Sermon: Advent 2 RCL A – “Noise!”

Why I keep thinking of Edgar Allen Poe’s works these days, I’ve no idea, but here’s a bit from the opening stanza of The Raven:

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore—
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.

A little later, “Nevermore.”

I was reminded of that when I thought on all the noise and distractions, all the rapping rapping and tapping tapping of the world. All those noises and distractions, from cell phones to the internet to co-workers interrupting can have such an impact on productivity that companies have begun to study it. These studies indicate that it takes four minutes to get back on task following an interruption, so if your cellphone chimes ten times a day for personal business and you are on the call or responding to a text for two minutes, then between the call or text and the recovery time, you’ve lost an hour of work. All the time lost in a year cost businesses about $800 billion in lost salaries. That may not bother you much if you are the one getting the paycheck, but all the noise harms us in other ways. Continue reading “Sermon: Advent 2 RCL A – “Noise!””

Sermon: Andrew

In To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, Scout, the protagonist, describes her first day walking to school with her older brother, Jem, who was then entering the fifth grade: “Jem condescended to take me to school the first day, a job usually done by one’s parents, but Atticus had said Jem would be delighted to show me where my room was. I think some money changed hands in this transaction… Jem was careful to explain that during school hours I was not to bother him, I was not to approach him with requests to enact a chapter of Tarzan and the Ant Men, to embarrass him with references to his private life, or tag along behind him at recess and noon. I was to stick with the first grade and he would stick with the fifth. In short, I was to leave him alone.” Continue reading “Sermon: Andrew”

Sermon: St. Andrew and the Blessing of the Columbarium

Many a rednecks last words can be summed up in the simple phrase, “Dude, hold my beer.” Others’ last words range from the humorous to the sad to the profound.

Murderer James W. Rodgers was put in front of a firing squad in Utah and asked if he had a last request. He replied, “Bring me a bullet-proof vest.”

Humphrey Bogart said, “I should never have switched from Scotch to Martinis.”

At the deathbed of Joan Crawford, a housekeeper began to pray. Joan snapped, “Dammit… Don’t you dare ask God to help me.”

Recognizing that he would die before being able to reverse the official state endorsement of Christianity, Emperor Julian proclaimed, “You have won, O Galilean.”

Voltaire, when asked by a priest to renounce Satan is reported to have said, “Now, now, my good man, this is no time for making enemies.” Continue reading “Sermon: St. Andrew and the Blessing of the Columbarium”

Sermon: Advent 1 RCL A- “Waiting”

Thibideaux took his pet duck to the veterinary clinic, and laid its limp body on the table. The doctor pulled out his stethoscope, listened to the duck’s chest for a moment, then shook his head sadly. “I’m sorry, but your duck has died.”

“What?” Thibideaux screamed, “You haven’t even done any tests! I want another opinion.”

The vet left the room and returned in a few moments with a Labrador retriever. The retriever sniffed the duck on the table carefully from head to toe. Finally, the retriever shook its head and barked once. The Vet shook his head and said, “Not looking good.”

Next, the vet took the Labrador away and returned a few minutes later with an old gray cat, which also sniffed carefully over the duck on the table before shaking its head and saying, “Meow.”

“Nope,” said the vet. “This here duck is dead.” Then he handed Thibideaux a bill for $600. Thibideaux shook the bill at the vet. “$600! Just to tell me my duck is dead?! That’s outrageous!” Continue reading “Sermon: Advent 1 RCL A- “Waiting””

Sermon: St. Margaret of Scotland

In one of the parishes I attended prior to being ordained, there was a member who seemed to take joy in asking how others were doing; however, he was asking, not to determine there wellbeing, but so that he could rebuke their answer. What does that mean? If I ask you, “How are you?”, how will you respond? Most folks will say, “Good.” This particular member, applying Luke 18:19 would respond – every time! – “No one is good but God alone.” Yes, yes. You’re very smart. Continue reading “Sermon: St. Margaret of Scotland”

Sermon: Proper 28 RCL C – “The Future”

At 7:33 a.m. on Saturday, February 20, 1971, WOWO radio station in Ft. Wayne, Indiana was playing “Doesn’t Somebody Want to be Wanted” by the Partridge Family when suddenly the Emergency Broadcasting Service interrupted the song. Now as some of you may know, back in the day, the Emergency Broadcast Service would interrupt the radio and TV broadcasts for their test, “This is a test of the emergency broadcast system, etc.”; however, on this day the message was different. The announcement read: THIS IS AN EMERGENCY ACTION NOTIFICATION (EAN) DIRECTED BY THE PRESIDENT. NORMAL BROADCASTING WILL CEASE IMMEDIATELY. ALL STATIONS WILL BROADCAST EAN MESSAGE ONE PRECEDED BY THE ATTENTION SIGNAL, PER FCC RULES. ONLY STATIONS HOLDING NDEA MAY STAY ON AIR IN ACCORD WITH THEIR STATE EBS PLAN. Continue reading “Sermon: Proper 28 RCL C – “The Future””

Sermon: All Saints’ Sunday

“I now observed — with what horror it is needless to say — that its nether extremity was formed of a crescent of glittering steel, about a foot in length from horn to horn; the horns upward, and the under edge evidently as keen as that of a razor. Like a razor also, it seemed massy and heavy, tapering from the edge into a solid and broad structure above. It was appended to a weighty rod of brass, and the whole hissed as it swung through the air.” The unnamed narrator used those words to describe the pendulum in Edgar Allen Poe’s, The Pit and the Pendulum. On the whole, a very good Halloween story, but I’ll not scare you with the entire tale today. There is, however, a pendulum story that I will. Continue reading “Sermon: All Saints’ Sunday”

Sermon: Proper 26 RCL C – “A Moment”

Boudreaux and Pierre have been friends for life and are standing in the airport looking over the airplane they are about to board to take their first flight ever to start a vacation they’ve been planning for a few years. As the four big engines begin to rev up, they board. The plane takes off and a little while passes and the captain comes on the intercom and says the flight will take 30 minutes longer because one of the engines blew, but not to worry, it can still fly with just three engines. Some more time passes and the captain comes on the intercom again and says that another engine has blown and it will take an hour longer to get to their destination, but again, not to worry. A little while later the captain comes on the intercom one more time and says there will be an additional half an hour delay because the third engine has broken down. Boudreaux leans over to Pierre and says, “Pierre, my friend, if that fourth engine blows, we gonna be stuck up here all day.” Continue reading “Sermon: Proper 26 RCL C – “A Moment””

Sermon: Alfred the Great

I will preface this sermonette on Albert the Great by telling you I have two long quotes. Longer than I should read, but too good to omit. One describes Alfred and other is a prayer he wrote.

In 849, Alfred was the fourth son born to the West Saxons’ king. Being the fourth son, he was never expected to rise to the throne; however, during his father’s life and his own, there was an ongoing war with the Vikings, which led to the death of his father and brothers, eventually leading to Alfred ascending the throne. Off the battlefield – and even on for that matter – he was a very devout man and did much good for his people, but it was in 886 that he accomplished what no other king in England had ever done: he united England. Continue reading “Sermon: Alfred the Great”