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Showing posts from August, 2017

Alleluia to All That Is: A Funeral Sermon for Colleen Malouf

A Funeral Sermon Preached at the Cathedral Church of St. Mark Ecclesiastes 3: 1-14a; Psalm 139 (1-11); Revelation 21: 1-7; John 14: 1-6 The Reverend Canon Tyler B. Doherty, Canon Precentor I think I first met Colleen in wee hours of a Sunday morning when I was getting vested for the 8 o’clock mass. As you know, Colleen was a faithful acolyte at the 8 o’clock service for many years—reading the readings, leading the prayers of the people, serving the table at Eucharist—everything except lighting the tallest candles, which no amount tippy-toeing or one-armed acrobatics could muster. Later today at the reception, you’ll hear all about Colleen’s remarkable career as a glass-ceiling breaking career woman. You’ll hear about her amazing work as CEO with Friends for Sight bringing all manner of people of diverse backgrounds quality eye care. You’ll likely hear about her faithful service here at St. Mark’s as an altar guild member, a vestry member, Eucharistic minister, and tippy-toed acolyte. You’…

Year A Proper 16

A Sermon Preached at the Cathedral Church of St. Mark Exodus 1:8-2:10; Psalm 124; Romans 12:1-8; Matthew 16:13-20 The Reverend Canon Tyler B. Doherty, Canon Precentor
It seems to me that just about every couple of months someone comes out with a new book on the identity of the “real Jesus”—on how we answer the question, “Who do you say that I am?” Part of it, I’m sure, is that the publishing industry knows all too well that so-called “answers” to this question leap off the shelves and turn a healthy profit (just think of The Da Vinci Code, or Aslan’s Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth). But another part of this phenomenon is less crassly opportunistic and reveals something about the nature of the person of Jesus—he cannot be contained, the living, effervescent, and zesty mystery of his being cannot be exhausted, by a single answer (even a correct one like Peter’s Confession, or the tortured, tongue-twister syntax of the Chalcedonian definition). Please understand, I’m not sa…

Year A Proper 15

A Sermon Preached at the Cathedral Church of St. Mark. Year A, Proper 15—Genesis 45:1-15; Psalm 133; Romans 11:1-2a, 29-32; Matthew 15: 21-28 The Reverend Canon Tyler B. Doherty, Canon Precentor
Today’s Gospel is one of those passages when the temptation is strong to decide to preach on the story of Jacob, or the psalm, or the passage from Romans, or just about anything other than Jesus calling a woman a dog (which, by the way, was a favorite Israelite slur for the Canaanites that meant exactly what does today when hollered in high-school hallways). The interesting thing, however, about the Matthew’s use of the word “Canaanite,” is that it is totally anachronistic—like calling someone from one of those Scandinavian countries with hot springs and good health care a “Viking.” Indeed, when we look at Mark’s version of the story (7: 24-37), we find that he uses the contemporary “Syrophoenician” descriptor for the distraught woman who calls upon Jesus to heal her tormented daughter. Matthew i…

Year A Proper 14

A Sermon Preached at the Cathedral Church of St. Mark Proper 14, Year A--Genesis 37:1-4, 12-28; Psalm 105, 1-6, 16-22, 45b; Romans 10:5-15; Matthew 14:22-33 The Reverend Canon Tyler B. Doherty, Canon Precentor

“Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.” One way to make sense of the Feast of the Transfiguration is that it speaks to us about perception, or what the classical Christian tradition calls discernment—the ability to see God in the midst of our daily struggles, the ups and downs of our hum drum everyday existence. In that light, Jesus’ clothes shining with a dazzling whiteness is not so much information about the nature of Jesus as the Son of God (though it is that, of course), but a call to us as the gathered people of God to witness to, and live from, God’s presence and action in all situations—at daycare centers and in divorce proceedings, on our deathbeds and changing diapers. It’s interesting to note, that after this mountaintop experience, Jesus heads right back down into the fr…

Great Vigil of Easter

A Sermon Preached at the Cathedral Church of St. Mark The Great Vigil of Easter—Year A: Romans 6:3-11; Psalm 114; Matthew 28:1-10 The Reverend Canon Tyler Doherty, Canon Precentor One of the great temptations of our contemporary culture is that we can tailor the kind of information we receive to hear only what we want to hear—our Facebook pages chime with “likes” from people who think exactly like us, the news we get confirms our opinions, and the image we put forward to the world (our “online presence” as the jargon has it) is carefully groomed. As a result, many of us live in a kind of self-fabricated echo-chamber where outside voices (those people who dare to think and live differently from us) are almost non-existent.             The life of Christian discipleship—knowing ourselves to be loved by a generous God whose deepest desire is for us join, whole-heartedly and self-forgetfully, in the dance of love that is the Indwelling Trinity—runs the risk of falling into exactly the same tr…

Good Friday

A Sermon Preached at the Cathedral Church of St. Mark Good Friday: Isaiah 52:13-53:12; Hebrews 10:16-25; John 18:1-19:42; Psalm 22 The Reverend Canon Tyler B. Doherty
I’ve always thought that if ever there were a day when words seem appallingly inadequate, it’s Good Friday. If I had my druthers, I’d let the liturgy preach itself. From the reading of the Passion Gospel, to the Solemn Collects and the singing of the  Reproaches, to the Veneration of Cross—we learn everything we need to know from how the liturgy unfolds in its spare, stripped, stinging silence. Especially on a day when most of the words that come out of peoples’ mouths in the Passion Gospel witness to being enslaved to self-deception, scapegoating rage, and murderous violence—“Crucify him!”—one more human voice hardly seems likely to make a difference. In fact, maybe feeling the compulsive need to speak, to justify oneself, is precisely what this day calls into question. Perhaps it is a day when the silence of the death of …

Maundy Thursday 2016

A Sermon Preached at the Cathedral Church of St. Mark Maundy Thursday 2016 Exodus 12:1-4, 11-14; Psalm 116:1, 10-17; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26; John 13:1-17, 31b-35 The Reverend Tyler B. Doherty, Assistant Priest The French theorist Guy DeBord wrote a book at the height of the student riots in 1960s France titled, The Society of the Spectacle. Like a lot of French Marxist theory, the book is tough sledding, but I’ve always found the title to be an amazingly prescient evocation of the age in which we live. One cursory look around our contemporary moment is enough to demonstrate that we do indeed inhabit a society entranced by spectacle. We are a society of watchers, a world of spectators waiting to be entertained by modern day Coliseum circuses. We watch things on our phones, on our televisions, on our computers. From the comfort of our armchair we can journey to deepest darkest Peru, Paris, or Papua New Guinea, and pause the vicarious adventure to go pop some more low-fat, low-salt microwave…