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Showing posts from June, 2014

Church is Boring, Rote, or Irrelevant? And God Never Is?

We started this series on the Holy Spirit with a reminder that the Holy Spirit is a person, and should not be reduced to merely a thing or a feeling.   Last week we were reminded of Richard Hauser, S.J.’s point that to the extent that we are open to the movement of the Spirit within us, we will be able to fulfill what many believe to be the point of Christian spirituality. Namely, we will better be able to imitate Jesus, love and do the Father's will, and love and serve our neighbors. Some of you might be wondering why we’re spending the whole summer considering the Holy Spirit. Part of the reason is that for too many people – perhaps for you at times – Christianity or church is boring, or rote, or irrelevant to their daily lives. Here’s the problem with that: go through the Bible and look up every encounter that a human being has with God – whether with God directly, or with one of God’s angels/messengers, or with Holy Spirit, or with God-made-flesh in Jesus – and

Pentecost Episcopalian: Why Responding to the Holy Spirit is Central to Christian Spirituality

Today - as we continue today with our theme of exploring the Holy Spirit - I'd like to share some insights from a brilliant little book titled Moving in the Spirit: Becoming a Contemplative in Action by Richard Hauser, S.J. All the thoughts below are indebted to, or quotes from that book. Hauser points out that the person of Holy Spirit is not something "extra" about God, or some "aspect" of God that is optional...but as one person of the Trinity, the Spirit is the power of God at work in our lives and the way we experience God here in our day. It is the Holy Spirit who leads us to faith in Jesus. It is the Holy Spirit who allows us to live an authentic (loving) Christian life. The best news is, "It is the Holy Spirit who leads us from seeing Christianity as the conscientious performance of external actions - living in conformity with external laws and rules - to being faithful to the law of love that arises within us."

Love: a Series of Courageous Vulnerabilities

Love: a Series of CourageousVulnerabilities A sermon preached Trinity Sunday (June 15, 2014) The Falls Church Episcopal , Falls Church Virginia The Rev. John Ohmer, Rector Trinity Sunday is a day set aside in the church calendar to recall our belief that God is One, and that this One God reveals God’s self as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. One God, revealed as God the Father Almighty, as God’s son Jesus Christ, and as God’s Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life. Now, already at this point this point in my sermon, I am glad I have a rule for preaching, a rule I keep in mind when I am writing sermons, which is this: I try to imagine a bored tenth grader, sitting about ten pews back, rolling his or her head back  thinking or saying “so WHAT?!? Who CARES?!   So: to you bored tenth graders and to the bored tenth grader in all of us: Why should you care that God is One God revealed in a trinity of persons?  Because you are desperate for love. I

How Not to Speak of People (and the Holy Spirit)

As I wrote last week, with the season of Pentecost upon us, I want to get away from writing longer pieces on topics that vary from week to week, and instead write a series of short(er) installments that stick to one topic: the Holy Spirit. So beginning today, and running through most of the summer, I want to unpack topics such as "Who is the Holy Spirit?" Notice the pronoun in that question. The question is, "WHO is the Holy Spirit?" -- not "what is the Holy Spirit?" That's the first point I want to make about the Holy Spirit, and it's an important one: the Holy Spirit is a person, not a thing.   (Which brings up a problem with English not having a neutral personal pronoun: the pronouns "he" and "she" are inadequate when referring to the Holy Spirit...but at least they are better pronouns that "it." You should no more say "it" when referring to the Holy Spiri

Pentecost Marathon

This Sunday is Pentecost Sunday, the day we commemorate and celebrate the Holy Spirit being given to the early church. It's what many call "the birthday of the church." Red is the color of Pentecost, partly because one of the metaphors for the Holy Spirit is fire, and so worshippers are encouraged to wear something red to church on Sunday. (Wind is another metaphor for the Holy Spirit, but I can't really see those little fan hats catching on in church, so I guess we're stuck with wearing red.) Nope. Not happening. Pentecost Sunday also starts a new church season (also called Pentecost), which is by far the longest season in the church year. Just think: in late November - that's right, November - you'll look down at your service leaflet and see that Sunday listed as "the 23rd Sunday after Pentecost." So this Sunday, in addition to being a day of celebration itself, is also a bit of a starting gun for a marathon of a church se