A week from tomorrow, I’ll haul the Outback down to coastal New Jersey to preach at the installation of Debra Bullock as vicar of St. Barnabas-by-the-Bay. This is a very good thing, in several ways — most importantly, she’s a very wonderful, conscientious disciple of Jesus, who cares a lot about important things; less importantly, I always relish the chance to preach, even if I’ve specifically asked the parish at which we worship on Sundays if they would please not invite me so to do; and last, I’ll have a chance to say hello to Bishop Councell, who used to be a Seabury trustee.

On the other hand, the readings are relatively familiar (dry bones, body parts need one another, and keep Jesus’ commandments), and I would rather avoid restating a predictable premise on predictable grounds (on one hand) or pulling out a old-time favorite (on the other). Right now, I’m thinking especially about the psalms, 133 and 134. Probably not that many people have heard a sermon on the text, “It is like fine oil upon the head / that runs down upon the beard, / Upon the beard of Aaron, /and runs down upon the collar of his robe.” That makes the option of preaching on the psalm pretty intriguing to me. . . .

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