Apr. 28, 2019 – sermon

Posted by on Sun, Apr 28, 2019 in Easter, Sermons

In John’s gospel the biggest sin is not about morality but about belief. So when John tells the resurrection story and fills it with one after another of them who don’t believe what is told them, don’t believe the empty tomb means resurrection, don’t believe it could be true, he’s telling us something — but what? We come to this reading a full week after hearing the Easter Day gospel about the resurrection, since then we’ve held a funeral with other readings, some of you were plunged right back into work, some are still trying to recover from Holy Week, and some were at an entirely different service yesterday even as we prepared for this one (but I’ll tell you about that later). I’m saying that it feels like a lot of water has gone under the bridge since our Easter proclamation. If you sit down and read John’s gospel, or even chapter 20 from which our reading is taken, you discover that this scene with the disciples is happening just a few short hours after the tomb was discovered to be empty—on the same day. They are still reeling from what happened earlier that first Easter morning (as are some of us!) and now as they try to reconcile his body gone, their having once again failed to be faithful to Jesus by their doubts. It seems every time someone opens their mouth, they’re all mystified and trying to figure out what really happened, what it meant, who’d seen what and where, and what ‘believe’ even means.

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Apr. 24, 2019 – Burial Rite for Chris Pierce – Homily

Posted by on Wed, Apr 24, 2019 in Burial Rite, Sermons

That good shepherd reading always sounds like a beautiful Sunday school lesson from our childhood. I recently saw an e-card for Easter using the good shepherd imagery. A pristine little lamb ambled through tidy meadows nibbling perfect flowers and grass. He wanders until a kindly and immaculate shepherd (with just a little spatter of mud on his boots) picks him up and carries him home on his shoulders. Ever been around sheep? They’re messy and muddy and loud! They go their own way, then suddenly turn and go the way of the flock, maybe. Sometimes they obey and sometimes not – mostly not. It’s a good image for Jesus because we are more like real life sheep than the e-card version, and God loves us all anyway! It’s a good image for us today because we get to consider Chris as a sheep of God’s flock and as a very good shepherd of a flock herself.

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Apr. 21, 2019 – Easter Day – sermon

Posted by on Sun, Apr 21, 2019 in Easter, Sermons

We have arrived at Easter morning through the path a week of liturgies recalling Jesus entry into Jerusalem, the last supper with his friends, washing their feet, and through his death on a cross and burial in a tomb. Today we celebrate his resurrection from the dead; and the fact that that through his death and resurrection we can experience a love so profound, a forgiveness so absolute, that it sets us free. From the earliest days of Christian life this has been the most important thing to know and to pass on about Jesus the Christ, and we are so glad to be together, so glad you are here, on this most holy day of the year! People wonder if all of this can be true or even relevant these days or whether it matters at all. If that’s you, you are not alone in that wondering. Life experiences and world events can cause us to doubt and question, be angry with God or with God’s church; if so, again you are not alone. Even lifelong Episcopalians and most ardent Christians have wrestled with this, and no matter how smoothly we say the responses in church, how well we know scripture or sing hymns, this mystery of faith is sometimes just that; a real mystery.

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Apr. 14, 2019 – sermon

Posted by on Sun, Apr 14, 2019 in Holy Week, Sermons

The Sunday of the Passion: Palm Sunday April 14, 2019 During the course of our rainy work party yesterday I thought about the pre-procession of coming to church this morning. Approaching Darst you see our sign beckoning, the lovely woods, then the strong and elegant face of our building comes into view, standing tall, surrounded by all manner of things leafing out — many newly planted. You turn into the parking lot and for the first Palm Sunday ever, you don’t steer around the potholes filled with rainwater! If you’ve joined St. Michael’s more recently you wouldn’t know that there was once a...

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Apr. 7, 2019 – sermon

Posted by on Sun, Apr 7, 2019 in Lent, Sermons

Our gospel text is brief today, what happens isn’t much about the words at all; it was about feeling, about love. Imagine that moment; the satisfying warmth of a meal with friends, then the scent of costly perfumed ointment filling the air, Mary kneeling, the firm touch of her hands massaging his tired, dusty, calloused feet, then the feel of her hair as she wiped them afterwards. Was she embarrassed at taking this bold action? I’ll bet she was yet did it because it expressed what words could not. I can see her self-consciousness fall away as she felt his body sigh and relax, still wordless. The message was in the aroma, the ointment penetrating rough skin and dirty toes, the quiet awareness of a powerful moment, the pleasure of how good it feels to have one’s feet massaged, and how good it felt to give him that gift. The loving care is surely reciprocal, ‘agape’ love between these two who call themselves ‘sister,’ ‘brother,’ ‘family.’ Yet perhaps its greatest impact is how love seeks a future, love wants to take hold and go on, keep spreading!

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Mar. 24, 2019 – sermon

Posted by on Sun, Mar 24, 2019 in Lent, Sermons

Even those who’ve never set foot in a church have heard to some extent of Moses and the burning bush not consumed. We elevate Moses as part of our story-awareness and call to mind his leading the Israelite’s exodus through the desert for forty years, or perhaps recall his birth narrative which includes his narrow escape in a basket woven of bulrushes and being adopted by Pharaoh’s daughter. We love a good hero and today’s reading is his call from God as a prophetic leader. But Moses was not a powerful figure or esteemed trailblazer then, rather he seems unlucky and impulsive, even confused, referring to himself as an alien in a foreign land. Think back to his youth; given a new adopted name while his own Hebrew mother pretends to be unrelated so to help raise him. To which people does he belong?

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