What we share in this sanctuary tonight brings us into Dr. Gabor Maté’s definition of healing: “a natural movement toward wholeness.” In a toxic culture of greed that fragments and separates us, these sacred and ancient rituals bind us together in God’s love again. This is sacred and revolutionary ground we stand on where authenticity and agency and truthfulness and acceptance and compassion heal the wounds deep within our minds, bodies, and souls, so that we can become conduits of God’s healing and loving and liberating presence to others.
To connect deeply with one another in communion with God’s Word and Sacraments, to go deep within our bodies to do the hard quiet spiritual work of somatic healing so that we can continue to be Christ’s agents of hope and healing, courage and compassion as we serve others through today’s apocalypse. The word apocalypse or revelation names the fact that we are seeing with new eyes painful truths that have always been there, and now all of us are seeing these devastating truths for the first time. As we face hard truths which can set us all free, Jesus says to us in today’s Gospel “do not be terrified; for these things must take place first.”
Just as the Prophet Elisha instructs Naaman to immerse himself seven times in the River Jordan, we too might feel as angry as Naaman when we realize that healing actually requires us to go to inconvenient places to participate in sacred rituals we might not feel like practicing. And yet, when we immerse ourselves, sometimes seven times, in healing work, we not only find ourselves becoming well, we also become agents of God’s healing for others and for our world.
Great sinner that I am, what I adore about Jesus is that he has the audacity to not only welcome sinners like me at his table but he chooses to be seen publicly feasting with my kind and loving us in public. And let’s face it, the stories at the sinners’ table where Jesus is are juicier and we sinners are far more interesting that those seated at the judgy, self-righteous, holier-than-thou tables.
A sermon by the Rev. Craig Lemming on August 14th, 2022. In the name of God who calls us to love, to heal, and to serve. Amen. The Rev. Dr. Barbara Holmes, affectionately known as “Dr. B,” preached a sermon on my first day at United Theological Seminary that made an indelible imprint. Dr. B […]
We are walking that treacherous road from Jerusalem to Jericho today. We see and will continue seeing bodies of children in classrooms, women’s bodies, bodies with ovaries, differently-abled bodies, Black and Brown bodies, same-gender-loving, gender-non-conforming, and gender-expansive bodies, all stripped of their human rights, robbed of their dignity, beaten down by colonial evil, and left for dead, if we do nothing.
Today’s Homily is a brief invitation to enter into and to cross sacred thresholds. I invite you to come to church to participate in and to be fully immersed within the healing power of each of the Holy Week liturgies. Come and inhabit the sacred narratives of the Passion, Crucifixion, death, burial, and Resurrection of Jesus in the Holy Scriptures; through the practice of ancient rituals entrusted to us by our faithful ancestors – the hymns, processions, chanting, foot-washing, consecrations of bread, wine, water, oil, and fire; but most of all, come wholeheartedly to intentionally be with one other.
I will be 40 years old tomorrow and even though there is literally no time for me to be reading self-help books, to prepare for my mid-life crisis I researched Arthur C. Brooks’ new bestseller, From Strength to Strength: Finding Success, Happiness, and Deep Purpose in the Second Half of Life. Brooks is a Harvard Professor, PhD social scientist, musician, best-selling author, and columnist at The Atlantic. His compelling research reveals and affirms much of the same wisdom disclosed in today’s Gospel and in our Christian tradition of observing a holy Lent.
Luke’s account of the Beatitudes reminds me of the chorus in “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’,” the first track on Michael Jackson’s legendary 1982 album, Thriller.
Today’s sermon explores ways chosen families memorialized in the documentary film “Paris is Burning” and the TV series “POSE” teach us about the Sacrament of Holy Baptism.