Nothing has power to change us, confront us with reality, open our ears to a new truth, or turn our life in a different direction like a reversal of fortune can; a time when our world is turned upside down or the day we realize we are going backward not forward. That’s exactly what Jesus is doing in today’s gospel. It’s what he is always … Continue reading A Reversal of Fortune to Celebrate – A Sermon for the Feast of All Saints, Luke 6:20-31
“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”
A young man once came to a great rabbi and asked him to make him a rabbi. It was winter time then. The rabbi stood at the window looking out upon the yard while the rabbinical candidate was droning into his ears a glowing account of his piety and learning. The young man said, “You see, Rabbi, I always go dressed in spotless white like … Continue reading Of Saints and Horses
The collect and readings for the Feast of St. Philip may be found here. The following sermon is based on John 14:6-14. Several weeks ago I had the opportunity to visit someone in his home. It was the first time I had been there so he gave me a tour. The hallways were filled with icons, beautiful and holy images. They covered the walls. “Who … Continue reading Learning to See Satisfaction – A Sermon on John 14:6-14 for the Feast of St. Philip
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
Today, November 1, is the Feast of All Saints. The collect and scriptures for today can be found here. The lectionary appoints John 11:23-44 as the gospel. As permitted by the rubrics of the Book of Common Prayer I lengthened the gospel to begin at verse 17. 17When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. 18Now Bethany was … Continue reading A Sermon for the Feast of All Saints
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
“Show me the icons that you venerate, that I may be able to understand your faith.” – John of Damascus As I watched the inaugural events of this week and especially today’s inauguration I was reminded that we are surrounded by images, icons. They fill our world, our minds, and our hearts. There are icons of politics, sports, music, entertainment. They are on our televisions, … Continue reading What are your icons?
Abba Antony said: “I saw the snares of the enemy spread out over the world and I sighed wondering who could ever escape such snares. Then I heard a voice, saying to me: ‘Humility.’” Today is the Feast of St. Antony. He has become known as the father and founder of desert monasticism. His journey began one Sunday morning in a small Egyptian village in … Continue reading Feast of St. Antony