Whose Voices Do You Listen To? part 2

Did you listen to all the sermons? What caught your attention? What mattered to you?

Here are three things that spoke to me:

  1. This statement: “Eternal life is to know God.”

Is that it? Is it that simple? I felt boulders fall off me.

Don’t get cocky. I am still furious with You.

This is why I would really rather never leave the Lady Chapel. Can’t I just stay.

2. Taking the Ascension of Jesus seriously.

I once heard a preacher introduce the Ascension as a kind of goofy, awkward story that everybody feels silly about. “The feet! What are we to do about the feet!” The preacher did not actually add “Tee hee!!” but came damned close.  Is that all that story is?

No.

No.

Look harder, as this route 117 preacher does. He describes how some icons show the disciples gazing up at a pair of feet, just feet, visibly wounded by the nails of the crucifixion. Here’s an example. Such icons show us that Jesus bears the wounds of the flesh and the world right to the heart of the Father.

Our preacher says that many religious traditions teach that we are destined for unity with God. The discussion gets interesting when we consider

“…what parts of us can manage the divine presence. Is it just our minds, our rational faculties, that can ascend to the Holy of Holies?  Is it just those parts of us that are enlightened? … There’s always been a tendency for people to look inward and say this bit and this bit, these are worthy of God, but not this other stuff. Not the heavy stuff, the stuff that’s hard to talk about. Not the anger, not the prejudice, not the things I take medication for… surely not my doubt or my fear. Not these, Lord. But the ascension of Jesus says, No, no,  it all belongs. Every bit of your humanity belongs.

Someone used to talk to me about God being in unity with us. You being in unity with us, already. Not distant, not sending some puzzling emissary called the Holy Spirit that seems so formless and vague, but somehow You, truly. I was struggling at that time with a mental jangling and the exhaustion of fighting it that made me want to tear my head off. When I thought of God’s being intimately present in my experience, I felt crushing shame. It just couldn’t be. God could not be in unity with this.

I’m so much better now, there is no comparison, but I still find that idea startling and strange. Yet it is something my religion teaches, and I like to think about it. I didn’t expect that a preacher would suddenly touch on it in a way that was vivid to me. But that’s why you listen to sermons. That’s why sermons are food.

3. This statement: “Glorify your Son so your Son may glorify you.  This sentence is filled with the sacredness of being, of what you and me exist for.”

A statement like this cracks apart my usual feeling of futility. What is the sacredness of being? Do we exist for it?

Every sermon speaks differently to every listener. You will hear something, too.

The three sermons I’ve referred to are these:

  1. Trinity Episcopal Church, Concord. Sermon begins at: 15:12.
  2. St. Anne in-the-Fields Episcopal Church, Lincoln. Sermon begins at: 24:00.
  3. Christ Church Episcopal, Waltham. Sermon begins at: 29:00.

But I can’t emphasize enough, all of the route 117 sermons are good! Here are the others again, in case you missed them!

June 10, 2020 COVID-19 Infections and Fatalities

GlobalUnited StatesMassachusetts
Infections7,145,5391,969,408104,156
Fatalities408,025105,6757,454
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