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Second Sunday of Easter

In 2005, acclaimed playwright John Patrick Shanley’s play, Doubt, won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the Tony Award for best Play. The drama features two central characters, Fr. Flynn, a popular, progressive parish priest at St. Nicholas Church and Sister Aloysius, a very conservative nun who is principal of the school attached to the parish, circa 1964 in the Bronx. In his opening monologue, delivered as a sermon, Fr. Flynn says, "Doubt can be a bond as powerful and sustaining as certainty.” It becomes clear early on that Sister Aloysius distrusts her fellow nuns/sisters, teachers, and Fr. Flynn. She becomes suspicious that Fr. Flynn has behaved inappropriately with an impressionable youn

Leaving Jerusalem

O God, whose blessed Son made himself known to his disciples in the breaking of bread: Open the eyes of our faith, that we may behold him in all his redeeming work; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. --Collect for Wednesday of Easter Week, BCP. Wednesday of Easter Week presented us with one of the best-known post-Resurrection stories of Jesus: The Road to Emmaus. Two disciples, not part of the much better known 11 "chosen," are leaving Jerusalem after the crucifixion of Jesus. Earlier that morning, we quickly learn, the disciples identified as women had found the empty tomb, seen "visions" of angels, and had been told by these heavenly b

Easter Day!

Acts 10:34-45; 1 Corinthians 15: John 20:1-18 Dom Sebastian Moore wrote: “The original disciples were shocked into bliss by the Resurrection–– and they never recovered.” Shocked into bliss! Has that ever happened to you connected to anything, let alone the Resurrection? Yes, this is a hard thing for us to grasp. To drive it home, how difficult it is, I was reminded by a blog I read this past week of a sign that greets you at the entrance to the Church of All Nations on the Mt. of Olives. It reads/admonishes: NO EXPLANATIONS INSIDE THE CHURCH. It was most likely erected to remind overly chatty tour guides not to come into the church, talking away to their groups, as there are very often relig

No greater love

“I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." John 13: 34-35 Jesus’ command to love at the Last Supper is no great surprise. He had lived His life and ministry as a living example of love, hadn’t he? But he tells his disciples that they, too, will be known throughout the world as His followers by the way they hew to His particular brand of love. What set Jesus’ love so apart from the way we normally use the term? Most of us, I would hazard to guess, if asked, would be able to define love and, hopefully, have known something of love o

Passion as gateway to joy

Holy Week is truly a week of reversals. We go from “Hosanna!”, as Jesus enters into Jerusalem, to “Crucify Him!”, to “‘Into your hands, I commend my spirit.’ And after saying this, He breathed His last.” We are discombobulated by the rollercoaster nature of Christ’s Passion and all of its twists and turns. Holy Week is, however, truly a ride not to be missed. Moving through Christ’s Passion is not easy for us. We peer into Christ’s darkness, from Tenebrae on Holy Wednesday through Christ’s broken body on Good Friday. But we come out on the other side changed by what God in Christ has wrought in us and for us: a new heaven and a new earth, a world that death no longer holds, a future that we

Fifth Sunday in Lent

Isaiah 43:16-21; Psalm 126; Philippians 3:4b-14; John 12:1-8 What would you say is the worst (or to gently say most challenging) part of reading scripture? Its boring, right? Part of our struggle to engage with Holy Scripture is that we don’t find it stimulating, first of all, let alone relevant and helpful. But what if we began to see scripture not only as the foundation of our life and faith, but as a riveting drama? So, let me set the scene. It is six days before Jesus will be handed over and crucified in Jerusalem. And he is in Bethany, which means, variously, “house of affliction” or “house of prayer.” And he is sitting with some old friends, Martha and her sister Mary, in their home. A

Blooming in the desert

“I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert….to give drink to my chosen people.” Isaiah 43: 19b, 21b Some of you may have heard of a “desert bloom” out in the American Southwest a few weeks ago. They have received so much more rainfall than is usual for their arid region that the plants had a sustained period of bloom. Desert plants are great at storing water, so they can survive in a sort of hibernation (I am no botanist by any stretch) during most of the year without much or any rain. But during early 2019, the desert southwest received so much additional rainfall that the desert responded with a rare, amazing, sustained time of blossoming. I am an unrepentant devotee of