The Second Sunday of Advent, Year C, Christ Church Cathedral, Nashville

“I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:6).

The “Day of the Lord” in ancient Israel began as a tocsin call, a rallying cry to the People of God to assemble and prepare for battle. There were many enemies in the Promised Land, and the People needed to gather and to act together in the … Read more

The First Sunday of Advent, Year C, The Church of the Advent, Nashville

“May he so strengthen your hearts in holiness that you may be blameless before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints” (1 Thess. 3:13).

St. Paul wrote to the Church in Thessalonica because he was not physically present. As a missionary, he had passed through the city on a journey that eventually took him on to Athens and Corinth to the south. During his time in Thessalonica … Read more

Proper 29, Year B, Christ Church, Tracy City

“Look! He is coming with the clouds; every eye will see him, even those who pierced him” (Rev. 1:7).

The Book of Revelation gets its name from its “revelation” of what God was soon to do; its uncovering of secret things delivered as a series of visions given by an angel to St. John. It was a time of persecution for the Church, and as a result of the persecutions John had been exiled to … Read more

Proper 28, Year B, The Church of Our Saviour, Gallatin

“This is but the beginning of the birth pangs” (Mk. 13:8).

No man should speak too lightly about birth pangs.  None of us really knows what we’re talking about, do we? I think it is indisputable that we’re not on our own turf here. My mother was not shy in telling me how many hours she had been in labor before I was delivered. She was the expert on the subject of my coming into … Read more

Proper 27, Year B, The Church of the Redeemer, Shelbyville

“She out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on” (Mk. 12:44).

Most people will hedge their bets. In other words, if you happen to make a bet on one outcome, you might also bet on the other outcome, to mitigate your losses if the first bet turns out to be the wrong one. After all, there are no sure things in this life, and hedging the bet … Read more

The Sunday after All Saints’ Day, Year B, All Saints’ Church, Smyrna

“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end” (Rev. 21:6). 

No one remembers the day they were born: you may have seen pictures from your early life but you don’t really remember it. Your parents may have told you about it, but what you remember is what they told you, not the day itself. On the other hand, no one knows how their life will end: when, where, or how. We … Read more

Proper 25, Year B, St. Agnes’ Church, Cowan

“Go; your faith has made you well” (Mk. 10:52).

There are many stories of healing in Mark’s Gospel, and in a number of them faith is the operative element. When Jesus heals a paralytic early in his ministry he does so when (Mark tells us) he sees the faith of the man’s friends who have brought him (Mk. 2:5). When the woman with a hemorrhage approaches him and touches his cloak, Jesus tells her, “Daughter, … Read more

Proper 24, Year B, Church of the Messiah, Pulaski

“For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Mk. 10:45).

Part of training for ordination used to be a stint serving in hospital chaplaincy; and it still is in some cases. The idea at the time was to put ordinands into a clinical setting where they would have to deal with potential life and death situations, and learn what it is like … Read more

St. Luke the Evangelist, Clergy Day, St. Paul’s Church, Murfreesboro

“As for me, I am already being poured out as a libation” (2 Tim. 4:6).

It’s appropriate that our readings for the Feast of St. Luke the Evangelist today bear so directly on the nature of pastoral ministry and the Christian calling. It’s good that we gather today in the shadow of the great Evangelist Luke, author of the “orderly account” that we call Luke’s Gospel, as well as the Acts of the Apostles that … Read more

Proper 23, Year B, St. Barnabas, Tullahoma

“Jesus looked at them and said, ‘For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible.’” (Mk. 10:27).

Back in 1952 Norman Vincent Peale published The Power of Positive Thinking, a book that was enormously popular and influential in everyday culture. Even people who had never heard of Peale or read his book were impressed with the idea that maintaining a positive attitude increased the likelihood that good things would … Read more