Third Sunday after Epiphany, Year B, Church of the Epiphany, Lebanon

“And Jesus said to them, ‘Follow me’” (Mk. 1:17).

Some of you know that this weekend was our diocesan convention: our main gathering as a church each year, to do the necessary business of the community. It was different this year, of course, a “virtual convention” held through video conference and live streaming. We passed a budget, which is an important tool for ministry, guiding our mission in the coming year. We elected people to … Read more

Diocesan Convention, Commemoration of Phillips Brooks, St. George’s Church, Nashville

“I pray that you may… know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Eph. 3:18-19).

Today the Episcopal Church commemorates Phillips Brooks, a noted priest and preacher who was rector of Trinity Church, Copley Square, in Boston, for many years. Brooks was not uncontroversial: there were protests when he was consecrated bishop, a suspicion of defective theology; but he was universally loved by … Read more

Second Sunday after Epiphany, Year B, Holy Trinity Church, Nashville

“Now the Lord came and stood there, calling as before, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ And Samuel said, ‘Speak, for your servant is listening’” (1 Sam. 3:10).

Our first reading today is a story of call: the call of the boy Samuel. The son of Hannah and Elkanah, Samuel had been pledged from before his birth to the service of God at the shrine in Shiloh. As a young person, he was no doubt given humble tasks: keeping the sacrificial … Read more

Life Profession, Community of St. Mary, Sewanee

“This one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on towards the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:13-14).

“Straining forward;” “pressing on:” the third chapter of St. Paul’s Letter to the Philippians lays out an ambitious course for the Christian life. Discipleship calls for us to lean into the future, to head in a direction, and the goal (in … Read more

First Sunday after Epiphany, Year B, Christ Church, Tracy City, Church of the Epiphany, Sherwood, Trinity Church, Winchester

“In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters” (Gen. 1:1-2).

It’s early in the year, so it’s possible that we haven’t yet forgotten the New Year’s resolutions we made just a couple of weeks ago. Greeting the new year with an intention to be a new person, … Read more

The Seventh Day of Christmas, Christ Church Cathedral, Nashville

“But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God” (Jo. 1:12).

As we know from the song, the Christmas season has twelve days, taking us from December 25 to January 5: a season which encompasses not only the celebration of the birth of the Savior, but also the end of the old year and the beginning of the new. The familiar song suggests that the … Read more

Christmas Day, Christ Church Cathedral, Nashville

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it” (Jo. 1:5).

In the early days of the Church, Christians would celebrate the birth of the Savior at three gatherings: at midnight, at dawn, and in the morning. In Jerusalem, the midnight celebration (the traditional hour of Jesus’ birth) was held in Bethlehem, about five miles away, with parishioners returning to the city for the other celebrations. In Rome, in the Middle … Read more

Christmas Eve, Christ Church Cathedral, Nashville

“[We became] heirs according to the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:7).

Christmas is a time for hope: not only in the normal course of things, as we celebrate the birth of the Savior, but particularly this year, when hope is at a premium, when it’s scarce, when we must seek it out. Hope can be defined as faith, trust in God, that is oriented toward the future. As we turn the corner of the … Read more

Fourth Sunday of Advent, Year B, St. Mark’s Church, Antioch

“Moreover, the Lord declares to you that the Lord will make you a house” (2 Sam. 7:11).

The first man in space was Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin; at the time, we were deep into the Cold War, and the ideological conflict between East and West dominated even this scientific achievement. Part of that conflict was the official atheism of the Soviet Union, so it came to be believed that Gagarin told the press that he had been up in … Read more

Third Sunday of Advent, Year B, St. David’s Church, Nashville

“Those who sowed with tears * will reap with songs of joy” (Ps. 126:6).

Our Psalm today is one of a number with a traditional title: “A Song of Ascent.” A total of fifteen psalms, from 120 to 134, grouped together in this way, may have been songs sung during pilgrimage to Jerusalem. The idea of an ascent, a “going up,” would fit with the capital city’s location on Mount Zion, in the Judean hill … Read more