Father, Forgive

St. Catherine’s Episcopal Church
Chelsea, Alabama
Sunday, February 24, 2019

The Seventh Sunday after the Epiphany
First Lesson: Genesis 45:3-11, 15
Psalm 37:1-12, 41-42
Second Lesson: 1 Corinthians 15:35-38, 42-50
Gospel: Luke 6:27-38

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.

stock-photo-23785349During the evening hours of November 14, 1940, Nazi Germany sent over 500 bombers to raid the English city of Coventry. The Coventry Blitz, as it’s often called, lasted over ten hours, leaving more than 500 dead, 2,300 homes destroyed, and the town’s Gothic cathedral in ruins.

During the raid, many people in the town worked hard to try and save the cathedral from being totally lost in the flames, but they were unsuccessful. In the end, the only parts of the building still standing were the tower, the spire, and the outer wall. Everything else burned.

In the aftermath of the attack, the Provost of Coventry Cathedral, the Very Reverend Richard Howard, had two words inscribed on the wall behind the altar of the ruined building. “Father, forgive.” Notice that the inscription wasn’t “Father, forgive them.” Just “Father, forgive.” The Provost realized in that moment that the only way to break the endless cycle of violence and retribution was to choose love over hate. He realized that the only path toward peace and reconciliation is to acknowledge the fact that all of us are in need of forgiveness. All of us, no matter who we are or where we come from, need to be forgiven. Continue reading

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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