Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, May Basket Report and more in the E-Newsletter for Sunday, June 14, 2020 – Available in full online here.Haga clic aquí para ver el mensaje de esta semana en español de nuestro misionero latino, Luis Valencia.
From the Rector
The Rev. Dr. Jared C. Cramer, SCP
As we have lived through these past several months, we have all had to struggle through various losses and difficulties seeking to be safe in the midst of a global pandemic.
For me, as your priest, one of the harder experiences has been the loss of the sacrament of Holy Eucharist. Never in my life have I gone this long without celebrating Eucharist with my community, much less receiving Holy Communion. While enjoying the riches of the rites of Morning and Evening Prayer with you has been its own sort of blessing, I long for the day when we can gather around the altar once more in our beloved and historic building.
And so I am very much looking forward to tonight's service of Evening Prayer & Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. While Evening Prayer is a rite of the prayer book—the rite for daily evening prayers at the close of day and as evening draws nigh. Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, however is a popular devotion in the church. And by "popular," I mean that it is one of the people.
Esteemed Anglican theologian John Macquarrie (someone whom the Handbook of Anglican Theologians described as "unquestionably Anglicanism's most distinguished systematic theologian in the second half of the 20th century") says it best,
BENEDICTION is a beautiful word. It means a blessing, a greeting, an expression of kindness and love. Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament is a service that makes real to us in an impressive way the fact that God is always reaching out to us, to bless, strengthen, and assure us of his loving kindness toward us. The greatest blessing that God ever bestowed or could bestow was the sending of his Son. He is no longer present in the physical body that was his so many centuries ago, but we believe he is really present among us in the Sacrament. “This is my body,” he said over the bread at the Last Supper. The same words are said over the bread at every Eucharist, that it may be his body, that he may come to us now.I hope that tonight, separated as we are from one another and from the Sacrament which binds us together, you will find yourself blessed by time with the Blessed Sacrament, time to pray, reflect, meditate and adore the Body of Christ.
We come to Benediction waiting and expectant. We open our hearts to God, knowing that he who sent his Son to lighten the darkness of the world sends through the same Son his blessing to us. A remarkable thing happens as we find ourselves saying the words of the Divine Praises: “Blessed be God! Blessed be his holy Name!” We came seeking God's blessing, and now find that we are blessing God! This indeed is the goal of all our worshiping—that we may come to love God better. And we cannot love God without loving our neighbor, so that in seeking God’s blessing, we are praying that, in blessing us, he will make us a blessing to others.
And I will join with you in prayers for the time when we will be able not just to adore, but to celebrate and consume the sacrament anew, when the world once again becomes a safe place to do that.
PS ~ Tomorrow I begin my two weeks of continuing education leave for this year, as I begin work on the Executive Master of Nonprofit Administration degree at the University of Notre Dame. Due to COVID-19, I won't be traveling to South Bend but instead will be working on that program virtually, from my office. This time of leave means our Sunday services will be streamed using all pre-recorded video, including sermons from our priest associates serving as guest preachers. Fr. Kenneth will be taking over our Tuesday noon Bible study, but the Sunday "Introduction to the Hebrew Bible" and the daily offerings of Noonday Prayer will go on break. I look forward to worshipping live with you again on my first Sunday back, Sunday, June 28—a day which, coincidentally enough, is actually ten years to the day since I first began work in our parish as your priest. (My first day in the office was Monday, June 28, 2010 and my first Sunday was July 4.) It will be good to worship with you live as I give thanks for the past decade of ministry in and among you. If you need anything during my time away, please contact Cindi Sanders who will be able to arrange for one of our priest associates to reach out to you and who also can contact me if there are any emergencies.
Read more in the E-Newsletter for Sunday, June 14, 2020 online here.
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