Emmitt, though you are only four and a half months old you are never too young to hear the Beatitudes for the first time, and neither are the rest of us too old to hear them again for the first time. Today you are being immersed in the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-12) as a way of being, a path to be followed, principles by which to guide your life. They describe the divine life, the life of Jesus. And whether that life exists in this world depends on you and the rest of us. We never accomplish the beatitudes as a task completed. Instead we strive, day by day, to live into them. Continue reading Here We Are – A Baptismal Sermon On the Beatitudes, Matthew 5:1-12
All Saints’ Sunday – Luke 6:20-31 I’m a bit anxious about today’s sermon. I know what I want to talk about and I have a few ideas about what I will say, but I am not sure how it will be heard or received. Given what’s happening in our country today it feels like a risky topic. I want to talk with you today about … Continue reading Let’s Not Add to the Pain of the World – An All Saints Sermon on Luke 6:20-31
After three and a half months on sabbatical I can say, without reservation, I like the sabbatical life. But I also want you to know that each day of the last three and a half months I’ve carried a pendant of St. Philip in my pocket and I’ve carried you in my heart and love. You were with me each step of the way – … Continue reading Taking the Next First Step – An All Saints Sermon on John 11:32-44
“If only he hadn’t died.” “If only she hadn’t left.” If only I had made a different decision.” “If only I hadn’t said that.” “If only I had not done that.” “If only things were like they used to be.”
I suspect all of us have, at some time, lived an “if only” life. It could be about anything: our nation, our church, our society, our schools, our family, our marriage, our children, our selves. Ultimately, though it is about the past. We want to preserve what was and keep things the way they’ve always been. We want to undo what is and go back to what was. Sometimes the words “if only” betray our attachment to the past, our dislike of what is, or our fear of something new. Almost always they come from a place of sorrow and loss, regret, failure, or disappointment.
The illusion of “if only” wraps around our lives like grave clothes. We use it to try to bind up what has fallen apart, preserve what is decaying, and tie us to what has been lost. If you know the illusion of “if only” then you probably know Mary and her sister, Martha. Continue reading “Unbinding and Letting Go of the Past”
May Almighty God, to whose glory we celebrate this festival of all the Saints, be now and evermore your guide and companion in the way. Amen.
May God, who has bound us together in the company of the elect, in this age and the age to come. Attend to the prayers of his faithful servants on your behalf, as he hears your prayers for them. Amen.
May God, who has given us, in the lives of his saints, patterns of holy living and victorious dying, strengthen your faith and devotion, and enable you to bear witness to the truth against all adversity. Amen.
And the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be upon you and remain with you for ever. Amen.
– The Book of Occasional Services 2003, p. 28-29.
This blessing for the Feast of All Saint’s offers a succinct summary of the day, our relationship with the saints, and, in general, the spiritual life: presence, prayers, and practice. These three aspects are deeply interrelated and in some way mutually dependent. Continue reading “A Blessing for All Saints”
The collect and readings for The Feast of All Saints may be found here. The following sermon is based on the beatitudes, Matthew 5:1-12. The Occupy Movement has gotten a lot of attention over the last couple of months. Occupy Wall Street. Occupy London. Occupy Sydney. Occupy Oakland, Portland, Dallas, San Antonio. The list goes on and on. The movement points to economic inequality, … Continue reading To Occupy or Be Occupied? A Sermon for the Feast of All Saints, Matthew 5:1-12
The Feast of All Saints is on November 1. The Book of Common Prayer, however, permits it to be celebrated on the Sunday following November 1. The collect and readings for the day may be found here. The appointed gospel is Luke 6:20-31. Then he looked up at his disciples and said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. … Continue reading Choosing Our Blessings And Our Woes: An All Saints’ Day Sermon on Luke 6:20-31
Almighty God, you have knit together your elect in one communion and fellowship in the mystical body of your Son Christ our Lord: Give us grace so to follow your blessed saints in all virtuous and godly living, that we may come to those ineffable joys that you have prepared for those who truly love you; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and … Continue reading The Feast of All Saints