Funeral Sermon: The Resurrection of the Dead: Real Balm for Our Grief

Sermon delivered on January 24, 2015.

Lectionary texts: Revelation 21.1-7; 1 Corinthians 15.1-26, 35-38, 42-44a, 53-58; Psalm 23.1-6; John 11.17-27.

In the name of God: The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Today I want to speak a real word of comfort and hope to you because you have had to endure a long and painful journey as you watched an evil disease rob Deidre of her humanity and ultimately her life. And even when death ends prolonged suffering, it can still make us angry and indignant, the way Jesus was at Lazarus’ tomb (cf. John 11.38) because as Paul reminds us in our epistle lesson, death is our enemy, the last enemy to be destroyed. Death robs us of our human dignity and it separates us from our loved ones, at least for a season. But O how long that season can be! And like Martha in today’s gospel lesson we want to throw our hands up in the air and ask in desperation why God allows this to happen.

But if you paid attention to our gospel lesson, you notice that Jesus gave Martha and us a much more satisfactory answer to her “why” question about evil and death. Jesus did not answer her question directly. Instead, echoing Psalm 23, he acknowledged that while evil and death still exist in God’s good but fallen world, he had come to destroy their power over us. That is why Christian funerals are so important. They serve to remind us that for those who are in Christ, evil and death do not have the final say because of God’s great love for us expressed in the death and resurrection of Jesus. As Paul reminds us in his letters to the Romans and Colossians, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ because on the cross God condemned sin in the flesh so that we could be reconciled to him and enjoy life and peace in the way God intends for us (Romans 8.1-3; Colossians 1.20-21). God’s love for us in Christ is so great that even death itself cannot separate us from it or from God’s life-giving presence.

We see tangible signs of God’s love for us in Christ in two of the symbols that are part of today’s service. First, we see the lighted paschal candle by Deidre’s urn. It is the great visible symbol that reminds us of the pillars of cloud and fire that represented God’s presence with his people as he led them out of their bondage to slavery in Egypt and remained with them during their wilderness wanderings despite their stubborn rebelliousness (Ex.13.20-22; Num.14.13-16). This reminds us that even in death, the ultimate exile, God continues to be with Deidre and that God always remains faithful to us, even when we do not always remain faithful to him. We can therefore trust his promise that on the cross Jesus has conquered sin and death and that resurrection and new life in God’s new creation is Deidre’s destiny (and ours), not death.

But how do we know this? How can we really trust the cross of Christ? Because of Jesus’ resurrection about which we will speak in a moment. The resurrection is why the Church has never looked at Jesus as a failed Messiah but as a victorious one, and the light of the paschal candle also serves to remind us of Jesus’ victory over death and the new life it promises for those like Deidre who live and die in him. Of course we will celebrate a foretaste of that new reality she is now enjoying when we partake of it at the Eucharist in a few minutes.

Second, we note that Deidre’s urn is covered by a pall with its emblem of the cross. This too reminds us that when Deidre was baptized she was buried with Jesus in a death like his so that she could also be raised with him and share in a resurrection like his (Romans 6.3-5). This reminds us that while her mortal body has died and will be buried, even now she is in the direct presence of the Lord of life as she awaits her new resurrection body (cf. Phil 1.23; Luke 23.43).

Paul tells us about the nature of our promised resurrection body in 1 Corinthians 15 that we read today and it is worth our time to see what he has to say. Unlike our mortal body that is subject to disease, decay, and death, Paul tells us the resurrection body with which we will be clothed will be patterned after Jesus’ resurrected body. It will be a spiritual body, that is, it will be animated and powered by God’s Spirit instead of being animated and powered by flesh and blood. This means that our new body will no longer be subject to all the nasty things like Alzheimer’s to which our mortal body is subjected. Whatever that looks like—and surely it will be more beautiful and wonderful than our minds can comprehend or imagine—it will be impervious to death and suited to live in God’s promised new creation, about which our NT lesson speaks.

When the new creation comes, the dimensions of heaven and earth will no longer be separate spheres for God and humans respectively, and which currently only intersect. Instead, as the writer of Revelation reminds us, the new heavens will come down to earth and the two will be fused together in a mighty act of new creation so that evil will be banished and we will get to live in God’s direct presence forever. There will be no more sorrow or sickness or suffering or death or pain or evil of any kind. We will be reunited with our loved ones who have died in Christ and get to live forever with our new body and limitless new opportunities to be the humans God created and always intended for us to be. For folks like Deidre and her family who have had to deal with the affliction of Alzheimer’s and all the evil inherent in the disease, I cannot think of a better hope to embrace than the resurrection of the body and the new creation.

Please don’t misunderstand. I am not suggesting that we should not grieve. That would be cruel nonsense. You don’t love a person for an entire lifetime and then not grieve her loss when an evil disease like Alzheimer’s claims her. But as Paul reminded the Thessalonians, we are to grieve as people who have real hope and not as those who have none at all because we believe that Deidre shares in Jesus’ final victory over evil, sin, and death and will share in his bodily resurrection when our Lord returns in power. If you are not able to hear this truth right now, please do store it for another day and revisit it when you are able because you will find that your hope in the resurrection is the only thing that can really heal you of your grief and hurt.

I want to close by telling you a story that powerfully sums up our Christian hope.

In 1989 Princess Zita of Bourbon-Parma, wife of Emperor Charles of Austria died. She was the last Empress of Austria, Queen of Hungary, and Queen of Bohemia—one of the last members of the storied House of Habsburg. Her funeral was held in Vienna, from which she had been exiled most of her eventful life. After the service in St. Stephen’s Cathedral, her body was taken to the Imperial Crypt, where some 145 Habsburg royals are buried. As the coffin was taken to the Crypt, an ancient ceremony took place. A herald knocked at the closed door, and a voice responded, “Who seeks entrance?” The herald answered, “Zita, Empress of Austria, Queen of Hungary.” From within came the response, “I do not know this person.” The herald tried again, saying, “This is Zita, Princess of Bourbon-Parma, Empress of Bohemia.” The same reply was heard: “I do not know this person.” The third time, the herald and pallbearers said, “Our sister Zita, a sinful mortal.” The doors swung open.

And so we return to Jesus’ question to Martha in our gospel lesson. Do you believe that he is the resurrection and the life? Do you believe that those who believe in him will live even though they die? The promise is mind-boggling. But as we have seen, the God we worship is mind-boggling. Jesus’ promise that he is the resurrection and the life is ours, not because we are deserving, but because of who God is, the God who created us to have life with him forever and who is embodied in Jesus Christ raised from the dead. That is why we can rejoice today, even in the midst of our grief and sorrow. Because of her faith in Jesus who loves her and who has claimed her from all eternity, the doors of heaven have swung wide open for Deidre and she is enjoying her rest until the new creation and the resurrection of our mortal bodies comes. And that, of course, is Good News, not only for Deirdre and her family, but also for the rest of us, now and for all eternity.

In the name of God: The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Fox News: A Survivor Looks Back on Auschwitz 70 Years Later

660-Auschwitz-API, too, visited Auschwitz as a teenager. In 1944, my family and I stood in line before Dr. Joseph Mengele—the Nazi physician known as the “Angel of Death”—as my mother, grandparents, two sisters, and baby brother were all sent to the left to be burned in Hitler’s ovens. My father and I were sent to the right.

The first night inside Auschwitz my father said we must separate because together we would suffer double. “On your own, you will survive,” he told me. “You are young and strong, and I know you will survive. If you survive by yourself, you must honor us by living, by not feeling sorry for us. This is what you must do.” That was the last time I ever saw my father.

I’m grateful for my father’s words of grace and guidance. They echo in my heart even still. It’s a cruel thing, feeling guilty for surviving. But my father erased any future guilt and replaced it with purpose. It was a gift only a father’s wisdom could give. It gave me a reason to go forward, a reason to be. It does still.

Read it all.

Holocaust Memorial Day


I was stunned to read an article yesterday that cited a recent survey in which only 54% of the respondents don’t know what the Holocaust is. FIFTY-FOUR PERCENT!! How can the other 46% not know that over SIX MILLION people were exterminated by the Nazis during World War II???? Unbelievable.

Under orders from General Eisenhower at the end of the war, my dad, along with every American soldier in Europe, was ordered to visit a liberated concentration camp closest to where they were stationed. The closest to him at the time was Buchenwald and I have pictures he took of the ovens with their human cremains. He told me dead bodies were stacked “like cordwood.” Eisenhower ordered our troops to witness this spectacle because he was convinced that someday people would forget there ever was a Holocaust and even spread lies claiming it never occurred. General Eisenhower was a prophet.

I made it a point to teach the Holocaust to students in my history classes and didn’t spare them the gory details in film and pictures (and please do click the link to watch the video). Get the word out. Don’t be part of that 46% because these were real human lives that were exterminated. That’s what human hate inevitably leads to if left unchecked.

If you are interested in participating in the Holocaust Memorial Day, tomorrow, January 27, 2105, click the graphic above and see how you can get involved.

A Prayer from William Barclay

O God, we thank you for all those in whose words and in whose writings your truth has come to us.
For the historians, the psalmists, and the prophets, who wrote the Old Testament.
For those who wrote the Gospels and the Letters of the New Testament;
For all who in every generation have taught and explained and expounded and preached the word of Scripture;
We thank you, O God.
Grant, O God, that no false teaching may ever have any power to deceive us or to seduce us from the truth.
Grant, O God, that we may never listen to any teaching which would encourage us to think sin less serious, vice more attractive, or virtue less important;
Grant, O God, that we may never listen to any teaching which would dethrone Jesus Christ from the topmost place;
Grant, O God, that we may never listen to any teaching which for its own purposes perverts the truth.

O God, our Father, establish us immovably in the truth.
Give us minds which can see at once the difference between the true and the false;
Make us able to test everything, and to hold fast to that which is good;
Give us such a love of truth, that no false thing may ever be able to lure us from it.
So grant that all our lives we may know, and love, and live the truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
—From Prayers for the Christian Year by William Barclay

Carlo Carretto On Knowing God

Only God knows how to speak about himself, and only the Holy Spirit, who is love, can communicate this knowledge to us.

When there is a crisis in the Church, it is always here: a crisis of contemplation.

The Church wants to feel able to explain about her spouse [Jesus] even when she has lost sight of him; even when, although she has not been divorced, she no longer knows his embrace, because curiosity has gotten the better of her and she has gone searching for  other people and other things.

The revelation of a triune God [God in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit] in the unity of a sing nature, the revelation of a divine Holy Spirit present in us, is not on the human level; it does not belong to the realm of reason. It is a personal communication which God alone can give, and the task of giving it belongs to the Holy Spirit, who is the same love which unites the Father and the Son.

The Holy Spirit is the fullness and the joy of God.

It is so difficult to speak of these things. We have to babble like children, but at least, like children, we can say over and over again, tirelessly, “Spirit of God, reveal yourself to me, your child.”

And we can avoid pretending that knowledge of God could be the fruit of our gray matter.

Then, and only then, shall we be capable of prayer; borne to the frontier of our radical incapacity, which love has made the beatitude of poverty, we shall be able to invoke God’s coming to us, “Come, creator Spirit!”

—Carlo Carretto, The God Who Comes

On Being Invited to the Ultimate Party

Sermon delivered on Epiphany 3B, Sunday, January 25, 2015, at St. Augustine’s Anglican Church, Columbus, OH.

If you prefer to listen to the audio podcast of this sermon, usually somewhat different from the text below, click here.

Lectionary texts: Genesis 14.17-20; Psalm 128.1-6; Revelation 19.6-10; John 2.1-11.

In the name of God: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

What are we to make of that strange story of water turning into wine in our gospel lesson this morning? Why would John include it and what might we learn from it? This is what I want us to look at briefly this morning because after all, who wants to be left out of the ultimate party?

As you probably know, John’s gospel reads differently from the other three gospels. For example, in John’s gospel there are only seven signs or miracle stories, seven being the Jewish number for wholeness or completeness that runs throughout Scripture. These seven signs are far fewer than what we find in Matthew, Mark, and Luke, and here John tells us that Jesus turning water into wine is the first of his signs. But why did John choose to tell about this particular sign? What is he trying to tell us about Jesus? The first thing we need to pay attention to is the rich symbolism included in this story. Why, for example, would John start by telling us that this sign happened on the third day? What other significant event in the life of Jesus happened on the third day? Hold on to this as we look at the rest of this story (and by the way, just because a story is symbolically rich doesn’t mean there is no historical basis for it).

Notice too that the story’s setting is a wedding. The OT writers sometimes used weddings to symbolize the intimate and special relationship between God and his people Israel, with God being the husband and Israel being the wife. There is no relationship more intimate and special than the relationship between a husband and wife (Genesis 1.27, 2.18-24) and so the OT writers, especially the prophets, used the symbol of weddings to remind Israel of their special relationship to the God who had called them to be his people as well as their covenantal responsibilities to God and the world, precisely because God had called them to be his people for the sake of the world. And since wine gladdens the heart, they used wine to symbolize the richness and joy that always results when people really make God their God and not something (or someone) else.

And as we saw in our lesson from Revelation this morning, the NT writers adapted this wedding theme slightly. Now the symbolic groom is the Lamb, Jesus himself, and the bride is the newly reconstituted Israel, those who belonged to Jesus the Messiah. And both OT and NT writers used the wedding as a symbol of the great eschatological banquet that would finally come about when the Lord himself returned to put an end to all that was wrong with his good world, especially death (cf. Isaiah 25.6-9).

Returning to our gospel lesson, one of the first things we notice is the extravagance of Jesus’ actions at this wedding feast. Do the math. Since there were six 20-30 gallon jars that held water for purification, Jesus produced anywhere from 120-180 gallons of the finest wine (I know I have Fr. Bowser’s attention at this point). But what might John want us to learn by telling us this? There are several possibilities that we can consider. By saving the best for last, John might be inviting us to see that in his infinite wisdom and eternal plan to rescue his world and us from evil, sin, and death, God saved the best for last. Yes, Moses and the prophets were important and necessary in Israel’s salvation history (and therefore our own), but Jesus was the most important of all because he was the very embodiment of God who would take away the sin and blight of the world and finally restore God’s creation beyond its original goodness.

We also see John hinting at this when he mentions that the water jars were used for purification. When Jews used water to purify themselves the effect was only temporary and had to be repeated regularly. But given that John tells us this was Jesus’ first sign, John hints at a greater purification for God’s people. Even if you do not know the other signs in John’s gospel, what was the seventh sign? It was Calvary and Easter, the death and resurrection of Jesus (remember how John opens this story?)! As Paul would tell us, on the cross God condemned human sin in the flesh as well as the evil behind it so that we no longer have to fear God condemning us and can begin to enjoy a new and reconciled relationship with God the Father who made it possible. Here is purification that lasts forever and it is freely offered to one and all!

We see the same promise in our reading from Revelation in which John tells us about the great end-time wedding feast of the Lamb. It is sandwiched in between the defeat of the great whore Babylon, symbolic of all human sin and evil as well as all human opposition to God, and the defeat of the Satan and his minions. At the root of their defeat stands the cross and God’s condemnation of evil and sin and the powers behind them. They have rejected God’s offer of life and salvation by rejecting Christ and persecuting his followers, thereby bringing God’s righteous condemnation on themselves that will not be reversed.

Not so for the bride of the Lamb, his Church, you and me. We have been invited to the ultimate party of the cosmos, a party that will last forever and celebrates the utter defeat of all things evil that ruin God’s good creation and his image-bearing creatures. We are invited to the wedding feast, not because we are better or more deserving than those who have brought judgment on themselves. We are invited because as John reminds us, we have been clothed with fine linen, bright and pure. And what makes the linen bright and pure? The righteous deeds of the saints. Uh-oh. I guess I’ve been lying to you about the blood of Christ. Busted. Apparently we really do have to earn our invitation to the Lamb’s wedding feast. NOT. Let me explain.

Elsewhere in Revelation (e.g., 1.5, 5.9, 7.14), John has reminded us again and again that we are made pure and righteous in God’s sight by the blood of the Lamb shed for us. This is what makes the linen we wear pure in the first place (cf. Romans 6.3-5, 13.14; Matthew 25.1-13). When we put on Jesus, i.e., when we believe with our whole mind and heart that in Jesus we find forgiveness and rescue and richness and wholeness of life, it changes us so that by the power of the Spirit (symbolized by water in our gospel lesson; think of Jesus’ baptism) who makes our risen Lord present and available to us 24/7, we begin to think and act like him. We begin to become like him. This is a gradual process and if we have lived in the power of the Spirit long enough, we might not even realize that we are being transformed because we have been living the new life for so long. But transformed we are when we give ourselves to Jesus and obey him. We see this illustrated in our gospel lesson. When did the water get turned into wine? Only when someone took Mary’s word’s seriously: Do whatever he tells you. Anytime we do likewise we can expect to be transformed in some way, and for the good.

This is why John tells us the linen we will wear in God’s new world are righteous acts. We received our invitation to the party because we have put our faith and trust in Jesus who is the resurrection and the life. Now we have to act accordingly, like we actually believe it, not to earn our way to the Table but to celebrate the fact that we were invited in the first place because of the mind-boggling love of God shown us in Jesus Christ our Lord! Let the Church say, Amen!

So why am I spending so much time on this? Because I am persuaded that many of us simply do not believe we will be invited to the ultimate party of the Lamb’s wedding feast. Oh, I think that on one level many of us believe that Christ died for us so that we are forgiven by God, at least we believe this in our heads. But in our hearts? Not so much. Consequently I think many of us are busy trying to turn the wine of salvation back into water of self-help and as a result, we limp through life anxious about our eternal destiny and our present standing with the Lord. It goes something like this. We say to ourselves, “Yes, I believe Jesus died for me and I try to be a good person. But I also know all the bad things I’ve done. Jesus surely can’t (or won’t) forgive that affair I had or my addiction to porn or alcohol. He won’t forgive me for all the times I’ve lost my temper or cussed or was selfish or inconsiderate. This forgiveness stuff, this being washed clean by the blood of the Lamb so that I am in good standing before God now and in the future is just too good to be true! That’s not how the real world works!” Well, yes it is and no it doesn’t.

So here is my appeal to you this morning. If you are one who tries to consistently turn the wine of God’s gift of salvation offered to you in the blood of Christ back into the water of good works that is needed in your mind for you to gain an invitation to the party, then this week engage the texts we’ve read this morning. Also read Romans 6.3-5, 8.1-4 and Colossians 1.11-14, 19-23 slowly and carefully (or better yet memorize parts of them and repeat them to yourself regularly) and then take to heart their plain meaning. There are other passages but these are a good place to start.

Ask the Lord to pour out his Spirit on you in a fresh way to affirm and/or reassure you that you are his beloved in Christ. Tell yourself you are loved and forgiven until you actually believe it. And by all means, when you come to the Table every Sunday to receive the body and blood of Christ, remind yourself and/or the person ahead of you that this is a real and tangible foretaste of that great wedding banquet at which you will party for all eternity. If the eucharist is a foretaste of the banquet and you are invited to partake in it right now, why would you not be invited to the great end-time party? They don’t call it thanksgiving (or eucharist) for nothing!

Or if you are weighed down by some past sin that you cannot seem to forgive or rid yourself of, come see one of the priests and participate in the sacrament of the reconciliation of a penitent. There have literally been millions of people who have found healing and forgiveness when they confess their sins in this manner. Perhaps you might join their ranks. Or come to our intercessory stations during communion and ask for healing prayers for forgiveness. Chances are it is you who have not forgiven yourself, not God, so ask to be released from this terrible bondage that is definitely not God’s will for you.

Don’t do any of this for me. Do it for you. Do it so that you stop worrying about having a rightful place at the wedding banquet. Do it so you can start to really enjoy the rich life God always intended you to have as you serve the Lord and embody his love to others, thereby proclaiming the gospel in word and deed. Do it because the Lord loves you too much for you to rob yourself of the Good News that is yours in Jesus Christ. You needn’t doubt he wants you at his party because he has given his very life for you so that your place at Table is assured now and for all eternity, thanks be to God! To him be honor, praise, and glory forever and ever.

In the name of God: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Commentary Magazine: John Kasich Shows Republicans How to Talk About Values

Spot on. See what you think.

What Governor Kasich is doing is to show Republicans how to speak about our culture and moral aspirations in a way that is quite different than Republicans have in the past–in ways that are more uplifting, self-reflective, generous in spirit, and appealing. No one is going to confuse John Kasich with Franklin Graham. Some social conservatives won’t like that; they will consider it a capitulation.

I don’t think that’s right, in part because I find Governor Kasich’s temper of mind and the orientation of his heart to be more aligned with the precepts and spirit of his faith, Christianity, than others who speak in its name. One does not have to be angry, brittle, and condemnatory to be faithful–and humility, forbearance, kindness, and grace in the public square are not signs of weakness or apostasy. One can be both principled and pleasant at the same time.

Read it all.

Jesus Creed: To the Church that Baptizes that Baby (Jason Micheli)

To the Church about to Baptize My Baby:

Be warned.

It’s all cuteness and lace now, but in no time at all, my little baby boy- after a brief sojourn in childhood- will hit adolescence. His hormones will kick in and quickly conspire to undo all the good you’ve done in him.

These will be the years that he’ll push you, Church.

He’ll suddenly wonder how Jonah could survive that dark trip in the whale’s belly. He’ll argue that David may have bested Goliath but that he’s no match for Tom Brady and, besides, David’s hardly the unblemished hero his SundaySchool teachers made him out to be. Proud of himself, he’ll point out that Noah never would have had to build the ark had God not decided to flood everything and everyone in the world.

He’ll push you, and if you’re not up to the challenge he’ll be tempted conclude that everything you’ve taught him and everything you teach is, at best, a fairy tale and, at worst, a lie.

And this might be the first time someone he knows or loves dies.

When that happens, Church, you better not resort to clichés. You better be prepared to show him resurrection-of-the-body hope at work among you.

Read and reflect on it all.

Evelyn Underhill Muses on the Working of the Holy Spirit

Those who imagine that they are called to contemplation because they are attracted by contemplation, when the common duties of existence steadily block this path, do well to realise that our own feelings and preferences are very poor guides when it comes to the robust realities and stern demands of the Spirit.

St. Paul did not want to be an apostle to the Gentiles. He wanted to be a clever and appreciated young Jewish scholar, and kicked against the pricks. St. Ambrose and St. Augustine did not want to be overworked and worried bishops. Nothing was farther from their intentions. St. Francis Xavier’s preference was for an ordered life close to his beloved master, St. Ignatius. At a few hours notice he was sent to be the Apostle of the Indies and never returned to Europe again. Henry Martyn, the fragile and exquisite scholar, was compelled to sacrifice the intellectual life to which he was so perfectly fitted for the missionary life to which he felt decisively called. In all these, a power beyond themselves decided the direction of life. Yet in all we recognise not frustration, but the highest of all types of achievement. Things like this—and they are constantly happening—gradually convince us that the overruling reality of life is the Will and Choice of a Spirit acting not in a mechanical but in a living and personal way; and that the spiritual life does not consist in mere individual betterment, or assiduous attention to one’s own soul, but in a free and unconditional response to the Spirit’s pressure and call, whatever the cost may be.

—Evelyn Underhill, The Spiritual Life

Are you kicking against the pricks or surrendering your life to the Will and Choice of the Holy Spirit? Your decision will greatly affect how much joy you have in living, a joy that is not contingent on the fickleness of life and this world, but rather a joy that flows from living in the kind of relationship with your Creator that he created you to have.

Then Jesus said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23).

Robert A.J. Gagnon: What Newsweek Doesn’t Get About the Bible

I will let the rebuttal in this article speak for itself it destroys the utter bogus thinking used by Eichenwald in the Newsweek story. It’s time to be clear-headed about much of the malarky being used to distort Scripture.

Newsweek, in an article by Kurt Eichenwald, says that Christians who regard homosexual practice as sin (or who—horror!—favor prayer in public school) “are God’s frauds, cafeteria Christians,” “hypocrites,” “Biblical illiterates,” “fundamentalists and political opportunists,” and “Pharisees.” To support his slurs, Eichenwald first tries to undermine reliance on Scripture as a supreme authority for moral discernment and then to show how Christians, oblivious to the problems with biblical inspiration, ignore its clear teaching.

Eichenwald claims that the New Testament Greek text is unreliable, ignoring the fact that no other ancient text comes close to being so well attested. For example, while the oldest surviving manuscript for a significant portion of Plato’s fourth-century B.C. dialogues dates to 895, for the first-century a.d. New Testament the dates are ca. 200 (Paul) and the third century (Gospels, Acts), with over a dozen substantial manuscripts from the fourth–sixth centuries. Only a tiny fraction of the variations among the manuscripts pose any serious problem for scholars in determining the original text. Furthermore, no major Christian doctrine hangs in the balance because of these variations.

Read it all.

Fr. Ric Bowser: True or False?

Sermon delivered on Sunday, Epiphany 2B, January 18, 2015, at St. Augustine’s Anglican Church, Columbus, OH.

Today Fr. Bowser talks about what is true and what is false in God’s world. Things that are true generally lead to health and well-being. Things that are false generally lead to disease, disorder, dysfunction, and ultimately death. But why is that? Check out what Fr. Bowser has to say in this insightful sermon and see what you think. The answer may surprise you.

Click here to listen to the sermon podcast. There is no text for today’s sermon.

Lectionary texts: 1 Samuel 3.1-20; Psalm 139.1-5, 12-17; 1 Corinthians 6.12-20; John 1.43-51.