Tag Archive for 'fear'

Day of Pentecost June 12, 2011

Acts 2:1-21

1 Corinthians 12:3b-13

John 20:19-23

Locked rooms, doors locked for fear, fear of what’s out there, fear of the future. We all know them. We’ve all been there. Fourteen years ago, I made my way down the steep, crooked stairway of the old Holy Cross building. I was wounded, bruised by experiences in my last parish, uncertain whether I had a future in parish ministry. A kind warden at that last parish, an executive placement professional, had given me her company’s battery of outplacement tests and interviews. “Give it up,” she suggested. “Find something else to do.” Would a parish have me?

At the bottom of the steps a little group awaited: Terry Knowles, Peter Ashworth, Nancy Stehno, Laura Starr-Houghton, Diane Beland, two or three others. The vestry/search committee. They too were wounded, bruised. Bishop Theuner was about to shut Holy Cross down, lock the doors for the last time. “Give it up,” he’d said. Could they find a priest to serve them? Fear. Fear of what’s out there, fear of the future. Continue reading ‘Day of Pentecost June 12, 2011’

Advent 3 December 12, 2010

Isaiah 35:1-10                                                                      

James 5:7-10                                                                       

Matthew 11:2-11

These four beautiful banners hang against the east wall of our worship space during Advent: WATCH, WAIT, HOPE, PRAY they remind us. The mantra of this season of expectation, this season when we await the coming of Christ. And on the back of each of the banners is another word, the same word on each. It’s written in invisible ink, but it’s there. That word is FEAR. Continue reading ‘Advent 3 December 12, 2010’

Easter 3 April 18, 2010

Acts 9:1-6                                                                            

Revelation 5:11-14                                                            

John 21:1-19

If we were one of those churches that put our sermon title out on its sign board, or even had sermon titles, the title for this morning might be A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Happiness. I don’t mean happiness in some shallow, sugar-high way. What we’re about is way too serious for that. We could say “on the Way to Heaven,” but that sounds too focused on the hereafter. By happiness I mean what we seek most deeply and ultimately in life: fulfillment, salvation, purpose, peace, healing, forgiveness. There are lots of words we use for it, but they all point to the same thing, so let’s call it happiness. Deep happiness. It’s what we all want, in our hearts. What lies behind the struggles of our lives.

“Come and see,” Jesus said to people. The people were those who noticed him, heard about his message, about the mighty acts and signs he was performing. The people who saw in him something different, something that indicated that he might lead them on the way to this deep happiness. “Who are you?” they would ask. “What is your secret? Tell us so we can have it too.” And always Jesus would say to these people, “Come and see.” Continue reading ‘Easter 3 April 18, 2010’

Last Epiphany February 14, 2010

Exodus 34:29-35                                                                

2 Corinthians 3:12-4:2                                                      

Luke 9:28-43

Since, then, we have such a hope, we act with great boldness, not like Moses, who put a veil over his face to keep the people of Israel from gazing [on God’s glory]. — 2 Corinthians 3:12

This is one of the central themes in the New Testament, indeed in Christianity as a religion: that with Jesus Christ no longer is God veiled, a terrible presence before whom we can only cringe in fear, whom we  can only approach indirectly, through observing a code of complex rules and through the rituals of a sacred priesthood. No, our God is the God revealed in Jesus, a human being like ourselves. Jesus who knows our weakness, our doubts, our confusion, our sins. But Jesus who has saved us from ourselves, who loves us and calls us to be with him.

It is a very powerful idea. We make a mistake if we treat it as simply a contrast between Judaism and Christianity. The contrast between the veiled God and the transparent God runs through all religions. Continue reading ‘Last Epiphany February 14, 2010’