Tag Archive for 'Pentecost'

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’

Easter 5 May 22, 2011

Acts 7:55-60

1 Peter 2:2-10

John 14:1-14

“I am the way, and the truth and the life.”

The professor who taught me criminal law was scarcely older than his students. He was brilliant and charming and kind. He and his family had been refugees from Hungary, whether from the Nazis or the Communists I’m not sure. They were Jewish. While still a young man, Paul Bator was diagnosed with cancer, which progressed quickly to his brain. One day he awoke totally deaf, not long after totally blind. Shortly before he died, he wrote a letter to his friends, which one of them shared with me. “Don’t feel sorry for me,” he said. “I have everything I need: chocolate and raspberries and Jesus.” Continue reading ‘Easter 5 May 22, 2011’

Day of Pentecost May 23, 2010

Acts 2:1-21                                                                          

Romans 8:14-17                                                                

John 14:8-17, 25-27

Our celebration of the Day of Pentecost at Holy Cross today is one of our periodic “Come With Joy” Sundays. Six or eight times a year we do these, incorporating elements of art and drama into the liturgy, playing a little loose with the order of some of the parts of the service, involving members of the congregation (especially teenagers and children), and opening the homily time to discussion. Like most clergy, I’m pretty much a law and order guy myself when it comes to liturgy, so I’m always a little anxious about these occasions, but almost without exception they’ve come off well. We just have to understand that we can worship God in many ways, not just the semi-monastic, cathedral-style worship that Anglicans have traditionally been accustomed to. Continue reading ‘Day of Pentecost May 23, 2010’

Easter 7 May 16, 2010

Acts 16:16-34                                                                      

Revelation 22:12-14, 16-171, 20-21                                       

John 17:20-26

“I just had a general question for you,” said the email I got last week. “Is it possible to not believe in God, but to believe in Jesus Christ and in good vs. evil?”

What a wonderful question – and always good to get questions from people, especially ones like this that go right to the heart of things. And a specially wonderful question for this Sunday, which I like to think of as “God has gone away” Sunday. This is the Sunday in the Christian year between the Ascension, last Thursday, and Pentecost, next Sunday. The Ascension celebrates Jesus going up to heaven after the resurrection, to “sit at the right hand of God,” as the Creeds put it. Pentecost celebrates the sending of the Holy Spirit of God to be with us here on earth. So, in between, God has in a sense gone away. Continue reading ‘Easter 7 May 16, 2010’

Day of Pentecost May 31, 2009

Acts 2:1-21                                                                          

Romans 8:22-27                                                                

John 15:26-27, 16:4b-15

 

 

Let’s call him Adam. He was one of the unhappiest people I’ve ever known. Nothing and nobody could please him. Everything was always against him—and against him personally. If there was a new policy at work, it was a terrible idea and instituted by his boss for the express purpose of making Adam’s life miserable. If his daughter was having trouble at school, she was having trouble just so as to reflect badly on her father. And church—well, every change, every experiment, every new hymn tune, every sermon, was a direct insult to Adam. I had a special file folder labeled “Adam letters” telling me so.

 

I was on my guard big time therefore when Adam made an appointment to come and talk to me. I dressed carefully, so there would be nothing for Adam to criticize in that department, one of his favorites. I went over in my mind all the things in the last month or two that he might find fault with, preparing my defenses. And still I dreaded our meeting; my heart rate rose as I watched Adam pull into the church parking lot and get out of his car and I felt my breathing constricted.

 

So I was surprised when, once we’d settled into our chairs in my study, Adam pulled out a small white card and handed it to me. “My therapist said I was to work on these things. And he said if I had trouble, to come and talk to you.” This was news to me: that Adam would seek help in therapy! But there was more. On the card was written: “Practice praying before the Altar in church. Put yourself in the presence of God. Let God show you how much he loves you. Be with God in the light of love.”

 

“I’m having trouble with this,” Adam said. “I can’t do it. I can’t even begin. I don’t know what he’s talking about.” Continue reading ‘Day of Pentecost May 31, 2009’