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Second Sunday of Advent

St Michael's, O'Fallon--Mark 1:1-8; II Peter 3:8-15, 18 I and those of my generation are children of the space age. Many of you are of that same generation. When a manned space mission was launched, all three television networks interrupted their regular programming and showed it live. We grew up familiar with the voice of [...]

First Sunday of Advent

St John's, Centralia--Mark 13:24-37 When Brenda and I were first married, we lived in a small carriage house apartment in downtown Santa Barbara, California. In the house next door to us, at the beginning of our time there, was a couple whom we never got to know more than in passing. Yet, we actually knew them better than they wanted [...]

Proper 28

St Barnabas’, Havana--Matthew 25:14-15, 19 29; Zepheniah 1:7,12-18;  I Thessalonians 5:1-10   Blaise Pascal was a French philosopher and mathematician and research scientist of the eighteenth century. Among many illustrious accomplishments, he is known for a particular argument in favor of belief in God. It has become known as “Pascal’s Wager,” and it’s really quite simple. [...]

Proper 27

Trinity, Mattoon--Matthew 25:1-13 At my age and stage of life, there is certainly plenty that I might complain about if I were the complaining sort. My body certainly calls attention to itself way more than it did twenty or thirty or forty years ago. I spend a lot more time in the waiting rooms of [...]

All Saints (observed)

St Andrew's, Edwardsville I’ve always been particularly fond of the opening words of the Prayer Book collect for All Saints’ Day: “O God, you have knit together your elect in one communion and fellowship in the mystical body of your Son Christ our Lord…” Knit together. It’s such a homely image; “homely” in a good [...]

Proper 25

St Paul's, Carlinville--Matthew 22:34-46 While I was in seminary, about thirty years ago, I was first exposed to the concept of “family systems,” and it has loomed large in my mind ever since. One of the characteristics of a family system—and I could be talking about a domestic family, a school, an office, or a [...]

Proper 23

St Matthew's, Bloomington--Matthew 22:1-14, Isaiah 25:1-9 While in seminary, most future clergy take at least one class in something called homiletics, which is the craft of preparing and delivering sermons. In many of these classes, students are encouraged to think narratively when crafting their sermons, that is to make each sermon like a story—not simply [...]

Synod Mass, 2017

St Matthew's, Bloomington--John 18:33-37, Daniel 7:9-14, Colossians 1:11-20 There’s no saint’s day on today’s calendar, so we’re celebrating a votive Mass of the Reign of Christ, which is to say, Christ the King. Right away, I think we need to acknowledge that this is a bit of an awkward notion for Americans. We are steeped in egalitarian [...]

Proper 22

St Stephen's, Harrisburg--Matthew 21:33-43 I am by no means what you would call “savvy” when it comes to big business. But I know just enough to find it kind of interesting when the high rollers and big wheels spread their wings and create drama in that section of the universe. The way it all works [...]

Proper 21

St Mary's, Robinson--Philippians 2:1-13, Matthew 21:28-32 At the risk of stating the obvious—as Christians, one of the expectations we have of ourselves, and of our fellow Christians, is that we gradually come to think and act more and more like Jesus. That’s just a given, right? We believe that we are called to love God [...]