Generosity: All Day Long

September 24, 2017

Church of the Servant, Wilmington, NC
Proper 20, Year A
Jonah 3:10-4:11; Philippians 1:21-30; Matthew 20:1-16

Listen here, or read below:

How’s everybody doing?

I don’t know about you, but it’s been a rough few weeks for me. I’m not talking about my start here at Church of the Servant and the move to Wilmington. That’s going great, unpacked boxes notwithstanding. I did finally take some time to go through the wonderful “gifts of Wilmington” y’all so generously left for me and Alice. We appreciate your kindness and your welcome!

The rough part has been all the images of destruction from the one-after-another natural disasters hitting our shores, as well as our neighbors in the Caribbean and Mexico. While the winds, waves, and tremors have caused havoc, taken lives, and left so many without power or shelter, the images relayed day after day on our tv’s and mobile devices have done their own share of beating-down our psyches.

And if that’s not enough, we have the anxiety producing rhetoric of world leaders threatening to destroy one another, a resurgence of unrest and racial tensions in St. Louis, and the very real fear of young Hispanic Dreamers whose future is now unclear with the repeal of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, known as DACA. It’s no surprise that tears welled-up in my eyes time and again as I watched the news this week. It’s just so much. Too much to take-in sometimes.  Read the rest of this entry »

Christ Church Episcopal, Norcross, GA
Ash Wednesday
Joel 2:1-2,12-17; 2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:10; Matthew 6:1-6,16-21

(Gospel Text provided below)

In a few minutes, as part of this Ash Wednesday liturgy, I will extend an Invitation to the observance of a Holy Lent. This invitation says in part:

I invite you… to make a right beginning of repentance, and as a mark of our mortal nature, let us now kneel before the Lord, our maker and redeemer.

ashwednesday-251x300We’ll then say a prayer of preparation, remembering that we have been created out of the dust of the earth. We’ll ask that the ashes placed on our foreheads be a sign of our mortality and penitence. This is often the focal point on this solemn day. A day we are called to begin a season of introspection, repentance, and self-denial.

Yet, I want to point out that in that prayer there is one additional component…

… that we may remember that it is only by [God’s] gracious gift that we are given everlasting life…

I believe that the remembrance of this gracious gift is also an integral part of the day. Today’s gospel passage from Matthew calls us to lean into this gracious gift. It invites us to embrace the special connection we each have with God, and amplifies the realization that everything we have and who we are is GIFT.    Read the rest of this entry »

Rules of the Road

February 12, 2017

Christ Church Episcopal, Norcross, GA
The 6th Sunday after Epiphany
Deuteronomy 30:15-20; 1 Corinthians 3:1-9; Matthew 5:21-37

(Gospel Text provided below)

Most summers when I was a kid my family would pack up the station wagon and head off on a road trip. Sometimes we went to the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, other times to see our cousins in Springfield, Ohio. From Houston, it usually took two days of driving to reach our destination, and with five kids and two adults, it was a very full car.

road-tripNow anyone who’s traveled in a station wagon, similar to traveling on a crowded airplane, there are “preferred seats.” As you’d expect, the window seats were first choice. And while sitting in the way-back wasn’t great, especially when the seat faced backwards (whose idea was that?) – even the way-back ranked higher than the dreaded middle seat. But the best seat was the one we called the seat-apart. It’s the one that gets pulled forward to let others into the way-back. What made it so popular was the little split that clearly designated where your seat began and where it ended. All the other seats left room for seat creep, followed by the emphatic complaint: “Mom, she’s touching me!”

Now, my mom’s a big fan of being fair – or at least trying to be fair. So, realizing she had five young children traveling in a very confined space for hour after hour, she came up with a rotation strategy. Every time we stopped for a meal or to get gas, us kids would rotate seats. This way everyone had time in the dreaded middle seat, in the way-back, and in the coveted seat-apart. She put this plan – these rules – in place, with the hope of creating harmony for our long journey together. Read the rest of this entry »

A Pilgrim’s Lens

October 2, 2016

img_5578Last July I had the honor to lead a group of eleven teenagers and four fantastic leaders to South Ireland for a Pilgrimage. I’ve intentionally waited to share much about this trip, wanting the Pilgrims to be the first to tell their story to the Christ Church congregation, which they did on October 2nd.

So, now, I’m sharing some of my reflections. They come in two forms – a photo-slideshow (link below) and a few of my daily journal entries – my personal reflections. The over-arching sentiment was captured on Day 2 with this side note:

What a ridiculous privilege it is to get to do this for a living. #worththewait 

Read the rest of this entry »

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