Candler School of Theology, Atlanta, GA
Feast of the Holy Cross, September 14, 2011
2nd Year MDIV Student

Lectionary: Isaiah 45:21-25, Psalm 98, Galatians 6:14-18, John 12:31-36

A few weeks ago, on the first day of classes, Anglican Studies eagerly welcomed six more students to the program. As with any group, when new people join, there are always questions about how things work and what we do. On this particular day, knowing we would be leading Evensong & Eucharist that evening, we spent some time walking through the service.

It was only a year ago that I was going through the same thing – completely unfamiliar with sung Evensong – the Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis – and having to learn it on the fly. There I was, considered one that was leading the service, yet I was wholly unsure of what I was doing at every turn.

Now lucky for us, this year’s newbies are good at asking questions. As we went through the liturgy someone asked “When do we make the sign of the cross?” which was quickly followed by “How do you make the sign of the cross?” These are good questions, and remind us that we all have different sensibilities and experiences with this particular gesture.

For many, the only time they see this gesture is when they are watching a baseball game and the batter makes the sign of the cross as he steps up to the plate. And even though this acknowledges the same strength and protection from God through Christ, the spitting and scratching that follows is not part of our routine… or at least not intentionally.

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