I had the great privilege of preaching my first (ever) sermon at Smithfield United Church of Christ last Sunday. The sermon was based on Luke 10: 25-37, which combines the Great Commandment and the Parable of the Good Samaritan. You can watch the sermon below and I’ll include the full text as well (which I didn’t follow word for word, but it’s close).
It’s pride month, and some religious leaders have decided that it is also sin month. They’ve warned us from attending pride events and especially from taking our children to these immoral events. One Catholic leader in particular made this statement yesterday, subjecting himself to a slew of uncharitable denouncements that the Catholic church is hardly in a position to decide what is right or wrong for our children…
Pride is a celebration, born out of protest and injustice. It’s a corner we’ve turned as a community and it is one we commemorate yearly for good reason. It is visibility and community and even accountability. For Christians, pride events are not the sin here.
Pride though, the kind of pride that we all experience when we demonstrate extreme arrogance, that feels sinful to me.
One of the questions I’ve been asked lately, besides “what is spiritual direction?” is “why are you doing this work?” I hope to answer that question a bit in the video below. In it, I talk about how my journey with brain injury has helped me cultivate and turn towards a call to ministry, specifically spiritual direction. When you’ve experienced deafening physical pain, knowing how to turn it into silence and stillness is a major grace. In that silence and stillness, I’ve found “power made perfect in weakness,” a profound awareness that grace is sufficient and that I am enough. I want nothing more than to accompany others on their journeys, and this formation program in spiritual direction will help me to do that - which is why I need your help.
Author’s note: I wrote this piece sometime in September or October of 2018, either shortly before or after my divorce was finalized. I had just started praying the 19th Annotation of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius with a directed prayer group at the Sisters of St. Joseph in Baden, PA. I composed this reflection after praying on Psalm 8. As the exercises are coming to a close, I feel called to share this piece as a reflection of how I let God into the confusing things. Too often, we try to put grief on our timeline and make arbitrary decisions about how we should be feeling something and when the feeling should be over. By “Experiencing God in all of the Layers,” I found momentary peace.