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Sunday Homily - January 10, 2020 - A Fork in the Road

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The Baptism of Christ Icon The First Sunday after the Epiphany Genesis 1:1-5 Psalm 29 Acts 19:1-7 Mark 1:4-11 I. There is a vivid metaphor in literature  that is often used to describe   making a choice that invariably affects the rest of the story.    And that wonderfully vivid metaphor is the phrase:     "a fork in the road." "A fork in the road" simply refers to a road  that splits into two paths,   of which you must make a choice to follow only one of them.     If you have taken a casual drive through the small towns of eastern Arkansas     there are indeed many examples of these forks in the road.  The poet Robert Frost uses this metaphor of the "fork in the road"  in his poem "The Road Not Taken" :   Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,   And sorry I could not travel both   And be one traveler, long I stood   And looked down one as far as I could   To where it bent in the undergrowth;   Then took the other, as just as fair,   And having per

Sunday Homily - January 3, 2021 - Tragedy and Christmas

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The Holy Innocents Icon Jeremiah 31:7-14 Psalm 84 Ephesians 1:3-6,15-19a Matthew 2:13-23 I. Christmas  is a season! If you have heard me say this before,  and equally if you are tired of me saying it again,   its okay!    I'm okay being the broken record. But the fact of the matter is, friends,   that we are surrounded by a culture that only gets to think about Christmas   for 1 day a year!    And you know that this is the case when Walmart's Christmas merchandise     was a whopping 75% off last week,      not even 7 days after we celebrate! But Christmas as a season is also very important for us as Christians  because when we understand this incredibly important occasion   of God becoming incarnate in Jesus Christ Our Lord,    we, at least subconsciously,     allow ourselves to recognize      that there is more to Christmas than just the merry mood       or the jolly good times of opening presents        with some nice hot chocolate to drink. Christmas as a season  is pointing

Sunday Homily - December 6, 2020 - Hope in Repentance

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John the Forerunner Icon Second Sunday of Advent Isaiah 40:1-11 Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13 2 Peter 3:8-15a Mark 1:1-8 I. Hope.    Hope is such a hard thing to define or describe  unless you yourself have experienced it first hand.  And, for a lot of us,  hope is something that we actually cannot experience   unless we find ourselves in the darkest parts of our lives. It is difficult to describe hope to someone who has always had it good  and has never encountered any difficulty.   But for those whose every day,  every hour,   every minute,    every second is a struggle,     hope is as fundamental and as essential as breathing. Those who have been to the depths of despair  are truly the best teachers about hope.   If you were to travel to poor parts of the world,   such as going to the beautiful but poor region of Appalachia,   or who go to the invisible slums of rural America,    or even those who travel out of country to countries classified as "3rd world"     you will undoubtedly e

Sunday Homily - November 23, 2020 - The Feast of Christ the King

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Christ Pantocrator Icon The Feast of Christ the King Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24 Psalm 95:1-7a Ephesians 1:15-23 Matthew 25:31-46 I. It is the little things  that make the biggest difference.  And this isn't just a pithy saying:  it actually is a very important spiritual stance in the Christian tradition,   and one way of expressing what is referred to as    "the little way" of St. Therese of Lisieux. "The little way"  was discerned by St. Therese   during a particular time in Christian history    where St. Therese could sense almost palpably     the general fear that Christians had of the judgment of God.  In her own words,  St. Therese thought that Christians   lived in far too much fear of God and in the final judgment of their souls,    and that fear paralyzed them,     even in such a way that their everyday life was diminished.  Instead, St. Therese in her deep love and devotion to Jesus Christ  lived every day simply doing the little things.   The ordinary thi

Sunday Homily - November 15th, 2020 - Disrupting Routines

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The Parable of the Talents  stained glass  Twenty-Fourth Sunday after Pentecost Zephaniah 1:7,12-18 Psalm 90:1-12 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 Matthew 25:14-30 I. The fall season is indeed lengthening,  the leaves are blanketing the ground,   and the gentle decent of darkness and night    has begun to gently stretch and encroach upon     our daylight hours,      like it usually does during this season. This could be seen in the natural cycles of nature outside,  but it is usually more alarmingly put in our faces   by Daylight Saving Time    that arbitrarily messes with our established rhythms of the day. If I sound frustrated,  well, it is because one sort of person   that doesn't understand the time change very well    nor is happy to adjust their routine without first declaring their uncompromising disagreement     is the lovely one-year-old whose nap times are completely blown out of whack. And, therefore, the parents are also somewhat blown out of whack at the same time.  God bless

Sunday Homily - November 1, 2020 - What is a Saint?

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Synaxis of All the Saints Icon The Feast of All Saints Revelation 7:9-17 Psalm 34:1-10, 22 1 John 3:1-3 Matthew 5:1-12 I. What is it  that makes a saint   a saint? After all,  one of the biggest principle feasts in our Church calendar   is indeed today's celebration of All Saints Day.    Saints are really important,     and the recognition of them is a huge day in the life of the Church. But again,  what is it exactly   that makes a saint    a saint? Is a saint someone  who lives a particularly good life? I mean, one of the paragons of the virtuous life of charity  is none other than St. Teresa of Calcutta,   commonly known as "Mother Teresa."    Mother Teresa is almost synonymous with the care of the poor,     the deep self-sacrifice of herself on behalf of those who had no one else to care for them,      and an incredible example of the goodness manifested in a real saint's life. But is that all there is to it?  To live a virtuous life? Is a saint someone who the Ch

Sunday Homily - October 25, 2020 - Community in Christ Jesus

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St. Paul Icon The Twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost Leviticus 19:1-2,15-18 Psalm 1 1 Thessalonians 2:1-8 Matthew 22:34-46 I. There is a little book that my class in seminary was assigned to read  for one of our beginning classes as first year seminary students.   And it was a book called "Life Together"    by one of the most important Christian theologians of the 20th century:     Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Now, Bonhoeffer is a German Christian  who lived and wrote and eventually died   under the Nazi regime of Germany    during the hell on earth that was World War II. During this world-wide calamity of a war,  Bonhoeffer creates an underground community,   some might even call it an underground seminary,    in which Bonhoeffer and other young pastors in training     dedicate themselves to living in intentional Christian community. The book my class read our first year in seminary,  "Life Together"   is what Bonhoeffer writes about the experience of intentional Christia