"The Preachers chiefly shall take heed that they teach nothing in their preaching, which they would have the people religiously to observe and believe, but that which is agreeable to the Doctrine of the Old Testament and the New, and that which the Catholick Fathers and Ancient Bishops have gathered out of that Doctrine." A proposed canon of Elizabeth I, 1571

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Location: Bedford, Texas, United States

I am a presbyter in the diocese of Fort Worth, Texas (Anglican Church in North America). I serve as Chaplain at St. Vincent's School and as a canon of St. Vincent's Cathedral Church in Bedford, Texas. In addition to my parish duties and teaching Religion classes in the school I am also the Middle School Social Studies teacher.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

The Chalice story

OK, by popular demand, I will tell you why this image is important to me. During Mass on Easter day 2003 I had what can only be described as a "vision." While kneeling in prayer after receiving the Blessed Sacrament I was suddenly aware of an image before my eyes. With my eyes open it seemed a bit washed out, but when I closed them I could clearly see a shining silver chalice sitting on a simple table, which was covered with a white cloth. The table was sitting in the middle of a grassy meadow on a sunny day. Then suddenly a lush green vine began to crawl out of the mouth of the chalice. The vine began to grow at a spectacular rate, quickly spilling over the edges of the table on all sides. In seconds the vine was beginning to fill the meadow. As it reached the edges of the meadow the image then faded away, the vine's astonishing growth--which was almost frightening--giving way to a warm stillness inside me as the image faded. I opened my eyes and again saw Christians kneeling around me in prayer. The power of the gospel of our Lord has never been more clear to me than it was that day. So there you have it. This early fifth century mosaic seems to capture some of that spirit. If you think I am crazy, do please be kind about it!The mosaic above dates from around 400A.D., and originally came from Syria. It is now here in Ft. Worth's Kimball Museum of Art. Posted by Hello


Blogger Julian said...

Where did you find it?

7:45 PM  
Blogger texanglican said...

The Kimball is our "hometown" art museum here in Fort Worth, and strangely this mosaic (as well as others from the late antique period) hangs in the entry way to the cafe at the museum. I was bowled over when I saw it! It is available on-line but I am not sure where I retrieved it, unfortunately.

6:54 AM  
Blogger Julian said...

Really makes the point that you're at home in Texas, eh?

8:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Randall,
I'm posting anon. because, it seems, I have to have my own blog to do it the other way.
(your blog is quite impressive, by the way).

I've recently had something like visions during the Eucharist myself. Or one might call it active imagination. I get an image and it unfolds (or I unfold it?) in my head into a full-blown scenario. I sometimes deliberately cultivate this kind of experience. Leah and I are now very involved with the community at Grace Church, and sometimes find myself distracted during the 10:30 service -- with all the crying kids, etc. The words of the liturgy, unfortunately, can become well-worn and I find myself losing a sense of the cosmic drama that redemption in Christ is.

The imagery is quite often apocalyptic -- Sometimes I visualize the lamb slain from the foundation of the world. Occasionally, at the Sanctus, I close my eyes and imagine the communion of saints as a choir enfolding all of us in the congregation. Interestingly, I often visualize Johnny Cash among them, and many other famous people, or people I've known in life.
Sometimes I have visualized my adamic, sinful self as a shriveled wretch nailed to the cross and then see my reconciled self clothed in a white robe. Once I visualized streaks of fire shooting from the altar and a fire, something like the white-hot solid wall of energy, as if the whole nave were filled with burning natural gas. The fire pierced through all of us -- as in those pictures of buildings blown away in those old atomic bomb tests.

I wonder if you (or others) have had any experiences such experiences or seen similar images?

Scott Jackson

10:47 AM  
Blogger Julian said...

Scott, that's really cool! Ask Randall for his other story. There's another really amazing one related to this one, that happened on the Good Friday just before this Easter, that he hasn't shared!

I have rarely "seen" things at Mass vividly, but I did once feel something of the eschaton while time stood still. Another time I saw the arms of Christ on the cross, and on yet another occasion I believe I saw possibly the very same thing that you must ask Randall to describe. I also had an experience of light while carrying the holy vessels after Mass once.

11:32 AM  
Blogger Julian said...

Here's your source:


11:17 PM  

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