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Showing posts from October, 2011

Not to prejudice anyone against Paul, but...

October 30, 2011
20 Pentecost (Proper 26), Year A
1 Thessalonians 2:9-13
I looked back and saw that today will be only the third time in my five years of preaching that I’ve preached from the Epistle reading (the reading that comes between the Old Testament and the Gospel readings). I’m generally much more attracted to the stories and characters that we find in the Old Testament and Gospel stories, so that’s part of the reason. But it also has a lot to do with Paul, who we have to thank (or blame, depending on your perspective) for so many of our Epistle readings. I find him wordy and preachy. Plus there are all those offensive pieces, like the bit about how women should submit to their husbands, and how women shouldn’t teach or speak or wear pearls or braid their hair in church. (When I was in seminary, I had great fun foiling Paul by braiding my hair and wearing pearls to read that lesson during morning chapel.)


Our reading this morning from Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians doesn’t…

Returning from Shrine Mont

The clergy retreat at Shrine Mont was wonderful -- the Diocese of Virginia is so kind to take us away from the world for a few days. 

The weather was perfect until it was time to leave anyway, and it seemed to be peak season for fall leaf-looking.  There's nothing like driving by cows munching green grass by streams surrounded by mountains covered with orange and yellow leaves to help you realize you are leaving the busy-ness of normal life behind. 

It was great reconnecting with colleages and having a few days where I had no real responsibilities.  And even better to have a handful of hours specifically set aside to get reconnected to God. 


As I walked the beautiful labyrinth at Shrine Mont, I was confronted with how much I'm currently prisoner of my packed schedule and penchant for multi-tasking.  I made it to the center decently well, noticing the fallen leaves on the dirt paths between the rocks that make up the guiding lines of the labyrinth.  I reflected for a while o…

Headed to Shrine Mont!

Tomorrow the clergy of the Diocese of Virginia head to Shrine Mont for our annual clergy retreat.  We get there Monday afternoon and stay until noon on Wednesday.  It is such a gift - a time that I would never be able to take for myself without feeling terribly guilty even though I know how absolutely necessary it is for my job (and much more for my soul).  It's always a big hassle getting ready - finding childcare for all those extra hours, writing detailed lists of which child to schlep where when, trying to think in advance of what will need to happen.  But as soon as I'm there all that floats away so quickly.  (The subsidized massages the Diocese sets up for us doesn't hurt!) 

I'll report back after Wednesday....

In God we trust. Well, sort of...

October 16, 2011
Pentecost 18, Proper 24, Year A
Exodus 33:12-23; Matthew 22:15-22

Jesus watches me when I work.

I should probably explain that a little. I have an icon of Jesus near my desk that is written with a technique that many icon writers use so that it feels as if the eyes of the subject are following you. Some days, I look over and Jesus seems calm and understanding. Some days he seems sad. Some days hopeful. And so as I was thinking about our Gospel for this morning, I looked up and saw what I could imagine might have been the look on Jesus’ face when he was confronted with the Pharisees in our story this morning. Knowing, amused, and maybe a little sad.

There’s no question that the Pharisees in our Gospel story are snakes in the grass, plotting to entrap Jesus so that he will be taken away by the authorities and no longer be such a thorn in their side. The intentions behind their question for Jesus are not pure and holy, to say the least. And yet their question for Jesus …