Emptying our closets; changing our minds

As most of you know, I’m still pretty new to New Jersey. I moved here in March from Pittsburgh. It was actually pretty convenient for me to change my address – the post office prefers that you do it online. Easy peasy! Well, when I checked my mail for the first time in New Brunswick, I found a packet of coupons and fliers from the post office. It was kind of a welcome-wagon in today’s world. One of the coupons caught my eye. It was from PODS, the storage unit company. It simply read, “Store your excess with us!” I … Continue reading Emptying our closets; changing our minds

The Choice to Forgive

It was in the basement of a small church in Munich that she saw him. He was balding, heavy-set. He clutched his brown felt hat between his hands. The year was 1947 and Corrie ten Boom had been giving a talk on how Europe could move forward after World War II. They had all been through so much and lost so many loved ones. Her talk had been very healing for many in attendance. As the man waited his turn to speak with Ms. Ten Boom afterward, Corrie struggled to recollect his face. Where had she known him? All at … Continue reading The Choice to Forgive

The Better Part

I was in a novelty store in Delaware a few years back. Among the antique road signs and various other bits of kitsch, I came across a series of little statuettes commemorating some of the lesser-known saints. They were clearly meant to be funny. There was St. Gertrude, patron saint of cat lovers, and St. Rufus for dog lovers. I saw St. Bibiana (aka St. Vivian), the patron of hangovers, and St. Andrew, who, because he is the patron saint of Scotland, is also the patron saint of golf! Then I came across the patron saint of waiters and waitresses. … Continue reading The Better Part

Her faith saved her

I notice bumper-stickers. If you glance at my car this morning, you won’t see any, except a Rutgers 250 one. Once upon a time in my life, however, my car was festooned with them! My sister once looked at the menagerie of opinions on what she called my “preachy bumper” and quipped, “My! You sure have got a lot to say!” At some point, I stopped the practice, choosing not to raise the blood pressure of other drivers or some of my students and parishioners for that matter. But I still notice them. And they are everywhere, especially during election … Continue reading Her faith saved her

Those who love me…

  A sermon for the Sixth Sunday of Easter, Year C (Preached at The Episcopal Church of St. John the Evangelist, New Brunswick, NJ) John 14:23-29 Have you ever noticed that each Sunday after Easter has a theme? I can tell you preachers and church musicians have noticed. The Sunday after Easter is always called “Doubting Thomas Sunday”. Poor Thomas, but that’s a sermon for another year. The next Sunday we see Jesus and Peter reunited, usually enjoying breakfast on the beach. The fourth Sunday of Easter is traditionally called “Good Shepherd Sunday”, when we read the 23rd Psalm and … Continue reading Those who love me…

And they’ll know we are Christians…

A sermon for the Fifth Sunday of Easter, Year C Preached at The Episcopal Church of St. John the Baptist, Salem, NJ Acts 11:1-18; John 13:31-35 I grew up in the 70’s. When I say this, I hear some folks say, “Wow! You’re young!” and others, “Gosh, you’re old!” I guess this is what they call “middle age”! I also grew up going to church. My father was a United Methodist minister. In those days, there was a new movement in church music going on, away from organs and formal choirs, and toward guitar masses and choir members wearing jeans … Continue reading And they’ll know we are Christians…

God’s best for ALL of us

Whenever I hear the story of the wedding feast at Cana, I am reminded of one of my favorite Russell family stories. Some years ago, my older sister, who some of you have met, was visiting my brother’s family in Virginia. Like a good aunt would, she offered to read some bedtime Bible stories to my brother’s two young daughters. Now, my sister would probably describe herself as “unchurched”. She, like all of us, grew up a pastor’s kids, but we each find our own path as adults. Meanwhile, my brother and his family were committed Southern Baptists for most … Continue reading God’s best for ALL of us

Of Superheroes and Messiahs

Christ the King, Year B, Revelation 1:4b-8; John 18:33-37 “But MOMMMMM!” “You can’t go!” “But everyone else is!” “No! You’ll get scared!” “No I won’t!” “I don’t want you coming home, having nightmares!” “Puhleeeeease!!!” “No!” This was the conversation my mother had with me in the summer of 1977. I was 9. And what was the summer blockbuster that year? Star Wars! My 11 year-old brother had seen it. So had my 13 year-old sister. I was being left out. Somehow, I knew that this was a defining moment for those of us in Generation X. My mother, however, was afraid … Continue reading Of Superheroes and Messiahs