Sermon: Proper 14 RCL A – “On Dry Land”

In December 1971, Time magazine reported on the volunteer fire department in Genoa, Texas, just outside of Houston. We’d need to ask Michael Baker if its true, but as the article stated, we often think of firemen spending the times between fires polishing brass, playing checkers, and showing kids the firetrucks. Not so for the Genoa VFD. The article states, “In the past three years, eight bored Genoa firemen have set about 40 fires in abandoned buildings and grass fields. As soon as the blazes were going, the arsonists would dash back to the firehouse and rush off to put out their own fires.

The Genoa firemen were quite busy until they made the mistake of setting fire to a barn owned by the brother of a Houston fire department official. An investigation of the blaze led to the Genoa firehouse, and the overeager fire fighters were exposed. Explained one of the firemen charged with arson: ‘We’d hang around the station on the night shift without a thing to do. We just wanted to get the red light flashing and the bells clanging.’” Continue reading “Sermon: Proper 14 RCL A – “On Dry Land””

Sermon: Transfiguration RCL A – “Becoming”

Boudreaux and Thibodeaux decided to go fishing one morning at the pond in back of Boudreaux’s house. It was dark and when they reached the pond they realized they wanted to cross to the other side. But they couldn’t walk around and had no boat or pirogue to cross in. Thibodeaux turned to Boudreaux and said, “Mais Boudreaux, how in the heck we gonna get across.” Boudreaux said, “No problem, I’m gonna shine this here flashlight across the water and you gonna walk on the beam of light all the way across.” Thibodeaux then says, “Mais, Boudreaux, you must think I’m stupid or something, cause just when I get halfway across you gonna turn off the light.”

Light travels at 186,282 miles per second. Put another way, the earth has a circumference of 24,901 miles, so a beam of light could travel around the earth 7.5 times in one second. Light comes in a wide spectrum of electromagnetic radiation, but we can only see a very small portion of that spectrum, which is called visible light. Continue reading “Sermon: Transfiguration RCL A – “Becoming””

Sermon: Proper 12 RCL A – “The Kingdom of God is…”

A mosquito is flying, looking for a snack. He spots a man high on a pole, lands on the man’s arm, and bites.

The man, an electrician who was anxious to finish work, decided not to wait for the “cherry picker,” and instead used a ladder. When the mosquito bit, he quickly moved to swat it. He missed; however, the sudden movement caused him to lose balance and he dropped to the ground and the ladder fell against the wires causing a short, creating a black out across the whole district.

In the zipper factory it suddenly went dark and the machinery stopped. The owner immediately knew that for him it would be a complete disaster. He had too quickly accepted his first big order; he had already had to put all his staff on extended overtime and to save on cost had not yet put in a generator. Now he knew he would have to tell the customer that he would be unable to complete the order in time for the clothing factory. He could only hope that next week’s shipment would be alright. Continue reading “Sermon: Proper 12 RCL A – “The Kingdom of God is…””

Sermon: Proper 11 – “EYE17”

The following is my lead-in to the sermon preached by Sophie Fosmire, a member of our youth who attended EYE17 as a delegate.

The Episcopal Church loves it meetings. We have all sorts of local meetings of various committees and we have our vestry meetings, the vestry being the governing body of St. Matthew’s. On the Diocesan level, we have even more meetings. Commission on Ministry, Standing Committee, Diocesan Council, etc. Then there is what we call the National Church, our Presiding Bishop is the head. The National Church also has meetings, with the grand Episcopal Church meeting being the General Convention, which is held every three years. The last one was held in Salt Lake City in 2015. Continue reading “Sermon: Proper 11 – “EYE17””

Sermon: Proper 10 RCL A – “Imitate”

In 1915, the king of the silent movies was “The Tramp” – Charlie Chaplin. He wore his baggy pants, tight fitting jacket, bowler hat, oversize shoes and carried a cane. His pale skin and mustache were also a part of his trademark, but you could always tell it was him by his walk. He was so popular that communities began to have Charlie Chaplin lookalike contests, the goal to not only look like Chaplin, but to be one who had mastered, who could imitate that iconic walk.

San Francisco was one town that joined in the fun. They were line up around the block to participate. It worked by having several elimination rounds leading up to the finals. Many were cut in that first round, but finally the winner was named. Sounds like fun; however, what made it so comical was the fact that the real Charlie Chaplin had also entered the contest and had been eliminated before the final round.

It is reported, following the competition, that Chaplin was “tempted to give lessons in the Chaplin walk, out of pity as well as in the desire to see the thing done correctly.” Continue reading “Sermon: Proper 10 RCL A – “Imitate””

Sermon: Proper 7 RCL A – “Allegiance”

John Kenneth Galbraith was an economist and diplomat serving under four different presidents. In his book, Name-Dropping: From F.D.R. on, Galbraith speaks about the loyalty of Emily Gloria Wilson, his housekeeper of forty years. It had been a wearying day and he had an evening engagement, and had asked Emily to hold all telephone calls while he had a nap. Shortly thereafter the phone rang. It was President Lyndon Johnson calling from the White House. It was the president’s custom to make most of his own calls.

“Lyndon Johnson here. Get me Ken Galbraith. I want to talk to him.”

Emily responded, “He’s resting, Mr. President.”

“Well, get him up. I need to talk to him.”

“No, I’m sorry, I can’t. I work for him, not for you, Mr. President.” Continue reading “Sermon: Proper 7 RCL A – “Allegiance””

Sermon: Proper 6 RCL A – “Called and Obedient”

In the eleventh century, King Henry III of Bavaria grew tired of court life and the pressures of being a monarch. He made application to Prior Richard at a local monastery, asking to be accepted as a contemplative and spend the rest of his life in the monastery. “Your Majesty,” said Prior Richard, “do you understand that the pledge here is one of obedience? That will be hard because you have been a king.”

“I understand,” said Henry. “The rest of my life I will be obedient to you, as Christ leads you.”

“Then I will tell you what to do,” said Prior Richard. “Go back to your throne and serve faithfully in the place where God has put you.” When King Henry died, a statement was written: “The King learned to rule by being obedient.” Continue reading “Sermon: Proper 6 RCL A – “Called and Obedient””

Sermon: Easter 7 RCL A – “Giving Glory”

God created the dog and said: ‘Sit all day by the door of your house and bark at anyone who comes in or walks past. For this, I will give you a life span of twenty years.’

The dog said: ‘That’s a long time to be barking. How about only ten years and I’ll give you back the other ten?’

So God agreed.

God created the monkey and said: ‘Entertain people, do tricks, and make them laugh. For this, I’ll give you a twenty-year life span.’

The monkey said: ‘Monkey tricks for twenty years? That’s a pretty long time to perform. How about I give you back ten like the Dog did?’

And God agreed. Continue reading “Sermon: Easter 7 RCL A – “Giving Glory””

Sermon: Easter 6 RCL A – “Seek”

For years a particular church had been growing. Folks from every walk of life were attending. The music was good, the coffee was good, they were adding to their numbers every week, but what was the best was the preaching. That preacher could take to the pulpit and the congregation was like putty. We he wanted them to cry, they bawled. When he wanted them to laugh, it was comedy central. When he wanted them to give, they couldn’t give enough. Word of this church made its way all the way to heaven, so Jesus decided that he would like to see it for himself. Choosing a Sunday at random he showed up. No one recognized him, but he remembered that the disciples had a hard enough time recognizing him after the resurrection also, so he wasn’t concerned. No one welcomed him, but my goodness, they were busy, so that was OK too. Intent on seeing it all, he made his way to the front pew and sat dead center (he stuck out there, as no one else was in the first several pews, preferring to gather towards the back). Continue reading “Sermon: Easter 6 RCL A – “Seek””