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Showing posts from October, 2013

Prisons, Banjoes, and Chinese Philosophy

The 22nd Sunday after Pentecost, 20 Oct 2013 Christian Hawley Jer 31:27-34 Psalm 119:97-104 2Tim 3:14-4:5 Luke 18:1-8
Our psalmist today declares: “Oh how I love your law! How sweet are your words to my taste! They are sweeter than honey to my mouth.”
Now I can understand justice being sweet or loving mercy or thinking forgiveness tastes better than honey, but I've always had a tough time wrapping my head around what the psalmist was thinking when he talked about loving God's law. I can get on board with respecting God's law, or honoring God's law, or being obedient to God's law, but the psalmist uses love here in the sense of enjoyment and exhilaration – he finds it sweeter than honey!1
How can we come to love God's law like this psalmist?
After consulting prisons, banjoes, and Chinese philosophy I think we come to love God's law by knowing God's law and then by practicing God's law.
So let's begin with prisons. A couple of weeks ago you all se…
20th Sunday after Pentecost, Year C          October 6, 2013    Episcopal Church of the Ascension           The Reverend Dr. Howard J. Hess Faith Received, Nurtured, and Lived Out in Relationship
I. Introduction. The parable of the mustard seed is one of the best known of Jesus’ teachings. The Apostles had just asked Jesus to “increase their faith.” In response, he told them that if they had just a small amount of faith, as represented by the tiny mustard seed, they could move mountains. His exact words are that by merely speaking in faith they could uproot a mulberry tree, with all its deep roots, and plant it in the sea. Jesus used the example of a very small seed from the mustard plant, which was actually considered a weed, to exemplify his point about the power of faith. A wonderful image. Jesus was saying to them, and is saying to us, don’t worry about getting more faith, take action, relying upon the faith you already have. That’s all I’m going to say about the mustard seed now.…

Feast Day of Sir Wilfred Thomason Grenfell

Healing Service Wednesday, 9 October Christian Hawley 2 Kings 2:19-22
Psalm 107:23-32
Mark 6:45-56


I've always loved to say the word pericope. A pericope is actually a small self contained portion of scripture, so I thought I'd work it into today's homily. Most Bibles identify pericopes by giving them a heading. For instance, in today's Gospel of Mark chapter 6 verses 45-52 have the heading Jesus Walks on the Water and then verses 53-56 have the heading Healing the Sick in Genneserat. The really interesting part, though, is that these headings are not part of the original texts of scripture1 – these nifty headings are usually added by a publisher. This may not seem like a big deal at first, but as we read scripture in a non-continuous fashion (like a lectionary schedule), I think these headings bias where we draw the lines around pericopes. So today it looks like we have two pericopes: Jesus walks on water and Jesus heals the sick in Genneserat. I think this separatio…

The Christ, the Buddha, and .38 Special

19th Sunday after Pentecost – 29 September 2013 Christian Hawley Jeremiah 32:1-3a, 6-15 Psalm 91:1-6, 14-16 1 Timothy 6:6-19 Luke 16:19-31
*Below you will find my sermon script, however the Spirit blows me off script from time to time. I think that wonderful third member of the Trinity blew me a little farther than usual this week, so I would encourage you to listen to the homily on the Ascension website.
In my very first semester of my very year of divinity school, I got booted from a class in the philosophy of religion. Apparently, they were looking for PhD students or at least people with undergraduate concentrations in philosophy or theology. My sorry engineering background didn't fit either criteria. As a result, I had to scramble at the last minute to find another class in order to carry a full time load. Anything that was even the least bit appealing to me was already full, and so in an act of desperation the registrar just put me in this class called Buddhist-Chri…