SR Horses, Wheat, Weeds, July 2014

Link: Horses, Wheat, Weeds, July 2014

Summary of what I was saying and why:
I ran across something discussing the tension between God’s mercy and justice. And then I started thinking about the different ways those were present in this story. Which connected back to the story about the farmer and the horse.

Theology: mercy, justice, love
Jesus Count: average
Good News: God’s mercy and justice are grounded in God’s love.

What did I change on my feet?
One draft of this sermon ended with a story from CS Lewis’s The Last Battle. I cut it before the service. Which left me writing the end live.
What didn’t work/what did I miss?
I could’ve used a bit more time working on how I was re-telling the Gospel. I’m still not sure how the two parables played off each other.
What did work?
I didn’t use the Narnia story but I think I more plainly cast all things as grounded in God’s love.

Other sermons I liked:

Priest Richardson, Somebody has got to play fair with us in the end
“Each stalk of self-proclaimed wheat is willing, if not eager to pull the ones they see as weeds out of the ground. But like Dexter warned his friend, and like Jesus warns us in the parable, we can’t harm the other without harming ourselves. It damages us to hurt another.”

Priest Halley, A Fiery Faith that Changed the World
“Don’t get me wrong. Thank you for coming to Church. Thank you for coming to worship. The Finance Committee will thank you for paying your pledge.
But what we do in this place is not enough if it does not meet the deep need of a desperate people helplessly awash in a hurting world.”

(Here’s the list of people I usually listen to. Am I missing someone?)
The Anglican Church of Canada uses the Roman Ordinary Time numbering system instead of numbering the Propers. I indicate both numbering systems.

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Horses, Wheat, Weeds July 20, 2014

Robyns SermonsWhat kind of story it is often depends on where you stop the story.  We know that ours will end with the Resurrected Christ but our stories aren’t over yet.

 

The lessons can be found by clicking here.  I worked most closely with Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43.

 

Listen:

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SR: Gardening, P10 OT15 13 July 2014

Link: Gardening, July 13 2014

Summary of what I was saying and why:
I got caught up in the last line where some produced 100, 60, or 30 fold. Particularly in the 70-fold difference. Which Jesus doesn’t seem to care about.

Theology: kingdom-work
Jesus Count: low
Good News:Its about doing more than how much we’ve done

What did I change on my feet?
I did a lot of tweaking on my feet. The best part was when I talked about the work of prayer. The worst was that I don’t feel that I helped pull things together in anyway.
What didn’t work/what did I miss?
I felt like this sermon wandered a lot. I think there’s still a way to preach these ideas, but I think I’d need to tease them out more.
What did work?
Gardening. People connected to gardening, to the talk of work, and the joy of it.

Other sermons I liked:

Priest Castellan, Contra Gnostics
“But here is the funny thing about heresies—old heresies never die; they just reappear like zombies.”

Priest Lightcap, Empires
A little bit Breakfast Club and a great transcript of a visual sermon.

(Here’s the list of people I usually listen to. Am I missing someone?)
The Anglican Church of Canada uses the Roman Ordinary Time numbering system instead of numbering the Propers. I’m indicating both numbering systems.

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Gardening, July 13 2014

Robyn's SermonsHow and what goes into and comes out of a garden.

A sermon for July 13 2014, Proper 10, Ordinary Time 15.

The lessons can be found by clicking here.  I worked most closely with Matthew 13:1-9,18-23.

 

 

Listen:

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Being a Scholar Priest

“In all that you do, you are to nourish Christ’s people from the riches of his grace, and strengthen them to glorify God in this life and in the life to come.”
Book of Common Prayer, 531

I was at Camp as the priest of the week. Right before bedtime, a Counselor brought a camper—an almost sleepy boy of probably 9—over to me with a question. “What does Hallelujah mean?”

I wasn’t thinking when I answered the call from an unknown number on my day off. “Did the Jews kill Jesus?” wasn’t the opening statement I expected.

I was at a joint service planning meeting and informed that my idea was unnecessary as my colleague did not believe our people were deep theologians.

I worry that our Church has come to believe this lie that our people are not deep theologians. We let ourselves compile lists of the things we never learned in seminary as if the ability to sketch out the major councils and heresies of the early Church had less bearing on our vocation than our ability to navigate Church repair. Convinced, hopefully or fearfully, that Christians do not care about the details, the history, the richness, the nuance of our faith. Some believe it. Believe that priests do not need to know the outline of Church history or the basics of the rubrics. Or that at most these things should be kept to our Continuing Education days. Sequestered off from people that primarily need to be lured away Sunday morning hockey (or football) commitments and into Church.

Sometimes the necessary skill is to know, on the spot, that Hallelujah means ‘Praise God.’ Sometimes it is helpful to be able to reassure a caller that her newly discovered Jewish heritage does not include a blood debt for the death of Jesus.
Or any of the other odd theological tasks ministry has us stumble over.

It is not just the odd, strange, and yet not uncommon encounters of my life that convince me of the importance of study, of deep theology.

My parish recently read Joan Chittister’s In Search of Belief for a parish book study. Towards the end of one class as people were discussing the challenges of the reading, one parishioner commented that I was sitting there smiling.
And I was.

Not because everyone was worried their entire faith system had just been found hollow.
Because we were sitting there, conservative, liberal, literal, literary, cradle Anglicans, recent converts, together.

I am called and charged “to nourish Christ’s people from the riches of his grace, and strengthen them to glorify God in this life and in the life to come.”

And as a parish priest I particularly live this out through leading community. Not just by loving the people I am amongst but by hosting space where liberal and conservative and just-not-sure-yet all witness themselves being loved, heard, and understood in front of other people.
To do this means knowing more of my tradition than my preferred strands of it. It means learning how to hold open the riches of Christ’s grace for those who need other strands. And holding out the hope that in the life to come we will all be closer to God and thus to each other in our understanding of the faith we share.

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Sermon Round Up, OT14 P9, July 6 2014

Due to technical difficulties my recorded sermon disappeared. It was there at the end of the service but not when I went to upload it.

So straight to other sermons I liked this week:

Priest Kadel, Comfortable Words
“Jesus’ words are comfortable and simple: Come to me, Everyone! Rest with me awhile. But people, often those who claim to be the ones who Jesus is inviting, will find ways to make those words complicated and definitely uncomfortable, especially for those who are not the right kind of people.”

Priest Sherer, Yoked to God
“Being yoked to God means not having to recognize the completion of God’s purposed on earth by what we see or hear or experience but knowing everything that’s happening is happening in that truth because of our faith.”

Priest Baum, , Pentecost 4, begins with a basic law, “Anyone who drives faster than I do is a maniac. And anyone who drives slower than I do is an idiot.”

Priest Downs, Still Hope
“Jesus holds a mirror to our ridiculous and abusive tactics which neither communicate our needs or proclaim the Good News of a risen Christ, our Liberator, our Redeemer, our Lover. “

Here’s the list of people I usually listen to. Am I missing someone?
The Anglican Church of Canada uses the Roman Ordinary Time numbering system instead of numbering the Propers. Because all of this is new to me, I’m now indicating both numbering systems.

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Sermon Round-Up: June 22 2014, Proper 7/OT12

Vacation this Sunday and next so I’m not preaching. Off eating gelato with seminary classmates and talking theology with colleagues instead.

What I might have preached:
The dean while I was at seminary made a habit of praying for ‘peace with justice.’ Which I liked because although I was used to praying for peace and justice ‘with’ reminded me that if you want peace it’s actually tangled up with justice, that to really have one you have to sort out the other.
Which is an interesting thing to hold alongside this very tangled up Gospel.

Sermons I like:

Priest Downs, The Divine Household: Jesus, Division, and a Sword that cuts Injustice
“Each of these pieces: about the servants and the sparrows and the hairs and the hell: is about the household. A household kept and built by GOD. A household which embraces equality and rejects hierarchy; embraces public devotion and rejects private belief; embraces the worthless and successful; naming their true worth the same.”

Priest Collins, Stop Helping, Start Serving
“Helping someone avoid the truth of his or her dysfunction is not Christian.
What it is is a denial of the Christ that is in that person. It is a denial of the potential for resurrection that is in that person.”

Bishop Edwards, Ishmael and Willy Loman
“Jesus invites us to let go of what we cling to most tightly,
because those things are our chains.
The more we give away, the less we have,
but the more fully alive we become.
If we give our money, our time, our attention, our labor
for Jesus’ sake, it opens up a place in our souls
where we can breathe.”

Priest Romanik, Narcissism
“Jesus begins by imbuing his followers with power and authority and then proceeds to explain to them in detail that they are not the center of the universe, that life is not all about them.”

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God Who Dances, Trinity Sunday 2014

Robyns SermonsLessons I learned from my sister: to dance beautifully we need someone who leads well.

 

The lessons can be found by clicking here. I preached on the Trinity, the doctrine of the day.

 

 

Listen:

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Unschedulable Spirit

It started at lunch. We were a church-y group at a church-y gathering. I don’t remember how we wound our way to this topic, but we started wondering why our schedule, replete with initial meetings of all of The Episcopal Church’s Councils, Commissions, and Boards (CCABs), didn’t include Eucharist. Being nerdy Church nerds, we understandingly agreed it would’ve been a scheduling headache.
First you need a room and a time, and then you have to arrange for a …. and …. and…. The ecclesial version of giving a mouse a cookie except it ends with someone feeling hurt.
Then we looked around the table. Someone said, “we have a priest.” We looked at the table, “we have bread.” We remembered sitting around a different table in the bar last night, “we can get wine.”
“We could have an underground eucharist. Just take over one of the rooms and make eucharist!”

And lunch was over and we went back to our separate meetings. In mine, focused on Lifelong Christian Formation, eucharist came up again.
We may have been separated into separate meetings, wide spread rooms, but we were connected by twitter. So I tweeted:

Planning started. We’d been right at that lunch. Priest, bread, wine, room.

We learned that the hashtag name plus the social media usage to plan it had a few people wondering if we were being exclusive. So we used an older form of social media to communicate: a chair for a raised podium and a lunch time announcement the afternoon of the #undergroundeucharist.

And one of my co-planners was right:

One of our committees volunteered their space to be rearranged. So we made a large circle and added more chairs as people arrived.

We had volunteered to serve our Church on a national level; we had arrived for meetings. We came with agendas and hopes and goals. Committed to fixing, improving, changing our Church. More important than any of that, to all of us whether attending that Eucharist or worshipping at home, is the faith that keeps drawing us together.

The people came. Bread-which-is-body and wine-which-is-blood were shared. And together we celebrated the Holy Spirit among us.  The unschedulable, unstoppable Spirit.

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SR Doves and Dragons, Pentecost 2014

Link: Doves and Dragons, Pentecost 2014

Summary of what I was saying and why:
Early in the week I got lines from Josh Ritter’s “Girl in the War” stuck in my head. I listened to it over and over again and thought about doves, and dragons, and The Holy Spirit. Then I started writing.

Theology: Pneumatology (Holy Spirit)
Jesus Count: low
Good News: Pentecost is the passing of the torch to us.

What did I change on my feet?
I didn’t change a lot. I wrote this sermon really in verse and I kept editing it on my feet.
What didn’t work/what did I miss?
I don’t know. It seemed to work better at the early service than the late service, but I’m not clear on why.
What did work?
Everything clicked when I realized that this needed to start with the Dove at the baptism.

Other sermons I liked:

Priest Garner, Spirit’s Pull
The problem with people who exhibit the gifts of the Spirit is that they’re usually pretty strange. At the very least, by definition it isn’t normal, and it’s often downright weird. That’s because the Holy Spirit usually works in ways that we don’t understand. Sure, there are some Spirit-filled people whom we admire—like quirky authors and exuberant preachers—but lots of them just scare us. Have you ever had a stranger come up and offer to lay hands on you? You know those guys who walk down the street talking out loud to Jesus? Does anyone really enjoy the bullhorn-prophet who calls the world to repent? What are we supposed to make of people who claim to have the Spirit working within them when it seems to be working in a way that we don’t like?

Priest Sherer, Let it go, let it flow
We have all been made to drink INTO the interior of the Spirit. This is God’s goal for us. When we drink, we enter into the Spirit’s womb where we are re-created, where new life is created and nourished in us.

Priest Baum, Pentecost 2014
The disciples didn’t do anything to become these brazen apostles in the street. In fact, they were still hiding from the world. Since Easter! The disciples have not been to rabbinical school. They have no knowledge of God’s power. You’re going to listen to a bunch of scared losers who thought Jesus was the Messiah? What are you, on crack or something?

(Here’s the list of people I usually listen to. Am I missing someone?)
The Anglican Church of Canada uses the Roman Ordinary Time numbering system instead of numbering the Propers. Because all of this is new to me, I’m now indicating both numbering systems.

Categories: Sermon Review | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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