Blessed

St. Catherine’s Episcopal Church
Chelsea, Alabama
Sunday, February 17, 2019

The Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany
First Lesson: Jeremiah 17:5-10
Psalm 1
Second Lesson: 1 Corinthians 15:12-20
Gospel: Luke 6:17-26

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.

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“Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.”
“Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you will be filled.”
“Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.”
“Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude you, revile you, and defame you on account of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, for surely your reward is great in heaven; for that is what their ancestors did to the prophets.”

Blessed. That’s a loaded word, isn’t it?

This may be surprising to hear from a priest, but I have to admit that I cringe a little bit when I hear someone use the word blessed- not because I don’t believe that God blesses us with all the gifts we’ve been given but because it can be easy to fall into the trap of believing that God has rewarded us with what we’ve been given. There’s a big difference between a gift and a reward. So, it’s important that we’re careful with how we use the word “blessed.” It can easily be interpreted as a way of saying that God favors certain people over others, which couldn’t be farther from the truth. Continue reading

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A Sermon for All Saints’ Sunday + November 5, 2017

St. Catherine’s Episcopal Church
Chelsea, Alabama
Sunday, November 5, 2017

All Saints’ Sunday + Year A
First Lesson: Revelation 7:9-17
Psalm 34:1-10,22
Second Lesson: I John 3:1-3
Gospel: Matthew 5:1-12

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.

23315810_1536736463084271_2015911344_nThis past Wednesday evening, we had a beautiful service of Evensong here at St. Catherine’s to celebrate the Feast of All Saints. In case you’re unfamiliar with what Evensong is, it’s basically our liturgy for Evening Prayer set to music. At the end of our service, we said special prayers for all of the saints- for patriarchs, martyrs, and apostles and for men and women in every generation of the Church, both known and unknown to us, who have dedicated their lives to serving God and God’s people.  We also spent some time remembering those “everyday saints” in our lives- for friends, family members, and loved ones who have died but continue to inspire us and encourage us through their dedication and commitment to the Gospel. I couldn’t help but think of our dear brother, Charlie Boone, who passed into the nearer presence of God earlier this year.

All Saints’ Day, which can also be celebrated on the following Sunday, provides us with an opportunity to remember and give thanks for those who have come before us, but it also provides us with an opportunity to contemplate how we might pattern our lives to continue their legacy so that we might also be counted among the saints in light. Continue reading