God save the Queen

A postcard for the 14th Sunday after Pentecost 09/11/22.

There have been a handful of moments in my life where I knew in the moment that I was living through a major historical event. The Fall of the Berlin Wall. 9/11. And now the death of Queen Elizabeth II on September 8, 2022. I have never known a world without a Queen of England, and that stands true for a lot of folks.

As the Queen, Elizabeth was the Supreme Governor of the Church of England, and this role goes back to England’s Reformation period in the 1500. The role presently is more ceremonial, but the British monarch has a role to play in the life of the Church of England and the larger Anglican Communion. Rowan Williams, a former archbishop of Canterbury, reflected on the Queen Elizabeth’s life, writing:

A servant of God, without doubt; a generous, courageous, patient, and prayerful person. And not least, someone whose living-out of her role kept alive the question of how increasingly secular societies find any kind of durable unity in the absence of the great common symbols of grace, in the absence of that “canopy” that offers us an identity larger than our own tribe and interest group and holds us in a kinship we haven’t had to invent for ourselves.

You can read the complete reflection here.

Embed from Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth II was a lover of corgis, so some of my favorite photos are of her with her dogs.



A sermon for the Episcopal Church of the Messiah, Heflin, Alabama, on the 14th Sunday after Pentecost, 09/11/22:

Principal text: Luke 15:1-10

Audio only


Coming next

  • September 18 – St. Paul’s Greensboro —15th Sunday after Pentecost
  • September 25 – Messiah, Heflin — 16th Sunday after Pentecost
  • October 2 – St. Barnabas, Roanoke — 17th Sunday after Pentecost
  • October 9 – Messiah, Heflin — 18th Sunday after Pentecost

Labor Day

A postcard for the 13th Sunday after Pentecost 09/04/22. Late summer hummingbird visitors.

Summer comes to a close.

Officially summer has a few more weeks, but Labor Day marks the end of summer for most of us. Kids (or us) are back in school. Vacations from work have all been taken. And while it is still pretty warm outside, the sun sets a bit earlier each day.

I was thankful for the long weekend, which allowed me a bit of extra time to watch the humming birds at the feeders. I managed to snap this comical photo of a pair visiting the feeder on Saturday. Most of the time they were elegant, zooming around each other and the feeder. But this moment caught a bit of an awkward landing.

While Labor Day is the end of the summer for many, it is also a day to remember all those who labor so that we can have a better life and out interconnectedness.

Almighty God, you have so linked our lives one with another that all we do affects, for good or ill, all other lives: So guide us in the work we do, that we may do it not for self alone, but for the common good; and, as we seek a proper return for our own labor, make us mindful of the rightful aspirations of other workers, and arouse our concern for those who are out of work; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Lesser Feasts and Fasts, 2018

A sermon for St. Barnabas in Roanoke, Alabama, on the 13th Sunday after Pentecost, 09/04/22:

Principal text: Philemon 1-21

Audio only


Coming next

  • September 11 – Messiah, Heflin — 14th Sunday after Pentecost
  • September 18 – St. Paul’s Greensboro —15th Sunday after Pentecost
  • September 25 – Messiah, Heflin — 16th Sunday after Pentecost
  • October 2 – St. Barnabas, Roanoke — 17th Sunday after Pentecost

Take Time

A postcard for the 12th Sunday after Pentecost 08/28/22

Great Egret at the Church of the Messiah in Heflin, Alabama, August 14, 2022.

It is amazing what you see, if you take time to look.

Earlier this month, as I arrived at Messiah in Heflin, a large white bird near the lake shore caught my eye. I often enjoy the geese that frequent the lake, but this was the first time I had seen a bird of this size.

It was Confirmation Sunday, so I had gotten to church early with a whole long to do list to make sure that everything was ready for the Bishop and to celebrate our new members. Because I was early, I was the first one at the church and had time to take a closer look. Also because it was confirmation Sunday I had my good camera with me.

I stood and watched for a moment. As I stepped a bit closer, the bird noticed me. I knew that I was running out of time, so I began taking photos. Sure enough, the bird took a few steps, and stretched out their wings and took flight.

I consulted my bird identification app on my phone, which told me this was a Great Egret and common to the area. It may have been a common bird, but it was an uncommon experience for me. I’m glad that I got to church early that morning, and that I took time to appreciate God’s beautiful creation.


A sermon for the Episcopal Church of the Messiah in Heflin, Alabama, on the 12th Sunday after Pentecost, 08/28/22:

Principal text: Hebrews 13:1-8, 15-16

Audio only


Coming next

  • September 4 – St. Barnabas, Roanoke — 13th Sunday after Pentecost
  • September 11 – Messiah, Heflin — 14th Sunday after Pentecost
  • September 18 – St. Paul’s Greensboro —15th Sunday after Pentecost
  • September 25 – Messiah, Heflin — 16th Sunday after Pentecost

Getting to the unshakeable

A postcard for the 11th Sunday after Pentecost 08/21/22

Altar flowers at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Greensboro, Alabama, August 21, 2022.

Foundations are important.

It has been a busy couple of weeks. But in all the busyness I was reminded that there are some basic, unshakeable things.

On August 14, I got to witness the confirmation and reception of Canaan and Meagan at the Episcopal Church of the Messiah in Heflin. It was a wonderful day of celebration with Bishop Glenda Curry. In conversation before the service, Bishop Curry commented that what we were doing was simply recognizing and lifting up the work of the Holy Spirit that is already at work.

August 14, 2022, Canaan, Bishop Curry, Meagan, and I following worship.

Unshakeable—noticed or not—the Holy Spirit is at work in our lives and our world.

This past Friday I was part of two funerals, both of people who were blessed with long lives filled with love and marked by faith. On more than one occasion I have had a non-Episcopalian comment on how well Episcopalians do funerals. And I think it is because in our funerals we are reminding ourselves of our foundations.

Unshakeable—Whoever has faith in in Jesus Christ shall have life, even though they die.

And then on Sunday, I was blessed to preach at St. Paul’s in Greensboro about the powerful work of God that shakes us to get is to the unshakeable. Following the service we had a wonderful lunch with great food, conversation, and laughter.

Unshakeable—we need the gathered people of God.


A sermon for St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Greensboro, Alabama, on the 11th Sunday after Pentecost, 08/21/22:

Principal text: Hebrews 12:18-29

Audio only


Coming next

  • August 28 – Church of the Messiah, Heflin — 12th Sunday after Pentecost
  • September 4 – St. Barnabas, Roanoke — 13th Sunday after Pentecost
  • September 11 – Messiah, Heflin — 14th Sunday after Pentecost
  • September 18 – St. Paul’s Greensboro —15th Sunday after Pentecost
  • September 25 – Messiah, Heflin — 16th Sunday after Pentecost

By anonymous

A postcard for the 9th Sunday after Pentecost 08/07/22

Altar flowers at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in Roanoke, Alabama, August 7, 2022.

Hebrews is a mysterious book of the Bible.

Hebrews was originally attributed to Paul, but early in the life of the Church it was understood that it was not one of Paul’s letters. Several other early church figures have been speculated as authors: Barnabas, Apollos, and Priscilla. Because it is quoted in 1 Clement (an early church letter sent from Rome), it is thought that Hebrews was written between 60 to 95 AD.

The intended audience is equally a mystery. Given the title, it seems to be addressed to Christian people with a Jewish background or some connection to Judiasm. But we do not know there location. The best we can tell the audience are second generation Christians that have experienced persecution and are perhaps disappointed or leaving the faith.

The other curiosity about Hebrews is that it is not a letter. Instead it seems to be a written sermon. The author uses some of the most sophisticated Greek in the New Testament, as well as contemporary styles of argument and persuasion. Through this well constructed sermon, the author seeks to exhort the audience to hold fast to their faith.

We will have four weeks of readings from Hebrews, and we will get the “greatist hits” from the final chapters. Hebrews teaches us that through Christ we have direct access to God, and exhorts us to follow the example of Christ by living lives of faith, hope, love, and patience.


A sermon for St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in Roanoke, Alabama, on the 9th Sunday after Pentecost, 08/07/22:

Principal text: Hebrews 11:1-3, 8-16

Audio only


Coming next

The often-overlooked “second lesson” of the Sunday liturgy is typically a reading from one of the New Testament Epistles. This summer we will take some time to learn more about these letters that shaped early Christian theology.

  • August 13 – Jonathan Daniels Pilgrimage in Hayneville, AL
  • August 14 – Church of the Messiah, Heflin — Bishop’s Visitation
  • August 21 – St. Paul’s, Greensboro — Hebrews 12:18-29
  • August 28 – Church of the Messiah, Heflin — Hebrews 13:1-8, 15-16