Sermon for the Feast of Absalom Jones

“This work of Justice: Becoming God’s Beloved Community is challenging. That is why I need to know that saints like Absalom Jones chose Christ’s love and friendship, in spite of slavery, in spite of heartbreak, in spite of violent, racist, demonic coloniality, My devotion to saints who embodied, lived, and worked as antiracist and decolonial agents of Christ’s reconciling love has become a slight obsession of mine. I want you to fall in love with these saints and to be as obsessed with them as I am.”

Leave Your Nets, Listen to God’s Calling, Follow the Way of Love

“Like Jonah, we become so fixated on escaping our own lives, we get swallowed up and stuck in the bleak, terrifying, and extremely stinky belly of a sea monster. Nevertheless, after Jonah’s sublime prayer, God causes the whale to vomit him out onto the dry land, and as we heard in today’s First Lesson, ‘The word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time.’ Today’s sermon is about God’s endless supply of second chances. “

Show Up Unacceptably Anyway: Jesus Christ Comes to Visit Us in Great Humility

Today, Howard Thurman will be our spiritual guide. Two short excerpts from his “Meditations for Apostles of Sensitiveness” will open and conclude my homily. And for those who are not into being all spiritually woo-woo and contemplative, fear not! There’s an outrageous story about humility; the science behind blushing; and some theology for my fellow church nerds.

Hard-Won Wisdom: Replenishing Our Spirits to be Christ’s Loving Light

I know what it feels like to experience what Blanche DuBois hallows with her heartbreaking line from A Streetcar Named Desire, “I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.” In fact, the story of how I became an Episcopalian begins with the kindness of a stranger who pitied me when I, like one of the foolish bridesmaids, was found lacking at the last minute.

Conflict Births Reconciliation: Love is not a feeling. Love is a practice.

I have witnessed how conflict has been faced in healthy ways and in not so healthy ways in a variety of faith communities. I have been in healthy conflict and I have also been in unhealthy conflict. Unhealthy ways of dealing with conflict, like triangulation – complaining to people about a person we refuse to speak to directly – avoids the hard work required of love. Erich Fromm famously writes, “Love isn’t something natural. Rather it requires discipline, concentration, patience, faith, and the overcoming of narcissism. It isn’t a feeling, love is a practice.”

Childish or Childlike? Holy Wisdom Hangs in the Balance

Do you ever look at a person and imagine what they were like as a child? This is a skill I try to cultivate when I am faced with people who are difficult. And, of course, the most difficult person I have ever met, is myself!

Being Translated: Receive and Release the Reconciling Love of the Holy Spirit

A sermon by the Rev. Craig Lemming for Pentecost Sunday: “As we renew our Baptismal Covenant together, in this intimate space, we invite the Holy Spirit to be in our voices, to create beautiful memories, to hear the sounds of new life, to feel God’s healing in all of our bodies, to be reconciled in right relationship with the multiplicities of peoples and races and creatures in this land. Come, Holy Spirit, and translate us into the language of Christ’s love.”

Sermon for Easter Vigil 2023

When we walk through clean pain; into and through that sea of terrifying chaos; We need each other. We need God and community. We cannot heal by ourselves. God heals us through relationships in community. Communities just like this one.

Quenching Our Thirst for God: Spiritual Awareness and Holy Synchronicity

Today’s sermon is about how spiritual practices like prayer, study, and worship cultivate our spiritual awareness of Holy Synchronicity. Sacred events when our inner and outer lives suddenly align in encounters with The Holy in particular places and times with particular people – people very different to who we are – that change our lives. Holy Synchronicity is life-changing not because we magically get what we want, but because we suddenly see ourselves anew within an interconnected web of sacred human relationships knit together in spirit and in truth.

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