Lee was whole and fully alive until he took his last breath, reminding so many of us what is important in life—not deadlines, appearance, competence, control, accomplishments or perfect health—but joy, patience, persistence, faith, compassion, gratitude, and wonder.
To this day,
they still call me “Doubting Thomas,”
and fine . . .
I’ll own that.
But who here doesn’t doubt?
Who here doesn’t sometimes wonder
if they’re really on the outside looking in?
If maybe God doesn’t really love them
the way they thought he did?
Who here isn’t envious of those
who always seem to get it right,
who have a special connection to God,
who walk through life
like they’ve just had an encounter
with the Risen Christ,
while you sit there thinking,
“But what about me?
What about me, O Lord?”
Like all the saints
through all the ages,
we who are baptized
have gone under the water.
We have gone into the grave.
“We have been buried with Christ in his death,
and just as Christ was raised from the dead
by the glory of the Father,
we too can walk in newness of life.”
it is scandalous,
it is damnable,
it is unfathomable
wrapped in blood
and enshrouded in the flesh
of a battered victim,
a husk of a man.
Or does it hide at all?
“Unless I wash you, you have no share with me.” It was as if Jesus was saying that for us to be all in with him, we have to accept his servanthood, his sacrifice, his soon to be public death, his fulfillment of his Father’s will, his uncomfortable, inconvenient, unconventional, unconditional love. All or nothing.
The hard truth is that
Judas is not some literary type.
Judas is not some necessary character in a play.
Judas is not some vile, dastardly villain,
nor is he some noble, misunderstood saint.
Judas is us.
I think of Holy Week each year as a kind of pilgrim’s path, where we set out each year with both longing and dread, to open ourselves physically, emotionally and spiritually to the path that Jesus has set for us—the path of a life of self-sacrifice that he has shown us by walking it first.
I wish we weren’t so guarded
in the ways that we love Jesus.
I wish we weren’t so polite,
so well mannered,
so easily offended.
I wish, like Mary,
we could lose ourselves,
that we could pour ourselves out,
that we could let it all be just a bit . . .
If Jesus is only your teacher,
if Jesus is only your rabbi, your guru, your guide,
if he is merely an example for you to follow,
a companion on your “journey,”
a divine mentor,
a missionary motivator,
a spiritual friend . . .
then he is not enough.
Preacher: The Rev. R. Kevin Kelly
The Rev. Kevin Kelly is no stranger to St. Anne’s. Having served as an Acolyte Master here years ago, Kevin went on to be ordained to the priesthood in 1994 and has served parishes in the dioceses of Georgia, Atlanta, West Virginia, and Louisiana. In 2014 he accepted a call to St. Michael’s & All Angels in Savannah and serves the diocese as a chaplain and spokesperson for Georgia Episcopal Recovery Ministries. Download the sermon.
Today’s liturgy is a typical service of Holy Eucharist from the Book of Common Prayer. The chief difference is that the Twelve Steps of Recovery, best known for their use in programs like Alcoholics Anonymous, have been incorporated throughout the service. Each step is intended to be said by the congregation. Download the full liturgy.
Why Host a “Recovery Sunday?”
Addiction touches almost every life in this country, either directly or through its effect on loved ones. Although the worlds of law enforcement, politics, and medicine have had much to say about addiction and our response to it, the Church has remained mostly silent. We Christians believe firmly in hope, healing, redemption, and grace, yet we often lack the spiritual vocabulary to speak honestly about it when addiction knocks at our door. Today’s Recovery Sunday provides all of us—whether in recovery or not—the chance to see both the need that is all around us and the resources we have to offer. This is a service of grace and hope.
Georgia Episcopal Recovery Ministries:
Alcoholics Anonymous in Tifton:
Al-Anon in Tifton: