Love the Enemy Within

Homily October 2/15, 2017
Ss. Cyprian & Justina

II Corinthians 11:31-12:9
Luke 6:31-36

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Christ is among us; He is and ever shall be. Beloved in the Lord,

Paul-Thorn-in-my-FleshIn this morning’s Epistle and Gospel, we are given two very difficult questions to ponder. What should we do with unanswered prayer and how do we love even our enemies? St. Paul raises the first question in his second letter to the Corinthians when he insists that three times he asked the Lord to remove a thorn in his flesh and after only the third time did he receive his answer. What are we to make of this heavenly reluctance to respond? How many of us have had similar unanswered prayer and have felt almost like giving up asking? Continue reading

Agents of Reconciliation

I am re-posting this excellent article from my boss, The Rev. Todd Miller, Rector of Trinity Parish in Newton Centre. It is based on a sermon he preached shortly after the Presidential Election of 2016, after which so many were struck with fear over the possible uprising of old hatreds.

st-peter-and-st-paul-2In the Episcopal Church’s Catechism, the stated mission of the Church “is to restore all people to unity with God and each other in Christ (The Book of Common Prayer, p 855).  In Eucharistic Prayer A – the form of the Eucharistic prayers used most often at Trinity – we give thanks to God that God “sent Jesus Christ… to share our human nature, to live and die as one of us, to reconcile us to you, the God and Father of all” (BCP, p 362).

Our Christian faith is about “restoring all people to unity with God and each other in Christ;” we Christians, following the example of Jesus, are called to be agents of reconciliation.  Our country, sharply divided over the recent election and in transition to a new administration, is counting on us Christians to live into our identity and to be agents of reconciliation. Continue reading

Arriving Even at the Eleventh Hour

freyburg_28unstrut29_stadtkirche_st-_marien_weinberg_279May, 1, 2016
The Bright & Saving Pascha of Christ
the Lord Who Rose from the Dead
Trampling down Death by Death

No parable in Scripture proves a greater challenge to notions of human justice than that of the Workers in the Vineyard. In the story, those who come to work at the eleventh hour receive the same generous portion from the Master of the Vineyard as those who have labored from the beginning of the day. The only rationale given is the right of the master to do as he pleases with his wealth.

The Paschal Homily preached tonight in churches worldwide features this coming at the eleventh hour as the rich invitation of the Master and Lord of the heavenly vineyard towards the whole human race, especially to those who are least deserving of it. What can account for this reckless extravagance on the part of Our Lord and Master? Continue reading

The Transfigured Role of an Aristocracy


A new marchioness, a baby boy, and five marriages (one consummated and four budding near to fulfillment). Thus did Baron Fellowes of West Stafford choose to end his six season saga Downton Abbey this evening as the last aired episode finally reached this side of the pond. What is the chief reason for the appeal behind this most popular of PBS series? Many have cited the pageantry, the intrigue, the utter unpredictability of its characters and plot twists. But I think that the show’s extreme popularity is due to what is missing most in modern American society: a sense of old-fashioned propriety, common kindness, and a transfigured, contemporary role for an ancient aristocracy. Continue reading

Nothing Can Separate Us From the Love of God

royal_martyrs2July 4/17, 2015
Feast of the Royal Martyrs Tsar-Martyr Nicholas, Tsaritsa-Martyr Alexandra, the Royal Crown Prince Alexis, the Grand-Duchesses Olga, Tatiana, Maria, and Anastasia, and those martyred with them.

When I was younger, I remember being so fearful of separation from my parents. A friend who lost both her parents in a tragic car accident further heightened my fears that at any moment, I could be left instantly an orphan. Now that I am older, I see even more the fragility of this mortal frame, the temporariness of all that we see with the eyes, and the impermanence of all that we hold dear in this world.

Continue reading