Friday, April 28, 2006

Mixed Emotions

A lot of different emotions today:

sadness:for a church family whose grand son is in the hospital

eagerness:for the church fish fry tomorrow.

excitement: to play poker with the guys tomorrow night.

Despite all of these, I am really trying to clear my head today. I am doing some communion calls today, and need to be present with them, just as I am present with these emotions.

Gracious God, grant me reminders to keep me aware of you, the presence to notice them, and the strength of will to follow them.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Am I a Father, or am I a Child

I recently shared with a good friend of mine the existance of this blog. He was shoked that I wrote under the name Father Jason with good reason. In seminary I enunciated many a tirade against the idolatrous nature of "high" church, or I should say the idolatrous behaviors of "high" church fanatics. Fortunately, Bob, being my roomate in seminary, bore these tirades with grace. It is not surprising he is surprised to see me an a chasible and going by Father Jason, those being long time symbols of "high" chruch.

Here's my thing with the "low" church "high" church argument...Everybody is wrong! The answer is not to find the right way to do church and everyone must do it that way. The answer is to find God and worship God detached from all distractions. Therefore if having the Priest wear a chasible brings you closer to God that's fine. However, if you cannot worship God without a chasible wearing priest then you've moved into the realm of idolatry of stuff. Simply put...Use stuff! Do not worship stuff!

God's Peace

Friday, April 21, 2006

Sermon Easter II, Year B for 19 April 2006

When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit…”

I speak with you in the Name of God, the speaker, the word, and the breath. Amen!

Everybody take a breath!
Not bad, but you can do better. Work with me a little bit. [Do breathing exercise.]

Thank you for participating.

I imagine by this point you might be wondering what has gotten into this preacher’s head? Why in the world is he trying to teach us how to breathe? I subjected you to this practice because breathing is a uniting force. More than anything other action on the planet, we all breathe. It doesn’t matter if you are black or white, Eurasian or Afro-Cuban, a law abiding tax payer or a flaming liberal, a school teacher or a lawyer, a barber, a senator, or a saint. We all breathe. I spent many a year in wind bands and symphonies and as any good music director will tell you, an ensemble that breathes together plays together. When we breathe together we are united together.

Breathing is also a uniting force on a personal level. The Buddhist Monk, peace activist, and dabbler in Christian Spirituality Tich Naht Hahn writes of breathing,
“Breathing in and out is very important, and it is enjoyable. Our breathing is the link between our body and our mind. Sometimes our mind is thinking of one thing and our body is doing another, and mind and body are not unified. By concentrating on our breathing, “In” and “Out,” we bring body and mind back together, and become whole again.”

I don’t know about you, but my mind and body are often doing two different things. Anything I can do to focus myself would indeed be enjoyable. Furthermore, I am elated to find out that something as inexpensive as breathing is helpful. Now, you might be thinking at this moment, this eastern philosophy, Buddhist mumbo jumbo is interesting and all preacher, but we’re Christians; so what do this have to do with Jesus?

Well, here it is. Breathing is a uniting force both corporately and individually because it re-members our creation. See, in our Gospel today Jesus breathes on the disciples. We should recall at this point that no matter what the disciples were they were Jewish. They grew up hearing and memorizing their ancient stories, and when Jesus breathed on them the Holy Spirit they could not help but think of Genesis, of the creation. They could not help but think of that great story where God forms Ah-dam, the first human, out of the dirt of the earth and breathes on him, breathes into him the breath of life.

Jesus did not give that breath to the disciples thoughtlessly. Jesus did not give that breath unintentionally. Jesus breathed into them in order for them to be the image of God to this creation. See, they had fallen from that image. The powers that be, the adversary, Satan, the devil, society, the world, fear, shame—whatever word you want to use to describe the fallen forces of this creation—had formed the disciples away from God’s intention. These disciples who had walked, talked, eaten, and rejoiced with Christ for years deserted him on the night he was arrested. These disciples had been sent out to heal and preach the God News of the Kingdom of God in the Name of Jesus, but that night Peter would not even admit he knew this man. The disciples of Jesus are dismembered from what they were created to be, separated from the image of God in Christ Jesus.

The breath of God, the Holy Spirit given through Christ re-members them, unites them with who they were created to be. These fearful, cowardly, sinful disciples are changed by the breath of God. They go from cowering in a locked room to traveling the known word sharing the gospel. They go from refusing to admit they even know this man to preaching Jesus Christ Crucified and risen from the dead in the temple. They go from unable to deal with their own grief and disillusionment, to healing the sick and raising the dead. They go from sinners to saints and their transformation happens in a breath.

God does not give us that breath thoughtlessly. God does not give us that breath unintentionally. God breathes into us in order for us to be the image of God to this creation. We have fallen from that image. But today we stand ready for transformation. Today we stand ready to breathe in Christ who will change us. Today we stand ready to breathe out Christ who will change the world.

Breathing in,
we receive Christ.
Breathing out,
we share Christ.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Just Breathe

A reminder:

Breathing in,
we recieve Christ.
Breathing out,
we share Christ!

Friday, April 14, 2006

Good Friday

“Were you there when they crucified my Lord?”

I speak with you as one guilty and in need of the God who forgives all. Amen!

This sermon was a lot harder to write then yesterday’s Maundy Thursday sermon. I guess I’m much more comfortable with Christ’s new commandment to love one another. I guess that I’m more comfortable preaching about how we should go and do. I’m more comfortable preaching how we should all love as Christ’s loves us all.

But today is opposite!

Today we aren’t to go and do, but rather sit and reflect.

We just heard yet again the passion story, and there is a lot of debate about who exactly kills Jesus in the story. Was it the Jewish leadership? Was it Rome?

Well here’s the answer: in today’s story—in every day’s story—I kill Jesus. In today’s story—in every day’s story—you kill Jesus.

See, it goes like this. God is love. Jesus is God incarnate, the love that is God made flesh and living in the world. Today, we remember the crucifixion; we remember the rejection of that love. Every time we reject the love of God, we crucify Christ. Every time we do not respect God’s creation as a gracious act of love, we crucify Christ. Every time we treat anyone as less then Christ himself, we crucify Christ. Every time we rule our nation in ways that oppress other people, we crucify Christ. Every time we fail to heal the sick, clothe the naked, feed the hungry, or free the captives, we crucify Christ. Simply put, every time we fail to Love God, our neighbors, or ourselves, we crucify Christ.

If this were any other day, this is the point in the sermon where I would talk about Jesus’ saving grace and forgiveness, the love that covers all our sins. But not today! Our Gospel stops with the crucifixion because today we are left with nothing but the cross. Today we are called to sit and remember yet again the ways we crucify Christ. Today is Friday and we can only hope that Sunday is coming!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

“This day shall be a day of remembrance for you.” (Exodus 12:14a)

This verse is the last line of the Old Testament reading for Maundy Thursday and sums up the account of God’s establishment of the feast of Passover. The ancient Hebrews were called to remember that God had chosen them, called to remember God freeing them.

In the epistle reading allotted for this day (1st Corinthians 11:23-26) we are called to remember the Passover that Christ established for us that we commonly call Eucharist, Communion, or the Lord’s Supper. Paul writes, “...the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, ‘This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”

These words are familiar to us because we pray them in some form or another in each of our Eucharistic prayers every time we commune together. Indeed familiarity and remembrance are their purpose. Just as the ancient Hebrews were to eat the Passover meal hurriedly, dressed and packed for a journey to remember God freeing them from Egypt to go to the Promised Land, in the Eucharist we are called to remember Christ’s sacrifice to free us to go and do.

But go where and do what? To what purpose did Christ free us?

The answer comes from our Gospel reading for Maundy Thursday, the story of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet(John 13:1-5). The reading ends, “So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet; for I have set you an example that you also should do as I have done to you.”

This is a new commandment. Indeed Commandment is what the word Maundy means, and why we call this day Maundy Thursday. Christ frees us from sin in order that we may love one another. In Christ there is no need for success, power, achievement, or winning. By Christ’s resurrection, we are freed from the pressures of these fallen forces, these idols of opulence. Living into to Christ’s redemption we serve those deemed unworthy. This Easter, as we remember the freedom Christ gave us, we are challenged to give freedom to others.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006


There has been a lot of talk recently about Judas, and today being Holy Wednesday the reading is about Judas. I don't know if history has played Judas in a bad light or not. Maybe he betrayed Jesus for money. Maybe he acted on orders from Christ himself. But this much I know with every fiber of my being: The saving grace of God was open to Judas as much as it is open to me now. Be it heaven of hell for Judas is not the point. The point is that Jesus--love incarnate--loved Judas, loves me, and loves you. Period. End. Full Stop!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Haiku Prayer

Grace, Call, Life, and Death
Bread and Wine, Body and Blood
God's everyTHING