A Sermon for the Last Sunday after Pentecost: Christ the King Sunday

Sunday, November 21, 2021

By: David H. May, Rector

 

The eighth chapter of the First Book of Samuel tells the story of an old man who sees a train-wreck coming. He even describes to anyone who’ll listen exactly what that train-wreck will be like. But no one seems interested. The old man is Samuel. He is the man we heard Amelia preaching about last week; the man who when he was a baby his mother Hannah lent back to the Lord.

Samuel is the very last of the judges of Israel. He has an ear to the ground – as a good judge should – and has heard the people muttering and complaining. They are saying that all of the really top-notch, top shelf countries, the countries that command attention and respect are the ones with a king. So, the people say, we want a king too. Look at the Assyrians and the Egyptians, they say, look at their royal court, their awe-inspiring military parades, and look at the palaces and their king dressed in gold and jewels. Look how people fall down before them in awe and wonder at their greatness. Their kings are like gods on earth.

And what have we got?, the people complain, an old man who disputes garden-variety family squabbles and disagreements. Certainly nothing very impressive about that; not something those other great nations stand up and take notice of. ‘We want a king!’, they shout, ‘a real king with real kingly power. Someone who’ll show those other nations that we’re not just some kind of third-rate nation’.

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A Sermon for the Twenty-Fifth Sunday after Pentecost

Sunday, November 14, 2021

By: Amelia McDaniel, Lay Associate for Christian Formation

 

One year at Easter my father was given the job of saying the blessing before brunch. As I am sure many of you have experienced firsthand … by brunch on Easter there can be a couple of things happening.
Parents of young children are particularly tired because their children are either a. in a jelly bean induced hysteria or b. have already experienced the sugar crash and things are off the rails.
Grandparents can be simultaneously filled up by the presence of their children and grandchildren while also being extraordinarily annoyed by the mayhem.
The brunch host is exhausted and usually worried about a dish or two that did not come out as planned.
You know. Everybody is in a great mood by brunch on Easter.

My dad started in on the prayer as we were gathered around ham and biscuits and cheese grits. I knew things were going to go long when Daddy started all the way back at Creation, like it was the Easter Vigil. By the time he got to the morning of the resurrection, he started with the line “And thank God for the women”
To which my Aunt Elsie loudly replied. AMEN. And blessedly, there ended the blessing.

Thank God for the women. Amen.

In the last few weeks, the Old Testament readings have offered us glimpses of some powerful women. Esther and Ruth have both been in our lectionary readings and David and Harrison both have preached about them. And yes, dad was right. Thank God for Esther and Ruth and those women at the tomb and for the all the brave women of the Scriptures.

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A Sermon for All Saints’ Sunday

Sunday, November 7, 2021

By: David H. May, Rector

 

Today we are celebrating the great feast of All Saints on this All Saints Sunday. It is the day we remember all those who have gone before us in the faith of the Church. They are people – our mothers and fathers, our husbands and wives, our children and our friends – who were so deeply a part of our lives and made us into who we are today. And they are people we didn’t know, but know about and draw strength from their example. And they are people stretching back generations, millennia even, whom no living soul remembers at all. But God does. Every one of them.

And in Christ, we belong to them, and they belong to us still, in the great Communion of Saints. And the story of each of their lives, and our lives, whether great or small, known or unknown, are a part of the great story of God’s loving purposes to heal the world and make the whole creation new again.

Know this, dear friends, you in your life, we in our lives together – on this great All Saints Sunday – know that we, that you are a part of much greater life. We belong to a family of faith that goes far beyond this day or the circumstances of this day or this year or this decade or this era. Remember, that all of our sisters and brothers, great and small, who have gone before us, crowd in beside us in a great cloud of witnesses to encourage us in our lives, to cheer us on; they are beside us now to strengthen us to bear forward the cause of Christ and his Kingdom in our own day.

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A Sermon for the Twenty Second Sunday after Pentecost

Sunday, October 24, 2021

By: David H. May, Rector

 

These brief few verses from the gospel reading this morning occupy a ‘place of honor’ in Mark’s telling of the story of Jesus. This small story of the restoration of sight to a blind man is the last thing we hear of Jesus before he enters Jerusalem for what will be his very the last time. Mark wants this story to be in our minds on our way to the cross with Jesus. So I want to try to take us inside this little story and hear why Mark might’ve given it such a place of prominence.

We begin on the west side of Jericho along the road leading to Jerusalem, where beggars line the streets. It is a golden time of the year, because today the road is teeming with religious pilgrims on the way to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover—it’s like Christmas time with a Salvation Army kettle and bell clanging on every corner. This time of the year, people with their hearts turned towards the things of God may be easier pickings than at other times of the year.

Lining the road are clusters and knots of people who this world sees as good for nothing other than begging. Sorry to say that, but that’s just the way it is. Blind men, blind women. People with missing limbs. Paralyzed. Drunks. And mixed in, thieves and robbers preying on the beggars or gullible travelers. It’s a dangerous place. Jesus knew that well enough, and chose this stretch of road for the setting of his famous story about the Good Samaritan.

A gaggle of beggars are squatted on the dusty roadside like a pack of crows. Legs crossed, dark cloaks wrapped around creating a fabric alms plate in their laps to catch tossed coins. They might as well be crows for all anybody notices that they have human faces.

In among the crowing beggars is a man with a name we know now. Probably no one there did. No one there is too concerned about names. They are beggars, not real people. But now we know, this man was old Timaeus’ son. Bar-Timaeus, the son of his father. A father’s son. Maybe, long ago, his father walked home from the fields with his small son’s hand in his hand after a days work. But that’s long ago. A faded memory. Who knows where the father is now. Dead, or just dead to the son. Bartimeus, now spends his days crowing like a grackle, his small hands replaced by claws scrabbling for left-overs.

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