Tag Archive for 'saints'

All Saints’ Sunday November 7, 2010

Daniel 7:1-3, 15-18                                                            

Ephesians 1:11-23                                                             

Luke 6:20-31

For the last three weeks or so, I’ve been dragging around with a cold. Nothing serious enough to ground me, but enough to make me feel tired and subpar. I was almost back to health last weekend, but then the runny nose and achy muscles and exhausted feeling returned with a vengeance. The reason: standing out in the cold and wind at the Weare polling place all day Tuesday on behalf of a couple of candidates I cared about.

Why does anyone do this? Well, maybe because the “other side” does it and you don’t want them to be the only ones out there – and, of course, they do it because you do it. There was some talk on “the line” as the day wore on and we got colder and colder that we make a pact and next year no one would stand out there! But we stand because we believe in what we stand for. We’re witnesses to something we believe in – passionately enough to risk our health. Moreover, as I discover anew every time I do this, it’s also fun to see and greet all the people in town you know. You end up feeling a sense of solidarity and community: despite differences of opinion, we’re all out there exercising our responsibility as citizens and when it’s all over and the votes counted, we come together as one country, one people.

Finally, and to me most rewarding, it’s a time to talk with people you disagree with – discover what is motivating them, what their vision is, and at a deeper level who they are. Early in the day at the polls, the Republicans were at one end of the line by the door, the Democrats at the other. The Republicans were talking with one another about their beliefs: there were people who believed that roads and highways should be privatized, that churches should take care of all the welfare needs of society, that Obama was born in Nigeria and was bent on making America socialist.

The Democrats listening to this were rolling their eyes. But of course the Democrats were sharing their vision – an income tax, more aid to education and social services – and talking about how awful Andy Sanborn and John Stephen were, while the Republicans rolled their eyes. But late in the day, when the sun was going down and the cold getting more intense, when most of the line-standers had gone home, those of us who remained began to talk with each other, across party lines. What we discovered, of course, was that we shared many of the same concerns. Moreover, there was much we could agree on about how to approach problems, how to work together. And we learned that the “other side” were really decent human beings, with good hearts and minds, who cared just as intensely as we did about our country, our state and our community. So when the day was finally over, we went home – winners and losers – feeling somehow more deeply connected to one another.

I share all this because today we celebrate the feast of All Saints’, and this annual ritual of “working the polls” is very much a celebration of what it means when we say each week in the Creed that we believe in the communion of saints. Continue reading ‘All Saints’ Sunday November 7, 2010′

Christmas Eve (late service) December 24, 2009

Isaiah 9:2-7                                                                         

Titus 2:11-14                                                                      

Luke 2:1-20

We come to midnight Mass on Christmas Eve knowing there will be candlelight and wonderful music, poinsettias and a tree, and the reading of the Christmas gospel from St. Luke. The words of the first reading tonight, Isaiah’s prophecy about the coming of Messiah, are also familiar to most of us, if only from Handel’s Messiah. But I will bet that none of you, setting out for church tonight, were saying to yourself, “Oh, goody, we’re going to get to hear that passage from the Letter to Titus.” And I am almost as certain that as it was read just now you didn’t really listen to it, thinking instead about something Christmas-sy or praying that this homily would be good, or if not good at least short. Continue reading ‘Christmas Eve (late service) December 24, 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′

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’