A Homily for the Feast of Pentecost
Texts: Acts 2:1-21; St. John 15:26-27, 16:4b-15
Grace to you and Peace from God our Heavenly Father and Christ Jesus our Risen Lord, who sends us the Holy Spirit, another advocate, to lead the Church. Amen.
Last Sunday, we read Saint Luke’s twin accounts of the Ascension, those scenes in which Christ led his disciples out away from the city and was taken up from the face of the earth. “Well now what?” they must have asked.
What comes next for the Church, now that Christ is seated at the Father’s right hand? Continue reading “The Spirit is on the Move”
A Homily for the Feast of the Ascension, Transferred
Texts: Acts 1:1-11; Ephesians 1:15-23; St. Luke 24:44-53
Grace to you and peace from God our Heavenly Father and Christ Jesus our Risen Lord, who has ascended to the right hand of the Father. Amen.
Have you ever had one of those moments where you’re not sure what to do? Maybe just after starting a new job, or right after graduation, or you’ve just retired, and you’re not really sure what comes next. A time when you were left a little stunned, a blank expression on your face, with a sense of anxiety just beginning to creep in?
That’s sort of how I picture the disciples after the Ascension: craning their necks, heads tilted back looking into the sky. And one of them – let’s be honest, it’s Peter; it’s always Peter – says, “Well now what?” Continue reading “Well Now What?”
A Homily for the Fifth Sunday of Easter
Texts: 1 John 4:7-21; St. John 15:1-8
Grace to you and peace from God our Heavenly Father and Christ Jesus our Risen Lord, the True Vine. Amen.
The college students were getting ready to deploy to, as their trip leader called it, “the devil’s home turf,” a place of “24/7 spiritual warfare” – that’s right: Daytona Beach. Their mission, should they choose to accept it: to evangelize the heathens of Bike Week and Spring Break, bringing them to a point of decision and “accepting into their heart” Jesus Christ as their “personal savior.” The instructions were clear: start with innocuous questions like, “Who’s the greatest person you know?” or “What’s the greatest thing that has ever happened to you?” If the answer is anything other than “Jesus Christ” or “Getting saved,” it’s time to kick the conversation into high evangelistic gear and lead that person down the so-called Romans Road. Continue reading “Faithful and Fruitful”
A Homily for the Fourth Sunday of Easter
Texts: Psalm 23; 1 John 3:16-24; St. John 10:11-18
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and Christ Jesus our Risen Lord, the Good Shepherd. Amen.
Throughout Scripture, shepherds lead Israel. Jacob and Moses both work as shepherds for their wives’ families, and David was a shepherd for his father before becoming king. In our Psalm today, it is the Lord who is our shepherd, tending to our care, providing for our every need, protecting us from dangers, toils, and snares. This motif has long been a central image of the Church. Our oldest depictions of Christ aren’t of our Savior suffering on the cross or rising from the tomb but carrying a sheep across his shoulders, with a shepherd’s crook in hand.
While we tend to reduce this image to idyllic pastoral scenes of fluffy white lambs and shepherds wearing clean robes while walking gently alongside the flock or lounging on a lush green hillside, the truth was certainly more rough-and-tumble. Not only did shepherds end up smelling like their flock, but they also had to be willing to fight off attackers: bandits and wild animals. Shepherding was hard, dangerous work, not the stuff of elementary school Nativity plays. Continue reading “The Good Shepherd”
A Homily for the Third Sunday of Easter
Texts: Psalm 4; 1 John 3:1-7; St. Luke 24:36b-48
Grace to you and peace from God our Heavenly Father and Christ Jesus our Risen Lord, who has conquered the grave and will come again in victory to raise us up. Amen.
Christ is risen. Our Lord is victorious over Death. So why does Death still pack such a punch? Continue reading “The Already and the Not-Yet: Easter People In-Between”
A Homily for the Second Sunday of Easter
Text: St. John 20:19-31
Grace to you and peace from God our Heavenly Father and Christ Jesus our Lord, the Risen One who has set us free for the Kingdom of God. Amen.
Our Gospel reading today opens on a scene unfamiliar to us: in the midst of our Easter joy, as we celebrate these great fifty days, we enter a room full of fear. The disciples, in the wake of the Crucifixion, are huddling in a locked apartment, hiding out of sight. They saw what happened to Jesus, and they are terrified that it might happen to them – that Jewish zealots and Roman soldiers might come after them as well, that they may have to bear their own crosses. They have heard Mary Magdalene’s testimony, that Christ is risen, but we can see their doubt. Picture their faces: jumping at every sound, the pit sinking in their stomach every time they hear a group of pilgrims walk by, every time a band of soldiers marches by. In the midst of Passover, the disciples are holed up in Jerusalem, afraid that the crowds outside might turn against them. Continue reading “Come Out From Behind Your Locked Doors”
A Homily for Easter
Text: St. Mark 16:1-8
Grace to you and peace from God our Heavenly Father and Christ Jesus our Risen Lord, the Victorious One who has shattered the bonds of Sin and Death. Amen. Continue reading “Christ is Risen!”