Monotheism Anyone?

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 Delivered at St. George’s Episcopal Church, La Canada, CA

4 Easter:  April 29, 2012

John 14:1-9  
1 Corinthians 15:35-38, 42-44, 50-55 

St. Peter is showing a newcomer around heaven, and as they walk down a large hallway there doors on both sides of the great hall. St. Peter opens one door where they hear “B-Nine…..G-Fifty-eight……I-Twenty-Four.” “That’s the Roman Catholics,” St. Peter says.

Down the hallway he opens another door which reveals a beautifully decorated banquet hall with a matched table setting; even the color of the napkins denotes a hint of the bouquet of flowers adorning each table. People are tastefully dressed, mingling to the strains of Mozart’s Eine kleine Nachtmusik. “Who are they?” asks the newcomer. “Oh, says St. Peter, “those are Episcopalians.”

As the tour continues, they come across another door which is locked, with do not disturb and do not enter signs plastered all across the front. “Shhhhh,” says St. Peter….those are the Mormons…they think they’re the only ones up here.” Read More

A Tale of Four Kingdoms

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Delivered at St. Wilfrid of York Episcopal Church, Huntington Beach, CA on July 3, 2011

Zechariah 9:9-12
Song of Solomon 2:8-13
Romans 7:15-25a
Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30

I have to admit; I really, really miss the beach.  Since I was ten years old, I’ve enjoyed looking out at the ocean at sunrise, when the morning breaks through last strains of the night. And as I thought about this experience, and our readings for today, I realized that the writings found in the bible are enormous and deep like the ocean, filled with the wealth of thought, ideas, stories, lessons, and deep ambiguities.

If we take into account the matrix surrounding today’s gospel reading, we become aware that Matthew is talking about something more than a comparison of John the Baptist and Jesus. There is more going over and above John’s message saying that the Kingdom is coming, and Jesus claiming that the Kingdom has come. In fact, we really have four kingdoms in tension with one another! Read More

The Theology of Oink

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Each child was given a t-shirt with this image on it to celebrate diversity.

This past Sunday we are St. George’s held one of our quarterly Family Services which featured the kids of the parish. It’s a pretty loose service, and always enjoyable. The Gospel for that Sunday (celebrating Christ the King) was Luke 23:33-43 which tells the story of Jesus’ crucifixion.

I asked the kids and the adults an important theological question saying that we can pretty much understand the answer as to why Jesus died, but has anyone asked why he was killed? I went on to suggest that Jesus was killed because he was different, totally different that all the people around him, and this made others nervous. When people are surrounded with high anxiety, one way to bring down the anxiety level is to remove teachings, or the person. In Jesus’ case, the result was bullying him to death. Jesus taught outside the box, and this was unacceptable. Read More

Obedience vs. Compassion

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Delivered at St. George’s Episcopal Church, La Canada, CA

Amos 7:7-17
Psalm 82:1-5,8
Colossians 1:1-14
Luke 10:25-37

One of the major differences between Judaism, and Christianity is very subtle. The difference is that Judaism focuses on the Law, but Christianity from the onset, was attracted to the story. Read More

The Witness of Aaron

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Delivered at St. George’s Episcopal Church, La Canada, CA

Palm Sunday, 2010

Samaritans

I invite you all to imagine that this is the year 40 C.E., and you are sitting in a home somewhere in Jerusalem, where a visitor has been invited to speak; a  voice of prayer can be heard outside in the distance.

Ah, yes…the Shema…..the great prayer… Sh’ma Yis’ra’eil Adonai Eloheinu Adonai echad. Hear, Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One. These are troubling times…Israel is not one, and the Lord our God is not one…at least with the people of the earth…and I am forbidden to join them in prayer at their synagogue.

My name is Aaron, from the tribe of Joseph, and I am a Samaritan….and amongst the Hebrew people, I am an abomination, I am not pure because my ancestors worshiped God on Mt. Gerizim and intermarried with foreigners, not out of disrespect to God, but to survive after the Assyrians destroyed and brutalized my nation, and my people. I have lived, and my people have lived with this memory for generations, and it has taken root in our souls. Living your life as an abomination is a tough thing, it seems each day I am reminded that I am nothing, I am not worth the dirt a person steps on. Read More

Sermon: Faith as Trust

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labyrinth

Jeremiah 1:4-10
Psalm 71:1-6
1 Corinthians 13:1-13
Luke 4:21-30

It was a balmy warm summer evening in Huntington Beach. The courtyard of the church was enveloped by a vibrant palette of sunset colors which slowly evaporated into a blanket of cloud cover.

In the courtyard of St. Wilfrid’s, mixed with audio strains of Gregorian chant, lay a hand crafted labyrinth made from blue duct tape. It was nothing fancy, and was obviously designed from a “how to” book. Placed in various areas of the labyrinth were small half domed candles,  you might know those kind I’m talking about; candles made from glass with cargo netting around the outside, but in the center of the maze was a large white candle glowing by itself – – – – it seemed lonely. Read More

Recovery: a reminder

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On Saturday I had the distinct pleasure of preaching at Bloy House, Claremont, CA at a special Recovery Service. In reference to a theme of God’s abundance, I  shared the experience of my own special healing which took place at St. Wilfrid of York Episcopal Church in Huntington Beach one Easter Sunday in 2002. Here is an excerpt from the sermon’s closing: Read More

Transcendent pulse of God

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Delivered September 26, 2009 at the Episcopal Theological School at Claremont, CA  (Bloy House)

Genesis 2:4b-9, 18-23
1 Peter 4:8-11
Luke 12:22-31
Psalm 16:5-11

I once read an LA Times article about Dr. Francis Collins, a medical doctor, lecturer, educator, and one of the worlds’s most respected DNA researchers whose area of study revolves around finding the source of the origin of our human spices. Due to his scientific nature, Dr. Collins was a card carrying atheist.

Raised by agnostic parents, he was sent to an Episcopal Church at an early age not to learn about God, but to study music; any talk of God in the home was forbidden. As the years went on, and he applied himself to his medical practice, he was confronted by questions from dying patients about the realities of life on earth, and the hereafter. Being a consciences physician and wanting something to say to dying patients, he decided read Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis, and not too long after, combined with life experience, God eventually did was God does best……leading Dr. Collins from atheism, to conversation. Read More

Saints in Summer Homily: St. Benedict

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Homily delivered at St. George’s Episcopal Church, La Canada, CA

benedict

Psalm 1
Proverbs 2:1-9
Luke 14:27-33

In what has been called the dark ages, Benedict, the hermit, was called by an early Christian community to be their leader. In time he codified a method of spiritual living, creating what would be known as The Rule, founding twelve monasteries forming the basis western monasticism, a style of spirituality still practiced today.

Benedict’s rule, the regimen of work, study, prayer, worship, and community, may seem stern, but its followers take seriously the teaching of Jesus found in Matthew which says, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who loose their life for my sake, will find it” (Mat 16:24-25) Read More

Trinity Sunday Sermon

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Offered at St. George’s Episcopal Church, La Canada, CA

rublev_trinity_icon

Isaiah 6:1-8
Romans 8:12-17
John 3:1-17
Psalm 93

Icons are strange things; they act as a window into one’s spiritual soul breathing life into your own individual sacred journey. Icons agree to meet you…as is…just as you are without pretense or judgment. Staring at an icon, one which is prayerfully conceived is like gazing at a lover with all the emotions attached to it. The power of iconography embraces the mysterious communication reaching out, moving beyond one dimension as it has the power to envelop the viewer with soulful communication. Icons sometimes offer us the space to connect with what Thomas Merton called life’s “hidden wholeness” allowing us a chance to rest in what I like to call a “sacred ambiguity.” Read More


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