God the Good Gardener

“Every branch that bears fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.”

Look at the stained glass windows around you this morning.  They’ve been given at various times for various members of the community, and as any chorister will tell you, they’re a symbol of how God’s light shines through each of us.  As we look closely at the passage from the Gospel of John this morning, I want to offer these to you as a metaphor for God’s work in us as we consider what it means to be pruned, and where exactly the Good News is in the revelation that we should expect spiritual amputations. Continue reading

brave people make intimidating congregations

Over coffee this morning, shop-talking with my colleague, Dane, I thought of this ole post. May the 26 y.o. Emily speak to you as she’s spoken to me–demanding courage to speak the truth at all times and in all places.

hope of things not seen

Often, while sermon-writing, words come slowly, and when they come, they seem like little clods of dirt that break apart into dust the moment you try to grasp them. This exercise sends me running through my cycle of google reader-facebook-twitter.  Having just completed the circuit a few minutes before, there was nothing new on my reader, but when i typed in “fac” in my browser bar (the fewest letters necessary to bring up my worn “facebook.com” link) and arrived at the top of my newsfeed, a new photo had been posted by my sister:

She wore a white sundress, her blonde hair was down, and the big white posterboard she held up read, “Shh… just go back to sleep.”  It was a photo taken for Project Unbreakable, a website dedicated to survivors of sexual assault.  I’d known about the event she referred to for a few months, but seeing…

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Come, Holy Spirit

Over the last two weeks, I’ve heard(/sung) the ancient hymn Veni Creator Spiritus as many times as I’ve heard it throughout my life–it’s been a spirit-filled few weeks (see: holy week).  This poem has been used by Christians since the 800’s to pray for the Holy Spirit to be present and come upon those who are gathered.  It’s used in the Episcopal church at ordinations, though its text is appropriate for any time one wants to invoke the Holy Spirit (every day, anyone?).

At the weekly Sunday morning breakfast here at the cathedral, someone asked me, “How do you get the Holy Spirit?”  I told him, “I think all you can do is pray for it.  It will come–probably when you don’t mean for it to show up.”  Another person asked, “Why are there so many different Christian churches, like Episcopalian, and all that?”  My response was immediately on my tongue, as if inspired, “Because we humans are really bad at listening to the Holy Spirit.  We have such trouble being truly sensitive to God’s movement and work, correcting our myopias, and practicing humility with each other that we break apart Christ’s body–the church–again and again and again instead of laying down our pride and committing to unity.”

With that lament, we pray: Come, Holy Spirit… enable with perpetual light the dullness of our blinded sight.