Becoming Whole; Becoming Holy – Br. Curtis Almquist

Br. Curtis Almquist

Romans 6:19-23

Saint Paul writes about our “sanctification” as if we would know what he is talking about. In the original Greek, the generic meaning of “sanctification” is “the state of proper functioning.” To sanctify someone or something is to set that person or thing apart for the use intended by its designer. A well is “sanctified” when it is used as a source of water. A wineskin is “sanctified” when it is used to store wine. For us, eyeglasses are “sanctified” when used to improve sight. In the theological sense, things are “sanctified” when they are used for the purpose God intends. A human being is “sanctified” when they live according to God’s unique design and purpose for their life.[i]

When we wake up each morning, we can presume God’s presence, and power, and provision. We have been kept alive for as much as one more day to know God, and to love God, and to serve God as only we, uniquely, can do. [ii]  We wake up each morning on a mission to bear the beams of God’s light, and life, and love as only we, uniquely, can do. It’s why we are still alive. Which turns life into such an amazing adventure. This is the core meaning of “sanctification”: living our lives according to God’s unique design and purpose for our life. Read More

The Apocalyptic Process of Birth – Br. Jim Woodrum

Br. Jim WoodrumHebrews 10:11-25; Mark 13:1-8

I suspect like most good Episcopalians, apocalyptic literature and signs of the end of the world make me a little anxious. To be honest, the other morning when I began exploring the texts for today’s sermon, I just wanted to crawl back into bed. Ever since I was a kid growing up in the Baptist church, I have always been fearful of what “The Rapture” would be like and if I would be one of the unlucky ones to be left behind on the earth as it met its doom.[i]  Rather, I prefer a good uplifting message.  As a good Anglo-Catholic, I love the passages in Revelation chapter five about the glorious worship in heaven by the elders and angels that number myriads and myriads singing: ‘Worthy is the Lamb that was slaughtered to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honour and glory and blessing! Amen!’[ii]  But all the stuff about wars, beasts, whores, plagues, famine, death, dragons, and creatures that I imagine resemble the Nazgul from Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings, you can keep that.  For me it is what nightmares are made of.  So what are we to make of our lections this morning?

In our gospel lesson from Mark, in a section from the thirteenth chapter known as “the little apocalypse,” we observe a disciple of Jesus marveling at the magnificence of the Jewish temple in Jerusalem. Considering the architectural feats that surround us in our modern age, this disciples’ astonishment might be lost on us.  But it is important to note that the second Temple, completed by Herod the Great, was constructed on a scale comparable with the great Pyramids of Egypt. Part of Herod’s legacy was the massive building projects he undertook during his reign: the port at Caesarea Maritima, the fortress at Masada, the Herodium, and the second Temple.[iii]  How the large stones that made up the supporting walls of the Temple were placed atop each other without the help of machinery we would use today, is an architectural wonder!   “Look teacher,”the disciple says, “what large stones and what large buildings!” When Jesus responds:  “Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone will be left here upon another; all will be thrown down,” his disciples are stupefied.  How could that be possible?  Certainly, nothing could bring down this monstrosity.  Perhaps we can relate to this when we remember that fateful September day in 2001, when we witnessed the twin towers of the World Trade Center topple to the ground.  Who could have predicted that, and who would have ever believed that prediction? Read More