Posted by: Susan | July 6, 2012

Sermon 07-01-12 Pentecost 5B

Last Sunday we left Jesus and the disciples rowing across a tranquil sea in the aftermath of a storm. They were headed for Gentile territory. When they landed there they were met by a desperate man possessed by demons. He had been obliged to live for some time in the tombs, a social outcast. Jesus exorcised him and drove the unclean spirits into a herd of pigs who promptly stampeded down a steep bank into the sea and drowned. The man was so impressed he asked to become a

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Posted by: Susan | July 6, 2012

Sermon 06-24-12 Pentecost 4B

There is something about traveling that opens eyes in us we didn’t know we had. When you are on a journey—whether it be a short jaunt in the cool evening or an epic voyage through wild and unexplored terrain—there is something about a journey that heightens our sense of awareness. Removed from the familiar, we are more attentive to what we see around us. At home, I trust you do not gaze upon your living room with wide-eyed wonder, unless a child has redecorated or relocated something there. At home, you do not explore the titles of books on your shelf for they are the same ones that

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Posted by: Susan | July 6, 2012

Sermon 06-17-12 Pentecost 3B

It’s been estimated that over 200,000 new books are published in the U.S. each year.[1] Of that impressive number, a mere 1% of them become bestsellers.[2] Publishers sometimes have no idea why some books sell and others don’t. According to a Simon & Schuster spokesperson, “books often become best sellers to the surprise and puzzlement of their publishers. That’s why publishers find it so hard to repeat their success. Half the time they can’t figure out how [those successes] happened in the first place.” [3] If you ask me, that seems a rather odd way to run an industry.

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Posted by: Susan | July 6, 2012

Sermon 06-10-12 Pentecost 2B

There’s a poem you may have heard. It begins “When I am an Old Woman I Shall Wear Purple.” It was written by English poet Jenny Johnson in 1961.[1]

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we’ve no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I’m tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick flowers in other people’s gardens
And learn to spit.[2]

The poem is actually titled “Warning,” and Jenny Joseph wrote it at the very dawn of the women’s liberation movement in England. In America in 1961, there was not yet an Equal Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act was three years from its

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Posted by: Susan | July 6, 2012

Sermon 06-03-12 Trinity Sunday B

In the Virginia countryside there is a retreat center set upon a hundred acres of rolling and gracious southern land. It is a place where it seems they must hire scores of trained birds to flit amongst the branches and sing, for the air is alive with music. A young man went on a walk there for he was feeling utterly wrong for the work to which he had been called, utterly unable to do the things that other people seemed to think he could do. He listed his shortcomings: not much of a public speaker, nor a scholar; he did not have a great deal of patience and at times, he confessed to God, he didn’t even

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Posted by: Susan | July 6, 2012

Sermon 05-27-12 Pentecost B

When you plan a party to commemorate someone, to honor their birthday or their graduation, you imagine what sort of party theme might please them. Should it be a luau or should it feature a piñata? Should there be margaritas or perhaps a light sparkling fruit punch? Chocolate cake or lemon cake? You recall the person’s favorite color and you decorate using

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Posted by: Susan | July 6, 2012

Sermon 05-06-12 Easter 5B

As I rode my bicycle around the valley the other evening, I saw streets lined with pile after pile of branches: big silver-grey limbs, wild-haired pieces of willow, dead canes and errant shoots. People in Millville, Providence, and River Heights have been cutting and sawing and clipping every nonproductive thing from their yards. At the risk of jinxing my own rose garden, I will say that my fearless pruning has yielded marvelous results. Regarding roses, I am a true amateur, but I love them nonetheless. While it is easy to spot the dead portions of a bush and prune them out, it frightens me to cut

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Posted by: Susan | May 2, 2012

Sermon 04-29-12 Easter 4B

Every now and then, you run across someone who’s a true loner—a hermit, perhaps an extreme introvert who is happiest when he or she is utterly alone. This is a person who doesn’t seem to need the company of other human beings—ever. This is a person who is different from most of our species, for, while the rest of us like—and even crave—our solitary time, at heart most of us are gregarious creatures.

If I tell you you’re gregarious, you’re probably fine with that, because being gregarious is perceived as a good thing. Being a social person in our society means that you’ll be well-liked, that you’ll get ahead, you’ll be successful. Who of us

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Posted by: Susan | April 28, 2012

Sermon 04-22-12 Easter 3B

Charles Major, my 23-yr-old Senior Warden (actually, now 24), who is the coolest Senior Warden in the West, preached his first sermon on this day:

It is night. The doors are locked and the curtains drawn. The cavernous room is lit only by faint candlelight. A knock at the door makes the eleven disciples and those with them tense up in their seats as they listen to anxious whispers by those guarding the door. In burst two familiar faces. Their whispers are hoarse with exhaustion and excitement as they say: “It is true! The Lord has risen!”

These two then tell their story: how Jesus appeared to them on the road to Emmaus earlier that day.  And how they had not recognized Him. They were downcast because of their disappointment over Jesus not having fulfilled their hopes of redeeming Israel. The unrecognized Jesus then taught them how He was, in fact, the fulfillment of the scriptures. It was not, however, until Jesus broke bread at dinner that evening that they recognized Him.

Having been recognized, He vanished.

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Posted by: Susan | April 28, 2012

04-15-12 Bright Sunday B

The coolest Bishop in the West, The Rt. Rev. Scott Hayashi, and I preached this joke sermon on Bright Sunday as part of our Jazz Mass. Yes, there was dancing in the aisles and even on the pews.

SUSAN           A priest and his bishop went camping in the desert. After they got their tent set up, both men fell sound asleep. Some hours later, the bishop wakes the priest and says,

SCOTT            “Father, look towards the sky. What you see?”

SUSAN           Hoping to impress his bishop, the priest replies, “I see millions of stars.”

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