“The lawyer recites the commandment to ‘love your neighbor’ and asks, ‘Then who’s my neighbor?’ But Jesus also answers the question, ‘What is love?’ Love is to see someone in pain and to be ‘moved with pity.’ But love doesn’t stop there. Love goes to that person, tends to that person, pays for that person’s care. Love follows up with that person. And love demands that others care for that person.“
“Just who does Jesus think he is? I don’t mean that question in the way my late mother asked me a similar question, usually offered up with the entirety of my name: ‘Just who do you think you are, David Kimball Urion?’ No, I mean that question literally: who does Jesus think he is, and just when does he come to know that?“
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“You might be surprised to hear me say this, but the Trinity is the most interesting, the most illuminating, and some would say the only worthwhile thing about Christianity. And yet the doctrine of the Trinity is the most boring, the most opaque, and many would say the most stultifying thing about Christianity. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t deny that the First, Second, and Third persons of the Trinity are coequal, coeternal, and consubstantial, and that ‘we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity, neither confounding the Persons, nor dividing the Substance,’ but… it’s not what gets me out of bed in the morning.”
“It would not have made a lick of difference if one disciple alone in his room, maybe with a candle or some burning sage, was suddenly filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in another language. The sudden ability to speak another language would not have been a foundational moment for Christianity. That moment depended on diverse people gathering together in one place and actively seeking God. Nowadays, we call that situation ‘church.’”
“Within just months of the resurrection, this joyous victory parade has taken a surprise turn. Jesus, who has seemingly returned to lead his disciples as they transform the world, who appears to have conquered death itself to reign as king over all creation, goes away. He leaves behind a movement of disciples who, far from being dismayed that they’re losing Jesus a second time over, are instead emboldened and invigorated, filled with the power of the Holy Spirit as they continue to proclaim in every time and place: ‘The Lord is King.’ So what on earth is going on?“
“If we are genuinely Spirit-filled, we will live in keeping with God’s purposes for this world. This means that we have to determine God’s purposes for this world. And how do we do that? We do it right here. As John put it in today’s gospel: ‘Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.‘ (John 14:23)“
“If we think about it much at all, the Book of Revelation gives us some pause and discomfort as well-behaved, reserved, decorous Anglicans. Filled with strange images and stories, it’s all a bit too hallucinatory to be entirely comfortable for us. This, it would seem, is the stuff of holy rollers and snake handlers. So how on earth—or heaven, for that matter—are we to understand this book and its messages?”
Kate’s sermon charged us all to follow our recently-confirmed students’ example: “Explore your faith. Don’t let faith be just a creed that you mutter on Sunday. Keep learning. Keep challenging your clergy with interesting questions. Ask your friends and family about their faith. And if you find a question you can’t answer, keep looking.”
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“I’ve always felt some sympathy for poor old ‘Doubting Thomas.’ I’ve always had the suspicion that Thomas, in this story, is the one who’s in the right. Out of all these disciples who have seen Jesus, Thomas alone is singled out: ‘Have you believed because you have seen me?’ You can picture Thomas's response. ‘Who, me? What about these other tens guy?’ Poor Thomas.”
“Easter rocks. Easter is a cool holiday. And no, not all holidays are cool. I think we can all admit that Trinity Sunday is boring. Labor Day celebrates work. But Easter—Easter we celebrate Jesus’ victory over death itself. That is boss! That’s enough to make anyone say, ‘Alleluia!’ But did you notice—nobody actually says that in the gospel that we just heard? There’s not even a tasteful Episcopalian ‘woohoo!’ You get the picture that what we think when we picture that empty tomb is not what they thought when they saw the empty tomb.“
“This Gospel we hear, year after year, is an extraordinarily rich one. Today, I would like to stop and linger on the encounter between Pontius Pilate, Prefect of Judea, and the rabbi Yeshua ben Joseph, as they would have known each other. This is a story set in a particular time and place, but one that I think is remarkably applicable to our time. It’s a story of an encounter between two kinds of power, and two people who had very different understandings of the nature of the universe and this world and the humans who inhabit them…It is a story of a tyrant and a bully confronting something he cannot understand. It is therefore a story for our time.”
“It would be completely understandable to me if the whole bizarre foot aspect of tonight’s gospel distracted you from the meaning behind the footwashing, but I hope you will just power through the weirdness because the significance of the gesture just can’t be overstated: it might define the essence of Christianity.”
“If Easter is just a fairy tale—if Jesus’ death and resurrection is just a parable from which we have to extract some kind of spiritual or ethical meaning—then I’m not sure that Palm Sunday is worth celebrating with a parade. But if Jesus is our Harry Potter—if Jesus is the one who faces his own death to free us from Death—then Palm Sunday is final opportunity to cheer him on.”
“So, I am a huge fan of both the Marvel and DC universes. I know that makes me anathema with certain purists everywhere, but I cannot choose between Captain Marvel and Wonder Woman. They’re both awesome…And given the gajillion dollars people have spent on DC and Marvel films, I’m clearly not the only one who likes superheroes and supervillains…Well, I think maybe John the Evangelist was also a fan of superheroes and supervillains.”