Season after Pentecost

Nov. 10, 2019 – sermon

Posted by on Sun, Nov 10, 2019 in Season after Pentecost, Sermons

The gospel reading we just heard isn’t about marriage or about a woman having multiple husbands, not even about how very suspicious it would be for seven husbands in a row to all die while married to her! It’s about the world of this life and the world of eternal life for children of God. The Hebrew Scriptures speak of having children as the way to be remembered after death, for one’s name and family identity to be carried on in the world. This presumes one’s offspring are honorable and stay in line with the family, but those same scriptures tell of familial conflicts, children who cause grief or dishonor, and even that not everyone has children.

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Nov. 3, 2019 – sermon

Posted by on Sun, Nov 3, 2019 in Feast Days, Season after Pentecost, Sermons

I began this week naming and praying for those beloved among us who have died since last All Saints Day, and I invite your prayers as well; for Sharon Boyd, Richard Pfeiffer, Roland Harper, James Julien, Mort Harmon, Chris Pierce, John Barry, and this past week, Edith Harman. They’ve been by my side as I considered the All Saints scriptures, and I invite us to imagine them as part of that crowd assembled around Jesus in today’s reading. 

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Oct. 27, 2019 – sermon

Posted by on Sun, Oct 27, 2019 in Season after Pentecost, Sermons

We honor All Hallows Eve today, knowing our All Saints’ celebration comes next Sunday; two times we look to put the light of God and the darkness of evil in perspective, honoring those who have gone before us into Christ’s light. Some see Halloween as a harmless bit of secular costume and candy fun. Others believe it a satanic holiday they’d like to abolish. Neither extreme quite gets it right, and our Anglican tradition of ‘via media,’ or through the middle, serves us well! All Hallows’ Eve is a time to celebrate and point to the Light that shines in the darkness of the world. It has its oldest roots in the ancient pagan Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced “sow-in”), when the Celts of Ireland, Britain, and northern France celebrated the end of harvest and the beginning of their new year on November 1. They believed that on the last night of the year (then October 31), the spirits of the dead would haunt the living, so they would leave food and wine on their doorsteps to appease and ward off spirits. If they had to leave the house, they would wear masks to fool the ghouls. In the ninth century Pope Gregory IV moved the “All Saints Day” feast from May 13 to November 1. The word “hallow” means holy or hallowed, and since vigils were commonly held the night before high church feast days, it was natural that the eve of All Saints Day was known as All Hallows’ Eve, or as the Scots pronounced it, Hallowe’en.

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Oct. 20, 2019 – sermon

Posted by on Sun, Oct 20, 2019 in Season after Pentecost, Sermons

There is an often-borrowed story from before the collapse of the Soviet Union by Alexander Solzhenitsyn, who spent many years in Siberian prison camps. (I’d never connected it with this gospel until I read The Rev. Charles Hoffacker’s take on this reading, and so I am in his debt.) The story goes like this: Along with other prisoners, Solzhenitsyn worked in the fields day after day, in rain and sun, during summer and winter. His life appeared to be nothing more than backbreaking labor and slow starvation. The intense suffering reduced him to a state of despair. 

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Oct. 13, 2019 – sermon

Posted by on Sun, Oct 13, 2019 in Season after Pentecost, Sermons

Like the ten lepers in this Gospel reading, we’re moving through life’s challenges and something draws our attention, makes us pause. The lepers saw Jesus walking through their town, and it was enough for them to call out to him. They saw or had heard he was worth asking for help. So, keeping their distance (as was required of those with leprosy) they call out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” 

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Sep. 29, 2019 – sermon

Posted by on Sun, Sep 29, 2019 in Feast Days, Season after Pentecost, Sermons

On this celebration of St. Michael’s Day we’ve had the scripture and images of the Archangel Michael told, and even brought to life in pageant, and in doing so each year we’re invited into the timeless story of Michael, and to live into its rich depth. When Nathanael encounters Jesus he asks, “Where did you get to know me?” Jesus says he saw him under the fig tree, before Philip called him. There is a surface-sound to the conversation at first, and yet Nathaniel realizes there is something deeper going on. In spite of asking Jesus how he knew him, in that moment Nathanael knows Jesus for exactly who he is, not just some roving rabbi, but the Son of God!

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