Sunday, January 26, 2020

January 26, 2020 - Epiphany 3A

In the name of God Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
            If you stop and think about it, what we are all doing this morning is rather audacious. We gather in the name of an executed Jewish peasant, we say that he reveals to us the truest nature of God and the universe, and then we participate in a meal in which we claim that we receive his Body and Blood, which we then consume. It is rather crazy, isn’t it? Faith really is pretty absurd when our Western and so-called “enlightened” minds try to make sense of it. Even in a very different culture and time, St. Paul knew this and mentions in his first letter to the Corinthians that the Cross of Christ is a stumbling block and foolishness. So if St. Paul is right, and I very much think that he is, then that makes us all fools for gathering with the Cross at the center of our worship.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

January 19, 2020 - Epiphany 2A

O Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world, have mercy on us.
O Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world, have mercy on us.
O Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world, grant us your peace. Amen.
            Generally, when someone calls you an animal name, it isn’t a compliment. Bird-brain, dog, pig, scaredy-cat, mousy – these are not names we want. For every positive one, like “stallion,” there are many more with a negative connotation. It seems, then, that perhaps John the Baptist did not consult with a public relations firm before deciding to give Jesus the moniker “Lamb of God.”

Sunday, January 12, 2020

January 12, 2020 - Baptism of our Lord

O God, at the Baptism of our Lord you opened the heavens and declared him to be your Beloved. Grant that by Baptism we might be joined to him in your gracious love. Amen.
            I have a good friend who has been searching for jobs for the past couple of months. He’s asked me to read through his application materials a few times as he tries to succulently describe who he is and his sense of vocation. The titles and dates of previous positions are easy to get. Listing duties and degrees is fairly simple. The hard parts are the identity statements – who are you and why would you be a good fit here? And it’s not just in a job search that we struggle with these questions. We all struggle with those questions of “who am I now,” “who do I want to be,” and “what is my purpose?”

Monday, January 6, 2020

January 6, 2020 - The Epiphany

May Jesus Christ, the light of the world, guide us into the safe harbor of his love. Amen.
            There’s a classic book on Christian mission called “The Open Secret,” and that’s what the Feast of the Epiphany is all about. Through the seasons of Advent and Christmas, the sermons all focused on the belief at the very center of Christianity: the Incarnation. This the belief that God, the creator and sustainer of all things took on flesh and lived a human life in Jesus of Nazareth. It can be easy to overlook just how radical a claim this is. Superman arriving from the planet Krypton or a seed growing in a beanstalk that takes us into the land of giants is actually more rationally predictable than the Incarnation. In Jesus, the infinite becomes finite, the limitless takes on limits, the indefinable is defined. And our own Anglican tradition has emphasized and been shaped by a focus on the Incarnation as the starting point of our identity and theology. The Incarnation is when this unknowable God becomes known; when the secret is opened.

Sunday, January 5, 2020

January 5, 2020 - The Second Sunday of Christmas

In the name of the Word made flesh, Jesus Christ. Amen.
            Have you ever been at a party or social event where you didn’t know anyone? Now, some of you are extroverts and are thinking, “What’s the problem with that?” But maybe it isn’t a party, maybe it’s a hostile meeting at work and everyone in the room is an adversary. Perhaps it’s an airport terminal on a late-night layover. Or maybe you’re in a hospital waiting room, full of anxiety. If you can imagine any of these situations, you know that what makes these tense, uncomfortable, and lonely situations better is having an old friend show up out of nowhere to be with you.