Ekklesia

Sermons, church-related articles, educational materials and projects.

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Catechesis

Basics of Faith: The Image of God


Part 1 of a series on the Basics of the Faith, the Image of God.
St. Michael & All Angels, Portland, Oregon

Tradition holds, that every human being is in the image of God, but it does not define exactly in what this image consists. --Epiphanius of Salamas

Sermon

Arcing Our Lives


A Sermon given on Sunday, the 6th week after Epiphany, 2017
St. Michael & All Angels, Portland, Oregon

We are arrows in the quiver of God, shot forth to arc towards justice, mercy, peace, and love. The arc of the universe does not bend itself towards justice. We bend it. We are the universe into which God in Christ enters, and it is our lives, our choice to persistently love one another, to make the beloved community present every day and in every place, that bends the arc of the universe towards justice.

Sermon

The Gospel According to Kaepernick


A Sermon given on Sunday, the 16th week of Pentecost, 2016
St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Oregon City, Oregon

Maybe this is why Kaepernick's actions and people's reaction stood out to me so much this week: protesting the death and violence with which people of color live in the United States earns condemnation because it makes us uncomfortable. I think many of us in the United States are much more ready to hear that we are supposed to hate our family (some of whom we are probably perfectly happy to hate because they are so very difficult) than that we should hate our country.

Sermon

Desires that God Honors


A Sermon given on Sunday, the 7th week of Pentecost, 2016
St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Oregon City, Oregon

The giving of the kingdom that so delights God is the very kindness, generosity and justice that Jesus repeatedly ask that we give to one another. Jesus teaches us to pray by asking that this reign of God come, and then tells us over and over again that the reign of God is not a future event but a reality we make present by being God's presence to one another. The treasure in which we are asked to invest our hearts are those things that allow us to be like God, to be like the one who delights in serving us, eating with us, caring for us.

Sermon

Who are We, Sinners or Lovers?


A Sermon given on Sunday, the 4th week of Pentecost, 2016
St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Oregon City, Oregon

What the woman offers Jesus is the equivalent of offering a guest something to drink when they arrive, a place to wash their hands before sitting to dinner, a chair to rest on after their trip over. It is the bottle of lotion next to the soap to moisturize your hands after washing. Bread and wine, like scented ointment in a world of chronic smelly feet and dry skin, are the stuff of normal, everyday life. Bread and wine are not exceptional foods, they are (at least for Palestinian Jews) a normal, mundane meal.

Sermon

Toward Good News


A Sermon given on Sunday, the 7th week of Easter, 2016
St. Paul Episcopal Church, Oregon City, Oregon

In Paul's response, we recognize how incomplete our efforts to love others are. We live in a world where sometimes there seems to be no perfectly good choice. In the slave girl, we recognize what it is like to be at the receiving end of perhaps thoughtless good intentions, the receiving end of someone else's help that may be true, but isn't enough, or just isn't what you need. Today we come together bracketed by a leave-taking and a promise, standing exactly where that slave-girl stood two millennia ago. We hope for the completion of what God has started, we wait, we are thirsty (Rev 22:17).

Catechesis

The Nicene Creed


A Creedal Timeline for Catechesis

A visual and informational timeline on the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed:


Sermon

Dancing with God


A Sermon given on Trinity Sunday, 2015
All Saints Episcopal Church, Portland, Oregon

We are made in the image of this God, who dances, births, knits, remakes, restores, who burns and blows where she will, all in order that we might be saved, that we might live as we are made to live. Salvation here is not *from* a wrathful God, but an invitation *into* being like God, to enter into a life of constant, joyful, dynamic hospitality. Being like God is to take God’s hospitality, and to be God’s hospitality.

Lecture

Justice as Asceticism


Originally delivered as a part of St. Mary's Lenten Lecture Series 2004
St. Mary Orthodox Church, Cambridge, MA

There is a real danger that our fasting, our prayer, and even our alms-giving, becomes self-serving. These elements become our own private discipline, focusing on our own inner change, our own ‘salvation’ which may or may not press us to become people of greater love. I have often heard the argument that these disciplines are social because we do them together. We fast together, supporting and encouraging one another to walk past that oddly appealing hot dog. Our time in church increases, adding in Wednesday liturgy as well as the Friday akathist>. While the encouragement of the community is crucial to Lent, simply doing things together does not necessarily make us less self-focused, less individualistic. Lent can still be all about me.

Lecture

Ambiguity and Mystery: The 'More' of God


Originally delivered as a part of St. Mary's Lenten Lecture Series 2003
St. Mary Orthodox Church, Cambridge, MA

What makes this particularly shocking, to the minds of both our Greek predecessors, and to our own more ‘modern’ instincts, ‘world’ into which God became incarnate is ambiguous. The world changes all the time, our lives change all the time. There is nothing predictable about you or me, or the world we live in. My guess is that for most of us, hearing that the world is ambiguous does not put us at ease. It does not cause us to sit back, relax, and breathe a sigh of relief. Instead, a little knot of tension appears in our body, maybe we sit up a little straighter, we fold our arms in front of us in order to resist this uncomfortable idea that the world is ambiguous. But it is true, change happens. And rather than resist change, or automatically assume that change and ambiguity means ‘bad,’ we need to really think about what ‘ambiguity’ really means.