Showing posts from 2013

Tragic Bemusement

He is so young,
And death is such an abstract,
Yet terrifying concept
And he wonders why we "no come back" like Jesus

He suggests moving
To "make room"for more people
As a means of escaping death
And achieving immortality

Concerns over a beloved Uncle's
Exercise habits
As he explores the reality
Of three dead grandparents

He is a boy who wept last week
Out of fear
That God, the immortal,
May have been bitten by a meat eating dinosaur.

Such concern.
And my heart breaks
That his will one day be broken
And I pray that it is when we are all

Very, very, very, very

(Yesterday I officiated at a funeral in which the 60-something "baby boy" of the deceased could not speak for weeping…and it was then I bit my lip to hold back tears)

A Sermon for All Saints (and a bit of a homage to Lesbia Scott...the unfortunately named author of my next door neighbor's favorite hymn)

All Saints Year C, November 3, 2013
I am well aware of the stately elegance and grace--the amazing harmony and hymnody which we are privileged to enjoy as we worship God in this place today.  
When I spoke last week with the organist/choirmaster of a church I served in Ohio, I told him about the music that the choir was working on for today.  His response,
“Durufle, they must be good”.  
The choir’s diligence and dedication aptly demonstrates to me the amazing effort that goes into creating worship meant to glorify God.  The music, in its beauty, serves as a reminder of the gifts that God has given and the interwoven voices an effective symbol of how the many parts of the body become one for a greater purpose.  The body of Christ.  And, one of the greatest joys I experience celebrating with all of you is the opportunity to blend my voice with those surrounding me and in that blending finding a whole that feels wrought through with beauty.  
The blending of voices in music is sort of like t…

Coming Out Day

It's funny, really--I think I may have reached a point where I take being out for granted.  I came out at 15/16ish (you know, extroverts!) and have spent the last 20 years of my life in varying stages of peace and anxiety around various aspects of my identity.  But, the last few years have been ones of peace and it is from within that peace that I managed to completely forget about National Coming Out Day (October 11th).

But, it's an important opportunity to remember that there are far too many folks in this world who will never have the opportunity to be at peace within their selves, their families and their communities.  That many, many, many folks are still cast out, shamed, ridiculed, excluded, denigrated and killed, on account of their gender or sexual identity.

So, today, the day after...

I pray for the hurting, the broken, the shamed and scorned.  The folks for whom the act of coming out becomes an act of martyrdom.  I pray for those who give witness to a life lived op…

Saying "Yes": A Sermon for Francis the Fool

Sometimes I feel like church is a place full of "no" and "stop".
No, you can't put the kneeler down Stop talking please You need to sit still No, you can't go to coffee hour until church is over Stop playing under the tree, it's time for church Stop squirming Sit still Stand up Sit down Shhh, I will tell you later 
And today,  Shhh, no bark!!  
Now, I totally get why the “nos” are there (whenever I sit with my family I’m pretty much like a non-stop no machine!)  and respect for sacred space, silence and the needs of the gathered community are to be observed (when possible!)  
But, I can't help but wonder how St. Francis would have felt about this litany of no and stop and shhh.
And, for this I am thankful for days like today, where the answer can be yes, yes to noise, and confusion, yes to joyful exclamation!  Yes, you can bring your fish to church!  Yes, your lovey can leave the house today!  Stand up and look!  Sing as loud as you can!  
The saint who sang the su…

Proper 18C, "Fearfully and Wonderfully Made"

Readings, as always, can be found here
In Which Politics Become Personal and the Scripture Even More So
You are fearfully and wonderfully made.
You are fearfully and wonderfully made.
You are fearfully and wonderfully made.
What would it be like to stand in front of mirror and say these words,
“I am fearfully and wonderfully made”
To stand in the face of those we love and say you, you, you
Are fearfully and wonderfully made.
To look upon those we hate or despise,
And say,
You, you are fearfully and wonderfully made.
As you are, knit together in wholeness, formed with intention.
With cause and with the potential to be transformed again, and again.  
“The vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter's hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as seemed good to him.”
Who you are now, is not who you will be.  Who you have been is not who you are.  Fearfully and wonderfully made.
Do you believe this truth?  Are you able to wonder in awe at who you are and who you may become?  
This is not…

Proper 16C--the Same Goal

"The Halacha is that we violate Shabbat to save any human life; that's the Halacha, that's the practice, that's what we do."

Proper 16C, 2013 The propers (readings from scripture appointed for today) can be found here
The Same Goal
My first call following seminary was as the chaplain at a level 1 pediatric trauma center.  It was, and is, the most prestigious children’s hospital in Northeast Ohio and people from all over the world would arrive seeking care for their children.  I had the opportunity to work with people of all faiths--all of whom were centered on, and praying for the same thing, the healing and comfort of their children.  
Because of my experience at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital, I have developed an uncomfortable relationship with the healing narratives in scripture--and whenever I read or hear one of these stories I can’t help but remember the broken hearted young mother who hurled a Bible at the resident--adamant that if Jesus could heal in s…

Last Week, Whoredom--This Week, Hoarding: A Sermon on Proper 13C

The scripture for today can be found here (click the link if you want to read the scripture before the sermon ;)
Years ago as I thumbed through a catalogue, I laughed at a t-shirt with a cartoon graphic of a woman standing in the center of giant piles of belonging.  Her arms were spread asunder and she was proclaiming boldly, “I’d like more things, please”.   This is not a specific request or petition--rather it is a general desire to be surrounded, to be filled up, to be fulfilled by an ever growing, never ending, infinite longing for stuff. And I get it, I get the desire to be able to purchase or acquire more and more and more.  Whether we call it retail therapy, a shopping spree, or merely “running errands” (you know, those times when you run into Target for something and somehow emerge with 90 dollars worth of stuff you didn’t know you “needed”)--it is easy to justify and engage in this sort of compulsive acquisition of things. In fact, not only are we given constant opportunities to …