I Mean, God Helping, To Be One Too

St. Catherine’s Episcopal Church
Chelsea, Alabama
Sunday, November 4, 2018

All Saints’ Sunday
First Lesson: Wisdom of Solomon 3:1-9
Psalm 24
Second Lesson: Revelation 21:1-6a
Gospel: John 11:32-44

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.

45257878_2198988253467835_7719053685526888448_nThere are several hymns in our hymnal that are especially appropriate for us to sing on All Saints’ Day, beautiful hymns such as the one that we sang at the beginning of our service this morning, “For all the saints, who from their labors rest,” or the one that we sang just a few moments ago before the Gospel, “By all your saints still striving.” But, there’s one hymn that, for me, really gets to the heart of what this feast day is all about.

It begins like this:

“I sing a song of the saints of God, patient and brave and true, who toiled and fought and lived and died for the Lord they loved and knew. And one was a doctor, and one was a queen, and one was a shepherdess on the green: they were all of them saints of God, and I mean, God helping, to be one too.” 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

A Sermon for the Sunday after All Saints’ Day

The Episcopal Church of the Heavenly Rest
Abilene, Texas
Sunday, November 6, 2016

The Sunday after All Saint’s Day + Year C
First Lesson: Daniel 7:1-3, 15-18
Psalm 149
Second Lesson: Ephesians 1:11-23
Gospel: Luke 6:20-31

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

hamiltonFor a little over a year now, the world of musical theater has been shaken up and given new life by what some people are calling one of the greatest musicals ever written. Of course, I’m talking about the Tony Award-winning musical, Hamilton, written and composed by Lin-Manuel Miranda. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the musical, Hamilton chronicles the life of Alexander Hamilton, one of the founding fathers of our country, the first Secretary of the Treasury, and the creator of our banking system. The narrative begins with Hamilton’s arrival in the British colonies only a few years before the start of the Revolutionary War and spans his entire life, culminating in that famous duel between himself and Aaron Burr.

Now, I haven’t seen the show. Relatively speaking, not many people have. It’s very hard to get tickets, and the show has only played so far in New York City and Chicago. But, if you listen to the cast recording of Hamilton, you’ll quickly notice that it’s very unique and unlike any other musical that you might have heard. The story is told not only through dialogue but also through a stylistic combination of hip-hop and rap and various other styles of music, making it accessible and entertaining to a wide variety of people. Continue reading