From St. John’s Hingham to St. Paul’s Salem

This post is a bit out of sequence. It is the sermon I preached on my last Sunday (October 26, 2014) at St. John the Evangelist, Hingham, MA, before I left to take up my new call as Rector of St. Paul’s, Salem, Oregon. I’ve had a few requests for it so here it is. Continue reading

The Last Map

A Wedding Feast

I was in Maine recently, to do a wedding. It was at the Pemaquid Point lighthouse, near Wiscasset and Damariscotta—my first trip there, which is as far up Down East as I’ve ever been.  The reception was held in a fancy lobster shack. As we were called to the table, we brought our wineglasses, and were soon passing around breadbaskets and butter plates.

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Beware of Literalism!

Matthew 5:21-37

If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than for your whole body to go into hell.

Before we go any further—as a priest in the Episcopal Church I’ve got to tell you—no way can you read this text literally.

As a community, we’d have a lot of one-eyed, one-handed parishioners, for starters! How could Jesus mean this literally? He’s a healer! Doctors don’t tell you to pull out your eye! Continue reading

Gain Your Soul

How do you gain your soul?  To start with, you have to know you have one.

The world views us as units of productivity not as holy people. There is no talk in the public arena of souls.  Continue reading

Prayer

Do you ever think of a Sunday morning service of worship as a journey? Most of us might not be able to describe what we expect to happen during the service, but we hope to get something we need. When people are asked why they come to church, they may respond that it is a habit, or they feel they should, or out of a desire to be part of the community…but there is an unarticulated piece that they yearn for something more. We say and sing lots of prayers. We pray together, but how are we doing? Are we doing it right? Are we doing it wrong? How can we tell? And prayer…well it is talking to God! Stakes are high! Continue reading

Hell: What it is, What it isn’t

The Gospel paints a vivid picture of Hell.

Many of us have different ideas in our minds when we hear the word Hell. When I was a hospital chaplain intern, and on occasion since then, I have heard people say that they knew they were going to Hell—and they were scared. It is an important subject and I want to take this opportunity to talk about what Hell is, and what Hell isn’t. Continue reading

Holy

One of the most important words in the Bible is the word: Holy.

It represents the mystery, the majesty of the Divine. The word Holy appears very early in the first book of the Bible: Genesis. God speaks Creation into being. God creates the Earth, the planets, the stars, the sun. God separates the land from the water and creates living creatures. Then there is something that we are told God blesses and makes holy. What is it that God makes holy? Continue reading

Letter to the Hebrews

While it may not shock you to hear me say I am not a competitive athlete,

it may surprise you to hear that I love movies about sports—the struggle, the setbacks, the success—inspiring!

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The Great Story of Abram and Sarai

Abram was weary from the battle that had just ended. Local warlords had plundered the area; capturing Abram’s brother’s son and his family.

Abram led some 300 men, rescued the captives and returned safely. Abram was in the tent that was his home, pitched under the oaks of Mamre, in the land of Canaan. That night he had a vision… And the Word of the LORD came to Abram: “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield. Your reward shall be very great.” Continue reading