Tag Archive for 'forgiveness'

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’

Pentecost 20 October 10, 2010

2 Kings 5:1-3, 7-15c

Luke 17:11-19

 

Friday afternoon we had a training session for our two new young acolytes, Alex Goulet and Anna Ishak, and Alex cracked one of the pillar candles at the altar. It was loose on its holder and he tipped it too far and it fell on the floor. Now what does that have to do with the readings for today? Everything.

You see, the readings are linked by the fact that each has to do with leprosy. Leprosy is mentioned again and again in the Bible, both the Old and New Testaments. It’s not to be confused with Hansen’s disease, which is the name for a medical condition, a bacterial infection now readily treated with antibiotics, that causes blotchy skin and disfigurement. In biblical times leprosy covered a wide range of ailments that had in common symtoms that made the skin discolored, scarred or imperfect. Biblical people thought that these imperfections were connected to moral imperfections. So people with “leprosy” were unfit to worship God and unfit for human society. They were outcasts. Continue reading ‘Pentecost 20 October 10, 2010’

Pentecost 9 July 25, 2010

Genesis 18:16-33                                                                               

Luke 11:1-13                                                                       

 “Lord, teach us to pray.”

Two of our time’s greatest spiritual leaders, the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, have announced that they will be withdrawing from the public scene. They want, each of them says, more time and space to pray. As Archbishop Tutu says, he’s been spending too much time in airports and hotels – like us, busy with the busyness of our busy world. The Dalai Lama explained that he needs to prepare for his death. I feel that need myself, as I look towards retirement. And of all the regrets I have about our ministry together, the greatest is that we’ve spent so little time on prayer.

So how good that this morning we listen to Jesus, teaching us about prayer. What is prayer? At its broadest sense, it is simply living in conscious communion with God. This can be talking with God, as in the readings this morning, or simply being silent and still and open before God. The readings are short, but really they tell us all we need to know about this essential element of the spiritual life. So let us listen! Continue reading ‘Pentecost 9 July 25, 2010’

Pentecost 3 June 13, 2010

2 Samuel 11:26-12:10, 13-15                                          

Luke 7:36-8:3                                                                     

My grandfather lived in a little coalmining town in Pennsylvania. Across the street lived a couple who never spoke to one another. They communicated through a married daughter who lived down the block. They’d divided the house between them: she had the kitchen, the back porch and a little room where she slept. He had the living and dining rooms, the front porch, and upstairs. They ate all their meals sitting on opposite ends of a table placed in the doorway between the dining room and the kitchen, he on the dining room end, she on the kitchen end. They’d lived this way for years. My grandfather said they’d long ago forgotten what they’d fought about.

For most of us, most of the time, forgiveness when we think about it is probably just a little footnote in our lives, like saying please and thank you, excuse me, I beg your pardon. But for God and for Jesus, forgiveness is one of the center points of life. Continue reading ‘Pentecost 3 June 13, 2010’

Lent 4 March 14, 2010

1 Corinthians 5:16-21                                                       

Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32                                                          

Oh, dear! I do have trouble with sin – and here I have to preach on it. Again. I comfort myself with the thought that all of us have trouble with sin, and that our God wants to help us, not make things worse.

I’ll start with an incident that I can’t get out of my mind, I guess because it seems to dramatize the whole “trouble with sin” thing so powerfully. It happened at an Easter morning service back in the old church years ago. There was a family in Holy Cross back then who owned an auto repair shop. A few weeks before Easter my old pick-up truck had scraped its side against the doorway to the garage. No dent really, just a swipe of white paint. I know I didn’t do it; Anne knew she hadn’t done it. The truck must have gone off on its own while we were asleep. Anyway, I took it into this shop and asked if they could repair it for me. Continue reading ‘Lent 4 March 14, 2010’