May I never boast of anything except the cross

James Otis Sargent Huntington OHC

Today in the lectionary cycle we celebrate the life of James Otis Sargent Huntington.  Fr. Huntington was an Episcopal priest born in 1854 and who in 1884 founded of the Order of the Holy Cross.  His ministry focused primarily on serving the poor, prayer, and spiritual counsel.  The mother house of the order is located in West Park, NY but the order has three other houses in Toronto, Grahamstown, South Africa, and Santa Barbara, CA.  The retreat house and monastery in California was burned to the ground in 2008 during a wildfire.

The title for this Daily Cup comes from the readings assigned for today for the celebration of Fr. Huntington’s life.  The title comes from Galatians 6:14-18 where St. Paul is proclaiming that through the cross the world has been crucified to him, and he to the world.  He is telling the Christians in Galatia that as Christians the world with its struggles and squabbles over trivial things–in Paul’s day circumcision or uncircumcision as a sign of being a Christian–no longer bind him.  His mind is set on things more meaningful and fulfilling…the cross of Christ in which he, and we, are given eternal life and salvation.

In a sermon delivered in 2008, Br. Randy Greve, OHC preached about what Paul had to say with the following words:

“He [Paul] says that the authority, the power, the call to the people of Galatia does not reside in him, but in the cross. It is not his own insights to which he appeals, but to the cross. The cross, that jarring reminder of cursed God-forsakenness, is the harrowing act of our redemption, the ultimate act of love, the call to take up our own crosses and follow Christ. Crucifixes are prominent throughout these monastic buildings on purpose, including two large ones in this most holy space. But because we are so familiar with the symbolism, it can become invisible; at least at times it does to me. For St. Paul, for Fr. Huntington, and for us, the cross must never be invisible but always in our sight. It is the constant jolt to wake up, to be alive every day, every moment, to be humble and grateful, vigilant and ready to love no matter the circumstances. It is never just a nice memory or a sentimental piece of history, it is the sole reason why we are here, why we do what we do, why we read and sing and bow as we do. While I was in South Africa, Br. Timothy was fond of saying, ‘This is not a rocking chair around my neck!'”

For the brothers of the Order of the Holy Cross, and for us, the cross is not a pretty pendent but a reminder that we are alive in love, we are called to action in the world, and to a life given out of love by the death and resurrection of Jesus on the cross.

In the name of the Cross of Christ,

About matthewhanisian

Associate Rector at St. Alban's Episcopal Church, Washington, D.C.
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2 Responses to May I never boast of anything except the cross

  1. Noell Sottile says:

    Amen. –Noell

  2. Anton Vanterpool II says:

    Matthew, Thanks for this meditation. During this pre Advent, post Thanksgiving time, we’re asked “What are you thankful for?” We give thanks for many earthly things: family, friends, food and the like. One earthly thing we overlook in giving thanks is the cross and the great sacrifice God through Christ gave us. We are blessed to celebrate and give thanks for “the cross” through the Holy Eucharist regularly.

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