Sermons

November 1, 2023

All Souls Day – All Faithful Departed – Ted Hackett

Today we are celebrating “All Souls Day”… In the Prayer Book it is called “All the Faithful Departed.” I prefer the old, Medieval term “All Souls” Because I don’t believe that our eternal future all depends on how faithful we are in this life. I know that sounds a little…well…Heretical But for now… let’s leave it at being faithful certainly helps! More about that later…

All Souls’ comes the day after All Saints’ Day… Hallowe’en is All Saints’ Eve… It is the celebration of what early medieval people believed about the dead… They thought the dead who were in an “Intermediate State”… That is those who were not good enough for Heaven but not bad enough for Hell… Came back in ghostly form on All Saints Eve to beg for our prayers… And if we didn’t take pity on them…they would play malicious tricks on us! It started in Ireland in the 19th century and came to this country with Irish immigrants. Which explains my Irish grandmother’s Hallowe’en superstitions!

But we have moved All Saints day… One of the Church’s four main Holy Days…which comes on November first… To the next Sunday after All Souls to make it easier for folks to get to Church… So we’ll do All Saints’ next Sunday…    That’s convenient…but it disconnects Hallowe’en, All Saints’ and All Souls’ day… They really all go together… Because they all deal with the same thing…

Continue reading November 1, 2023

October 29, 2023

Proper 25A – George Yandell

Today’s gospel has Jesus stating the great commandment of the Law: ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ In short- Love God totally with your whole self.  He added, ‘A second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’ and summed them up, ‘On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.’ It is striking that Jesus was asked for one command and delivered two. He doesn’t mean that loving neighbor is similar to the first command, but is of equal importance and inseparable from the first. To love God is to love neighbor and vice versa. [The 3 sentences above adapted from The New Interpreter’s Bible, vol.8, p. 426, Abingdon Press, 1994.] Love passionately.  

When Christians use the word love with reference to God, to the deepest of human relationships, and toward the world, ‘love’ comes from the understanding of God’s nature as made known in Jesus. As it is revealed in the crucified and resurrected Jesus, we come to know love as unmotivated and unmanipulated, unconditional and unlimited. This love is not a feeling, but is commitment and action. [ibid. p. 425]  

Loving this way is sacramental- love is to be the outward and visible sign of inward and spiritual grace-filled response to God loving us, and it’s demonstrated with actions of love to God and neighbor. 

Continue reading October 29, 2023

October 22, 2023

George Yandell

In Jesus’ day the people of Galilee had only recently come under Jerusalem’s rule. Previously they had not owed tithes & other dues to the temple. The peasants in Galilee had borne the brunt of repeated Roman conquests of Palestine, with major massacres in the areas of Nazareth, Magdala & Capernaum around the time of Jesus’ birth. After Herod the Great died in 4 BCE, the Romans had imposed his son  Herod Antipas as ruler. He was the first ruler in history to live in Galilee. He pushed tax collections with rigor. He followed his father’s practice of massive building projects & constructed two new Galilean capital cities in a 20-year period. His construction efforts imposed a crushing economic drain on the peasants in Galilee precisely during the lifetime of Jesus. Radical Pharisees & other teachers spearheaded a refusal to render the Roman tribute, claiming that God was their true & only Lord & Master. These movements, along with the kingdom movement of Jesus, show that the ancient Israelite traditions of popular resistance & independence were very much alive in Judea & Galilee at the time of Jesus. (adapted from Jesus & Empire: The Kingdom of God & the New World Disorder, Richard Horsley, 2003, pp. 85-86.)  

Why don’t you pull out a coin or bill?  What do you see? [LIBERTY- & In God we trust] & [e pluribus unum= out of many, one] & whose images? // The inscriptions &

Continue reading October 22, 2023

October 15, 2023

St. Francis Propers – George Yandell

Often called the Parable of the Great Supper (Matthew 22:1-14), this gospel passage is difficult- all the invited guests refuse to come at the last minute. The King/host in turn rounds up a bunch of street people who never imagined themselves at the kind of party the host is throwing. As a parable of the Kingdom of Heaven, it suggests that the fellowship of Jesus is open to all sorts of folk, and the original guests invited to the wedding banquet who decided at the last minute not to attend (with puny excuses) are held accountable for killing the hosts’ slaves who carried the invitation. Matthew is using the parable as an allegory about the fellowship growing beyond the Galilean peasants who were the original 12 disciples to include all sorts and conditions of folks, many Gentiles as well as Jews. The growing fellowship of Jesus began to get push-back from the Jewish leaders who collaborated with the Roman occupation, and like Jesus, they put many to death in the decades that followed Jesus’ resurrection. It’s a very troubling message.  

Read as an allegory about the history of salvation, God is the king who prepares a feast for God’s son. The king invites his subjects, Israel, to the banquet. They treat the invitations lightly or kill the king’s servants, the prophets. The king destroys their city, Jerusalem, and invites others (foreigners) to the feast. This story is alien to Jesus.

Continue reading October 15, 2023