Having That One Back Again

831987Sounding at least one last note of repentance for this beloved season of Advent before we ramp up to the festivities of Christmas. My boss has done it again with this sermon from a few weeks ago. He did not directly intend this resonance, but I had a phrase from the confession at Anglican Morning Prayer drumming through my head the entire time:

CONFESSION

ALMIGHTY and most merciful Father; We have erred, and strayed from thy ways like lost sheep. We have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts. We have offended against thy holy laws. We have left undone those things which we ought to have done; And we have done those things which we ought not to have done; And there is no health in us. But thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us, miserable offenders. Spare thou those, O God, who confess their faults. Restore thou those who are penitent; According to thy promises declared unto mankind In Christ Jesus our Lord. And grant, O most merciful Father, for his sake; That we may hereafter live a godly, righteous, and sober life, To the glory of thy holy Name. Amen.

It seems like this phrase from sports is a wonderful and contemporary rephrasing of an old idea of “leaving undone those things we ought to have done.” May this nostalgia for righteousness inspire our upcoming celebrations of the Lord’s birth in our frail human flesh.

Trinity Newton Homilies

Sermon for Sunday, December 7, 2014
Advent 2B
Isaiah 40:1-11

“I’d love to have that one back again.”  Serious sports fans who watch the post-game interviews will have heard the phrase.  Pitchers who let a pitch hang too long so that it was hit for a game-winning home run will say it:  “I wish I could have that one back again.”  Quarterbacks who under-throw the ball and have it intercepted on the final, losing drive of the game will say it:  “I’d love to have that one back again.”  Golfers who miss an easy putt that costs them the tournament will say it, too:  “I wish I could have that one back again.”

I bet all of us have had times in our life when we would love “to have that one back again.”  Maybe it was something we said or something we did.  And even though we said it…

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Healing the Trauma of Sin

Love this post about the importance of healing from the trauma of sin written by my boss. It is a very Orthodox reflection emphasizing sin’s destructiveness to God’s likeness within us; how it isn’t just about disobeying the rules. Very good for Lent!

Trinity Newton Homilies

Sermon for Sunday, March 9, 2014; First Sunday in Lent
Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7Romans 5:12-19Matthew 4:1-11Psalm 32
Listen here online:

This morning I’m not going to talk so much about sin as I am going to talk about talking about sin.   So often, sin is something we don’t talk about – at least not much – which is a loss because the “grammar” and “vocabulary” surrounding sin contain great capacity for healing.

But I don’t want to begin there.  First, I want to go back to November 11, last Veterans’ Day.  Last Veterans’ Day, NPR told the stories of several different veterans from several different wars.  Though all the stories moved me, the one that touched me most was the story of Coast Guard veteran Joe Williams, who was part of “Operation Tiger,” a dress rehearsal off the coast of England for the Normandy…

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Precious Moments for Repentance

Saturday, July 22/August 4, 2012, St. Mary Magdalene

As our time in Russia nears its end, every moment becomes more and more precious. In the morning, we all attend Liturgy at St. Nicholas of Ugresha Monastery just outside of Moscow. It has all the elements of a quintessential spiritual fortress: very tall and slender bell tower, large and substantial cathedral with ample relics for veneration (including one small one of our own St. Herman of Alaska!), plenty of smaller satellite churches for weekday services, and to top it all off, a quiet nearby pond to reflect the brilliance. After lunch, I embark on my adventure of the evening: following directions on the metro to a church that has an English-speaking priest to hear my confession. Continue reading