Christ Church Episcopal, Norcross, GA

2nd Sunday of Easter – RCL Year A
Acts 2:14a, 22-32; 1 Peter 1:3-9; John 20:19-31

Alleluia, Christ is Risen!
The Lord is Risen indeed, Alleluia!

On the morning of Good Friday I headed into Atlanta to participate in the Annual Ecumenical Good Friday Pilgrimage. Although the walk was to begin at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, near City Hall, I knew I needed to be here, at Christ Church, shortly after the walk was over, so, the perpetual planner that I am, I decided to park near the finishing point, at the Martin Luther King Center, and walk about a mile to the starting point.

After finding a place to park, I made my way up Edgewood Ave. on foot. At 8:30 in the morning, the sidewalks were mostly empty, but I did encounter a few folks as I walked toward town.

In my clericals, I was an unexpected sight to one man who stopped me along the way. He was working on a demolition project and told me about his struggles with a co-worker, perhaps with the hope that I might provide words of guidance to resolve his conflict. We talked for a few minutes, which I’m not sure was so helpful, but perhaps encouraging, and then I was back on my way.

A few blocks later I approached an intersection where three men stood, waiting for the light to change. One of them was drinking from an aluminum can wrapped in a small paper-bag. As he turned and saw me, he smiled what seemed a self-conscious smile. Yet when it was returned with a smile of my own, and a “Good morning” greeting, he relaxed a bit, and then asked expectantly, “Is God Good?”

Read the rest of this entry »

Both Shepherd and Lamb

April 18, 2014

Christ Church Episcopal, Norcross, GA

Good Friday, April 18, 2014 – Year A

Isaiah 52:13-53:12, Hebrews 10:16-25, John 18:1-19:42

If you were here this past Sunday, you heard me explain that these narratives about Jesus’ death are called “The Passion” because the Latin root of the word is passio, which means suffering.

Throughout the Passion narrative from Matthew read on Sunday, we got a sense of the suffering Jesus endured, yet today’s account from John is quite different. In John’s gospel Jesus is the one directing the course of action, from beginning to end, and this is reflected in the Passion story, as well.

In today’s reading, after Judas brought the soldiers and temple police into the garden where Jesus was, instead of Judas kissing Jesus on the cheek, as told in Matthew’s version, here we have Jesus stepping forward on his own. He asks the soldiers who is it they seek, and when they say “Jesus of Nazareth” Jesus responds, without hesitation, “I am he.” Read the rest of this entry »

Christ Church Episcopal, Norcross, GA

Palm Sunday – The Passion of Christ (Year A)

Isaiah 50:4-9a; Philippians 2:5-11; Matthew 26:36-27:66

We’ve finally arrived at Palm Sunday, also called Passion Sunday. While using the word “Passion” may seem unusual, the Latin root of this word is passio, which means “suffering.”

Palm Sunday is a sensory overload. When I attended Emmaus House Chapel, Claiborne Jones, the vicar, would say “It’s the day of the church year when we do everything that we don’t do any other time.” And there is some truth to that.

And you have to admit, the Passion story makes a powerful centerpiece. The dramatic reading of the Passion of Christ brings it more fully to life. Yet, as we heard it today, just now, we must understand its purpose on this day – which is to provide an Overture, if you will, for Holy Week.



The Overture is that musical score at the very beginning of a musical, before the curtain goes up or during the opening credits, that weaves together small portions of various songs that will be part of the overall story.

For those who have seen the musical before, when they hear the Overture it brings to mind the context of each of the songs, drawing the audience in, heightening their anticipation of what is to follow. But, it doesn’t capture the whole story – you still have to watch the scenes that follow to get the full experience.

Similarly, the Passion story of Palm Sunday is like an Overture. It’s an overview of the story – the story that we will be participating in more fully throughout Holy Week.

For much of Christian history Holy Week was a time when people went to church every day of the week. In more recent times, there would be more active participation at least during the Triduum – which are the three days of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday. Yet even participation in these three days occurs less and less often, crowded out by busy schedules.

Consequently, Passion Sunday becomes a sort of substitute for Holy Week. It’s a shame really. It’s like listening to the Overture of a musical and then leaving the theater – you miss so much.

So, today, I invite you to enter fully into Holy Week, particularly, the Triduum. It provides an opportunity to experience the Passion of Christ more fully, and in so doing, to prepare more completely for the miracle of the resurrection. Read the rest of this entry »

Candler School of Theology – Episcopal Studies Eucharist Service

Lent V – Wednesday 

Daniel 3:14-20, 24-30; John 8:31-42


Today is my first day back from vacation… and it’s great to be back here with familiar faces at Candler after of day of working through a week’s worth of e-mails!

photo 1I spent most of last week in the quiet of a small cottage at St. Mary’s Convent in Sewanee, TN. On Wednesday morning I ventured onto campus, just a few miles up the road, to take in 9 holes of golf and then attend the sung-Eucharist service at the seminary. And for those who might judge me for putting a bit of golf in my contemplative retreat, rest assured, God’s name was invoked more consistently in that short period of time than any other while I was on the mountain.

???????????????????????????????After a few days of quiet reflection, I returned home on Saturday, just long enough to unpack and re-pack before Alice and I headed east on Sunday, to another altar of sorts – the immaculate fairways of the Augusta National golf course, host of The Masters.

My sister, Nancy, was able to get tickets to Monday’s practice round and Alice and I were invited to join in the fun! Though Monday ended up being a wash-out for the golfers and fans, the flower guild is still to be commended for their amazing work! Read the rest of this entry »

%d bloggers like this: