Christ Church Episcopal, Norcross, GA

Sermon on Matthew 25:14-30, given while serving as seminarian

A few weeks ago, as part of my Sociology of Religion class, I attended a Sabbath worship service at a local Conservative Jewish synagogue. Now, I don’t know how many of you have attended a Jewish Shabbat service, but if you find yourself looking at your watch when our service approaches the one hour mark, their 3-hour liturgy would be a real test of endurance for you. It certainly was for me!

This particular Saturday included a Bar Mitzvah. For those of you not familiar with Judaism – the term Bar Mitzvah means “Son of the Commandment.” It’s the time when a Jewish boy, having reached the age of thirteenth, is now counted among the “adults” of the Jewish tradition. [When a girl goes through this it’s called a Bat Mitzvah.] Part of this Rite of Passage includes having the youngster lead a portion of the service, including reading from the Torah, which is written in Hebrew and contains no vowels or punctuation, making it very difficult to read. They also share a short story that they’ve prepared about the Torah reading, similar to our homily. So it’s quite a bit of work.

Now that particular morning, as I was walking through a virtually empty foyer just minutes before the service was to begin, I noticed a family coming through the door. I had a sense that this was the family of the Bar Mitzvah candidate. The young boy seemed happy and self-assured – and as he walked by me I asked, “Is this your day?” He confidently replied, “This is my day.” There was no arrogance in his reply, instead, it was a kind of “claiming” that was amazing and exciting to see. His name is Jacob. Read the rest of this entry »

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