September 3, 2021

Pushing Back for Grace

If you’re in church this Sunday, you’ll hear one of the most interesting and puzzling passages of the Gospels, when a Syrophoenician woman has a verbal showdown with Jesus in Mark 7:24-37. The anonymous woman, an outcast twice over because she is a woman and a Gentile, begs Jesus to cast away a demon from her daughter. He refuses, telling her his mission is solely for the lost sheep of Israel. He says: “Let the children be fed first, for it is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” This is one of the rare episodes in the Gospels where we see that even Jesus might have been limited by the cultural blinders of his time. Dr. Sharon Ringe, professor emerita of New Testament at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C., speculates that Jesus here is “caught with his compassion down.”

The Syrophoenician woman pushes back, believing that God’s grace is meant for all people. She tells Jesus: “Sir, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” Something about her stubbornness changes Jesus’ heart, for he responds: “For saying that, you may go—the demon has left your daughter.” Her persistence pays off, and it changes the course of Jesus’ ministry.

Perhaps this woman can teach us that sometimes even we have too small an understanding of God’s grace? Our mission at Christ Church Cathedral is “to widen the circle of God’s embrace with heart and voice.” Are we listening to the anonymous Syrophoenician women in our midst, who are crying out, pushing us to widen the circle even more broadly? Even when their voices are uncomfortable, can we hear them inviting us into more compassion and more love? For if we listen, we too, like Jesus, may well change the course of our ministries.

—The Very Reverend Gray Lesesne, D. Min.

Weekday Worship Returns to CCC

In-person weekday worship returns to Christ Church Cathedral beginning Tuesday, Sept. 7. These services also will be available via Facebook Live, and we look forward to welcoming you wherever you are.

  • Morning Prayer each weekday at 8:30 a.m.
  • Noonday Eucharist each weekday at 12:05 p.m.
  • Evening Prayer each weekday at 5:30 p.m. (note the time change), with Evensong on Tuesdays and Thursdays and liturgies in Spanish on Mondays and Fridays

We are grateful for this return to the regular rhythm of in-person daily prayer, which is at the heart of the Cathedral\’s ministry.



Our offices will be closed on Monday in observance of Labor Day. All Cathedral worship and activities will take a sacred pause for the day as we give thanks for the stewardship and work of our neighbors, for those who seek employment, and for all those who we may never meet but who contribute to our communal well-being.


TOMORROW: A Morning of Prayer and Meditation


Jesus said to his disciples: “Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a little while.” (Mark 6:31) As our Cathedral continues its Remember, Renew, Rise Season of Discernment about God’s call to us for our next chapter of ministry, we invite you to come away and rest with us at a Morning of Prayer and Meditation. We’ll gather at the Benedict Inn in Beech Grove to walk the labyrinth and discuss our experiences.

Labyrinth walking is an ancient practice used by many different faiths for spiritual centering, contemplation, and prayer. In the Christian tradition, labyrinths are often part of spiritual pilgrimages and quests for answers to deep spiritual questions and an answering to prayer. Our very own Michael Landon, a trained spiritual director, will guide us in exercises to learn how to use the labyrinth as part of deepening our individual practices of faith.

Masks and social distancing are required at all CCC events regardless of vaccination status.




SAVE THE DATE! Waller & Maxwell Guitar Duo: Spanish Music for Two Guitars


Soundboard magazine wrote of Anne Waller and Mark Maxwell, “Great playing! This duo delivers the goods from moment to moment, and piece to piece.” As energetic proponents of duo guitar playing, Anne Waller and Mark Maxwell have toured the United States and Europe for over 40 years. Their unique programming of works for both 19th-century and modern guitars provides rare insight into the evolution of this captivating art. Their program will feature works by Fernando Sor, Joaquin Rodrigo, and Manuel de Falla.



Caring for and Welcoming our Afghan Neighbors

As Afghans arrive to the U.S. with the hope of safety, The Episcopal Church, through the work of Episcopal Migration Ministries, is assisting our new neighbors through the Afghan Parolee Support Program.This new U.S. program, dependent on private resources and community-led welcome and support, will provide the security and foundation necessary for arriving Afghans to build lives in the U.S.

A special appeal—the Neighbors Welcome: Afghan Allies Fund—aims to meet the financial and in-kind needs necessary to provide adequate housing, basic services, and long-term support. The needs are great and will require our communities and congregations to come together to contribute financially in addition to offering housing, volunteering, and praying.

There are many ways through Episcopal Migration Ministries that you can donate, volunteer, sponsor and advocate for our new neighbors.



Apple Picking at Anderson Orchard


This annual outing, started more than a decade ago by CCC\’s Latino community, is a crowd favorite! Bring a picnic and meet at the playground at Anderson Orchard in Mooresville. We\’ll work our way through the orchard to find a perfect picnic spot by the lake. Pick a bag of apples for your family and/or to benefit CCC’s Sunday morning breakfast ministry for our neighbors experiencing homelessness and hunger.



Save the Date: The Blessing of the Animals


Join us and bring your fur babies, plumed pals, and slithery sidekicks for the Blessing of the Animals! This short service in observance of the Feast of St. Francis takes place on our front lawn and we welcome all God\’s creatures and their guardians. Although outside, masks are still requested for all humans over 2 years of age, and animals must remain under the control of an adult, on a leash, or safely contained at all times. Pets will receive a blessing and a St. Francis medallion as a token of love and protection.


Pastoral Support Training for All

Are you a person with a caring heart and a good listening ear? Or do you believe you could be and would like to develop and grow in those qualities? Rarely has the need for such gifts been greater than now as we all struggle through the continuing COVID-19 pandemic and its variants.

At Christ Church Cathedral we can train you to be a Stephen Minister—to provide confidential, one-on-one support for people who are facing various challenges and stresses, whether confinement and loneliness; illness or grief over the death of a loved one; separation or divorce; job loss, relocation, or retirement; a new arrival or an empty nest; fear for your health or the well-being of loved ones during these trying times. Stephen Ministers model Christ’s love by being present with their care receivers—listening, empathizing, and encouraging.

Consider applying for training if you feel a call to this ministry. Training is interactive and intensive, challenging and rewarding, and teaches skills valuable in all human relationships. Commissioned care providers are then supported through regular, required supervision.

Classes will be conducted Monday evenings from 7 to 8:30 p.m. beginning Oct. 20, online via Zoom until in-person sessions are permitted.

Interested? Contact Canon Tom Kryder-Reid by Oct. 1.



Help Needed: Volunteer Music Librarian

CCC is searching for a volunteer music librarian. Working with the Director of Music, the music librarian prepares music for upcoming services and files music from past services. Come help in the behind the scenes work that keeps the choir humming all year long! This position requires approximately two hours of work per week on Tuesday mornings.


CCC Seeking Canon for Spiritual Formation

We often think of spiritual formation as “Sunday School” where we send children to learn Bible stories, but at CCC we believe spiritual formation is a lifelong journey and can be done anywhere at any time. Do you have a passion for building up faithful followers of Christ? Are you dedicated to enriching congregants’ inner lives so that they can go forth and manifest God’s love in the world? We want you!

CCC’s Canon for Spiritual Formation will work to renew and revitalize all aspects of the Cathedral’s formation and educational ministries, including our offerings for children, youth, and adults. In a post-COVID world, our new Canon is in a unique position to help us entirely reimagine formation in ways that are intergenerational, intercultural, bilingual, dynamic, experiential, and not necessarily experienced in a traditional classroom setting.


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