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Showing posts from March, 2018

Good Friday: No More of This--Why We Call This Friday Good

A Sermon Preached at the Cathedral Church of St. Mark Good Friday—Isaiah 52:13-53:12 ; Psalm 22; Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9; John 18:1-19:42 The Reverend Tyler B. Doherty, Priest-in-Charge No More of This—Why We Call This Friday Good Part of the liturgy of Good Friday often includes the veneration of the cross. After the cross is processed into the knave and the passion gospel proclaimed, we take time as the gathered people of God to kneel, or kiss, the hard wood of the cross. It’s both beautiful and terrifying watching the ragtag group of Christians approach the cross. Some will kiss its base, others with simply pause and gaze, but in each case it’s a striking image. We forget that for the earliest Christians the cross was a symbol of terror and execution at the hands of Roman Imperial power. Seeing a cross in a church would be like us having a sculpture of the electric chair, or a picture of a firing squad over the altar. In his poem Four Quartets, T.S. Eliot ends the “East Coker” section w…

Maundy Thursday--Love's Mandate

A Sermon Preached at the Cathedral Church of St. mark Maundy Thursday—Exodus 12:1-4, (5-10), 11-14; Psalm 116:1, 10-17; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26; John 13:1-17, 31b-35 The Reverend Tyler B. Doherty, Priest-in-Charge Love’s Mandate
This evening, we mark our entrance into the triduum—the three great days—that comprise Holy Week: Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Great Vigil of Easter. We tend to think of each of these three days as discrete liturgies, but properly understood they represent a one long liturgical act that reveals for us the various faces of a single, startling fact: the fact of God’s unconditional love for us. Love in the washing of the feet, love and forgiveness on the way to the cross, love in depths of separation from God, love that utters, “No so fast, Mister Death,” and breathes not vengeance but peace on the disciples. In our gospel for this evening, we hear those words from St. John—“Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.” That’s our sta…

Palm Sunday--Palmy Passions and Passionate Palms: Living the In-between

A Sermon Preached at the Cathedral Church of St. Mark Palm Sunday—Mark 11:1-11; Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29; Isaiah 50:4-9a; Psalm 31:9-16 Philippians 2:5-11; Mark 15:1-39 The Reverend Tyler B. Doherty, Priest-in-Charge Palm Sunday is one of days in the liturgical calendar that at first glance can’t seem to make up its mind. On the one hand, we are waving palms, shouting hosannas and yelling out, “Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!” The liturgy of the palms is a moment of joyful recognition, and thanksgiving. It is a moment that testifies to seeing, naming, and celebrating the loving presence of Jesus in our midst. On the other hand, we also hear the passion narrative proclaimed as our gospel—an account of all the different ways we—as confused, violent, and broken humanity—fail to see that the Galilean peasant with the dusty feet who eats with all the wrong people and touches those from whom polite society says we should keep a safe distance is the Son of God. The passion is …

Lent 4, Year B: Rembrandt, the Prodigal, and the Cup of Love

A Sermon Preached at the Cathedral Church of St. Mark Numbers 21:4-9; Psalm 107:1-3, 17-22; Ephesians 2:1-10; John 3:14-21 The Reverend Tyler B. Doherty, Priest-in-Charge One of the common misunderstandings that we often bump up against in the season of Lent is that we think all the various disciplines of the Church traditionally taken up by the people of God—prayer, fasting, almsgiving, reflection and meditation upon God’s word in Holy Scripture, acts of mercy, participation in the sacraments—are done in order that we might become more loveable, or help us get to somewhere we are not. In a culture addicted to self-help and self-improvement, we might think of Lent as a time when we double our efforts, lose that spare tire of vices, and make ourselves a little more loveable in God’s eyes. Presumably, when we’ve shed enough pounds, straightened ourselves out, and accumulated enough brownie points, God deigns (rather grudgingly, of course) to consent to love us. Years ago, I heard a sermon p…