Showing posts from May, 2015

Because He Ascended, So Too May We Ascend

The Feast of the Ascension The readings can be found here
“St. Philip’s was built when people thought that the more stairs you had to climb, the close you’d get to God”.  We looked up from the sidewalk surrounding the old stone church, to the red doors cheerfully situated at the top of 20 some odd stone steps.  It was a warm autumn day, and I was getting a tour of one of the churches I would be serving as a youth outreach worker--the church which hosted the offices for the four yoked congregations we served.  
To get into the sanctuary at St. Philip’s you had three choices--all of which involved multiple stairs.  There was the aforementioned entrance on Denison Avenue, 20 steps up; then the entrance on West 33rd, maybe 6 steps; and then, if you came in through the parish offices, a long, dimly lit hallway, steps down to a gym, and a narrow flight up to the sanctuary.  
It was hard to get into St. Philip’s.  Up was the only way in. And, while the original architects may have imagined the p…

Where True Love Is

A Sermon for Easter 6B, 2015 Readings can be found here
This is the last Sunday before we observe the Ascension of Christ and, if we observe the lessons appointed by the Revised Common Lectionary, today’s Gospel can be heard as some of the last words the resurrected Jesus speak to his friends before ascending into heaven.  
This fascinates me, because the Gospel appointed for today is the Gospel of John 15:9-17--which is located approximately 5 chapters BEFORE the resurrection occurs in the Gospel of John. So, why does the lectionary offer us this passage during the season of Easter?  
In order to discuss the choice of this Gospel for this Sunday, I need to back up a bit to the Revised Common Lectionary.  The RCL was compiled in collaboration with an assortment of liturgically based denominations--including the Episcopal church--and was created based on an assortment of Protestant lectionaries, all of which originated from the three year cycle created in 1969 by the Roman Catholic Church.…

Abide With Me

Abide With Me
Propers (readings from the Revised Common Lectionary) can be found here
This sermon is about Baltimore.  This sermon is about Nepal.  This sermon is about love.  This sermon is about fear.  This sermon is about shame.  This sermon is about justice.  This sermon is about what you need it to be about, because this sermon is about us.  
And, this sermon is about us, because the scripture is about us.  This is our story, set in another context but applicable to our own.    
The setting of the scriptures, the cultural landscape in which early followers of the way lived was based on an economy of honor and shame.  One’s actions, one’s deeds, one’s relations, one’s economic dealings--success was measured by the measure of honor a person brought to the family and community.  To be shamed, was to shame your lineage.  And, in the religion of the Israelites, shame and religious observance were deeply intertwined.  
Bodily integrity, the circumstances of one’s birth, the actions of your …