Be Still, Waters

Be Still, Waters

In honor of the Baptism of Cali Christian
5/12/19: Homily
Scriptures: Psalm 23 | Mark 1:4-11

This is the first Mother’s Day without my own mother. Later today, I will be driving down to Richmond to be with my brother and place flowers at her grave.

When I was just a bit older than Cali, it was my mother who taught me two scriptures to say by memory: Psalm 100 … and Psalm 23. Both of them in the beautiful and inimitable Elizabethan language I just used for Psalm 23.

I tried to pass along that tradition and get my son, Andrew, to memorize Psalm 23 when he was little. I regret that I was not as perseverant with him as my mother was with me. We got as far as the third line: “He leadeth me beside the still waters” – which Andrew could never seem to get. He would always look at me with his big eyes and say, “And be still, waters.”

A Forward-Looking Faith

5/5/19: Easter 3
Scripture:  John 21:1-19

Central Idea: Events good and bad happen. They just happen. Resurrected living translates into a forward-looking faith – superseding our search for meaning at every turn.

Prayer: In the words of the Psalmist today, O God of resurrection, you turn mourning into dancing. You take off our sackcloth and clothe us with joy.

And in so doing, the lion of another winter finds a warming and welcoming lair in the fierce lamb of resurrection and spring. 

And so, as we enjoy … let us, this day, be enjoined by you. And so, as you stand beside us … let us, this day, stand beside you: wherever you may appear.

Welcome Home, Thomas: The Power to Forgive

4/28/19: Easter 2
Scripture: John 20:19-28

It was the first Easter Sunday. Trouble was: the disciples did not know it yet to be.

“The doors of the house,” we are told, “were locked.” Locked … “for fear of the Jewish leaders.”

Quite understandable, this fear. Fear of being discovered, arrested, crucified even – for aiding and abetting a political traitor. Crucifixion was reserved for the treasonous, you know. Traitors to the violent ways of the Roman Empire, and the ethnic leaders – here, their Jewish leaders – coopted by that empire. Traitors, like this so-called “Prince of Peace” – this latest “Messiah”. And they had aided and abetted Jesus’ act of treason.

“The doors … were locked for fear of the (Jewish leaders).” But of course.

Pardon the pun: but guess who’s coming to sinners? One moment: doors locked. Next moment: “Jesus came and stood among them”. Resurrected, in all his transformed glory, our imperial traitor commits yet another crime: breaking and entering. Picking the lock on the doors of his disciples’ hearts. Freeing them from their spiritual prisons – by showing them his wounds, as if to say: I have compassion for yours. Saying to them, twice: “Peace be with you!”