“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:
He came into the world so that those that are blind may see and those that see may become blind.
“Sir, give me this water, so that I may never be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.”
More and more we live in a time of deceptive certainty, of hubris, of bluster. Ours is an age wherein everyone has a sick need to be seen as strong, as certain, as right. The problem, however, is that when we live this way, we put ourselves in the place of God. No wonder we cannot hear him.
This sermon was preached at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Columbia, South Carolina as part of their annual Lenten Speakers Series.
“You want to talk about ‘declaring a fast?’ You want to talk about what it means to ‘give something up?’ Then at some point we have stop talking about ourselves, and we have to start talking about Jesus. . . . Despite all our pretense about fasting and giving things up—always with twisted, understated hopes of improving ourselves or currying favor with God—the truth is completely the other way around. God has fasted for us! God in his Son Jesus Christ gave it all up for us! By virtue of the Cross, in a mystery that we will never fully understand, Jesus who was in the form of God—who had all the power and glory of God right at his fingertips—gave it up! fasted from it! emptied himself of it completely!“