I could be confused, but I think I remember that the guidelines for a proper celebration of Thanksgiving Day call for “something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue.” It’s either Thanksgiving or weddings …perhaps I’m very confused…
In any event, I’ve brought something old with me to the ambo today—an old sermon. I’ve even printed it out in the Goudy Old Style font. Actually this sermon is only four years old—but lots can happen in four years. So, with your permission I will now quote myself and leave the new, the borrowed and the blue to you.
Those words I remember learning as a young child, for every year throughout Britain, on this night millions of people celebrate what is known as Bonfire Night, or Guy Fawkes Night. Millions of bonfires are lit and millions of fireworks are ignited.
François de Sales, the 17th century Bishop of Geneva, was revered for his insights about prayer. His recommendation for prayer: every day, “half an hour’s listening is essential except when you are very busy. Then a full hour is needed.” (1) François de Sales presumes three things about prayer:
1. Our prayer begins and ends with listening.
2. When life is very busy – like when you’re beginning a new school term, or a new internship, or a new job, or when life is very full – our discipline around prayer can easily be lost and yet it’s all-the-more important.
3. It’s essential to demarcate some time each day for prayer.
In the calendar of the church we today commemorate Adrei Rublev, the 15th century Russian monk, generally acknowledged as Russia’s greatest iconographer. He was born around 1365 near Moscow, and while very young he entered monastic life and later studied iconography. The icon you see before you here in this chapel is a reproduction of Adrei Rublev’s most famous icon called “The Hospitality of Abraham.” This reproduction was written by our own SSJE brother Eldridge Pendleton. I say, “written” by Br. Eldridge, not “painted” by him, but written because icons tell a story.
1 Cor. 11:23-29; Jn 6:47-58
Today we are keeping the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ, historically called Corpus Christi. On this solemn feast day we acknowledge and celebrate the meaning of the Holy Eucharist wherein we are spiritually fed by the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ under the forms of consecrated bread and wine, and fed also by the prayers of the whole Church.
All of the Post Communion prayers that we use during the year recognize the importance that the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist has for us, but there is one of those that I think particularly points up that importance in ways that go beyond our daily spiritual nourishment to touch on the cosmic dimensions of what takes place when we have participated in this Holy Sacrament. That is the prayer that begins with the words, “God of abundance”.