Toronto: Anglican Book Centre, 1981.

1st Reading: The Breaking of Bread

Acts 1:14. These all joined together in prayer, with the women and 

with Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.

Sometimes she felt amazement when she looked at some 

of the people around her, especially the men. They came from 
one of the hardiest livelihoods in existence, 
subject to all the insecurities of seasonal weather, 
highly competitive, often dangerous. 
Lake fishing for a living did not encourage the gentler virtues. 
Yet here they were, haunted and held by something 
they had encountered on that lakeshore and
 had sacrificed endless time over, 
during the last few years. 
The extraordinary thing was that now 
there seemed to be no end to it. 
They had become a community, 
and she herself had survived and been given strength 
by the immense affection shown to her.

She found herself thinking of all this again 

as she watched the piece of home-made bread pass 
from hand to hand toward her. She had got used to this 
moment now. They did it whenever they were 
together, any small gathering of his followers. 
They were not all here in this house; 
others had gone to find shelter either with friends or 
relations or at an inn. Some had gone into Jerusalem 
hoping to stay with various families. 
In the Bethany house she had been welcomed 
by those whose friendship had meant so much to her son. 
John and a few others had stayed here.

The bread came near to her. Suddenly it was in John’s hand, and 

he was hesitating before turning to her. 
She had not so far been able to take part in
 this simple but terrible action. 

Even in symbolism her whole being rebelled against this 
eating and drinking of the body and blood of him 
who was of her own body and blood. Again she felt 
conflicting feelings sweeping over her, taking away
 her ability to think and act. She realized that every 
eye around the table was on her. She became aware of the 
circle of faces. Once they had been strange and often resented 
because of the close friendship they had had with him, 
the kind of friendship she had longed for so desperately. 
But now she saw them differently. 
She realized the love and support this circle, and 
even a greater circle not with them at the 
moment, had given her. The depth of all this 
love entered into her. It seemed to her swimming eyes 
that all their faces became one, and she knew that the
 single face was his, and that the love in their 
faces and the love in his face was one and the 
same love. She found herself eating and drinking, 
the rough bread melding with her body and the wine stinging its way into the center of her being.

Suddenly she was aware of absolute silence, and she 

knew she was with him again. She could never be 
sure later if any words were spoke. She often tried to 
capture his appearance, as indeed they all did, 
but she found it impossible. She and they could only 
say that it was him, yet more intensely and more 
vividly him than at any moment of encounter 
she had ever known. And then he was gone, and in 
some way they were released. Yet they felt released
 for a purpose.

This too is the word of God. All: Thanks be to God.

2nd Reading. The Roadway to the Stars

While Mary disappears from us as a woman of flesh and blood, 

living somewhere through the eventful first years of 
those growing communities which would one day
 in far away Antioch be called Christian, she 
remains in the forefront of Christian history. Whatever be our 
particular stance toward a concept such as her 
bodily assumption into the heavenly realm, an 
unarguable fact remains: in the consciousness of 
Christians, Mary never died. For the twenty centuries of 
our history we have remembered her in innumerable ways. 
This awareness has existed on many levels, 
from thankful recollection of her role in the 
divine drama as described in the New Testament to 
claims of her power so extravagant that more than 
once in history a responsible voice has had to 
counsel carefulness, and to call a retreat from 
ultimate claims about her. …

We begin to realize that the legend of the angels bearing 

Mary’s tired and worn body to her Creator is a 
human attempt to express something impossible to 
explain yet equally impossible to deny. 
This “something” is the fact that, at least in some sense, 
Mary does not die, and that she has proved in countless 
lives to be a channel for the grace of her son.

This too is the word of God. All: Thanks be to God.