Saturday, March 31, 2018

March 31, 2018 - Easter Vigil

In the name of God Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
            This is the night. On this most blessed and holy evening, we encounter the fullness of all Christian liturgy. In the ancient church, people who were preparing for Baptism underwent an intense period of preparation, called the catechumenate. They learned about the faith before being baptized at the Easter Vigil. However, one thing that they did not learn about was the liturgy. Today, if you want to explore the faith, you can come and participate fully in our worship, you just don’t receive Eucharist until you are baptized. But in the ancient Church, the catechumens were dismissed after the prayers and did not ever see or learn about the Eucharist. And because Baptism happened once a year at the Vigil, and they were not yet baptized, they had never seen a Baptism or Easter Vigil.

March 31, 2018 - Holy Saturday

In the name of God Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
            Holy Saturday is very likely the most forgotten of all liturgies in the Church. For one, the Prayer Book devotes only one page to it. Holy Saturday is nestled between bigger liturgies like Good Friday and the Easter Vigil, and so often clergy and choirs are spent. Holy Saturday also makes us to face the fact that Jesus died. Obviously, we know this, but often we treat his death as a minor inconvenience or speed bump on the way to the Resurrection. And so sometimes the faithful place a greater emphasis on what is known as the theology of glory instead of the theology of the Cross. That is, we make the Cross merely a mechanistic requirement for Easter. Some might say “Well, you have a crack an egg to bake a cake,” suggesting that the Death of Jesus is as minor as cracking an egg to get to its contents. But this is not only heresy, but its unhelpful. There is also the fact that on this day, we remember that Christ experienced the fullness of human death, and so the Creed notes that “he descended into hell.” Many Christians do not wish to deal with this Biblical and theological reality, and so the remove it from the Creed and ignore it liturgically, to their own detriment.

Friday, March 30, 2018

March 30, 2018 - Good Friday

In the name of God Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
            On Ash Wednesday, the focus of my sermon was expounding upon the words of St. Anselm – “You have not considered the weight of sin.” Today, on Good Friday, we see the heaviness of sin on full display. The Powers of Sin and Death come face to face with the Incarnate Love of God on the battlefield of the Cross. My favorite work of art and depiction of the Crucifixion is the Isenheim Altarpiece. One of the features of this work is that the horizontal beam of that Cross from which Jesus hangs is bowing downward under the weight of the sin of the world. Indeed, today is a heavy day.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

March 29, 2018 - Maundy Thursday

In the name of God Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
            “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” As we enter into the Triduum, it is fitting that our Savior puts us in the mind of love. Though the word “Passion” which we use to describe this week comes from Latin meaning “to suffer,” and not our romantic sense of passion, it is fitting to have love on our minds in Passiontide. What compelled Jesus to wash his disciples feet was love, what drove him to give up his body was love, and what animates his Resurrection is love.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

March 28, 2018 - Holy Wednesday

In the name of God Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
            Tomorrow is, of course, Maundy Thursday – the night on which we remember the Last Supper. Matthew devotes 14 verses to it, Mark 15, and Luke 33, but John spends 155 verses over 5 chapters recounting that final meal and first Eucharist. The passage that we heard from John this evening isn’t one that finds its way into any of our Eucharistic prayers. Sure, we all remember that it was Judas who betrayed Jesus, but the details are often overlooked. But this key passage in the Last Supper discourse tells us something about both our humanity and the grace of God that we see in Jesus.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

March 27, 2018 - Holy Tuesday

In the name of God Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
“Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” Some Greeks had obviously heard of Jesus and approached Philip and asked him to show them Jesus. As you all know, a theme of our evangelism at St. Luke’s comes from John and is the phrase “Come and see.” In tonight’s passage from John, Jesus elaborates on what it means to come and see.

Monday, March 26, 2018

March 26, 2018 - Holy Monday

In the name of God Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
            One of the first lessons that a child is taught after it knows how to walk is “look both ways before you cross the street.” It’s good advice, as traffic comes from both directions. Holy Week is the liturgical time in which we would do well to take that same advice and “look both ways.”

Sunday, March 25, 2018

March 25, 2018 - Palm Sunday B

In the name of God Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
            We have an anger problem in our society. A few weeks ago, I was driving our girls to daycare. I was heading into town on Innes Street and was driving through Catawba College, through the 25 mile-an-hour zone. Well, for the man in the pick-up truck behind me, that wasn’t nearly fast enough. So I drove through the campus with him about a foot behind my bumper, watching him screaming and gesturing at me. When I turned off Innes, a barrage of horn beeps sent me on my way. This wasn’t just another incident of an aggressive driver, as I was actually worried that he was going to follow me to the parking lot of the daycare to confront me. The disturbing part of this incident is that this sort of interaction is common in our society. We have an anger problem.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

March 4, 2018 - Lent 3B

Almighty God, guide us to seek your Truth: come whence it may, cost what it will, lead where it might. Amen.
            If you’ve ever been to a big sporting event, you know that the television crew has a huge trailer that they park in front of the stadium to broadcast the game. It’s essentially a mobile production office and coming out of the trailer are dozens of thick wires that connect to all of the various aspects of making the broadcast happen – satellite dishes, cameras, microphones, generators. Now imagine someone coming along who happens to believe that college football has become corrupt. And this person takes a pair of hedge trimmers and cuts every single cord coming out of that trailer. Would we call this incident “the cleansing of the broadcast?” I don’t think so. Why, then, do we refer to this event in the Gospel as the “cleansing of the Temple?”