St. George’s


This is a link to an old sermon from February 6, 2011 on being the light of the world and the salt of the earth:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/84en1ng4tkrdtaa/sermon%202%206%2011.wmv

It was given at St. George’s before I retired at the 10:30 AM service in the church (not the 9 AM service in the parish hall).

I don’t have too many more opportunities to share my thoughts with the folks at St. George’s.  Here’s what I thought was important to share today:

Imagine the hottest person you can, man or woman, whatever floats your boat.  For me it would be a woman.  Imagine that she’s the most alluring thing you’ve ever seen.  She’s everything you’ve ever wanted, and more.  She’s smarter than you are.  She’s better read.  She’s more athletic.  She’s kinder.  She see’s right through you.  She looks at you, and she just knows everything there is to know about you.  Are you going to approach her?

I’m betting you don’t.  She’s simply overwhelming.  She puts you to shame. You know, on a basic level, that she’s simply out of your league.  There is simply no way in hell you’ll ever measure up to her.  We are simply ashamed to approach her. (more…)

I’m not dying, I’m retiring (and looking for new work) because it’s time to move on.  But I was struck by a story (in Chittister’s The Rule of Benedict):

An ancient people tells us that when the moment of a great teacher’s death was near, the disciples said, “What is it we will see when you are gone?”  And the master said, “All I did was sit on the river bank handing out river water.  After I am gone I trust you will notice the water.”

How wonderful!

As a priest, it’s really tempting sometimes to get caught up in one’s own importance.  We often think we are indispensable.  But we are not.

To use the image in the story, what matters is the water — using Christian terminology, “the water of life,” which is Jesus.

If I have been faithful, I’ve handed out this water flowing freely past me to those who pass by thirsty — which is all of us.

But the water is there, and free, whether I am there or not.

I hope my congregation notices the water when I am gone.

Ok – this started out as an idea that didn’t quite gel.  Then I got a real start at my clergy writing group.  And it evolved into this sermon:


So, here are these Greeks, these Hellenists, these outsiders to the Jewish faith.  They’ve been hearing about Jesus.  There’s just something about Jesus … (more…)

This will be my Christmas Greeting (to come out in early January) for my congregation this year:

The word “incarnation” has been on my mind this past week.

It means something like “in the flesh” or “given flesh” – as in Jesus was born in the flesh on Christmas Day.

But I’ve found myself thinking that we, as Christ’s mystical Body, give flesh to Christ in our own community today.

Our hands are not just our hands:  they are God’s hands.

Our eyes are not just our eyes:  they are God’s eyes.

We act for God today.

We represent God today.

What we do puts flesh on God for the people around us today – just as Jesus puts flesh on God for us as Christians.

And this idea carries over from the season of Christmas (that runs through January 5th – Twelfth Night) into the Epiphany (January 6) and the season following, which is about what Jesus did in the world.

Jesus wasn’t just born.  Jesus acted.  Both are necessary parts of God’s incarnation in this world.

In our baptisms, we are reborn (by the power of the Spirit) in Christ.  And we are called to act, to incarnate Jesus’ presence, in his Name.

Merry Christmas to you and yours.  May we live out the spirit of Christmas in the year ahead.

“… Do not go gentle into that good night
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”

“Death be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for, thou art not so …
One short sleep past, we wake eternally,
and death shall be no more …”

I thought of these words, from Dylan Thomas and John Donne respectively, when my friend and colleague, Marcia, died just before this All Saints’ Day.  I think they capture some of the tension I feel between my sense of loss and anger when someone dies and my belief in the promise of fullness of life with God in the communion of saints. (more…)

What we have is a story.

Yes.  It’s God’s story — even Jesus’ story.

But it’s a story without any power at all if it’s not also our story.

And it’s not that we don’t have a story.  In my experience, we all do.  We just don’t seem to recognize our own story.  And we don’t seem to want to tell it.

All of us have our reasons for being members of our particular church family.  When asked, I have yet to find one person at St. George’s who couldn’t tell me why they were here.  But almost none of them recognize their own story as a story of faith.  Which it is.

I wonder sometimes if it’s simply a (mis)perceived dualism between realms we see as “holy” and “secular” (when in fact it’s all one).  But somehow we fail to see God at work in our daily lives and work — even as we are drawn to God precisely because of our everyday life experiences.

And I’m not so much talking about the mystical here — seeing the whole of creation in a walnut or some such.  We just all seem to intuit, or experience, or whatever some kind of connections to something beyond ourselves — some kind of leading or guidance or caring …

Which I’m more and more convinced is what it’s all about.  Relationship.  Caring.  Love.

That’s our story.

That’s the difference maker.

Next Page »