Tag Archive for 'Mary and Martha'

Pentcost 8 July 18, 2010

Genesis 18:1-10                                                                  

Luke 10:38-42                                                                     

We’re standing in the sacristy there at St. Michael’s, Barrington, Illinois – me, the curate just out of seminary, the rector, and the visiting bishop – just about to go in to begin the liturgy. “Bill,” says the bishop to the rector, “what did I preach about last time I was here?” (This would have been four years earlier.) I watch a look of panic cross the rector’s face. Sermons have a short shelf life in memory; four years could be four centuries. “I remember you told a story about a dog,” the rector replied, color returning to his face. “Ah,” said the bishop, returning to his brief case the sermon he had taken out and pulling forth another. It turned out he had three sermons that he preached, rotating them as he went his rounds.

So, a story about stories. Fr. McLean remembered nothing about the bishop’s sermon except the dog story he’d told. You may well remember nothing about this story except my story about the bishop’s sermon. Stories are what are most memorable because we humans are constructed by stories. It is through stories that we find the most fundamental meaning of who we are and what life and reality are all about. The Bible endures as a source of truth because it is above all a collection of stories. Continue reading ‘Pentcost 8 July 18, 2010’

Lent 5 March 21, 2010

Isaiah 43:16-21                                                                  

Philippians 3:4b-14                                                            

John 12:1-8

 “You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.” – John 12:8

I am tired. The other day I was visiting with an old friend, a man my age. How are you, he asked. I’m exhausted, I said. And I began to cry.

Well, part of that exhaustion is that we’re coming up to Holy Week and Easter, and clergy are always exhausted getting ready for the string of demanding liturgies at this time of year. Part of it is also that on top of all those services we’ve added the whole Come and See evangelism project for Easter. And, of course, God has seen fit, as he does most years, to put the Crucifixion and Resurrection right in the middle of income tax time and cleaning up the garden for spring. So, exhaustion is to be expected. As Anne reminds me, it’s an annual thing.

But part of my exhaustion is also a participation in your exhaustion. Someone said to me recently, “You get around in your job, don’t you.” And indeed I do. You might say that “getting around” is my job. The old word for the parish priest was parson, which comes from person. The parson was the “person” of the village, who got around and visited everyone and gathered up their thoughts and prayers and lives on his heart, to offer them to God. The other part of his job was carrying God on his heart to offer God to his people – equally important, and something that can get lost in a priest’s daily busyness. Continue reading ‘Lent 5 March 21, 2010’