A guest post from my dear friend Shannon: Shannon Vanderpol Hennessey, a graduate in Systematic Theology, is currently the Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at Woodside Priory, a Benedictine school in the Bay Area. She lives in Oakland with her wife and 3 beautiful girls.
White politeness is killing Black people.
Embedded into the fabric of white supremacy are the intersecting threads of power, complicity, and silencing. We, I, have been socialized to please others; to uphold the status quo at all costs. By its very nature, whiteness does not tell the truth. It conspires, avoids, diminishes, shames, mocks…it trades on the currency of secret-keeping.
How are we this morning?
Here we are again, gathered together in the time of COVID:
Eight weeks of school closures (nine if you count spring break—but who’s counting!).
Seven Sunday services livestreamed.
One million Zoom meetings.
And, importantly, the sixth Sunday of Easter.
Good Friday. At it's best, Christianity does not, or ought not, seek to explain the "why" of death and suffering and cruelty and brokeness. Christianity can instead be, or ought to be, a response to death and suffering and cruelty and the brokeness of humanity. A response of Love. Tenderness. Presence. Hope. Light. Incense. Candles. Mirth. Music. Prayers. Action. Community. Bread. Wine.
Tonight, Christians the world over look directly into the heart of death and suffering and sit with the reality of evil in our world. And the question before us is not why it all went down the way it did--but how we ought to respond to the cruelty and sickness and suffering and death and evil that persists in our world.
So here we are. Good Friday. We sit in the darkness and wonder how in the world we ought to
Good Morning, St. Augustine’s.
What a strange, new way to be connected to one another.
Thank you for being here, together/apart—apart/together.
This Sunday marks the final week of lent.
Next Sunday begins Holy Week with Palm Sunday, continuing through Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday and culminating with the Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday.
Our lessons this morning are whispers of the story and rituals and mysteries that are to come during Holy Week:
"Stir Up Thy Power
And With Great Might Come Among Us
We Are Hindered by Our Sins
Your Grace and Mercy is Bountiful"
On this Third Sunday of Advent, Gaudete Sunday—Rejoice Sunday--
We ask God, to Stir Up Holy Power
And to come among US
To dwell among us
And I wonder, friends, who is this God? And what does the power of God look like?
This is the hardest liturgy of the church year for me.
Every year I grow anxious as the Good Friday liturgy approaches.
And I think it’s because, if I’m being honest, I don’t want to listen to this part of the story.
Actually, I don’t want to help tell this part of the story, either.
“There is a thread we follow.”
“People wonder about what we are pursuing.”
“We have to explain the thread, but it is hard for others to see.”
And I wonder, dear neighbors--
All of us gathered here, from various faith traditions—with different beliefs—representing a variety of worshipping communities--
Is there a common thread we follow?
It is good to be with you again, St. Stephen's.
So, here’s the thing about the Gospel of Matthew:
More than any of the other Gospels—the Gospel of Matthew is written by a Jewish person, for a Jewish community—in a particular historical moment in the life of that community--
I’m so glad we have just a light summer Gospel lesson for this last weekend of June J:
“Do not think I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.”
My Sermons (and other thoughts)
a sampling of sermons preached in the Episcopal Diocese of Arizona and a sprinkling of other writings