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Showing posts from 2019

Presentation of Our Lord: Mary, Simeon, and Anna--Three Windows onto the Life of Faith

A Sermon Preached at the Cathedral Church of St. Mark.
Feast of the Presentation The Reverend Tyler B. Doherty, Priest-in-Charge Today, we celebrate the Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord, also known as Candlemas. Like all the Feast of the Epiphany season, it’s a celebration of light—the light of God’s divine love that bursts forth in the person of his only son Jesus Christ—God’s unique disclosure to God’s people in human form. I want to tease out some dimensions of this story from three different perspectives—Mary and Child, Simeon, and the Prophetess Anna the one whom we hear never leaves the Temple. Candlemas is Feast that speaks to a reality that’s going on right here and right now in this very place. The challenge is to see and live from the reality to which Candlemas points, and to resist the temptation to treat it as something akin to those opening lines of Star Wars: “Long ago in a galaxy far, far away….” God spoke, and God is still speaking to us through the Holy Scriptures a…

Epiphany 3C: Outside the Water Gate--Seeing How Jesus Sees and Reading How Jesus Reads

A Sermon Preached at the Cathedral Church of St. Mark 3rd Sunday After the Epiphany, Year C The Reverend Tyler B. Doherty, Priest-in-Charge
In our passage from the prophet Nehemiah, we have this scene of Ezra reading the entire book of the law, which God had given to Moses, to the gathered people of Israel who have recently returned from exile. The first thing they do as a reconstituted people is listen to their story, to remind themselves of who and whose they are who they are called to be. The law is read outside the Water Gate—a place outside the Temple where everyone, even the ritually defiled, could be present. The story belongs to everyone. And rheir identity as a listening people, a people who discover who they are not by listening to the cocktail chatter of their own self-centered fears, desires, and petty grudges, but to how God has spoken is revealed. God speaks—in creation, in the calling of his people, in the giving of the law, in the liberation of his people, in the raising …

Rat-Catcher & Potato Head

For weeks we’d hear it gnawing at the wood slats
of the chain-link fence rustling through leaves heaped in the corner
of the yard by the neighbor’s cinderblock garage and once a
glimpse of long pink tail black fur eyes little pricks in the dark sparked
by the porchlight one afternoon out of the blue
a feathered slash & rat clutched in talons snatched
away spirited off over the parking lot kids’ sandbox
Mr. Potato Head stoic under his bowler not batting an eye

                                                6 February 2019

Biblical Proportions

Ten minutes ‘til noon mass        I’ve just kissed my stole checked my fly     taken off my watch & marked the collect
when the heavens           open up thunder- snow hail                  strafes chapel slates
                                   wind gust grabs the junipers    by the scruff of
     the neck and gives them a good why I oughtta shake
     “no frogs or locusts yet, I guess,        let us proceed…”
                                and we do crossing ourselves                 and on to talitha cum little girl                      get up and go
                                     out the broken front                                 door that won’t close                                      God’s body and blood                                             in our bellies                                                                                 5 February 2019

Poem for Super Bowl Sunday

Super Bowl Sunday
       Oops something’s spooked the covey of sociable California Quail        from the Baptist Church’s scraggly             errant juniper
       & they scuttle all a-tizzy all a-chortle        droopy plumes               bobbing                              as they cross the street
                “Stop! Look! Listen!”
or not
to phew! refuge behind the neighbor’s        garbage bin hidden                 to no one but themselves

                                                                                                3 February 2019

2nd After Epiphany, Year C

A Sermon Preached at the Cathedral Church of St. Mark 2nd Sunday after Epiphany, Year C The Reverend Tyler B. Doherty, Priest-in-Charge
One of the things you might have noticed the past two weeks about the Epiphany blessing is that combines what seem to be three separate events—the coming of the Magi, the Baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan, and the episode from today’s Gospel at the Wedding Feast of Cana. Somehow, in the theological imagination of the Church each of these events reveals to us, manifests a different aspect of the coming of Jesus into the world. One of the things that binds these three seemingly disparate events together is that they all remind us of the Christian life as a journey—a journey into love and belovedness. The Magi, of course, are those seekers who yearn for a life of depth, significance and dignity. They are tired of skating across the surface of their lives and know in their heart of hearts that there is something more to life. They are the ones who dare to …

Baptism of Our Lord, Year C

A Sermon Preached at the Cathedral Church of St Mark Baptism of the Lord, Year C The Reverend Tyler B. Doherty, Priest-in-Charge When I was in seminary, I served for three years as sacristan for the chapel. Basically, we were church rats in charge getting everything ready for each of the three services held each day—morning prayer, noon eucharist, and evening prayer. We’d set out the vestments, arrange the vessels on the credence table, make sure the bible was marked, the wicks of the candles trimmed. One day, I was puttering about the sacristy getting things set up when I noticed that we were out of Holy Water. We had this enormous glass pickle jar that we used to fill the font and it had run dry. I filled it back up and placed it on the counter for the celebrant of the noon Eucharist to bless when they arrived. Virginia Theological Seminary is an interesting place—you’ve got people who think that if you don’t sing the Eucharist it’s not a valid mass, and others who would object to even…

Feast of the Epiphany: Journeying with the Magi to the Creche OR Going Home by a Different Road

A Sermon Preached at the Cathedral Church of St. Mark Epiphany, Year C The Reverend Tyler B. Doherty, Priest-in-Charge
The Feast of the Epiphany represents, with the Baptism of Our Lord next Sunday, the climax of the season of Advent and Christmas, that time in which the world goes dark that we might focus ourselves, and pattern our lives after the One who is the Light of the World, the One in whom our peace, joy and happiness resides—Jesus Christ. In the season of Advent, the call is to let fall away all that is inessential, all that hinders the recognition of our essential goodness, our belovedness, our identity as unexpected insiders in the very life of God, sons and daughters of the Most High. All the various ways in which we’ve tried, through our social, cultural, educational, and even religious conditioning to seek for God through the power, possessions, and prestige are revealed, in the blazing glory of the Light of Christ to be poor substitutes for the gift of God’s very self to …

Christmas Day: Opening the Gift

A Sermon Preached at the Cathedral Church of St. Mark. Christmas Day Isaiah 52:7-10; Psalm 98; Hebrews 1:1-4; John 1:1-14 The Reverend Tyler Doherty, Priest-in-Charge This Christmas morning, we don’t hear about the Shepherds, or the Magi, or the “No Vacancy” sign, or the visitation, or the Magnificat, or any of the things we’ve come to associate with Christmas. Instead, we are taken back, way back—before there even was a Bethlehem, and before there was even time itself. These opening lines of John’s Gospel are really a kind of recapitulation of the creation story; Genesis redux with the Christ as the logos, the Word, the ordering principle, providing the shape, the pattern, and the arc of how things hang together—“All things came into being through him.” Coffee beans, cornfields, Czechoslovakia—all things, John reminds us, mediate God’s presence to us. That we see Jesus in the manger—swaddled in cloth, packed in mud and straw, the tiny infant’s cry piercing the dumbstruck silence of that …

Christmas Eve: Christmassing: The Pilgrimage to the Manger of the Heart

A Sermon Preached at the Cathedral Church of St. Mark Christmas Eve—in Isaiah 9:2-7; Psalm 96; Titus 2:11-14; Luke 2:1-20 The Reverend Tyler B. Doherty, Priest-in-Charge
Christmassing—The Pilgrimage to the Manger of the Heart
When we come to ponder in our hearts like Mary the Mystery of the Incarnation, we often get tricked into thinking that Christmas was something that happened a couple of thousand years ago. Of course, the human person of Jesus was born in a dusty little corner of Palestine to a marginalized and voiceless teenage girl whose pregnancy brought with it all the scorn and derision that unwed mothers still face today. But, if we think of the Incarnation as merely an historical event, something that happened long ago in a distant land, we miss the full import of its meaning. Christmas becomes the marking of an anniversary, or a celebration of “Jesus’ Birthday” that rolls around each year. We get lulled into thinking that all this—the hymns, the liturgy, the flowers, the candl…