Monthly Archive for October, 2009

All Saints’ Day November 1, 2009

Wisdom 3:1-9                                                                       

Revelation 21:1-6a                                                               

John 11:32-44

It’s wonderful when you suddenly receive a new insight, a new understanding or way of looking at something that’s maybe been around for a long time. I mean wonderful in the literal sense: something that causes you to be filled with wonder, to notice that this insight is a gift from outside yourself, nothing short of a revelation from God. We need to own those wonderful revelations, the small ones as well as the large. God does work in our lives!

I received such a revelation as I was working on a project to help one of our teenagers. Robert isn’t here this morning; he’s helping his grandfather put a new roof on his house. But many of you know Robert’s story. He lives just down the road. He’d never been to church, never been baptized; religious faith had never been a part of his life. But his dad, who’s raised Robert,  felt he should have some exposure to church, so for about the last year Robert has been coming here, all by himself, most Sundays. He’s been joining in worship, in the youth group activities, become an acolyte, even did an Adopt-a-Highway pick-up one Sunday – and if that’s not being part of Holy Cross, I don’t know what is.

Robert doesn’t receive Communion because he hasn’t been baptized. He and his dad want him to understand more fully what Baptism and Church membership would mean so he can decide whether he wants to receive this sacrament. So I’ve been working on a book – a little book! – that I call “Robert’s Book,” to try to communicate what I think would go into a thoughtful decision for a young man like Robert. And that’s caused me to do some thinking too.

I’m using as my structure for the book those “four B’s” that we talk about from time to time: Belonging, Behaving, Believing and Becoming.” You’ll remember: we talk about what order they should go in, and how in the Church, traditionally, believing grows out of belonging to a community and learning it’s ways – what we mean by behaving.

Behaving is an awkward word here. We use it in the four B sequence because it begins with a B. But we don’t mean behaving in the “sit up straight,” “don’t pick your nose,” “don’t pick on your little sister” sense of the word. Being a Christian is a whole lot more than being nice and polite (indeed, many of the saints weren’t either of these things!). So how to explain in “Robert’s Book” what Behaving means? That was my challenge. And  here was my revelation: we learn about Christian Behaving from the saints. Continue reading ‘All Saints’ Day November 1, 2009′

Ministry Minute: Kathleen Kenyon

IMG_0767There is one word that encompasses my reasons for being here at Holy Cross – that word is “Balance”  The last few years of my life have been like sitting on the low end of a see-saw, kind of stuck, not moving, just sitting there on the ground, not getting a chance to really enjoy the ride.

I came to Holy Cross to find “balance”.  Now, I hover a little higher on the see-saw and sometimes I even get to soar to the top. I enjoy the sermons, the wonderful people, the parish itself, and its history. 

Being here at Holy Cross helps me to unload the week’s trials, the past that still hovers, the pressures of life and to give myself this time to reflect and to find the balance I seek. 

“I spent a long time trying to find my center until I looked closely one night and found it had wings and moved easily in the slightest breeze, so now I spend less time sitting and more time soaring.”

Holy Cross and the people I’ve met here at this parish have helped me rediscover those wings.

Note: Kathleen has been battling a rare form of cancer. Her courage and determination to give to others even as she works to heal herself has been an inspiration to all of us.

Ministry Minute: Roberta and Arthur Walmsley

IMG_1232A: I’m glad John asked us both to talk this morning about support for Holy Cross. You have to go back fifty-five years to understand where we’re coming from.

R: We were married at Christmas time in 1954, took a wedding trip for three days, and moved to a new apartment. Then I went back to complete my senior year of college.

A: We had our first argument during that trip. As I remember, it was about how to organize our kitchen. Up to then, you had never cooked a meal in your life.

R: You would remember that! But I could read a cookbook. And who were you to talk, living in a bachelor apartment? Besides, on your salary, which was $3600 a year, we had to settle for a $10 a week food budget, which meant an awful lot of casseroles.

A: The best thing we ever did, young and untested as we were, was to make a decision that has shaped our life ever since. We would tithe our income – the top ten percent would be returned to God, first through the Church and then by other charitable giving. We’ve stuck to that, and then some.

R: It hasn’t always been easy, especially in those years when both our children were away in school and I was working on a master’s degree. But somehow we managed, even in hard times.

A: Putting God first in respect to family income means having to plan carefully what is done with the rest. So what does tithing have to do with Holy Cross? Why here, and not somewhere else?

R: When we retired to New Hampshire, we were weary of being at the center of the huge diocese where you were bishop. So we looked for the biggest nearby church, hoping that no one there would ask us to do anything, such as serve on committees. We had enough of being leaders; it was time to be members. So we joined St. Paul’s in Concord. And the bonus was that I could practice on their organ, my first love after Arthur.

A: Then John arrived.

R: His energy and vision made us want to come here. We appreciate this imaginative building, good liturgy, John’s preaching (when we listen), even the way he sheepishly apologizes when he makes gaffes. There’s a diverse mix of people. We celebrate the wonderful ways that young people and their families are made welcome. We marvel what Anne and her colleagues have made of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. And we love the gifts of people of all ages, and Holy Cross’s outreach. In short, this is our home. The top part of our tithe goes to Holy Cross.

  “Ministry Minutes” are presented each week during the fall pledge campaign.

Pentecost 20 October 18, 2009

Isaiah 53:4-12                                                                    

Hebrews 5:1-10                                                                  

Mark 10:35-45

 

Well, it looks like it may be morning in America again. The Dow closed above 10,000; Goldman Sachs is looking for record profits with bonuses up in the hundreds of millions for its top people; air travel to exotic vacation spots is driving holiday air fares higher by the week; talk of reforms for the financial system is fading.

Morning comes in an interesting way though. Maybe you’ve noticed: the sun touches the tops of the hills and mountains, turning them golden, while the valleys where most of us live are still dark and damp, lying under frost. While a few people at the top are cheering the end of the recession, if this is the end, you and I know people who are unemployed, who are trying to get food stamps, who have no health coverage, whose pay has been cut, who may lose their homes. It is, as usual, the ordinary people who have to wait the longest for things to pick up.

The world of the Bible was no different. In fact, economic and social inequality was far greater back then. Continue reading ‘Pentecost 20 October 18, 2009’

Ministry Minute: Abbie Stehno

IMG_1102I don’t have a story about how I helped bring the church out of the economic struggles in the ‘90s because at the time I was just learning how to tie my shoes. I don’t have a story about how I came to Holy Cross and fell in love with it because I’ve come here all of my life. I can’t tell of a life changing experience after listening to a sermon because quite honestly, I can’t focus for that long. I do know that I keep coming back after all these years and there has to be a reason for that.

What does Holy Cross mean to me? Well, to start off, Holy Cross is my church. But what does it mean? The phrase “my church” is possessive so therefore it must mean that I can keep part of it with me at all times, but so can the other millions of people that go to their church. Which is a good thing, I guess, because generally at church we learn how to be good and live in God’s light. But why do I come to Holy Cross and not a different church? I think it is because of the environment. Church is the only time I can think of where I can just let my mind wander and not have to worry about anything. Of course I listen to the sermons, but I also let myself relax and enjoy the peace. These few hours of peace are certainly appreciated in the high-stress world we all live in.

The other reason I come to Holy Cross is the people. The environment we create makes this church a welcoming, happy place. When I tell my friends that youth group usually consists of playing basketball, they all look at me in shock and tell me that is not what their youth group does. No, I cannot say that we are the most stereotypical group of people, but we do know how to enjoy life in the light of God. And now I realize what Holy Cross means to me: a place to teach me how to love myself and everyone around me and have a heck of a time doing so.

Pentecost 19 October 11, 2009

Amos 5:6-7, 10-15                                                             

Hebrews 4:12-16                                                                

Mark 10:17-31

This is the story of three people. They’re at the age where suddenly they realize they’re not kids any more, they can’t use the excuse that they’re still growing up, finding themselves. It’s that point where we say to ourselves, my life isn’t infinite, I need to settle down, set myself to something meaningful. For some people that time comes in their twenties; for some, in their thirties; for some it’s later on – for me it was almost 40. It can be any age. For some people, well, it seems never to come. Continue reading ‘Pentecost 19 October 11, 2009’

Ministry Minute: Kerri Goulet

IMG_1203When writing my ministry minute, I was trying to think about why Holy Cross is meaningful to me.  And I realized it comes down the three things:

The Atrium. Children are welcomed and cherished in the Atrium.    The whole idea is for children to fall in love with God and Jesus at a young age and to nurture that relationship.  And how do they do that?  Through meditative “work,” where things unfold and are not rushed.  Where they wonder about God and Jesus.  The kids love it because it’s meaningful and true.

Holy Cross is a place that grounds us as a family. It reminds us how to prioritize things in our lives.  It reminds us what’s truly important on a weekly basis.  The rest of the world seems crazy and consuming and sometimes I feel I’m losing myself in it.  Then I come to church and it’s like taking a deep breath.  It’s humbling . . . and simple.

Holy Cross is a community. At Holy Cross we are part of a community, a consistent group of people that we see each week because we want to, not because it’s an obligation. We gather for the purpose of worship in Jesus Christ, but also find friendship and support.  Some of the people here at Holy Cross . . . I still don’t know their names, but I know their faces and their friendly smiles and I look forward to seeing them each week (and getting to know their names :) ).

I asked my kids, why is Holy Cross important to you? Maddy said, “It’s like a celebration for God.” Alex said, “It means that we’re praying.  We’re talking to God and giving thanks.  Maddy added, “Because we honor God and Jesus.” Alex said, “It’s because we like the baptism activity in the Atrium.”

I thought to myself, it’s because we are all a part of Holy Cross and we depend on it.  And Holy Cross depends on us too.

Pentecost 18 October 4, 2009

Genesis 2:18-24                                                                  

Hebrews 1:1-4, 2:5-12                                                       

Mark 10:2-16

 

Today is the beginning of our annual fall pledge campaign, and the readings we’ve been given are actually great for the occasion. Maybe you were listening to them and thinking you were going to hear a sermon on divorce – always an edgy topic, almost as edgy as sermons on sex or money. Well, we’ll talk a little about divorce, and also sex while we’re at it, and of course money since this is the beginning of the pledge campaign. But really I want to talk about community and commitment, because community and commitment are the common themes that link all those other topics – divorce, sex and pledging — together. Continue reading ‘Pentecost 18 October 4, 2009’