Showing posts from March, 2020

Sunday Homily - March 29, 2020 - "If God is good, why do people suffer?"

The Raising of Lazarus Icon Lent V Ezekiel 37:1-14 Psalm 130 Romans 8:6-11 John 11:1-45 I. "If there is a God,  Why do terrible, tragic things happen in the world?" Have you heard this question before?  If not, have you at least considered this question at some point in your life? It is the classic question  in what theologians and philosophers call   "The Problem of Evil." And this problem is as old as time itself,  answered in many different ways   with many different approaches in thought    from people with hugely diverse cultures     all trying to get an answer to this same question:      "If God is good, why is there evil in the world? If God is good and loving,  why do I see so much suffering in the world? If God loves each one of us,  why do people suffer from tornadoes ripping their homes and communities to pieces,   such as the tornadoes that went through Jonesboro, Arkansas last night? If God is so good, wh

Sunday Homily - March 22, 2020 - Walking Through the Shadow of Death

Christ the Good Shepherd  Icon Lent IV 1 Samuel 16:1-13 Psalm 23 Ephesians 5:8-14 John 9:1-41 I. "The Lord is my shepherd,  I shall not be in want."   [Psalm 23:1] Psalm 23 is a Psalm that Christians for millennia  have prayed in response to any number of occasions. It is probably the most recognizable Psalm in the entire hymn book,  because, remember, the Psalms are the hymn book of the Bible. Often when we think of Psalm 23,  we cannot get away from that first line:   "The Lord is my shepherd." This has inspired many a wonderful painting,  with Jesus Christ being our shepherd,   and looking after the sheep in a serene field.    Jesus's clothes are often portrayed as clean,     the sheep he keeps are white and fluffy. As much as this serene imagery has meant a lot to me over the years,  Psalm 23 also has a much deeper, harder, more tragic setting. It is one of the Psalms that many priests, myself included,  have sai

Sunday Homily - March 15th, 2020 - Spiritual Disease and the Cure

Jesus and the Samaritan Woman at the Well Icon Third Sunday of Lent: Exodus 17:1-7 Psalm 95 Romans 5:1-11 John 4:5-42 Isolation.   Separation.    Distance. No, I'm actually not talking about the coronavirus  or the recommendations from the CDC.  I'm talking about a much more widespread  and perhaps much more contagious disease   than any pandemic present within the U.S. at the moment.     And this disease has been growing rapidly in the recent years. That disease is called "despair,"  a feeling of hopelessness,   something that makes us believe that no one cares for us,    and a close and sinister companion of loneliness. Despair rears its head in subtle and deadly ways.  It can manifest in the belief that no one and nothing cares for you.  Not even your family.   Not even God.  It can also practically cut you off from others.   If you are caught in the net of despair,   it can seem like nothing i

Sunday Homily - March 8, 2020 - On the Wrong Trail

God's Promise to Abraham  (illustrated) I. Spring and fall are some of my favorite times of the year,  even if these seasons only last for a couple of days,   at least if you live in Arkansas. The weather is cool in the morning and a pleasant warm in the afternoon,  it is often windy and brisk,   and most importantly,    it is the perfect weather for hiking. If you hike a lot,  you will have noticed that on many state park trails   there will be markers for which trail you are currently on. For example, if you hike the base trail at Pinnacle Mountain state park,  which is about 1.5 miles,   you will see a pinkish paint that mark that particular trail    on the trees as you travel down the path. But some paths are easier to see than others.  Which is why you need to pay attention to the paint markings   more than I paid attention to them one time when out in the woods. When I was hiking at Pinnacle Mountain in Little Rock,  there is a branching path th