Proper 20, Year B, Church of the Holy Cross, Murfreesboro

“He was teaching his disciples, saying to them, ‘The Son of Man is to be betrayed into human hands, and they will kill him, and three days after being killed, he will rise again’” (Mk. 9:31).

Our Gospel today gives us Jesus, in the characteristic role of a teacher. Jesus is called “teacher” at a number of points in the Gospels: his disciples called him “teacher,” and so did the crowds that gathered around him. … Read more

Commemoration of Edward Bouverie Pusey, Daughters of the King & Episcopal Church Women Fall Assembly, St. George’s Church, Nashville

“Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the master of a household who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old” (Matt. 13:52).

Today the church commemorates Edward Bouverie Pusey, a priest of the Church of England who was instrumental in the revival of church life in the 19th century. Pusey was a leader in the so-called Oxford Movement, which began in that then … Read more

Proper 19, Year B, Church of St. Joseph of Arimathea, Hendersonville

“But who do you say that I am?” (Mk. 8:29).

Last Sunday, I presided at Holy Baptism in one of our churches; one that hadn’t seen a baptism for a number of years. It was a great occasion, as you might imagine; made more so by the baptismal candidate himself, a boy about ten years old. We’re so used to the baptism of small children, when parents and godparents answer the baptismal questions on behalf … Read more

Proper 18, Year B, St. James’ Church, Dickson & Calvary Church, Cumberland Furnace

“[Jesus] said to him, ‘Ephphatha,’ that is, ‘Be opened’” (Mk. 7:34).

The Gospels were written in Greek, as far as we know, but there are a few places in the Gospel of Mark where we have the words of Jesus in his own Aramaic language. When Jesus raises Jairus’ daughter from the dead, in the fifth chapter of Mark, he says, “Talitha cum” or “Little girl, get up” (Mk. 5:41). When Jesus prays in the … Read more

Proper 17, Year B, St. James’ Church, Sewanee

“You abandon the commandment of God and hold to human tradition” (Mk. 7:8).

When I think “radical,” what comes to mind is Che Guevara, the 1960s Marxist revolutionary whose photographic image became a cultural icon. The block print face of Guevara on t-shirts inspired many imitations, from Bart Simpson to Jesus Christ: there’s even a cartoon of Guevara wearing a Bart Simpson t-shirt. Something about the image of Guevara caught the imagination of a generation, … Read more

Feast of St. Bartholomew, Apostle, & Re-Dedication of St. George’s Church, Nashville

“What is the house that you would build for me, and what is my resting place?” (Is. 66:1).

Earlier this month I was speaking with a parishioner in our diocese, who was describing her upbringing and early life as a member of the church. “Our family was very involved in the community. When the church doors opened, for worship or education or fellowship, we were there, turning on the lights and taking up the collection. … Read more

Proper 16, Year B, Tennessee Laymen’s Conference & St. Agnes’ Church, Cowan

“We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God” (Jo. 6:69).

The author C.S. Lewis wrote somewhere about faith, that he believed that New York City existed, in spite of never having seen it. He believed it because its existence was well attested by others who had been there, and who were able to offer credible evidence about it. Lewis’s point was a global one: that more of human … Read more

Proper 15, Year B, St. Anselm’s Church, Nashville

“Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them” (Jo. 6:56).

Today’s Gospel is about connection: about the close connection between Jesus and his disciples. Disciple means “follower”: not only in the literal sense of following Jesus around, but also in the sense that disciples take the teacher for their model, learning not only to “talk the talk,” but also to “walk the walk.” “It is enough for … Read more

Proper 14, Year B, Church of St. James the Less, Madison

“I am the bread that came down from heaven” (Jo. 6:41).

The phrase from our Gospel today, “Bread from heaven,” comes originally from the story of the manna, the mysterious substance that fed the People of Israel while they were wandering in the wilderness. As it says in Exodus, “Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘I am going to rain bread from heaven for you, and each day the people shall go out and gather enough for … Read more

Proper 8, Year B, Church of Our Saviour, Gallatin

“For you know the generous act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich” (2 Cor. 8:9).

Not all clergy are willing to talk about the Christian stewardship of treasure. An old-time school of thought was that the priest’s job was to pastor, while the laity were in charge of making sure the resources were available for the … Read more