St. Augustine’s Sunday sermon

Let us pray: Grant, O merciful God, that your church, being gathered together in unity by your Holy Spirit, may show forth your power among all peoples, to the glory of your Name, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit, be all honor and glory, throughout all ages. Amen.

“Brothers and sisters; by the mercies of God, present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds.”

Last week, visiting family in Northern Minnesota and in North Dakota, I was struck over and over by the ways we who live in cities have moved on from our bodies, from the ways that nature guides our behavior. When night falls, both on the Hylden farm, and at the Thomey cabin, the world turns black as pitch. There’s no need for those black-out curtains in the baby’s room — everybody is plunged into darkness. It made me think about how electricity can trick us into thinking that we are in control of our own destinies rather than living at the mercy of the cosmos. Continue reading

A Collect of Lament and Repentance for August 13, 2017


delivered at the 10:15am Holy Eucharist at St. Augustine’s Oak Cliff

O God, you have made of one blood all the people of the world. We have forgotten this truth. We love power more than we love one another, we stay silent rather than defend and protect each other.

Root out racism, oh Lord. Root it out in our nation, in Charlottesville, in Dallas, and root out racism in our hearts.

Bring us in humility to the foot of the cross; lead St. Augustine’s into your kingdom. Mold this community to reflect your glory, throw our sinful appendages into the fire. Refine us by your mercy and your might.

Give us courage to sit with one another, to listen to each other as you speak, and to repent. All this we pray in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

It’s the Same Question

Do you ever get that sensation of deja vu when you turn on a movie? You’ve got a sneaking suspicion that you know where the plot is going, the way the conversation develops is somehow familiar, the scenes are set up in a sequence that seems to have an echo somewhere in your memory. You’ve got a feeling that you already know this story, whether you’ve seen the film or not; the narrative has an ebb and flow that you recognize, damsel in distress, the friends who become lovers, the young person who struggles to grow up.

Considering the story of Abraham and Isaac, I wonder if Jesus felt some of that deja vu when he was driven into the wilderness to be tempted so early in his ministry. Continue reading

The Fallacy of Freedom

Come, Holy Spirit, Come!

Come as the Fire and burn

Come as the Light and reveal

Come as the Wind and cleanse

Convict us, Convert us,Consecrate us, until we are wholly thine. Amen.

Often, when I notice a hole in my schedule, I rejoice. Of course, they’re much rarer these days with Charles in-arms, but once in awhile, there’s a night with no dinner to prepare, no meetings to lead or to attend, and I relish the freedom I have to plan my own evening.

I settle myself on the couch, remote nearby, staring at the screen for the next several hours, bowl of ice cream or glass of wine in hand, telling myself it will soothe me, I’ll feel more energized after I relax this way.

Inevitably, I grant myself that extra scoop of ice cream or one more glass of wine, and I stay up too late, eyes glued to the TV, and then I sleep fitfully, frustrated with myself for the late hour, stomach churning from too much indulgence, mind ablaze from the scenes I’ve imbibed. And so my freedom feels like a prison in retrospect; my liberty becomes a chain. I allow myself to be pulled into what I think is a treat for myself, but in actuality makes me more captive to waste and excess than I was before. Continue reading