Posts Tagged With: prayer

We Pray for Freedom, Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

Prayer guided by the Holy Spirit leads us to bring freedom and justice to our world.This year I got to offer a homily at the Westmount Christian Council’s, our local ecumenical group, service for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.
The texts were Exodus 15:1-21, Psalm 118, Romans 8:12-27, Mark 5:21-43.  I read Exodus and my sermon went somewhere I wasn’t expecting.


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Welcome in the midst of pain and struggle, June 2017

Join me in being a place where you can come in pain and struggling and find welcome and supportMorsels & Stories: I talked about the Church calendar, the primacy of Sundays and transferring feasts.  This was anticipating our patronal feast celebration next week.

Sermon: Jesus offers a task list today, “Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons.”  How do we respond to those charges when we can’t do them?

The lessons can be found by clicking here.  I worked most closely with Matthew 9:35-10-8.



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Prayerful Giving, Proper 11 June 7 2015

Robyns SermonsI’ve started doing short education bit before the sermon called Morsels and Stories which is also recorded.  This week’s was on the Baptismal Covenant.

This morning Samuel lists all of the things a king would take.  What does it mean when God asks us to give a similar list?


The lessons can be found by clicking here.  I worked most closely with 1 Sam 8:4–11, (12–15), 16–20, (11:14–15).



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God who is….., Christmas 2

Robyns SermonsIt’s been a rough week for Edmonton.  We had the largest mass murder in our history.  Who is God, who do we need God to be in the midst of this?


The lessons can be found by clicking here.  I worked with John 1:1-18 and the news story I link to above.



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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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SR: Hannah and the courage of asking for what we want

Link: Proper 28, 11-18-12

Summary of what I was saying and why:
I’m constantly drawn to the assertiveness of Hannah, with Eli but also with God. Part of not being given a spirit of timidity is learning how to identify and ask for “those good things which we dare not, or in our blindness cannot” ask.

Theology: our relationship with God and our world
Jesus Count: low
Good News: we are called to be active assertive pursuant s of the Kingdom of God.
What did I change on my feet?
As usual, the end.
What didn’t work/what did I miss?
I wish I’d had the collect more firmly in my mind. I don’t know if I missed it or just omitted it, but I had Psalm 37:4 (delight in The Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart) in my mind as I was initially working on this. I wonder if I should made that connection.

What did work?
Honestly, with the CCAB meetings this week, I’m still delighted I had a sermon to preach.

Other sermons I liked:

The Rev Richardson
A fabulous tying together of the the passage, current events, and what’s going on in the community.

The Rev Condon
Destruction, Creation, and Stewardship. Also I’m a sucker for a sermon about trees.

The Rev Pankey
Living with Birthpangs

(Don’t see your sermon or a sermon you liked? Maybe I don’t know about it. Leave me a comment with a link and I’ll take a look.)

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Peace, People, and Prayer

Part of what I inherited when I came to the Church I serve was a labyrinth with a Peace Pole in the middle. Due to a variety of reasons, we now worship in a space not near them. So I found out via email that our pole had recently been vandalized. The four sides of our pole have “May Peace Prevail on Earth” written in English, Hebrew, Arabic, and Cherokee. The Hebrew, English, and Arabic sides had been damaged and the pole pulled out of the ground.

Our Vestry had decided that if the damage was great, we would temporarily move the Pole to a storage location. Transportation is my job.

As my day fell out, I wound up making this visit shortly after receiving a call from a vestry member very concerned about restoring the Peace Pole in the aftermath of the riots in Egypt and the murders in Libya.

20120912-165551.jpgStanding there, looking at the destruction of a symbol of peace, aware of death and destruction half a world away, remembering the passion of my vestry member, I thought of former Bishop of New York’s comment about the Cathedral remaining unfinished until the work of Christ is finished.

All of the sides were still readable, so for today, for this week, I left the pole in place.

We are not going to leave it there forever, with its message of peace damaged. Our discussion will be ongoing as we discern our best decision. Our work is left undone.

Our work is left undone. May we not be doing the work of peace, justice, and listening.

Grant, O God, that your holy and life-giving Spirit may so move every human heart, that barriers which divide us may crumble, suspicions disappear, and hatreds cease; that our divisions being healed, we may live in justice and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. AMEN
(Book of Common Prayer, pg 823)

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Understanding Incarnation

I was as unprepared as any of us ever are; I was as prepared as all of us are. A seminarian doing CPE, serving the sick, the dying, the struggling.

In CPE, sometimes you stumble across people who needs you and sometimes someone (usually a nurse) will page you for a patient. I don’t remember how I wound up sitting up with one woman. But I remember her.

I remember her story and her tears. I remember the depth of her insanely tragic grief. Of the loss so huge it consumed both of us.
And so I sat there with this woman, held her hand, prayed with her, and prayed silently for the words I needed, she needed. I sat, I listened, I prayed.

I don’t know if my faith, my presence helped her, but I know that her grief, her impossible, tragic grief leached into my life. When I hear similar stories, I remember her, I remember that grief, and I still mourn. I mourn, for her and for all  loss like hers. For all grief too big for words.

And I remember.  I remember the nurse’s note that she left the Hospital happy. I remember the words that did come, informed by study but inspired by the Holy Spirit, when I was asked how God fit into all of this.

“I find it comforting that the God who sits in Heaven walked on this earth as Jesus and had dusty feet, stubbed toes, and knew suffering.   And that the Jesus who walked on this earth sits in Heaven.”

It was the first time that I had been asked to express complex theology on the spot, for someone who needed An Answer, not a conversation or a “let’s have coffee later and talk.”  It was one of the first times I saw, raw and up close, that theology matters.  Understanding Jesus’ relationship to us, suffering, and God made a difference.

That answer, my answer, might not be The Answer, your answer.  It isn’t perfectly parsed out with every term defined for theologians; it doesn’t address the how of the mystery.  But for me, and I pray for the woman I was talking to, it brought theology into the grief, made God explicitly present in that room with us.

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