The Fifth Sunday in Lent, Year A, St. George’s Church. Nashville

Father, I thank you for having heard me” (Jo. 11:41).

In the 2013 film Gravity, actress Sandra Bullock is an astronaut who’s in extremis. There’s been a terrible, traumatic accident that has left her cut off, hurtling in orbit around the world in grave danger of her life. Her only contact is with ghostly, flickering radio voices and a “virtual” George Clooney, a fellow astronaut who is probably a figment of her own imagination.

So, … Read more

The Fourth Sunday in Lent, Year A, 2020

“Then I went and washed and received my sight” (Jo. 9:11).

In early April of 1862, in another spring time over a hundred and fifty years ago, two armies met on a battlefield at a bend in the Tennessee River not far from here, at Shiloh. Almost a hundred thousand men from Minnesota, Ohio, Illinois, and Indiana; from Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Alabama, and other places, fought over a long and deadly day. After night … Read more

The Third Sunday in Lent, Year A, St. Andrew’s Church, New Johnsonville

Suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us” (Rom. 5:3-5).

Last night I threw away the pretty good sermon that I had prepared earlier in the week for this Sunday, feeling in my heart that events had simply overtaken it and that we needed another word. It’s not unusual for what’s happening in the world to impact a sermon, and to be incorporated: in fact, if … Read more

The Second Sunday in Lent, Year A, Trinity Church, Winchester

“[God] gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist” (Rom. 4:17).

My family has always been interested in genealogy: a common Southern obsession that is shared by many Americans, including members of the Mayflower Society and others. My father, strangely enough, a wild branch from Brooklyn grafted onto Southern stock, has been the chief genealogist in our family, researching not only his own German ancestors but also my … Read more

First Sunday in Lent, Year A, St. Luke’s Church, Springfield

Death exercised dominion from Adam to Moses” (Rom. 5:14).

A sermon on sin: in my limited experience of sermons on sin, such sermons are usually about other people’s sins (as in, “sinner, repent”). Alternatively, sermons on sin may be confessional, in that we hear about the preacher’s sins; sins no longer committed, of course, or the preacher wouldn’t be preaching about them. This kind of sermon can easily turn into the first kind, where the … Read more

Saturday in the Week after Ash Wednesday, ECW/DOK Diocesan Quiet Day

“Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth; * knit my heart to you that I may fear your Name” (Ps. 86:11).

Our psalm today gives us a powerful metaphor: the journey. Human beings have been telling tales of travel for many centuries: stories of heroic quests, voyages of discovery, journeys to places far away and back again. In some cases, these stories have additional significance, as human beings narrate life … Read more

The Last Sunday after Epiphany, Year A, Grace Church, Spring Hill

This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!” (Matt. 17:5).

It’s the Sunday before Lent, the penitential season that takes its cue from Moses’ forty days on the mountain top, where he waited to receive the commandments. Jesus himself, at the beginning of his ministry, spent forty days in the wilderness preparing himself for his work (but more about that next week). Lent begins on Wednesday, and we … Read more

The Sixth Sunday after Epiphany, Year A, Grace Chapel, Rossview

“For we are God’s servants, working together; you are God’s field, God’s building” (1 Cor. 3:9).

It’s the primary season, so we’re conscious of party politics: that is, the division of the country into groups advocating for one candidate or another. Perfectly natural, in a democratic polity; though many have commented on the passionate advocacy that characterizes this political season in particular. Pundits tell us that the country is divided, and so it is; thoughtful … Read more

The Fifth Sunday after Epiphany, Year A, St. Peter’s Church, Columbia

My speech and my proclamation were not with plausible words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might rest not on human wisdom but on the power of God (1 Cor. 2:4-5).

“Speech;” “proclamation;” “wisdom;” “power;” “faith”: St. Paul’s words pack a punch this morning. He’s writing because he’s heard that there are divisions in the little church in Corinth, and that members are choosing up … Read more

Feast of the Presentation of Christ, Church of the Holy Spirit, Nashville

“A sword will pierce your own soul too” (Lk. 2:35).

This year our youngest child will graduate from college. It’s a significant moment in the life of any parent. As our children get older, they take on more responsibility and they have more freedom. Children may choose to live and work far away from their parents. They decide to start their own families. They take jobs that are different from their parents’ work. They do … Read more