Tag Archive for 'sin'

Epiphany 2 January 16, 2011

This homily is different from the usual sort. It comes in the context of a discussion that began last week after breakfast on bullying in schools and grew, with reference to national events, into a broader concern with violence and incivility in our society and world. That discussion will continue this morning after breakfast. The homily begins with an introduction to the whole worship service; continues with the homily proper, intended as an introduction to some congregational comments; and then has a short list of some thoughts for going forward that the preacher came up with, reflecting on the readings. You are invited to add your own comments! Continue reading ‘Epiphany 2 January 16, 2011’

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’

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’

Ash Wednesday February 17, 2010

2 Corinthians 5:20b-21, 6:1-10                                       

Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21                                                       

 Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.

 We celebrate today two things that are difficult for us: sin and mortality. I remember being on the search committee for a new priest, back before I was ordained myself. We were going through resumes the bishop had sent us and we got to Fr. So-and-So’s. “Discard!” announced a woman on the committee immediately. “I went to a service at his church and he preached on sin.” Moral: don’t talk about sin if you want to get ahead, even in the Church, certainly not in the rest of life.

Mortality, too: who wants to talk about death, particularly their own? Obituaries always note how someone died after a “long struggle” or a “long battle” with whatever disease carried them off. Death is the enemy. Hospitals and hospices are partly places where we hide away the dying so they won’t spoil things for the living. We’ve come a long ways from our ancestors, who prayed in the Great Litany to be delivered from “dying suddenly and unprepared” and saw this life in terms of preparation for death. Continue reading ‘Ash Wednesday February 17, 2010’

Advent 2 December 6, 2009

Baruch 5:1-9                                                                       

Philippians 1:3-11                                                              

Luke 3:1-16

I had a John the Baptist in my life. His name was Grant Gallup, and he died this past Thanksgiving evening. Grant was a priest who spent his entire active career, as he liked to say “in a fit of absent mindedness,” as vicar of a tiny African American mission in the slums on the West Side of Chicago. In retirement, he went to Managua, Nicaragua, as a representative of the Diocese of Chicago, which had a companion relationship with the Diocese of Nicaragua. There he ran Casa Ave Maria, a house of “pilgrimage and mission” or, as he would sometimes put it, a “halfway house for recovering capitalists.” Continue reading ‘Advent 2 December 6, 2009’

Easter Vigil April 11, 2009

O.T. History of Salvation

Romans 6:3-11

Luke 24:1-12

 

Around the church tonight is this wonderful series of quilt-style banners depicting the story of God’s saving work through history. We have six of them now; Nancy Stehno just completed the one over the organ, illustrating a passage from the Book of Proverbs about Wisdom being more precious than gold. Nancy, I hesitate to tell you this, but there are six more we could do, if we draw on both the Episcopal and Revised Common Lectionaries! But, one at a time. That’s the way God works, so you can work that way too.

 

Actually, there could be more than 12 banners. There could be an infinite string of banners, stretching into the future, because God is working out God’s plan of salvation in every one of our lives, in the world around us, in every event in the news—even the terrible ones. Continue reading ‘Easter Vigil April 11, 2009’