Proper 15, Year A, Christ Church, Tracy City

“Woman, great is your faith!” (Matt. 15:28).

If you’re a Chicago Cubs fan, you know what it is to “keep the faith”. For those of you who don’t follow baseball, I’ll just say that the Cubs are a National League team which won the World Series in 1907 and 1908, and then failed to win the championship again until this past year, 2016. That’s right, over one hundred years: one hundred and eight years, to … Read more

Proper 14, Year A, St. Andrew’s Church, New Johnsonville

“But immediately Jesus spoke to them and said, ‘Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid’” (Matt. 14:27).

The word “courage” ultimately derives from the Latin word for “heart”. When Jesus tells the disciples in our Gospel today to “take heart”, he’s telling them that they need to take themselves in hand, to get a grip, to keep on moving ahead in spite of their fear. I’ll admit to you that in the face … Read more

Feast of the Transfiguration, Church of Our Saviour, Gallatin

“Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God” (Ex. 34:29).

God speaks: a basic conviction of ancient Israel. They believed that God communicated himself primarily through speech, through the “word of God” that was essential to God’s self-revelation. This contrasts with our own modern culture, which has become increasingly oriented on images, from those of movies and television (once celluloid, now digital) to the bright … Read more

Proper 8, Year A, Church of St. James the Less, Madison

“Jesus said, “Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me” (Matt. 10:40).

In the movie Silence, two Jesuit priests make their way from distant Portugal to Japan to seek out their teacher, another missionary who’s been arrested by the authorities. It’s the 17th century, and Christians are being persecuted by the Japanese government worried about foreign influence. The two men make contact with the persecuted church and minister … Read more

Proper 7, Year A, Church of the Holy Spirit, Nashville

“So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows” (Matt. 10:31).

Jesus has a lot to say in our Gospel today about “fear” and “being afraid”.  People were anxious in his time, and they are anxious today. Jesus mentions “fear” or “being afraid” three times in our Gospel. He’s not just speaking to everybody, but particularly to his disciples, who are following him in some dangerous times. He’s sending the twelve … Read more

Proper 6, Year A, Church of the Resurrection, Franklin

“These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon, also known as Peter, and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed him” (Matt. 10:2-4).

We have several listings of the names of Jesus’ earliest followers, preserved in the New Testament: our Gospel reading today is … Read more

Trinity Sunday, Year A, Trinity Church, Clarksville

“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you” (2 Cor. 13:13).

William Alexander Percy wrote some years ago with great fondness and feeling about his experience as an undergraduate at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee. As recounted in his memoir Lanterns on the Levee, this young man from Mississippi formed deep friendships at Sewanee, learned important lessons, … Read more

The Feast of Pentecost, Year A, St. Paul’s Church, Franklin

“You send forth your Spirit, and they are created; * and so you renew the face of the earth” (Ps. 104:31).

When I look out the window of my kitchen these last few weeks I see lightning bugs; at least, that’s what I grew up calling them. My wife Caroline calls them fireflies, which must be what they call them up north; they’re also called glow worms in some other places. Whatever they’re called, as … Read more

The Seventh Sunday of Easter, Year A, St. Philip’s Church, Donelson

“When they had entered the city, they went to the room upstairs where they were staying, Peter, and John, and James, and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James” (Acts 1:13).

In 1995, a thirty year old British woman named Ann Daniels, a former assistant branch manager at a bank, and a recent mother of triplets, read an advertisement seeking applications from “ordinary … Read more

The Sixth Sunday of Easter, Year A, St. Bartholomew’s Church, Nashville

“This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive” (Jo. 14:17).

The Holy Spirit is alive and well during the Easter Season. Some old-fashioned versions of the Christian Year make us wait until Pentecost to talk about the Spirit, in keeping with St. Luke’s account in Acts, but John’s Gospel doesn’t keep us waiting. From the very evening of the Day of Resurrection Jesus is giving the Holy Spirit to the disciples who … Read more