2011 Sermons Recent Sermons

Pentecost 3, July 3, 2011


The Rt. Rev. Arthur E. Walmsley

Deuteronomy 10:17-21; Psalm145; Matthew 5:43-48


Lord God Almighty, in whose Name the founders of this country won liberty for themselves and for us, and lit the torch of freedom for nations then unborn: Grant that we and all the people of this land may have grace to maintain our liberties in righteousness and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

On this Independence Day weekend, I want to talk about our country and what faith says to our present situation as a nation and people.  We began our service today with an alternative to the usual organ prelude.  It was the first of several quotations from the writings of Thomas Jefferson set to music by the composer Randall Thompson, the beginning of a choral work written in 1933 to celebrate the two hundredth anniversary of the birth of Jefferson, one of the major contributors to the birth of our nation.   The composer deliberately set out to write a type of “public music” that would lift up the origins of the American struggle for independence.  In fact one of the early performances of  the work would be as a tribute to the presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt after the latter’s death in the waning days of World War II in 1945.

Neither Jefferson nor various others of the signers of the Declaration of Independence released on July 4, 1776, were devout Christians,

2010 Sermons

Advent 2 December 5, 2010

Isaiah 11:1-10                                                                      

Romans 15:4-13                                                                  

Matthew 3:1-12

Once a month I go down to Massachusetts to see my spiritual director. He’s one of the monks of the Society of St. John the Evangelist, a quiet, cheerful man who always exudes a great sense of centeredness and peace. We sit together for an hour or so while I talk about what’s on my soul. Br. James listens. When I have laid myself bare before him he is silent for a long time, and then he’ll come out with a question – a deceptively simple question usually, but one which unlocks a new door, gives a new insight, invites me to consider a new possibility.

This last week I went down to Emery House perplexed about a problem I faced, not knowing what I should do. It had me waking up in the middle of the night fretting about the alternatives, none of which seemed good. So I laid it out for Br. James and then there was the usual long silence, followed by the question: “Where do you feel free in this? And where do you feel unfree, bound?” See what I mean by a new perspective: I hadn’t thought at all about my dilemma in terms of feeling free. And that’s what I told him. In fact, I told him that his question made me realize that I felt very little freedom in my life. I felt as though I were constantly serving others, trying to fulfill their expectations, and usually coming up short.