Acts 11:1-18 Psalm 148 Revelation 21:1-6 John 13:31-35
there is one thing today’s scripture readings have in common, it is
about God doing something NEW. “I give you a new commandment: love one
another.” “Look, I make all things new.” And then there’s Peter, who
clued in to the new thing God was doing after the third memo.
Jesus warned his disciples that God would be doing new things in the future, things they were not ready even to think about while he was yet with them. And, sure enough, it didn’t take long. One afternoon, while he was enjoying his siesta, God gave Peter a vision, which Peter interpreted as a test of his faithfulness to Jewish dietary laws. [A reproduction of Fran Sowton’s painting of Peter’s vision at Joppa is the featured image for this post.] When Peter came to realize that it was not a test, but a message, specifically a message that God was making the circle wider, and he needed Peter to be onside, he made the necessary adjustments, and embraced the new scope of the mission. In this instance, it was Peter’s own religious upbringing that got in God’s way—a phenomenon we will encounter repeatedly throughout Church history.
Continue reading Getting out of God’s Way (Homily for Easter 5)
Homily for Lent 4, March 31, 2019
Joshua 5:9-12 Psalm 32 2 Corinthians 5:16-21
Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32
There is no way to write a sermon and be oblivious to what is happening in the world around us. Two weeks ago, on the Ides of March, fifty people lost their lives in a shooting rampage at two New Zealand mosques. Millions turned out around the world to grieve the horrific loss of lives. This week, closer to home, a Muslim woman from Philadelphia was being sworn in as a new state representative in Pennsylvania, and at that legislative session another freshman representative, a Christian, was given the opportunity to offer an invocation. In her minute-and-48-second “prayer” she invoked the name of Jesus 13 times, in such an obviously targeted way that an offended member in the chamber actually shouted, “Objection!” It was probably foolish of me not to give up Facebook for Lent, since I then felt compelled to find her official FB page and leave a comment. Of course, that released the proverbial Kraken, and a swarm of people who identify as Christian were not going to be convinced that the God of Jews, Christians, and Muslims was, indeed the same God, or that there was anything inappropriate about a politician using the name of Jesus as a cudgel in a secular government setting.
Continue reading Living into Transformation
Homily for Lent 2 (St. Patrick’s Day)
Scripture Readings: Genesis 15:1-12,17-18 Psalm 27 Luke 13:31-35
by Michael Creal
The committee planning for Lent this
year chose “sustainability” as a Lenten theme. Sustainability is
a term that came into currency at a famous 1987 Conference on the
Environment and the economy held in Norway and presided over by the
Prime Minister of Norway Gro Harlem Brundland. She was a major leader
at that conference and she defined sustainability as “development
that meets the needs of the poor without compromising the ability of
future generations to meet their own needs.”
It was a conference filled with
optimism and promise, and what was called the Brundland Declaration
was hailed as the way forward because, it was hoped, the conflict
between environmental concerns and concerns about the economy could
actually be addressed creatively, without either concern being pushed
aside. Maurice Strong, a Canadian, also played a major role in that
Continue reading Homily for Second Sunday in Lent
The palms from last Palm Sunday will be burned today to make the ashes for tomorrow.
There will be two liturgies on Ash Wednesday, one in the customary Wednesday midweek Eucharist slot: 12:15 PM
The evening Ash Wednesday service will be held at 7:00 PM in
the CHAPEL (which is NOT wheel-chair accessible) and those coming will
be directed to enter by the EAST DOOR (north of the Cafe entrance).
Maurice Francois will be the presiding celebrant, Bill Whitla will offer
a reflection, and Sherman Hesselgrave will be the musician.
For Ian Sowton at 90
Some saints were farmers
like Serenus the gardener who shares your day, dear Ian.
They ploughed the land like billy-o
scattering the seed where fall it will
and harvesting the growth, if any,
in due season, tares and all.
And some moved kings and potentates,
Continue reading For Ian Sowton at 90
and prelates too, as did bird-preaching Frances,
pushing Sultans, Popes, and a priest or two
to grant his brothers space; their kingdoms peace;
their people just a crêche or two
to see the mystery unfold.