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    Living in Angry Times

    Billy Sunday was an American evangelist in the early 1900’s.  He was known for his plain-spoken sermons and fiery delivery.  In some ways you could say he was a prototype of Billy Graham.  One day a lady came to speak with Billy Sunday.  During the course of their conversation she admitted to having a problem with anger.  She attempted to rationalize it by saying, “There’s nothing wrong with losing my temper.  I blow up and it’s all over.” Billy thought for a minute and replied, “So does a shotgun.  And look at the damage it leaves behind.”  (sermonillustrations.com) We are living in angry times.  In his book, Fortitude, Dan Crenshaw…

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    Only One Right Answer

    Which Wire? The other night I was watching a movie in which one of the characters had been kidnapped and wired with a bomb.  It was set on a timer and it was up to the hero of the film to diffuse the bomb and save his friend’s life.  Almost every time a film does this the scenario and the outcome are the same.  There is a timer with big bright red numbers that is counting down.  The bomb is put on the poor victim in a way that prevents its removal without detonating.  So the only solution is to diffuse it.  There are always a myriad of wires and…

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    When You Are In a Storm

    Storms.  We all know what it is like to be caught in one.  The wind, the rain, the thunder and lightning.  We know their power.  We know their strength.  We also know that, when we are caught in a storm, we should seek shelter.  You can sometimes drive through storms.  At other times, it’s wise to pull over and wait it out.  When I was flying airplanes, it was common knowledge that you do not mess with thunderstorms.  You avoid them.  You land and wait them out.  But on a boat, as the disciples are in today’s Gospel lesson?  That’s tricky.  They are on a lake.  There is no real…

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    The War Within

    If you have been around children for any amount of time, you’ll know how this story goes.  Being a fun-loving parent you decide to give your two sons a whiffle ball and bat.  That should be fun, right?  For a while the game proceeds pretty much as you expected.  But sooner or later, you have to leave the game.  You’re gone for just a few minutes when you hear crying.  You rush to the scene to find one boy holding the whiffle bat and one holding his forehead crying.  You say, “What happened?”  The one holding the bat says what?  “I don’t know.”  The one holding his head says, “He…

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    Race, Repentance, and Reconciliation

    Like so many people, I have been watching our national conversation on race these past few weeks.  I use the term “conversation” very loosely, because there really hasn’t been much conversation.  While it seemed for a brief moment there was incredible, cross-racial, bi-partison outrage at the death of George Floyd,  the powers that be were never going to let that stand.  Seeing their time had come, activists began hijacking our unity, driving a wedge between us until we began to see one another as co-conspirators and collaborators in racial unrest –thereby, once again, sending us into an endless cycle of blame, virtue signaling, lecturing, and condemning.  All too often church…

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    Remember Who You Are: Our Identity in Christ

    Introduction We hear a lot about identity these days.  In some ways I think we are encouraged, if not downright pressured to identify with some group or another.  Some people identify themselves by their heritage.  Others may identify themselves by their political affiliation or lack of one.  Still other people may identify themselves by their sexual orientation or by their ethnicity.  Many people identify themselves by their achievements or their career, while others may identify themselves vicariously through their spouse or children. We may be able to relate with the comedian Lily Tomlin who once said, “I’ve always wanted to be somebody, but I see now I should have been…

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    Meeting Mary in May

    For many Anglicans, the topic of the Blessed Virgin Mary generally elicits a number of questions or perhaps even dis-ease.  Many former mainline Protestants and Non-Deominational people who discover a home in the Anglican Church are sometimes taken aback with talk of Mary.  In our liturgical calendar we observe March 25 as the Annunciation of the Lord Jesus to the Virgin Mary, which is a celebration of the visit of the Angel Gabriel to Mary (Luke 1:26-38).  We also have May 31 which is the Visitation of the Virgin Mary to Elizabeth (Luke 1:39-45) and August 15 is the actual feast of of St. Mary.  In the Evening Prayer office…

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    Hope Along the Road

    It was just 7 miles from Jerusalem to Emmaus. To the 1st century mind, it was a quick trip you could easily do in a couple of hours.  The dusty road would have been busy on this, the first day of the week following Passover.  There were children running and laughing and playing.  The adults walked in small processions of families and friends. But Cleopas and his companion, which scholars say might well have been his wife Mary, walked with a particular heaviness of heart and mind.  In some ways you can imagine that they were dragging themselves to Emmaus, preoccupied with their sadness, frustration and disappointment.  They were followers…

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    Plagues, Prayer Books, & Biblical Lament

    I have been pondering our response as the Body of Christ to the current pandemic of COVID-19 and how similar things were faced by our Anglican forebearers.   A couple of weeks ago I posted a prayer from the 1789 Book of Common Prayer which read: ALMIGHTY God, the Lord of life and death, of sickness and health; Regard our supplications, we humbly beseech thee; and; as thou hast thought fit to visit us for our sins with great sickness and mortality, in the midst of thy judgment, O Lord, remember mercy. Have pity upon us miserable sinners, and withdraw from us the grievous sickness with which we are afflicted. May…

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    We Never Have to Wonder

    As an Anglican Priest I’ve been at the bedside of the dying.  I’ve been in the Emergency room with the doctors as they worked feverishly to fight back the specter of death.  I’ve sat with the grieving widow whose world has collapsed at the passing of her husband.  I’ve baptized a couple of people on their deathbed.  And I’ve seen grief collapse more than one mother to the ground.  As a priest, this is part of the calling.  It’s a hard privilege.  We are invited into the most painful and sacred moments of life.  It is never easy.  I can also tell you that it does not get easier (after…