Showing posts from October, 2016

Sermon for Proper 26

St Matthew's, Bloomington -- Luke 19:1-10 I don’t know if you’ve even heard the expression “post-modern,” but it’s a term that has been cropping up more and more over the last several years. Those whose business it is to make wise and penetrating observations about the evolution of our culture have coined the phrase to describe the way people of certain generations tend to think. Post-modernism as a thought process is largely absent from what has been called the “World War II generation”—those who were children during the Great Depression, and a few of whom are still around! It begins to become visible among “Baby Boomers”—that is, my own generation, those born between 1946 and 1964. But in the succeeding generations—so-called “Generation X,” people who are now mostly in their 40s—as well as what many refer to as “Millennials,” young people who are presently in their 20s and early 30s—among these younger generations of adults, post-modernism is not only one visible thread in t

The Lord's Day (XXIV Pentecost)

Up and out of my Bloomington hotel room in time for the regular 7:30am liturgy at St Matthew's, where we actually had a confirmation at the early service (a relative rarity). At the 10:00 Mass, we baptized a little baby girl and confirmed three young men, all of whom I knew because they were "Michaelites"--attendees at the last two St Michael's Youth Conferences we've had in the diocese. Home around 1:30. Watched the film The Way, in which most of the action takes place on the Camino de Compostela. I'd seen it before, but not since I'd walked the Camino myself. It was powerful the second time. Truth to tell, if the circumstances of my life permitted it, I would go back and start again tomorrow. The evening, of course, was spent watching the Cubs keep the World Series alive, for which I am grateful, though I wish they hadn't chosen to do so by means of a one-run nail biter.

Saturday (James Hannington & His Companions)

Three days to report on here: Thursday was the annual meeting of the Living Church Foundation, most of which was devoted to considering the details of an endowment campaign that is in the early stages. Yesterday I stayed over in New York following the conclusion of Living Church Foundation activities to participate with a small group of friends and colleagues in a discussion of the Anglican Communion and how we might be helpful in raising awareness of the theological principles that can help preserve the highest possible degree of unity across intractable differences of faith, order, and practice. Getting home was complicated, with a forgotten piece of hand luggage, a trip to the wrong airport, a delayed flight, a missed connection to Springfield, and rental car drive that got me home at 3am. Then, as they say of some MBL pitchers this time of year, on "short rest," Brenda and I were out the door at 8am for St Michael's, O'Fallon, where I presided and preached at the

Wednesday (St Alfred the Great)

On campus at GTS in time to join the Living Church Foundation directors at 9am in the Chapel of the Good Shepherd. With a break for lunch with students, faculty, and staff, we concluded our agenda by mid-afternoon, for which I was grateful because I needed a nap! Also processed a bunch of emails. Headed back to campus for 5:30 Evensong, followed by a gracious reception in the Dean's apartment, and then dinner with Foundation members at a nearby Mexican restaurant. A good day.


Up and out in time to catch the 10:32 United run from Springfield to Chicago, then a 12:55 (1:30 actual) departure for New York-Newark. Sat next to a young woman who had spent the week in Chicago as a cast member (one episode) for a show none of us have seen yet called Chicago Justice. She told me her character is an "angsty teen." After retrieving my luggage I caught the AirTrain to Manhattan Penn Station, and then walked the three blocks to my hotel. After getting partially settled, I caught a taxi to a restaurant more "lower" and more "west" than my hotel and joined five other colleagues from the Living Church Foundation for dinner in front of tomorrow's board meeting. Annoyingly, I'm feeling something "coming on" by way of a garden variety illness--chills, run-down feeling.

The Lord's Day (XXIII Pentecost)

Two lovely celebrations of the Eucharist at St Andrew's, Edwardsville, the second including the confirmation of an impressive young man. There is a positive vibe at St Andrew's, thanks in large part to the solid pastoral leadership of Fr Ralph McMichael. Home around 2:30. Rested for a bit, then went for a long walk. I actually wish I could be transported to Spain tomorrow and walk one day of the Camino. It really gets in one's blood.

Sermon for Proper 25

St Andrew's, Edwardsville -- Luke 18:9-14 Most of us have probably had this experience. We’re standing in the checkout line at the grocery store. We’re just getting a few items, and we’re in kind of a hurry, and our mind is distracted by a million and one other things that we’re concerned about. And then we notice that the person ahead of us looks like they’re buying groceries for a small army—including some high-quality cuts of meat that we normally think twice about buying—and—What’s this?—they’re paying with food stamps. We take a closer look, and see that the customer is a young mother, and it appears that there’s a pack of cigarettes in her purse. “Well…” we think to ourselves, “She has enough money to feed her nicotine addiction, but not to feed her family, huh?” Then we look down and see her six-year old boy wearing the latest fashion-fad footwear, with built-in trampolines or jet engines or whatever it is this month, and our irritation begins to verge on anger. Our own


Back to the business of diocesan synod at 9am. We got into the weeds a bit with some electoral technicalities, and expended an unusual amount of time and energy on a non-binding stewardship resolution, but we managed to get through the process of amending our constitution and canons with serious but not protracted debate. I am grateful that there were no substantive amendments. We adjourned around 11:30. Since my visitation tomorrow is in Edwardsville, I remained in the area, and devoted a chunk of my afternoon to the new Ben Affleck movie The Accountant. It was a good way to unwind. But I was certainly wound up again by the time Game 6 of the National League Championship Series got underway. If you follow baseball, you know how it turned out, and if you know me at all, you know I'm elated!


Out the driveway at home around 10am, arriving in Edwardsville about 75 minutes later. Got checked in and oriented at the Synod venue, then stepped across the street with Brenda for a Mexican lunch. Gaveled down the 139th Annual Synod right on time at 1:30. All went quite smoothly until the very end of today's session, when we entered a bit of a parliamentary quagmire, with more votes being tabulated on an amendment to a resolution than the total of clergy and lay delegates. But we were out of time and had to carry the matter over to tomorrow morning. The Mass was lovely, with afternoon sunlight bathing St Andrew's in a golden glow.

Sermon at 2016 Synod Mass

Votive Mass :  For the Mission of the Church -- Ephesians 2:13-22 , Luke 10:1-9, Isaiah 2:2-4 This is what’s called a Votive Mass—that is, there’s no feast day on the calendar, so whoever’s in charge of the liturgy can choose from a variety of different liturgical “themes” listed in the deep “basement” of the Prayer Book—this is a Votive Mass “For the Mission of the Church.” The idea of mission can be a little scary at times. When I was a child, one of the things that prevented me from telling God without reservation that I would be whatever he wanted me to be and go wherever he wanted me to go was the prospect that he might call me to be a missionary in some place where I would be plagued by mosquitoes and have to take quinine tablets and learn how to defend myself from wild animals. And if you’re already uneasy about mission, the situation is not helped by the gospel reading from the Votive Mass for the Mission of the Church. In Luke Chapter 10 we read of Jesus sending out 35 pa


Up and out of my Nashotah House lodging bright and early at 7:15. Arrived home in Springfield four-and-a-half hours later. Saw my urologist to talk strategy about a kidney stone that was discovered by the CT-scan I had on Monday. Unless it passes first, I'm booked for an outpatient surgical procedure on Hallowe'en. Spent the rest of the afternoon processing emails and developing my homily for this Sunday.

Wednesday (Henry Martyn)

Still on campus at Nashotah House. Morning Prayer and Eucharist at 8:00. During breakfast I caught up with one of our Springfield seminarians, Shane Spellmeyer. Board of Directors met from 9:30 to 12:30. Grabbed a quick lunch in Delafield with fellow director Tom Graves (we were fleeing the meatless-on-Wednesday refectory). Board met again from 1:30, and completed our agenda with time to spare, around 3:30. I took the opportunity to visit the grave of Bishop Donald Parsons, and snap some photos of fall foliage around campus. Evensong at 4:30, followed by Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. Delighted to run into my seminary classmate Fr Henry Doyle who was in the area as part of an accreditation visiting team at nearby St John's Northwestern Military Academy. I then had the joy of taking our three Springfield seminarians out to diner at the Red Circle Inn.

St Luke's Day

Up and out of my daughter's apartment in Chicago around 8:30, heading north. Delayed by a couple of errands, I arrived on campus about 11:15. Huddled for a bit with the Secretary of the Board of Directors, looking what's ahead of us today and tomorrow. Lunch in the refectory with students, staff, faculty, and other board members. Board meeting between 2:00 and 4:15. Then Solemn Evensong for St Luke's Day, followed by dinner for the Directors in the Deanery ... which also happens to be the venue of my on-campus lodging.

Monday (St Ignatius of Antioch)

Lots of driving today. First, to St John's Hospital for a diagnostic procedure (trying to chase down a possible kidney issue), then a mad dash to St Paul's, Carlinville to preside at the Requiem of Sandy Henry, wife of Fr John Henry, the rector. Good to connect with a bunch of people, but a sad context for doing so. Back home to Springfield to drop Brenda off and grab a different selection of vestments, then another mad dash to Mt Zion (east of Decatur) for the burial, but not before being made late by a train stopped blocking a major artery for over 20 minutes. Back home, where I changed clothes, repacked, did a bit of email processing, and hit the road north again, this time to my daughter's apartment in Chicago, where I'm dropping off some of her belongings that were stored at our house, and spending the night ahead of tomorrow's appearance at Nashotah House for a Board of Directors meeting.

The Lord's Day: XXII Pentecost

Drove down last night to a Hampton Inn in Edwardsville/Glen Carbon. Headed out from there this morning for the regular 8:15 liturgy at Trinity Chapel, followed by the 10:30 Mass at St Paul's Church, where we had one baptism and several confirmations and receptions. Alton Parish feels like a happy place under the leadership of the still newish rector. And I enjoyed getting back to doing what I do.

Sermon for Proper 24

Alton Parish -- Genesis 32:38, 22-30;  Luke 18:1-8a You may know that today is my first day officially off of sabbatical, which began way back on the 18 th  of June. And the last time I was in Alton was not too very long before that sabbatical began, as I came to St Paul’s to preside over the institution and induction of your rector. Mother Cindy has now been with you here around six months. It has been her privilege, little by little, to be allowed into the lives of the people of this wonderful parish. You have already begun to develop a “history” together. Stuff has happened—stuff that has called for that difficult-to-define activity that we call pastoral care. And as Mother Cindy has attempted to provide pastoral care, she has, along with many of you, had to face once again some really hard, really critical issues of faith and life: How can I have doubts and still believe? Why doesn't God answer my prayers? How come bad things happen to me when I'm really not such a bad