Tag Archive for 'cross'

Palm Sunday April 17, 2011

Matthew 26:14-27:66                                                       

John 4:5-42                                                                            

Think of today as a drama in three acts, in each of which we play a different role. Act I is the palm procession outside. In all my years of doing Palm Sundays I’ve never managed to have a donkey for Jesus to ride on, but it’s still always a glorious celebration. We’re there singing hosanna! and waving our palm branches of victory. Jesus has come to save us. Everything is up and up.

And we all know what that Act is like in our own lives. It’s when we land the job we wanted or get a raise. It’s when we fall in love or the person we want to marry says yes. It’s the new house, the new car, the child graduating with honors, getting into college, building a new church, our candidate for President getting elected. All of those and more. Salvation: it’s what we long for, and in Act I it seemed to be there, finally in our grasp. Continue reading ‘Palm Sunday April 17, 2011’

Holy Cross Day September 12, 2010

1 Corinthians 1:18-24                                                        

John 3:13-17                                                                       

In the hall across from the office here at church you may have noticed, on your way to the restroom, a wall calendar. It’s sent every year from the Church Pension Group, a multi-billion dollar enterprise which handles pensions, insurance, health benefits and more for the Episcopal Church. Each month on the calendar there’s a clever cartoon, drawn I believe by a priest in New York City. This month’s cartoon features an update of what’s called the Great Commission.

The Great Commission comes at the end of St. Matthew’s gospel, where after the Resurrection Jesus bids his disciples to “go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” (We’re carrying out the Great Commission this morning, as we baptize Annabelle Nicole Charette.) But the cartoon, which is captioned “The Great Commission Revisited,” up-dates this by having Jesus say, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, developing task forces and strategic plans, and surveying the congregation in order to craft a succinct and memorable mission statement easily communicated on bumper stickers, website home pages, t-shirts and coffee mugs.” A wry and telling comment on the state of the Church (and the world) today. Continue reading ‘Holy Cross Day September 12, 2010’

Good Friday April 2, 2010

John  18:1-19:42                                                                


 For the message about the Cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. – 1 Corinthians 1:18

Words of St. Paul, in his first letter to the Corinthians; not a reading appointed for this day, but one surely that sums up what Good Friday is about:  the “message of the Cross . . . the power of God to those of us who are being saved.”

But how “the power of God”? We don’t often stop to ask ourselves that question. When I posed it a couple of weeks ago during a discussion of Paul’s teaching in the time after breakfast, there was a lot of awkward silence. What does the crucifixion of Jesus, symbolized by the Cross, mean to people like you and me today?

Volumes have been and are being written in answer to that question. But what I want to do tonight is to try to answer it in personal terms, in terms of what the death of Jesus means to me. It may not mean the same to you, and it need not, but perhaps my “testimony” will spur you to reflect on its meaning in your life. Continue reading ‘Good Friday April 2, 2010’

Advent 4 December 20, 2009

Micah 5:2-5a                                                                      

Hebrews 10:5-10                                                                

Luke 1:39-45

I must confess to a dirty little secret: I don’t like Christmas trees very much. They’re fun when you have children, and the one we will put up this afternoon here at church will be beautiful, decorated very simply with little white lights. But mostly I’d like to leave them growing out in the forest. They’re expensive, work to put up, a mess and bother to take down, and often they seem to me symbols not of Christmas but of the excess of American consumerism. But that’s just my little grump for the holidays.

I do, however, really like Advent wreaths. I like the symbolism of the four candles, the turning of the wheel of the year, the victory of light over darkness in the coming of Jesus the Christ. And I especially like the hole in the middle of Advent wreaths. We notice it particularly with the wreath we have on the east wall behind the Altar here at Holy Cross. The hole in the middle, that empty space, is a kind of window or door opening out to the One Who Is to Come – to the mystery of God beyond us, coming to us, which this season is all about. Continue reading ‘Advent 4 December 20, 2009’

Holy Cross Day September 14, 2009

Numbers 21:4b-9                                                                               

1 Corinthians 1:18-24                                                       

John 3:13-17

I want us to reflect together this morning on two things: desire and commitment. We will find, I think, that our reflections lead us to a deeper understanding both of baptism and of the cross.

This last Friday I drove up to Tilton to meet a friend for lunch. It was also an opportunity for me to pick up some socks and undershorts at the outlet mall. There, parked next to me, was one of those huge excursion buses – from New Jersey, no less – which had driven all that way with a load of people to shop. A few of the shoppers were straggling back to the bus, bags of purchases in hand, looking exhausted. Looking lonely, too. Malls are full of people, but they are not communities. Continue reading ‘Holy Cross Day September 14, 2009’

Good Friday April 9, 2009

John 18:1-19:42

We have, of course, four gospel accounts of Jesus: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Early attempts to harmonize the four into a single true or pure gospel were rejected by the Church. There has never been, and there never will be, a single “take” on this man we call the Son of God. Continue reading ‘Good Friday April 9, 2009’

Lent 5 March 29, 2009

Jeremiah 31:31-34                                                             

Hebrews 5:5-10                                                                  

John 12:20-33


Each of us here this morning has something we must give up, surrender, sacrifice, in order that we might truly live. It’s something very precious to you, something you’ve held onto fiercely in your deepest soul, for years, maybe all your life. And you don’t want to let go of it. But you must, if you are to be truly free and whole and alive in Jesus Christ. Continue reading ‘Lent 5 March 29, 2009’

Lent 2 March 8, 2009

Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16                                                        

Romans 4:13-25                                                                

Mark 8:31-38


When I moved here to start as vicar, going on twelve years ago, I was new to email. (Sounds impossible to believe! Now email is being eclipsed by Facebook and Twitter.) I picked as my email address holyx, for Holy Cross. I didn’t realize that I could have used a plus sign instead of the x and had an address that avoided negative connotations.


Anyway, it’s occurred to me sometimes that X is an interesting take on the Cross. (Actually, the crosses used in crucifixion apparently weren’t like the Latin crosses we’re used to seeing. They were tau or T-shaped. And some crosses were actually X shaped, the victim’s hands and legs stretched out more painfully.) But the thing about X and the Cross is that “X marks the spot,” X is the intersection of space and time, X is the cross-hairs in a gun sight. And all of that is true of the Cross of Christ, the Holy Cross, the namesake of this church. Continue reading ‘Lent 2 March 8, 2009’

Epiphany 6 February 15, 2009

2 Kings 5:1-14                                                                      

1 Corinthians 9:24-27                                                          

Mark 1:40-45


I don’t know how many of you glance at the little biographies of the week’s saints that we run in the bulletins each Sunday. Someone said to me that the saints didn’t “do anything” for him. I guess they “do” a lot for me. They remind me of the struggles that others have faced to live out the Gospel of Jesus Christ, of the fact that you and I stand on the shoulders of generations of giants who have gone before us. As the Letter to the Hebrews says, “we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses [that we can] run with endurance the race set before us.” Continue reading ‘Epiphany 6 February 15, 2009’