Lament, Wilderness, and Call: A Sermon for the First Sunday in Lent, 2018

We began our services today, the first Sunday in Lent, as we do each year, with the Great Litany. It is at least somewhat familiar to many of us, if only because we have attended services here on this day in past years, but it is decidedly strange and jarring. For many of us, who might not be very familiar with the season of Lent, or with Episcopal/Anglican worship, to begin our service in this way may be disorienting. What are we doing? Why are we doing this? What does it mean?

And in the aftermath of yet another mass shooting, horrific violence visited upon schoolchildren and their families on Wednesday, another example of the deep evil that exists within human hearts and in our society—evil evidenced by our inability and unwillingness to stop the carnage—beholden as we are to the idolatry of our worship of guns and our slavery to political expediency, to begin our service in this way, praying for God’s mercy, for deliverance from every evil and danger that threaten us, to begin this way seems oddly appropriate. Continue reading

The Wilderness of Lent: A Sermon for the First Sunday in Lent, 2015

Of all the things we do liturgically, I sometimes think that the Season of Lent presents us in the twenty-first century with the greatest distance from our contemporary world. Lent is a season of repentance and self-examination that flies in the face of our consumerist culture and values. Lent challenges us to focus, when what we want is distraction. Lent is somber when we want to be happy. Lent invites us to self-denial and fasting when we crave self-indulgence. Continue reading