Every Christmas is Perfect

St. Catherine’s Episcopal Church
Chelsea, Alabama
Sunday, December 16, 2018

The Third Sunday of Advent (Year C)
First Lesson: Zephaniah 3:14-20
Canticle 9: The First Song of Isaiah
Second Lesson: Philippians 4:4-7
Gospel: Luke 3:7-18

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.

mangerToday is the Third Sunday of Advent, which means that, after today, there’s only one Sunday left before Christmas. It seems hard to believe, doesn’t it? This season goes by so fast, which is probably one of the reasons why we’re encouraged to try and slow down in the midst of it all, to take a deep breath and to spend some time reflecting on what this season is really about.

Of course, that’s easier said than done.

If you’re like me, the laundry list of things that have to get “checked off” before December 24th keeps getting longer and longer, and it feels like there will never be enough time to get it all done. During the holidays, we put so much pressure on ourselves to have the “perfect” Christmas-

  • to find the most beautiful Christmas tree;
  • to get all of the decorations put up on time;
  • to bake all of the special treats that we want to share with friends and family;
  • to purchase just the right gifts for our loved ones;
  • and the list goes on and on.

Why is it that we put so much pressure on ourselves during this time of year? When we know that Advent is a time for stillness and contemplation, why is it that we load ourselves down with so many extra things to do? Continue reading

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A Sermon for the Second Sunday of Advent + December 10, 2017

St. Catherine’s Episcopal Church
Chelsea, Alabama
Sunday, December 10, 2017

The Second Sunday of Advent + Year B
First Lesson: Isaiah 40:1-11
Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13
Second Lesson: II Peter 3:8-15a
Gospel: Mark 1:1-8

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.

25317069_1571097999648117_299564482_oOne of the things that I love most about the season of Advent is that we get to sing so many beautiful hymns each week. I was reminded of this last Sunday evening during our service of Advent Lessons and Carols here at St. Catherine’s. The hymns of Advent have a lot to teach us about the importance of this season and why we spend four weeks preparing for the birth of our Savior and anticipating his return.

The popular Advent hymn, “O come, O come, Emmanuel,” for example, speaks to the expectancy of the one who will come to dwell with us, the one who is Emmanuel- God with us. Or, “Lo! he comes, with clouds descending,” the eighteenth-century hymn by Charles Wesley which looks beyond our present time to the second coming of Jesus at the end of the age. Continue reading

A Sermon for the Second Sunday of Advent

The Episcopal Church of the Heavenly Rest
Abilene, Texas
Sunday, December 4, 2016

The Second Sunday of Advent + Year A
First Lesson: Isaiah 11:1-10
Psalm 72:1-7, 18-19
Second Lesson: Romans 15:4-13
Gospel: Matthew 3:1-12

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

baptistI love the season of Advent.

One of the things that I love most about this particular season is that we get to sing so many beautiful Advent hymns each week. The hymns of Advent have a lot to teach us about the importance of the season and why we spend four weeks preparing for the birth of our Savior and anticipating his return.

The popular Advent hymn, “O come, O come, Emmanuel,” for example, speaks to the expectancy of the one who will come to dwell with us, the one who is “God with us.” Continue reading

A Sermon for the Twenty-Third Sunday after Pentecost

The Episcopal Church of the Heavenly Rest
Abilene, Texas
Sunday, October 23, 2016

The Twenty-Third Sunday after Pentecost + Proper 25C
First Lesson: Joel 2:23-32
Psalm 65
Second Lesson: II Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18
Gospel: Luke 18:9-14

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

Campaign 2016 DebateFor several months now, we’ve been in the midst of a very heated and often divisive conversation about who is most fit to lead our country as the next president. Some may argue that it’s the most controversial election cycle that our country has ever seen, and if you’ve been watching the debates, you’d probably agree with that assessment.

For months, the media has been filled with news stories concerning the latest scandals, and time and again, we’ve witnessed campaign rallies turn into spectacles of protest and outrage. Both of the leading candidates for president have clearly expressed their contempt for one another, and what’s worse is that this contempt has spread to their supporters as well. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve been guilty of this as I’m sure so many of us have. Continue reading

A Sermon for the Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost

The Episcopal Church of the Heavenly Rest
Abilene, Texas
Sunday, September 25, 2016

The Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost + Proper 21C
First Lesson: Jeremiah 32:1-3a, 6-15
Psalm 91:1-6, 14-16
Second Lesson: I Timothy 6:6-19
Gospel: Luke 16:19-31

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

curry-michael-outdoors

The Rt. Rev. Michael Curry

Last week, I came across a new video featuring our Presiding Bishop, Michael Curry. In the video, Bishop Curry talks about the Jesus Movement. Now, this should come as no surprise to those of you who have heard our Presiding Bishop speak or deliver a sermon. He loves to talk about the Jesus Movement! In fact, the phrase has become so popular among Episcopalians, it’s even showing up on our merchandise. 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? In the video, Bishop Curry paints us a picture by reflecting on a pivotal moment in our celebration of the Eucharist. Continue reading