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Showing posts from April, 2014

Where to Stick Our Fingers

The Second Sunday of Easter - Year A 27 Apr 2014 Padre Christian Hawley
Acts 2:14a, 22-32 Psalm 16 1 Peter 1:3-9 John 20:19-31
Our Gospel reading today ends with John saying he wrote his gospel down so that we may come to believe Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through him we may have life in his name. The tomb is empty, and the Risen Christ is made manifest to us in the Holy Scriptures.
I forget that sometimes. After all the wonderful worship services last week, after all the beautiful flowers, phenomenal music, and amazing homilies, I forget just how central the scriptures are to our faith.
For all of us who were not locked in the safe house with the disciples, or lucky enough to poke the risen Christ like Thomas, all we have to go on, is the living Word of God set down by inspired writers like John.
However, just as I was about to profess my faith by liturgy alone last week as the choir wrapped up Handel's Hallelujah Chorus, a little voice, the voice of…
Redemption Throughout a Lifetime Easter Sunday, Year A: April 20, 2014 Episcopal Church of the Ascension The Reverend Dr. Howard J. Hess I. Introduction. Today we welcome the Resurrected Lord Jesus Christ into our midst ~ not as an abstraction or as a memory from the past or even as an ideal figure, but as a real person present among us as our honored Lord and Savior. This is the Easter message. All the rest is commentary. We want to thank Jesus today for the gift of new life and the consistent opportunities he provides us to learn more about how to love him and how to love one another. I personally want to thank him for all the second chances he has offered me in my life. I also want to thank him not only for redeeming us, but also for redeeming time so that we could have the option of following Christ at our own pace. You see, it is my deep belief that Jesus works through time to graciously offer us new spiritual insights. The profound offer of joining Jesus or of…
Palm Sunday Reflection April 13, 2014 Episcopal Church of the Ascension The Reverend Dr. Howard J. Hess The Crowd. And so the Passion of Jesus, the Christ, begins. And we have front row seats as the drama unfolds. Actually, I am mistaken ~ we are not in the audience this morning ~ we have a leading role in how the drama plays out. We are the crowd. Initially, we are part of the cheering throngs that welcome Jesus, joyfully shouting “Hosanna, Hosanna” and waving our palms in the air. Some of us have seen Jesus heal others, even bring Lazarus back from the dead. Some of us, or members of our own family, may have experienced Jesus’ healing touch. And if we have not seen or experienced the miracles ourselves, we have heard eyewitnesses describe them. We welcome Jesus like a king, because we know that he is a king. After all, hasn’t he descended from the line of King David? But the plot of this Palm Sunday drama twists and turns. Jesus has missed a moment when he…
Dem Bones Are Moving at Ascension April 6, 2014 Episcopal Church of the Ascension The Reverend Dr. Howard J. Hess I. Introduction. What a gift today’s lectionary readings are to the preacher ~ lifeless bones that reassemble into whole living bodies and a man who had been dead for four days brought back to life by Jesus. The “ruach,” Hebrew for the breath or spirit of God, is everywhere in our readings. It was the ruach that breathed life into human beings in Genesis; it was the ruach that breathed new life into the nation of Israel while it was in captivity in Babylon; and it is the ruach that brought Lazarus back from the dead at Jesus’ command. In fact it was also the ruach that inspired African-American spirituals like “Dem Bones” to help a people keep their faith and hope alive in the face of the horrors of slavery. You see, during slavery, Bible verses about rescue from oppression could be sung, even if not preached about. The ruach is alive in all times…