Br Scott Wesley

Sermon for Proper 14 C

Today’s Readings

The purpose of a sermon, I think, is to encourage an encounter with the Gospel – the good news of Jesus. So, I usually focus on the appointed Gospel reading. But encountering the Gospel is not just an encounter with a written record. In fact, it is never that. The Gospel is a living thing; our encounters are lively and intimate. Mathew, Mark, Luke, and John reliably point us in the direction of the good news. But they are guides along the path, not the destination; and they are not the only guides.

Sermon for Proper 11C

Readings for the day

This morning we meet Martha and Mary – two sisters who turn up in various Gospel stories along with their brother Lazarus. Or do they… Luke tells us only about Mary and Martha, the brother is unknown to Luke. And Luke doesn’t mention the name of the town… Some scholars think it could be Bethany, home of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus in John’s Gospel, but others are certain that it cannot possibly be Bethany. So, we cannot be sure if these are the same Martha and Mary we meet in John’s Gospel.

Feast of saints Peter and Paul

(Readings for the feast)

Yesterday the Church observed the feast of Saints Peter and Paul. These are two interesting figures in Church history because they are so flawed… Peter, faithful disciple, denies he knows Jesus… not once, but three times. And Paul, also known as Saul, was one of the most enthusiastic persecutors of the Church – throwing folks in jail and worse, for being followers of Jesus.

These two are among the most flawed and destructive folks in the early Church. So, it makes sense that they share a feast day… but why are they honored at all, let alone with a major feast?

Feast of the Ascension

(readings for the feast)

I want to begin by acknowledging that this week is the sixtieth anniversary of the consecration of the “new” Coventry Cathedral. The “old” cathedral was destroyed by Nazi bombs in the Second World War. Nails reclaimed from the ashes have been formed into crosses – one of which hangs on the wall of this very church. It is a profound story of death and resurrection and of the power of the Holy Spirit to help us rise from the ashes. And so, it is extraordinarily relevant to this Ascencion Day – which completes the story of Jesus’ Crucifixion, Resurrection, Ascension, and the sending of the Holy Spirit to us. Hold that in mind as we consider this feast…  

A Slovenian Road Sign is about as non-symbolic as you get… (wiki commons)

Fifth Sunday after Easter

( Readings for Easter 5C)

For much of Eastertide we hear stories of things that happened in the time between Jesus’ resurrection and ascension – which really makes sense as we are between those two events… But the Gospel for today relates more to Holy Week, rather than in the events after Easter. It is the scripture that gives us the name Maundy Thursday... So why are we hearing it now? 

Sermon for the 4th Sunday after Easter

(Readings for this Sunday)

What to make of this reading from John’s Gospel… Jesus is wandering about the Temple in Jerusalem and seems to be causing a bit of a stir. “Tell us plainly if you are Messiah” the Jews want to know. And Jesus gives a not terribly helpful answer: “I have told you.”  

There are a number of details that almost escape notice – but let’s take a few moments to notice them.  

Second Sunday after Easter

Readings for today

I’m not sure Thomas gets a particularly fair deal in history. For two millennia he has been, more or less, the poster child for doubt: Doubting Thomas – an archetype that has entered the mainstream psyche. All generations will call Mary blessed… and apparently all generations will call Thomas doubting… I’m thinking Thomas needs a better public relations plan…

Sermon for the 5th Sunday in Lent

Readings for the day

At first reading this passage from John’s Gospel seems innocuous enough… Mary, Martha, and Lazarus all having a nice meal with Jesus in the week leading up to Passover. It has a sort of warm holiday feel to it, like when families get together before Christmas… But it is not a happy holiday tableau. Jesus is now under a death sentence and that sentence is about to be implemented.  

Second Sunday in Lent – Year C

(readings for today)

In the way that the Church keeps track of time, this is the second Sunday of Lent – Year C. And from today’s Gospel passage, it’s tempting to suspect that the very best material made it into Year A, while the pretty good stuff was placed in Year B, and here we are with the grade C material… At first glance this is not the most engaging section of Luke, nor does it seem to offer much for Lent. But what if we give a second glance…