Monday, January 29, 2018

Padre's Post-The Light of Epiphany

The season of Epiphany draws to an early close this year with Ash Wednesday slated for February 14 (the imposition of ashes will make for a unique and unforgettable valentines date!).

In the Christian calendar, February 2nd is the presentation of Jesus at the Temple, and is also called Candlemas. In worship, this Sunday, we will bless all the new candles purchased for the coming year. The nativity scene will also be removed along with the star that has adorned the sanctuary since Christmas. These symbols and festivals in the church calendar transform each year from the passing of days and months to the keeping of holy remembrances and timeless belonging.

Today, I was treated to three gifts of the light of Epiphany: physical incarnations of God’s grace and beauty. They were in the attitudes and actions of three women: two of whom are recovering from debilitating accident and disease and one who was present and available in a desperate time of need. Each in their own way shined a light of irrepressible hope and thanksgiving. Each in their own way spoke of how fortunate they were. Each of them were physical manifestations of God’s goodness and grace. Each of them filled with a vibrant zest for living illuminating my winter-worn soul.

Their attitudes in the midst of difficulty shined the light of epiphany upon my own state of mind. The contrast was evident but not without impact. In the words of the psalmist, “Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.”

As winter tarries along with the long nights of darkness, may the lights of epiphany illumine your path to lift your soul and fill your heart with thanksgiving for the gift of simply being here, now.

Fr. Richard

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Annual Meeting

Father Richard's sermon for January 28, 2018

Click here to listen.

Click here for the full text.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Shine The Light

Father Richard's sermon for January 21, 2018

Click here to listen.

Click here for the full text.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Padre's Post-Shine The Light

(an excerpt from homily for January 21)

Jesus was not a preserver of the status quo or conserver of people’s status and privilege, instead he encouraged them to share what they have, give honor to those whom they may have been taught to segregate from or discriminate against. For this reason I do not understand how some invoke the name of Jesus to denigrate whole people groups. It is the life and teachings of Jesus who inspired our own baptismal covenant to “respect the dignity of all human beings.

It was Jesus who infuriated those who believed their tradition and religion gave them special privilege or access to God. It was the life and teachings of Jesus that inspired the dream of The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. to dream of the day when “his children would be judged not by the color of their skin but by their character.” It was the teachings and life of Jesus that inspired our own Episcopal tradition to challenge our culture and church’s systematic condemnation of those who are Gay. It is Jesus pointing to the dignity and goodness and holiness of the marginalized and the hypocrisy, arrogance, and self-righteousness of those who claimed to be “the chosen ones.”

Fr. Richard

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Hearing The Voice Of God

Father Richard's sermon for January 14, 2018

Click here to listen.

Click here for the full text.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Padre's Post-Hearing The Voice Of God

(an excerpt from homily for January 14)

At some point, we must give ourselves to the one who unites and heals as opposed to divides and conquers. We must give ourselves to the one who creates and imagines instead of deconstructs and mocks. We must give ourselves to the one who wonderfully makes all kinds of persons who bring their own light into the world.

Yesterday morning, I spent just a few minutes sitting quietly while watching the fat snowflakes gently descend through the air. It was nurturing and calming. Instead of wrestling with the cold or shoveling the snow, I chose to enjoy it for what it provided. Beauty and peace.

Now those are words from the heart of God: beauty and peace.

Epiphany invites us into the quiet and contemplative places where the voices are neither anxious nor angry, evocative or provocative, divisive nor demeaning. In the quiet and still places we hear the word of love, beauty, peace, and hope, transformational and profound.

Fr. Richard

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Padre's Post-Epiphany 2018

In this season of Epiphany I am drawn to the question, “What is the light the life of Jesus brought to the world?” This is the meaning of Epiphany, right? In the Gospel narrative, the life of Jesus is not a big glorious and triumphant rise to fame and fortune and power. Quite opposite, actually, his was a life of humility, healing, and profound suffering.

He was a friend of outcasts and a perceived threat by those who held the places of influence and privilege. His teaching was of the intimate relationship God desires with all of creation. The light of Jesus’ life was his unshakable bond with God and his hospitality extended to those who desired the same. I often wonder how this life of Jesus is altered to promote dominance and triumphalism in our culture and Christian history.

Fr. Richard

Sunday, January 7, 2018

The Light Of Jesus

Father Richard's sermon for January 7, 2018

Click here to listen.

Click here for the full text.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Padre's Post-The Feast Of Epiphany

The days of Christmas here in Kokomo have been the sequel to Disney's "Frozen," I for one am ready to "let it go"... the severe cold that is. I am definitely ready to emerge into the season of Epiphany. Tomorrow, January 6, is the feast of the Epiphany, beginning the third leg (Advent - Christmas- Epiphany) of our annual pilgrimage through the year of our Lord.

In the Gospel story, Epiphany is Jesus being recognized by persons in the world as the light of God. First by the wise men from the east, then by the old sages at the Temple in Jerusalem, by John at Jesus' baptism, by his disciples who followed him. Epiphany is the life of Jesus emerging in our world and being recognized.

In our own stories and journeys, the season of Epiphany represents our own awakening and awareness to the light of God in our life. Epiphany marks the emergence of our lives through the waters and fires of the baptisms life brings to us. The baptisms that define who we are following difficult and painful experiences. The baptisms of illness, sorrow, disappointment, and tragedy. Even the baptisms of dealing with two weeks of single digit and negative temperature.

Epiphany is when the invisible attributes of the spirit like grace, love, hope, and wisdom, are made visible by our little attitudes and actions. Epiphany is when we recognize the visitations of the divine in our daily lives.

Fr. Richard