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The Great Vigil of Easter Homily - April 3, 2021 - Christ Our Passover Lamb is Risen!

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The Great Vigil of Easter Exodus 14:10-31; 15:20-21 Ezekiel 37:1-14 Romans 6:3-11 Psalm 114 Mark 16:1-8 I. Alleluia!  Christ Our Passover Lamb   is risen from the dead! And we,   along with Mary the mother of James,   and Mary Magdalene,    and Salome     have no idea what to do! Can you blame them, though? Remember,  all of these women were there at the crucifixion.   They SAW what happened to Jesus,    they have been through the sorrow of the Holy Cross     and they have come to adorn and anoint the body of Jesus      for his final burial. They are walking together,  not at all thinking in their wildest dreams   that they would be looking into an empty tomb,    stone rolled away,     and an angel,      who very nonchalantly says,       "Hey, don't be alarmed,        Jesus is raised,         and He's going ahead of you to Galilee,          just like usual.           Go and tell the disciples to meet him there!" Can you imagine going to someone's funeral,  only to

Good Friday Homily - April 2, 2021 - Christ Our Passover Lamb is Sacrificed for Us

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Good Friday Isaiah 52:13-53:12 Psalm 22 Hebrews 10:16-25 John 18:1-19:42 I. Christ Our Passover  has been sacrificed   for us.  Jesus Christ the innocent in place of the guilty,  offers himself and ascends the cross   to face the final powers of evil    that our frail humanity had been subject to     for all of time:      the powers of sin and death.  The Gospel of John  of all of the Gospels in the Bible   makes this truth clear and apparent.  When the mob comes to Gethsemane,  the very words of Christ   echoes of the power of the revealed name of God to Moses    "I AM THAT I AM,"     resound once again in Jesus's exchange with the soldiers: "Whom are you looking for?"   They answered, "Jesus of Nazareth."    Jesus replied, "I AM he."    With such force the Holy Name leaves the Son of God's mouth      that even those who had come to arrest him       fall to the ground.  And yet, even though Christ the Son of God  makes apparent his powe

Maundy Thursday Homily - April 1, 2021 - Christ our Passover Lamb is Given for Us

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Maundy Thursday Exodus 12:1-14 Psalm 116:1, 10-17 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 John 13:1-35 I. Jesus, our Passover Lamb,  has given Himself    for us. By His servanthood,  by his betrayal into the hands of his slaughterers,   and by the giving of His very Body and Blood      to write a New Covenant      in the name of Jesus Christ,      our Spotless Lamb. For Jesus,  very God of very God,   to take a towel around his waist    and to wash the feet of his own disciples     was something that not even the disciples understood       at the time when Christ did it.  Instead, Jesus then takes his seat at the Table  and tells them plainly:   "If I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet,    you ought also to wash one another's feet.     I have set you an example,      that you should do as I have done." Servanthood is not just a nice idea:  it is the revealed way of God Himself,   shown most fully in the very revelation of God Made Man,    our Spotless Lamb, Jesus Christ. And se

Palm Sunday Homily - March 28, 2021 - The Cross through the Killer's Eyes

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Palm Sunday Isaiah 50:4-9a Psalm 31:9-16 Philippians 2:5-11 Mark 15:1-47 I. When you look at the cross,  what do you see? Do you see a religious symbol,  a wooden or brass engraved adornment   that shows up in church sometimes,    or that might be visible on the church sign outside? Do you see the millions of dollars of silver or gold crosses  that dot the jewelry isles in places as generic as Walmart or Target   that you can pick up for pennies on the dollar? When you look at the cross,  what do you see? Do you imagine an empty cross,  with Jesus not on it? A bare cross,  that bears no body on it,   that has no sting in it,    and that shields yourself from having to contemplate     the suffering that the Only Begotten Son of God      freely chose on behalf of the whole human race? Are you tempted to skip over the more brutish parts of the scene,  choosing to insulate and isolate the heaviness of the cross   by cold analytic of the text of St. Mark,    the safely distant observing of

Sunday Homily - March 21, 2021 - What Do You Want?

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Christ the High Priest Icon Lent V Jeremiah 31:31-34 Psalm 51:1-13 Hebrews 5:5-10 John 12:20-33 I. It's lunchtime,  you are hungry,   and you are trying to figure out how to solve this problem. How many of you have you ever had the following conversation with someone: "Where do you want to go to eat?"  "I don't know, what do you want?" Now, depending on how diverse you are in your food pallet,  this question is either quite exciting   or the source of deep dread.  There are some in the world who are up for anything:  they like a lot of things,   and they could in fact want any number of food options. But there are also some in the world  who have no clue what they want!   Even the thought of having to entertain options for eating    is the source of stress, uncertainty, and confusion.     "I don't know what I want! YOU pick some place!" But, something that is common in both circumstances  is that both people have to come to a clarity   about wh

Sunday Homily - March 14, 2021 - The Serpent in Our Midst

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The Fourth Sunday in Lent Numbers 21:4-9 Psalm 107:1-3, 17-22 Ephesians 2:1-10 John 3:14-21 I. My family has lived around this part of Arkansas  for almost half a century now,   having moved to Vilonia in the early 1980s. My mom and dad lived for a few years  in an A-frame house   just a little down south of Vilonia,    truly out in the country. My dad, being the hands-on type of handyman  worked on our family vehicles,   and instead of a fancy lift or a floor jack,    he had poured a concrete slab     that had a stair-step compartment      allowing him to simply pull the vehicle he was working on       over the top of that hole-like compartment        and work on them without having to lift the car.  Even though this little compartment was cramped,  and you had basically the distance of the car to the ground breathing space,   It was a pretty neat setup conceptually. One day,   he was working on changing the oil in a little Chevy Sprint,   a little 80s model hatchback car,    and he h

Sunday Homily - February 7, 2021 - Evangelism is Teamwork

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St. Peter and St. Paul Icon I. For the majority of my life thus far,  I've been very fortunate to play sports   with some very good teams. As a middle schooler,  I started training in Traditional Taekwondo,   and I ended up going with my school     to compete at tournaments around the state of Arkansas.      In junior high and high school,  I was extremely fortunate to play on a football team   that had winning records every year I played. In college,  our rugby team made the national tournament in 2014   and ended our season ranked #7 in the nation    in National Small College Rugby. But the thing I remember most vividly about all of it  is not really the games,   or the practices,    or even our biggest accomplishments.     The most vivid thing I know and remember      were the names and faces of my teammates. Because we were a team.  I was one of them,   and they are one of us.  To feel the cohesion and togetherness  brought on by a mutual goal   that we put our blood, sweat, an

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