A sermon preached by the Rev. Beth Maynard on Proper 25, Year A
This is the first and great commandment: you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. And the second is like unto it: you shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
Any Episcopalian who attends a Rite 1 service, or who remembers the old 1928 Prayer Book, has heard this section of today’s Gospel over and over. It’s in the liturgy right before the Lord have mercy, because that’s how we are supposed to react when we hear it: “Lord, have mercy on me a sinner; I can’t possibly do what you just told me to!” You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself. There’s no “sometimes” in there. No “on a good day.” No "two out of three." Love with all you’ve got, all you are, all the time. That is the vision.
It sounds wonderful, but has anybody other than Jesus ever done it? Does any of us love God authentically, with every fiber of our being, every minute of every day, bringing all our intellect and all our heart into that love? Does any of us meet the needs of our neighbor, every time, with every bit as much pleasure and foresight and care and thoroughness as we meet our own needs? Any of us? Ever? If you say yes, I won’t believe you.
It’s a standard nobody but Jesus has ever met, but that’s the whole point. He meets it, he lives the vision perfectly, and then we are (choose your metaphor:) grafted, or adopted, or included, or immersed into him. That’s Christianity in a nutshell: his obedience, his perfection, stands in for our unreliability and just plain averageness. ....
Institution of the Rev'd Beth Maynard
A sermon preached by the Rt. Rev. Daniel Martins on St. Luke's Day
It’s a joy to be in Champaign, and at Emmanuel, for the weekend! Some of you I’ll see just today, but others of you I’ll see today and tomorrow, when I’m here for my regular annual visitation.
I’m doubly glad that, as the calendar chips fell, we’re celebrating the new ministry of Beth Maynard at Emmanuel on St Luke’s Day. By long and strong tradition, Luke is the author of a two-volume work of fairly-sophisticated literature — at least any beginning student of New Testament Greek would tell you it’s sophisticated— a two-volume work, consisting of the gospel that bears his name, occurring third in the customary numerical order of the gospels, and the Act of the Apostles, which begins with Our Lord’s Ascension, and goes on to chronicle the day of Pentecost, the earliest history of the Church, and the missionary endeavors of St Paul. Again, by tradition, Luke was a physician, whatever that might have meant 2000 years ago.
So it’s not surprising at all to find, both in Luke’s gospel and in the book of Acts, a strong thread of interest in the ministry of healing. In Luke’s gospel, healing emerges as the preeminent focal point of Jesus’ ministry—healing motivated by and accompanied by deep empathy and compassion. Jesus seems to have been emotionally invested in what he was doing. In Acts, healings are equally abundant, especially so in the early chapters, and always, of course, in the name of Jesus. ...
Pentecost 18 Proper 23 Year A
A Sermon preached by Deacon Christine Hopkins
This morning’s gospel parable seems a bit odd to me. There is a wedding that no one seems to want to attend and then when people are pulled in off the street to come, there is the poor guy who doesn’t have on proper clothing so he gets thrown out! To me it is just peculiar and I wonder how best to approach it. What did Jesus intend for people to hear when he told this story?
First, I have to admit, I like weddings. Now, I know this is not true of everyone. But for me, there is something about seeing the pageantry, the colors, the flowers, the candles, and the clothing. I will even confess to watching the TV show, “Say Yes to the Dress” a time or two. And when I am at a wedding I love watching the joy-filled faces of those making the commitment as well as the family and friends who are there happily supporting the couple. It brings a smile to my face, always! Even if I have never met the couple; I still enjoy these events.
And, when it comes to a royal wedding, I cannot resist. When Diana and Charles married I got up in the middle of the night to watch it all. (That was before we could tape it to see it later.) I knew I would not be content with just the clips that would play over and over on the news; I wanted to experience it moment to moment from the very beginning to the very end
And so I did.
And even though I could have taped it to watch later, when Kate and William married I also got up in the dark to watch. I had my tea and scones ready and loved every minute of it.
So, today’s parable is jarring to me. How could anyone who would be invited to a royal wedding not anticipate it with joy and be eager to go! What busy-ness would prevent attending? Receiving such an invitation would be an honor. How could they take it so lightly and disrespect their king in such a way? If a king invites you, why wouldn’t you say yes?