Posts

All Saints, Year B

A Sermon Preached at the Cathedral Church of St. Mark All Saints, Year B The Reverend Tyler B. Doherty, Priest-in-Charge Last week, we spoke of the Christian life as a journey, an adventure into belovedness that we might be bearers of that same belovedness, that light, for others. In the story of the blind beggar Bartimaeus, we saw enacted the process of what it looks like to become love. Knowing ourselves to be loved in the depths of the heart, leaving behind old, limiting conceptions of self, other, and God, flinging off everything that separates us from transformative encounter with Jesus, and following Jesus down the path of becoming love, becoming a truly human human person. On this Feast of All Saints, the Church turns its attention to the deceased saints (known and unknown) of her long and storied past—men and women whose lives bear witness to a hope rooted in the gospel that proclaims God’s victory over death. In an age of war, famine, genocide, religiously motivated hatred and vi…

All Souls, Year B

A Sermon Preached at the Cathedral Church of St. Mark Feast of All Souls, Year B The Reverend Tyler B. Doherty, Priest-in-Charge The Feast of All Souls is a day when we turn our attention to the faithful departed in prayer that they (and we with them) might discover through the grave not an end, but a gate to the joy of the resurrection through which, in the company of Christ, we pass to eternal life. So we remember. But, another of the purposes of All Souls is to remind of the reality of death—the facticity of our own mortality and the undeniability change. “Oh, come on. Who needs to be reminded of that?” you might ask. “Everybody knows we are going to die.” I’ll grant that somewhere, deep down, often pushed into the nether regions of our conscious awareness, is a dim recognition that someday we will die, that life is uncertain and fleeting, and that change, and chance, and loss will accompany us every step of the way. But this awareness is often too much for us to bear. We simply canno…

Year B, Proper 25: Opening the Eye of the Heart & the Adventure of Love

A Sermon Preached at the Cathedral Church of St. Mark Year B, Proper 22: Job 42:1-6, 10-17; Psalm 34:1-8, (19-22); Hebrews 7:23-28; Mark 10:46-52 The Reverend Tyler Doherty, Priest-in-Charge Opening the Eye of the Heart & the Adventure of Love The story of blind Bartimaeus, the blind beggar at the roadside is much more than a mere healing story. The Bartimaeus story is the concluding bookend to a section of Mark’s Gospel that begins back in chapter 8: 22 where Jesus restores sight to the blind man in Bethsaida. In the intervening chapters, blindness is a constant theme that threads its way through the experience of Jesus’ closest disciples. Spiritual blindness, the persistent non-recognition on the part of the disciples of the person and work of the Jesus Christ as the only begotten Son of God made flesh for the salvation of the work, is Mark’s main thrust here. To remind you of the story so far—recall that immediately after Peter’s confession of Jesus as the Messiah when Jesus tells …

Year B, Proper 23: Journey to Generosity

A Sermon Preached at the Cathedral Church of St. Mark Year B Proper 23 The Reverend Tyler B. Doherty, Priest-in-Charge
Journey to Generosity
I remember when I was the co-chair of the Adult Spiritual Formation Commission at our parish in Philadelphia, we were having a conversation about themes for the upcoming program year—going around the table and discussing possible foci and classes. After about ten minutes, a usually kind and gentle older woman jumped in with a rather exasperated comment: “What is all this talk about the spiritual journey? What are you talking about? I come to church on Sundays, isn’t that enough?” It was an eye-opening exchange—one where all of my assumptions about the Christian life were called immediately into question. It made me realize that many of the things I’d taken for granted about how I approached the life of discipleship weren’t shared by others. I had found the recovery of a sense of the adventure of the Christian path, walking the way of love, the journey…

Year B, Proper 22: On Not Serving God

A Sermon Preached at the Cathedral Church of St. Mark Year B, Proper 22: Job 1:1; 2:1-10; Psalm 26; Hebrews 1:1-4; 2:5-12; Mark 10:2-16 The Reverend Tyler B. Doherty, Priest-in-Charge Sometimes, if you watch too much History Channel or listen to folks like Bart Ehrman, you can get the mistaken impression that the Gospels are a history lesson. And since they are a rather bad and contradictory history lesson, we needn’t bother with the whole business. The trouble with a purely historical approach to the Bible is simply that the Bible isn’t simply history. Like the proverbial person with a hammer who sees everything as a nail, the presumption that the Gospels are or should be factual reportage live from Galilee blinds us and deafens us to the Gospel’s deeper call. Remember last week I mentioned that from the earliest days of the tradition, Christians have always read scripture on at least four different levels, or senses—the literal/historical, the allegorical/spiritual, the moral, and as a…

Poem for Wednesday

7 a.m. Eucharist
yawn opening up before dawn footsteps echo through the empty knave bounce between trusses settle in the organ loft under what must be the rose window Jesus stoops low towel tied about his waist to wash a horrified Peter’s dusty feet the difficulty of remaining little poor receiving first the chalice and paten water wine breadbox lavabo bowl set the lections ‘let the dead bury the dead’ save the altar candles for last reverence then sit to watch fledgling morning’s forms emerge from forgetfulness’ far country take shape tree fencepost pigeons trading spaces on the powerline last night’s dream the homily a gauzy drift of memory plans and things for the to-do list come and go in the silent absence where everything comes to nothing ‘no place to lay his head’

Year B Proper 21: A Long, Loving Look at the Real

A Sermon Preached at the Cathedral Church of St. Mark Esther 7:1-6, 9-10; 9:20-22; Psalm 124; James 5:13-20; Mark 9:38-50 The Reverend Tyler B. Doherty, Priest-in-Charge
Last week, we heard Jesus speak of the necessity of welcoming the little children. After James and John get through arguing making Israel great again, Jesus takes a little child and sets in the center of the circle declaring—" Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.… Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.” Children, of course, are symbolic of the very least of these, the most marginal group. They have no rights, they are utterly dependent upon their parents for survival, and can do nothing on their own. They are at constant risk, both then and now, from the predations of adult power, privilege, and domination. When Jesus sets the little child at the center of the circle and takes it in his arms he is tangibly,…