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In the Loop

Sermon by the Rt. Rev'd. Dr. Stephen Platten — There’s something faintly embarrassing about admitting I remember when the film of the musical Calamity Jane was first released. It’s particularly embarrassing when I tell you that Doris Day, the star of the film has just passed the milestone of her ninety-fifth birthday! I feel like a dinosaur. The music from Calamity Jane was of a high quality, but more to the point, it was also the first I learnt of this great metropolis on the shores of Lake Michigan. One of the songs was, of course, Just Blew in From the Windy City. It paints a wonderful picture of mid-nineteenth century Chicago. The song contrasts this place’s vitality with the pioneer country, even the hillbilly life of the cowboy locals of Kansas.more...

Christ Will Come Again

Sermon by the Rev. Roger Ferlo — It’s relatively easy to celebrate redemption on Easter Day. But it’s harder and harder to sustain the Easter spirit as Sunday passes into Sunday. It’s especially hard in these latter days, when for many people the days are shadowed by uncertainty and anxiety about where the country or where the world is headed, no matter where we find ourselves on the political spectrum.more...

Interrupting a Perfectly Good Cry

“But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look inside the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. They said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping?’” (John 20: 11-13a) more...

Guilty as Charged

When Jesus enters the holy city of Jerusalem atop his trusty steed, it’s to cheers and cries of “Make Israel great again.” It’s a demonstration, a march, a rally. There’s no doubt this event has political, religious, and economic implications. But there is ambiguity here: is this a military coup or is it a peace demonstration? Is this about civil disobedience a la Henry David Thoreau or is this about religious reformation a la Martin Luther? Is Jesus making a run for president here or is he lampooning the whole politico-religious system? Think of the great prophet Moses delivering the people from the oppression of Pharaoh—or the great King David fighting against Goliath and defeating the Philistines. There were ancient symbolic resonances of Jesus’ action here.more...

I Was Blind, and Now I See

Now, O Lord, take my lips and speak through them; take our minds and think through them; take our hearts and set them on fire with love for you, Lord Jesus. Amen.more...

On Loving Your Enemy

One of Jesus’s most discomforting and most life-changing teachings may be: “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Who comes to mind for you in your own life when you hear that word, “enemies”?more...

Jesus Was A Refugee

My mother was born in 1942 in a village on a fjord in Norway. Her earliest memory was hearing Allied bombers flying overhead, and running up a flight of stone steps so fast, trying to glimpse them, that she fell and cut her lip open. Her parents hid a radio under the floorboards of their country house, so her father could hear the news from the British Broadcasting Service. Her grandparents’ house was occupied by soldiers. Her family members were not in danger for their lives, and they weren’t displaced persons or refugees, but after the war, there were no jobs and no money in Norway, and so her father followed his brother to New York City to look for work, and she and her mother followed soon after. It wasn’t easy – my grandfather never liked the U.S. and even my mother, who was only six years old when she arrived, never quite felt like a “real” American.more...

Remaining Awake

Shortly after World War II the Polish writer Czeslaw Milosz published a book called The Captive Mind to grapple with why so many Polish intellectuals had been duped by the ideology of Soviet-style communism. He describes their minds as being held captive as though by a drug. The illustration he uses is the Murti-Bing pill, which contained in pill form an extremely condensed form of a philosophy of life. Before the pill the people are unhappy in that they have no faith and no sense of meaning in their work. Milosz describes it like this:more...

Christ Is Revealed Outside Of Our Comfort Zone

My friend Dave is in his first year as the rector of an Episcopal church in Tucson, Arizona. This weekend, he led a series of blessings all around their buildings, blessing most of the significant doorways in an old European Epiphany tradition – saying a prayer and marking numbers and letters in chalk across the doorframe: the year – “2017” – with the initials of the three magi in between, separated by crosses. So: 20 + C + M + B + 17. The initials of Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar (which are not found in the Bible) are the same as the initials of the Latin, Christus mansionem benedicat: “May Christ bless this house.”more...

Racial Justice and Healing

Yesterday I had the opportunity to march down Michigan Ave carrying a cross with the name of Wayne Robertson one of the 760 people killed by gun violence in 2016 in Chicago. This march was organized by father Michael Pfleger of Saint Sabinas Catholic Church in Chicago and 16 other Episcopalians also joined from the Peace and justice movement in our diocese of Chicago to carry a cross. The scene was very over whelming with the group marching in silence as the names of each person was announced aloud. The scene at Tribune Tower with all those crosses there was numbing.   On this Sunday when we offer prayers and anointing for healing, my sermon today is about justice and healing.    more...

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