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Showing posts from January, 2017

The Beatitudes, Lady Liberty, and Refugees

A sermon preached January 29, 2017 The Rev. John Ohmer, Rector The Falls Church Episcopal When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. “Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in t

Regarding Refugees

Although it's been barely a week since the inauguration, this administration's actions are causing many of us to become more actively engaged.  I may strongly disagree with the new administration on a wide host of issues, but on most of of them, I try very hard to give others the benefit of the doubt, and I try to maintain a posture that "people of good faith can agree t o disagree."  However, the Judeo-Christian mandate (Exodus 23:9, Matthew 25) to welcome refugees is, for me -- pastorally, personally and professionally -- a central (not peripheral) matter; a place to take a very firm stance.  Caring for the widow, the orphan, and the immigrant/refugee/stranger in our midst is not only the American and patriotic thing to do, it is the Judeo-Christian thing to do -- and anyone who says otherwise does not just have a different point of view: they are wrong. This is not a new stance for me: as I said in a sermon in September of 2105 (read that here if you want)

New Year's Resolutions, Reading...and a Church's Vision

Each new year, I'm good at making, and getting a start on New Year's Resolutions. (I'm less good at, you know, actually keeping them...but that's another story.)   Last year, one of my resolutions was to read more. Since most of what I read is non-fiction -- in fact, one time when Elizabeth was little, she looked at my bookshelves and said, "it seems all you have are God books" - I decided to read more fiction in 2016.   So about this time last year, I made a list of some modern-but-classic (prize-winning) books of fiction that somehow I'd missed reading over the years, and bought them: Anne Tyler's  Breathing Lessons , Walker Percy's  The Moviegoer , Wallace Stegner's  Angle of Repose  (and later, on someone's recommendation, Hilary Mantel's  Wolf Hall) .   The bad news is, I haven't gotten more than 30 pages into any one of those.   The good news is, I didn't borrow those books -- I  bought  them. They're