Sunday, July 31, 2016

July 31, 2016 - Proper 13C

In the name of God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
            Last Sunday, I preached a sermon on the topic of prayer, as the Gospel text presented us with the Lord’s Prayer. But more than a handful of you asked me, “What in the world was going on in that reading from Hosea?” I was planning to preach on Hosea this week all along, but since there was so much interest last Sunday, allow me to recap our reading from Hosea last week as a way of moving into this week’s verses from that same book.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

July 24, 2016 - Proper 12C

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.
            What is prayer? That is perhaps one of the most fundamental questions of our faith. And the deeper we go into that question about the nature of prayer, the more questions we end up with. Many of you know that I spent most of June at Sewanee, and while I was there I took a class on using poetry and fiction in preaching. One story that we read was called “The Question of Rain.” In it, a parishioner comes to the minster with an emergency – the severe drought that the town is going through has no end in sight. He asks the minister to consider doing a liturgy for rain on Sunday. The minister though is uncomfortable with the prospect of using an entire Sunday service to pray for rain, but says that he’ll be sure to include a plea for rain to be in the Prayers of the People. This doesn’t satisfy the parishioner.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

July 17, 2016 - Proper 11C

In the name of God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
            It is quite fitting that we have a Baptism today, as it partners perfectly with this morning’s reading from Colossians. Scholars tell us that verses 15-20, which are contained in the first paragraph of the reading in the bulletin, are an ancient hymn of the early Church. These verses would have been familiar to first generation Christians and is older than the book of Colossians itself. This song of the earliest Church was likely used at Baptisms that took place nearly 2,000 years ago in what is modern-day Turkey. So today, as we prepare to baptize Jacob Grey Storey into the Body of Christ, we are united to Christians throughout time and space as we consider this hymn about Christ’s Lordship.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

July 10, 2016 - Proper 10C

In the name of God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
            The parable of “The Good Samaritan” may be the most well-known passage in the entire Bible. We have hospitals, outreach organizations, and laws named after the “Good Samaritan.” Even the great cultural icon of the 90s, the television show Seinfeld used the image of the Good Samaritan in its final episode. We use that moniker, “Good Samaritan,” to denote selfless action – so people who go out of their way to help other people are called “good Samaritans.” The moral of the story ends up being “Help those in need.” But I’m not convinced that’s why Jesus told the story. After all, this is a parable, not a fable with a moral to it. Furthermore, the Old Testament is full of examples where God tells the people to help those in need. It’s not like Jews didn’t know that they were called to take care of their neighbors. Jesus doesn’t tell this parable as a way of saying “Be nice to other.” So, then, why might Jesus have told this parable?

Sunday, July 3, 2016

July 3, 2016 - Proper 9C

In the name of God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
            A few months ago, in the height of strawberry season, Ellie and I went out to Patterson Farms to pick strawberries. It was drizzling the whole time we were there, but that didn’t stop us from going out into a field of seemingly endless strawberries. We picked a row and went to work on filling our basket with the reddest strawberries that we could find. When we arrived home, we enjoyed the succulent and sweet fruits of our labor.