Br Scott Wesley

Annunciation/End of Lent/Palm Sunday at Volmoed

(no I didn’t forget the reading link… there are just not any appropriate readings…)

We are coming to the end of Lent. This coming Sunday is Palm Sunday when we remember Jesus’ triumphant arrival in Jerusalem and his Crucifixion, though the two did not happen on the same day… It makes for a Sunday of much joy and even more sorrow.

But this is not just the last week of Lent… today is also the feast of the Annunciation – a Solemnity for our Roman siblings, a Festival for our Lutheran siblings, and in the Anglican Tradition a Principal Feast. Our Orthodox siblings count it as one of eight major Feasts of our Lord – since what is being announced to Mary is the incarnation of Jesus. Throughout Christian Tradition it is a big deal. So, we’ll come back to it…

Sermon for the Fifth Sunday of Lent

Readings for the day

As Lent progresses we are called to turn our thinking from repentance, our work at the start of Lent, to Jerusalem – specifically Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem… a journey of sacrifice that leads to crucifixion. Today’s scripture readings are clearly part of that shift.

The shift is not just a call to think literally about the city of Jerusalem and the pending crucifixion. Embedded within the shift is a call to change the way we think about God.

First Sunday in Lent

Readings for Lent 1B 

The compilers of the Lectionary clearly want us to think about water and baptism today. And, I have to admit, knowing that I am meant to think about it makes me want to think about anything but baptism…  

Rebellion is not a bad place to start. After all, it was rebellion that set the stage for Noah and the flood which leads up to the passage we heard from Genesis. Those Lectionary Compilers opened the door on the Story of Noah… so let’s spend some time with it. We, not us personally, but we the human race, rebelled against God to the point where God really lost it. 

Sermon for the 5th Sunday after Epiphany Year B

Readings for this Sunday

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 a bit pedestrian. 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.

Benedictine Stability?

“Monk” by Br Robert James OHC

Benedictine monastic tradition values stability above just about everything. Our single monastic vow is stability, obedience, and conversion of life. Our monastic lives, like our baptized lives, lead to conversion of life – Jesus calls us to be made new. I believe that Benedict included stability and obedience in the vow because without them conversion of life is nearly impossible.

So here we are at St Benedict’s Priory, moving house for the second time in as many years… Where’s the stability in that?

Sermon for Advent II – exploring the season, COVID, and the apocalypse…

Today’s Readings

Here we are – part way through Advent. How did that happen?

At this point in the year 2020, it’s become pretty much a cliché to say this year is like no other we have known. And it’s true that most of us have not known such a year, but our forebears certainly have known years this bad and far worse. Even some alive today will remember the Advent seasons during the Second World War – which were no doubt more somber. Still – this is a different Advent then we’re used to and that should prompt some different reflection.

Sermon for Nov 26 – in which we explore American Thanksgiving, the Order of the Holy Cross, Advent, and the challenge of saying goodbye to dear friends (all in one sermon)

Today we have an intriguing confluence of things to talk about. It is American Thanksgiving. As an American, I can’t let that go unremarked… Yesterday was the feast of the Founder of the Order of the Holy Cross. And as a member of the Order, I can’t let that go unremarked either… This coming Sunday is the First Sunday of Advent, New Year’s Day for the Church. A big deal… But of all these things there is something that is an even bigger deal here at Volmoed.  

Today we acknowledge the powerful presence of Bernard and Jane Turkstra and face the reality that they are moving on – and so Volmoed, too, will move on…  

It’s a lot to cover… so I’m thinking we should have coffee now… 

Sermon for 28th Sunday after Pentecost – O those talented slaves…

Readings for today

One of the marvelous aspects of Jesus teaching throughout scripture is that it is generally in the form of parables… Marvelous and frustrating. It’s marvelous because parables don’t go out of date. And frustrating because there is always ambiguity in a parable – even those that seem to have a nice little summary of the meaning at the end. The parable we heard this morning is one that has shaped us in ways we may hardly realize.  

We hear of a very wealthy man who, before going away for a long trip gives certain amounts of money over to three of his slaves. And the parable seems to concern itself with how the slaves proceed. 

Part of the ambiguity of a parable is that we can look at what the parable might have meant when it was told – in that time, in that place, and to that audience. We can also look at what it means to us, in this time, in this place. Both ways of understanding are important, but the second one may be the most important. It focuses us on what we are going to do in response. 

So, lets dig in. 

Sermon for All Saints Day, 2020 at Volmoed

Readings for the day

Preached by Br Daniel

We as monks take three vows on the occasion of our life profession; and they are obedience, stability, and conversion to the monastic way of life.  This last vow is a bit of a hold all.  Apart from the obvious, that of conversion, it also contains that which helps to lead to conversion, like simplicity of life, celibate chastity, humility, and other such easy things.   

This is very helpful to me when I look at today’s gospel reading.