The Third Sunday of Easter, Year C, Otey Memorial Parish

“Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep” (Jo. 21:17).

Feeding sheep is more complicated than it looks. In Jesus’ day it involved leading the flock from pasture to pasture. Shepherds were not in the business of bringing food to the sheep, serving up “sheep appropriate” bonbons to essentially passive sheep consumers. Neither was there a stationary source, a feed trough for the sheep. Sheep required “green pastures” (Ps. 23:2), and leading to still waters, in … Read more

Easter Day, Year C, Christ Church Cathedral, Nashville

“Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed ” (Jo. 20:8).

The Dominican theologian Herbert McCabe has a great line on the familiar creedal formula, that Jesus “was crucified, died, and was buried.” In McCabe’s mind, this statement is unlike the rest of the Creed in being a straight-up historical fact. It’s not an affirmation of faith in things that are beyond this world, which is … Read more

Chrism Mass & Renewal of Ordination Vows, Christ Church Cathedral, Nashville

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives” (Lk. 4:18).

We come back this year, at this Chrism Mass, to our Gospel reading from Luke, conscious that this is the year of Luke, when we will be reading from his Gospel in the long season after Pentecost. We don’t even have to wait … Read more

Daughters of the King Spring Assembly, Saturday in Lent 5, St. Paul’s Church, Franklin

“I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king over them all. Never again shall they be two nations… ” (Ez. 37:22-23).

Lent is a time for fundamentals. We keep coming back, again and again in this season, to first principles: to what the Letter to the Hebrews calls “the basic teaching about Christ” (Heb. 6:1).  Study groups, prayer groups, inquirers’ classes: Lent is … Read more

The Fifth Sunday in Lent, Year C, St. Philip’s Church, Donelson

“Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped them with her hair” (Jo. 12:3).

The prophets of ancient Israel sometimes engaged in what we might call “enacted prophecy,” where God’s word was delivered, not through speech alone but by action. Prophets, of course, prophesy: they announce the word of the Lord. They are not self-selected, and no Human Resources department can choose them. God chooses them. … Read more

The Fourth Sunday in Lent, Year C, St. Paul’s Church, Franklin

“There was a man who had two sons” (Lk. 15:11).

Full disclosure: the preacher of this sermon is one of two brothers himself. As they say in the movies, “The story, all names, characters, and incidents portrayed in this production are fictitious. No identification with actual persons (living or deceased), places, buildings, and products is intended or should be inferred.”

Yet we can’t quite say the same thing about Jesus’ story, the parable of the … Read more

Saturday after Lent 3, Small Church Alliance, Church of the Resurrection, Franklin

“For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt-offerings” (Hos. 6:6).

The prophet Hosea and the author of Psalm 51 are in cahoots today, conspiring together to pull the rug out from under the sacrificial system of ancient Israel. In the face of this well-developed system, attested to in the Scriptures of ancient Israel, the prophet calls instead for “steadfast love” or hesed in the Hebrew, sometimes translated as … Read more

The Third Sunday in Lent, Year C, Church of St. Mary Magdalene, Fayetteville

“No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish just as they did” (Lk. 13:5).

“Repent”: definitely a Lenten word. The liturgy of Ash Wednesday reminded us that all Christians are “continually” in need of repentance: that is, we never get over the need to repent. It’s work that needs to be renewed, over and over again. You’re never going to get to the point where you check off the box, where … Read more

The Second Sunday in Lent, Year C, St. Andrew’s Church, New Johnsonville

“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it!” (Lk. 13:34).

I’ve never been to Jerusalem, but everyone I’ve ever spoken to who’s been tells me that it’s an unforgettable experience: the city of David and the seat of the kings of Israel; the site of the ruined Temple; and of course for Muslims, a holy place as well. No wonder people from many religious traditions make their … Read more

The First Sunday in Lent, Year C, Trinity Church, Winchester & Christ Church, Alto

“Then the devil took him to Jerusalem” (Lk. 4:9).

Did you notice how Luke tells the story of Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness? The order of the temptations is different in the Gospel of Matthew and in the Gospel of Luke: both are agreed on three temptations, but Luke places the temptation for Jesus to throw himself down from the Temple as the last in the series, instead of placing it second, as Matthew does.

 … Read more