Most preachers I know are always on alert for a good story to enliven their sermons: a compelling anecdote, a funny personal experience, a touching memory. Craig tells us tales of growing up in Zimbabwe; Jered talks about stalking defenseless mushrooms in the forest, Chelsea has spoken about her job with immigrants….
Today, I happen to have a doozy of a story….
“… We are called to act faithfully even while doubting. Even to fake it until we make it, and then repeat the process again—to live, being as faithful as we can, to the truth that keeps beckoning us.”
“Why is this night different from all other nights?”
The youngest child asks this question at the seder dinner, during the Jewish Passover, which begins tomorrow. The answer is about history that on this night God sent the angel of death to kill the firstborn sons of the Egyptians (who had enslaved the Jews), but the Israelites were told to sacrifice a lamb and smear the blood on the door of their houses so that the angel would know to “pass over” their homes.
Which is worse:
-Bombing a maternity hospital or a military base?
-Detonating a bomb in a church or in a prison?
-Assaulting a senior citizen or a teenager?
-Shooting a black person or a white person?
It’s tempting to rate sins, to put them in a hierarchy, to assign each a relative value in terms of how many people suffered or died, the degree of vulnerability of the victims, the motivation of the perpetrator, or the cultural and historical context in which the transgression took place.
A sermon by The Rev. Barbara Mraz
February. 27, 2022
St. John the Evangelist Episcopal Church
St. Paul, Minnesota
It’s the elephant in the virtual room, as evident as the mask on my face. It dictates the format and form of our worship; it saturates the news; it affects each of us in individual ways.
In a week full of losses– from Buddhist master Thich Nat Han to the performer Meat Loaf, a week when Russian troops surround the country of Ukraine and Mitch McConnel separates black voters and “Americans,” even as we celebrate the birthday of Martin Luther King (whom we will honor later with one of his favorite songs), Covid remains the story of the day.
To a world pregnant with hope and torn by division, come Lord Jesus. Amen.
A Sermon by The Rev. Barbara Mraz for St. John the Evangelist Episcopal church, St. Paul, Minnesota November 28, 2020, First Sunday of Advent, Luke 21:25-36 The first Sunday of Advent, 2021, those four weeks of waiting for a child to be born, for hope to bear fruit, for Christmas to come. It is also […]
A Sermon by The Rev. Barbara Mraz, October 24, 2021 In the name of Jesus,who offers us a place to rest. Seeing clearly is a gift and a choice. One and a half million Americans undergo cataract surgery each year where a cloudy lens in the eye is liquified, vacuumed out and then replaced. It’s […]
by the Rev. Barbara Mraz, September 19, 2021 On a gorgeous fall morning twenty years ago on September 11, I was at The Blake School in my classroom with red and pink geraniums blooming on the windowsills, sitting with sixteen seniors in a circle, calmly discussing a speech we had just watched: President Ronald’s Reagan’s […]