Archives: Proper 14

Here Comes This Dreamer; Come Now, Let Us Kill Him

Even before the events in Charlottesville this weekend, my attention was snagged by the Genesis text , and I can’t let it go.

There’s something powerful and dark about it that is all too easy to let slide when we could let our attention be drawn by this week’s story of Jesus walking on the water or Paul’s beautiful quote, “The word is near you, on your lips and in your heart.”

Genesis 37 is the story of seventeen-year-old Joseph, innocent, naïve, and oblivious to the toxic jealousy he has awakened in his brothers.

He dons his many-colored coat and eagerly sets out to join them with the flocks, unheeding or perhaps unware of how each bright thread reminds his brothers that they are second best.

Their father loves him the most, and they know it.

It’s not Joseph’s fault that Jacob has apparently failed to keep abreast of all the best parenting techniques on whatever passed for the mommy blogs in ancient Israel.

There is a deep history of complex father-son and brother-brother relationships in this family.

Joseph’s father Jacob feuded with his twin brother Esau, jealously conning him out of his birthright.

Joseph’s grandfather, Isaac, was almost murdered by his own father, Abraham, until the Angel of the Lord stayed his hand and provided the ram caught in the thicket for the sacrifice.

Blood means more than heredity in this family.

They seem to dance around shedding one another’s blood in cycles of conflict invested with deep and tangled emotion.

But today it looks like that in this generation, they will finally cross the line and kill one of their own.

“They saw him from a distance, and before he came near to them, they conspired to kill him.” Continue reading

Goodbye to St. Thomas and St. Luke’s

It’s hard to believe that this is the last time I’ll be standing in this pulpit as your parish priest.

We have been on such a journey together over these last three years, full of blessing and challenge, and I am so grateful for every moment.

There’s no way I can articulate everything our time together has meant to me, so I hope our hearts will speak to each other, as they ever have, and God will place us in communion together on this, our last Sunday morning together.

As ever, our scriptures come to our aid with guidance, truth, and the path for our future.

“Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen,” Paul tells us in our lesson from Hebrews.

Three years ago, we had many things we were hoping for. Continue reading

Things We Don’t Talk About: Jesus and Addiction

We think of sin as the universal human problem, but I’ve been thinking about it this week, and I believe that sin may be actually only an outgrowth of a deeper problem.

I think we might be able to classify the true root of most of our troubles with a more modern word that no one in the Bible would have been familiar with: addiction.

It’s comforting to think of addiction as someone else’s problem. Addiction is the stuff of meth labs and crack pipes.

But as our St. Luke’s Bible study talked together on Wednesday, we agreed that addiction is actually a universal condition.

We’re all addicted to something.

For some it’s alcohol or prescription medication, for others it’s food or sex, for others it’s shopping or video games or gossip or exercise.

So why do I call addiction deeper than sin? Continue reading

The Ghost on the Water

If you are awake at 3 a.m., there is probably something wrong.

You might be having fun if you’re partying that late, but you’re probably past your prime and have had a few too many drinks.

If you are awake at 3 a.m. and not a drunk college student, the most likely explanation is that you are up with a sick child, you are lying in bed worrying about losing, finding, or keeping a job, you are sitting by a hospital bed having been told your loved one is unlikely to survive the next twenty-four hours, or are facing some other catastrophe, large or small.

The disciples in our gospel story today are quite literally in the same boat.

The wind has been against them their entire journey, and they are being battered by the waves. The land is far away and their boat is small. Continue reading

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