Tag Archives: sermon

Leaving the Mountaintop

Epiphany Last, Year C

February 7, 2016

St. Thomas, Newark, DE

Good morning, St. Thomas! I am so thrilled to be here this morning, and I would like to thank Father Paul for lending me this pulpit. I guess the first thing to know about me is that Father Paul knew me when I was 14 years old — more than half my life ago — and still asked me to come preach to you all this morning, so he is a good and trusting man, and sees potential in teenagers who are  … I’ll say precocious.

I actually knew about St. Thomas before Father Paul even got here because my older cousin was a student at the University of Delaware. She is someone who would self-identify as “not into church,” but once she told my “very into church” mother that she would come to dinner here on Wednesday nights when she was feeling low and she would always leave feeling better. She said, “I’m still not a church person, Aunt Nancy, but I’m glad that it’s there.” So I have known for a long time that you are a very welcoming church and thank you for having me today.

Let’s talk about Moses. I am having so much fun picturing Moses this morning, trudging down that steep mountain lugging two tablets. And he doesn’t even know it, but the skin on his face is shining. It’s shining so intensely that it’s scaring his friends. And his face is shining this way because he had been talking with God.

I think we’re all familiar with the idea of having a “certain glow.” Sometimes you can tell if people are drinking enough water and taking care of themselves, because they have a bit of extra shine to them. “Oh, you’re positively glowing,” is something you maybe don’t hear as often as I’d like.

But have you ever, in all your days, been glowing this intensely?
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Hurling Off Cliffs: A Sermon for Wonderers

All Saints’ Church / January 31, 2016

Evening Prayer / 5pm

Proper 13 / Year B

Fourth Sunday after Epiphany / Year C

Luke 4:21-30

Good and gracious God, you eclipse our best words, and still we know that you are with us. May our thoughts and prayers and rumblings tonight be holy in your sight. Amen.

Tonight I am thinking about following Jesus–what it means to follow Jesus.

The beauty of this evening prayer service is that everyone is welcome here, to talk along if you wish, or simply to listen, to let words fall over your ears and bodies. To come together, a group who wouldn’t be together in any other context. To look at each other. To look into each other’s eyes and not have to come up with anything to say. We give it all to you in a little bulletin to follow along.

A chance to sit in silence. When do we do that at other times in our lives?

Anyone can do this with us, no matter what you think about who God is, or even if there is a God, and no matter what you think about Jesus.

But I want to talk about Jesus today, and what it means to follow him. Whether we are far along that journey with him, or at the very beginning, or perhaps walking on a parallel path, or maybe a path that is about to cross, or even a path that has already crossed.

What does it mean to follow Jesus? Continue reading

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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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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