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
“While I still smart with the memory of that ruler striking my left wrist many years ago, I know that this is mild compared to the abuse, rejection, death, disease and discrimination measured in a thousand brutal ways that many have experienced through misogyny, colonialism, slavery, homophobia and too many other wrongs. ”
The full text of Michael Shapcott’s homily from August 13 is below.
Fernie. Cranbrook. Yahk. His excitement grew. Here was a mountain that looked familiar. Could it be Goat? Yes. Yes. That was surely its peak. And here was the siding for the mine. Then the trainman came along the aisle shouting, ‘Creston! Creston is the next station stop. Creston next.” …The train puffed to a standstill, sending out clouds of white steam. The trainman set the nobbled brown stool on the platform, and reached up to give Charles a hand, but the boy was already running along the platform towards outstretched arms. “Gran! Gran!” he was shouting, “I’m home!” Continue reading How Big is the Tent We Call Home?
+In the name of God our Maker, Jesus Living, and the Fulfilling Spirit, Amen.
[When Sherman said that we were cutting things down to make the service shorter, I thought that here was a chance for me to expand the homily—and I have a bit—especially here to make the connections clearer— though those of you who heard it, will recognize that I moved from the text more than just here and there—and what was also apparent (I am sure), was that I was cutting like mad as I was preaching—even when we had some competition from one or more of our visitors] Continue reading Freedom to Love
All of our scripture readings today have something in common. Although each is speaking to a different context, they all have something to do with the new identity that comes with becoming a permanent resident in the commonwealth of God. Micah challenges the assumptions of a religion dominated by a focus on ritual sacrifice. Jesus turns the values of the world upside down. And Paul elaborates on the theme that down is the new up. Continue reading Foolishness, Hopelessness, and Walking Humbly with God