Thursday, November 28, 2019

November 28, 2019 - Thanksgiving Day

You, eternal Trinity, are Table and Food and Waiter for us. You, eternal Father, are the Table that offers us food, the Lamb, your only-begotten Son. He is the most exquisite Food for us, both in his teaching, which nourishes us in your will, and in the sacraments that we receive in Holy Communion, which feeds and strengthens us while we are pilgrim travelers in this life. And the Holy Spirit is a Waiter for us, for he serves us this teaching by enlightening our mind’s eye with it and inspiring us to follow it. Amen.
            That lovely prayer comes from Catherine of Sienna in the 1300s. Thanksgiving is a day about a lot of things – sales, parades, football, and family. But primarily, Thanksgiving is about food. What exactly the first Thanksgiving was really like, it’s hard to separate legend from history. But we know it was a harvest festival in which the pilgrims gathered with Natives to give thanks to God, and still today, what is most essential to this day is a feast done in a spirit of gratitude.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

November 24, 2019 - Christ the King

God the Father, 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.
            In Monroe, Ohio, neighbors banded together to file a formal complaint against a man in their development who, in the middle of September, had put up his Christmas lights. In San Antonio, Texas, a homeowners’ association forced a resident to take down the Christmas lights that were shining brightly on November 1. Yes, we’ve all noticed that retails stores seem to pivot to Christmas as soon as Halloween is over, and I understand that’s how commercialism works. They’re just trying to capitalize on holiday cheer, which might be of interest to an economist, but not as much to a theologian. Instead, what I’m intrigued by is what we might call the “Christmas creep.”

Sunday, November 3, 2019

November 3, 2019 - Proper 26C

Come, risen Lord, and deign to be our guest; nay, let us be thy guests; the feast is thine. Amen.
            Last month, we took the girls to the Renaissance Festival and had a really good time. I had never been that event before and didn’t quite know what to expect. It’s a 25-acre village that’s set up in Huntersville that mimics an English village in the 16th century. There’s an assortment of food and entertainment options including a blacksmith, jousting, and all sorts of shows. But this is a sermon, not an infomercial for the Renaissance Festival. What absolutely fascinated me as a preacher and someone who has an eye on the culture is how this event isn’t just something you attend, it’s something you participate in.

Saturday, November 2, 2019

November 2, 2019 - All Souls

O eternal Lord God, who holdest all souls in life: Give, we beseech thee, to thy whole Church in paradise and on earth thy light and thy peace; and grant that we, following the good examples of those who have served thee here and are now at rest, may at the last enter with them into thine unending joy; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
            Dearly beloved, we gather here in the name of our loving God to seek comfort and hope in the face of death. Last night, on All Saints, we remembered and celebrated the saints of God throughout the generations, and that is a good thing to do. The tone of All Saints is often one of festivity and victory, as it should be. But when the saints that we are thinking about lived not 500 years ago but maybe 50 years ago or 5 months ago, there is a much more nuanced set of feelings.

Friday, November 1, 2019

November 1, 2019 - All Saints

In the name of God Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.
            “For all the saints, who from their labors rest, who thee by faith before the world confessed, thy Name, O Jesus, be for ever blessed.” We gather today on the Feast of All Saints to give thanks for the blessed Communion of the Body of Christ that transcends time and space and for the holy ones of God who have inspired us in generations past. William Faulkner once wrote that “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” All Saints recognizes the power of that statement. The saints are not dead because once you are in Christ, death has been defeated and, as we know from the Eucharistic Prayer at a Burial, “life is changed, not ended.” And so the saints are still very much with us in providing companionship and witness.