May 2013


I’m attracted to money and the things that money can bring into my life.  I think most of us are.  Most of my life I was paid for my work.  It may not have been my main motivation.  I had another career started, once upon a time, that promised to be more lucrative.  Money has not been my primary motivator in discerning a call.  But I don’t think I would have done the work that I did most of my life if I had not been paid a living wage.

There was a time when my furniture consisted of a fold up mattress, a lamp for reading and some crates to hold books, and my clothing was limited and pretty much all hand me down or thrift shop (except athletic shoes) and I was perfectly happy.  Today I want (possibly even need) a comfortable bed to sleep in and a comfortable chair to read in, and my stuff (which once fit into a VW bug) easily fills a home.  That is a problem in retirement:  how do I move my old office into my home?

I found myself thinking about this after reading (in Celtic Daily Prayer):  “It is no sin to have wealth, but it is sinful to be attracted to wealth. (more…)

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All of us remain, always, on a spiritual pilgrimage.  Sister Faith Anthony’s reflections on the aftermath of her life profession in the Order of St. Helena speak eloquently to this:

On January 4, the Order of St Helena elected me to make my Life Vow, and I did so on March 19 at the Church of the Good Shepherd.

The service was lovely, and so was the reception. I was in the seventh heaven that night. Yet I had not really expected any change. Yes, now I am given the big cross, and the ring, but I had been under the temporary Vow for three years, and I had been living in the same Order for five years.

However, the next morning, when I entered the chapel, I felt, “This is different!” I felt that I had crossed an invisible threshold, and I am not the same person as the day before.

What I sensed was unspoken “acceptance” and “welcome.” God confirmed the call. I said “Yes” and the Order said “Yes.” Now I am in full service for God with these sisters for my life. The sisters received me as one of theirs in spite of all my shortcomings, trusting God’s intention and my willingness to grow. This is a pure gift. And I realize that what I vowed is a far deeper commitment than I had imagined, and now I have a huge responsibility to the Order.

The honeymoon period did not last long, (more…)

So here’s a draft of my sermon (presumably) for Yuba City this Sunday:

What are we to make of the story of the tower of babel – a sort of anti pentecost – as our first reading today on the day of Pentecost?  And really, what’s going on in this story?  Is our God a God who wants to hold people back from becoming all they can be?  Is our God a God who wants us to be unable to communicate and cooperate with each other?  Or is this really more of a description of the human condition? (more…)

I know I’ve read chapter 24 of Genesis before, though not necessarily as a unit.  But I’ve always been inclined to dismiss it simply as “they found the boy a bride.”  I’ve never really looked at the chapter.

It comes right after the story of Sarah’s death, and Abraham’s purchase of land in the Promised Land for her burial, and her burial.  Abraham, for the first time, is a land owner.  It sounds like Isaac would have been born when she was about ninety years old, give or take a year or two.  She died when she was 127 years old.  So Isaac was probably 35 plus years of age at the time of her death.

Always assuming we’re supposed to pay any attention to ages in a chronological sense. (more…)

So, once more, here is a draft of tomorrow’s sermon for Yuba City:

Easter 6 C

I’m going to throw you a curve this morning, and use the alternate gospel reading for this Sunday.  Not only that, as allowed by canon, I’m going to preach on a slightly longer text than is specified.  We are always allowed to expand the reading, and I’m doing it so that you hear the whole story.  Don’t worry, it’s not that long!

When the story starts, Jesus has gone up to Jerusalem, to attend a religious festival.  When he arrives, near the Sheep Gate, which may have been how he entered the city, he passes a pool of water, around which are gathered all kinds of invalids.

Why are they gathered there?  If you look at the copy of the gospel I passed out at the beginning of the service, you will see a bold footnote, number 1, just before verse 5.  — Did you notice that our reading had no verse 4?  What the footnote tells us is that the best and earliest sources did not have a verse 4.  But other sources had, wholly or in part, an explanation:  they were waiting for the stirring of the water, because when an angel stirred the water, the first one in would be healed.

One man had been waiting by the side of the pool, receiving charity from the faithful for his livelihood, for thirty-eight years.  I’m thinking he had become comfortable and complacent in his disability.  And I’m thinking Jesus thought so too.

Recognizing that the sick man had been there a long time, Jesus asks him, “Do you want to be made well?”

You would think the obvious answer to this question is, “Yes!  Yes!  Please God heal me.” (more…)