The First Sunday of Advent, Year C, Church of the Advent, Nashville

“Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that day does not catch you unexpectedly, like a trap” (Lk. 21:34-35).

Our Gospel reading for Advent Sunday focuses each year on Jesus’ coming in glory: on the cosmic revolution in sun, moon, and stars; on the distress of nations, and the roaring of the sea and waves; on the shaking of the very … Read more

Proper 29, Year B, St. Barnabas’ Church, Tullahoma

“As I watched in the night visions, I saw one like a human being coming with the clouds of heaven” (Dan. 7:13).

The prophet Daniel lived in a time of crisis, on the world historical stage. It was a time of collision between warring empires: Babylonian, Persian, and Greek. It was a time when the People of God looked to be crushed by competing agendas, and their fragile peace disrupted by powers beyond their control. It … Read more

Funeral of the Rev’d Canon Fred Dettwiller, St. George’s Church, Nashville

“So we do not lose heart” (2 Cor. 4:16).

It’s a privilege to preach today, as we gather in prayer and thanksgiving for our friend and colleague the Rev’d Canon Fred Dettwiller. The wide range of people gathered here today (family, friends, co-workers, community leaders, church members) is a sign of Canon Fred’s impact for good on our community, and his great capacity for friendship. I knew him as a friend in priestly ministry, as … Read more

Proper 28, Year B, St. Philip’s Church, Donelson

“Let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds” (Heb. 10:24).

We’ve been reading from the Letter to the Hebrews for the last several weeks, and this Sunday our course of reading comes to a close with the image of Christ the high priest. Hebrews is an extended meditation on the priestly ministry of Jesus Christ, foreshadowed in the person of the priests of ancient Israel, but now fulfilled as Christ … Read more

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

“Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away” (Rev. 21:4).

As I get older, I’m more mindful of my own mortality. In human life, one generation is followed by another, as the generational torch is passed in succession. When I was younger, I didn’t think much about these things. Now I know: human beings are creatures of time, and the time is … Read more

Priests’ Retreat, Episcopal Diocese of Albany, Christ the King Center, NY, Friday in the Week of Proper 26

“… a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles in the priestly service of the gospel of God, so that the offering of the Gentiles may be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 15:16).

Our reading this morning, from the Letter to the Romans, is a fitting conclusion to our retreat this week. Here we glimpse St. Paul describing his ministry in distinctly sacerdotal terms: “minister” of Christ; “priestly service” of the Gospel; “offering” … Read more

Feast of Saints Simon & Jude, Apostles, The Living Church Foundation Annual Meeting

“The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ” (Eph. 4:11-12).

Our reading from the Letter to the Ephesians this morning begins with an appeal to live an upright life: “a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called” (Eph. 4:1), as St. Paul writes. God’s call … Read more

Proper 25, Year B, Church of the Messiah, Pulaski

“The word of the oath, which came later than the law, appoints a Son who has been made perfect for ever’” (Heb. 7:28).

There used to be an idea, in some church circles when I was growing up, that the Old Testament was a sort of first draft of God’s plan: it laid down a lot of rules and regulations that were frustrating and beside the point. Human beings were unable to follow these laws, … Read more

Proper 22, Year B, St. Michael & All Angels, Cookeville

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

Like a lot of folks in this time of pandemic, Caroline and I have been doing some home-improvement. These were some long-term plans, often deferred, but now put into action. Renovation of our downstairs bathroom, and a back room, uncovered things we didn’t know were there. We discovered a couple of layers of old wall paper, very quaint, but not to … Read more

St. Michael & All Angels (trans.), Nashotah House Seminary Matriculation, Nashotah, WI

“Bless the Lord, you angels of his, you mighty ones who do his bidding… bless the Lord, all you works of his, in all places of his dominion” (Ps. 103:20, 22).

It’s an honor to preach tonight, on the observance of matriculation, and the Feast of St. Michael and All Angels; a delight, as well, to have shared these last few days with the seminary community. My wife Caroline and I are grateful to Dean … Read more