I don’t think I have ever written a sermon preface before. I did not anticipate writing one this year. But here it is.
On Saturday, in my attempt to write a Palm Sunday sermon, I happened to open and reread my Good Friday sermon from 2014, and I was astonished. I was astonished not because it was still relevant - the nature of Good Friday is such that a Good Friday sermon need not be extraordinary to be relevant still three years later. I was taken aback because of the number of times I thought to myself “My God. This is not...
(You can find the day's readings here. You can find the mentioned hymn here.)
In the Hamiltome (basically the annotated study Bible equivalent for the musical Hamilton), there is a note from Lin-Manuel Miranda on one line of the libretto. It reads: "Once I wrote this passage, I knew it would be the key to the whole musical. In the words of Tupac, 'This be the realest sh*t I ever wrote.'"
It became the grounding for the entire show. It holds the whole company, the whole narrative, in one line. It marks the turning point of Act I and the final moments of Act II.
You have no control. Who lives, who dies, who tells your story.
It is Hamilton's failure, the thing he never learns. It is Washington's legacy.
It's three and a half years, now, since the day during a gathering of younger-ish Episcopal priests when they asked us each to go around the circle and identify a goal or something we wanted to be true about our ministry, and then they divided us into smaller discussion groups to work on change plans based on similar goals. And I said something about wanting to be more courageous about speaking up and saying what I knew to be the Gospel truth even when it wasn’t specifically my job to do it. But somehow the way I said it or they heard it, it didn’t land me in the “claiming our voices” discussion group. It landed me in the “success” small group - the people who wanted to be less concerned about ambition and landing in the right jobs and being noticed and respected by the right people...
(Below is the word Matt preached at our Sunday night Eucharist last week. If you'd like to read the Scriptures on which he preached, you can find them here under "track 2".)
Does anyone have those moments when you’re absently doing something and your brain chooses to remind you of some really cringey thing you did once when you were younger? Like you’re lying in bed going to sleep and then bam! Ain’t no sleeping now just repeatedly banging my head into the pillow screaming why??? And all I am left thinking is why on earth did I possibly think that was a good idea? Like who even was I when I thought that asking someone out over Facebook was a good idea?? If you want to have an incredibly uncomfortable time I suggest going to find your oldest Facebook posts. I just...
Sometimes I like to ease into a sermon, bury the lede, let people work it out for themselves as we go along. But this time I want to be crystal clear, if you hear nothing else in this sermon: You are worth it. You. Are. Enough.
There is nothing you can do to make God love you more. There is nothing you can do to make God love you less. You are enough, already, to be God's - simply because you already are.
At the level of basic theory, this is something that most everyone agrees on across religious backgrounds. And yet, so often the way things play out, what is communicated is something more like this:
One night when she returned from swim practice, my friend K walked into the dimmed dining room...
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While we primarily serve the campuses of Washington University and Saint Louis University, we welcome all area college students (undergraduate or graduate). Our ministry and many members are Episcopalian, but it's not a requirement - if you're interested, you're welcome. Check out our "About" page to learn more, or scroll down for the latest news and events.
-15 days to SLU orientation -20 days to the first day of SLU classes -23 days to Wash U orientation -24 days to the Rockwell Open House -26 days to our first Sunday night Eucharist and dinner -27 days to the first day of Wash U classes -29 days to our first Wednesday Feast
Let the countdown begin!
(It's possible the chaplain is a teensy bit excited to get everyone back.)