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Showing posts from April, 2015

Small Boat, Big Sea, Easter 4B

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15, Easter 4B, Readings hereJesus With Skin OnMany years ago now, as a youth outreach worker in inner-city Cleveland, I coordinated programming for the children who attended the community hot meal we offered at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church.  St. Luke’s sits in the midst of a poverty stricken neighborhood known for drug trafficking and you could watch teens and young adults slowly wheeling their bikes up and down the streets as cars pulled close and transactions occurred.  Yelling and car horns, deep bass reverberating, and the ding of gas pumps at the “convenience” on the corner--the gas station that served as the only grocery store within walking distance of the church and its neighborhood. The children who came to us, usually came alone.  Big siblings with littles in tow, eager for a hot meal and ready to participate in the crafts, story times and open gym we made available.  But, mostly they came for the safe space to play and the grown ups who would listen carefully and earnestly t…

Seek Ye First, An Easter Sermon

Easter B, 2015Seek Ye First
Her hair is shockingly pink and her nose pierced.  She pulls the mop bucket behind her.  Some mess or another.  The coffee to be poured, the tables to be wiped.  Laughing and smiling at the customers, she knows the regulars.  
And, as she passes the coffee shop counter where I type my Easter sermon, I look up.  
And, notice,
the tattoo on her arm.  
Seek ye first.  
Matthew, 6:33.  “Strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
You may know the hymn.
Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his rightousness, and all these things will be added unto you.  Allelu, Alleluia!  
And, so seeking, I turn back to the text and to Mary Magdalene.    
She went to the garden.  Early on the first day of the week.  She went to the garden and saw that the stone had been removed.  She went to the garden.
Seeking.
They have taken away my Lord and I do not know where they have laid him.  
And, thus, forsaken.  
She is drawn ever…

An Easter Vigil Sermon, It Takes Place in a Garden

Easter Vigil 2015
The story begins in the garden.  
With creation.  
And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east; and there he put the man whom he had formed.  (Gn 2:8)
And, there the tree of life.  The tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  There the origins, the birthing of all creation in bird song, and grasses, in peace and companionship.  
There the calm and the introduction of our longing.  
Our yearning.
For the garden and a return to God’s vision of creation.  
For, the garden is guarded by an angel and there seems to be no way of returning.  
And, yet, we hold onto the vision. It has become our vision of possibility--born of the knowing that we are capable of such peace and such love.
And, so we try once again, to return to the garden.  
Gethsemane, where Jesus prays and the disciples sleep.
Gethsemane, where a sword is drawn and then sheathed.  
I did not lose a single one of those whom you gave me (Jn 18:9)
And, none were lost, but the One.  And, in his loss we are found.  
S…

The Friday We Call Good

Last Sunday, we sang the hymn “Were you there when they crucified my Lord?”
Were you there when they crucified my Lord? (Were you there?)
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
O! Sometimes it causes me to tremble! tremble! tremble!
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
And, the hymn continues, detailing the torture undergone by Christ--the nailing and the piercing of the body--and culminating with the idea that Jesus’ death moved all of creation-- ”were you there when the sun refused to shine”.
Tonight, in our liturgy, we are reminded that the answer to the question poised in this Spiritual, composed by African American Slaves in the 19th century, is “yes”.
“Yes” we were there, “Yes we witnessed the flogging and the nailing, the scourging and the taunting”.  “Yes” we were there, we denied Christ and we stood by Christ.  “Yes” we were there, we wept at the cross and held the wine to his lips.  “Yes, we were there when they crucifed my Lord”. 
In participating in this liturgy, b…