Tuesday – May 14, 2019
Now as Peter went here and there among all the believers, he came down also to the saints living in Lydda. There he found a man named Aeneas, who had been bedridden for eight years, for he was paralyzed. Peter said to him, ‘Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you; get up and make your bed!’ And immediately he got up. And all the residents of Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord. Acts 9.32-35
Word of Hope
In this short post-Pentecost selection we see Peter facilitating a miracle. I say facilitating rather than performing because Peter is clearly the conduit for Jesus; who he calls on for healing. There is at least one parallel passage where Jesus heals a person who is unable to walk and tells that person to take up his mat and walk. The power of Jesus is still in the world.
I cannot help but wonder if this passage is more parable than history. There are two reasons for my conjecture. First Lydda is a town that, along with others in the area, had refused to pay tribute to Rome at one point. The inhabitants had been sold into slavery. They were oppressed to say the least. They were held down, unable to stand on their own. The message that following Jesus could make you stand up again, make you able to walk again, is a strong political message.
But I think there is also a message for Rome here. The man who is healed is named Aeneas. Aeneas is not a Jewish name; it is an ancient name from Greek myths. The most famous holder of that name was a survivor of the Trojan War who was believed to have been the father of Romulus and Remus. They are the mythical founders of Rome. Aeneas, taken as a metaphor for Rome, makes the message here clear. Oppressors, oppressed, Jews, pagans, the defeated, the enslaved can be healed. None of those attributes matter.
What then is the message for us today? Jesus heals. Jesus “gives us legs” to walk. People around will see the changes in the healing and will turn to the Lord. Our past, our present, our circumstances can be healed. And in being healed we become walking messages of God.
Healing God, heal us. Heal those who oppress us. Let those who see Your healing turn to You and live in Your ways.
Order of Saint Francis and Saint Clare
Monday – May 13, 2019
Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.
Worship the LORD with gladness; come before God with joyful songs.
For the LORD is good and God’s love endures forever; God’s faithfulness continues through all generations. Psalm 100
A Word of Hope
What is your call in life? Have you thought about it? We ask our pastors about their call to preach, but do you realize you also have a call?
Your call might be your life’s work. Teachers, nurses and doctors, first responders, care givers for elderly and others are occupations that I feel have a special call. But what about in other fields?
What is your passion outside your job? Maybe that’s your call. Are you involved in animal rescue and safety? Are you passionate about working through the political system to make our world more just? Do you find ways to make life better for the homebound and those in nursing homes? Do you have compassion for the homeless? Maybe you can’t volunteer at BACH or iCare, but you can donate to them or you can hand out blessing bags to the homeless on the corners where you travel.
The verses from Psalm 100 are a call for us to praise God. That is a call for all of us. Cathedral of Hope makes it easy to worship God with joyful songs each week in our services. Those who are called and equipped with talent are led to the choir and orchestra and hand bells or to prepare for worship or to welcome everyone. But each of us can fulfill this call as we worship in song during worship services. Several of us feel called to shout amen for joy during services.
Think about your passions and see if you don’t find God calling you to make our world better in the things you do.
If you don’t know what your calling is, look at the list of ways to serve that are listed each week in our worship guide. Maybe you are called to facilitate a small group. Maybe you could welcome our members and guests into the services. Maybe you could write to people in prison. There are so many ways you can help at CoH or in your community. Or just be called to smile or say an encouraging word to waiters, police officers, others who work in thankless jobs or everyone you meet!
God you call us all to be our best selves: To love your creation and creatures, To be thankful and joyful. Help us see how important our place in this earth is. You make each and every one of us to fulfill a purpose. Help us see and live out your purpose for us!
Cathedral of Hope Volunteer
Friday – May 10, 2019
And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his habit was, he went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. Luke 4.16
A Word of Hope
How many habits have you formed in your life? Everyone has them. They can be destructive and inhibit our advancement or incredibly useful and help us to grow both in body and spirit. Liturgical worship is a good habit, for instance. It may be predictable, not full of spontaneity or surprises, but its beautiful rituals have held the church together for many centuries. It cultivates and nurtures a worship habit within us.
Some of the greatest creatures of habit I have ever known are those loyal servers, usually women, who have taken our lunch orders our whole lives at our favorite “greasy spoon’’ diners. Sadly, their breed is all-too- quickly fading from the current scene. Their habitual blend of brassiness, compassion and love/hate relationships with their places of employment have awarded me with some of the warmest feelings and best memories of my life and I’m sorry to see them and their establishments slowly dissolving into the realm of nostalgia.
I remember a particular incident from several years ago that demonstrated lifetime efficiency habits. It was during the last lunch on the final day of business of an iconic Dallas restaurant, the Lucas B &B on Oak Lawn Avenue. The place had stood there so long that its sign has since been declared an historical landmark and it still stands as a memorial to bygone days. The waitresses themselves also were icons. On that day, during the last meal they would ever serve at the old diner, I watched them do what had become their habit for countless decades; making their rounds of the tables, filling to the brim all the salt, pepper and mustard containers; making them ready for another day that would never be. I heard one of the women say, “This one’s about to go empty.” The old building was closing but the tradition was still alive in their minds.
Those are the kinds of habits that keep us going on those days when we would rather just avoid doing something that we know is necessary. Included on this list would be checking out our inbox, trimming our hedges, cleaning the clutter, and praying for the well being of others.
How many Sundays do we come to church out of habit even though we’re exhausted or just feeling indifferent? It’s a habit that inevitably nurtures our souls and fills the fellowship needs of others. It quite simply is a good habit. We can never truly be the salt of the earth if we allow our shakers to go empty.
Thank you for the servers among us who are also our teachers.
Minister for Children and Families
Order of St. Francis and St. Clare
Thursday, May 9, 2019
You, LORD, are my shepherd. I will never be in need. You let me rest in fields of green grass. You lead me to streams of peaceful water, and you refresh my life. You are true to your name, and you lead me along the right paths. I may walk through valleys as dark as death, but I won’t be afraid. You are with me, and your shepherd’s rod makes me feel safe. You treat me to a feast, while my enemies watch. You honor me as your guest, and you fill my cup until it overflows. Your kindness and love will always be with me each day of my life, and I will live forever in your house, LORD. Psalm 23
Word of Hope
For the past several years, I have had the honor of co-hosting the Irving Circle and friends’ Easter lunch. It has gradually grown, from twenty-something to thirty-something. This year, we had 36 people. My partner Carol does a huge amount of work, sending out invitations, managing the RSVPs, buying colored table cloths and decorations, arranging for the reservation of the clubhouse where we live, buying and baking ham, and usually preparing some other dish-to-pass. I help as much as I can, but usually get excused from much of the work due to the choir’s schedule during holy week. One of the group’s members creates place cards for each person. This year, she made beautiful crosses and placed them in boxes, each tagged with a name, and set at the assigned place at the table. Other group members came early, after going to the 9:00 service, to set up the tables and chairs (into one huge, long table), decorate, and warm up food for the huge Easter feast. Each person who attends brings food to share.
I love seeing everyone gathered around this table. There are so many different groups of conversation going on during the meal. Most of these conversations seem animated, and almost everyone is smiling. And yet, many have been through difficulties. Several have lost family members or partners within the last few years. Many of us have been disenfranchised from the churches of our childhood. Some are facing health challenges. Even so, the members of this group face the uncertainties of the future with hope and optimism.
After lunch, before we all clean up, we gather to have a group picture taken. I love having this gathering memorialized each year. As I look at the photos from years past, I see a group of individuals who have been tested by the challenges of life, but who gain strength from God’s love and kindness.
Thank you, generous and loving God, for looking after me, and recognizing when I need rest and refreshment. I feel your kindness and love, and I will live forever in your house.
Cathedral of Hope Member
Wednesday – May 8, 2019
When it was evening on… the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear…, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.”After this he showed them his hands and his side.” (John 20: 19-20)
A Word of Hope
She rose to her tall and dignified stature, welcoming all in the priory dining room for a special Maundy Thursday buffet. When she began speaking, I thought maybe she was just hoarse, and she continued to the powerful opening call without hesitation: “Justice and faith comprise the liberating food for Christians. With Jesus we pray that our daily bread may be the bread and wine of justice and liberation….” Her quavering voice signaled a more permanent condition.
Later, she came to each table to offer us desert, her hands shaking in their own rhythm. But if it bothered her, she did not show it: her spirit was all kindness, her smile, all warmth. A man at our table, a vegan, could not eat the delicious chocolate cake and said he didn’t need dessert. But her well-practiced Benedictine ethic to treat all guests as Christ sent her back to the kitchen to have a bowl of fresh strawberries prepared for him.
Since one of the things I had carried to this Holy Week retreat was coming to terms with anxieties about aging, I watched this good sister attentively, knowing she had something to teach me. Generally, we take such pains to camouflage our infirmities, our woundedness. But Jesus bears his afflictions openly with the disciples. They mark him, define him, shape who he is. And Isaiah 53:5 foretells that that “by his wounds we are healed.”
The experience of the wounded Christ and the sister’s thriving in her affliction help me revision my own limitations in aging. And as I recall how living the pains of deep loss broke open my heart in greater compassion, allowing me to companion others, I am hopeful that the challenges of aging will do so as well.
After Holy Saturday dinner, three of us retreatants sat at table with the good sister, leaning in to hear a story about the sisters’ requests for community donations of multitudes of large-sized bras for women in Africa (a need brought by visiting African nuns). We laughed till tears came to our eyes imagining stacks and stacks of all colors and sizes of brassieres mounding the dining room tables and were inspired by the generosity of the community. But the richest treasure of our time away is the precious connection with the sister, her warmth and humor, intelligence and hospitality radiant and undiminished by her condition.
Resurrecting Christ, may the healing power of our wounds be blessed. Amen.
Dr. Pat Saxon
5910 Cedar Springs Road
Dallas, TX 75235
Toll Free: 800-501-HOPE (4673)