Some of you may be a bit leery of an Advent homily entitled “Anger as Fuel for Hope.” Isn’t ‘anger’ one of the seven deadly sins, I hear you ask? Isn’t Advent the rehearsal for the angelic choirs singing about peace on earth, and the arrival of the Prince of Peace. Why buzz kill the season’s hopeful mood? Why, indeed?
Well, for one reason, today’s scripture readings are reminders of the pain and suffering that humans have inflicted upon one another since forever, and testimonials to an understanding or acknowledgement that it will take a wisdom greater than our own to set things right, perhaps even a transcendent wisdom. “O that you would tear open the heavens and come down!” the prophet Isaiah cries out. The story of Christmas has become so romanticized, its rough edges filed down, its scandalous message tied with a bow, the rough places steam-rolled, that it could be the work product of Walt Disney. Continue reading Anger as Fuel for Hope: Homily for Advent 1
This Sunday in the Easter season has long been nicknamed Good Shepherd Sunday, as you may have gathered from the gospel reading and the 23rd Psalm. There is a long tradition of portraying Jesus as the Good Shepherd; there are numerous depictions on the walls of the catacombs of a shepherd carrying a sheep on his shoulders. The Gospel of Matthew records that, “when Jesus saw the crowds, he had compassion for them because they were troubled and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” [9:36] What caught my attention this time around, though, was the epistle reading, and its focus on pain and suffering. I was surprised at the number of memories it evoked. In my youth, when I worked as a music librarian, I had a Roman Catholic colleague, who was one of fifteen children. One of the things she heard regularly as a child, when one of them would whine or complain, was, “Offer it up. Our Lord hung on the cross for three hours.” Continue reading The Problem of Pain and Suffering (Easter 4 Homily)
Hélène Beaumont and her husband, Jérôme, live in France, but visit Holy Trinity for Christmas, Holy Week/Easter, and in the fall each year. They were married at Holy Trinity during the Sunday morning liturgy on the Sunday after Easter, 2013. Hélène is ordained in the Huguenot tradition, and is also an iconographer. She created an icon for Holy Trinity, entitled Le Christ des Chrétiens d’Orient et des Réfugiés, pictured here, which was blessed at the Easter Vigil this year. Continue reading Icon gifted to Holy Trinity
A week ago, a friend who lives in Spain posted on his Facebook page a quotation from Edouard Loubet, the chef of the Domaine de Capelongue, a Michelin two-star restaurant in Provence. “A dinner is all about pleasure-sharing,” he said. “The food counts for only 20 percent, only 20 percent, no matter how extraordinary it is.” (NYT) Chef Loubet’s observation caught my attention for a couple reasons. First, I have to confess that when I have guests for dinner, I am disproportionately concerned about making sure the food is a success, so this was an instructive look in the mirror. Secondly, it also reminded me of a comment a parishioner made some years ago. They come to Holy Trinity, not because of the liturgy or music or the preaching, but because of the community they find here, and the individuals who make up this community. Continue reading God of Many Surprises (Easter Homily)
The season of Epiphany always concludes with the story of Jesus’ Transfiguration. This year we have Matthew’s version of the watershed mountain-top moment. It is a revelation, a connecting of dots: a continuity with Moses (whose own mountain-top experience we also heard this today) and the prophet Elijah—icons of the Law and the Prophets—Jesus is part of God’s continuing self-disclosure, and Jesus’ most intimate disciples are there to witness the unforgettable event. And, like a metaphysical bookend, we hear again the words from a cloud that we heard on the first Sunday after the Epiphany, when Jesus was baptized: “This is my Beloved, with whom I am well pleased. Listen to him!” It is also a turning toward Jerusalem and the drama that will take place there.
Continue reading “A Crisis is a Terrible Thing to Waste” Homily for Transfiguration Sunday