Proper 27, Year B, The Church of the Redeemer, Shelbyville

“She out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on” (Mk. 12:44).

Most people will hedge their bets. In other words, if you happen to make a bet on one outcome, you might also bet on the other outcome, to mitigate your losses if the first bet turns out to be the wrong one. After all, there are no sure things in this life, and hedging the bet … Read more

The Sunday after All Saints’ Day, Year B, All Saints’ Church, Smyrna

“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end” (Rev. 21:6). 

No one remembers the day they were born: you may have seen pictures from your early life but you don’t really remember it. Your parents may have told you about it, but what you remember is what they told you, not the day itself. On the other hand, no one knows how their life will end: when, where, or how. We … Read more

Proper 25, Year B, St. Agnes’ Church, Cowan

“Go; your faith has made you well” (Mk. 10:52).

There are many stories of healing in Mark’s Gospel, and in a number of them faith is the operative element. When Jesus heals a paralytic early in his ministry he does so when (Mark tells us) he sees the faith of the man’s friends who have brought him (Mk. 2:5). When the woman with a hemorrhage approaches him and touches his cloak, Jesus tells her, “Daughter, … Read more

Proper 24, Year B, Church of the Messiah, Pulaski

“For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Mk. 10:45).

Part of training for ordination used to be a stint serving in hospital chaplaincy; and it still is in some cases. The idea at the time was to put ordinands into a clinical setting where they would have to deal with potential life and death situations, and learn what it is like … Read more

St. Luke the Evangelist, Clergy Day, St. Paul’s Church, Murfreesboro

“As for me, I am already being poured out as a libation” (2 Tim. 4:6).

It’s appropriate that our readings for the Feast of St. Luke the Evangelist today bear so directly on the nature of pastoral ministry and the Christian calling. It’s good that we gather today in the shadow of the great Evangelist Luke, author of the “orderly account” that we call Luke’s Gospel, as well as the Acts of the Apostles that … Read more

Proper 23, Year B, St. Barnabas, Tullahoma

“Jesus looked at them and said, ‘For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible.’” (Mk. 10:27).

Back in 1952 Norman Vincent Peale published The Power of Positive Thinking, a book that was enormously popular and influential in everyday culture. Even people who had never heard of Peale or read his book were impressed with the idea that maintaining a positive attitude increased the likelihood that good things would … Read more

Proper 22, Year B, St. James’ Church, Sewanee

“But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’” (Mk. 10:6).

“The world is charged with the grandeur of God. / It will flame out, like shining from shook foil,” wrote the 19th century poet and priest Gerard Manley Hopkins. Hopkins loved the natural world, and his poetry is full of wonderful images drawn from nature. In the poem from which these lines are drawn Hopkins goes on to speak of the … Read more

Feast of St. Michael & All Angels, DOK Annual Assembly & St. Michael’s, Cookeville

“Surely the Lord is in this place—and I did not know it!” (Gen. 28:16).

Jacob has gotten more than he bargained for in our reading today, for the Feast of St. Michael and All Angels. He’s on his way to visit his uncle Laban’s family, ostensibly looking for a bride from among his mother’s family; but he’s also on the run from home, where he’s cheated his brother Esau out of his father Isaac’s blessing. … Read more

Proper 20, Year B, St. Ann’s Church, Nashville

“Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you” (Jas. 4:8).

Over the past few weeks we’ve been reading from the New Testament Letter of James. The Letter is a form of Wisdom literature, standing in the tradition of Old Testament books like Proverbs, Job, and Ecclesiastes, which offer practical advice on how to live one’s life. This continues to be a popular line of literary endeavor, as self-help guides and popular works … Read more

Radical Vocation Conference, Saturday after Proper 19, The Church of the Incarnation, Dallas, TX

“Let anyone with ears to hear listen” (Lk. 8:8).

It’s a great honor to be here and to preach at this “Ancient Order, Radical Vocation” conference. What a great theme, and what a great encouragement the conference, the presenters, and the participants have been to all involved, not least of all the bishops present over these last few days. We all know that ministry, and ordained ministry in particular, is work that we are called to … Read more