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Sermon for the Twenty First Sunday after Pentecost, Year B - Mark 10:35-45 by Brigid Dwyer

My friend, Brigid Dwyer, a current Drew STM student, gave me permission to post her fantastic sermon, which she preached today at St. George's Episcopal Church, in Maplewood, NJ . I really love her take on James and John in Mark 10:35-45. I encourage you to give it a read!  In the name of the One, Holy, and Living God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen. The ordination process is grueling. Today, it takes years  just to get to seminary, but in earlier days, you could be  already enrolled and taking classes and be told “no thank you,”  or “not yet.” It is certainly not something you start flipping  the script on lightly. And Jonathan Daniels did not do that lightly. In March 1965 he voluntarily took a semester away  from Episcopal Divinity School to return to Alabama, where he  had been helping in the fight to end segregation. He knew this  might cost his ordination, but he was prepared to sacrifice  even that, and so much more, to faithfully carry out the work  of the Kingdom of Go

Sermon, "Rough Draft Prayers," Psalm 124

  Sermon 9/21/21   Psalm 124 Rough Draft Prayers Years ago I took a unit of CPE, Clinical Pastoral Education, and I worked in the NICU, the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, of a local hospital. It was often heartbreaking work. And I still remember a conversation with one family, whose newborn was fighting for his life. I remember them talking to me about praying to God and that they wanted to just pray for God to save their baby, heal their baby, but...they wouldn’t let themselves pray for that. They didn’t think they could ask God for that, but that they could only pray for God’s will to be done, even if “God’s will” turned out to be that their child would die. I was still learning how to best listen and how to respond when people are inviting you to share in their pain in such profound ways. Their willingness to talk to a 23 year-old chaplain intern about their ailing infant was a sacred gift to me that I didn’t take lightly. I was learning, trying very hard not to tell people what

Sermon for the Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost, "The Two Ways," Psalm 1

  Sermon 9/14/21   Psalm 1 The Two Ways As a young child, I was a diligent Bible-reader. An obedient child, I heard at church that I should read the Bible every day, and so I did just that. I also heard that people really loved the Psalms - many people I knew listed it as their favorite book of the Bible. So I was eager to read the Psalms - but honestly, I found them a bit boring . I hadn’t quite developed an appreciation for poetry yet I think! I didn’t read them very attentively. Rereading them as an adult, I did find a few favorites, but overall, I’ll admit that I’ve remained mostly less-than-enamored with them. With some notable exceptions, I noticed a theme in the Psalms, in these prayers: God, I’m really faithful to you, and my enemies are really awful. So, please bless me, and please smite them. Destroy them. Defeat them. Thanks! And oh yeah - I praise your name and stuff.    I’ve been thinking a lot about the Psalms and our relationship with our enemies . Who are our enemie

Sermon for the Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost, Year B, "Imitating God," Ephesians 4:25-5:2

Sermon 8/8/21 Ephesians 4:25-5:2 Imitating God For many years before we merged with our nearby conferences to become the Upper New York Annual Conference, I was the Conference Youth Coordinator for the North Central New York Conference Council on Youth Ministries - CCYM. One of the tasks of the CCYM every year was to interview candidates for the Mission of Peace, a trip for young people from the Northeastern US to visit young people in countries around the world, to build relationships, connections, and peace. The interview team was made up of youth leadership, past trip attendees, and a couple of adult advisors. Well, one year, there were only two candidates who applied, and we had three positions we could fill from our area. We were going to interview them anyway, but a bad winter storm meant we had to cancel our interviews, and we decided to go ahead and affirm the candidates for the trip, even without the interview. They went on the trip, had a great experience, and came back rea

Sermon for the Tenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year B, "One," Ephesians 4:1-16

  Sermon 8/1/21 Ephesians 4:1-16 One This summer I’ve been taking a  tutorial with my advisor - I'm currently working on my PhD at Drew Theological School, studying Christianity and Ecology with a focus on Animal ethics. In my tutorial, we’re spending a lot of time thinking about Christians who are concerned about the environment and climate change and what motivates them, and conversely, what motivates Christians who are distinctly not concerned about the environment and deny that climate change is happening. I’ve learned that studies show a couple of things that I find kind of disconcerting and discouraging. First, Christians are actually less likely to care about the environment than the population as a whole, and more likely to deny that climate change is happening or that climate change has human causes. But second - and this is the one I’ve really been chewing on - the biggest predictor of whether or not someone prioritizes care for the environment is not faith or religious

Sermon for the Ninth Sunday after Pentecost, Year B, "Measuring God's Love," Ephesians 3:14-21

  Sermon 7/25/21 Ephesians 3:14-21 Measuring God’s Love Our scripture lesson for today is from the letter to the church at Ephesus. Some scholars think Paul wrote this letter, and others think it was written latter by a follower of Paul’s in Paul’s name. Who is right on that doesn’t really matter for us today though. What matters is the content of this letter, and what it means for us as disciples today. The author is writing to Christians at Ephesus. The Ephesians are one of a number of new faith communities planted by the apostle Paul and other apostles of Jesus, and many of the communities Paul was connected with were unique because they were made up primarily of Gentiles - that is, folks who weren’t Jewish , and didn’t convert to Judaism upon becoming followers of Jesus. That second part - not converting - was a matter of debate among Paul, Peter, James, and the other early leaders of the church, with Peter and James first believing that following Jesus required being part of the