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Showing posts from November, 2016

Thanksgiving Parade!

Whether or not watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade is part of your family's custom, there's another "Thanksgiving Parade" I invite you to make part of your life -- your daily life.  

And that's to think back over the past 24 hours of your life, imagining each hour going by you slowly -- and ask yourself, "what happened in that hour for which I can be grateful?" And then turn your "feeling of gratitude" into a "prayer of Thanksgiving." 

Your "thanksgiving parade" might go something like this -- this was mine, today:  (upon awakening) -- I'm grateful for my warm bed and comfortable pillow; thank you God for giving me a warm home to sleep in. 5:45, first cup of coffee: I'm grateful for coffee; for milk -- for cows, for farmers, for truckers. Thank you, God, for coffee and milk getting to me. 7:00, walking Sadie, our dog: I'm grateful for Sadie; thank you, God, for exercise -- the fact that I can exercise. …

Yeah...

Separated, but not Divorced: What is the Church's Role in Politics?

Back in 2004, I wrote a spiritual advice newspaper column titled "Faithfully Yours" that ran for a while in the Loudoun Times Mirror and The Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star.

One of the first questions I received - again, this was more than 12 years ago - was about the church's role in politics.

Here was the question:

"In some churches, political views are strongly expressed by the church leadership, and church members are encouraged to vote for specific candidates or instructed on how to vote on certain social/political issues.  In other churches, this is not done, and the church leadership encourages people to prayerfully develop their own views.

What is the church's role when it comes to politics and the pulpit?"

Here, in italics, was my answer in 2004 - and, not changing a word of it - is also my answer today:

There are two opposite and equal dangers churches can fall into regarding faith and politics.

The first danger is to say that there should be no connectio…

What do we have in common?

Sermon preached November 13, 2016 (26th Sunday after Pentecost)
The Rev. John Ohmer, Rector
The Falls Church Episcopal


Earlier this week, Bishop Goff sent a series of reflections to the clergy of the diocese titled “How do we preach this Sunday, November 13, 2016, the first Sunday after the 2016 Presidential Election?"

It’s a good question, and she offered good guidance, some things for all of us to remember, things like
Some are rejoicing over the result of the election, others are in mourning, and still others are simply confused. Every congregation will include people who voted for Trump side by side with people who voted for Clinton side by side with people who voted for a third party candidate and those who did not vote at all. Remember that the readings appointed for Sunday come up every three years.  They were not selected as a response to the context in which we find ourselves.  It may help our congregations to know that the preacher did not choose the readings.Hold up hope…

Make Gentle Our Bruised World

"We are simply asked to make gentle our bruised world to tame its savageness to be compassionate of all (including ourselves) then in the time left over to repeat the Ancient Tale and go the way  of God's foolish ones."                                                                        -- Peter Byrne, S.J.
That prayer/poem was first shared with over 20 years ago. 
About five years ago -- shortly before accepting the call to become Rector of The Falls Church -- I asked Mary, as my birthday present, to splurge on commissioning calligrapher  Michael Podesta to write the prayer/poem as something I could frame: 

Like I said: I've loved this prayer-poem for over two decades.
But mindful of Tuesday's election results and their aftermath, and because the truths of this prayer-poem tie so nicely with the season of Advent, I'm going to be offering a four-session Adult Forum series on it.*
I'd love to consider together questions such as:  
What does it mean -- for an individ…

The Morning After, and Hereafter

A Prayer attributed to St. Francis Lord, make us instruments of your peace. 
Where there is hatred, let us sow love; 
where there is injury, pardon; 
where there is discord, union; 
where there is doubt, faith; 
where there is despair, hope; 
where there is darkness, light; 
where there is sadness, joy. 
Grant that we may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; 
to be understood as to understand; 
to be loved as to love. 
For it is in giving that we receive; 
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; 
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. 
Amen.

I Believe Donald Trump

I realize a blog post -- especially at this late hour the night before -- isn’t going to change anyone’s mind about who to vote for in tomorrow’s presidential election.
And so let me make it clear that I’m not writing this in order to try to convince anyone to change their minds (although I’d welcome it if it does).
I’m writing this post for one reason:
I feel like I have to, to clear my own conscience. I’ve tried – right up to tonight – to resist taking a public stance or go “on the record,” and instead take the easier, more tempting route to speak only after the fact or in hindsight.
(Let me also make something else very clear: I’m writing this on Unapologetic Theology, my own blog, and – as I’ve always made clear – this is my own personal blog and the views I express here are my own. The viewpoints expressed her are not necessarily those (and are quite often not those!) of the particular parish I serve, nor do they represent the viewpoint of the diocese, denomination (or for that matte…

You All Saints People

Sermon for All Saints Sunday (November 6, 2016) The Rev. John Ohmer, Rector The Falls Church Episcopal

While every Sunday is special, this Sunday is extra special, because we have today the convergence of not two, not three, but four important things going on in our common life as a faith community:
In order of importance (even if not in order of how much time we spend thinking about them!), those four things are:
·One, All Saints Sunday and a special combined service,
·Two, a baptism Sunday,
·Three, the conclusion of our Annual Giving Campaign with our Celebration of Giving potluck following the service, and
·Four, because Tuesday concludesanother campaign that you may have heard of or be just the tiniest bit concerned about, we are including a special post communion hymn[i] and a special post communion prayer[ii] for our nation.
Now what, do you think, those four things might have in common?
It’s a question we asked ourselves in planning this service. As you may know, your clergy and s…