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Showing posts from May, 2015

"Rebirth...most needed by religious people who might think they do not need it."

Trinity Sunday, May 31, 2015 The Reverend John Ohmer, Rector The Falls Church Episcopal
On Trinity Sunday, we celebrate one of the most important aspects of our faith, and that’s relationship. We’re reminded today of our belief in God as One God in Three Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, which means that God is, God’s self, a relationship: Father loving Son, Son loving Spirit, Spirit loving Father, loving so much the love spills out, overflows…God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son.
Something to remember: “God the Son” did not start, or begin, 2000 years or so ago that first Christmas. Jesus wasn’t the beginning, or start, of God-the-Son. Rather, we believe God the Son, who has been and always was co-existing with God the Holy Spirit and God the Father as One God, became incarnate, (in-carne, “in flesh”), took on our human nature that first Christmas. Jesus wasn’t the beginning of God the Son but the taking on of flesh of God the Son.
So what? Why is that importa…

"Holy Spirit is as Holy Spirit does"

A sermon preached Pentecost Sunday – May 24, 2015 The Rev. John Ohmer, Rector The Falls Church Episcopal
Acts 2:1-21 When the day of Pentecost had come, the disciples were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.
Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. Amazed and astonished, they asked, "Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and…

Gumption, With Thanks

I'd like to thank my colleagues in ministry Rosemari and Nina and Jim and Julie and Michael and Terri for stepping up this past Sunday, which allowed me to take a few days off for what I'd call -- pick your metaphor -- a "relief cut Sunday" or time to "Restock the Over-fished Pond." 

The term "relief cut" comes from carpentry. It's a little trick woodworkers employ when using a band saw to make a curved cut in a piece of wood.  (Not that I'm a carpenter, but I'll take a good metaphor anywhere I can.) 

Relief cuts are preliminary cuts made in a piece of wood to keep a saw from binding. If you're really curious, here's a You-Tube video from the Woodworkers Guild of America. but all you really need to know is that "a relief cut is a great pre-emptive move to make if you're not quite sure your blade can make the radius." 

So in the world of work, a relief cut is called for when you feel you've been pushing hard and a…

Second-guessing Things Said in Sermons

I haven't heard other preachers talk about this before, so maybe it's just me, but...
Sometimes -- such as this past Sunday -- I will say something in a sermon that I start to second-guess afterward. 
I'm not referring to something I've said in a sermon extemporaneously, because I rarely preach something I haven't written out. (In so doing, I try to follow Karl Barth's advice that preachers should write out and then memorize their sermon, "and not leave it up to the Holy Spirit (or some other spirit!) to inspire the words.")
And in saying I sometimes second-guess something I've preached, I'm not saying I regret saying it. (I more often regret the things I don't say...but that's a topic for another time.)  
No, I'm referring to those times when on Monday or Tuesday, I start second-guessing something I've said in a sermon because what I've said is so head-shakingly good news it's hard to believe. Difficult to absorb. 
Or I'…