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Repent the Day Before You Die

Repent The Day Before You Die Rob Gieselmann Pent 27A, Nov. 9, 2014
I was the best man at a wedding in rural Georgia, once – held in a clapboard Baptist Church.It was May, and the church was not air-conditioned. The bride asked for tall candles to be placed throughout the room. Only – the church, which was already sultry, grew hotter from burning candles, in that Georgia sun.
Halfway through the ceremony, it had grown so hot that the candles began melting sideways – flames shot up and the candles turned upside down. One candle lit the bride’s veil, which I saw in time to put out – meanwhile the other groomsmen frantically ran around the room putting out the flames.
*Pastor William Willimon tells his own story about an old Georgia Baptist church. His was a funeral, and the Baptist preacher lit into the congregation – shouting and fuming, flailing his arms: “It’s too late for Joe! He might have wanted to do better in life, but no more. He might have wanted to straighten up, but now he can…

The Witness of Saints

The Reverend Christopher Hogin The Witness of Saints Revelation 7: 9-17 The Episcopal Church of the Ascension November 5, 2017
Saints can be martyrs, pious ones, or confessors. Martyrs often die a violent death as they proclaim the gospel. Stephen was stoned while giving an impassioned plea for the gospel. Ignatius of Antioch was thrown into the Roman coliseum and devoured by lions. The Apostle Peter was crucified upside down. The Apostle Paul was beheaded under the decree of the Roman emperor Nero. These saints lived and died for the gospel. Pious ones are saints who sometimes assume a vow of poverty dedicating their lives to the poor and unwanted, such as St. Francis of Assisi or Mother Teresa. Then there are the confessors. The confessors are not persecuted or killed for their faith, but they nonetheless endure a great deal of suffering. As their body grows weaker, their faith grows stronger. I stumbled across a confessor saint this week, one I’d never heard before. Her name is Antoine…

On the Precipice of the Promised Land

The Twenty First Sunday After Pentecost Matthew 22:34-46 On the Precipice of the Promised Land
So some of you know that I was a world religion major during my time in undergrad, and how that experience or that journey in learning was very important in my spiritual formation.In fact I am often fond of saying that if it weren’t for the study of Buddhism, I am not totally certain that I would still be a Christian today.What I mean by that is that the study of other religions, Buddhism in particular, provided me with a pair of new lenses which allowed me to see the religion of my birth in a whole new light.I am grateful for that, and actually I can recall several similar examples in my formation during that time.One of my favorite examples of this was when I had the chance to write on any religious topic I wished, and I chose Bob Marley and Rastafarianism. It was a fascinating topic, and aside from the usual criticisms of the Rastas and some of their questionable sacramental practices, I rece…