Author: Nicholas Knisely

Statement regarding the new statue of Blackstone in Pawtucket

Current Affairs / Reconciliation / Rhode Island

My statement regarding the statute of the Rev. William Blackstone in Pawtucket RI: It was with surprise that we learned today of the William Blackstone statue erected in Pawtucket. It is regrettable that such a monument would be approved and given municipal funding without seeking more input from our Indigenous neighbors. Colonizers like Blackstone are a troubling feature of our American history, and we would do well to reflect on the opinions of those who were on this land […]

This is a hard. Yet, what else do we have? These are the words of life.

Sermons and audio

The Messiah is telling us things we didn’t anticipate. This isn’t about subduing the enemy. This isn’t about being exalted and having the world serve us. This isn’t about the arrival of a paradise that grants us everything we think we’ve ever needed. This is about dying for others. This is about giving your body so that others can live. And this is about accepting that sort of sacrifice from others on your behalf. Even […]

Encourage one another, lest we lose heart

Current Affairs / Rhode Island

From our diocesan newsletter this week: Usually, this time of year, I’d be writing a message encouraging you to unplug and relax in these final days of Summer. But this year, as much as we wanted to do so, national and global events and the resurgent pandemic make all that feel impossible. The sad truth is this is the second summer in a row that we can’t take a breath. This long slow series of […]

Was the Manna a miracle?

Sermons and audio

This week’s sermon is a bit of a sidebar. We’ve been hearing St. John’s account of the feeding of the multitude and the explanation that follows by Jesus to the gathered crowd. We’ve talked about how this miracle signifies the return of the manna. And that people were looking for that as proof that the Messiah had come. But we’ve not talked about manna and what it was. There are multiple natural explanations for the […]

We must eat his flesh to live

Sermons and audio

We sing “I am the Bread of Life” and forget the power and shock behind these words. We worship a crucified God, and we “gnaw” on God’s flesh so that we can live. Jesus calls himself the Son of Man, the Mortal One, in other words, the one who will die. His death (and resurrection) isn’t the same as Lazarus’ whom Jesus raises later in the Gospel. Jesus’ resurrection (by the divine force willingly dying […]

How can we become the bread of life?

Sermons and audio

The Gospel reading for this week picks up right where last week’s left off. Having fed the multitude in the wilderness, Jesus performs another sign that testifies to his true identity by walking across the lake to the other side, where the following day, the people chasing after him find him. In this week’s reading, he begins to teach on the deeper meaning of the sign of the feeding, who he is, and the deeper […]

The poor will always be with you. Thanks be to God.

Sermons and audio

There is only one miracle that appears in all four Gospels – the feeding of the multitude in the wilderness. It appears in two different versions in the first two Gospels, so you could say this miracle appears six times in all. Nothing else Jesus does features as prominently. It’s reasonable to assume that this was very important to the early followers of the Way. We tend to imagine that in a time of military […]

What’s the point of the church communities we so cherish?

Sermons and audio

As a bishop, most times when I visit with a congregation, we quickly start to talk about the challenges the congregation is facing. Those challenges start with not having enough money to do the things we want to do. Many of the challenges being managed have to do with the building in which the community gathers. Some of the concerns are about the lack of people, or the lack of a certain group of people […]

“When the elephants fight, the grass is trampled”. What we can learn from the execution of John the Baptist.

Sermons and audio

This week’s Gospel tells of the events surrounding the execution of John the Baptist, whom Jesus describes as the greatest of the prophets, by order of King Herod. Herod makes this decision as a result of a rash promise promise to Salome, daughter of Herodias, his wife, during a banquet celebrating his birthday. Herod doesn’t actually want to kill John the Baptist, but he’s more afraid of losing face in front of his party guests […]

Every human has value. Every human is gifted. Even our neighbors.

Sermons and audio

This weekend’s Gospel, appointed for the same day that people in the USA are observing Independence Day, recounts an unusual event in Jesus’ life – when he is amazed at people rather than them being amazed by him. The beginning of the reading tells of how Jesus’ childhood friends and neighbors couldn’t imagine that he was anything more than the child who had grown up beside them. And when he performed miracles and taught with […]