Our Prayer Book boldly states that:

“The Holy Eucharist, the principal act of Christian worship on the Lord’s Day and other major Feasts, and Daily Morning and Evening Prayer, as set forth in this Book, are the regular services appointed for public worship in this Church.” (BCP p. 13)

This fact makes the active life of the community very important especially when we view ‘Eucharist’ by the literal meaning of the word in Greek, which is ‘thanksgiving’. Each and every week as we gather around the table and expect our Trinitarian God to transform our gifts of bread and wine into the ‘Real Presence’ of Jesus at our table we should be profoundly thankful. That thankfulness should not be limited to a ‘feeling’ of gratitude but should extend in to lives which display, in tangible ways, how thankful we are to be fed at the Communion Table.

One of the ways we have done this over the years at St. Luke’s is to gather non-perishable goods on the first Sunday of the Month to send off to Jeremiah’s Inn to help with their work with those seeking to break the grip of substance abuse. I don’t have to tell you that times are tough. I don’t have to tell you that it costs more to fill our grocery bags with our accustomed fare. I don’t have to tell you that just getting to the store is more expensive than it’s ever been. You all know all of that.

The really important question, given all of these realities, is; “What’s a Church to do about it?” I think that, among other things, we need to be more public about our support for those who feel this pressure most acutely and we need to do it publicly within the context of our regular corporate worship. A number of you have suggested over the course of the past months that we need to be more public about our monthly ingathering and have suggested that it become a weekly practice. I could not agree more and you all will be happy to see (I hope) that I’m getting around sharing your suggestion with the community.

Beginning this weekend, I invite you all to bring whatever non-perishables you have, whether it be macaroni and cheese, canned goods, dry cereal or the like. It doesn’t have to be much, but I believe it is a Holy Habit to cultivate, tend, nurture and watch blossom. Just as the flowers at the church or at our homes give us pleasure through our care and cultivation, so to does our Heavenly Father take pleasure in the gratitude that we cultivate in the giving of what we have to those who have so much less. I would also like for these offerings, whatever they may be, to be a part of the offering of our treasure and the gifts of bread and wine in the service. I conclude with this Offertory Sentence from the Book of Common Prayer (p. 376):

Through Christ let us continually offer to God the sacrifice of
praise, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his Name.
But do not neglect to do good and to share what you have,
for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. Hebrews 13:15, 16

Peace and Good,
The Rev. Warren Earl Hicks, Rector
St. Luke’s Episcopal Church
921 Pleasant St.
Worcester, MA 01602

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