Gifts and Fruits, Pentecost 2015

Robyns SermonsThis morning the Holy Spirit comes. And the Church has been trying to sort out what that means for years. Paul talks about the Spirit bringing gifts and resulting in fruits.

 

The lessons can be found by clicking here.

 

Listen:

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Pentecost: A Poem Preached

Last year I got captivated by Josh Ritter’s “A Girl in the War” which influence my sermon.  After preaching at both services, I realized that it really had been a poem.  Over the course of the year, I’ve come back to my notes from the week and from re-listening to the sermon.  Here’s what that turned into.

Last time it was a dove

Remember,
Jesus and John at the river Jordan
People pressing forward,
Hoping to see, to understand
The heavens split and
The Lord God Almighty spoke,
But it was a dove
A bird of peace and promise
With words of love and support
‘This is my beloved, with whom I am well pleased’
A passing of the torch
More than a beginning
John, who baptized in the wilderness,
Performing his ultimate act as forerunner
Inaugurating his cousin,
The Messiah, the one everyone was waiting for
And no one expected

And the heavens split
The Holy Spirit descended
Delighted to be a dove

Three years of dusty roads
Campfires and strange stories
Healings and promises;
Terror and threat
Ending with crucifixion
And an empty tomb
Fifty days of walking through walls
Fish on the beach and broken nets
finding Jesus in broken bread
Then the Risen Messiah
Ascended back into heaven

I wonder how many of the people
Who had pressed forward
on the banks of the Jordan that morning
Fearfully retreated in the upper room
Remembered when the heavens last split open
And looked for a dove

The Spirit which descended,
Driving disciples into the street,
Did not delight in being a dove

This morning the Spirit breathed fire

Perhaps because dragons have exist
Since before they were in our books and TV
We knew they could inspire empires;
Before we drew them in the unknown edges of maps
We knew they could entice us further than we’ve ever gone before

Today is Pentecost.
The Spirit, not a dove, not a dragon,
Breathed fire;
Breathed the Church
And passed the torch
The disciples poured out
And became a holy spectacle
Unable to hold the fire of God’s message in their bones
Unable to keep God’s love contained.

Today is Pentecost.
We are given God’s message of love
We are the torch,
Fire breathed and Spirit driven
Sent, to be the Church
To be a Holy Spectacle
Unable to do anything other than share God’s love

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Prevention, Easter 6 2015

Robyns SermonsPeter asks, “Who would prevent them from being baptized?”  And we pride ourselves on being welcoming.  Which isn’t the same thing.

 

The lessons can be found by clicking here.  I worked most closely with Acts 10:44-48.

 

Listen: 

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There’s some water, Easter 5 2015

Robyns Sermons“Can I be baptized?”

 

The lessons can be found by clicking here.  I worked most closely with Acts 8:26-40.

 

Listen:

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Strange Sheep, Easter 4 2015

Robyns Sermons“I am the Good Shepherd.” Jesus

 

The lessons can be found by clicking here.  I worked most closely with John 10:11-18.

 

Listen:

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Needing Air Masks

I loved how Holy Week and Easter morning unfolded this year.  Of course, I find that the richness of the liturgy is so great that no matter how many mistakes I may make, the significance and connection these services offer doesn’t fail.  After Easter Sunday I took three days off.  Well, Monday is one of my usual days off but I took Tuesday and Wednesday too.

Taking time off is a bit of a pain and I almost always have to force myself to actually do it.  Routinely, I sit in my office in the days leading up to time off arranging for others to cover some responsibilities, cancelling some events, delaying some conversations, praying that no one dies, and talking myself into actually being gone.  It seems easier in these moments not to leave.  Not taking time off would save me from writing the email detailing work that I do from memory, keep me from saying “later” to conversations that I enjoy having, wouldn’t have me asking other people to go out of their way to let me sleep in.

Three things stop me.  One, as someone quoted someone else as saying, “an overworked priest is depriving others of their baptismal ministry.”  If I insist on doing everything myself, I am, at some point, getting in the way of someone else doing things God has called them to.  

Two, many of the things I do are not essential.  The Church, not even my little parish, will not collapse if we have to make do without bulletins or if the newsletter doesn’t get emailed. 

And third, taking my vacation time is what allows me to keep being a priest.  This work I do is exhausting.  Not because my hours (especially in Lent and Holy Week) can be long, not because I work almost every weekend and major holiday, not because of evening meetings or unpredictable phone calls.  This work is exhausting because to be with a community and to listen to the joys and sorrows, the struggles and and griefs, is exhausting.  It is holy work and there’s nothing else I want to do.  But it is hard.  My body and my soul both need times of rest and renewal.  

Not too long ago I read that Reverend Willimon has invited us to reconsider Sabbath as more than time off but as time for God.  I find vacation time, and similarly regular days off, grey space where I need the time off to care for myself so that I can keep looking forward to going to work.  They are time for me and time for God.

When it’s hard, either being a priest or taking time off, I remind myself of an analogy a seminary classmate shared (which had been shared with her and in the great economy I have shared many times since).  During the emergency announcements on a plane, we are told to put our own air mask on before helping someone else with theirs.  Not because we don’t want everyone to be able to breath, but because if we don’t put our own air mask on first we won’t breath.

Why did I take three days off after Easter?  Because I needed my air mask.  Lent and a Holy Week has been particularly full of work this year with lots of nights and Saturdays (my other day off) and a few Mondays.  My house needed cleaning.  My body needed rest.  My spirit needed rejuvenation.

I needed my air mask.

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Relationship more than doubt, Easter 2 2015

Robyns SermonsThomas doubts (for a moment).  Which moments matter?

 

The lessons can be found by clicking here.  I worked most closely with John: 20:19-31.

 

Listen:

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Risen Relationship, Easter 2015

Robyns SermonsAlleluia! Christ is Risen!  The Lord is Risen indeed! Alleluia!

 

The lessons can be found by clicking here.

 

Listen: 

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Waiting, Good Friday 2015

(The device I use to record sermons failed on Friday. I have several minutes recorded of absolutely nothing. I’m mildly stepping up the research for it’s replacement. Fortunately, I have a manuscript of almost exactly what I said.)

The lessons can be found by clicking here.

Today Jesus dies. Today we watch and wait.

We watch and wait with others. With Jesus disciples. Who had followed until the armed soldiers showed up with weapons and they fled. Who would’ve heard, still, where ever they were hiding, that their friend, their teacher, their inspiration, their Lord, was dead.

We watch and wait with Mary and the other women. Who hadn’t fled. Who had followed, too scared to stay, too unimportant to anyone else to be a problem, too scared to leave. With Mary who saw her son die. With the women who witnessed with her.

We watch and wait with God whose only begotten son, incarnate so that we could understand how much God wanted to be in relationship with us, dies. Who didn’t act. Who watched. Who died. Alone, suffering, in agony.

Our story, Jesus’ story is of a God who loves us too much to abandon us, even on Good Friday.

It’s a hard day, a hard place to sit. And yet I have found that people sit here too often. When the news is of death and tragedy. When our loved ones die. When the doctor has bad news. When, as it too often is, life is full of the tragic, the horrible, the unbearable. Our Good Fridays spread across our lives, too numerous.

Today Jesus dies. And it seems like the story should end here. Just as all of the Good Fridays we live through feel like the end.

Today we watch and wait just as God watches and waits.

Amen

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Come to Jesus’ Table, Maundy Thursday 2015

Robyns SermonsThis is the day we remember the first eucharist, the first time bread and wine became something more, and every one who was there.

The lessons can be found by clicking here.  I worked most closely with John 13:1-17, 31b-35.

 

Listen:

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