Tag Archive for 'Eucharist'

Easter 3 May 8, 2011

Acts 2:14a, 36-41                                                                               

1 Peter 1:17-23                                                                  

Luke 24:13-35

There is a saying in Zen Buddhism: If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him. Zen Buddhism is all about the shedding of attachments, including attachment to the Buddha himself. But Christianity, I think, is quite different. You might say it is about the deepening of attachments – though in a particular way, a way that avoids the false attachment of idolatry but leads us rather into a deepening quest for the attachment beyond attachments, that with God himself. Anyway, those thoughts as introduction to the gospel we’ve just heard, in which two of Jesus’ disciples meet him on Easter evening, on the road to a village outside Jerusalem called Emmaus.

What does this story mean? How do you and I encounter the risen Christ on the road of our life? How do our encounters change us? There are three parts to the Emmaus story which we will take up in turn: what Jesus does in “opening the Scriptures”; what he does in the “breaking of the bread”; and the final notation that when he had opened the disciples’ eyes he “vanished from their sight.” Continue reading ‘Easter 3 May 8, 2011’

Maundy Thursday April 21, 2011

Exodus 12:1-14                                                                   

1 Corinthians 11:23-26                                                      

John 13:1-17, 31b-35

When I left the last parish I served – after a very painful time for me – the bishop, Frank Griswold, asked me whether I was going to look for another congregation. “Yes,” I said, “I am.” “Good,” he said. “John, you need a congregation in which to do theology.” It was a discerning judgment on his part. He was thinking of me as, like himself, basically an introverted intellectual who tends to live off alone in his head. Theology, he was reminding me – the word means basically knowledge or relation with God – theology can’t be done alone or in our heads. It requires immersion in a community, life together with others. And this has proved itself for me. In our years together, Holy Cross has transformed me, very intimately and deeply. I’m still by nature an intellectual, an introvert. But it’s always now for me the congregation, the community, you and your lives, where I begin and end my thinking. It is in you that I know and relate to God.

I say this because this liturgy, Maundy Thursday, is at its heart about community. This is the night before Jesus’ death; the hour before his betrayal by Judas. Jesus, as St. John presents him to us in his gospel, knows fully all that is to befall him. This knowledge is part of his “oneness” with the Father, as well as his “oneness” with humanity. And so Jesus is preparing his disciples, his little fragile community that he loves so completely, for his departure, for what is to come. Every word that he speaks, every action that he does, has significance. The disciples do not understand it all now, but they will recall and understand in the future. It will sustain and comfort and give them courage. As Jesus asked them to, they will repeat his actions in the future. And so of course Christians have done through the ages, and so we do tonight. Continue reading ‘Maundy Thursday April 21, 2011’

Christmas Eve (late service) December 24, 2010

Isaiah 9:2-7                                                                          

Titus 2:11-14                                                                       

Luke 2:1-20

St. Matthew’s Church in Evanston, which I served before coming here, used to take Christmas Communion to residents of a local nursing home. We got lists from all the North Shore Episcopal parishes of their people in the home and we’d split the names up between me, the assistant priest, some associate priests, and our deacon. So that was how, one Christmas Eve, Fr. Michael Johnston, my assistant, found himself in the room of a gentleman in the Alzheimer’s unit of the home. Continue reading ‘Christmas Eve (late service) December 24, 2010’

Pentecost 9 July 25, 2010

Genesis 18:16-33                                                                               

Luke 11:1-13                                                                       

 “Lord, teach us to pray.”

Two of our time’s greatest spiritual leaders, the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, have announced that they will be withdrawing from the public scene. They want, each of them says, more time and space to pray. As Archbishop Tutu says, he’s been spending too much time in airports and hotels – like us, busy with the busyness of our busy world. The Dalai Lama explained that he needs to prepare for his death. I feel that need myself, as I look towards retirement. And of all the regrets I have about our ministry together, the greatest is that we’ve spent so little time on prayer.

So how good that this morning we listen to Jesus, teaching us about prayer. What is prayer? At its broadest sense, it is simply living in conscious communion with God. This can be talking with God, as in the readings this morning, or simply being silent and still and open before God. The readings are short, but really they tell us all we need to know about this essential element of the spiritual life. So let us listen! Continue reading ‘Pentecost 9 July 25, 2010’

Maundy (Holy) Thursday April 1, 2010

Exodus 12:1-14                                                                     

1 Corinthians 11:23-26                                                        

John 13:1-17, 31b-35

I’m embarrassed, really, looking back at myself as I was entering seminary. I was living proof of the old saying that God doesn’t call the equipped, God equips the called. I was kind of a religious prig. I was all excited that after a mere three years of education I would get to be called father, wear a black suit, and be regarded by everyone as holier than them. And especially I would get to celebrate Mass, where I would say the magic words of Jesus, “This is my body; this is my blood,” and the bread and wine would be transformed in Christ himself, his Body and his Blood. What power – power passed down to me through millennia of bishops laying on hands, power that ordinary people didn’t have. Continue reading ‘Maundy (Holy) Thursday April 1, 2010’

About Worship at Holy Cross

Seasons of the Christian Year (here Advent) are observed in worship.

Seasons of the Christian Year (here Advent) are observed in worship.


The Episcopal Church is a liturgical church, which means that at the heart of our life is our Sunday worship. Each Sunday we celebrate the Holy Eucharist, the original and most ancient form of Christian worship, instituted by Jesus himself. In the Eucharist we don’t just “say,” we “do.” This service is also called Communion or Mass.  Our worship is drawn from the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer, often called the most beautiful liturgy in the English language.  You’ll find that Episcopalians value beauty in worship, and the kind of structure which allows all worshipers to feel at ease and participate.  Weekly bulletins help you find your way. Continue reading ‘About Worship at Holy Cross’