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Sunday, June 23
Sunday 11 a.m. Eucharist
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Thursday, June 20
Thursday 5:15 Evensong
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Sunday, June 23
Sunday 11 a.m. Sermon
Preacher: The Rev. Jude Harmon
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Sunday, June 16
Trinity Sunday Sermon
Preacher: The Rev. Dr. Ellen Clark-King
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Today is Trinity Sunday, the day of the year when we dive deep into the most beautiful mystery of the heart of God. It’s a day that might sound as if it’s about obscure theology, most likely expressed in pretentiously incomprehensible Greek, but it’s actually a day that’s at the heart of what it means to be human. It’s also a day that draws me to fall in love again and again with God. For today we celebrate the dance of never-ending divine love, the continuous birth of never-ending beauty, today we listen again for the song of eternal creative joy.

Here is my favourite ever quote about the Trinity, from a 14th century German mystic Meister Eckhart. He wrote:
‘Do you want to know what goes on in the heart of the Trinity?
I’ll tell you.
At the heart of the Trinity
The Father laughs, and gives birth to the Son.
The Son then laughs back at the Father,
And gives birth to the Spirit.
Then the whole Trinity laughs,
And gives birth to us.’
Hold that in the centre of your being – that laughter and birth and relationship are at the heart of God and at the heart of how you were created. Remember that you are formed by the shared joyful laughter that echoes at the heart of God.

So I am a big fan of the doctrine of the Trinity. But not everyone feels the same way, especially those people who have a preference for down to earth action over hifalutin doctrine. They, you, may feel more inclined to agree with another German, the philosopher Immanuel Kant, who said: ‘From the doctrine of the Trinity, taken literally, nothing whatsoever can be gained for practical purposes’. But I believe Kant was wrong – that the doctrine of the Trinity isn’t just for those of us with our heads in the clouds but for those of us with our feet firmly on the ground too.

For what we see in God tells us something profound about who we are, as well as about who God is. We are the embodied image of God – each human being is this individually while the Church is this in community. When we ask ourselves who we should be as individuals, how we should be together, what our purpose and mission is all about, then we look to the one whose image we bear. To look to anything smaller is to short change our humanity.

And I think the most important thing we see in the Trinity is relationship and interconnection. Like all the monotheistic religions Christianity is very clear that there is only one God, no pantheon of divinities but one divine ground of all that is. There are no divine brothers, like Thor and Loki, constantly competing with each other, no divine marriages in which Zeus and Hera take out their frustrations on the human world. But, in Christianity that oneness is qualified – God’s very being is threefold, is relationship, is interconnection.

This is what creation sprang from. An overflowing of the love that was already present in the heart of God. An overspill of the delight that danced between the three persons of God – the Source of all being, the divine word, the eternal spirit; Creator, Wisdom, Breath; Mother, Daughter, Spirit; Father, Son and Holy Ghost. All different imperfect incomplete ways that we try to name that the heart of God is never passive, never static, never not creating, never not in relationship.

But I can hear Kant whispering in my ear – all very fine but this still isn’t exactly practical. How does believing that the heart of all reality is a trinity make any darn difference to how I spend my day, how I spend this one life I’ve been given to live on earth? And it’s a fair question.

And I want to answer this with a life rather than a theory. My uncle Bernard was in the Royal Air Force during the second world war. He flew in the bombers that left England at night to rain down destruction on the lands controlled by the Nazis. He was a teenager. He wrote to his favourite sister, my mother, about his training and his fears. But the fears he wrote about were not for his own life, nor even for his friends, though they all knew their life expectancy was terrifyingly short. Instead he wrote of his fears of what the war might make him become, of what he had to do, of the German lives he might cut short. Bernard’s plane was shot down over the channel in June 1941 when he was 19 and he died saving the lives of two others by putting them in the one fully operational life-raft.

Bernard was a young man of bone deep Trinitarian faith, truly formed by his understanding that the heart of reality, the heart of God, is relational. He feared losing that part of himself more than he feared death. He knew that we are called to be what we see in God – interconnected, rejoicing in relationship, overflowing with love even to our enemies. And that we are called to do what that directs us to – act out of love, for peace, in mutual respect – delighting in difference not fearing it. Being that love in action in the world we live in.

Belief in the Trinity does not make us perfect, or mean that we will live a perfect life. Bernard did bomb Germany, and probably ended innocent lives in the process. But it should always mean that, like him, we live examined lives, lives that are aimed at a purpose beyond our own material well-being, lives that are fully aware of our interconnectedness with others. To claim belief in the Trinitarian God and not to act like this is immorally hypocritical and a perversion of Christian faith.

This is what makes me so mad about some of the public faces of Christianity. That they can claim to love the God who is always in relationship, who rejoices in this inhabited world and delights in the human race, and yet show such disdain for other humans and for this planet. Those who condemn their siblings for their sexuality or their gender expression, those who are deaf to the cries of children held at detention centres, those who believe in white supremacy – these are not followers of the Triune God of love however much they claim the title Christian.

Those who love the God described as Father, Son and Holy Spirit must value in deed as well as in word the loving relationship that this Trinity reveals. This is the God who is beyond everything that can be known and said – utterly, mind-blowingly transcendent. This is the true and living God who walks beside her beloved every day, present in all those who share our journey. This is the God who breathes in and through us and all creation and who is embodied in our innermost being. This is the Triune God whose joyous laughter rings through the universe and who calls all to dance with her to the music of peace, justice and love.

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Sermons from the last six months are available below. You can also listen to our sermons as a podcast, Sermons from Grace, wherever you get your podcasts!

 

Sunday, May 26
Sunday 11 a.m. Sermon
Preacher: The Very Rev. Dr. Alan Jones, Dean Emeritus
Sermon from Sunday's 11 a.m. Eucharist
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Sunday, May 19
The Dream of God
Preacher: The Rev. Kristin Saylor
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See, God is making all things new. Amen.

“I was in the city of San Francisco, praying, and in a trance I saw a vision. There was something like a large sheet coming down from heaven, being lowered by its four corners; and it came close to me. As I looked at it closely I saw human beings in costumes of every kind, zombies, mermaids, and superheroes. I heard a voice saying to them, ‘get up, and run from the Embarcadero to Ocean Beach.’”

Happy Bay to Breakers Sunday! As a relatively new San Franciscan, it is my first time experiencing this particular expression of local culture and, I have to say, it feels a little like I might be in a trance…or still dreaming. This level of chaos and randomness is exactly the kind of thing my subconscious might conjure up. The veil between dream and reality feels particularly thin today – if thousands of people dressed as tacos and penguins can run freely through the streets of San Francisco, then what else could happen?

Perhaps you, like Peter in our reading from Acts this morning, have had an experience where the line between dreaming and real life starts to blur. Maybe it was a dream that felt so real, you woke up panicking that you really did forget to study for the exam, or you really were supposed to be on that 4:00 am flight to Sydney. Or maybe you had a waking experience so surreal, you had to pinch yourself to make sure you weren’t still dreaming.

The boundary, the thin space between what is real and what is imagined (and I don’t mean imaginary, as in fictitious), the boundary between what is actual and what is possible, is a very unnerving place to be. It is a place without landmarks, a space where the usual rules for how the world works don’t apply. It is the realm of dreams and visions, which we sometimes glimpse in transcendent moments of art and music. It is the Holy Spirit’s very favorite place to dance in our lives.

And it is everywhere, surrounding us, in these Great 50 days of Easter, this blurring of distinctions, not just between what is and what could be, but of binaries of all kinds. Peter’s vision in Acts is a prime example. Outwardly about the distinction between clean and unclean foods, it raised the question of whether Jewish dietary laws still needed to be observed in a young Church that was growing to include Gentiles as well as Jews. But the meaning of Peter’s’ vision and the events that follow extend far beyond food, and point to a deeper question that we continue to struggle with today: what classes and categories of people do we see as unclean?

Less than? Not worthy of a place at our table? And how do we treat those people when they come knocking on our doors?

The sheet in Peter’s vision, full of the every imaginable kind of animal, clean and unclean all jumbled up together, is an evocative image of the holy, messy, radically inclusive community that God dreams for us. We catch a glimpse of it when Peter, prompted by the Spirit not to make distinctions, follows a group of Gentiles all the way to Caesarea, where he baptizes an entire household of new Christians. Rigid categories of clean and unclean, sacred and profane, Jew and Gentile are blurred by the hand of God. Suddenly, everyone is clean, everything has the potential to be holy, everything is made new. It takes Peter a minute to wrap his mind around this new reality but, to be honest, he recovers faster than I imagine I would. In this passage, we witness Peter’s movement from an indignant, “by no means, Lord!” to a surprising stance of, “who am I that I can hinder God?”

Peter is swept up by the boundary-breaking grace of God – and we are invited to join him. Peter’s conversion of heart raises a crucial question for us as the Church today: how do we react when the way we’ve understood and made sense of the world for our whole lives no longer applies? How do we respond when we are invited to risk vulnerability by opening our doors and our hearts wider, without knowing who all might wander in? How do we react when the entire rulebook suddenly gets thrown out the window?

Because, my friends, that is exactly what the Resurrection does. By rising from the grave, God in Christ is breaking all the rules and blurring the most fundamental binary that we live with: the distinction between life and death. The Risen Christ challenges the most basic assumption of how the world works: that dead people stay dead because death is final. Suddenly, with the Risen Christ wandering around Jerusalem, passing through closed doors, showing off his scars, cooking breakfast on the beach for his friends – anything seems possible.

And a world where anything is possible can be a very confusing and even threatening place. And when we are threatened, often, our first reaction is to retreat to safety. We make ourselves smaller, tighten the circle of who and what we let into our lives, and then, if necessary, we fight to defend our bastion of security. Fight or flight. We see this tendency at work across the globe, in the waves of xenophobia, white supremacy, and oppressive misogyny that are racking our world with violence rooted in fear – fear of the other and fear of scarcity. If everyone is welcome, if everyone is equal, then will there be enough left for us? Will we still matter? We fear what we might lose, what we might have to give up if we loosen our grip on the labels that define us, on the armor, the entrenched opinions that (we think!) will keep us safe.

The truth is, we will lose something in this new reality that God dreams for us, be it power, privilege, ego, or certainty. Resurrection does not happen without the Cross. But what we gain when we dare to look beyond divisive, narrow categories is beyond anything that our human minds can imagine. What we gain is nothing less than the dream of God, breaking into our world and flooding everything with light and grace. We see it in this dazzling promise in Revelation, where the heavenly Jerusalem descends from above and God’s abiding presence with humankind is established forever. Where death, mourning, crying, and pain will cease to exist. Where the highest law will be the new commandment that Jesus gives his disciples, “that we love one another as Christ has loved us.” Where no one is unclean and everyone belongs.

We’re by no means there yet, but even in a world as full of brokenness as ours, we catch glimpses of this divine dream just as Peter did; swells of grace, love, and beauty that take our breath away and leave us hungry for more. We see a lot of them right here in this Cathedral. The groundwork has been laid in the Resurrection, and we are invited to participate in ushering in the fullness of God’s dream. As we do that, we must ask ourselves: are our religious beliefs and moral values like a barbed wire fence, employing threats and fear to separate us from the unclean and dangerous other? Or are our values more like an open gate, urging us to push the boundaries of our imaginations and discover how what we label as “other,” or “unclean” might show us the face of God in fresh ways. After all, “what God has called clean, we must not call profane.”

In this season of Easter, we are invited to make God’s dream our own. To partner with our God, who longs to erase the human divisions that keep us isolated and afraid and usher in a new order of grace and love. To let the power of the Resurrection soften the prejudices and fears that keep us small and open our hearts to the wild inclusivity of our God. In God’s dream of

enormous possibility, what will we dare to create? Who will we dare to include? Where will we let the Holy Spirit dance in our lives? See – God is, at this very moment, making all things new – beginning with us. Amen.

Thursday, May 16
Thursday 5:15 p.m. Evensong Sermon
Preacher: The Rev. Dr. Ellen Clark-King
Sermon from Thursday's 5:15pm Evensong Service
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We spend a lot of time in our 21st century church comparing ourselves to earlier generations and lamenting how we have fallen away from their greatness. We complain that we don’t share the simple joy and togetherness of the earliest churches, like the one described in Acts; that we have lost the passion and beauty of the mystical theologians, the commitment and idealism of the Victorian social reformers, the sheer numbers of the 1950s congregations. We long for the fruit of earlier generations and grumble about how we are a church in decline, barren and unproductive.

But the events we are celebrating this evening give that view of contemporary church reality the lie. Never doubt that the EfM graduates’ four years of study has involved joy and fellowship, that they have grown in togetherness as they shared their struggles and triumphs. Never doubt that all those touched by Jude’s ministry, whether through the labyrinth, yoga or the Vine, have encountered passion and beauty in his preaching and liturgy, and been called to deeper commitment and idealism through the spirituality they have shared. Ours is not a barren and unproductive church, it is not a dying church, but one that continues to touch and transform lives and bear God’s fruit of justice, compassion and love.

There are indeed ways in which we are a very different institution from that of the 1950s and before. We do not bring in the numbers that thronged the pews in the 50s – except just sometimes when we offer a Beyoncé Mass or provide a spiritual space for yoga community. But while I would love to see Grace cathedral and all the churches of our diocese filled to overflowing every week I would not welcome this if it meant returning to an earlier way of belief and being.

Unlike the legislators of the state of Alabama I do not want to turn the clock back to the 1950s and to a patriarchal moral code that controls the bodies of women and declares LGBTQ people deviant. I want to see the church continue to move courageously and vulnerably forward. For this we need lay members who explore theology at depth and have the confidence to validate their own experience of the reality of God. For this we need the delight of a priestly ministry that works at pushing the boundaries of what we understand to be Episcopalian and that refuses to limit the scope of God’s love. It is in these ways that God’s joy is in us as an institution and that our joy may become complete.

So this evening let us give thanks for all the fruit that shows the church of today is truly a branch of the Vine, overflowing with the love and life of God’s very self. Let us celebrate the commitment and fellowship of our EfM graduates. Let us celebrate the passion and creativity of Jude, our newest Canon. They are the leadership the church needs in the 21st century. They are the ones who can help ensure we move forward, not backward, rooted in the eternal love of God and bearing the fruit that is needed to feed God’s world today.

Tuesday, May 14
The Chosen Tribe
Preacher: The Very Rev. Dr. Malcolm C. Young
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The Chosen Tribe

Darren’s theme this week is “The Chosen Tribe.” I don’t think that he means to say that one particular group of people is more righteous or valuable or has greater responsibility than any other. This is not about a “Chosen People.” Instead I believe that he wants us to think more about how we ourselves choose the groups that then give us our identity.

Most of us start out in a functioning dysfunctional family. But then we go out into the world. We in effect choose a different family of friends. We choose our tribe. I’m so grateful to be part of our Grace Yoga tribe on Tuesday nights.

Trevor Noah’s book of autobiographical essays about growing up in Apartheid-era South Africa is called Born a Crime. Noah’s father was a white European Swiss citizen and his mom is black and Xhosa. His parents relationship was illegal (“Most children are proof of their parent’s love. I was proof of their criminality”).[1] As a child it was dangerous to be seen in public with them.

Noah writes about the moment when he most explicitly became aware of race. After being in a Catholic school he moved to a large public school. A placement test put him with one other person of color in an otherwise all white class. Then came lunch and as hundreds of children streamed onto the playground he had to decide where he would go.

He could go with the white children he had spent the morning with in class. He could go with the children who most looked like him that South African called “Colored People.” These were not people of mixed race but children of two other colored people who had married. Or he could go with the black children. “I saw myself as the people who were around me, and those people were black.”[2]

Trevor Noah had the hardest time with the group of people who looked most like him. He said that if you are a white person immersing yourself in the culture and practices of the black world, they would more or less accept you. If you were a black person wearing ties and honing your golf game in the white world people would accept you too.

He said the problem was when you adopted the culture of another group but remained in the group you came from. He writes that, “people are willing to accept you if they see you as an outsider trying to assimilate into their world. But when they see a fellow tribe member disavowing the tribe, that is something they will never forgive.”[3]

This dynamic of human community makes it hard to choose your tribe. That is one of the reasons why our yoga practice is particularly important. We are trying to teach our bodies to be flexible, our breath to be even. We are training our balance so that when we meet obstacles they become part of the story of how we became stronger.

Alonzo King of LINES Ballet is our Artist in Residence this year. On Sunday he talked about how often people tell him dancing horror stories. They say, “I quit because the teacher said I was too short or my bottom was too big or my feet stuck out in the wrong way.” His response was, “if dancing is so meaningful why would you ever let these criticisms derail you?” Part of life is meeting opposition and using that force to make us better.

My prayer for you is that in all the ways you are blocked, you might find the inspiration of Grace, that you might find a way to use that experience of rejection to better care for others.

_______________

 

 

Theme: The Chosen Tribe

We are called to be strong companions and clear mirrors to one another, to seek those

who reflect with compassion and a keen eye how we are doing, whether we seem

centered or off course … we need the nourishing company of others to create the circle

needed for growth, freedom and healing.

—Wayne Muller

https://amzn.to/2PCwLCR

Some people think they are in community, but they are only in proximity. True community requires commitment and openness. It is a willingness to extend yourself to encounter and know the other.

—David Spangler

https://amzn.to/2ZV9bpM

 

[1] Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood (NY: Random House, 2016) 27.

[2] Ibid., 59.

[3] Ibid., 118.

Sunday, May 12
Tell Us Plainly
Preacher: The Very Rev. Dr. Malcolm C. Young
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“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not be in want” (Psalm 23).

“Stories surround us like air; we breathe them in, we breathe them out. The art of being fully conscious in our personal life means seeing the stories and becoming their teller, rather than letting them be the unseen forces that tell [us] what to do.”[1] Rebecca Solnit said this in a commencement speech at Berkeley. Although she may be over-optimistic about our ability to transcend unconscious forces she makes a good point. We need to pay greater attention to the stories that guide our lives and form our picture of reality.

The first Mother’s Day was celebrated in 1908 at a Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia. They honored Anne Reeves Jarvis a peace activist during the Civil War who cared for wounded soldiers on both sides. Her daughter campaigned to make this a national holiday.[2] We have holidays for great individuals and occasions. Today we honor one of the most intimate relationships human beings can experience.

In this place you will find such an extraordinary variety of relationships that people have with their mothers. Our mothers are nurturing, nagging, inspiring, indifferent, self-sacrificing, punishing, wise, fragile, resolute, faithful, dissatisfied, forgiving, controlling, heroic and loving. Some of us feel such a profound sense of gratitude, we miss our mothers so much that it feels like a kind of deep pain. Others may have a hard time forgiving our mothers for the grief that they couldn’t help but pass on to us.

We are responsible for these stories and all the stories we tell ourselves. The Bible helps us to make sense of our most important stories. The Holy Spirit works through Scripture and changes who we are. My sermon has three parts: 1. a longer section on what Jesus teaches us, 2. a brief observation about modern life and 3. a spiritual practice.

  1. Time and place always matter. Every moment in time is unique, even singular, and yet also in an almost mystical way connected to other particular moments. Each place also has a presence and symbolic power that we often don’t fully appreciate. We know what a place evokes. Think of Rodeo Drive, the Lincoln Memorial, the Magnificent Mile in Chicago, Boston’s Old North Church, Times Square, the Las Vegas Strip, and Castro Street here closer to home.

During the Festival of Dedication, which we call Hannukah, Jesus walks in the Portico of Solomon – both this time and place have enormous symbolic meaning for first century Jews and for what the word “messiah” means.

After Alexander the Great (356-323 BCE) conquered the region a severe conflict emerged between cosmopolitan Greek culture and the local practices of Jewish people. During the second century before Christ, King Antiochus IV Epiphanes of Syria continued to brutally suppress Judaism. In 167 BCE he built an altar to Zeus in the Jewish Temple (Dan. 11-12) and mandated sacrifice to Greek gods in every city. When soldiers tried to enforce this edict in the village of Modein a priest named Mattathias killed the royal official presiding at the ceremony.[3]

This led to a massive revolt and a guerilla war launched by Mattathias’ five sons from the Judean Hills. Against all odds his son Judas Maccabeus (“the Hammer”) succeeded. In 164 he rededicated the Temple. This is the event that Hannukah celebrates.

The place is significant too. Solomon’s Portico was constructed by the last leader with a family connection to the Maccabees. Herod the Great married the last of the Maccabees and ultimately killed her and his own sons. Of course history doesn’t end there. The first readers of John would know that during the Jewish uprisings in the year 70 CE, the Romans completely destroyed the rest of the Temple.

Hannukah at the Portico of Solomon, this time and place symbolically stand for desperate hopes that end in disappointment. In the face of our human tendency to put ultimate faith in armed struggle, Jesus changes the story. He moves us beyond the military hero that the people have in mind to a different picture of what it means to be the messiah.

In the Gospel of John people disagree about who Jesus is. For some he is a demon-possessed fraud and to others he is the savior of the world. This conflict builds as Jesus welcomes sinners, teaches and heals the sick. The leaders come to Jesus and say, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly” (Jn. 10).[4]

Why do the opponents of Jesus then and today fail to see who he is? Is there some idea, concept or perspective that would help? What argument would convince them to believe?[5] This is Jesus’ point. There is already plenty of evidence available on both sides. Signs can always be doubted. Arguments have counter-arguments. Believing is not simply a matter of accepting certain intellectual propositions. The faith Jesus speaks about is not an argument but a relationship.

Instead of a Warrior Messiah Jesus gives us the image of the Good Shepherd. He says, “My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish” (Jn. 10). Jesus teaches that we can have the most intimate relationship with God. We can find meaning serving other people. With this, we are drawn to him both by his willingness to die for our sake and our experience of his resurrected presence.

On this Mother’s Day imagine a child with ideal loving parents. In everything this child has a sense for their love. She is not objectively weighing the evidence. She does not need some form of the scientific method to understand this relationship. Her experience of their love is not even a matter of a verbal description she can offer. It rests on her experience. She knows that her parents care about her and want the best for her. She feels it in all her interactions with them.[6]

Jesus says that faith is like this. It is a trusting relationship with the God who created us and continues to care for us even when we are oblivious to this fact. This unity and intimacy with God and our neighbors is what it means to have “life abundantly” or the peace “which passes all understanding.”

  1. We need God’s peace more today than ever. Last week at the Conference of North American Deans we heard an extraordinary lecture on the Seven Deadly Sins. The list includes: Pride, Envy, Wrath, Sloth, Avarice, Gluttony and Lust. It originated in fourth century desert monasticism. Instead of thinking of these as discrete actions (like cheating on your taxes) it is more helpful to see them as a way of recognizing that humans going wrong in predictable ways, according to reliable patterns. They are tendencies that lead to sin.[7]

Our speaker Thomas Williams pointed out that these days our whole society has a particular problem with wrath, that indignation has become normal for us. We are encouraged to be angry all the time (If you aren’t angry you aren’t paying attention). He asked if anger is ever justified and pointed out how easy it is for us to slip from feeling angry about social injustice to being furious over slights to our own ego. Although being envious is miserable, anger just feels so good. The problem is that it blinds us to our own faults and to others merits.

  1. We can move closer to a personal experience of God but it is hard because of deeply ingrained habits like anger and envy. So what are we to do? How can we do more to invite holiness into our life? For homework this week I recommend that we memorize Psalm 23. In this abundant time of exaggerated scarcity we need to be reminded that, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want” (Ps. 23).

The Psalm begins by referring to God in the third person. “He revives my soul and guides me.” Then as we, “walk through the valley of the shadow of death,” it begins to refer to God in the second person. “You are with me… You spread a table before me in the presence of those who trouble me…” Over many years Psalm 23 has helped my relationship with God become more personal. It has increased my desire to “dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.”

Before closing I want to tell you a brief story from Trevor Noah’s autobiography Born a Crime. Although his parents loved each other their relationship as a black woman and a white European in Apartheid-era South Africa was illegal. Trevor grew up being forbidden by the state to even acknowledge his parents in public places. As a young child he went to his Swiss father’s house every weekend. Then during his teenaged years his father moved from Johannesburg to distant Cape Town.

Noah writes, “When a parent is absent, you’re left in the lurch of not knowing, and it’s easy to fill that space with negative thoughts  [like] ‘They don’t care.’ ‘They’re selfish.'” Because his mother always spoke in such positive terms about his father he writes, “I knew [my father’s] absence was because of circumstance and not lack of love.”[8]

By the time he turned 24 he began to have some success as a comedian, radio DJ and children’s television personality. His mom insisted that he become reacquainted with his father. Noah did not have his father’s address and it took some time to find him. Not knowing what to expect or if he’d even recognize his own father he went to visit. His father cooked the food that was his favorite as a thirteen year old. As he ate his dad got out an oversized photo album. It was a scrapbook of everything Noah had ever done from the most minor club dates all the way through to that week.

Noah writes, “For years I’d had so many questions. Is he thinking about me? Does he know what I’m doing? Is he proud of me?” And in that instant Noah knew. He says, “Being chosen is the greatest gift you can give another human being.”

Stories surround us like air. What will the story of you and God be? In this time of wrath and indignation are we so busy searching for a good argument that we can’t hear the Good Shepherd?

 

[1] Rebecca Solnit, “Break the Story,” in Call Them By Their True Names: American Crises (and Essays) (Chicago, IL: Haymarket Books, 2018) 157.

[2] She also bitterly resisted the commercialization of Mother’s Day. Theologian’s Almanac for the Week of May 12, 2019, SALT, 7 May 2019. http://www.saltproject.org/progressive-christian-blog/2019/5/7/wjx6b4l32tpx06yt0a4o8ka04m1ewy

[3] These four paragraphs are influenced by 4 Easter (4-29-07) C.

[4] Jesus seems to be saying that actions mean more than just words. “I have told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name testify to me: but you do not believe, because you do not belong to my sheep” (John 10).

[5] Matt and Liz Boulton, “It Don’t Mean a Thing If It Ain’t Got That Swing: SALT’s Lectionary Commentary for Easter 4,” SALT, 7 May 2019 http://www.saltproject.org/progressive-christian-blog/2019/5/7/szzwsi6kvgfyedq0mg23rkw8qbv0ba

[6] Ibid.

[7] The Seven Capital Vices began to come into being with Evagrius Ponticus (345-399 CE). John Cassian developed the list and Gregory the Great (540-604 CE) made it more widespread in the Middle Ages. Thomas Williams (University of South Florida), “The Seven Capital Vices,” The Conference of North American Deans, 3 May 2019.

[8] Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood (NY: Random House, 2016) 108-10.

Sunday, May 5
Sunday 11 a.m. Sermon
Preacher: The Very Rev. Dr. Alan Jones, Dean Emeritus
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