THIS IS NO ORDINARY MEAL - SERMON ON ISAIAH 25:6-9 AND LUKE 24:13-49, REV. JOSEPH C. ALSAY, ST. AUGUSTINE OF CANTERBURY EPISCOPAL CHURCH
“This is No Ordinary Meal”
Isaiah 25:6-9 & Luke 24:13-49
Every meal prepare with love is a feast.
This is no ordinary thing we do here this evening. We use ordinary things—a building, benches, wine, and bread—but it's no ordinary thing we do together.
This is not an ordinary sack lunch we might pack with us to work or to school and eat at our convenience.
It's not a fast-food fill we take as a break.
It's not grazing our way through the leftovers in the fridge, stuffing our faces as we watch the clock.
Nor is this a frozen dinner, thawed and microwaved mercilessly, stripped of its plastic, and eaten alone in silence in front of the television.
This is no ordinary meal. It won't fill, but it will satisfy something deep within us. It can't last, but it will linger in our souls. It holds no great variety, but it does carry the truth of love.
It’s at Emmaus, that the risen Jesus Christ takes, blesses, breaks and gives the bread to the two disciples. The hands that take the bread on this occasion are the same hands that took the bread to feed the crowd, and to share that last meal with his disciples. With his nail-scarred hands, Jesus takes, blesses, breaks and gives. It what do when---each week following his example we dare to take, bless and give.
That's what we do this evening. We celebrate a feast of love—not so much in the meal, but in the joy of what takes place here. In the promise that the risen One will reveal himself to us in the word spoken, and in the bread broken.
So, come Lord Jesus and be our guest and let these gifts to us be blessed.
This is no ordinary meal.
~Rev. Joseph C. Alsay, St. Augustine of Canterbury Episcopal Church
WHAT A WONDERFUL CHANGE! - SERMON AND REFLECTIONS ON ACTS 10:34-43 AND MARK 16:1-8 BY REV. JOSEPH C. ALSAY, ST. AUGUSTINE OF CANTERBURY EPISCOPAL CHURCH
Reverend Joseph C. Alsay, St. Augustine of Canterbury Episcopal Church
Acts 10:34-43 & Mark 16:1-8
“What a Wonderful Change!”
On first glance, it seems like the gospel of Mark ends rather abruptly! The women have come to the tomb to care for the body of their friend and Lord. They totally expected death. Seeing the stone rolled away, they entered the tomb – they entered into death. They didn’t find Jesus. Instead, they saw a young man dressed in white, who told them not to be amazed, that Jesus had risen. This same stranger told them to tell the disciples and then head to Galilee.
Is it any wonder that terror and amazement seized them?
The Greek word for amazement, “ekstasis,” literally means, “change of place.” And that is what has happened to us and to all of creation because of the resurrection.
There is a gospel song written by Walter Hawkins that simply states,
“A change, a change has come over me.
He changed my life and now I'm free.
He washed away all my sins and he made me whole.
He washed me white as snow.
He changed my life complete and now I sit, I sit at his feet.
To do what must be done I'll work and work until he comes.
A wonderful change has come over me.
A wonderful change has come over me.”
Before Easter, we stood in a place of sin and death. After Easter, we stand in a place of forgiveness and life. Everything is changed.
When I began here at St. Augustine 10 years ago, I was given a plaque that show an old lady speaking at a podium with 6 mics and a bald up first raised in the air. She says, “Change is good. . . as long as I don’t have to do anything different.”
My friends, because of the dynamic and life-changing power of the resurrection, we are not the same. The world is not the same. This new reality of forgiveness, life, and salvation is and should be unsettling. Terror and amazement, indeed!
The world is turned upside down. Or rather right-side up. We have been changed for the better.
~ Fr. Joseph C. Alsay, St. Augustine of Canterbury Episcopal Church
MEDITATION ON JOHN 12:20-26 JESUS PREDICTS HIS DEATH - SARAH-EMILY STEINHARDT, ST. AUGUSTINE OF CANTERBURY EPISCOPAL CHURCH
Jesus Predicts His Death
Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the festival. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. “Sir,” they said, “we would like to see Jesus.” Philip went to tell Andrew; Andrew and Philip in turn told Jesus.
Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.
I love the last part of verse 24 here, “But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” It is often so difficult to see and realize that in death, there is life – both in nature, in humans, metaphorically, wherever we may seek to find it. The dormant winter grass yields lush green growth in the spring. A burned patch of field yields gorgeous flowers. We may choose to die to old habits not serving us, for a healthier, new approach or perspective. Sometimes relationships even die, and hopefully through that pain we gain perspective and strength on the other side. Is the death part easy? Pretty? Without grief? No. Yet if we allow it to do so, it will produce life.
My dad died in 2006 after his body was ravaged by cancer. He was a life-long organ donor, with the organ donor sticker on his driver’s license. My family didn’t think much about this fact until he had passed and we were now asked for permission for those organs as we made burial preparations. We were told cancer victims didn’t always have much available, but we still said yes, knowing my dad would have liked helping someone else. Time went on, and imagine my family’s shock, surprise and overwhelming emotion when we received a letter, months later, telling us that my father’s eyes had been donated. His corneas had given someone back the gift of sight. The kernel of wheat, fallen to the ground, died and produced many seeds. How powerful! What seeds has death produced in your life?
Heavenly Father, thank you for the example of Jesus. Thank you for his death, and the seeds and life that he has produced in his willingness to sacrifice himself. Help us to be willing to die to ourselves – to see that old, sinful nature on the cross and crucified with Christ. Use that death to produce fruit that honors you, God! Help us to be at peace with death, knowing that in you, death means life everlasting.
Submitted by Sarah-Emily Steinhardt, the Member Engagement Coordinator of St. Augustine of Canterbury Episcopal Church
During the time of apartheid, St. George’s Cathedral, Cape Town, South Africa, was called “The People’s Church”. Its Bishop, TRR Desmond Tutu, had the following proclamation posted on its doors: “We extend a special welcome to those who are single, married, divorced, widowed, gay, confused, filthy rich, comfortable, or dirt poor. We extend a special welcome to wailing babies and excited toddlers. We welcome you whether you can sing like Pavarotti or just growl quietly to yourself. You’re welcome here if you’re just browsing, just woken up or just got out of prison. We don’t care if if you’re more Christian than the Archbishop of Canterbury or haven’t been to church since Christmas ten years ago. We extend a special welcome to those who are over 60 but not grown up yet and to teenagers who are growing up too fast. We welcome keep-fit mums, football dads, starving artists, tree-huggers, latte-sippers, vegetarians, and junk-food eaters. We welcome those who are in recovery or still addicted. We welcome you if you’re having problems, are down in the dumps, or don’t like ‘organized religion.’ (We’re not that keen on it either!) We offer a welcome to those who think the earth is flat, work too hard, don’t work, can’t spell, or are here because granny is visiting and wanted to come to the Cathedral. We welcome those who are inked, pierced, both, or neither. We offer a special welcome to those who could use a prayer right now, had religion shoved down their throat as kids, or got lost in the city centre and wound up here by mistake. We welcome pilgrims, tourists, seekers, doubters,...and YOU!
To those who are worshipping with us today, this welcome applies to St. Auggie’s as well!
~Dr. Gil Haas, St. Augustine of Canterbury Episcopal Church
Our three-year Lectionary rotates the accounts of Jesus’ resurrection in the gospel lessons assigned to Easter/Easter Week. In Matthew, “Mary Magdalene and the other Mary” entered the tomb because an angel employed an earthquake to roll away the stone. The angel petrified the guards and spoke with the women. Jesus later hailed and encouraged them to inform His disciples. In Mark’s simpler narrative, Jesus “appeared first” to Mary Magdalene who told his unbelieving disciples. In Luke, Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary, and “other” women found an empty tomb and two angels who reminded them of Jesus’ foretelling his death and resurrection. The women informed the unbelieving apostles. In John, Mary Magdalene described to Peter and John the empty tomb. After running there, John and Peter entered the tomb discovering the collapsed burial cloths and the napkin formerly on Jesus’ head rolled up in a place by itself. A weeping Mary peered into the tomb and saw two angels who inquired of her sorrow. After explaining, she turned around to confront Jesus whom she thought was a gardener. She implored the “gardener” to tell her the location of Jesus‘ body. When Jesus said, “Mary”, she recognized Him.
PALM/PASSION SUNDAY - REFLECTIONS ON PHILIPPIANS 2:5-11 AND MARK 15:1-39 BY REV. JOSEPH C. ALSAY, ST. AUGUSTINE OF CANTERBURY EPISCOPAL CHURCH
Excerpts of a Sermon Delivered by
The Reverend Joseph C. Alsay, St. Augustine of Canterbury Episcopal Church
Palm/Passion Sunday – 2021
Philippians 2: 5-11 & Mark 15:1-39
In places around the world today, people are celebrating an event that has come to be known by different names in various circles. Some call today Palm Sunday. This is due to the fact that on that fateful Sunday some 2000 years ago, our Lord came into Jerusalem riding a colt he was hailed by the people with waving and strewing palm branches accompanied with the shouts of “Hosanna to the Son of David Blessed is he who comes in the Name of the Lord.”
The people we are told, were ready for that day.
They had been waiting for generation after generation, reminding themselves of God's promise to restore them.
They were waiting for the one person, God would send who would liberate and lead them into a new time, a new life, in which they would be free from the powers of this world.
Yesterday evening, our Jewish brothers and sisters; our forebears in the faith, entered into Pesach--Passover and began an eight-day celebration and remembrance of when with an outstretched arm and mighty hand, God delivered them from the power and stifling grip of Pharaoh. A time when they were led from death to life; slavery and bondage to freedom.
So too, do we enter into a Passover of sorts, when we remember that acts of salvation that freed us from death’s grip and won for us life eternal.
Yes, the people looked for the One would deliver them, and they would follow him into victory.
But as, Archbishop Desmond Tutu said, “Victory is elusive and all-too-often the human triumphal entry, is soon to be forgotten like a ticker tape parade for human heroes.” Often times we are jubilant, celebrating and welcoming Jesus. But at other times, not so much.
But, the “Triumphal Entry” of Jesus into our sinfulness, can never be forgotten because, for it was the greatest sacrificial entry ever offered.
That’s why others will call today “The Sunday of the Passion.” For we remember that, marked the beginning of that Week of weeks, a week full of paradoxes. When, popular acclaim turned to public execution. You have to wonder if the same crowd of people who shouted Hosanna on Sunday, where the same who, like us, began to cry, "Crucify him!" on Friday?
It marked a time when Thorns would take the shape of a crown. When Jesus would be led to the gibbet of the Cross, and there "Sorrow and love would flow mingled down.”
So, what does today mark?
Today on this second Palm/ Passion Sunday in the time COVID. We recognized the vaccine is present and being distributed, the death rate is down. But we are still not out of the woods yet. There are still many of us who mourn the loss of loved ones. We mourn the loss of friends. We hold the two human tensions in mind. The celebration and the suffering; the here and the not here; That very real reality of the pains and the joys of life.
So, what does today mark? It marks the day when this community faith can once again enter those red doors and come together, after being separated for over year, to join with countless other believers around the world and symbolically enter into Jerusalem to recount the saving acts which wrought our salvation and guaranteed our entrance into that heavenly and new Jerusalem.
So, what does today mark? It marks the beginning of showing us that the flaws inherent in human nature haven't changed in two thousand years. For we will see just how many times the faithful can become fickle. How lovers can become betrayers. But, we can also see how the fearful become fearless and how life ends and new life begin.
So, what does today mark? Today, we remember the One who, according to the Epistle to the Philippians, achieved victory by "humbling himself and becoming obedient unto death, even the death of a Cross."
Humility is at the heart and center of what we celebrate this week. The collect of the day says, “Almighty and everliving God, in your tender love for the human race you sent your Son our Savior Jesus Christ to take upon him our nature, and to suffer death upon the cross, giving us the example of his great humility: Mercifully grant that we may walk in the way of his suffering, and also share in his resurrection.” There is no humility without humiliation. And it’s in the shadow of the Cross, we experience Jesus' mercy and we share in his ultimate triumph over death.
And it is in the shadow of that same Cross, then, we experience our turning around, our conversion, our repentance and our hope of resurrection life.
LENTEN REFLECTIONS ON JOHN 12:9-19 - THE TRIUMPHANT ENTRY - SARAH-EMILY STEINHARDT, ST. AUGUSTINE OF CANTERBURY EPISCOPAL CHURCH
Meanwhile a large crowd of Jews found out that Jesus was there and came, not only because of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. So the chief priests made plans to kill Lazarus as well, for on account of him many of the Jews were going over to Jesus and believing in him.
Jesus Comes to Jerusalem as King
The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting,
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Blessed is the king of Israel!”
Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, as it is written:
“Do not be afraid, Daughter Zion;
see, your king is coming,
seated on a donkey’s colt.”
At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that these things had been done to him.
Now the crowd that was with him when he called Lazarus from the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to spread the word. Many people, because they had heard that he had performed this sign, went out to meet him. So the Pharisees said to one another, “See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him!”
Ahhh, that high point of Palm Sunday, Passion Sunday, the Triumphant Entry into Jerusalem. To me, Lent always seems such a dark, somber season that this point in the church calendar was like a bright, shiny, feast and festival. Crowds. Parades. Shouting. Singing. The lush green of waving palms. Alleluias are banished all of Lent, and yet today “Hosanna!” is shouted. Very contrary to the rest of Lent, don’t you think? Jesus and his status are rising to an absolute ‘fever pitch’, just before things really go south in the days and moments to come. It almost feels like a spectacle, doesn’t it? Surely, many people were also curious about Lazarus, and that had to fuel the fire of the moment.
In this scripture, I’m caught on the fact that Jesus rode on the young donkey (baby, foal, colt), and did so to fulfill scripture. Do you know some scientists, scholars and theologians even argue that physically, a baby donkey wouldn’t have been able to hold the weight of a grown man? Consequently, some believe Jesus part rode, part levitated as he paraded into the city. Whoa. I wouldn’t doubt it, with the energy of the moment. The deeper meaning to me is how common and ‘un-special’ a donkey seems to be. We don’t have time to note and discuss all the times throughout scripture a donkey has been used in extraordinary, miraculous ways. Let’s be honest: A donkey doesn’t have the ‘wow’ factor of a majestic stallion, peacock, decorated elephant or exotic tiger. To me, that donkey he chose represents US. You and I. Common, regular, everyday folk. Messed up, doing the best we can. Poor, nothing fancy. A bunch of sorry asses. Yes, I said it – you can chuckle – I only meant donkeys, nothing foul. Hear me out, because here’s the thing - we’re chosen! Chosen by Jesus to usher him in triumphantly. Isn’t that the beauty and mystic nature of our faith and salvation? In our commonness, we are still chosen and used for something beautiful and powerful. I’m so grateful for the moment of the triumphant entry and that Jesus could have chosen anything, but chose a donkey.
Strengthen our faith, Lord! Allow our eyes to see YOU riding on the chosen donkey. Allow our voice to sing ‘Hosanna!’ to you – knowing that means ‘Save’ and ‘Rescue’. Thank you for the brightness of this moment leading up to death. Help us to enter more deeply into the mystery of your unconditional love, as we near Good Friday. Let your work and will be accomplished in our lives, Lord.
Submitted by Sarah-Emily Steinhardt, the Member Engagement Coordinator of St. Augustine of Canterbury Episcopal Church.
Monastics in the Middle Ages celebrated Tenebrae at 2 AM (a combination of matins said at night and lauds said just before dawn) on each of the final three days of Holy Week. In 1955 to facilitate the participation of laypersons, each night’s Tenebrae in the Roman Catholic church was moved to the previous evening. Thus, Maundy Thursday’s Tenebrae was moved to the evening of Holy Wednesday. Betrayal was the former theme of Wednesday evening’s readings, although the assignment of specific readings, lamentations, and hymns to each Tenebrae is no longer practiced. Tenebrae begins with fifteen lit candles set on a triangular stand, or hearse. One candle is extinguished after each reading (nine during matins and five during lauds) until only one lit candle remains. Tenebrae’s name (literally, darkness) stems from the darkness at the service’s conclusion. The lit candle, symbolic of Christ, is hidden behind the altar to signify evil’s victory. A loud noise is made to symbolize the earthquake at Christ’s death. Before the congregation departs, the lit candle is replaced on the triangle’s top. This currently is associated with Christ’s resurrection, but it may have originally merely been a light for the departing congregation.
~Dr. Gil Haas, St. Augustine of Canterbury Episcopal Church
BEFORE THE SPRING IS COMING - SERMON AND REFLECTIONS ON JOHN 12:20-33 - DR. MARK HEANEY, ST. AUGUSTINE OF CANTERBURY EPISCOPAL CHURCH
Sermon: Before the Spring is Coming
John 12: 20-33
As I am driving down the streets these days, two conflicting sights arise before my eyes. I see the broken trees, gnarly, torn and jagged. And then I see the grass, green in patches and still brown in others. I witness some shrubs beginning to leaf out, while others appear dead from the devastating winter freeze of only a few weeks ago. I gaze at hyacinths and daffodils bravely showing their new blossoms above the ground. I see all this and I wonder, “what will this spring truly be like.” Life and death, posing side by side, cause us to reflect. They call us to gather together these twin realities that always exist side by side, whether we choose to acknowledge them or not.
Jesus was at a turning point in his ministry. He had reached his final destination in Jerusalem and people were talking. Some foreigners were speculating, “Who is this Jesus we have been hearing about?” But, they didn’t just want to hear about him. They wanted to see him, face to face. So they turned to one of Jesus’ disciples, Phillip and said, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” Philip reported this to Andrew and Andrew and Philip together went to Jesus and told him about the request. That request seemed to go nowhere.
The scripture never tells us whether or not these seekers were able to meet with the one that they sought out. Instead, in the story we see Jesus reflecting upon the meaning of what was about to take place in his life and ministry. This was a turning point of such cosmic proportions, that the request for an audience by a few curiosity seekers paled in comparison. To illustrate this depth of meaning, Jesus first speaks a brief parable. “Unless a grain of wheat falls to the earth and dies, it remains a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” It is not difficult to see that this parable is pointing the reader ahead to what is about to happen. We the reader already know that Jesus is preparing to make the slow and steady march toward the cross. John tells us that in this death he will be glorified. But it involves his death, nonetheless. And we all know, that coming face to face with death is never easy.
The theme of death and life is prominent in this passage. Jesus speaks about our human tendency to cling to life in this world. He tells his listeners that if we hold too tightly to the our earthly lives, we will lose the promise of eternal life. Jesus uses this profoundly simple parable to say that to be his follower is more than merely sitting and admiring him, as perhaps the Greek visitors wanted to do. Indeed, it is about serving him and following him on his journey. A journey which ultimately leads to a cross.
Jesus words are troubling for us to hear today. In the same way that it was troubling for Jesus’ psyche as he contemplated what he was facing in the coming days. He wondered to himself, should I ask my Father God to spare me from the agony that awaits? So, we too, are tempted to take the easy road of cheap grace and half-hearted discipleship. But Jesus was given an indication, expressed in John as a voice from heaven. This voice affirmed that there was a reason for his sacrifice. That by offering his life, by being lifted up (that is on the cross) all seekers would be able to see him. And, in that seeing, all would be drawn toward the life that endures. In this glorification, all humanity can see beyond the suffering of our present time and place, to a place of union and communion with him and all of his followers.
What or whom are you seeking? Are you looking to see Jesus in the midst of these troubling times? And if you are wanting to see Jesus, what does that mean anyway? I think this passage gives us a few clues about what seeking Jesus is and what it is not. I think it is quite clear that seeking Jesus is not an esoteric, philosophical pursuit. It is not seeking to gain intellectual knowledge. Perhaps this is what the Greek visitors to Jerusalem were all about. No, seeking Jesus is something much more embodied, much more visceral, much more active, much more real. It is something that not only involves our brains, but involves our hearts, our souls and our wills. Jesus said my psyche is troubled. In this he was saying that his very soul was troubled as he contemplated his coming days. His soul, the very seat of his affections and his will was troubled. The very breath of life which was within him, his self, his person was torn by the passions of his circumstances.
To seek Jesus in these troubling times is not to flex our strength, but to come face to face with our weaknesses. This passage is in no way about a triumphant, conquering Jesus. It is not of a salvific hero riding with sword drawn on a black stallion of victory. Those who die, those who lose, those who are raised up on a cross and killed are the ones who will be honored. They are the ones who in the end will find life. This passage is about God’s strength which is gained through vulnerability. It is about God’s power which comes through what appears to be weak in the world. It is about God’s justice which is pursued through love, mercy and forgiveness.
Where is it that we will see Jesus? Not in the strong and powerful, but in the meekness, humbleness and brokenness of this world. In order to see, the truth of dying to this world must be revealed. We are called in this truth to let go of the small visions we so stubbornly cling to and embrace the larger reality of God’s transformation of our world. We are called to faith. This is not a faith that desires us to be intellectual hairsplitters, but a faith that trusts that the realm of God is possible. It is a faith that God’s Kingdom does come on earth. It is a faith that humble love, gentle mercy and heartfelt sacrifice toward those around us is the good and proper way to be a follower of Jesus Christ.
“Sir, we want to see Jesus.” But do we really? For seeing Jesus involves gazing upon the cross of our vulnerability, our shame, our brokenness, our hurt, our mortality. Do we really want to see that? Do we really want to live in that reality? My day job, as it were, is as a pastoral psychotherapist. Sometimes that involves me in working with couples who are in conflict and potentially facing divorce. The statistics tells us that this is generally not a successful venture. But what I can say, is that sometimes through the process of coming together we are able to renew and restore broken relationships. What this process requires, I am convinced is that all three of us, myself included, must enter into a process of becoming vulnerable to one another. We must set aside our self-conceit, let go of the notion that we are right and the others are wrong. We must engage in the hard work of letting go of our certainties and listening to the truth of the other in our midst. I am truly happy to say that sometimes this process works. And, when it does you can feel a lightness in the air as old grievances and animosities are let go and love and compassion are released.
Perhaps for me, this is a glimpse of what it means to see Jesus. It is to see fellow companions on the human journey let go of old hurts, pains and animosities from the past. It is to see each other held in a common embrace of God’s love, compassion and mercy. Where in your life, might Jesus be waiting to greet you? Where might you see Jesus in these coming days. Let this be a question we ask ourselves, as we together make the journey to the cross and beyond to an open tomb.
I close with this poem from John M. C Crum:
Now the Green Blade Rises, by John M. C. Crum (1872-1958)
Now the green blade rises from the buried grain,
Wheat that in dark earth many days has lain;
Love lives again, that with the dead has been;
Love has come again, like wheat that springs up green.
In the grave they laid him, Love whom hate had slain;
Thinking that he never would awake again,
Laid in the earth like grain that sleeps unseen;
Love has come again, like wheat that springs up green.
Up he sprang at Easter, like the risen grain,
He who for the three days in the grave had lain;
Raised from the dead, my living Lord is seen;
Love has come again, like wheat that springs up green.
When our hears are wintry, grieving, or in pain,
Then your touch can call us back to life again.
Fields of our hearts that dead and bare have been;
Love has come again, like wheat that springs up green.
Dr. Mark Heaney, St. Augustine of Canterbury Episcopal Church
Making the sign of the cross is a ritual request for a blessing made by many Christians. It is common to invoke the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit simultaneously. Until the twelfth century, both the western and eastern churches made the sign of the cross similarly - from above to below and then from right to left. However, western churches gradually changed to a left to right pattern, which is our current Episcopal tradition. Pope Innocent III commented that the newer formula (from left to right) mimicked the passing from misery (left) to glory (right). Current Orthodox and Roman Catholic sources curiously argue that their opposite actions are responding to the motions of a priest’s blessing. Catholics note that the priest makes the sign of the cross over the people from left to right, and laypersons crossing themselves from left to right “imitate” the priest. Orthodox counter that parishioners are “mirroring” the priest by crossing themselves right to left. Orthodox bunch the larger two fingers and their thumb together to symbolize the trinity while the two smallest fingers are bent against the palm symbolizing Christ’s dual nature. Many Catholics use an open hand symbolizing the five wounds of Christ.
~ Dr. Gil Haas, St. Augustine of Canterbury Episcopal Church
Various Clergy and members of St. Augustine contribute to authoring the blog on a variety of topics.