June is a month of many celebrations. It is Pride Month, of course. Tomorrow is Juneteenth. Sunday is Father’s Day. Lots of high school and middle school graduations happen in June, and this month in the church calendar is filled with commemorations of saints, martyrs and disciples. The Church of the Holy Apostles gathered for our own celebration last Sunday, as we returned to worshipping together in our beautiful, sacred building….
“You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you odd.”
These words are attributed to Southern Gothic writer Flannery O’Connor. No one seems to be able to find the exact citation for this quote, but even if she didn’t actually say or write it, the words sound like hers. O’Connor was a storyteller who ripped away the sentiment that can find its way into faith….
When Mary and the other women approached the tomb after Jesus’ death, they saw an amazing sight. They expected to see the stone still blocking the tomb, and they needed a way to enter the resting place of their beloved Master. The stone represented a barrier to their...
Tomorrow our church remembers Absalom Jones, the first African American ordained as a priest in the Episcopal Church. Jones was born into slavery in Delaware and at sixteen was sold to a shopkeeper in Philadelphia. He married at age 20, bought his wife’s freedom and then bought his own in 1784, when he was 28 years old.
Happy 2021! And Merry Christmas! And a Blessed Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus! We often think of New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day as purely secular affairs. If we haven’t already put away our decorations, we are starting to make plans to do so. All the “best of” lists have been published (something of a challenge for 2020 in all categories) and the holiday music has been shelved for another year. Maybe we are starting to commit to resolutions and look ahead to post-holiday business. The party, whatever it looked like for us this year, is over….
As we celebrate Christmas (and remember that the season lasts for twelve whole days!), and prepare for the changing of the year, it is natural to reflect back on 2020. And while the year’s awful events were unprecedented for the vast majority of us, there were also unprecedented opportunities to connect, to serve others, and to give thanks….
As I write these words, the outcome of the U.S. election is still uncertain. By the time you read these words we may know more about the election results, but we have known throughout 2020 that we have a way to go before divisiveness subsides and chaos diminishes. No matter how we engage the next chapter of our national narrative, our prayer life is essential to sustaining us (an obvious statement, and also an important reminder always!)…..
I spent a few days of my vacation on a virtual retreat through Holy Cross Monastery. The theme was “Praying with the Spanish Mystics” and we spent a day each with Ignatius of Loyola, Teresa of Avila, and John of the Cross. (My niece, upon hearing the names of the mystics, wondered if someday she could be known as “Audrey of Manhattan”?!)….
It has always surprised me that the assigned Gospel reading for July 4 is Matthew 5:43-48, which includes Jesus saying this: You have heard that it was said, “You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.” But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven. This commission doesn’t seem to fit with fireworks and triumphant march music. On a day when we commemorate victorious nationalism, it seems odd that the church wants us to focus on love and prayer.
…What Jesus is telling us to do in Sunday’s gospel from Matthew is similar to the famous Golden Rule – “Do unto others.” A cup of cold water is a gift that everyone can give because it is the smallest of gifts. Even this, the smallest of gifts, is precious to the person receiving it, because it sometimes is the gift of life….