Monthly Archives: August 2013

SR: Fire and Light, Alumni Camp P15 2013

Link: Fire and Light, Alumni Camp P15 2013

Summary of what I was saying and why:
Alumni Camp brings people back who were Camp 10 to 40 years ago. They tell old stories and catch up. Much like today’s campers they often mention how significant Camp was for their life and faith. How they felt the warmth of God’s love and caught fire here. How hard it is not being here.

Jesus Count:low
Good News:the fire of God’s. love doesn’t go out

What did I change on my feet?
I had jotted down a few fragments of ideas before preaching. There were several that didn’t make it into the sermon but it wasn’t a change so much as extemporaneous editing.
What didn’t work/what did I miss?
I felt that I skirted around “You are the fire of God in the world.”
What did work?
I loved pulling in Moses and the burning bush.

Other sermons I liked:

(Here’s the list of people I usually listen to. Am I missing someone?)

Priest Arnold reframed burning and changing: If you run the race that is set before you, your legs will burn and your lungs will burn, but you will cross the finish line. If you allow his love into your life, it will change you, and the transformation might be painful for a while.

Priest Witt considers Jesus and stress.

Priest Lightcap considers Jesus’s audience and how this passage ought to set our hair on fire.

If nothing else I’ve loved the imagery in sermons this week.

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Fire and Light, Proper 15 at Alumni Camp 8-18-13

The readings can be found here.  I worked with Luke 12:24-56.

Jesus talks about the fire he came to kindle.  I (briefly) ruminate on the light we are.


Categories: Camp, Sermon | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Praying My Future

I started seminary the fall after I graduated college.  I moved across the country and, as it happened, away from a Church situation that was…unhealthy…for me.  It had been difficult for more than a year before I left.  I felt I had little community at my Church; I was not being fed spiritually. I even thought about switching denominations.  I couldn’t.  I wanted and needed a better community.  And I was about to move 2,000 miles away from the support I did have.

With no way to fix the situation I was in and no control over what would come, I prayed.  I started with no idea which seminary I would attend and no information about my future classmates.  Knowing that another unhealthy community would nearly kill my life in this Church I loved and wanted to serve, I prayed.  For my classmates, for how our community would be, for who we would be and become together.  For eighteen months,  I prayed my future, in blind faith that it might be true.

There was a moment where I knew.  Knew that seminary, along with all of its challenges, would be better, would feed me.  I kept praying–to remind God and myself.

One of the most frequent questions I hear (and I suspect most priests hear) is about the purpose and efficacy of prayer.  Do we pray to a God who listens?  A God who answers?  Why are there fewer miracles?  Why are so many prayers unanswered? Our  answers are tepid at best.  Of course God listens, wants to answer.  Miracles were likely natural cures in a time without scientific understanding.  ‘No’ is an answer.  We have to trust that God knows what we need better than we do.  Prayer is a meditative exercise meant to change us.  Worst of all: Miracles are knowledge of the presence of God.

I don’t know.  My prayers are often unanswered.  I have not witnessed a miracle, God’s intervening action in the world.  It often seems that I am praying into a void or as some sort of meditative exercise not communication with the God who calls me beloved.

But I also know that my seminary class was a healthy community where I was nurtured and healed.

For the past eighteen months I have been again been praying my future, from long the first moment I knew my time there was coming to an end.  I prayed for my Churches as I always had.  I also prayed for the Church that was calling me as their priest.  Long before I started searching, long before I had any idea where I would be looking, I prayed.

I prayed for their discernment, for my discernment, for the palpable movement of the Holy Spirit.  As I discerned with different Churches, I added prayers for them specifically.    As I kept looking, as the months stretched out, as I heard “not you,” as friends started to delightedly announce new positions and I had nothing to announce.  I prayed.

Now, after so many prayers:

I am delighted to announce that I have been called as the next rector of St Peter’s Anglican Church in Edmonton.

Categories: Church, My Life, Priest's Life, Theology | Tags: , , , , , , | 5 Comments

SR Crazy Thin Spaces and P12 7-28-13

Link: Crazy Thin Spaces, Senior Camp 2013

Summary of what I was saying and why:
The end of Senior High is always emotional. Camp is often a huge part of these kids’ lives and how they learn to be themselves. The priest who had been there for the week hadn’t left any lessons or instructions/requests for Saturday. So I think I took an unconscious note from Bishop Curry and preached on the craziest thing we can do.

Theology: Incarnational transformation
Jesus Count: low
Good News: We (can) carry our best selves into the world to transform the world.

What did I change on my feet?
The first reading that was read was not what I selected, so I had to do a bit of re-writing. (The other reading really didn’t work with this sermon.) Looking back I wish I’d interrupted and redirected the first reading.
What didn’t work/what did I miss?
I missed a line tying their crazy ideas into the crazy idea of carrying Camp into the world. Not essential but it would have helped tie things together better.
What did work?
The best part of the sermon was when parents started mentioning their crazy ideas. And it was just the right amount of interaction.

Other sermons I liked:

Priest Lightcap, who has been preaching about the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, is on Fear of The Lord. He takes a beautiful path to “And that reverence, that awe and wonder and astonishment and amazement –This is what we call the Fear of God.”

Priest Giroux wonders what Jesus might have said if he had kids.

Priest Baum tackles the hardest part of the Gospel and joins everyone in our lack of understanding.

Priest Arnold had one of the best sermons I’ve ever heard on prayer. Here’s a taste:
We must be careful about prayer, to build up a strong and resilient and deep understanding of prayer, because it is the key to our life as Christians. It is the lifeline that connects us to God, and so we must each be students and practitioners of the art of prayer.

Priest Pankey talks about the hard to read parts of the Bible. (Including some of my favorite stories about prophets!)

(Here’s the list of people I usually listen to. Am I missing someone?)

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Crazy Thin Spaces, Senior High 2013

I had the opportunity to preach at the closing Eucharist of Senior High Camp. The lessons were 2 Samuel 6:1-23 (David dancing) and Luke 4:14-30 (Jesus reading Isaiah in the synagogue). The first lesson read turned out to be from 2 Samuel 2–slight miss-communication there.

I invited the campers to carry out with them a bold and crazy life, to the work of wearing the world thin.


Categories: Camp, Sermon, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

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