Author: Nicholas Knisely

There is a direction to time and history, a purpose that is being worked out by God.

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Sermons and audio

When Jesus speaks to his disciples about what is to come in history, and explains to them that this is a reason to have hope, it can be hard to find comfort in what he’s describing. At first hearing, it sounds like a cataclysm is coming which will bring destruction and turmoil. But what he’s describing are the birth pangs of a healed and restored Creation. The Biblical stories insist that God is active in […]

A king who conquers by dying, not killing

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Sermons and audio

The Episcopal Church is the descendent of the Church of England. We still sometimes jokingly describe ourselves as the Anglican franchise in the United States. And with that history comes a complicated relationship with power. The Church of England and its role as an established part of the British Empire was seen by us as something to be achieved in our context. At the height of the Empire’s power, we started building large Gothic cathedrals […]

Grammarly desktop update – now appearing everywhere

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Web/Tech

This is a quick note that will only be important to a few of you, I imagine. As you probably have noticed by now, grammar is not my strongest gift. I sometimes struggle (ofttimes?) to get the words to communicate the thoughts I want to express. I’ve subscribed to Grammarly for a while now, but it’s been hard to access the service when writing on a desktop computer. (Either a windows pc or a Macintosh.) […]

How do we best respond to the crisis of climate change today?

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Sermons and audio

This week’s reading is taken from what is often called the mini-apocalypse of St. Mark’s Gospel. Jesus is predicting the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem and the suffering that will be inflicted upon his people by the Roman legions. It’s a powerful passage made more powerful by the visuals of the setting in which Mark presents Jesus’ words. But is there something deeper here than the situation that is being addressed? Is there a […]

What if we went all in and trusted that God had our back?

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Sermons and audio

The story of the widow’s mite, the story that is assigned for the regular Sunday readings this week, sounds like a call for people to impoverish themselves to support large religious institutions. And because that how it seemed to me for years, perhaps that’s why I always transferred the lessons for All Saints to this weekend – so that I wouldn’t have to preach on it. But when you look carefully at the account, and […]

Love the person, not the idea

Sermons and audio

While it’s relatively unusual to read this particular Gospel as part of this particular liturgical week – given that All Saints which begins this evening usually bumps this reading – the words that Jesus says are very familiar. This is St. Mark’s account of Jesus giving the summary of the Law in response to a question from a scribe. What Jesus says here by way of response isn’t unique. It is in keeping with other […]

The last miraculous healing of Mark’s Gospel; Bartimaeus becomes the model of discipleship.

Sermons and audio

The story of the healing of Bartimaeus at Jericho, on the banks of the Jordon River, is a chapter marker in Mark’s Gospel and a summation of all the teaching about discipleship that has been presented since the story of Peter’s Confession that we read at the beginning of this summer. Mark’s Gospel is a complexly written and theologically dense account of Jesus’ life and ministry. The story this week serves to delineate the structure […]

Jesus comes to bring a new kind of community, one built on a foundation of love.

Sermons and audio

Jesus is asked by two of his disciples to “do for them whatever they ask of him.” What they specifically want is to be given higher status than the others in the community. Jesus uses the moment as an opportunity to teach a foundational truth. He summons the whole group of disciples as they climb up the road to Jerusalem, and tells them that their relationships going forward need to turn from a self-centered focus […]

Wealth confers powers we are not morally ready to receive.

Sermons and audio

In this week’s Gospel reading, Jesus encounters a rich young man who wants to inherit eternal life. (Interesting way of putting it.) Jesus tells him to obey the moral law. The rich man professes that he has always done so. Jesus, lovingly, tells him that to be perfect, he must give away his wealth. And the young man is shocked and leaves, unable to do so. It isn’t the wealth per se that is the […]

The connection between Ancient Aliens and White Supremacy

Religion / Science

I’ve wasted some afternoons binge watching the TV series Ancient Aliens on Hulu over the past few years. It seems like a harmless “what if” exercise. And it’s fun when in a particular episode I’m introduced to some new site or artifact that I’d not heard of before. But I do notice that if I know something about what’s being presented, the information shared is not very robust and often weirdly wrong. In an article […]