The Heart of a Maverick

September 2, 2018

Church of the Servant, Wilmington, NC

Proper 17, Year B
Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23

Listen here:




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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 »

Christ Church Episcopal, Norcross, GA

The 3rd Sunday in Lent
Exodus 20:1-17; 1 Corinthians 1:18-25; John 2:13-22

When we hear this story about Jesus turning over the tables and driving the livestock out of the temple grounds, we often use this as an example of Jesus’ HUMAN nature, as opposed to his DIVINE nature. There’s something comforting when we see this other side of Jesus; a Jesus who gets mad and starts throwing things. THIS is a Jesus we can relate to!

But I contend something very different is happening in today’s story.

First off, today’s reading comes from John’s gospel, which handles this event differently than the other gospels. In Matthew, Mark and Luke, the cleansing of the temple, as it is often called, happens near the end of Jesus’ ministry. He’s entered Jerusalem for the Passover and goes to the temple. But, in these gospels, the charge that accompanies the table-flipping is that the temple has become a den of thieves. And, it is this act in the temple that becomes the catalyst for his arrest and execution.

But that isn’t how John tells it.


In John’s gospel, the table-turning is at the very beginning of Jesus’ ministry. Jesus has just left Cana and the infamous wedding where water has been changed into wine.  Like the other gospels, he’s in Jerusalem for the Passover, but his actions in the temple grounds came not with an accusation of robbery, but instead carry an indictment that the Temple’s purpose has been usurped. They have turned a house of prayer into a marketplace. The temple had become a place of other things, and has lost its primary purpose – a place to meet God; to be connected with God.

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