Dangerous Business – Sermon, 6/18/17

One of the best movies in the world – at least in my opinion – is “The Fellowship of the Ring,” part of the Lord of the Rings trilogy.  I admit to watching this movie probably close to 100 times – a pretty depressing number because the movie is about three hours long.  There is just something comforting and familiar about “The Fellowship of the Ring.”  I don’t know if it’s because I have always felt a little bit like a Hobbit with a Hobbit’s love of growing things.  Or maybe it’s because I really resonate with the character Sam.
Officially named Samwise Gamgee, Sam is a combination bodyguard, gardener, and best friend to the main character, Frodo.  Without giving anything away, it is fair to say that Sam becomes quite a heroic character.  At the beginning of the first movie, though, Sam is timid to say the least.  As Sam and Frodo begin their long journey together, Sam expresses his anxiety that he is going to be farther away from home than he has ever been.

John the Baptist – Priestly Pondering, 6/18/17

John the Baptist’s ministry is remembered each year on June 24.  His feast day is a major feast of the church, calling for special remembrances of John the Baptist’s legacy to Christianity.  It might seem strange to remember such a disruptive person.  After all, he preached hard lessons and called people hypocrites.  He also experienced a terrifying and unjust death at the hand of Herod.  However, the primary ministry of John the Baptist was to prepare the way for the ministry of Jesus Christ – a ministry in which each of us shares.  What are we willing to risk, preparing the way for Jesus?  Are we willing to risk shame?  Loss of favor?  Martyrdom?  The legacy of John the Baptist shows modern believers the benefits of taking such risks for the sake of God’s kingdom.

Evelyn Underhill – Priestly Pondering, 6/11/17

On June 15, the Anglican Communion remembers Evelyn Underhill.  A layperson living in England during the first half of the 20th century, Underhill wrote extensively about the historical roots and continuing power of Christian mysticism.  She is best known for two books: “Mysticism” and “Worship.”  Underhill challenged the historical understanding that mystics were people removed from the culture, never engaging with real-world problems.  Instead, she argued that all of life was holy and should be dedicated to an ever-deepening relationship with God.  Evelyn Underhill is honored for the many ways she made a life of deep spirituality accessible to all Christians – lay and ordained.

Nannies and Charges – Sermon, 6/11/17

Happy Trinity Sunday, all!  The church observes Trinity Sunday ever year on the first Sunday after the Feast of Pentecost.  Love of the trinity runs deep in Celtic spirituality.  With a name like Kristen Claire Foley, it’s pretty easy to guess that I have Celtic roots, specifically roots in the west coast of Ireland.  And I do love the trinity; it runs deep in my spirit and my heart.  Unfortunately, my love of the trinity has never traveled to my mind or my mouth.  So, instead of trying desperately to talk about the Holy Trinity, I want to talk about nannies.

Gifted to Be a Gift – Sermon, 6/4/17

I’ve had the opportunity to welcome some of you here this morning to my office across the street.  But if I haven’t, you’ll need to use your imagination.  Imagine, if you will, a ridiculously neat and ordered office.  Priests and pastors are usually known for having terribly disorganized desks.  Mine, on the other hand, is incredibly organized.  It is in order throughout the day and it is always clear when I leave at the end of the day. 
I like things to be in order – organized.  I like things to be in order – quiet, too.  During meetings, I like it best when one person speaks at a time.  So, when I imagine the noise of the first Feast of Pentecost, my anxiety rises bit by bit. 
In many churches this morning, there will be a noisy and completely out of order reading of the story from Acts in many different languages.  When Pentecost rolled around every year at my last congregation, a group of people would gather on the chancel steps and would read the story from Acts in as many languages as possible – all at the same time.

Boniface – Priestly Pondering, 6/4/17

The Christian Church remembers the legacy of Boniface on June 5.  The conversion to Christianity of many people in Germany is attributed to Boniface.  He first tried to spread the Christian message in Holland but experienced much resistance.  In Germany, Boniface’s message of salvation was well-received by the citizens.  Failure in Holland remained a lifelong regret for Boniface.  He left the safety of a now mostly-Christian Germany and returned to Holland.  Unfortunately, Boniface experienced the ultimate rejection of the Christian message when he was killed in Holland.  The example of Boniface shows the power of devotion to one’s calling and spreading a message of salvation – even in difficult and dangerous surroundings.  How do you understand your calling and how are you living it out?

New Life – Priestly Pondering, 5/28/17

The Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary is celebrated on May 31.  It is on this date that we remember and celebrate when Mary visited her cousin, Elizabeth.  In the course of their time together, Elizabeth experienced a “quickening” when her baby, who would become John the Baptist, leaped in the womb.  It is also during their meeting that Mary spoke the words of the Magnificat, celebrating the many ways God was active – not only in her life but in the life of the entire world.  What a blessing these two women were to each other!  And what a model this is for our lives together!  How can our relationships bring new life?

GPS Jesus – Sermon, 5/14/17

You know that expression, “I’d get lost in a paper sack?”  That’s me.  It’s actually quite depressing – I really would get lost in a paper sack.  Ann-Marie and I have been living in the same house for close to nine years and I still get lost in our neighborhood.  That’s why I believe that the best invention in, say, the last two thousand years isn’t sliced bread but the GPS. 
The person who invented the GPS – global positioning system – should be made a saint or should at least receive the Nobel Prize.  I don’t know how a GPS works but I am incredibly grateful that it does. 
The GPS was recently improved with the growing popularity of smart phones.  Someone invented an app called Waze.  This app, Waze, is a sort-of combination of a GPS and a social media platform.  Waze allows users to report things like traffic, broken down cars on the side of the road, and police officers in speed traps.  With all of this information constantly updated, Waze gives drivers the fastest route to travel.