The Trouble of Treasure

August 7, 2016  •  Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost
Text: Luke 12:34: “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also..”
Preached by Rev. Mark Eddington, St. John’s Episcopal Church in Newtonville

9230473694_63ed5dab3e_bYou may have seen the news item this past week about a plane that crashed on landing in Dubai. In case you didn’t, let me start right off by saying that everyone on the plane actually managed to survive, although, very sadly, one of the firefighters who came out to battle the flames around the aircraft died.

What seems to have happened was that the landing gear on the aircraft did not deploy properly, with the result that the airplane landed right on its belly and skidded down the runway. The crew knew that something was amiss, and had warned all the passengers, and immediately after the aircraft came to a stop they quickly opened the doors and deployed the escape slides, and that’s why everyone on the airplane survived without so much as a single injury. Continue reading

Burial Sermon, James Spinks

Sermon for Tuesday, August 2, 2016
Burial, James Spinks
John 14:1-6

Picture 089I find Jesus’ words comforting:

Do not let your hearts be troubled… I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go… I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also.

To non-Christians – and maybe even to us Christians! – Jesus’ words might seem preposterous:  “When we’re dead, we’re dead!”  But our Christian faith is rooted in belief in resurrection.  As we began our liturgy this afternoon:

I know that my Redeemer lives, and that at the last he will stand upon the earth.  After my awaking, he will raise me up; and in my body I shall see God… Continue reading

Richness Toward God

Homily preached by the Rev. James La Macchia
Trinity Parish of Newton Centre
July 31, 2016
The Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost – Proper 13C

Ecclesiastes 1:2, 12-14; 2:18-23
Psalm 49: 1-11
Colossians 3:1-11
Luke 12: 13-21

My Friends:

Almost four years after my father’s death, I still receive very vivid reminders of one of the central truths of both the human condition and the Gospel of Jesus Christ:  “You can’t take anything with you” or—as a beloved friend once said shortly before his death, “I have never seen a hearse with a U-Haul attached to it.”  As my mother and I continue to sort through so many of my father’s things, all carefully labeled, stored, and left behind—many of them for a future that never came—we have had a very sobering reminder that our only real legacy is our character and the good deeds that we have done or failed to do in our short time here on this earth.  Our spirit is all that follows us into the “life of the world to come” as we await the final consummation of all things mortal at the “resurrection of the dead”, when “Christ is all and in all,” according to St. Paul.   Even Jesus didn’t manage to leave this world without first dying, and, in this world of uncertainty, there is one thing of which I am quite sure:  none of us gathered here this morning will manage to do so either. Continue reading

Ask and Receive

Homily preached by the Rev. James La Macchia
Saint John’s Church/Newtonville
July 24, 2016
The Tenth Sunday after Pentecost – Proper 12C

Genesis 18:20-32
Psalm 138
Colossians 2:6-15, (16-19)
Luke 11:1-13

My Friends:

Arab Souk, Old City, Jerusalem, Israel.During my first of many trips to the Land of the Holy One, our guides gave us pilgrims a very welcome orientation to the unique customs and practices of the Middle East.  To alleviate our fears and to reduce our “culture shock,” they introduced us to the practices and protocols of the bazaar known as the suq in the Old City of Jerusalem.  And it was only then that I really grasped—for the first time—something of the meaning of this morning’s reading from the Hebrew Bible, together with a much deeper understanding of the whole life of prayer.

Our guides informed us that negotiation and bargaining are an integral part of doing business in the Middle East.  Shopkeepers and merchants of the bazaar expect you to bargain with them for a price lower than the one first quoted; in fact, they are deeply insulted if you don’t negotiate with them for that better price.  The price, we were told, is never the real issue.  In the Middle East, still a deeply traditional culture, bargaining establishes a personal relationship between the buyer and the seller in a society where relationships are everything. Continue reading

Biblical Break Up Songs

Sermon for Sunday, July 17, 2016
Ninth Sunday after Pentecost
Amos 8:1-12

adele-2015-close-up-xl_columbia-billboard-650We heard several great readings this morning!  In Luke we heard the well-known story of Mary and Martha.  In Colossians we heard the famous hymn with its theologically–significant line:  “In him the fullness of God was pleased to dwell.”  But today I want to focus on the passage from Amos.

But I don’t want to begin with the passage from Amos.  Rather, I want to begin with Adele’s list of her favorite break-up songs, a list revealed last month.  There are six. Continue reading

Agents of God’s Love

Sermon for Wednesday, July 13, 2016
Wednesday after the Eighth Sunday after Pentecost
Isaiah 10:5-7, 13b-16
Matthew 11:25-27

childFew things can be more upsetting to a child than acknowledging that his or her parent is not all-powerful and not all-knowing.  If something is awry in the parent’s life, it is not unusual for the child to blame him- or herself, then, rather than risk the parent seeming fallible and the child’s world falling apart.

In today’s text from Isaiah 10, Assyria is threatening the surrounding nations, including Israel.  Isaiah – like the child who does not want to risk the parents’ fallibility and the world falling apart – ascribes Assyria’s belligerence to God, saying that Assyria is “my rod in anger” and that “the club in their hands is my fury.”   It may be unsettling to think of God using a violent nation to serve God’s purposes, but in ascribing Assyria’s  belligerence to God, Isaiah preserves God’s omnipotence and omniscience, Isaiah preserves the order of the world. Continue reading