Author Archives: js2432

How I Learned to Love Jesus (Through His Vagina)

In 2013, I saw an image as part of an exhibit at the Morgan Library:

Fifth Wound

1) Christ’s wound. 2) Christ as Man of Sorrows. Pierpont Morgan Library. MS M.90, fol. 130r. From France, perhaps Verdun and Paris, ca. 1375. Image Courtesy of the Pierpont Morgan Library.

At Union Theological Seminary, I wrote a thesis about it.

And then St. Lydia’s invited me to preach about it, as part of This Is My Body: A Sermon Series on Faith, Sexuality, and Identity.

Here’s a video of the sermon I preached on Sunday night, October 11:

The text is John 19:31-40. Transcript (sort of) below!

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Bread Remembering

All Saints’ Church / August 2, 2015

Proper 13 / Year B

Exodus 16:2-4, 9-15 / Psalm 78:23-29 / Ephesians 4:1-16 / John 6:24-35

A couple months ago, I was in Colorado for a friend’s wedding, and I was staying in a shared cabin. I had gotten there pretty late at night, and as the single friend, I was sleeping on the pull out couch in the living room. Around 2am, when I couldn’t sleep, I tiptoed into the kitchen and went into the fridge. Continue reading

Did They Kill Her Too? Sandra Bland and How We Believe

All Saints’ Church / July 26, 2015

Proper 12 / Year B

2 Kings 4:42-44 / Psalm 145: 10-19 / Ephesians 3:14-21 / John 6:1-21

I stood here two weeks ago and preached a sermon about John the Baptist being beheaded. And now, on this day when we get to talk about the loaves and the fishes, there is just one thread that I want to pick up from my sermon a couple weeks ago.

But first let me just say, it is totally okay if you were not here two weeks ago. I’ll fill you in on what you missed. And if you were here, please excuse my brief recap:

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Kid Logic & the Beheading of John the Baptist

All Saints’ Church

July 12, 2015

Proper 10 / Year B

Amos 7:7-15 / Psalm 85:8-13 / Ephesians 1:3-14 / Mark 6:14-29

I was leading a retreat for St. Lydia’s this weekend–the church where I work the other half of my time. And the centerpiece of the whole retreat was the Road to Emmaus story, from the Gospel of Luke.

It’s just after Jesus has died, and the disciples are walking along the road. Jesus is there, too, but they don’t recognize him until he breaks bread and gives it to them. It’s a beautiful story about knowing and remembering and resurrection and eating bread and how Jesus loves us. The kind of story that makes you feel really good about the bible and church.

So I had to leave the retreat a little bit early to come here and I told everyone, sorry: I have to go preach about a beheading.

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Being In-Between

All Saints’ Church

June 14, 2015

Proper 6 / Year B

Ezekiel 17:22-24 / Psalm 92:1-4, 11-14 / 2 Corinthians 5:6-10, (11-13), 14-17 / Mark 4:26-34

Keep, O Lord, your household the Church in your steadfast faith and love, that through your grace we may proclaim your truth with boldness, and minister your justice with compassion. Amen.

When I was in seminary, I supported myself by babysitting for two adorable, and also opinionated, little girls who were about 10 and 6. Once, the 6 year old asked me how old I was, and I did that thing that you should probably never do with children, which was to respond, “how old do you think I am?”

“Um, 50?” she said. This is why you should never open these kinds of questions up to children.

“No!,” I said. “I’m 29.”

To which the 10 year old piped in, “You’re 29?!?! When are you gonna get a career?”

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All Shall Be Well

All Saints’ Church

May 31, 2015

Trinity Sunday

Isaiah 6:1-8
Psalm 29 or Canticle 2 or 13
Romans 8:12-17
John 3:1-17

In the name of One God, a holy & undivided trinity. Amen.

Way back in the 1300s in England, there was a Christian mystic who we call Julian of Norwich. She was what we call an anchoress–which basically means she stayed in her room all day and wrote about God. In 1395, she wrote a book called Revelations of Divine Love, and it is the first book in the English language known to have been written by a woman. 1395! In it, she wrote about the Trinity. She said:

The almighty truth of the Trinity is our Father, for he made us and keeps us in him. And the deep wisdom of the Trinity is our Mother, in whom we are enclosed. And the high goodness of the Trinity is our Lord, and in him we are enclosed and he in us. We are enclosed in the Father, and we are enclosed in the Son, and we are enclosed in the Holy Spirit. And the Father is enclosed in us, the Son is enclosed in us, and the Holy Spirit is enclosed in us, almighty, all wisdom and all goodness, one God, one Lord.

A little while ago, I did an exercise with the youth group here at All Saints’. I asked them: what does God look like?

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Beloved, Let Us Love One Another (aka The Ethiopian Eunuch)

5th Sunday of Easter, Year B

Acts 8:26-40
Psalm 22:24-30
1 John 4:7-21
John 15:1-8

All Saints’ Church

May 3, 2015

John said “Beloved, let us love one another.” In the name of one God, who is love. AMEN

I was sitting around a table with a few friends after dinner back in November when we heard the decision that there would be no charges against the police officer who killed Michael Brown.

One friend broke our angry silence and said: “Well, what can we do about it?”

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Get Behind Me, Witch! On God & Name-calling

Lent 2 / March 1, 2015 / Year B

Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16 / Psalm 22:22-30 / Romans 4:13-25 / Mark 8:31-38

Preached: March 1, 2015, All Saints’ Church, Park Slope, Brooklyn, NY

This morning, we’ve just heard two stories about name-calling. In the Old Testament, God appears to an old married couple–Abram is 99 years old–God appears with words of encouragement and promises new life. God says, “Walk before me”–as if pushing them into the future with comforting hands. God makes a covenant, a promise, to them, that they will have many powerful children, even though they haven’t been able to have any children yet and they’re very old. It is an outrageous promise to make to these 90 year-olds! But God does it.

And that isn’t all God does. God also gives them new names. God says to the man, you will no longer be Abram, but Abraham. Sarai will no longer be Sarai, but Sarah. They want children desperately and deeply. It is outrageous and unexpected that God is promising them children now, and that it comes along with these new names–kinda weird names. You can imagine Abram & Sarai saying “Ok??? Like, I just got a lot of stationery with Abram printed on it??? But ok, God, I’ll try out Abraham.”

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Jesus: The College Years

Epiphany 4 / February 1, 2015 / Year B

Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16 / Psalm 22:22-30 / Romans 4:13-25 / Mark 8:31-38

Preached: February 1, 2015, All Saints’ Church, Park Slope, Brooklyn, NY

In 2010, when I was 24, I went on a pilgrimage to The Holy Land. At the time, I was working as an executive assistant at a TV network–a very entry level job with long hours and little vacation and low pay. I didn’t really have much money or time to spare, but the church that I grew up going to (St. David’s in Radnor, Pennsylvania) was organizing this trip–a tour of all the big cities and sights in Israel-Palestine–and something tugged at me to figure out how to make it work to go on this trip.

It didn’t really make any sense, to go on a pilgrimage to The Holy Land, at ths point in my life. I had never really wanted to go there before. The place seemed very far away to me, very foreign. It seemed, perhaps, better left unknown. And I didn’t really think of myself as someone who would do this–go on a “pilgrimage.” I knew–still know–that the politics are very complicated in Israel/Palestine, and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be a tourist there. But after living for 6 years in New York City, as I held the brochure for this pilgrimage in my hands, wondering how my old church had found my new address in lonely Manhattan, I felt compelled to go, like a hand pushing gently at my back. A voice saying, “Go on this trip; go with your people.”

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A 4-Watt Bulb at Christmas

Christmas 1 / December 28, 2014 / Year B

Isaiah 61:10-62:3 / Psalm 147 / John 1:1-18

Preached: December 28, 2014, All Saints’ Church, Park Slope, Brooklyn, NY

(This sermon was inspired by a sermon written by my mother about this same nativity scene. I’ve re-contextualized here for the All Saints’ congregation.)

Merry Christmas!

I guess it’s a little bit like saying, I love chocolate, or I love summer, but I do love Christmas. And I especially love the part of Christmas that comes after Christmas Day. These 12 days of Christmas, when the city slows down, and we get to travel and see our families, and play around with our presents. And I love the decorations, the poinsettias, the trees with their humming electric lights, and the nativity scenes.

I really love the nativity scenes. Probably more than anything else, these mean Christmas to me. This has got a lot to do with my house growing up and my mother’s huge collection of nativity scenes. We’d get down the boxes at the beginning of every Advent and I’d carefully help her unwrap piece after piece of seemingly endless creche pieces. I love this weird little nativity family and all the different representations of it: an unmarried woman, a sweet young man, a brand new baby, shepherds, and kings, and hay-chewing animals, all in their dirty stable-house. And always, somehow, miraculously, God is in there. God chooses that dirty, smelly manger, every time.

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