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February 26, 2020

Church of the Servant, Wilmington, NC

Ash Wednesday
Joel 2:1-2, 12-17; Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21

Listen here (transcript below):

 

 

Sermon Transcript:

We heard words from the Prophet Joel this evening. He was speaking to a people in the midst of the ruin of their country. “Blow the trumpet in Zion! Sound the alarm on my holy mountain!”  I heard an echo of this proclamation in a video that was shared by our Presiding Bishop Michael Curry this week, sounding an alarm. 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 »

Preparing to Bloom

February 10, 2016

Christ Church Episcopal, Norcross, GA
Ash Wednesday  
Isaiah 58:1-12; 2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:10; Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21

As many of you know, I lived in Houston, Texas most of my life. As with any city or town, Houston has its own unique rhythms, customs and colloquialisms that aren’t readily understood by outsiders. Not surprisingly, Atlanta and Georgia have their own, too, so when I moved here 6 years ago, I had a bit of a learning curve.

One of the things that I quickly discovered is that Liquor Stores are called Package Stores, but I didn’t know why. The name seemed so vague to me. So, one day I asked the guy behind the counter, “Why do they call this a Package Store, and not a Liquor Store?” lsHe explained that in Georgia, liquor laws differentiate sales based on whether it is bought by the drink (by the glass) or by the package (by the bottle). Thus, the Package Store.

Since then, I’ve shared this tid-bit of knowledge with others. For many, even life-long Georgians, this was a revelation. They had no clue where the term Package Store came from, and frankly, never even thought about it. And that’s okay. There’s no requirement to know. It doesn’t change anything, really.

But, in the same way, many of us who grew up in the church, certainly in the Episcopal tradition, have encountered and lived with words and practices that we don’t really know the context for, we just do them. Lent can be one of those times.   Read the rest of this entry »

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