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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

Sunday Homily - October 18, 2020 - Who Is Your God?

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Jesus the Son of God Icon The Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost Isaiah 45:1-7 Psalm 96:1-13 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10 Matthew 22:15-22 I. The easiest way that someone can get into trouble  is if they say the wrong thing about someone   who thinks they have power over them.  Not asking for a show of hands on this one,  but for those of you who were the kids in school   who thought you could get away with saying something disparaging about your teacher    and word of what you said reached the powers that be     resulting in that awkward parent-teacher conference,      you know what saying the wrong thing against someone in authority can result in.  For you who have served in military service,  for better or worse,   you know better than most folks    that it is a dangerous game to play to speak a word against your commanding officer,     no matter if that commanding officer's character is good or bad.  Authority can have an uneasy alliance with the truth.  But authority abused is even mo

Sunday Homily - September 27, 2020 - The Mind of Christ

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Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost Ezekiel 18:1-4,25-32 Psalm 25:1-8 Philippians 2:1-13 Matthew 21:23-32 I. "Sticks and stones may break my bones,  but your words will never hurt me." Anyone heard this little statement before? Whether it be the cartoon that I watched as a kid  or that one person on the playground in 3rd grade,   or even the transference of that idea into adulthood,    it is amazing how long that this phrase stuck with me personally. And, interestingly enough,  this phrase has a fascinating origin   if you dive a little deeper. A few sources,  such as the Cambridge Dictionary and Gary Martin's entry on the Phrase Finder,   the original saying is said to have appeared in The Christian Recorder,    with is an African Methodist Episcopal (AME) publication     in 1862,      but that entry in The Christian Recorder remarks that it is an "old adage"       suggesting an earlier origin.  [c.f. Martin, Gary. "The Phrase Finder". phrases.org.uk]

Sunday Homily - September 20, 2020 - "Is it right for you to be angry?"

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The Prophet Jonah Icon Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost Jonah 3:10-4:11 Psalm 145:1-8 Philippians 1:21-30 Matthew 20:1-16 I. Anger is an emotion  that is often difficult to manage. Have you ever had to coach your kids or grand-kids  how to manage their anger?   Or even better, have you seen a kid    who had a meltdown when they couldn't figure out     what to do with that temper rising inside of them?      I don't know about y'all,       but I've never had such a sympathetic connection        with the parents at Walmart who are on their last nerve         with a child who just isn't having it. Often, kids aren't mad about being just the fact of being in Walmart, right?  There are all kinds of other factors that lead them to that tantrum   that they aren't even aware of at the time. Missing nap time makes anyone cranky,  but for kids who need naps,   that can lead to some problems controlling anger! How about hunger?  We even have a word for this:    hangry!