Proper 22, Year C, St. Bede’s Church, Manchester

“So you also, when you have done all that you were ordered to do, say, ‘We are worthless slaves; we have done only what we ought to have done!’” (Lk. 17:10).

Self-righteousness is rampant in the land. Security in one’s own convictions, and an equal and unassailable belief in the wickedness of one’s enemies, is widespread. We tend to congregate with the likeminded, siloed in by the same media and the same formative opinions. When … Read more

Proper 21, Year C, St. Michael’s Church, Cookeville

“No, father Abraham; but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent” (Lk. 16:30).

Jesus tells a story in our Gospel today: a parable about a rich man and a poor man, one of whom receives his reward in this life, and the other in the life to come. So far, so good: a study in contrast. Jesus, however, adds an additional point: the rich man neglected the poor man in this … Read more

Proper 20, Year C, St. Ann’s Church, Nashville

“If then you have not been faithful with the dishonest wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches?” (Lk. 16:11).

Jesus keeps coming back to “faith”: faith as the context of his healing ministry, as in the many miracles we find in the Gospels; and faith also in the context of discipleship, as when his followers ask Jesus to increase their faith (Lk. 17:5), which we will hear about in a couple of weeks. When … Read more

Feast of St. Matthew, Diocesan DOK Fall Meeting, Church of the Good Shepherd, Nashville

“As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth; and he said to him, ‘Follow me’” (Matt. 9:9).

St. Matthew, like St. John, was both an apostle and an evangelist: that is, he was one of the twelve apostles that Jesus called to his service, but also identified as an author of one of the four Gospels (an evangelist, in other words). Matthew is best known, then, from … Read more

Proper 19, Year C, Church of the Holy Cross, Murfreesboro

“Just so, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents” (Lk. 15:10).

As we read the Holy Scriptures, we discover that God is the chief actor. He’s the hero of the story, if you will. The Old Testament tells the story of what God did in calling the family of Abraham to be his People; of what God did in freeing the People from … Read more

Holy Cross Day, ECW Fall Meeting, St. Andrew’s Church at Diocesan House

“To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear” (Is. 45:23).

The court room or the battlefield: two places I wouldn’t want to be, at least not as a contestant. My limited experience with courts tells me that the turning of the wheels of justice is uncertain in its result, and a cause for anxiety; and without any experience of war I can only reflect on the destruction and trauma that are caused by … Read more

Proper 18, Year C, Church of St. Joseph of Arimathea, Hendersonville

“Choose life so that you and your descendants may live” (Deut. 30:19).

For the last twelve years or so I’ve been involved in the Downtown Rotary Club of Nashville, which means that on Mondays I often travel to the weekly meeting for lunch and a program. I didn’t have any experience of Rotary before moving to Nashville, but I joined because a diocesan leader thought it would be a good thing for me to do. … Read more

Proper 17, Year C, St. James’ Church, Dickson & Calvary Church, Cumberland Furnace

“Pride was not created for human beings, or violent anger for those born of women” (Ecclus. 10:18).

Students of English literature will know Milton’s great poem Paradise Lost, which tells the story of the fall of humankind. “Of man’s first disobedience, and the fruit/ of that forbidden tree, whose mortal taste/ brought death into the world…” If you know the story that the poet tells, you’ll know that it does not begin in Eden, where … Read more

Proper 16, Year C, Church of St. James the Less, Madison

“When he laid his hands on her, immediately she stood up straight and began praising God” (Lk. 13:13).

Jesus’ miracles of healing often emphasize faith: the context within which the miracle occurs. “Daughter, your faith has made you well” (Lk. 8:48), Jesus tells the woman with the hemorrhage of blood after he heals her. Or again, after he heals the centurion’s servant, he tells the crowd, “Not even in Israel have I found such faith” … Read more

The Feast of St. Bartholomew, The Blessing of Liturgical Ministries, Christ Church Cathedral, Nashville

“In Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel” (1 Cor. 4:15).

Our reading this morning for the Feast of St. Bartholomew, from St. Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians, underscores an important truth about the early Christian movement: that is, the spread of the Gospel and the formation of Christian community in those early days was intensely relational and personal. Christianity did not just spread, willy nilly, like a popular post on social … Read more