Christ Church Episcopal, Norcross, GA

Christmas Day, Selection III – RCL

Isaiah 52:7-10. Hebrews 1:1-4, (5-12), John 1:1-14

When my alarm went off at 6:15 this morning, after hitting the snooze-button a couple of times, it was a long Christmas Eve day, after all, I was lying in bed thinking about how comfortable that dark room and warm bed was – the comfort of darkness.

I realized how easy it is to go through life wanting to stay in those comfortable places when all that is familiar surrounds you. For me, and maybe for most of us, this instinct was automatic.
As a baby in the warmth of the womb, I didn’t seem interested in moving from that place. Even after 24 hours of labor endured by my mother, and with my twin sister by my side, I was still unwilling to leave the comfort of that safe place.

Perhaps it was an instinctive fear of leaving this darkness that caused my heart to quiver, literally. Yet, the heart irregularities prompted the doctor to perform a Caesaria-section – forcing me out of that darkness that had become a very comfortable place to be.

Even as an adult, I tended to navigate the “safe” path. Knowing I needed to find a job after college, I studied accounting instead of religion, which was my desire – go figure!

And on my career path in the banking industry, I moved through my career successfully, but no bold moves, staying with the same company for some twenty years. Yes, there’s something to be said for loyalty, but I think it has more to do with “safety”. Sticking with a boss I knew and worked well with, familiar systems and processes – you get the idea.

On the personal side, I spent a bit of time hiding who I was for fear of what others would say if they found out I was gay. What shame that might bring on my family, who has a prominent presence in Houston, where I lived.

Ultimately I realized that my hiding, was really more about me maintaining the status quo, because my parents, family and co-workers embraced me just as I am. I know everyone isn’t that fortunate…

But I’ve come to realize that when I find myself hesitant to share myself fully, or to take risks, I am falling back on my desire to stay in those warm bed-covers…

The comfort of darkness can be strong. Read the rest of this entry »

Christ Church Episcopal – Norcross, GA
Given while serving as seminarian.

4th Sunday after the Epiphany – Year A (RCL) – Micah 6:1-8, Psalm 15, 1 Corinthians 1:18-31, Matthew 5:1-12

How did that make you feel? This is the question Ceci often poses to me in our one-on-one sessions when I share an experience that I’ve had.

Working in banking for 20+ years this question didn’t come up much.

As I thought about it more, it didn’t really come up in my family life either. We’re mostly a “Left brain” bunch, where reason and logic jump in and take center stage. We THINK about things a lot, but we don’t probe into how we FEEL about things… or at least we don’t spend much time giving it a voice.

So, the first few times Ceci asked “How did that make you feel?” she had to follow that up with “Glad, Sad, Mad, or Afraid?” Now, there are lots of other feelings, but this at least pointed me in the right direction.

When we look at today’s gospel reading Jesus talks about feeling “blessed,” that is Happy, or even better “Fortunate” about certain situations in our lives, and we might find it a little surprising…

The passage starts with Jesus seeing the crowd, and then going up and sitting down on the mountain-side. The disciples we’ve been hearing about for the last few weeks, having let go of their fishing nets to follow his call, gather around and Jesus begins to teach them.

His words surely caught the disciples off guard as he looked toward the crowd, and then said… Read the rest of this entry »

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