Monthly Archive for September, 2010

Pentecost 18 September 26, 2010

Amos 6:1a, 4-7                                                                    

1 Timothy 6:6-19                                                                

Luke 16:19-31

 

Once upon a time there was a young man, the son of a prosperous merchant. He had a love for good times, rich friends, music, partying, and fashionable clothing. One day he was selling cloth in the marketplace for his father when a beggar came by, asking for alms. Finishing his business deal, the young man ran after the beggar, emptying his pockets and giving the beggar all that he had. His friends mocked him for his charity; his father was enraged.

He sought glory on the battlefield, but without success, captured and imprisoned for a year. He suffered a serious illness. He began to spend time alone, wandering in the countryside, praying in abandoned churches. He took to nursing lepers who were shunned by others in society. One day in the marketplace, in a showdown with his father, he stripped off all his rich clothes, renounced his patrimony, and declared his dedication to the poor.

You will have guessed, perhaps, whom I’m talking about: St. Francis of Assisi. Continue reading ‘Pentecost 18 September 26, 2010’

Holy Cross Day September 12, 2010

1 Corinthians 1:18-24                                                        

John 3:13-17                                                                       

In the hall across from the office here at church you may have noticed, on your way to the restroom, a wall calendar. It’s sent every year from the Church Pension Group, a multi-billion dollar enterprise which handles pensions, insurance, health benefits and more for the Episcopal Church. Each month on the calendar there’s a clever cartoon, drawn I believe by a priest in New York City. This month’s cartoon features an update of what’s called the Great Commission.

The Great Commission comes at the end of St. Matthew’s gospel, where after the Resurrection Jesus bids his disciples to “go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” (We’re carrying out the Great Commission this morning, as we baptize Annabelle Nicole Charette.) But the cartoon, which is captioned “The Great Commission Revisited,” up-dates this by having Jesus say, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, developing task forces and strategic plans, and surveying the congregation in order to craft a succinct and memorable mission statement easily communicated on bumper stickers, website home pages, t-shirts and coffee mugs.” A wry and telling comment on the state of the Church (and the world) today. Continue reading ‘Holy Cross Day September 12, 2010’

Pentecost 15 September 5, 2010

Deuteronomy 30:15-20                                                     

Luke 14:25-33                                                                      

I don’t know whether you’ve noticed, but there’s a pattern to the way I preach. I usually begin with some story or example from life, develop a topic, and then bring the biblical readings to bear on it. That’s not the only way to preach, obviously. Many preachers start with the Bible, what is called expository preaching, illustrating the points in the lessons with examples from life.

I usually start with life because most congregations in Episcopal churches are not very familiar with the Bible and don’t automatically accept it as authoritative the way, say, a Baptist congregation would. But there are drawbacks to my approach. It tends to water down or soften the force of the biblical readings. You might even say it’s a coward’s way of preaching.

So let’s start with the Bible this morning. Continue reading ‘Pentecost 15 September 5, 2010’