Comfort, Advent 2 2017

Come near, though you are a sinner for I have always known that; Come near, that my love may heal the breach between us.-GodStories & Morsels:  I talked about Advent wreaths, some of their history and offered some suggestions for how to incorporate them into your Advent practice.  St Lucy’s feast day is indeed the 13th of December.  There are tons more options if you google “Advent Wreath” with lighting or liturgy.

Sermon:  Our Isaiah passage is the one I think of when I think of Advent.  What were the circumstances of it’s writing and how does it sound next to John the Baptist’s cry to repent.

The lessons can be found here (link).  I worked most closely with Isaiah 40:1-11.

Listen: 

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The Taste of Justice, November 2017

A Kingdom where Justice tastes like honeyMorsels & Stories: In preparation for our interactive Bible study on the 9th, I read from the introduction to Story Journey by Thomas E Boomershine.

 

Sermon: Ezekiel prophesies about fat and lean sheep, while Jesus talks about goats and sheep.

 

The lessons can be found here (link).  I worked most closely with Ezekiel 34:11-16.

 

Listen: 

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When the Church is Dangerous

Reflecting on predators in the Church

This week was the third time. 

The other day I was talking with local clergy colleagues about how society has made safety into an idol.  We discussed how the Gospel calls us to make sacrifices and take risks.  That our lives, even apart from the Gospel, can never be made completely safe.  To live is to risk.  To live should not be to be harmed or abused.  Jesus calls us to take risks and not to harm one another.  We too often fail at both.  The risks Jesus calls us to are to be made willingly, knowing what is being risked or sacrificed and knowing that nothing can separate us from the love of God.

This week was the third time in 20 years of Church leadership (I’m both not that young now and was that young when I started), a cleric I know stands formally accused of sexual misconduct.*  Sexual misconduct by any one is an affront to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Abuse of all kinds, and especially sexual abuse or misconduct, is the stripping of another person’s privacy, bodily autonomy, and leaves lasting harm to a person’s ability to form loving and trusting relationships.  Instances where a cleric is the offender  are also a horrendous abuse of the trust invested in clergy.  I am grieved at this news and feel horrible that my colleague (from another diocese and country and still my brother in Christ) has added to others’ challenge in finding what I have in my Church, a place where it is easier to see Jesus.

Three times in 20 years is a little more than once every seven years.  The cognitive dissonance between knowing perpetrators are usually someone you would not suspect and that someone having a name, a face, and fond memories does not get easier.  I did not know or suspect and was shocked to learn the truth.  There is a temptation to call them monsters but I will resist it.  Portraying sexual predators as monsters is part of how we make it easier to fail to notice and prevent the lasting harm of the actions of people we usually would not suspect.  Even more, they too are beloved children of God,  though they have committed horrible sins and need to face the full consequences, legal and ecclesiastical, of their actions. 

I want to close with a promise that we can make at least the Church free from this kind of sin.  I want the Eucharist and the sacraments to be able to draw us close enough to God that we are all transformed into people who do not harm others.  Barring that, I want policies like those in The Episcopal Church’s Safeguarding God’s Children to be sufficient protection.

I can’t make that promise. 

We can make ourselves and our spaces safer.  RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) has information about staying as safe as possible, noticing warning signs, and consent here (link).  This is my favourite article on how teaching consent (link).  Please ask your Church leadership what they are doing to prevent sexual misconduct.  

I pray for the victims.  I do not know their names but, from other survivors of sexual abuse who have courageously shared their journeys, I am aware that healing is a long and seemingly endless journey. 

I assure you that the God who made us, who has always loved us, allows nothing to be beyond God’s love—even when we cannot fathom the possibility of such love. 

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Apocalyptic Bridesmaids, November 2017

(Sorry, this one slipped through the cracks a bit.)

Sermon:  This is the first parable of three that fit together.  I think that reading them together helps.  Let me know what you think.

The lessons can be found here (link).  I worked most closely with Matthew 25:1-13.

Listen: 

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A Promise Secured, October 2017

If you were standing beside Moses,what dreams would you see promised-Sermons & Morsels: We talked about the things we do at St Peter’s that we love.

 

Sermon: Right before the Israelites reach the Promised Land God takes Moses up to the top of a mountain.

 

The lessons can be found by clicking here.  I worked most closely with Deuteronomy 34:1-12.

 

Listen: 

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Taxes and Kings, October 2017

What will we do with what God has given us-

image from https://www.thespruce.com/eid-mar-denarius-768790

Morsels & Stories: After last week I got some feedback that the sermon was a bit confusing so I revisited the parable this morning.

 

Sermon:  “Should we pay taxes?” is an age-old question.  When did it start and how does it intersect our lives today?

 

The lessons can be found by clicking here.  I worked most closely with Matthew 22:15-22.

 

Listen: 

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A Banquet for Justice, October 2017

Who do we invite to our banquet-

Morsels & Stories: I talked about St Peter’s Stewardship package, which went out today.

 

Sermon: This is a tough parable Jesus offers us this week.  Let’s unpack it a bit.

 

The lessons can be found by clicking here.  I worked most closely with Matthew 22:1-14.

 

Listen: 

 

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Harvest Thanksgiving 2017

Happy ThanksgivingNota bene: Our sound system was acting oddly so the quality of the recording may have a few odd moments.

Morsels & Stories: On Thanksgiving weekend we collect food for the Food Bank.  I talked about the sacrifice and gift people offered.

Sermon: “God loves a cheerful giver.”  But what is it that lets a giver be truly cheerful?

The lessons for today were Deut 8.7-18, Ps 65, 2 Cor 9.6-15, Luke 17.11-19.  I worked most closely with 2 Corinthians 9.6-15. Read it here.

Listen: 

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Kingdom Managers, September 2017

Kingdom ManagersMorsels & Stories: I read from The Ethiopian Tattoo Shop by Edward Hays.

 

Sermon:  There’s a lot of whining in today’s Gospels.  But my favourite character in the Gospel barely appears.

 

 

The lessons can be found by clicking here.  I worked most closely with Matthew 20:1-16.

 

Listen: 

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Peter, Donkeys, and Stumbling Blocks, September 2017

stumbling blockMorsels & Stories: I talked about crossing ourselves, one of the many gestures some Anglicans make during worship.  I touched on the variety of ways people may or may not gesture during worship.

 

Sermon: Jesus says calls Peter a satan and a stumbling block and I hear echoes from the rest of the Bible.

 

The lessons can be found by clicking here.  I worked most closely with Matthew 16: 21-28.

Listen: 

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