Mercifully grant that we, who glory in the mystery of our redemption, may have grace to take up our cross and follow him. (from the Collect for Holy Cross Day)
On a recent Sunday, one of our youngest parishioners met me in the hallway and eagerly announced, “It’s my birthday!” We quickly established that he was turning five that day and in his mind that meant he was ready to be an acolyte. At our small New England parish, it is all hands-on deck to create this incredible thing we call liturgy, a.k.a. the work of the people.
Janiel eagerly vested in the smallest cassock and surplice I have ever seen and joined the big kids to serve as an acolyte. That morning, and every Sunday since, I have followed Janiel into the church as he boldly carries a cross more than twice his size in his procession.
As this small child carries the cross, he leads us into worship and then back out into the world. I watch as he calmly carries this giant cross, listing to one side, nearly bonking the choir member in the head in front of him, and always with a huge smile on his face.
Over the years, the cross has meant different things to me. Lately, it has been simple. The cross weaves together what it means to be a disciple of Jesus, the redemption Jesus brings, and most especially the love that cross represents. The five-year-old crucifer who wobbles down the aisle with a giant smile on his face, does so because church is all about Jesus and he knows it. He tells me so.
May we all glory in this mystery of our redemption, take up our cross—even if it’s wobbly, or listing to one side—and follow Jesus.
In faith and peace,
Chair of the Board of Forward Movement
Rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Essex, Connecticut
An Update Regarding Scott Gunn
Thank you all for your prayers and concerns regarding The Rev. Scott Gunn over these past weeks. As you might recall from our last update, Scott has been healing and recovering in Singapore following a major medical incident in late July. Scott is still expected to make a full and complete recovery and is doing quite well.
We are pleased to share with you that things are going very well and Scott, along with his spouse, The Rev. Sherilyn Pearce, were able to travel home to Ohio recently where Scott will continue his recovery process. We ask that you continue to hold them in prayer, but refrain from calling, texting, or emailing so that they may devote their energy entirely to Scott’s health.
More from our ministry:
From ChurchNext: Making Sense of the Cross
From the Grow Christians archive: Celebrating Holy Cross Day with Little Ones
Explore your own path of faith and discipleship: Vital Signs of Faith