Maundy Thursday

I’m in New Haven for the weekend, preaching through the Holy Week liturgies at Christ Church. Margaret and I have a special love for this congregation, so when Fr. Cobb invited me up to preach, I didn’t hesitate a second; we love to spend these sacred days at this church that’s meant so much for so long.
I’m still working on the Easter Day sermon, so I can’t take time to post everything I’d like to say about the sermons. That’s just as well, since my self-critical restlessness would impel me to want to point out all the loose ends, the inexact locutions that retrospect makes seem to prominent. Instead, without further ado, I’ll post yesterday evening’s sermon here, and this afternoon’s in the post above.
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As Best I Recall

It will come as a complete shock to my friends to hear that somehow, between the study at home and my study at the Center (in other words in the short walk through the living room, out to the car, from the car in the parking lot upstairs to the office), I completely lost the manuscript for Sunday’s sermon. I have the computer file, of course — I just lost all the emendations I scribbled onto it as I read, reread, and improved it before the service. I’m pasting a version of it as best I can reconstruct it in the extended section.

Deb greets AKMA at her installation

And not only was Debra installed Sunday, but several of my Chicago-area students were priested: M.E., Susan, Heidi, Corinne, and Jeannie (and Janey, too, further afield). It was a busy weekend for the Holy Spirit!
Now, to square away some loose ends and finish our gift-shopping. . . .
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Exhausted Words

Yesterday evening I preached at a funeral (on unexpectedly short notice, with imprecise information regarding the readings — I got lucky that nothing vital hinged on the substituted reading, but one of the readings I’d been told to expect was not what was read). It went all right, but preaching at a funeral is pretty stressful, especially when you have less time to work up the homily than usual, and then all the more so when you hear a different lesson from what you were expecting. Anyway, I’ll append it in the extended section.

I heard a rumor that David Weinberger read the Archbishop of Canterbury’s lecture and even had some comments on it; if he blogs it, I’ll delightedly link to him (and probably argue with him, since “AKMA and David arguing about hermeneutics” is like “David and AKMA breathing”).

Anyway, I’m drained from last night, and that’ before tonight’s service at St Luke’s celebrating our rector’s investiture. Tomorrow night Seabury’s celebrating a U2charist, plus we’re entertaining a candidate for our librarian’s position. I’m even more tired just thinking about it.

Someone, hire Gary!
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On Behalf of the Ox

Today was a full day for me, with committee work in the morning, then preaching and mass, then a course planning meeting over lunch, then the NT II field trip to the library. I was a little stressed out about the sermon, as it falls into the category of “things I wish I had more time to work out,” but the service went fine.

Margaret left today (or rather, she’s waiting to take off at Midway as I type). A two-day visit doesn’t accomplish everything a longer stay might, but it beats another five weeks of separation.
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Preaching Under Pressure

I was short on time this week; it felt terrible, wrasselling with sermon ideas among the various other obligations of the week, sensing that whatever idea I had needed more breathing room. In the end, I squoze out a homily, but it would have benefited from more time spent burnishing the details. I handwrote the last few sentences in the minutes before the sermon, and in the version I post in today’s extended section I’ve spruced them up a little. I haven’t dug in and reworked the whole thing as much as it needs, I’d say, but I’m taking it easy this weekend.
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Hmmm, No Clever Title

Well, the sermon came and went (transcribed in the extended section) , and people seem to have received it cordially, though I would myself level some criticisms of it (in line with yesterday’s post). In fact, Pippa herself gently prodded me to justify what she took to be a relatively tenuous link from the readings to the sermon. She had missed an explicit thematic connection, but she’s right that it should be stronger, and I’m intensely proud that she can listen critically and identify flaws.

In one of those preacher’s-nightmare scenarios, the 8 o’clock congregation read a different psalm fro the 10 o’clock

I thought of David and the congregation at St. Patrick’s; I hope that today’s service helps them make another step out of devastation into restoration.
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Live! From Glen Ellyn!

Well, not live exactly, but I’m pasting the text of yesterday’s sermon into the “extended” part of the post below. Everything went very well, I had the honor of serving alongside Rodney Clapp (who was a last-minute fill-in acolyte), and renewing acquaintances with some of the people who came out for the da Vinci Code extravaganza in the spring.

The whole weekend was colored with the experience of being able to think well for a while, an experience much rarer than I would wish. At the beginning of the Conflict of the Faculties, Kant describes the way his intellectual functions fluctuate, comparing his frustrating days with the feeling of having cold in the head. His thought becomes congested, as it were, and his ideas can’t breathe (I don’t have my copy at hand, and it’s not online in English). I’m in the middle of reading Ray Monk’s biography of Wittgenstein, The Duty of Genius, which reports that Wittgenstein went through similar experiences. I would tend to name this experience as a species of depression (or a related phenomenon), but I bring this all up to note that it’s a relief to remember that some pretty high-powered thinkers went through phases of this cognitive-stuffy-nose feeling.

Anyway, this weekend I broke clear of a stuffy mind and was breathing freely, and it felt great, and it helped me pull the sermon together as I wanted to. I’m thinking moderately productively today too, and I’m hoping to have a nap and move on in strength. I’ll post some of the queries and notions that occurred to me, but later.
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Clear Skies, Bright Hopes

Having cleared my writing responsibilities for the short term, I have mostly to go preach at Paula Harris’s ordination this afternoon, then lead a couple of church forums on that movie. The weather is beautiful today, the school year is over (even though I have an ever-increasing number of committee meetings in the weeks to come), and Margaret’s and my wedding anniversary is coming up.

Things are looking better.

(Sermon will be in the extended section after I preach it.)
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Judas, Jesus, Dan Brown, and Friday’s Sermon

I don’t have very much to say about the Gospel of Judas that isn’t summed up in Stephen Carlson’s posts and comments; at a cursory reading, it looks to me like a predictable Gnostic gospel, with nothing especially sensational nor anything likely to change scholarly opinion on any major issue.

The Holy Blood, Holy Grail sensation-mongers have lost their court case that the da Vinci sensation-monger plagiarized their bogus sensational ideas. I suppose that the whole story could develop more recursively bizarre developments, but my imagination doesn’t work that way.

And in the more humdrum world of daily life in the church, I preached this morning on John 10, the scene where Jesus’ interlocutors threaten to stone him. The effort it took to eke this sermon out inhibited both tax preparation and course prep for this morning, but the sermon came together at long last (it’s in the “extended” portion of the post). I’ll tackle the taxes tonight or tomorrow.
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