Ecclesiastes 3:1-11; Psalm 63:1-8; Luke 9:18-22
There is poignancy to the opening phrase of our gospel from Luke: “Once when Jesus was praying alone, with only the disciples near him…”
Already we have of Jesus praying in the Spirit several times in Luke:
‘When Jesus…had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened, and… a voice came… ‘You are my…Beloved; with you I am well pleased.’ Continue reading
Sergius, Abbot of Holy Trinity, Moscow
We live in a messy world; a world of contradiction, paradox, confusion, disorder, and inconsistency. We seek protection against so much of what seems uncontrollable in the patterns of our minds. The future can seem frightening because of this imperfect world we live in. “Thus we search for predictability, explanation, and order to give ourselves some sense of peace and control.”1 Continue reading
Today’s Gospel is a story about contrasts. We heard in Luke’s Gospel this morning that a Pharisee named Simon invited Jesus to eat with him. A woman of that city came to that house with a jar of ointment and stood at Jesus’ feet, weeping and washing his feet with her tears, wiping them with her hair and anointing them. Continue reading
I Corinthians 12:29-13:13
This is the message that we have received and which we preach tirelessly to others: that God is Love, and that God so loved the world that he sent his only Son to become human and to live among us, so that we might know that we are loved and forgiven, and be set free from sin and death. We believe and proclaim that we, having received such a great love, are being set free from selfishness and self-preoccupation so that we might love others with the same love with which we have been loved.
In a word, our message is all about love. Continue reading
Before I came to this country, I was the rector of the parish of St. Mary’s Welwyn in Hertfordshire, just north of London. It is a very ancient parish, part of the building had been paid for by King Edward the Confessor – and on one of the walls there is a panel listing all the rectors of the parish with their names and dates. They go back for a thousand years. It was always a strange feeling to read the names – Saxon names, Norman French names – and then right at the end, my name! Continue reading
I doubt that there are many people here today who believe that the Bible was handed down by God intact (and in English) in the year 1611, in the form of the King James Version. What you may not realize, though, is that there has not always been universal agreement about just which books should be included in the Bible, and that one of the books that has had a little trouble with Church authorities over the centuries is the letter of James from which we have heard a passage read today. It was only in the late fourth century in the West and the fifth century in the East that the letter was widely accepted as Scripture; in the sixteenth century, Martin Luther would have liked to have had it removed from the Bible. In his introduction to James in his German translation of the Bible, Luther said, in effect, “It’s not in my canon” — i.e., it was not a book he considered to be the inspired word of God.
Today we commemorate Saint John Chrysostom, one of the great Bishops of the Early Church.
I first became aware of Saint John Chrysostom in my teens through the Prayer of Saint Chrysostom at the end of the Services of Morning and Evening Prayer in our Prayer Book. I think others have done so also.
That prayer has given many of us a strong reminder of Jesus’ words to his disciples, “When two or three are gathered together in [Jesus’] Name [he] will be in the midst of them.” (BCP p. 102 & Mt. 18:20) (N.B. These words are also found in the homily preached by John Chrysostom just before he went into exile.)
“Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we will be has not been revealed. What we do know is this: when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is.” [1. John 3: 2]
There was a very fine film that came out a couple years ago that you may have seen: “Of Gods and Men”. It’s about a community of Benedictine monks at Tibhirine in Algeria who got caught up in the violence of war. The agonizing question for them was whether to leave for their own safety or stay in order to continue their ministry to the people of the village.
I won’t ask for a show of hands this morning, but I’m wondering how many of us know a person or a family who is living below the poverty line. The U.S. Census Bureau defines that as a single person who makes less than $11,491 per year, or a family of four that earns less than $23,018 annually. In 2010, the Census Bureau tells us, over 15% of the people in the United States were below the poverty line (15.3%). The percentage for children was even higher: 21.6% of children living in the United States in 2010 were living below the poverty line – that’s one in every five children in one of the wealthiest nations on earth. If you know a person or persons who live with this kind of poverty, I’d like you to picture them and keep them in mind for the next few minutes.
The Bible speaks in many voices, in many modes: sometimes literally, as if to say “these are the facts”. Sometimes the Bible speaks poetically, that is, in figures of speech and parables and fiction.
Poetic language is open to interpretation, and yet it was Jesus’ preferred mode. And, as it happens, when we profess our faith in the Creed, saying “we believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth…”, “maker” translates ποιητής [poietes]. ποιητής being the Greek word for maker and also for poet. We believe in one God, the poet of heaven and earth.
What a joy it is for us brothers to be back worshipping in this beautiful chapel, and to be back worshipping with you our friends. We have had a very good summer, but we have missed you! We had a wonderful retreat at Emery House, and then our annual time of Chapter and discussions, and planning for the future. It was very fruitful and grace filled. It’s always lovely at Emery House. And, while we were away workmen finished off some of the renovations here at the monastery. We have been remembering you in our prayers with thanksgiving – and do hope you have had a great summer.
I guess because we are located at the heart of so many colleges and universities, that September really feels like the beginning of a new year. And what a wonderful way for us to start our new year this afternoon by clothing our postulant, Brian Pearson, as a novice. I hope you can be there to support him.
We have lots of exciting plans for ministry and teaching during this coming year. On Tuesday we will welcome three new interns who will live and work with us during this new year: Seth Woody, Waylon Whitley and Andrew Sinnes. And in a couple weeks time we will be welcoming a new postulant, Ruben Alexis.