A Sermon for the Third Sunday in Lent

By: David H. May, Rector

 

I’ve been thinking about one of the traditional practices for Christians in the season of Lent is that we refrain, we fast from saying ‘alleluia’. We just hold onto all those ‘alleluias’ and store them up in our spirits so that when Easter morning comes we can just let all those stored up ‘alleluias’ burst out with special energy and joy, like a bird out of a cage flying off free into the bright blue sky.

And I’ve been thinking that we’ve now been given a different kind of fast this Lent – we’re fasting, abstaining from being together. I’m not sure anyone can say when we’ll be able to come back together – a few weeks, months? I don’t think there’s anyone who really knows. I thought with a start just the other day, will we back together for Holy Week? Easter? I don’t think anyone knows.

One of the things that the Spirit has shown people when we fast from food is what it feels like to actually be hungry and what a gift it is when you can finally dig in and have that hunger satisfied. That experience – like knowing else – shows us what a grace, what a miracle really the life God has given us really is.

And I think the same may be true about this unexpected and unchosen fast we are on right now – a fast from being gathered together as the Beloved Community of Jesus. But maybe there’s a gift in this too.

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A Sermon for Ash Wednesday

By: David H. May, Rector

 

In keeping with the spirit of this day, I have a little confession to make. I don’t want to overstate it. I think it’s really just sort of ‘garden variety’, human kind of a stuff. I bring it up, only because it seems to ride ‘shotgun’ in a lot of our lives. Although, maybe I’d better just speak for myself. Sometimes, these little thoughts will pass through my mind like: I wonder why that person talks so much and doesn’t seem to notice that maybe other people would like to have a chance to talk too. Or, that person clearly has way too many grocery items to be going through the express lane. I’d never do that. Why can’t that person think of other people’s feelings, Or, why won’t that person play by the rules? And why does that person always have to talk about how their glass is always half empty? Well, that’s probably enough. Maybe more than enough.

The only conclusion I can reach for that kind of thinking is that it rests on the simple question of why people, family, co-workers, the town council, (why stop there?!), the Governor and Congress, oh what the heck, why can’t everybody behave a little more like me. I’d never do any of those un-thoughtful things, heaven knows.

Or would I? Or do I? Am I one of those people others would like to do a little fixer-up job on? Is it I Lord?

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A Sermon for the Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany

By: David H. May, Rector

Last Sunday was Youth Sunday, so one of the young people of our congregation, Jack Ireland, was our preacher at both services. I’ve thought about what Jack had to say last Sunday. A lot. If you weren’t able to be here, Jack began his sermon by wondering aloud, ‘what is my purpose?’ Someone that age is looking and looking hard at the question of ‘what will I do with my life?’ That is part of what I admire so much about people that age. They are wondering, ‘what is worth giving my life to?’ I think that’s what Jack’s question, ‘what is my purpose?’ was all about.

The word purpose has its roots in the Greek word telos which does mean purpose, but purpose in a special sense. For example, the telos, the purpose of an acorn is to become an oak tree. Its purpose is built right into it, into its very being. Unless something intervenes – like a squirrel or bad growing conditions – it will become an oak tree. It can’t help it.

But when it comes to people, it’s not so clear cut. What is the purpose of a person? The sciences might tell us that our purpose is to survive, physically, and to procreate to ensure the survival of our species and leave it at that. And as far as it goes, I guess, that’s not wrong. But that’s not what Jack was talking about.

To go a step further, we sometimes find a sense of purpose in what we decide to do with our lives as our work. We decide to be a teacher, or an artist, or an IT cyber security threat specialist. Certainly, the work we do can be an important part of the answer to the question of what is our purpose. But what of the vast majority of folks for whom a job is just a job, little more than a paycheck?

So, the work we do probably can’t fully answer Jack’s question. I think his question is one that all of us – whether we’re just surviving or just making a paycheck or even when our work is deeply fulfilling – come back to again and again: what is worth giving my life to?

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