Lectionary: Epiphany 4B

jail-bars-bent

Matthew B. Harper

A Sermon for Epiphany 4B

Deuteronomy 18:15-20
1st Corinthians 8:1-13
Mark 1:21-28

Sometimes I think that perhaps life is simply safer and easier in prison than out. Life in here can be difficult, painful, and violent, but there is a clarity and honesty to it. The outside world, one I’ve only seen on TV and in glossy magazines for 20 years now, seems to be consumed with acrimony and judgment. Rather than bringing us closer together, new technology is just documenting how we are splitting ourselves into tribes, and casting our anger at others. We are a world in need of a savior.

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Sermon: The Longest Night

prison-bars-with-candle(EDITOR’S NOTE: What follows is a sermon for December 21st, the longest night of the year. On this night many churches have a “Longest Night” service for those who are struggling to find joy this Christmas, often due to grief. This sermon was shared at St. David’s Episcopal Church, Richmond Virginia, in 2017.)

“The Longest Night”

A Sermon by Matthew B. Harper

The longest night of the year. A time when darkness comes early and stays late, when night feels unexpected and interminable. Tonight we gather to acknowledge that darkness, and to dwell in it quietly; we know it exists, and it’s okay that it does. “Merry Christmas” may not feel all that ‘Merry,’ but it is Christmas and we know the light of dawn is just over the horizon.
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Reflection: Isaiah 26:3

by Jessica McGee

You will keep him in perfect peace,
Whose mind is stayed on You,
Because he trusts in You. (Isaiah 26:3 NKJV)

A lot of people think that being in prison is easy. You don’t have to worry about bills, or politics. They think our daily life consists of standing behind bars and watching television, but they are wrong. Continue reading

Lectionary: Proper 18C / Ordinary 23C / Pentecost +16

prison-Bible

Jeremiah 18:1-11

“Broken, but not Shattered”

by AMN

One of the most overlooked descriptions of our thrice holy God is that of a potter working with freshly-made clay. In the beginning of Jeremiah 19, the prophet is sent to a potter’s house to watch the craftsman work with the raw material. As Jeremiah watches the potter, he notices that it takes a second effort before the potter is satisfied with the vessel’s form. Continue reading

Lectionary: Proper 14C / Ordinary 19C / Pentecost +12

“Our True Nature”

by AMN

Isaiah 1:1, 10-20

I often hear people say that this country is a godly nation and I see people take pride when “God Bless America” gets played. In Isaiah’s day, the Kingdom of Judah felt the same exact way about their nation. Who could blame them? With direct access to God, the beautiful temple of Solomon and having more priests and Levites than the ‘hood has liquor stores; it put the other tribes in the Northern Kingdom to shame.

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Lectionary/Poem: Proper 14C / Ordinary 19C / Pentecost +12

by Kwame Toure Kagale

“The Trampling of My Courts”

“When you come to appear before me, who has asked this of you, this trampling of my courts?”
– Isaiah 1:12 –

I was lost and alone,
behind these bars of steel.
Afraid of what was ahead of me,
with no one to appeal.

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Lectionary: Proper 13C / Ordinary 18C / Pentecost +11

Proper 13C / Ordinary 18C / Pentecost +11

What is the point of prison?

by Matthew B. Harper

Hosea 11:1-11 or Ecclesiastes 1:2, 12-14; 2:18-23
Psalm 107:1-9, 43
Colossians 3:1-11
Luke 12:13-21

With over two million men and women incarcerated in America today, and millions more under custodial supervision, it is perhaps time to ask ourselves, what’s the point?

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