When we have an encounter with God, what do we do next? This week’s Gospel reading illustrates two different responses, that of Simon Peter’s mother in law and that of the people of the community and reminds us that Jesus’ purpose is often different from our desires. Learning to cooperate with God’s will is the most important work of discipleship.
In this weeks’ Gospel reading, Jesus is teaching the people when he is interrupted by a person with a spirit opposed to God; an unclean spirit. Jesus casts out the spirit, the demon, simply by ordering it to leave. He doesn’t invoke the angels, he doesn’t use the name of another person, he simply speaks and the spirit obeys him. How can we understand this in a modern era? Is there something here for us […]
This week we hear the second half of the story of Jonah – when he hears God’s call to go to Ninevah and call the people there to repentance. Jonah resisted God at first because the Ninevites were his enemies and Jonah wanted them to perish, not to repent and be saved. It’s an extraordinary story. And it reminds us that God expects us to stay in relationship with others, even our enemies, so that […]
We hear the story of the call of Samuel again and again in church. But we rarely discuss the judgment on Eli and his family that is explicit in that call. This story from scripture is one of many stories where God lifts up someone to role, and when that person turns aside from God’s path, God turns aside from that person and lifts up another to take their place. It’s a reminder for all […]
This week, the first week of the Season of Epiphany, we celebrate the Feast of Our Lord’s Baptism and hear how, when Jesus was baptized by John in the Jordon, he was fully revealed as God’s beloved Son. It is not just the full revelation of his identity to the world, but it is the revelation of God as it’s one of the only accounts in which all three persons of the Trinity are present […]
Each story of Christmas is filled with meaning and carries messages that speak to from across the centuries. This year, on this second Sunday in Christmas Season, we hear the story of the Flight into Egypt – how Joseph fled Herod’s wrath that a rival had been born. And this year we can reflect on the contrast between the earthly ruler and the heaven sent king.
In this hard year filled with loss, grief and separation, we still hear the songs of the angels as they proclaimed Christ’s birth to the shepherds outside of Bethlehem. And those songs are a consolation right now. Life will conquer death, joy will conquer despair. Because Christ came, we shall live and have life abundantly. Because our cousins the angels find such joy in our salvation, perhaps this year, we can be inspired by them […]
We finally draw near to the threshold of the Feast of the Incarnation. But before we join Mary and Joseph beside the manager in Bethlehem, we need to take a moment to understand the miracle of Jesus’ birth, and what his two natures, human and divine, mean for us today. And while we wonder about that, we can wonder too about how we can be like Mary. How can we make God incarnate for others?
The greatest human who ever lived (according to Jesus) came into the world to point to something beyond himself, something greater than himself. The Church when it is really being the Church does the same thing. As we hear the story of the early ministry of John the Baptist, and as we turn the corner on this year’s Advent season, our time of waiting is coming to an end and the promised restoration is on […]
One of my favorite events each December is attending (and participating) in the Service of Lessons and Carols in the chapel at St. George’s School here in Rhode Island. My first one was soon after I was ordained the Episcopal Bishop of Rhode Island and it’s become our family tradition each year since. This year, with the school rightly limiting people’s access to the hilltop it wasn’t possible for people from the community to participate. […]