the United States. He died in July 2009 at the age of 95. Though he and his potter wife Vivika lived and worked in California, Mr. Heino grew up and wished to be buried in Weare. His funeral was held at Holy Cross Church. The following is the homily preached by the Vicar on that occasion.

 

Ecclesiastes 3:1-11                                                            

John 14:1-6                                                                         

When I was in seminary, one of the books we were assigned to read was entitled Money, Sex and Power. It was sort of fun to read this book in public places – on a plane or a bus; people looked at you kind of funny. The book was assigned for our ethics class, and it pointed out that all the things people fight and struggle over in life, the things we make laws and rules to regulate, can be reduced to those three basics: money, sex and power.

These days when we read about funerals for famous people – celebrations of their lives – it is usually their attainments in terms of money, sex or power that are being celebrated. Think about Michael Jackson, to pick just a recent example. We watch  celebrity funerals on television, or read about them in People magazine, with a kind of gloating curiosity. Part of this is envy: we wish we were as rich or as beautiful or as powerful as the celebrity. But part of it is our knowledge that the celebrity’s worldly success is never the whole story; there are always shadows, dark sides. Think again of Michael Jackson. And that makes us feel better about our own sins and failures.

If life were only about the pursuit of money, sex and power, it would be a hollow thing indeed. But it isn’t. There is another triumvirate that also calls to us as human beings: the pursuit of the good, the true and the beautiful. And our lives have value in the end to the extent that they embody these three things: goodness, truthfulness, and beauty – though in worldly terms we may be poor, homely and powerless. Continue reading ‘Burial of Otto Heino August 17, 2009’

Pentecost 11 August 16, 2009

Proverbs 9:1-6                                                                     

John 6:51-58                                                                       

One of my fondest memories of Holy Cross will always be the ecumenical Thanksgiving service we celebrated at the Town Hall with Christ Community Church. This was back when Christ Community was just a house church, before they built their building in South Weare. A team of people from Holy Cross and a team from Christ Community worked together to design the service. We read the lessons and sang together, and then when it came time for Communion we had parallel tracks. Their pastor, Bob Christiansen, explained what they believed and how they celebrated Communion. I explained our beliefs and practices. And then we each did our thing, and people came forward separately, the Christ Community people in their line and the Holy Cross people in theirs.

Continue reading ‘Pentecost 11 August 16, 2009’

Pentecost 10, August 9, 2009

The Rt. Rev. Arthur E. Walmsley, Bishop of Connecticut (ret.)

I Kings 19:4-8

 John 6:35, 41-51

The year is 1955. I was a young priest, serving Trinity Church in St. Louis, Missouri. It was a tense time in that city – very much a southern city confronted by the changes brought on by the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court of the year before which had ordered the desegregation of racially-segregated schools. Trinity Church was in a neighborhood in transition, its sturdy single-family homes in the path of real estate interests which were block-busting, scaring white residents to sell to an expanding African-American population being forced out of neighborhoods closer to downtown which were being bulldozed in a citywide plan of urban renewal. Continue reading ‘Pentecost 10, August 9, 2009’

Pentecost 9 August 2, 2009

Exodus 16:2-4, 9-15                                                          

John 6:26-35                                                                       

On my first Sunday as rector of St. Charles’ Church, the congregation produced a lavish coffee hour – tables laden with sandwiches and pastries, cheeses and crackers. Some of my little nephews and nieces were visiting for the special celebration. “This is cool!” one of them pronounced. “Let’s go to this church.”

We do come to church to be fed, but of course not with the doughnut holes of coffee hour, nice as they are. We come to be fed with the bread of life, conveyed to us in the word of God and in the sacraments. Last Sunday in our summer series on worship, Bishop Walmsley talked about how we’re fed by the word. Today I want to reflect a little with you about our response to that feeding, the Prayers of the People, and about our prayer here in church generally – what is called our “common prayer,” because we do it together, in common. Continue reading ‘Pentecost 9 August 2, 2009’

Pentecost 8 July 26, 2009

The Rt. Rev. Arthur E. Walmsley, Bishop of Connecticut (ret.)

Ephesians 3:14-21

John 6:1-21

I was very taken by last week’s service, when Josh Thomas, the Diocese of New Hampshire’s missioner to college and university students, led us through a process of imagining how young people in our very secular culture can begin to connect with Christian faith. “How is God real in your life?” he asked not just them but us.

This morning I want to take you on a similar sort of journey. Imagine that you are living in about the year 100 AD. You are in a small city somewhere on the edge of the Mediterranean Sea, say in Asia Minor or Greece, and you have been invited by friends to attend a religious ceremony. Continue reading ‘Pentecost 8 July 26, 2009’