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 »

Happy Tail-wagging Day!

November 26, 2015

Christ Church Episcopal, Norcross, GA

Thanksgiving Day; Year B 
Joel 2:21-27; Psalm 126; 1 Timothy 2:1-7; Matthew 6:25-33

A few days ago I saw a post on my Facebook Page that caught my eye. This is what it said:

There is a story they tell of two dogs.

Both at separate times walk into the same room.

One comes out wagging his tail while the other comes out growling.

Dogs

A woman watching this goes into the room to see what could possibly make one dog so happy and the other so mad.

To her surprise she finds a room filled with mirrors.

The happy dog found a thousand happy dogs looking back at him while the angry dog saw only angry dogs growling back at him.

What you see in the world around you is a reflection of who you are.

I think there’s a lot of truth to this.

Just yesterday, as I was trying to make my way through a grocery store parking lot, I found myself getting more and more frustrated. At 3:00 pm on the day before Thanksgiving, everyone is getting their last-minute items – including me. I was already envisioning the long check-out lines and decided I just didn’t have the patience for this right now, so I headed to another store, one closer to home.

Luckily, that extra drive gave me a chance to make an attitude adjustment. Read the rest of this entry »

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