Sunday, June 2, 2013

Dear readers

Our sermons and meditations will now be posted on our website. Please visit us at Thanks!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Sermon: C Pentecost 19 May 2013

Acts 2:1-21; Ps 104; Ro 8:14-17; JOHN 14:8-17, 25-27

My peace I give to you…Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. AMEN.

Seders commemorate the Passover of Jews across the Red Sea in safety away from enslavement to Pharaoh in Egypt. 49 days later, according to most Jewish traditions, Shavuot, one of the three pilgrimage holidays is celebrated. It commemorates the gift of Torah to the entire nation of Israel gathered at Mt. Sinai. The counting of the 7 days in 7 weeks, called Counting of the Omer, is seen to express anticipation and desire for the giving of Torah. An omer-measure of barley was also observed as a sacrifice, offered in the Temple at Jerusalem, until an offering of wheat was brought to the Temple at Shavuot. Shavuot actually means weeks, so it marks the end of the counting of the Omer. People believed also that the idea of counting each day represented spiritual preparation and anticipation for the gift of Torah, around the same era, as was the Shavuot observance as a rain offering of sacrifice. One Jewish belief is that they were only freed from Egypt to receive Torah at Sinai, at Shavuot, and then to fulfill its laws. This back and forth weaving of meanings shows the antiquity of the traditions and their layers of understanding.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Sermon: C Easter 7 12 May 2013

Acts 16:16-34; Ps 97;Rev 22:12-14,16-, 20-21; JOHN 17: 20-26

Do not leave us comfortless, but send your Holy Spirit to strengthen us. Amen. 

This Sunday, Easter 7, three days after Ascension Day, a week before Pentecost, the coming of the Holy Spirit, is the scariest Sunday of the Christian year, at least for me. The whole ten days from the Ascension to Pentecost are both challenging and lonely, and test us and our faith. These days remind us about heading into the unknown and what it takes from us to trust in promises that sound fine, but actually who knows, who can know? Such promises risk sounding too good to be true, and that makes us wary, but Jesus says, “I will not leave you comfortless,” and promises to send the Holy Spirit. Whatever can the disciples have made of that promise? What’s the Holy Spirit; what’s a Paraclete, and what would an Advocate look like or be?

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Sermon: C 6 Easter 5 May 2013

Acts 16:9-15; Ps 67; Rev 21:10, 22—22.5; JOHN 14: 23-29

Let the peoples praise you, O God, alleluia; let all the peoples praise you, alleluia. AMEN.”

“Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. My peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give it as the world gives. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled. — And now I have told you this before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe. Don’t let your hearts be troubled, and don’t let them be afraid.”

Friday, May 3, 2013

Ascension Day Service

There will be an Ascension Day service on Thursday, May 9 at 6:30 p.m. at The Church of St. John the Evangelist.

For further information, please call 617-227-5242.

Please join us!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Sermon: C 5 Easter 28 April 2013

Acts 11: 1-18; Ps 148; Rev 21: 1-6; JOHN 13: 31-35

I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. AMEN.

This morning’s readings circle around the concept of love as the disciples heard it, in traveling around, with, and continuing to follow Jesus. The readings present an odd combination of images and associations. The chosen psalm is straightforward praising the Lord for his mighty acts. Since Halleluiah is the theme and concept for Eastertide, this psalm echoes or leads to both. Reciting this psalm in Easter season, we are suggesting that the Lord had done great deeds for them, and by extension, his deeds for us include the resurrection, ascension, and on-going life of Jesus our Lord. The psalm is joyful and suits the feeling of the season.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Getting and giving help after the bombings in Boston

The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency has some useful resources if you need help, or if you want to help out:

For crisis counseling, please call 1-800-985-5990 or the City of Boston Health Line at 617-534-5050. The American Red Cross has material on their website about emotional recovery. 

If you have a tip, call 1-800-CALL-FBI (225-5324) and choose prompt #3, or email

To make a donation, please visit

Sunday, April 14, 2013

C 3 Easter 14 April 2013

Acts 9:1-6(7-20); Ps 30; Rev 5:11-14; JOHN 21: 1-19

Alleluia! Christ is risen. The Lord is risen indeed, in truth. Alleluia!

The Easter 3 readings are full of Wow, thanks and then help to paraphrase. The numbers in scripture always intrigue me, and so one year, in reading this John, I looked up, maybe, 14 commentaries about 153 fish, why 153? Each commentary had an authoritative definitive answer; none was the same; each writer had earned directly or indirectly $’s for his (I’m pretty sure) answer. John’s Gospel is, however about theology, not narrative history. Unless, in the culture then 153 was the record number of homeruns, lambs shorn in a day, or water vats turned into wine at one party, I’d guess 153 was a number of a big biggness of fish caught, but real fish, not symbolic ones. John was saying Jesus turned a bad day of fishing into one of enormous bounty, bigger than imaginable, enough for eating then, a stockpile for a communal future, and one reflective of a generous Creator’s constant awareness of what his beloved creation always needs—enough to eat, to work, live, and love on. Here John is telling a parable in using a random, specific large number to convey the extent of the care and gifts to G*d’s people, in need and in their lives to come. John wasn’t doing a one to one allegory where fish = food, 153 = 10 fish/each of 12 tribes and one for each of his 33 years or some other nonsense. I’d guess it’s an introductory rhetorical largeness for the next story.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Sermon: C 2 Easter 7 April 2013

Acts 5:27-32; Ps 150; Rev 1:4-8; JOHN 20: 19-31

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Hallelujah! Amen.

Every year for this Sunday, I carefully reread today’s Gospel in Greek, to see why Thomas gets such a bad rap. It’s not there, nor do I ever see where he “doubts.” In Barbara Crafton’s short essay, called “Nailprints” in her blog “The Geranium Farm,” she begins, “We are so accustomed to comparing ourselves favorably with poor Thomas, whose famous doubt has come to be considered part of his name…,” I stopped reading that for a moment. I reread the Gospel, not because I consider myself better than Thomas, but rather that I am Thomas, or in the direct line of this one who was “just checking.”

Monday, April 1, 2013

Sermon: C Easter Day 31 March 2013

Is 65: 17-25; Ps 118; 1 Cor 15:19-26; LUKE 24: 1-12

Alleluia! Christ is risen! The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia! Amen.

“Welcome happy morning age to age shall say.” And so we arrive at the real 
Easter Morning, the 4th day of a three-day sequence. Parishes that do glorious Vigils, as we do, have some inclination to skip Easter morning, because it has already become Easter; they’ve sung “Jesus Christ is risen today;” and what more is there to do to welcome the risen Lord. We began this service with a Procession for this reason. While the parishes that do Vigils have done processions, and readings, and drama, and darkness and light, and more, Easter morning is still Easter morning, and Easter cannot be observed with less moment than the other two major Church festivals of Christmas and Pentecost. Whether or not a Vigil was held doesn’t impact those people for whom Easter happens in the early part of Sunday morning. The great Triduum, the great Three Days don’t include Sunday, because Sunday is always Sunday and always a feast to remember and relive Easter, especially on …Easter. Easter morning can never be an afterthought to the Vigil, nor simply zipped through. Easter is at least Easter, especially on—Easter.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

C Easter Vigil 2013

 Alleluia! The Lord is risen! The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia!

If, in the Genesis first reading by the third Day of Creation, we have not demonstrated clearly that this great liturgy is different from all others, surely that tonight’s Sermon is listed on page 18 should be a definitive clue. This liturgy is not designed around a balance between the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Table. This Liturgy is more like a family reunion party after not seeing each other for a while. Everyone needs to hear our grandparent’s, our ancestors’ family stories, enough of them to recognize themselves as part of the family. We want to push those old voices along too, but the stories remind us, who we are, where we came from, what makes us a community, and to where we’re traveling together. That story, one made of so many stories, takes time and listening, time and feelings, time and mystery, time and beauty.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Sermon: C Good Friday 29 March 2013

Is 52:13-53.12; Ps 22; Heb 4:14-16; 5:7-9; JN 18:1-19:42

“It is finished.” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. AMEN.

Again we hear the long, difficult narrative of Jesus’s death on a cross. Again we want to squirm away from it, and rush to celebrate what comes next. We need to make meaning, though, of this: Jesus died on a cross. He didn’t choose to die or die this way then, and yet he did. That in no way means he agreed or chose in a suicidal way to die. He kept on keeping on making the cross into an offer, and an act of solidarity.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Holy Week Service schedule

Maundy Thursday
Thursday, March 28 at 6:30 p.m.

Good Friday
Friday, March 29
Stations of the Cross at 12:15 p.m.
Good Friday Liturgy at 6:30 p.m.

The Great Vigil of Easter
Saturday, March 30 at 6:30 p.m.

Eucharist for Easter Day
Sunday, March 31 at 10:30 a.m.

For further information, please call 617-227-5242.

Please join us!

Church of St. John the Evangelist 
35 Bowdoin St.
Boston, MA 02114

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Sermon: C Palm Sunday 24 March 2013

Is 50:4-9a; Ps 31:9-16; Ph 2:5-11; LUKE 22:14-23:56

Mercifully grant that we may walk in the way of Christ’s suffering and also share in his resurrection. AMEN.

“Let the mountains and all the hills,
Break out into great rejoicing at the mercy of God.
And let the trees of the forest clap their hands.
Give praise to Christ, all nations,
Magnify him, all peoples, crying:
Glory to thy power, O Lord.
Seated in heaven upon thy throne
And on earth upon a foal, O Christ our God,
Thou hast accepted the praise of the angels
And the songs of the children who cried out to thee:
Blessed art thou that comest to call back Adam.” (From an Orthodox Hymn for Palm Sunday.)

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Sermon: C 5 Lent 17 March 2013

Is 43: 16-21; Ps 126; Phil 3: 4b-14; JOHN 12: 1-8

Grant, O G*d, that our hearts may be fixed where true joys are to be found, through I X our Lord. AMEN.

Top o’ the morning to you, and Happy St. Patrick’s Day. It may seem odd to be deep in Lent and hear upbeat lessons. In today’s Gospel, Jesus does predict his death, saying Mary’s extravagant gift is for his burial, but this forewarning doesn’t bear the gloom of other predictions. Instead, in Mary and Martha’s dinner, we hear the promise of something new, fragrant, and remarkable. That’s the theme and tone of today’s readings: that promised change is both new and eternally wonderful. Not the Celtic northern sin and gloom outlook of Lent traditionally presented to us, leading to an almost morbid obsession with preparing for Good Friday, instead we hear genuine preparation for Easter.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Sermon: C 3 Lent 3 March 2013

O G*d, you are my G*d, eagerly I seek you; for you have been my helper, and under the shadow of your wings I will rejoice. AMEN.

Ex 3:1-15; Ps 63: 1-8; 1 Cor 10: 1-13; LUKE 13: 1-9

Good Morning and it is indeed a splendid morning, or as we used to say always at Fischer’s Cove, “it’s a beautiful day at Fischer’s Cove,” and it’s wonderful to be back and most generous of Canon Okunsanya to allow me to be here with you this morning. His theme for the week is reconciliation,” in the context of these Lent 3 readings.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Sermon: C 1 Lent 17 February 2013

Deut 26:1-11; Ps 91:1-.2, 9-16; Ro 10:8b-13; LUKE 4:1-13

God shall give the angels charge over you, to protect you in all your ways. AMEN.

 “Create and make in us new and contrite hearts…that we may obtain of you, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness…that [whenever we are] separated from the body of the faithful…[be] now reconciled…and restored to the fellowship of the Church…I invite you, therefore, (in case any didn’t hear this from Ash Wednesday) in the name of the Church, to the observance of a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God’s holy Word. This invitation to a holy Lent, the Great Litany’s “Spare us, Good Lord, whom you have redeemed,” and from this morning’s collect, “Come quickly to help us…and let each one find you mighty to save” propel us both into the readings and into Lent.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

C Last Epiphany 10 February 2013

Ex 34: 29-35; Ps 99; 2 Cor 3: 12-4: 2; LUKE 9: 28-36

All of us, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord, the Spirit. AMEN.

The final Sunday of Epiphany ends with the sight of the Transfiguration. “While he was saying this, a cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were terrified as they entered the cloud. Then from the cloud came a voice that said, ‘This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him.’” The secret is out and known; everyone, one way or another, had been shown who Jesus is. From his baptism in the Jordan, to the wedding at Cana, and throughout the various scenes of recognition, it became clear to many people that Jesus was more than the carpenter’s son, more than an itinerant preacher, and more than just beloved of G*d. The baptism and this scene both include G*d’s speaking to Jesus. “This is my Son, my beloved. This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him.”

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Ash Wednesday services

Our Ash Wednesday services will be held on February 13th at 12:15 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.

For further information, please call 617-227-5242

Church of St. John The Evangelist
35 Bowdoin St.
Boston MA 02114

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Jer 1: 4-10; Ps 71: 1-6; 1 Cor 13: 1-13; LUKE 4: 21-30

In you, O Lord, have I taken refuge; let me never be ashamed. AMEN.

Last week’s Gospel ended with today’s first sentence, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” We, like those who heard Jesus say this originally, hear this with awe and wonder. Imagine being present to hear the person speak who has the Spirit of the Lord resting on him to preach: good news to the poor, to proclaim release to the captives, the recovery of sight to the blind, and to set at liberty those who are oppressed. Imagine how exciting that would have been, would be. Then, we might have second thoughts. The psalmist acknowledges taking refuge in the Lord, and asks, “never [to] to be ashamed… For you are my hope…my confidence since I was young.”

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Sermon: C 3 Epiphany 27 January 2013

Ne 8:1-3, 5-6, 8-10; Ps 19; 1 Cor 12:12-31a; LK 4:14-21

For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body. Amen.

“Thank we those who toiled in thought…each a word from G*d repeating; till they came, who told the story of the Word, and showed his glory. Praise we G*d, who hath inspired those whose wisdom still directs us; praise G*d for the Word made flesh.” We’ve just sung that and it’s the Epiphany theme: “Jesus began to teach in Galilee’s synagogues, was praised by everyone, went on to Nazareth and there read from Isaiah, ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor” and more, and then “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.’”

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Sermon: C 2 Epiphany 20 January 2013

Is 62: 1-5; Ps 36: 5-10; 1 Cor 12: 1-11; JOHN 2: 1-11

Almighty God, grant that your people may shine with the radiance of Christ’s glory. AMEN.

As Epiphany continues, we arrive at the third of the familiar season’s narratives. First there’s the arrival of the Magi, second the baptism of Jesus, and then today’s account of the wedding at Cana. Again, someone, some group, sees, understands that Jesus is G*d’s incarnated word by some visible event. Even in this Luke year, Year C, this portion comes from John’s Gospel—and John’s Gospel almost always layers in theological underpinnings to its narrative.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Sermon: C Baptism of Our Lord 13 January 2013

Is 43: 1-7; Ps 29 1-11; Acts 8:14-17; LUKE 3: 15-17, 21-22

Gracious G*d, grant that those baptized into your Name may keep the covenant they have made. AMEN.

This morning we celebrate three distinct occasions, all connected through the presence and revelation of Jesus Christ, and also each connected to us in the here and now. First it’s the season of Epiphany, the season of light, when each week someone or some group understands that this baby, this particular person, is, in some way, in such close relationship with G*d that he made and makes real, an experience of G*d, with G*d, to those who are in these weekly stories. Second, the Sunday after the Epiphany is always the baptism of Jesus, and so we’ve heard that account. Since it’s Epiphany Season and the Baptism of Jesus, the Church has selected this as one of the liturgical dates appropriate for baptisms in the church. We are honored and blessed to be baptizing two children Theo Gray and Arthur Patrick Watson to welcome them into the church, this congregation of St. John the Evangelist, this parish of the Episcopal Church, the larger Anglican communion, and the whole Christian community—and with the human family reaching towards a connection with the eternal and Holy.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Sermon: C The Epiphany Sunday 6 January 2013

Is 60:1-6; Ps 72:1-7, 10-14; Eph 3:1-12; MT 2:1-12

Lead us to your presence, O God, where we may see your glory face to face. 

“Those magic men, the Magi,
Some people call them wise
Or Oriental, even kings
Well anyway, those guys
They visited with Jesus
They sure enjoyed their stay
Then, warned in a dream of King Herod’s scheme
They went home by another way” Timothy Mayer and James Taylor’s freely adapted today’s Gospel here, while we also hear, “Arise, shine for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.”

Friday, January 4, 2013

meditation for the Epiphany “Arise, shine, your light has come.”

A couple of my neighbors plaster over their entire houses each Christmas with so many lights and  blinking Santas and glowing nativities that it’s like having a little bit of Vegas on my way home each night. Others have just a string of colored lights around their porch, or electric candle decorations in their windows.

All these thousands of years later, even in the form of all this cheap plastic and LED spectacle, I find profound hope knowing that humans have not lost their instinct for following the light. The wise men found the Christ by no magic or special knowledge other than this: the entirely primitive, entirely human fascination with lights in the sky. We share this instinct with almost every other living creature on earth, including plants and algae. We find God by doing what life does: looking for the light, and growing toward it. And behold, in awe, along with the Magi: the source of all light, shining in the darkness, is here. Arise, shine, your light has come.

Leonart Bramer: Journey of the Three Magi to Bethlehem. Credit: Wiki Commons. Click on the image to enlarge.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Event: When Cancer Strikes a Friend . . . How to Help

An event sponsored by the Cathedral of the Diocese of Massachusetts and the Church of St. John the Evangelist:

When Cancer Strikes a Friend: What to Say, What to Do, and How to Help

Rev. Bonnie Draeger, a cancer survivor and the executive director of Friends & Cancer, has spent a decade researching these questions. Her new book, When Cancer Strikes a Friend: What to Say, What to Do, and How to Help, includes the advice and expertise of over forty professionals, as well as the experiences and wisdom of hundreds of survivors/family/friends.  Find out more.

Wednesday, January 16th, 7:00 p.m., Hunnewell Chapel. Free.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Sermon: C Christmas 1 30 December 2012

Is 61:10-62:3; Ps 147; Gal 3:23-25, 4:4-7; JOHN 1:1-18

The Word was made flesh & dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory. AMEN.

Annie Dillard wrote in Pilgrim at Tinker Creek: “If creation had been left up to me, I’m sure I wouldn’t have had the imagination or courage to do more than shape a single reasonably sized atom, smooth as a snowball, and let it go at that.” “Tempting,” according to the Synthesis Commentary I often read, “So, when we come to John 1, it is tempting simply to read the verses aloud and let them evoke the proper awe in what they say—since we certainly can’t match them.”