January 25, 2015 | The Third Sunday after the Epiphany

by the Rev. Robert C. Laird

One of the great tragedies of our lectionary
is the fact that we only hear from Jonah twice every 3 years;
thankfully, today is one of those two days
(the next time we hear from him is September 24, 2017).

I adore Jonah, really:
The entire story is practically a farce, really:
God says to Jonah,
“I’d like you to go tell the people of Nineveh
that I’m upset with them,
and I’m going to destroy them.”

Nineveh was the capitol of Assyria,
built on the Tigris;
the modern city that stands there today is called Mosul,
in northern Iraq.

It was the largest city in the world for about fifty years,
until it was sacked
by a coalition of former subjects of Assyria;
turns out the oppressed had had enough,
and weren’t going to take it any more.

And instead of heading Nineveh,
Jonah instead heads to Joppa,
which is north of Tel Aviv, on the ocean,
and gets on a boat to run away from God.

You have to admire Jonah’s moxie for running,
but choosing a boat was a bad idea,
because it was inundated in a storm,
and the sailors on the boat were terrified,
and Jonah admitted that it was he that God was after,
so he said, “Throw me into the sea;
then the storm will stop.”

And they did,
and he was swallowed by a gigantic fish.

The story has now become truly ridiculous,
and I love it all the more for it.

Jonah prays a beautiful prayer,
and God spoke to the fist,
so the fish “vomited Jonah upon the dry land.”
(That according to the King James version, anyway).

So God tries again, which is where our reading today starts:
Jonah, how about going to Nineveh?
And Jonah replies, Right. Nineveh. Got it.

Jonah goes to there, and it’s an enormous city
(not to mention hundreds of miles from where he was),
and he tells them,
“Forty days and this city will be overthrown!”

Notice he doesn’t even mention God;
just tells them that they’re going to be overthrown.

And those jerks in Nineveh actually listened,
which made Jonah so mad he could spit nails.

Everyone heard him, and believed him,
and they changed their ways.

Which is the worst,
since Jonah pretty much hated them.

But then something even more awful happened:
God appreciated their change in attitude,
and listened to them,
and spared them.

This made Jonah so mad he was breathing fire,
because Jonah was a prophet of Israel,
and Nineveh was not Israel.

God had the audacity to care for Nineveh,
and then Nineveh CARED BACK.

What is the world coming to?

It actually sets up some of the best sarcasm in the Bible,
which we sadly didn’t read today,
so I’ll just give it to you now.

Jonah is whinging in response to what God did, and says:
“O LORD!
Is not this what I said while I was still in my own country? That is why I fled to Tarshish at the beginning;
for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful,
slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love,
and ready to relent from punishing.
And now, O LORD, please take my life from me,
for it is better for me to die than to live.”

This is all in response to God not destroying Nineveh.

It’s tough when you think you have everything figured out,
and then God doesn’t do what you think God ought to,
but instead does what God actually ought to do.

After all,
we believe in a God whose love is big enough for everyone,
and who created the whole world in God’s own image;
so how could God not also care for Nineveh,
even if God also cared for Israel?

Admittedly, we have the benefit of hindsight on this,
so we can see more clearly than Jonah could
that God is actually being God in this,
the God that created us in God’s image,
as opposed to the God Jonah might have preferred,
a God created in Jonah’s image…

But thankfully we got the God we did,
the one who does care for Nineveh,
the one who cares for the whole world,
even the parts that we don’t care for so much.

That’s the first significant point we see in this story:
God cares for the other, too;
but we also see something else that’s pretty remarkable:
Nineveh believes right away.

Jonah doesn’t even mention God:
he just says, “Okay, this place is history in a month.”

And the whole city,
big enough that it takes 3 days to walk across,
the biggest city in the world,
says, “Geez, good thing you came and told us!
What do we have to do?”

Let’s just compare and contrast that with Jonah for a moment.

Jonah, the prophet, the preacher,
heard God and says “I’m outta here.”
He then encounters a storm,
and getting SWALLOWED BY A FISH,
and finally says, “Okay, Nineveh. Got it.”

He then also has the cheek to get angry with God
because God is merciful,
and falls into histrionics,
saying “It’s better for me to die than to live.”

This prophet gets it wrong at almost every step,
and still God’s work is done,
and Nineveh is saved.

And the parallel in the Gospel is Christ’s disciples,
who hear just a word,
just “Follow me, and I’ll make you fish for people,”
and they say, “Right. Awesome. Let’s do this.”

Just like the Ninevites. They hear the word, and they go.

Now, the thing that is most compelling about this
is that Jesus is saying that
“The time is fulfilled,
and the kingdom of God has come near.”

Literally the first thing out of Jesus’s mouth in Mark’s Gospel
is telling us that the Kingdom of God has come near,
that it’s not something to wait for eventually,
or something that we should be focused on seeing
once we get to heaven;
the kingdom of God has come near now,
and we are invited to repent and believe the Good News.

And we see from both Jonah and Paul this morning
what that Good News is:
God created the whole world,
and even though we’re not capable
of loving everyone,
God is.

God’s love is so big, in fact,
that even our enemies (like Nineveh, for instance)
are embraced by it,
even though it may rankle us,
or terrify us (like it did for Jonah).

And God’s kingdom,
the reign of God,
is here, and now,
for everyone, everywhere,
like Jesus said in the Gospel.

So as his disciples,
called to follow just like Peter, and Andrew,
and James, and John,
we are to live in God’s kingdom,
and make God’s kingdom known throughout the world.

That’s one way to look at Paul’s letter to the Corinthians today:
the present form of the world is passing away,
because Christians throughout the world
are making the Kingdom of God known,
instead of the kingdom of humanity.

While that may not be exactly what Paul meant
(since it sure seems like he was saying
that Jesus was going to be back next Tuesday,
so don’t get too comfortable),
we can, at the same time,
see how the old is passing away
as we continue to work for the Kingdom of God
here and now,
making Christ known to the world
and following him as best we can,
with God’s grace and love to support and sustain us,
since we all make mistakes,
even though we wish we didn’t
(this is the “repent” part that Jesus was talking about).

And we will all get it wrong some of the time:
we each make mistakes,
with our spouses,
with our children,
with our coworkers,
with our friends,
with our families,
with strangers,
with our fellow church members:
we are all afforded opportunities to repent,
every day of our lives.

But we also keep working at it,
and keep on being supported
by grace, and love,
and hope, and faith,
and wisdom, and counsel,
and understanding, and fortitude,
and knowledge, and piety, and holy fear,
and all the gifts and fruits of the Spirit
that support us in our daily lives,
in the moments when we’re aware of it,
and in the moments when we’re not aware of it,
and even in the moments when
we wish we were just about anywhere else
(like Jonah, poor guy).

Thanks be to God,
who doesn’t give up on us,
and who supports each of us
through our toughest moments,
even when we’re in the belly of a fish,
and gives us enough grace and love
to accomplish things that seem impossible,
like Jonah.

January 11, 2015 | The First Sunday after the Epiphany

by the Rev. Robert C. Laird

When I was finishing college,
I found myself at a crossroads
that I hadn’t particularly been looking for.

I was in discernment for ordination in the Episcopal Church,
but wasn’t yet ready to go to seminary.

I had a whole plan made:
where I was going to live,
what I was going to do,
I’d charted the whole thing out.

But then it all fell apart.
The shards of my plan lay all around me,
and I realized I was going to have a year to fill
before the next thing that was going to happen,
whatever that was…

Looking back, from this vantage point,
this isn’t an awful place to be when you’re 26, actually;
I had nearly unlimited possibilities before me,
and could do whatever I wanted.

And then I had dinner with Philip.

Philip is still one of my dearest friends,
despite the story I’m going to tell you.

Philip saw for me what I couldn’t see for myself;
what the next thing was going to be.

He said to me,
“You know, why don’t you consider
doing a year of service,
like the Jesuit Volunteer Corps?
You can go live in a Christian community for a year,
doing some kind of direct service
in a nonprofit of some kind.
I know someone who did something like that;
you should talk to him.”

The words still hung in the air,
like a word bubble in a comic strip,
but I knew that’s what I was going to do.

And I filled with terror at the thought.

It would mean leaving everything I knew,
my home, my friends,
my life as I had known it;
it was not the plan I had made,
wasn’t anywhere near part of the plan…

But I knew it was the right thing for me.

The truth had been named,
and it was just out there,
and I had to acknowledge it,
and admit that it was the truth for me.

I think there’s moments like that in most everyone’s life,
when you get leveled with the truth,
and you just have to change directions,
even though it means changing the plans
you’d so carefully laid.

John the baptizer has that gift, that power
in the Gospels,
and particularly in the Gospel we’ve heard today.

John preaches the word,
and people start coming to him,
to be washed in the waters of the Jordan,
and tell him their sins.

And John looked like a hot mess:
he wore camel’s hair,
and wore a leather belt around his waist;
this was a garment for a prophet,
a little wild, a little crazy.

And he ate locusts and wild honey;
the only time locusts are mentioned in the Hebrew Bible,
they are bad news,
a pestilence that devours everything;
and John the baptizer devours them, instead.

But not only does he devour the locusts,
and dress like a wild man,
but he speaks the truth.

This guy does not, to my imagination,
look like someone who people
would just start pouring out confessions to.

And yet they do,
over and over again.

The word that John preaches,
the call to repentance,
and to new life in the waters of baptism,
is so compelling that everyone is jumping in.

I’m willing to bet that if you’d heard him there that day,
you’d have done the same thing.

When someone just lays the truth out there like that,
you know it; you can’t help but follow.

In fact, John was so compelling that Jesus,
who was without sin,
who had nothing to confess,
Jesus himself is baptized.

It’s a paradox, Jesus getting baptized.
It’s an act of utter humility,
being baptized along with everyone else,
the rest of the sinful crowd that had gathered there
in the River Jordan.

After all, Jesus has all authority in the world;
he’s God’s Son,
and he’s being baptized.

But his authority and his humility are intertwined
in this act of his baptism:
He has authority as the humble one,
and he has the true humility of one
in whom all authority is invested.

It’s the same humility we’ll see from Jesus
on the cross, at Golgotha on Good Friday;
it’s the humility that is integral to him as a person.

It’s the humility we’re called as Christians to live out,
following in Jesus’ example,
who has claimed us in baptism,
and marked us as his own forever.

And today,
as we remember Jesus’ own baptism,
we renew our own baptismal vows,
making anew the promises of our baptism.

We promise to seek and serve Christ,
and strive for justice and peace,
and continue in the teaching and fellowship of the faith,
and to repent and return when we fail,
and to ourselves proclaim the Good News.

Because after all,
through that baptism,
through his love for us,
Jesus transforms each of our lives,
teaching us through his example,
forming us as disciples in following him,
and empowering us to respond to the needs of the world
through loving service.

This is not an easy life we’re called to;
it can be intimidating,
and difficult at times.

But it’s also a powerful call,
a call that claims us in the hearing of it,
that levels us when we hear it,
and we have to change directions,
even if it means changing the plans
we’d so carefully laid.

But it’s worth changing our plans
when it’s because the heavens have been torn apart,
as they were there that day at the Jordan River,
and the love of God,
which was made manifest that day for Jesus,
descends upon us like a dove,
as we profess our faith
in our baptismal promises,
and join in the song of heaven
as we celebrate the grace God has given each of us
in the Word and Sacrament we share;
in the lives of faith we live;
in the gift of Jesus,
God’s only Son,
there in the river,
and here in our midst.

The life we have each been called to
as disciples of Jesus Christ
isn’t an easy one.

But as we see in Jesus’s own baptism,
as we see in the preaching of John the Baptist,
as we see in the life in community
we share as Christians,
it’s a life worth living,
even though it can be hard.

It’s a life that claims us,
and that we claim,
in the promises we make,
which we keep with God’s help.

January 4, 2014 | The Second Sunday after Christmas

by the Rev. Robert C. Laird

Each year, Santa puts two things in everyone’s stocking,
at least at my house.

The first is an orange, usually a clementine;
it’s always the first thing put in the toe,
so it’s always the last thing that comes out of it.

This is apparently something Santa does in many houses;
St. Nicholas was reported
to have dropped three sacks of gold
down the chimney of a poor man to provide a dowry
for his three daughters;
the oranges are meant to represent those sacks of gold,
and have been found in stockings for centuries.

But Santa also brings one other gift to everyone,
including this year when my mom and sister were with us:
a fresh package of thank you notes for each stocking.

Thanks to Santa,
I learned to write thank you notes at a young age,
always trying to get them in the mail before the New Year;
some years I am more successful than others,
but I learned early on the importance of saying thank you.
No matter how you feel about the gift,
you should say thank you;
in offering thanks,
we complete the action of giving and receiving;
otherwise we’re just sort of taking the gift,
instead of receiving it with gratitude.
Without offering thanks,
we rob a gift of its intrinsic holiness.

And that gratitude,
that simple statement, “Thank you,”
is the foundation of what the author of
the Letter to the Ephesians is saying today.

The whole letter is almost liturgical in its construction;
our selection for today consists of a blessing
(“Blessed be God, who has blessed us in Christ
with every spiritual blessing…”
and a thanksgiving,
(“I do not cease to give thanks for you
as I remember you in my prayers.”)

In fact, our selection of the letter today
is almost a rhapsody,
pure emotion flowing through the pen
and pouring onto the page.

And the verses of that rhapsody
are shot through with thanks:
thanks to God for making a world that includes us,
thanks to God for not only making us,
but for making us God’s own children by adoption,
through Jesus Christ,
and to honor the glorious grace that has been given to us
freely through the Son.

God gives us something amazing:
our lives,
the fullness of our very selves,
made in God’s image,
and called into relationship with God through Jesus.

And what do we do in that relationship?
We give thanks right back to God
for the gifts that God gives us.

To use the language from Ephesians,
we bless God for the blessings that God has given us,
from the blessings that God has given us.

This cycle of blessing and thanks,
giving to God from what God has given to us,
is the foundation of our relationship with God.

Anne Lamott, the essayist and author,
says there are really only three prayers:
Help, Thanks, and Wow;
and each of them is essential in its own way.

“Thanks” is certainly essential to our relationship with God,
because giving thanks nurtures and cares for
the holiness of the gifts and blessings we receive from God:
if writing a thank you note to your aunt for the Chia Pet
you received for Christmas is important,
then how much more important must it be
to give thanks to God for the myriad blessings
we receive from God each and every day?

Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits,
required each Jesuit to examine their daily lives
twice each day, and express their gratitude to God
for the ways that God works in their daily lives,
a practice which Jesuits keep to this day.
In fact, during the Council of Trent in the mid 16th century,
when the Jesuits there asked Ignatius
if they could skip their prayers because they were so busy,
Ignatius said they could skip anything but the Examen;
expressing gratitude is central to our lives.

It’s actually the thing
that makes it possible for us to do what Paul
prays we will be able to do:
To receive a spirit of wisdom and truth from God
through the Holy Spirit,
that the eyes of our hearts may have enough light
to see what is the hope of God’s call;
if we receive God’s blessings,
and give them back to God as thankfulness,
then God will continue to give to us,
and us back to God;
it becomes a virtuous circle,
which keeps reinforcing itself
as our gratitude grows and deepens.

My friends,
no matter who you are,
no matter what you have done,
no matter if you have much faith or little,
God is already working in your life,
and doing amazing things;
when you realize it,
and give thanks for what God is doing in your life,
and give thanks for Christ,
through whom it’s all possible,
that’s discipleship.
That’s what lies at the root of being a Christian,
at least as we have received the faith.

After all, the our primary act of worship on Sunday,
the Eucharist,
is a Greek word that means “Thanksgiving.”

What we do is give thanks,
in our worship,
in our private prayer,
through our missions,
in our life as a community,
joining in the prayer of the whole host of heaven,
that sings throughout time:
we give thanks.

It’s even easy to give thanks,
at least when times are good.

It’s pretty easy to thank God
when we win the lottery,
or get the promotion we’ve worked for,
or find ourselves in the flush of new love,
or are called “Mommy” for the first time.

It’s harder to be grateful
when we’re confronted with a truth about ourselves,
perhaps one we desperately need to learn,
but are loath to hear.

It’s hard to be grateful
for the times in our lives
that push us to the edges of ourselves—
a troubling diagnosis,
a disappointment or a betrayal,
or circumstances that are beyond our control.

It’s hard to be grateful
when we only have hard choices,
like Joseph and Mary faced in today’s Gospel.

Confronted with the truth
that Herod wanted baby Jesus dead,
Joseph rushes his family out of the barn
and into the night,
fleeing for their lives to Egypt,
with a newborn child and his young mother,
still recovering from childbirth.

It’s hard to give thanks when things look bleakest.

But Joseph,
who remained faithful to God
as this astonishing and amazing story unfolds,
acted to protect his family,
trusting God,
who three times in today’s Gospel
spoke to Joseph through an Angel in his dreams:
“Go to Egypt to escape Herod,”
and then “It’s all Clear: Go back to Israel”
(and then “PS: Go to Galilee, not Jerusalem”),
and each time, Joseph did as he was told.

Now the Gospels say precious little about Joseph at all;
he gets short shrift from the Evangelists,
which I think is unfortunate.

After all,
he endured so much to do his part in raising Jesus,
to living God’s call to him,
even though it was hard.

And each of us is given these opportunities in our lives:
each of us has the opportunity to give thanks,
even when things are hard;
even when the road is difficult;
and we can’t see where the road leads;
and in learning to express gratitude even then,
even when times are rough,
we live more fully into the call to be disciples,
and we journey more deeply
into that virtuous circle,
where blessing begets blessing,
and we continue to be nourished
through giving our gratitude,
even when it’s not easy,
even when the night falls dark.

So what are you most grateful for?
I’d invite you to answer that question now,
but more importantly,
I’d invite you to answer that question tonight,
just before you go to bed,
thinking about everything that happens between
this moment and that one.

What are you most grateful for?
It’s a question that God can help you answer,
if you ask for help;
Just review your day,
moment by moment,
and ask God to help you see
the moments that you are most grateful for.

It’s the one thing that Ignatius of Loyola asked his Jesuits to do
twice every day;
it’s the beginning and end
of the virtuous circle of our lives of faith,
and it’s the thing that honors the holiness
of every gift and blessing we receive,
whether we realize the gifts and blessings when they come,
or whether we need a little distance in order
to see them as blessings and gifts.

It’s the very cornerstone of our worship as Episcopalians:
we give thanks at the table,
for the bread and wine,
for the gift of Jesus, who is present to us
in the bread and the wine,
and for the many blessings that we receive each day,
because God is doing amazing things in each of our lives,
whether we realize it or not.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ
with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,
just as he chose us in Christ
before the foundation of the world
to be holy and blameless before him in love.

Thanks be to God.

December 21, 2014 | The Fourth Sunday of Advent

by the Rev. Robert C. Laird

It always amazes me to see all four candles lit
on the Advent wreath,
and how quickly it feels like it sneaks up on us.

At the beginning of Advent,
there is so much time;
we have four weeks, after all;
but these weeks are always so full,
with shopping, and friends, and family coming into town,
and then, suddenly,
you’ve barely taken a breath,
and the whole wreath is ablaze.

This year, we light the last candle,
and begin our journey to Bethlehem,
to the birth of Jesus,
which is announced in today’s Gospel.

It is a remarkable thing to see Mary today;
she’s engaged to be married to Joseph,
which means that Joseph has already paid the bride price,
the money that due to to Mary’s father
for the right to marry Mary
(this is why in Matthew’s Gospel,
Joseph decides to quietly dismiss Mary,
even though they had not yet been married;
that’s how engagement worked in those days).

The other remarkable thing is that
these marriage contracts were,
in Mary and Joseph’s time,
entered into when the bride was between
twelve and twelve-and-a-half years old;
it was truly a different time;
nowadays, women are typically
more than twice that age before they consider marriage,
and then they decide to get married on their own.
In the US today,
most children turn twelve when they’re in sixth grade.

But for her time, Mary was of marrying age,
and was preparing to make a life with Joseph,
and then into that world crashes the Divine.

Gabriel shows up to her,
with some amazing news:
she is going to have a child.

This wasn’t the first time God had announced an amazing birth:
both Hagar and Sarah spoke to angels
about the birth of Ismael and Isaac;
the birth of Samson was announced to the wife of Manoah
(whose name is lost to history);
and Elizabeth was visited by Gabriel
to announce the birth of John the Baptist
(well, actually, Zechariah was visited,
but one would certainly hope
that even though Zechariah couldn’t talk at the time,
he somehow communicated to Elizabeth
that she was going to be pregnant,
despite her advanced age;
what a shock to her if he didn’t!).

But those women were all older,
and infertile;
Mary was still a virgin:
this “something unheard of” was new.

And her response is remarkable:
first, she asks “How is this possible?”
which is perfectly understandable,
if not almost precocious;
then she says “Here am I, the Handmaid of the Lord;
let it be with me according to your word.”

Mary, a sixth-grader by our understanding,
was saying yes to God in a way
that is amazing,
and changed the world for all time.

Because after all,
Mary was agreeing not only to raise Jesus,
to carry him to term, and love him,
but to co-creating with the Holy Spirit
the Divine breaking-in to the world,
Jesus, God’s own self,
born as a human, and in the world to save it.

Mary must have known that she was exposing herself
and her family to scandal;
how the tongues would wag,
given how small Nazareth was,
when Mary turned up pregnant before her wedding.

She must also have known
that being God’s son,
and born to a poor family like hers,
would not go well for Jesus;
the life expectancy for prophets in Israel
was pretty bad,
and wasn’t likely to be any better for Jesus.

Mary was saying “yes” to raising a son
who would deny her,
saying “I have no mother, only a Father in heaven;”
she was saying “yes” to following him to Golgotha,
to the place of the skull where Jesus was crucified;
she was saying “yes” to watching his death,
and grieving his loss;
she was saying yes to carrying in her mother’s heart
the ugliness of human existence,
all of which Jesus encountered,
and ultimately redeemed,
but at an ultimate cost.

It’s truly amazing what Mary does in today’s Gospel.
But it’s equally amazing what God does in today’s Gospel.

Though Gabriel,
God is not only breaking into the human world,
both by sending Gabriel to talk to Mary,
but also by telling of Jesus’ birth;
not only has God come into the world,
but God has chosen to come into the world
on the side of the poor, and the oppressed;
after all, Mary was not of a wealthy family,
nor was Joseph.
Jesus was to be born to a poor family,
raised the son of a handyman;
a far cry from the royal birth we saw last year
of Prince George of Cambridge.

Mary’s song reflects this truth:
“He has shown strength with his arm.
He has scattered those with arrogant thoughts
and proud inclinations.
He has pulled the powerful down from their thrones
and lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away empty-handed.”

God has chosen the poor,
and Mary is an example of this;
Mary, who was not particularly favored in our world,
as a girl, as someone without means,
one of the most lowly in her culture,
is most favored by God.

In Mary, God is siding with those on the margins,
something Jesus does consistently
throughout his ministry.

God has just turned Mary’s world upside-down,
and will do the same for us,
if we give him the chance.

After all, as Gabriel says to Mary,
“Nothing is impossible for God.”

Even though for humanity,
so much seems impossible;
in Mary’s time,
just the idea that Mary would be favored,
or that Rome might not rule Israel forever,
or that the hungry might have food,
would have seemed impossible to us,
but nothing is impossible for God.

In our time,
just as much seems impossible;
globally and nationally,
we are as divided and paralyzed as we’ve been
in several generations;
and each of us individually
knows our shortcomings,
the things that feel impossible for us,
the things that drain our hope,
and feel insurmountable.

But none of it is impossible for God.
God, who breaks into human history—
into our history—
God, who chooses the poor and the marginalized,
who gathers up the lowly;
God, whose kingdom promises justice,
and love, and peace, and hope—
nothing is impossible for God.

Regardless of your political persuasion,
I think it’s we can all agree
that we ‘ve made a pretty good mess of the world.

Looking over the two thousand years
since Jesus’s birth was announced to Mary,
(and for the thousands of years before that),
humans have a pretty spotty track record.

And Gabriel proclaims in today’s Gospel
that God will right the wrongs,
and God’s reign will restore and redeem
the mess that we have made:
for with God, nothing is impossible.

That’s what the lights of the Advent wreath
mean for us today:
that God has entered into the world;
that God has chosen to be with us,
as flawed as we are, and as messy as we can make things;
that for God, nothing is impossible.

It’s a lot to put on the shoulders of a sixth-grade age girl,
and even more to put on a baby boy,
who will be born to a poor family in a barn;
but God is capable of surprising us,
and turning everything upside down,
in amazing, delightful, and terrifying ways;
but it’s not too much for God,
and it’s not too much for us,
with God’s help.

Christmas Services

St. Luke’s Christmas Eve service will be at 7:30 PM on December 24, 2014. Join us as we celebrate Christ’s birth on Wednesday!

December 7, 2014 | The Second Sunday of Advent

by the Rev. Robert C. Laird

“Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”
This quote has been attributed to Winston Churchill,
who turns out to be a very deep well from which to draw inspiration for sermons;
in 1932, while in New York City,
Churchill got a prescription from an Upper East Side doctor, which read:
“This is to certify that the post-accident convalescence of the Hon. Winston S. Churchill necessitates the use of
alcoholic spirits especially at meal times.
The quantity is naturally indefinite but the minimum requirements would be 250 cubic centimeters.”
This is during the tail end of prohibition, mind you,
and the prescriptions calls for at least 8½ ounces of spirits,
seemingly at each meal.
That is a LOT of alcohol.

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