“Jesus said to her, ‘Mary.’”
Preached by The Rev. Todd Miller
“So, Miller,” said my one of colleagues, as he sidled up to me at clergy conference, “Bones and all?” “Absolutely!” I said, laughing at the way he asked me if I believed in Jesus’ bodily resurrection. “Absolutely! Bones and all!”
An answer which is of course the “right” answer, and the Church’s “answer.” The answer upon which all Christian doctrine hangs – “On the third day he rose again,” we say in the Creed. The answer upon which all Christian hope relies: “If Christ has not been raised, then we are of all people most to be pitied,” Paul writes (I Cor 15). “Absolutely,” I say, “‘Bones and all!’” Continue reading →
2 Samuel 11:26-12:10, 13-15
One of the first questions that Roman Catholic friends often ask me about the Anglican Communion is whether or not we have “Confession” in the Episcopal Church. They—along with many Episcopalians—are quite surprised when I tell them that we do indeed have sacramental “Confession,” otherwise known as the “Reconciliation of a Penitent.” It is one of the many rites included in our Book of Common Prayer in both Rite 1 & 2. And while there are no traditional “confessionals” in our churches these days —those fabled, purple-curtained boxes for the confession of sins—we do have the opportunity, at any time, to avail ourselves of this individual, sacramental act. The rule in the Episcopal Church concerning “Confession” is that “all may; some should; but none must.” In other words, the “Reconciliation of a Penitent” is an option for those times in the spiritual journey when we feel called to unburden a heart broken open by sorrow and guilt over sin, and when we long to experience the overwhelming gift of God’s real forgiveness and offer of a new beginning. And while we may no longer recognize a distinction between so-called venial and mortal sins, there are times in the spiritual journey when we urgently need godly counsel spoken in the name of Christ and his Church. The “Reconciliation of a Penitent” is an exchange between God and us sinners in which we renew our covenantal relationship with God, broken through our blindness and failure “to love God with our whole heart,” and “to love our neighbors as ourselves.” (BCP) And so, it’s not at all uncommon for a penitent to feel an enormous sense of relief and joy and gratitude over the repair of this primary and cherished covenantal relationship with God. These emotions signal the true gift of a new beginning made possible by the grace of our God of steadfast love and mercy. The ancient rabbis taught that God gave the Torah to humans, not to angels, and that the greatest name of God is “mercy”!
The joy of forgiveness and thanksgiving for reconciliation are poignantly illustrated by the extravagant gestures of the forgiven woman in this morning’s episode from Saint Luke’s Gospel, together with Jesus’ parable of the forgiven debtors. Continue reading →
Sermon for Sunday, March 13, 2016 Lent 5C
Were there adults in our parish seeking Baptism, and if our parish had a fully-developed, two- to three-year catechumenate process to help them be prepare, today would be the last “normal” Sunday of preparation before entering Holy Week and before their Baptism at the Easter Vigil. Today – after years of preparation – these men and women would be standing at the threshold of Baptism.