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Showing posts from April, 2014

Easter, in Context

Easter Sunday Sermon (April 20, 2014) The Rev. John Ohmer, Rector, The Falls Church Episcopal, Falls Church Virginia Context. Context is so important: Maybe you’ve heard the Old Minnie Pearl story told about a farmer involved in a truck accident. He went to court and sued the other driver for damages. And the lawyer for the other driver put this farmer on the witness stand and cross-examined him and said, "Now isn't it true that right after the accident you said, 'I feel fine'?" The farmer said, "Well, it's not that simple. You see I was driving my cow to town in the back of my truck and this fella came drivin' across the center line..." And the lawyer said, "Wait a minute, we don't want to hear a long involved story. We're in the middle of trial here. Answer the question 'yes or no'. Did you or did you not say immediately after the accident, 'I feel fine'?" And the farmer said, "W

The Raising of Lazarus: What part of your life craves divine resuscitation?

The Raising of Lazarus: What part of your life craves divine resuscitation? A sermon preached Lent 5 (April 6, 2014) The Rev. John Ohmer, Rector, The Falls Church Episcopal, Falls Church, Virginia When Mary came where Jesus was and saw him, she knelt at his feet and said to him, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died." When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, he was greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved. He said, "Where have you laid him?" They said to him, "Lord, come and see." Jesus began to weep. This morning I want to make five points about the raising of Lazarus story we’ve just heard. My first two points are very short. My third point is a long one – get settled in. My fourth point is short. My fifth point is kind of medium-length. My first point flows from the fact that Jesus is "deeply moved" in this story. If you believe, as Christians believe, that Je

Three Reasons to Rest

When we hear warning bells telling us we are tired -- warning bells such as getting brittle, grumpy, impatient, judgmental, weary -- we need to withdraw, and rest . Jesus - who, remember is "the pioneer and perfecter of our faith" (Hebrews 12:2) - was able to withdraw. He frequently went off alone for times of solitude.  (Interestingly, it was in such a time of solitude and rest that he encountered the Samaritan woman at the well, one of his most powerful ministry moments. Had he been "at work" or with his disciples, and not alone, that conversation would never have taken place.) And when Jesus' first followers went off to work, and came back full of excitement about all they had accomplished, what was the first thing Jesus told them? Did he say, "Well, get back out there!"? "Capitalize on your momentum"? "Come Labor On, Who Dares Stand Idle"? No. He said "Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place.  And g