Do This
The Deacon's Sermons
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11M ago
 Maundy Thursday, Grace Episcopal Church, 2023 It’s a familiar story. Yet we need to hear it again. And again.   So we come together every Maundy Thursday to re-enact, with Jesus in our midst, two expressions of who we are as followers of him and as children of the living God.   One of those things is Holy Eucharist: Jesus calls Eucharistic community into being by blessing and sharing bread and wine with his disciples in his last meal with them on this Earth. And he says, “do this in remembrance of me.”   Those of us who take seriously our commitment in our baptismal covena ..read more
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Please Save Now
The Deacon's Sermons
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11M ago
 Palm Sunday, Christ Episcopal Church, St. Joseph, La. It has never been clear to me why a homily is required on Palm Sunday. What can a preacher—or anyone else, for that matter—say after reading the Passion Gospel? Would that we all sit quietly and let the pain.. and the anguish.. and the despair.. of having been forsaken by God wash over us.   So I don’t have much to say, but a little that matters, it seems to me.   I always thought the word “Hosanna!” shouted by the people who waved palms and marched into Jerusalem was a joyous, triumphant “yay, God,” “long live King Jesus” k ..read more
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This One Life
The Deacon's Sermons
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11M ago
 Grace Episcopal Church, Monroe, La., Lent 5 Five weeks ago, as I was preparing a homily for the Ash Wednesday service down at Christ Church in St. Joseph, I was inspired to go online and order a small hourglass on a chain. My theme for that homily was memento mori, “remember that you are going to die,” and my plan was to wear the hourglass pendant as a Lenten discipline.   The plan did not work so well. The pendant came, quickly enough, but the moment I opened the package, I realized that I had ordered too short a chain. I needed to get a different chain for it, and somehow… I just ..read more
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Hello darkness, my old friend...
The Deacon's Sermons
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1y ago
Lent 2, Christ Episcopal Church, St. Joseph, La. Hello darkness, my old friend I've come to talk with you again Because a vision softly creeping Left its seeds while I was sleeping And the vision that was planted in my brain Still remains Within the sound of silence   I hope you can hear the music of Simon & Garfunckel in your head as I read those words. I certainly can, but… be grateful I’m not singing!     Today’s Gospel story puts me in mind of that song. Nicodemus has heard about Jesus and the things he is doing. Perhaps he has even seen Jesus in action, doing what the ..read more
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Memento Mori
The Deacon's Sermons
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1y ago
Christ Episcopal Church, St. Joseph, Ash Wednesday Keep death daily before your eyes. That is what Saint Benedict wrote in his rule for monks. And early Christian monastics of all sorts found innovative ways to do it. Some took up a scoop of dirt from their eventual graves and kept it nearby. Some, in fact, slept in their coffins. Some built their own shroud, a few stitches at a time taken day by day by day throughout their adult lives.   These are memento mori. That is, reminders that they, we, and everyone are going to die.   In the Episcopal Church, we get ashes on our foreheads ..read more
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Come and See
The Deacon's Sermons
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1y ago
 Christ Episcopal Church, St. Joseph, Epiphany 2 What a strange little conversation we hear in today’s Gospel story. “Come and see,” Jesus says, to two complete strangers. And they do. And the world changes, just like that. Not only for Jesus, and those two strangers, but for us as well.   We are in the season the church calls “Epiphany,” which means “showing forth” or “manifestation.” We celebrate not just any manifestation, but the great manifestation or showing forth of Jesus as the Son of God and savior, not just of the Israelites, but of the whole world.     Epiphany ..read more
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What's in a name?
The Deacon's Sermons
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1y ago
 Christ Episcopal Church, St. Joseph, La., Feast of the Holy Name In case you don’t remember, or have never noticed, the Hebrew Scripture—which is our Old Testament and is also part of Islam’s Koran—contains two creation stories. The first one that occupies the first chapter of Genesis is by far the better known. That’s the one that goes, “On the first day, God” did thus and such and on the second day God did other stuff, and so on.   I’m not sure why this story is more popular or better known. Maybe just because it comes first in the Bible, maybe because it is more detailed and sati ..read more
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Choose joy!
The Deacon's Sermons
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1y ago
 Christ Church, St. Joseph, La., Advent 3 Today is the 3rd Sunday of Advent, the “Joy” Sunday. We celebrate this departure from the solemnity of Advent with a pink candle.   But for John the Baptizer in today’s Gospel story, “joy” is most likely not what he is experiencing. He is in prison. His preaching has gotten him there. You will recall from other readings of his story other Advent Sundays that even though he preached hellfire and brimstone to the religious elite of his day and called everyone to repentance, people flocked to him to be baptized—people, including Jesus himself ..read more
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Where's God?
The Deacon's Sermons
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1y ago
 Christ Episcopal Church, St. Joseph, La. I had the great fun and joy of spending Friday with my grandbabies. You might recall that I have two, a boy and a girl, born December 23, 2021. So they are rapidly approaching their first birthday. Jaxson, the boy, is walking. Madison, the girl, was born tiny and spent her first 48 hours in the NICU, so she’s physically a bit behind him.   Nevertheless, the two of them can get into a lot of trouble together already. So… Friday I’m sitting on the couch keeping an eye on them while they travel the living room together, Jaxson walking and Madiso ..read more
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Being Seen
The Deacon's Sermons
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1y ago
 October 30, 2022, Christ Church, St. Joseph, La. A few weeks ago, I saw a cartoon in a friend’s Facebook feed that really grabbed me. I do not remember all the details, but it was about something I do a lot. It poked gentle fun at people like me, who continue to buy books long after they already own many, many books they have not yet read.   It said something along the lines of, ‘Really, I am on track to read all the books I own. I should be finished by the time I’m 564 years old.’   I laughed. And then I posted a comment. “I feel seen,” I said.      I’m guessi ..read more
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