Monthly Archive for June, 2009

Pentecost 4 June 28, 2009

Wisdom 1:13-15, 2:23-24       

Mark 5:21-43                                                                      

If we were worshiping in the New Bethel Church in Louisville, Kentucky, two weeks ago, we would have heard a sermon on “God, Guns, Gospel and Geometry.”* Inspired by this message, telling us that America was built on God and guns, we might have attended the “open carry” celebration at the church last night, at which everyone was invited to come to church carrying their firearms, enjoy a picnic and participate in the raffle of a handgun—chances $1 each.

Instead, we gathered here at Holy Cross for worship this morning have this story from Mark’s gospel of two healings—two stories really, intertwined together. Continue reading ‘Pentecost 4 June 28, 2009’

Pentecost 3 June 21, 2009

Job 38:1-11                

Mark 4:35-41                                                                      

The Hebrew people, who wrote the Bible—both the Old Testament and the New—were a desert people. Water for them had a double, paradoxical meaning. It represented chaos, threat and danger. On the other hand, it represented life and new birth. We’ll get to that other hand in a minute, but let’s start with the chaos, threat and danger side of water.

Continue reading ‘Pentecost 3 June 21, 2009’

Pentecost 2 June 14, 2009

2 Corinthians 5:6-10, 14-17                                             

Mark 4:26-34                                                                      

 

 

Anyone who is joined to Christ is a new being; the old is gone, the new has come.

                               — 2 Corinthians 5:17

 

St. Paul’s, Concord, has called a new rector. Her name is Kate Atkinson and she was in town last week house hunting. Though it will not be until late August that she takes up her duties, inevitably there will be things the people of St. Paul’s want to consult her about before then. At our Central Convocation clergy breakfast last week, we were talking about the pitfalls of getting sucked into a job before you’re really on the ground. You never know all the ramifications of what you’re being asked to decide. An innocent decision may have unknown and lasting symbolic significance, labeling you one way or another for your entire ministry.

 

Continue reading ‘Pentecost 2 June 14, 2009’

Coming to Holy Cross with No Religious Background

What if you have no religious background at all? What if you’ve never stepped inside a church, or you’ve been only to a few weddings or funerals? You may have heard some terrible things about churches–that they ask you to believe “six impossible things before breakfast” as Alice Through the Looking Glass put it, that they’re full of self-righteous people or people who all have the same political beliefs, that they’ll try to get their hands on you and once they do they’ll never let you go. But maybe you’re also  intrigued by the idea of being part of a group of people who believe in a mysterious higher power they call God and who care about each other and about justice and peace in the world. Maybe you’d like to explore religion a little, but are just afraid that you’ll be lost in the strangeness of a worship service, make an utter fool of yourself by doing something wrong.

Well, you’re not alone. An increasing number of people in our society have no religious background. Interestingly, New Hampshire has (after Vermont) the highest percentage of people with no religious affiliation of any state in the U.S. And yet, a lot of people are searching. They sense that something is missing in their lives, in the lives of their families. Continue reading ‘Coming to Holy Cross with No Religious Background’

Trinity Sunday June 7, 2009

Romans 8:12-17       

 John 3:1-17                                                                         

 

Here I am, Lord. Is it I, Lord? I have heard you

calling in the night. –Daniel L. Schutte

 

All of us, all human beings, have heard that call in the night. The call of something or Someone beyond ourselves, greater than ourselves. A Greater-Than that offers the hope of meaning to our lives here on earth, our struggles, our joys and sufferings.

 

Imagine two groups of scientists. The one searches the farthest reaches of the universe with powerful telescopes, offering data on what they see, further annotations in technical treatises, passed on to other experts who may be interested. The other group of scientists are standing around the rim of a huge crater in the surface of the earth, or perhaps in a submarine inspecting a deep concavity under the ocean. They are trying to work out what happened, what force, what dimensions and at what speed caused this impact, and what its consequences have been or are or will be for life on our planet.

 

I owe this analogy of the two groups of scientists to the Catholic theologian James Alison,* who says that it is the second group of scientists, those looking at the crater, who are most like us when we think about God. Continue reading ‘Trinity Sunday June 7, 2009’