Sunday, August 28, 2016

August 28, 2016 - Proper 17C

In the name of God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
            The year was 597, and Augustine had just arrived in England after being commissioned to go there and preach the Gospel by Pope Gregory the Great. Of course, Christianity had already existed on the British Isles for a few hundred years by this point, but this was the event that brought British Christianity into the Roman Catholic Church, where it would remain for almost the next thousand years. By 601, Augustine’s mission was going so well that the king was converted and baptized. In 603, there was a conference held between Augustine, who was a bishop at this point, and the leaders of the congregations that had already existed in Britain.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

August 21, 2016 - Proper 16C

In the name of God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
            We all know that there are two kinds of stories. There are stories, and then there are stories that are more than stories. Stories such as me telling you about what I did on vacation are simply stories – there is no larger point to them. They might be informative, they might be entertaining, they might remind you of a similar experience, but they’re just a series of details. But there is a second kind of story, you might call it a fable, a myth, a legend, a parable. In these sort of stories, the details are just the skeleton that holds up the larger point or moral. Some stories are more than just a series of facts, but they are symbols which carry a meaning larger than themselves. The Bible is full of these second kind of stories, and today’s Gospel text is a story that is much more than just a story.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

August 14, 2016 - Proper 15C

In the name of God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
            Have things ever not gone as you had planned? You prepared and practiced for the interview and wore your best outfit, but you didn’t get the job. You planned the perfect surprise party and had wonderful decorations ready, and then the rain came and washed it all away. You had been trying for years to get pregnant and it seemed like a miracle when the test was positive, and then there was a miscarriage. You kept the feuding family members apart and were ready to change the topic if it got heated, and still everyone will remember that family dinner because of the fight. You did everything you knew to do to teach your child about responsibility and making good decisions, and yet they ended up in jail. You tried every treatment and prayed every prayer, and your loved one still died. You studied hard and did every extracurricular activity you could manage, and you still got a rejection letter from your dream college. You loved your spouse and poured all of yourself into the relationship, but the marriage didn’t last. You prepared the soil, watered the seeds, pulled the weeds, but there just wasn’t any fruit on the vine. Sometimes, no matter how deeply your heart is invested in something, no matter how righteous your motives, no matter how hard you’ve worked, no matter how often you’ve prayed, things just don’t go as planned.