All Saints Episcopal Church in Chicago

Sometimes I want to slip away

Courtney Reid
All Saints

August 23, 2015

Sometimes I just want to slip away, to leave. When it feels like too much or it's too hard. When leaving seems like a better option than staying in or having a challenging conversation; when leaving seems easier than confronting my fears; when staying might mean I need to acknowledge my dependence, my feelings of not being in control; when staying means I need to acknowledge my own brokenness. Sometimes I just want to leave - before it gets too close, too real. And I suspect that many of you may sometimes feel this way, too.

These past five weeks of Gospel readings have been abundant with stories and images of bread, of the Eucharist. They have been drawing us deeper and deeper into the reality of a relationship with Jesus, and today is when the rubber hits the road - so to speak.

At the end of July, we began in the gospel of Mark with Jesus feeding the 5000. Transforming five loaves and fishes into enough for all.

The next week we moved to the gospel of John where Jesus appears as a patient but frustrated teacher - trying to get his followers to understand. "You are looking for me because you are full from eating the loaves. It is not earthly bread I give. It is eternal life. 'so how do we know you are the one, what signs will you give us. You gave Moses signs,' says the grumbling and disbelieving crowd. Jesus responds; “I am the bread of life. Come to me and never be hungry.”

The next week, the crowd is at it again, “how can you say you are the bread come down from heaven when you are the son of Mary and Joseph. How can God be your father?” And Jesus patiently explains it again. “I am the bread of life. Whoever eats of this bread will have eternal life.”

Last week, Jesus picked up where he left off the week before- “I am the bread of life, the true bread from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will have eternal life.” And now the argument becomes - how can we eat of your flesh? Yuck! What is it you're telling us? It's amazing that Jesus just doesn't pack up his bags and find a new crowd to work with.

And this week we hear the last of this “bread” series in our lectionary. “Eat my flesh, drink my blood, and you will abide in me and I in you. This is the bread come down from heaven.” No less than 8 times over the past four weeks has Jesus said - I am the bread of life, I am the bread of heaven. Each week, Jesus has been moving deeper and deeper into the true meaning of the bread. Come to me. Believe in me. Eat me. Become me. And still folks don't get or don’t want to get it. (and for the compilers of our lectionary, I'm thinking that they think we don't get it either) This week some find it so difficult to hear that they complain to Jesus about how difficult it all is and just leave.

Sometimes, I just want to leave, too. Do you?
When the words of Jesus seem too much, too hard?
When the world in which we live seems beyond hope.

Yet, in the midst of wanting to leave, of wanting to hide, I hear the voice of Peter (Peter, the one whom so often is bumbling his way to Jesus) Here, he’s spot on – when Jesus asks, “are you going to go, too” Peter responds – Lord, where would we go. … We have come to believe that you are the Holy One of God.”

Where would we go? Even when we don’t fully understand. Even when we’re scared and feel lost. Even when the risk of staying seems too much.

And this is why I love the Eucharist- Jesus comes whether we're ready or not, whether we get it or don't, whether we want to run away in fear or approach the table with joy. Jesus comes.

In our sacramental church, the Eucharist is often the place where we experience moments of intense grace, of overwhelming gratitude, of deep unworthiness, and of great communion.

"Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me and I abide in them." Jesus is telling us - eat me, ingest me, become me, really live.

Through sharing with us his body and blood, Jesus invites us into as intimate a relation and communion with him as we can imagine, perhaps a communion and relationship that is even closer than we want.

When I take in Jesus, what is he calling me to believe, to do. Might Jesus be calling me to live out of my comfort zone, to embrace a new way of being. These are important questions for us to reflect on and pray about. What and who does the bread of life, our holy communion, call us, as individuals, to be?

And there is another important side to this bread of life, this holy meal. We do not dine alone, we don't experience Jesus just singularly but in community. My fear at the table can be bolstered by someone else's immense faith. My belief in the life changing power of the Eucharist can sustain that person who wants to run.

The bread binds us together. In Book 1 of the Hunger Games, before the reaping that sees Peeta and Katniss chosen to represent their district in the games, Peeta’s saves a starving Katniss and her family when he throws her two loaves of bread. Loaves which Peeta’s mother had said to give to the pigs. Instead, Peeta chooses to share those loaves with a starving girl, huddling in the darkness. Later, in a moment of despair during the horror of the games themselves, she tells Peeta, “it was the bread that gave me hope…” The bread that Peeta gave, that gave Katniss hope creates a bond between them which remains long after the bread is gone.

The power of the living bread is not only what it calls us to be individually but as a community. It strengthens, challenges, and builds us up to be Christ for the world. When answering Jesus's question, Peter doesn't say I believe. He says, we believe. We believe and know that you are the holy one. We're all in this together.

The invitation to be in relationship, the demands of a relationship with Jesus become clearer. And "real life, life lived, abundant life is hard to fathom, hard to accept, hard to imagine that it could be ours." (Karoline Lewis)

Sometimes, I just want to slip away. It's too hard, too much. It's easier to walk away before it gets too close.

And yet, no matter what I do, the Bread of life is still there.
And there’s no need for me to run.



  1. This Week
  2. Services Times
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  4. Sermons
Annual Meeting Jan. 28, 2018: Rector's Address

Annual Meeting Jan. 28, 2018: Rector's Address

Here is a link to download Bonnie's address.

Weekly Message for February 18

Weekly Message for February 18

Dear Friends,    


How much longer will the killing continue? 
Here are some groups and activities you might consider supporting with your time and your money: 
  • The IL Council Against Handgun Violence 
  • Moms Demand Action 
  • Gabby Giffords' PAC 

  • And here's a list of congressional representatives who have received the most amount of money from the National Rifle Association. Apparently they are all praying for the people in Florida directly affected by our country’s latest mass shooting. I invite you to pray for their souls and to drop them a note wondering if God is answering their prayers. Will it make a difference? I don’t know. But, being held hostage by a diabolical association that has convinced our elected officials that it is the God-given, constitutionally-sanctioned right of every American to wander around with a semi-automatic rifle is absurd. Seems like all of us ought to start loudly pointing out this insanity.
    I’ll be at the Moms Demand Action Lakeview gathering on the 24th of February. Let me know if you’d like to come with me. Please let me know what other courses of action you plan to take to end gun violence in our country.
    This evening, All Saints’ will be hosting a gathering for the friends, family, and neighbors of our long-term neighbor John Vanzo at 7:00. Tomorrow morning at 10:30 there will be a visitation in the sanctuary and a memorial service at 11:00 am. All are welcome. 
    I’m super excited that we will finally kick off the All Saints’ Youth Group with an overnight this Saturday. Please RSVP to Hilary Waldron if your 7-12 grade child is planning on attending. 
    Following the 11:00 Worship service we will have a Newcomer’s Brunch at O’Shaughnessy’s at 12:15. Please join us!
    This Sunday, Emily will be preaching, I’ll be celebrating, and our choir will be singing some wonderfully moving Lenten music. It seems like the right time to be praying and repenting. So please come and join me.
    All my best,


    Memorial Service for John Vanzo

    Memorial Service for John Vanzo

    AUGUST 13 2013 11The memorial service for our friend and neighbor John Vanzo will be held at All Saints' this Saturday the 17th, at 11:00 am. There will be a visitation in the sanctuary prior to the service, beginning at 10:30am. All are welcome. 

    On Friday evening, the 16th, we will host a time of conversation and story telling for John's friends and family. All are invited from 7 to 9pm to share a drink, and hear and tell a favorite story of the very many sides of John.

    May John's soul and the souls of all the departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.


    Lenten Evening Prayer

    Lenten Evening Prayer

    On Thursdays, February 15-March 22, brief services of Evening Prayer will be offered at 7:00pm, with scripture, poetry, and song. Come find rest for your souls.

    Inquirers’ Class

    Inquirers’ Class

    On Thursdays, February 15—March 22, the Inquirers’ Class will take place in the Reading Room next to the sanctuary. Designed especially but not exclusively for those new to All Saints’ and/or the Episcopal Church, this 6-week series is an exploration of adult spirituality through history, prayer, scriptures, theology, church polity, and more. If desired, it may also serve as preparation for the rite of confirmation or reception into the Episcopal Church in May or June.

    The book we’ll refer to occasionally in the class is called Jesus was an Episcopalian (and you can be one, too!): A Newcomer’s Guide to the Episcopal Church by Chris Yaw. If you’re interested in joining the class, consider getting a copy to look over.

    Contact Bonnie or Emily for more info.

    Bags for RCS

    Bags for RCS

    We're running low on paper and reusable bags for our Tuesday night pantry. Please bring us your extras! 
    We will be taking donations on Tuesday evenings, M-F 9am-4pm, and on Sundays during church services. Look for the bins by the doors. Thanks for your help!

    Community Kitchen Volunteers Needed

    Community Kitchen Volunteers Needed

    Tuesdays 6:15-8:00pm 

    RCS is looking for help serving and cleaning up after dinner on Tuesdays from 6:15-8:00pm.

    If you're able to volunteer, contact Emily or Operations Manager Parker Callahan, or call 773-769-0282.

    Donate to The 1883 Project

    Donate to The 1883 Project

    Please consider supporting the restoration project of our historic building. To make a donation, click here

    1883 Construction web 

    Fixing This Old Church

    Fixing This Old Church

    Here is a collection of photos of the progress of our 1883 Project. Here is a collection of bell tower photos. Check back often for updates.

    Sunday Service Times

    8:00 am Inclusive Language Eucharist
    9:00 am Holy Eucharist with Choir
    10:00 am Children's Church School
    10:00 am Coffee Hour
    11:00 am Holy Eucharist with Choir


    Contact Us

    4550 N. Hermitage in Chicago, IL 60640 (Directions)

    Phone (773) 561-0111


    Information about pastoral care.



    Bonnie on Huffington Post

    Occasionally Bonnie's sermons are published on the Huffington Post. Here are some links.

    Pain. Change. Hope.

    November 15, 2015

    What Does St. Francis of Assisi Have to Say to Us Today?

    October 4, 2015

    Wake Up Calls

    September 6, 2015

    Christmas Reminds Us That We, Like God, Are Human, Too

    December 24, 2014

    The Deep Sleep of Racial Oblivion: One Pastor's Sin of Omission

    November 30, 2014

    Pulpit Swap

    The Pulpit Swap between St Thomas and All Saints is part of our ongoing effort to bring our parishes closer together as we engage in a conversation about systemic racism and how we can work together to forge new possibilities and outcomes.

    Going Home—Changed

    Pulpit Swap Sermon By The Rev Bonnie Perry of All Saints Episcopal Church on October 16, 2016.  

    When Prayers Go Unanswered

    Pulpit Swap Sermon By The Rev Dr Fulton L Porter celebrating at All Saints Episcopal Church on Oct16 2016.