Sunday, November 27, 2016

November 27, 2016 - Advent 1A

O come, O come Emmanuel. Amen.
            The liturgical season of Advent and the secular season of “Holiday” are quite different, but they have at least one thing in common: preparation. Both seasons focus on preparation. Advent calls us to prepare our hearts and lives for Christ to be born anew. “Holiday” calls us to prepare by baking cookies, putting up decorations, and buying gifts. To be clear, I have nothing against Bing Crosby, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” or wrapping paper.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

November 24, 2016 - Thanksgiving Day C

In the name of God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
            Generally, we in the Church bemoan and worry about the secularization of religious holidays. Christmas, largely, is a secular holiday with little to no emphasis on the coming of God to be with us in Jesus of Nazareth, but rather is focused on commercial interests and vague notions of having “holiday cheer.” Halloween really has ceased to be a religious holiday, as it’s about candy, not saints. Easter, while widely recognized as a religious holiday, has become the holiday where Jesus, after he died, was transformed into a chocolate bunny and burst forth from an egg, or so society might lead you to believe. And really, I’m fine with all of that. So long as the Church doesn’t forget what lies behind these religious holidays, it’s okay if capitalism does what capitalism does and tries to make money off of anything it can. But part of the reason why I love the Thanksgiving Day Eucharist is that the church strikes back.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

November 20, 2016 - Christ the King C

In the name of God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
            Today as we celebrate Christ the King Sunday, our focus is turned to the Cross of Christ. To begin, I’d like to quote from the opening paragraph of perhaps the most influential writing about the Cross in the 20th century. It comes from a book called The Crucified God by J├╝rgen Moltmann. “The cross is not and cannot be loved. Yet only the crucified Christ can bring the freedom which changes the world because it is no longer afraid of death. In his time the crucified Christ was regarded as a scandal and as foolishness. Today, too, it is considered old-fashioned to put him in the centre of Christian faith and of theology. Yet only when we are reminded of him, however untimely this may be, can we be set free from the power of the facts of the present time, and from the laws and compulsions of history, and be offered a future will never grow dark again. Today the church and theology must return to the crucified Christ in order to show the world the freedom that he offers. This is essential if we wish to become what we assert we are: the church of Christ.” This sermon will turn our gaze towards the crucified Jesus, whom we claim is the King of kings and Lord of lords.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

November 6, 2016 - Proper 27C

In the name of God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
            You know what happens if you ask a bad question, right? You get a bad answer. Today’s Gospel text from Luke is an illustration of that wisdom. Right from the beginning, Luke makes it clear that the Sadducees did not believe in the doctrinal concept of a resurrection. Why then were they asking about the marital status of people in resurrected life? If they didn’t believe in the resurrection, why ask about it? It was a trap that they set to catch Jesus. Would he say that only the first marriage counted, that only the last one counted, or that polygamy would be the answer. It’s like asking a Carolina fan if Coach K is the greatest coach ever or the best coach ever. It’s a lose-lose answer.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

November 1, 2016 - Feast of All Saints

In the name of God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
            These days it seems that everyone is interested in their ancestry. There are websites that help you to fill out your family tree and more and more libraries have staff ready to help in researching genealogy. There’s even a television show called “Finding Your Roots” where celebrities explore the stories of their family histories. Sometimes we are proud to find out that our ancestors were influential people in their time and we are ashamed when we find out that our ancestors owned slaves. We have an innate sense that people who lived hundreds of years ago still shape our lives today. None of us were spontaneously created, we all have parents and mentors who have shaped us into the people who we are today, and those parents and mentors were shaped by their parents and mentors, and so on. William Faulkner once wrote that “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” We live and move and have our being in a world constructed by our predecessors.