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Worship Life

 

A Rhythm of Life Centered on Worship

At the center of our life at Holy Cross is the worship of Almighty God. At Holy Cross, we worship God in the “beauty of holiness” in the Anglo-Catholic tradition. Following Rite 1 of the 1979 Book of Common Prayer (which keeps much of the language and structure of the 1928 American Prayer Book, which in turn follows closely the 1662 Prayer Book–still authorized in the Church of England–representing the culmination of Archbishop Thomas Cranmer’s Prayer Book reformations which began with the 1549 Prayer Book), our worship is ultimately based upon the medieval and ancient Christian liturgies and their fulfillment of the worship God instituted in his Holy Temple in the Old Testament. Thus, trusting in Christ the Great High Priest to send his Holy Spirit upon the congregation to bring us up into the heavenly worship, the servers pray before approaching the altar: “take away from us our iniquities, we beseech Thee, O Lord; that being made pure in heart we may be worthy to enter into the Holy of Holies. Through Christ our Lord.” What all of this means is that when you visit Holy Cross, you will experience a rich, transcendent, and historic form of worship.

The Book of Common Prayer we use as Episcopalians envisions a life not of “worship events” but rather a “rhythm of life centered in worship.” At Holy Cross, we encourage a three-fold rhythm of life: Daily Office, Sacraments (particularly the Holy Eucharist), and Private Devotion.

The Daily Office

The day begins with the Daily Office of Morning Prayer and concludes with Evening Prayer. At Holy Cross, we encourage participation in the Daily Office either by coming together corporately in the Church, or if time does not allow, to join those prayers and rhythms from home or work.

The Daily Office is composed of Psalms, Scripture Readings, Corporate Prayers, and times for individual prayers of petition, intercession, thanksgiving. A lectionary provides a cyclical reading of the Holy Scripture, so that in the course of 2 years the Old Testament is read through once and the New Testament is read through twice. A choice of Psalter lectionaries allows for the recitation of the entire 150 Psalms in either four or seven weeks.

The Holy Eucharist

Commonly Called the Holy Communion, the Lord’s Supper, or the Mass.

The Holy Eucharist is the central act of our Worship Life here at Holy Cross. The word “Eucharist” comes from the Greek word meaning “thanksgiving.” The Eucharist is a time when we gather together as a parish family to offer our praise and thanksgiving, even our whole selves to God, for the wonderful gift of salvation which he has offered us through the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of his Son, Jesus Christ.

In the Eucharist, we hear readings from the Word of God in the Old and New Testaments. These are followed sermon or homily is given to help us gain a deeper understanding of the teachings of our Lord. We recite the Creed, the fundamental statement of our Faith in God. We offer our prayers as family of petition, intercession, and thanksgiving. We confess our sins to God, and hear and receive the forgiveness which God offers to those who confess their faults to him. Aware that when the risen Christ came among his disciples in the upper room, he shared with them his peace, we share with one another signs of Christ’s peace. And finally, the great climax of the service, in response to our Lord’s teaching “to do this in Remembrance of me” we receive the bread and the wine and commune with God and in Sacrament of Christ’s Body and Blood. And finally in one closing prayer, we offer again our thanks for giving himself to us in such an intimate and powerful way.

Some services of the Eucharist are what we call “Low Mass.” At these services, all the words are read and there is no music to accompany. There are times of silence and quiet in which to contemplate and pray. At other services, called “Sung Mass” we sing hymns and listen to music played on the organ in order to aid our devotion and praise of God.

We gather together for Holy Eucharist on Sundays and on other Major Feast days such as Christmas and Ascension Day. We also realize that the worship of God should not limited to Sunday and so the Holy Eucharist, the greatest worship which a Christian can make, is offered also on several weekdays.

Private Devotion and Study

Throughout the history of our Faith, we have recognized that each person must be in a deeply personal and committed relationship with God. God knows us better than we know ourselves and desires that we know him. No life of prayer and worship would be complete without spending time each day alone with God in personal prayer. Many people misunderstand prayer. They think that it spouting out a laundry list of things we wish God would do for us. Instead, prayer is a conversation with God. Yes, we offer up to him our hopes and desires, we tell him that we realize that we’ve messed things up in our lives and in the lives of others in confessing our sins, we ask things on behalf of other people. But we also must spend time listening to God. Waiting and looking and seeing his response to us, which is always out of his love for us.

Times of private devotion have taken many different shapes over the centuries. Some like to pray using beads and repetitive prayers, such as the Jesus Prayer (“Jesus, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.”) or the Rosary (a series of prayers and meditations on certain events in Jesus’ life.) Others have preferred a slow and prayerful reading of Scripture called “Lectio Divina,” while others still have used the quiet forms of Christian Meditation known as Centering Prayer. And yet others have worshipped God through grace encountered in relics, such as that of the True Cross here at Holy Cross. Whatever form or shape the time of private devotion takes, the key is that it is a holy time, set apart and spent with God, in which he draws us ever closer to him through Christ by the Holy Spirit.

Other Sacraments:

 

Pastoral Care

If you or a loved one would like a visit from the Rector, whether it be for Home Communion from the Reserved Sacrament, Anointing for Healing, or simply for a visit and prayer, please reach out to the Rector.

Anointing

A regular part of the rhythm of Holy Cross is Anointing for Healing. During Ordinary Time, this takes place following Mass and/or as a part of weeknight Healing Service. During Lent, Anointing is offered following Stations of the Cross and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.

Confession

In the Exhortation in the Prayer Book, Christians are encouraged to:

Examine your lives and conduct by the rule of God’s commandments, that you may perceive wherein you have offended in what you have done or left undone, whether in thought, word, or deed. And acknowledge your sins before Almighty God, with full purpose of amendment of life, being ready to make restitution for all injuries and wrongs done by you to others; and also being ready to forgive those who have offended you, in order that you yourselves may be forgiven. And then, being reconciled with one another, come to the banquet of that most heavenly Food. And if, in your preparation, you need help and counsel, then go and open your grief to a discreet and understanding priest, and confess your sins, that you may receive the benefit of absolution, and spiritual counsel and advice; to the removal of scruple and doubt, the assurance of pardon, and the strengthening of your faith. 

Confession is an important part of the Christian’s spiritual life. We confess daily to God in Morning and Evening Prayer as well as weekly (receiving the Absolution) at Sunday Mass. Private auricular Confession is also on offer year round by appointment with the Rector and during Lent immediately preceding Stations of the Cross as well as following the Maundy Thursday and Good Friday services.