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Episcopal Church of the Holy Spirit
Alabaster, Alabama
The Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost (Proper 18C)
September 8, 2019

Deuteronomy 30:15-20
Psalm 1
Philemon 1-21
Luke 14:25-33

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

10001841_H11907626-600x350In September of 2016, a video was released on the Episcopal Church’s website featuring our Presiding Bishop, Michael Curry. Of course, this was before the world knew him as the charismatic bishop who preached at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. In the video, Bishop Curry talks about the Jesus Movement. Now, this should come as no surprise to any of you who have heard our Presiding Bishop speak or deliver a sermon. He loves to talk about the Jesus Movement! Everyone in the Episcopal Church has been talking about it. In fact, the phrase has become so popular among Episcopalians over the past four years that it’s even shown up in our merchandise. Yes! You, too, can buy a bumper sticker that says, “We are the Episcopal Branch of the Jesus Movement.” 

But what, exactly, is the Jesus Movement? We use that phase a lot, but I think it’s important that we talk about what it really means. In Bishop Curry’s video, he paints us a picture of the Jesus Movement by reflecting on a pivotal moment that occurs every week in our worship when we celebrate the Holy Eucharist. Slowly walking in the midst of the noise and commotion of Manhattan, the Bishop describes that moment in our liturgy when we stand and sing praises to God as we prepare our hearts and minds to receive God’s Word through the reading of the Gospel. We stand, and we sing. The Gospel Book is held high as the procession moves from the Altar to the center of the Nave where the words and teachings of Jesus will be read in the midst of the people. And, as all of this is happening, everyone in the congregation re-orients themselves in order to see the place where the Gospel will be proclaimed. Quite literally, we turn toward Jesus, and in that moment, according to Bishop Curry, “the Church has become the Jesus Movement, with life re-oriented around the teachings of Jesus and around his very spirit— teachings and a spirit that embody the love of God in our lives and in this world.” Continue reading