Sunday, November 30, 2014

November 30, 2014 - Advent 1B

O come, O come, Emmanuel. Amen.
            “Come, Lord Jesus.” That simple prayer is a short summary of the season of Advent. Come: Advent is the season in which we hope for rebirth. Later in Christmas we will celebrate the rebirth of hope. Just as God came to us some 2,000 years ago, we pray that God comes again to culminate the reign of peace over all the earth. Lord: In the time of the Bible, there were lords, but they were more warlords than saviors. Calling Jesus “Lord” is a subversive prayer that means that we follow not the ways of the empire, but of he who was killed by the empire. And Jesus: His name is derived from the Hebrew name of Joshua, which means “God saves.” Jesus’ name symbolizes the liberation that he will give us from all that enslaves us. “Come, Lord Jesus.” It is a simple, but extremely dangerous prayer.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

November 23, 2014 - Christ the King A

Almighty God, help us to hear the call of Christ the King and to follow in his service, whose kingdom has no end; for he reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, one glory. Amen.
            Today is an interesting liturgical day, known as Christ the King Sunday. In 1925, in the face of rising secularism and questions around the Church’s authority, Pope Pius XI instituted the Feast day as an assertion of Jesus’ lordship over all of Creation. And it’s not a bad idea to have a liturgical remembrance of this belief. Kings, of course, own all the land in the kingdom, decree all the laws, maintain order, and judge on all issues of justice. We often read about Jesus in a variety of roles in the Bible- prophet, teacher, healer, and Messiah. But the idea of a king is a bit foreign to us. Kings are so… un-American. In a democratic nation, kings can seem a bit antiquated, and even unfair- why should someone deserve to be royalty just based on who their parents were? So it is good for us to spend a day considering the fact that Christ is King.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

November 16, 2014 - Proper 28A

Be with us, O Lord: for if you are with us, nothing else matters. And if you are not with us, nothing else matters. Amen.
            To be perfectly honest with you, I’ve never liked this passage from the Gospel that was read this morning. I find it to be disturbing and problematic. Part of the reason why I don’t like is that I identify with the servant who buries the coin and is subsequently cast into the outer darkness. I am a classic first child and growing up, my worst fear was disappointing my teachers. If I were a character in this parable, I’m not so sure that I wouldn’t have also hid the coin to not risk losing it. And because of the punishment given out for his practicality, I’ve never liked this passage.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

November 9, 2014 - Proper 27A

In the name of God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
            “Choose this day whom you will serve.” Every once in a while, it’s good to rededicate ourselves to what matters most. Each Lent, the clergy of the Diocese gather for a retreat and reaffirm our Ordination vows. Some couples choose to do the same with their marriage vows. Each Sunday, we reaffirm our faith in the words of the Nicene Creed. The Hebrew people were entering a new generation of leadership. Moses has brought them out of Egypt and Joshua had been their leader after Moses’ death. And now, as Joshua is nearing the end of his life, he calls the people to remember who they are. He invites them to choose whom they will serve.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

November 2, 2014 - All Saints' Sunday A

In the name of God- Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
            Sometimes, the liturgical purists get upset about days like today. They will point out that All Saints’ Day was actually November 1, and November 2 is All Souls’ Day, reminding us that on All Saints’ we celebrate only those who have “saint” in front of their name, such as Peter, Paul, or Francis. All Souls’, they say, is the day when we remember all those who have died in the hope of the Resurrection. They can get a bit frustrated when we combine the two, and they certainly don’t like the hymn that says that the saints are just folk like me. And that’s fine, the Episcopal Church is a big tent and we are made richer by a diversity of opinion. But I’m not really concerned with the question “who is a saint?” But what is of greater interest to me is: “how are the saints?”