A Sermon for the Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost + September 17, 2017

St. Catherine’s Episcopal Church
Chelsea, Alabama
Sunday, September 17, 2017

The Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost + Proper 19A
First Lesson: Genesis 50:15-21
Psalm 103:8-13
Second Lesson: Romans 14:1-12
Gospel: Matthew 18:21-35

Now, O Lord, take my lips and speak with them. Take our minds and think through them. Take our hearts and set them on fire for your Gospel. In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

4388395205_d91fae7771_oMy wife, Chelsea, and I were engaged to be married almost twelve years ago. I was living and working in Savannah, Georgia, at the time, and Chelsea was visiting me from Auburn, where she was still hard at work earning her bachelor’s degree in nursing.

In the several months that followed our engagement, I began traveling to Auburn more frequently so that Chelsea and I could meet with our priest, Father Wells, who agreed not only to marry us at St. Dunstan’s, which is where Chelsea and I discovered the Episcopal Church, but also to prepare us for marriage through a series of premarital conversations. You may not know this, but in the Episcopal Church, any couple who wants to be married must participate in these types of conversations with their priest. So, we spent some time with Father Wells in the months leading up to our wedding talking about important topics, such as finances, family history, and whether or not we wanted to have children. We talked about the wedding ceremony itself and the significance of the liturgy that we use for marriage. But, perhaps the most important thing that we talked about in our premarital conversations was conflict and how each of us deals with conflict when we have a disagreement about something. Continue reading

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A Sermon for the Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost + September 3, 2017

St. Catherine’s Episcopal Church
Chelsea, Alabama
Sunday, September 3, 2017

The Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost + Proper 17A
First Lesson: Jeremiah 15:15-21
Psalm 26:1-8
Second Lesson: Romans 12:9-21
Gospel: Matthew 16:21-28

Now, O Lord, take my lips and speak with them. Take our minds and think through them. Take our hearts and set them on fire for your Gospel. In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

hurricane-harvey-rescue-3-ap-jt-170827_4x3_992For the past several days, I’ve been shocked by the images and reports coming out of south Texas and Louisiana in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. Stories of families having to evacuate their homes because of the rising flood waters. Stories of first responders trying to rescue those who are trapped in their homes. Stories of complete strangers coming in from other parts of the country to assist those in need.

I have dear friends in the Houston area. Many are fellow priests who have been impacted by the flooding as well. They’ve been on Facebook posting updates, pictures, and live videos, letting us know what’s happening and what we can do to help. One friend, in particular, posted a video a few days ago explaining the strange mix of emotions that his parishioners are feeling right now. Naturally, some are very angry and frustrated about what’s happened. Some are simply happy that their homes were spared. Others are remorseful because they know families who have lost so much. I would imagine that many people right now, including people in other parts of the country who may have family members and friends who have been impacted by the storm, are experiencing that same confusing mix of anger, joy, and remorse. Continue reading