St. James' Episcopal Church
Goshen, Indiana

Our 158th Year

Thursday, July 26, 2007


Sermon for St. James' Day 2007

Sermon for July 29, 2007
St. James’ Feast day
St. James’, Goshen
Arthur Hadley

What fun to have the Sunday service as a part of the parish picnic celebrating St. James’ day. The few things we really know about St. James is that his brother’s name is John. Both James and John, from Galilee, were early followers of Jesus. We heard in the Gospel I just read that their mother came to Jesus and wanted a special favor; she wanted James and John to be granted to be at the right and left hand of Jesus when he came into his Kingdom. Apparently she thought the Kingdom would we right then and there in Galilee. That is what lots of Jesus’ follower were hoping. They wanted a Messiah that would liberate them from Roman domination right here and now.

We often want God to do something for us right here and now. And we can not think of God doing something bigger and more important than satisfying our immediate wants and desires.

Jesus tried to expand the thinking of the boys mother, I can not give you what you ask for; it is not mine to give. Can James and John drink the cup I will drink of? The guys say oh yeah we can do anything you can do…. I suppose that since this in a relaxed picnic we could all burst in to a refrain from Annie Get You Gun: “I can do anything you can do, I can do anything better than you.”

Jesus agreed that James and John would drink of the cup he would drink. Which leads to the other thing we know about James. Like Jesus, James was executed by Roman authorities. John on the other hand is the one Apostle that died in old age and prepared the most poetic and theological of the Gospels. Both James and John drank deeply of the cup of Jesus.

We come to the communion table to drink of the cup of Jesus. We do this as a reminder that we became a part of the Body of Christ at our baptism. In Baptism we are buried as Jesus was buried and we are raised up out of the water washed clean of sin as Jesus and endowed with the Holy Spirit as Jesus was at his Baptism. We drink the cup of Jesus nurturing his body, his hands, feet, eye, ears and spoken word, in order to do the work of Jesus in the world today.

St. James went on to be the patron Saint and Evangelist of Spain and Portugal. Santediego de Compastello, became the great point of pilgrimage for not only Iberia but for western Europe. And it is still a point of pilgrimage. As pilgrims we travel to a distant holy place picnicking along the way in order to feel the realness of Drinking the Cup of Jesus.

As we picnic now let us drink of the Cup of Jesus.

Thanks be to God.

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