What the Heart Wants

Sermon for Wednesday, February 10, 2016
Ash Wednesday

ashesSelena Gomez’ song, “The Heart Wants What it Wants” looks like a song about love and betrayal and how “There’s a million reasons why I should give you up,” except that – and this is the refrain – “the heart wants what it wants.”   “The Heart Wants What it Wants” looks like a song about love and betrayal and not giving up and “the heart [wanting] what it wants,” but Gomez’ song is really a song about Lent.

Gomez’ song is about Lent because, like the song, Lent is about love – Lent is about opening ourselves to how much God loves us:  which is absolutely, infinitely and without conditions.  Like Gomez’ song Lent is about betrayal – daily we betray that love (or, at least I do).  Like the song Lent is about not giving up – even though we may have messed up, we are not to give up.  And Lent is about letting the heart want what it wants; letting the heart want what it really wants, deep-down. Continue reading

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Revealing His Glory

Sermon for Sunday, February 7, 2016
Last Sunday After the Epiphany
Luke 9:28-36

transfiguration-raphaelOrigen of Alexandria, writing in the early 3rd century about today’s gospel lesson, says the reason Jesus was transfigured only before Peter, James and John – and not before the other disciples – was that only Peter, James and John had the capacity to behold Jesus transfigured.  According to Origen, Jesus shows himself to different people differently, depending on their capacity to see him.  Origen writes:

The Word has different forms as he appears to each, as is expedient for the beholder.  [The Word] is manifested to no one beyond the capacity of the beholder…  It is possible for Jesus to be transfigured before some… but before others not to be transfigured.

I imagine your initial response to Origen’s words is not dissimilar to mine: “Great.  Where does that leave me?  Am I one of those who gets to go up the mountain, or am I one of those who has to stay down below?” Continue reading

Welcome Lent

Welcome dear feast of Lent: who loves not thee,
He loves not Temperance, or Authority,
But is composed of passion.
The Scriptures bid us fast; the Church says, now:
Give to your Mother, what you would allow
To every Corporation.

It ‘s true, we cannot reach Christ’s fortieth day;
Yet to go part of that religious way,
Is better than to rest:
We cannot reach our Savior’s purity;
Yet are bid, Be holy ev’n as he.
In both let ‘s do our best.

Who goes in the way which Christ has gone,
Is much more sure to meet with him, than one
Who travels the by-ways:
Perhaps my God, though he be far before,
May turn, and take me by the hand, and more
May strengthen my decays.

Yet Lord instruct us to improve our fast
By starving sin and taking such repast
As may our faults control:
That ev’ry man may revel at his door,
Not in his parlor; banqueting the poor,
And among those his soul.

— From Lent: Ash Wednesday  by George Herbert (1593-1633)