Companions Along the Way

Episcopal Church of the Holy Spirit
Alabaster, Alabama
The First Sunday after Pentecost: Trinity Sunday
June 16, 2019

Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31
Psalm 8
Romans 5:1-5
John 16:12-15

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

hqdefaultAs many of you know, I was away for a few days this past week attending the “Invite Welcome Connect Summit” at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee. It was a wonderful experience! While I was there, I had the opportunity to attend several workshops and dream of new ideas about how we can improve our ministry of evangelism and help newcomers and visitors feel welcomed into the life of the community. I can’t wait to share with you some of the things I learned and to begin implementing some of these new ideas!

While I was there, I also had the opportunity to catch up with some old friends and to enjoy the company of others who were there for the conference.

I was having a conversation at lunch one day with a friend of mine, a fellow priest from the Birmingham area. Somehow, the topic of preaching came up, and I shared with him that I was preaching this Sunday. You might guess what his first response was. “Oh, wow! This Sunday is Trinity Sunday! I’m so glad I avoided that one!” Continue reading

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A Sermon for the Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost (Proper 16B) + August 26, 2018

St. Catherine’s Episcopal Church
Chelsea, Alabama
Sunday, August 26, 2018

The Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost (Proper 16B)
First Lesson: Joshua 24:1-2a, 14-18
Psalm 34:15-22
Second Lesson: Ephesians 6:10-20
Gospel: John 6:56-69

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.

tumblr_n1ofcjZ4KV1sanzo7o1_1280Have you ever noticed how some people use the phrase, “No offense,” right before they say something really offensive?

Do you know what I’m talking about?

For example, let’s say someone walked up to me one morning after church and said, “No offense, Father Eric, but that wasn’t your best sermon.” I would be very offended by that! Just because that person said, “No offense,” right before criticizing me doesn’t mean that I would be any less offended. By the way, that’s never happened to me, but I suppose there’s a first time for everything!

Has this ever happened to you? Has anyone ever come up to you and said, “No offense, but…” Fill in the blank. Or, perhaps, you were the one who said it to someone else. Continue reading

A Sermon for the Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany

St. Catherine’s Episcopal Church
Chelsea, Alabama
Sunday, January 29, 2017

The Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany + Year A
First Lesson: Micah 6:1-8
Psalm 15
Second Lesson: I Corinthians 1:18-31
Gospel: Matthew 5:1-12

+ Now, O Lord, take my lips and speak through 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.

SYRIAN REFUGEES USARecently, I finished reading a book called Tribe, by Sebastian Junger. This really was a wonderful book, one that I would highly recommend to anyone who’s interested in learning more about the importance of community, what draws people together and unifies them, and why people feel the need to belong to something greater than themselves.

In his book, the author writes about this in great detail and provides several examples throughout history, beginning with the American Indians who, over the course of about three hundred years, fought to hold onto the land that they and their ancestors had occupied for thousands of years. One thing that I found so interesting in the book is that, by the end of the nineteenth century and the height of the Industrial Revolution, a surprising number of Americans, mostly men, ended up leaving their own people to join Indian society. They adopted their clothing. They married them, and they even fought beside them. There was something that caused them to reject their own society in order to take on the Indian way of life, one that could be described as very simple but also very appealing. As tribes of Indians were overrun and eventually resettled, people in their communities were drawn together because of what they had to endure and because they depended on one another for their survival. Continue reading