Here is the sermon I preached this morning. I realized that most of those attending this morning’s Eucharist were members of the SSJE, so I altered the first sentence for clarification. I also realized as I was writing the sermon that I could not include reference to all of the places that we visited and keep within the time limit that we have established for the length of our weekday sermons. Some of the place that we visited were a short visit to Lindisfarne, our retreat on Iona at Bishop’s House (where members of the English SSJE had live for about 10 years over 100 years ago), the visit we made to Walsingham differed sufficiently from the other places that it did not fit in well with the general theme I adopted, and the visit to Little Gidding, while significant, was too short. We also had an overnight stay in Glasgow so that those members of SSJE who wanted to return to America sooner, or wanted to see other places. Perhaps other members of SSJE can include those places in other ways. – David Allen, SSJE
[Col. 1:9-14 / Lk. 5:1-11]
As you who are not members of the S.S.J.E. may have heard, since we returned from our Pilgrimage to Great Britain, we had a wonderful time. In each of the places we visited we shared in what Paul termed, “the inheritance of the saints in the light.” (Col. 1:12) In all of those places we were given warm hospitality. In some places the tour guides gave us a very good glimpse of the heritage of some of the early saints of those regions. In the places we visited we could taste something of the holiness of those who had gone before us.
In Oxford our visit to the buildings that had been the Mission House, Church, and Chapels of previous generations of the members of our own Society of St. John the Evangelist, gave us the feeling of a link to those who have gone before us. At the same time we were also able to see how St. Stephen’s House, which now occupies those buildings, carries on the Mission of the Church as a Theological College.
During the rest of our short visit to Oxford we also learned something of the role of chaplaincy in some of the other Colleges of Oxford, in addition to seeing the ancient buildings there.
In the Cathedrals of Canterbury, Durham, York, and Norwich we could feel that those attending the services of Evensong and the Eucharist were there, not only to hear the music and see the ancient architecture, but also to worship God.
At each of the cathedrals and other churches, where we worshipped on the Sundays during our pilgrimage, we were told by people we met how much the “Give us a word”, sent out by the SSJE, has meant to those who subscribe to it. This let us know, that even when we are away from “home”, we are still ministering helpful words to people in many parts of the world.
Now, as we settle back into the normal routines of our life here at the Monastery and at Emery House, I think I can truly say that we carry in our hearts the experiences that we had during our Pilgrimage. At the same time we continue to pray for the people we met and the work that they do. We give thanks to God for all of these experiences. We give thanks to God that in this way he enables us “to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light”.
Do you give thanks to God when he gives you a glimpse of that same inheritance of the saints?
The places that I omitted to keep within those time limits were the visit to Lindisfarne, our time of retreat on Iona, and our visit to Walsingham, as one overnight stay in Glasgow to make it easier for those members of SSJE who had chosen to return to America sooner could do so. I gave a general impression of our visit to Durham Cathedral in a paragraph covering all of the significant places we visited.
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