This homily is different from the usual sort. It comes in the context of a discussion that began last week after breakfast on bullying in schools and grew, with reference to national events, into a broader concern with violence and incivility in our society and world. That discussion will continue this morning after breakfast. The homily begins with an introduction to the whole worship service; continues with the homily proper, intended as an introduction to some congregational comments; and then has a short list of some thoughts for going forward that the preacher came up with, reflecting on the readings. You are invited to add your own comments! Continue reading ‘Epiphany 2 January 16, 2011′
Tag Archive for 'Worship'
What if you have no religious background at all? What if you’ve never stepped inside a church, or you’ve been only to a few weddings or funerals? You may have heard some terrible things about churches–that they ask you to believe “six impossible things before breakfast” as Alice Through the Looking Glass put it, that they’re full of self-righteous people or people who all have the same political beliefs, that they’ll try to get their hands on you and once they do they’ll never let you go. But maybe you’re also intrigued by the idea of being part of a group of people who believe in a mysterious higher power they call God and who care about each other and about justice and peace in the world. Maybe you’d like to explore religion a little, but are just afraid that you’ll be lost in the strangeness of a worship service, make an utter fool of yourself by doing something wrong.
Well, you’re not alone. An increasing number of people in our society have no religious background. Interestingly, New Hampshire has (after Vermont) the highest percentage of people with no religious affiliation of any state in the U.S. And yet, a lot of people are searching. They sense that something is missing in their lives, in the lives of their families. Continue reading ‘Coming to Holy Cross with No Religious Background’
Acts 1:15-17, 21-26
1 John 5:9-13
Our Christian religion is full of paradoxes. Indeed, we could almost say that the presence of paradox is our best indicator that we are in the presence of God. For instance: Jesus is truly and fully human, but at the same time truly and fully God. God is One, but at the same time Three. You and I are sinners, but also saved. And all that is just the beginning. All through our history, people have tried to rationalize or clarify away these paradoxes. To say that Jesus wasn’t fully human or wasn’t really divine. That God was not Trinity. That we are not really sinners or not surely saved. We call those attempted simplifications heresies. By eliminating the paradoxical element of our faith, they take the life out of it. There is something about the tension in paradox that is necessary, that is the heart of Christianity. Continue reading ‘Easter 7 May 24, 2009′
During May, we at Holy Cross will be engaged in a review of our liturgy, the way we worship. (The word liturgy comes from Greek meaning “work of the people.”) As an introduction to this project, I offer a very brief summary of the history and basics of worship in our Episcopal/Anglican tradition. Continue reading ‘History and Basics of Anglican Worship’
1 John 3:1-7
It would have been very easy for the first followers of Jesus to have spoken of him simply as a great teacher, a holy man who exemplified everything we should be in our lives. That would have gone down more smoothly in their day, as it certainly does in ours, where many people believe just that. But this is not the Jesus to whom the earliest witnesses testify. They give us this risen Christ—a human being crucified, wounded in hands and feet and side, but a human being raised from the dead, a physical presence who ate physical food and whose physical body could be touched, particularly his wounds. A human being who was thus also the Son of God. This resurrection reality is what the first followers insisted upon, what they were persecuted and died for. Continue reading ‘Easter 3 April 26, 2009′
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’
Someone coming to Holy Cross from another denomination remarked, “The thing I like about it here is people are free to do different things at church: sit, kneel, stand, cross themselves, bow or not.” We do have that kind of flexibility. But sometimes people want a bit of guidance in feeling their way to what works for them in worship. So here’s an attempt to provide that. Continue reading ‘“Body Language” in Worship’
For the past couple of years, Holy Cross has been experimenting with periodic “Come With Joy” Sundays. These are inspired by a ministry of Caroline Fairless and Jim Sims called Children at Worship ~ Congregations in Bloom. Caroline, an Episcopal priest, and her husband Jim, a musician and composer, have a mission to make Episcopal worship more attractive to children, teens and young adults. They bring a rich array of music, drama, visual arts and other exciting ideas to Sunday morning Eucharists. Continue reading ‘Come With Joy Sundays’