Author: Nicholas Knisely

The Wind of God in 2021

Sermons and audio

A year ago we had dreamed of reopening congregations in Rhode Island on the Feast of Pentecost. But it was not to be. But this year, in 2021, on this Feast Day, the Governor has removed our restrictions on gathering so carefully and deliberately, the day has come. It will be a while before things seem more like they did prior to the beginning of the pandemic. But the Spirit of God has brought us […]

The early Church cast lots to choose a successor apostle. Would we?

Sermons and audio

What I find fascinating in this week’s reading from Acts is the way they decided to chose the next Apostle, and the faith that they displayed in so doing. First, they began to prepare for the future. (Twelve was an important number, but it stopped being the defining number. Apostles were killed, or died. New Apostles emerged or were elected. The Way of Love began to spread.) They believed that they had a future. They […]

This is my commandment, that you love one another

Sermons and audio

This week, a familiar Gospel reading is paired with the US observance of Mother’s Day. It’s a brilliant match, one that I wished happened more often as the secular occasion helps to illustrate more deeply the message that Jesus gives to his disciples the night of his betrayal and arrest. Mother’s Day has a complicated history here in the US and I suppose that is paralleled by the complicated emotions that Mother’s Day brings up […]

Jesus the Model and Noble Shepherd

Sermons and audio

Some Sundays of the liturgical year have names that relate to the lessons that are (or were) traditionally read that week. This Sunday which is just such an occasion, is often called Good Shepherd Sunday. We hear Jesus describe himself as the Good Shepherd of the flock that he has come to call into being. While there are many traditional ways of understanding this particular image, there might well be meaning that would resonate with […]

The wounds remain though the new life begins

Sermons and audio

Both Luke’s and John’s Gospels include accounts of the resurrected Jesus appearing in the Upper Room to his disciples and showing them the wounds that his transformed body still carries. The wounds on the transformed person signify many things. Among others, they show us that this is the same person who suffered and died. And, they show us that this body is a new creation, which exists in a different way than the old body […]

What sins you bind, are bound. What sins you loose, are loosed.

Sermons and audio

If you step back just a bit from the events of this week’s Gospel reading from the Fourth Gospel, and look at how it functions in the larger narrative, you can begin to see that the Temple and the Priesthood is being remade along with everything else on the First Day of the New Creation. Rather than focusing on the experience of St.Thomas, let’s consider the meaning of Jesus’ words to the gathered community in […]

Has the Pandemic brought an end to our hyper-mobility?

Current Affairs / Religion

Susan McWilliams Barndt has a brief essay posted on the new site “Current” that talks about the implications of new sociological data showing that Americans are moving less and putting down deeper roots than they have in decades: Rooting for the Future – Current: Because we know that the more people move, the more they tend to be focused on their individual selves rather than on their communities, favor “duty-free” relationships, have less of a […]

Easter Day 2021

Sermons and audio

Each year, as we hear the story of Easter Day, there’s some detail or piece of the account that seems to stand out. This year, for me, it’s what Jesus says to Mary of Madgela, the First Apostle, when she encounters him in the garden at the first light of day. Jesus is recasting his relationship to her, to the other apostles and to each of us in that moment before he ascends to his […]

Palm Sunday 2021 – Hosanna!?

Sermons and audio

Most years we celebrate Palm Sunday beginning in the church yard, blessing the palms, carrying them singing and shouting Hosanna around the neighborhood and then into the church nave. It feels like we move from light into darkness as the full liturgy progresses and we hear the Passion narrative and celebrate the Lord’s Supper. This year many congregations are focussing on the Liturgy of the Palms because it keeps the worship out of doors in […]