About Emily

midwestern belle, Episcopal priest.

A Vision of Light

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Growing up, we used Fiestaware plates at home every day. Growing up, I had a daybed in my bedroom, the kind that went along the wall long-ways and had three sides, with a trundle bed underneath it. Growing up, we had a hammock in the backyard, and Saturday was always bathroom-cleaning day. Growing up, my mom drove a Volvo station wagon.

If you’ve been to the vicarage, as Jordan likes to call it, or to the Hylden Haus, as I refer to it, you will have seen that we, too, use those sturdy, colorful Fiestaware plates. If you took a look in our garage, you would see that we have a daybed frame, though it doesn’t fit in our house right now; last summer, before some kids helpfully demonstrated its insufficient anchoring, we had a hammock in our backyard, and when I manage it, I still clean the toilets on Saturdays. Any of you can look outside and see right now, that I drive a Volvo station wagon. You may think you’re becoming your mother or your father, but I’ll give you a run for your money. Continue reading

Recycling Stones

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We’re marching through Ephesians these six weeks in the summer, reading the letter as if it is addressed to us, just like they would have done in the house church in Ephesus back in the first century. Indeed, as part of Scripture, this letter is addressed to us, and reveals in practical and in sometimes-heady terms the vision that God has for his people on earth.

Two weeks ago, in chapter 1, Fr. Jordan preached about Jesus Christ as the foundation of the church. The uniqueness of Jesus as the revelation of God is why we start every Sunday service with “Blessed be God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit” — at the very beginning of our time together in worship, we all agree by saying out loud, “Okay, y’all, this is who we’re all here for, right? Jesus is what we’re all about.” Jesus Christ the foundation upon which all else in our lives, in the church, in discipline, in mission, in knowledge, and in love, is built.

Last week, I preached on Ephesians 2, highlighting the counter-cultural grace that defines people and communities who follow this God made known in Jesus. Wherever God’s people are found, there is a community of grace, of forgiveness, and of reconciliation. God’s grace makes room for mistakes and accounts for evil, knowing that each person succumbs to temptation. With this acceptance that humanity is incapable of being perfect, either there is permanent isolation and rejection of others, when someone is inevitably wronged, or, as we hear in the Gospel and see practiced in Jesus’s life and the lives of Jesus followers throughout time, there is grace. Allowing people to own their darkness and giving people a chance to renounce it, that is grace. That is seeing a whole person for who she is, and loving her despite her faults. Part of that love is helping and supporting her to admit her faults and seek to do right in the future. Continue reading

The Light of Grace

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I heard a story this week that has been haunting me ever since. It wasn’t the contours of the story itself, or the characters in it, but what I wonder the story might reveal about how we humans tend to be when left to our own devices, and by extension, how it is that God through his revelation in Jesus Christ calls us to live as his transformed creation.

So it’s the story of a girl in the punk rock scene in Richmond, Virginia. I didn’t even know there was still punk rock, and I surely didn’t know there were enough people in Richmond who into punk rock, or what’s sometimes also called “Hardcore” music, in order to form a group or a scene, a subculture. But! Surprise, there are. Here’s what happened. Continue reading

That’s Awkward

5789448082_d16f83f1b2_zWe’re in a strange moment of the Christian year; this 10 days before Pentecost. Tradition has it that Jesus ascended 40 days after the resurrection, which was last Thursday, and now, we’re in a sort of waiting period before the traditional celebration of the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity, coming to dwell among humanity and in human hearts, which happens on Pentecost.

Part of this wonky moment has to do with the theological assertion that joy and light and life and God overcomes, swallows up, and more than cancels out evil, and death, and darkness. Lent, that time leading up to Easter, when we have a moment to dwell and slow down in our somberness, to feel and reflect and repent of selfish, destructive habits, is 40 days long. So in answer to that, the season of Easter, celebrating God’s victory over sin, death, and the devil, is fittingly 50 days long.

But the point here is not about math or dates or even about traditions and holy days. I want to stay for a few minutes in the awkward, transitional space that we’re invited to experience in this in between time after Jesus has ascended and before the Holy Spirit comes. Have you ever been in an awkward, transitional place in your life? Maybe you’re even in one right now, whether you realize it or not. We often resist change because it’s uncomfortable and unpredictable and unknown, but change happens to us anyway, whether we want it, or admit it, or try to close the door on it. Continue reading