Br Scott Wesley

Sermon for 5th Sunday after Epiphany

Readings for the day

Some passages in the Gospels all but preach themselves… today’s passage from Mark is not one of those passages… Some passages grab us with inspiring prose… and also, today’s passage is not one of those… I find this passage from Mark pedestrian at best. And as I looked around the internet at other people’s sermons for today, I discovered that I’m not alone. For many this Gospel passage seems to sit somewhere between dull and annoying.

Feast of Holy Innocents – Volmoed 2023

Readings for the day

Today a few things come together that may not seem to have much in common. We are in the Octave of Christmas. And today is the Feast of the Holy Innocents, which is part of Matthew’s story of Jesus’ birth. It is also, as chance would have it, the twentieth anniversary of my Monastic Profession in the Order of the Holy Cross.  

1st Sunday of Advent 2023 

Readings for the day

Well – happy new year! That big event coming up where all the world watches a lighted globe drop atop a building at Times Square and fireworks at the V&A waterfront, or in various places (and, giving my ancestors their due) celebrates Hogmanay, is all an imposter. In the Church Year – the one that matters – the first Sunday of Advent is the beginning of a new year, the true new year… The church has no grand title for the year of our Lord 2024. It’s just humble year B… but a new year nonetheless… 

Now if we go hang about the Whale Coast Mall, everything will assure us that this season is all about getting ready for Christmas, the coming of Jesus into the world. I’m not sure our retailing brothers and sisters are all that clear about Jesus’ role in the season. But it is beautiful and comforting to have decorations and Christmas Trees strewn about, so I’m all for it. This world could use a little comfort. 

Sunday Sermon – November 5 at Volmoed

Readings for this day :: Gospel for this day

A few things come together this week – in a random sort of way… It is the week of All Saints Day. In fact, many churches keep All Saints on this very day. All Hallows or All Saints Eve, Halloween as it is popularly known, was also this week; a day built around bringing many fearful superstitions to life. While many congregations keep All Saints on a Sunday, nobody seems to move Halloween… 

It is also the conclusion of the Colloquium here at Volmoed – a colloquium that has been considering faith in an age of darkness, fear, anxiety, doubt… It might not seem like the most obvious pairing, but just as Halloween pairs well with All Saints Day, I think the Colloquium pairs well with All Saints. Darkness makes the Saints seem brighter. And without a dose of darkness, All Saints runs the risk of being a shallow, triumphant and unnourishing sort of pudding. 

So, let’s add a dolop of darkness. 

Sermon for the 22 Sunday of 2023- Volmoed 

Readings for the day

Part of the genius of the Gospels is that they teach in parables. Fables, myths, and parables fall into the same category of literary tools that are often called allegories. Allegories stay fresh even as cultures change because they speak in symbols – and symbols have meaning across generations. So, the parables of Jesus are as relevant now as two thousand years ago when Jesus told them. But the price of that relevance is that the meaning is not necessarily plain or obvious… Take for example the parable in this morning’s Gospel. It is a familiar story but what might it have meant when Jesus told it and what might it mean today… 

We have a vineyard with its winepress and watch tower, an absentee landowner, a group of difficult tenants, abused servants, and some obligatory priests and pharisees.  

Sermon for Sunday, August 20

Readings for the Day

Today’s reading from Matthew is unsettling to say the least. And a bit chaotic… We begin in the region of Galilee and we’re heading for the region of Tyre and Sidon – a coastal region north of Israel. It would have been a multi-day journey from Galilee – perhaps about as far as from here to Sommerset West. But remember, they were travelling on foot…  

Sermon for the Feast of St James the Great 

This week the Church keeps the feast of St James the Great. He is an important saint in many ways. He gets the title “Great” however, not as a mark of stature, but to distinguish him from the other James, James the Less, also a disciple… And while the Gospel reading is very specific to James the Great, the name does not appear. Instead, we hear about the sons of Zebedee, also known as the sons of thunder, also known as James and John… 

Sermon for the 7 Sunday of Easter (Year A) Volmoed 2023

Readings for the day

Here we are at the tail end of Eastertide and on the verge of Pentecost. A very important event took place this past Thursday… Jesus ascended to heaven. A very important event happens next Sunday, the Holy Spirit comes to us. So here we are in the space between two momentous events; the interregnum if you will between Jesus and the Holy Spirit. This is the odd period when, it seems, nobody is in charge… We should be considering what kind of trouble we can get into in this unsupervised time. 

Of course, the truth is we hardly need to be left unsupervised to get into trouble. Some wag has a variation on the Lord’s prayer which says: “Lead us not into temptation, we can find our own way…” 

Fourth Sunday of Easter 2023 at Volmoed

Readings for the day

When I was growing up the Cold War was raging, and the US was in a particularly fearful and paranoid way. Communists, or as we said back then “godless communists” were spotted behind every shrub. The Soviet Union was the great instrument of Satan and all things bad – and so the US was the great instrument of God and all things good. The rest of the world, at least in the American mind, was left to fit into one or the other sphere of influence, the good sphere (ours) or the bad. In the US we like things to be very binary, very black or white.