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Sermons: 2008

The Rev. Dr. J. Brent Bates, October 26, 2008

Some of us humans are wired to worry, wired to worry about a lot of things—jobs, health, family—and most of all—money. And there are those of us who are wired to be more carefree, having a more untroubled and relaxed attitude towards the practical issues of life. In my marriage, I’m the worrywart, and Jen’s the carefree one. And if you are married or partnered, then you more than likely know which one of you is which, too. more

The Rev. Christopher Brdlik, October 19, 2008

Thirty five years ago I found myself on top of a mountain in the Younts Peak region of Wyoming. It was an August afternoon. The air at that elevation was chilly though the sun’s radiance was warm. Around me for at least 50 miles in every direction were more mountains, beautiful mountains, almost entirely wilderness as far as I could see. Though I had been hiking for several weeks in that area, the awesomeness of the view at that moment impressed me in a special way. I think I gasped as I took in the magnitude of the scene before me. And I had a clear sense of mentally answering a question that had been in the back of my head for quite some time. “Yes, Lord,” I said in answer to the unspoken question, “If you can make all this beauty, you can make me a priest.” more

The Rev. Christopher Brdlik, September 28, 2008

On vacation this summer, the first Sunday of July, I attended the Episcopal services in a small town in Colorado. The church was quite full for a little congregation — probably 50-60 persons, only a few, like me, visitors. And the people were friendly. During coffee hour I met a doctor who used to work at Overlook Hospital and his wife, both now retired; a woman who grew up in Hasbrouck Heights; and another woman who used to summer Down the Shore. Someone complimented me on my singing. My voice stands out in a church of that size, and I’m not timid about it. But I added that I was disappointed we hadn’t sung any of the good old patriotic hymns that Fourth of July Sunday. more

The Rev. Christopher Brdlik, September 21, 2008

Later on tonight the lights will go out after the last baseball game in Yankee Stadium. The “House That Ruth Built” is being replaced by a new ballpark right across the street. The memorable old temple of sport will be torn down after every little feature, detail, or thing can be stripped away will be sold for its nostalgic value. Yankee Stadium has been the scene for some of the most iconic events in baseball history: more World Series games played, more important records broken, the famous Lou Gehrig “luckiest man” speech. So its closing is being covered by retrospectives on TV, radio and in the papers. Even the subway system is using a train of restored, vintage cars for trips to the Bronx tonight. more

The Rev. Dr. J. Brent Bates, September 14, 2008

This morning’s gospel reminds me of a typical scene taken from The Sopranos or some other television show or movie about the mob. In one scene you see a mob boss character like Tony Soprano verbally assaulting one of his crew like Christopher Moltisanti who hasn’t been bringing in enough money. In the next scene you see that crew member approaching someone on the street, “seizing him by the throat,” and squeezing twice as much money out of him as usual. This is the trickle-down effect of violence. Doesn’t it even ring true in our own less-dramatic lives? We have a bad day at the office and then later we get in an argument with our spouse, or lose our patience with our kids. But this, of course, is not parallel with the story of the gospel. more

The Rev. Christopher Brdlik, September 7, 2008

Back in elementary school I was known as one of the smart kids. Year after year, Mark S., Dale W. and I shared honors for the best report cards. Or, maybe, we mildly competed with each other for the grades. But as we grew up I became more reluctant to be the first one to raise my hand with the answers or turn in my test paper. I was feeling some subtle pressure to appear less intelligent. This was not a conscious thing, and I only realized it in looking back. But what I was doing was trying to fit in better, not stand out from the class, to be a bit more average. Perhaps, as I approached adolescence, there was the natural tendency to conform to one’s peer group. But as I reflect on it now I think there was more to it than a teenage thing. more

The Rev. Dr. J. Brent Bates, August 31, 2008

Have you ever felt that someone was against you, whether in the small details of life, or with more life-threatening consequences? When one person after another seems to have it out for you? Or when the bureaucracies wrap their tape around your situation tightly? When Jennifer and I moved to Princeton in 2003 to begin graduate school, we promptly made our way to the local DMV to transfer our drivers’ licenses. After standing in long lines and filling out copious amounts of paperwork, Jennifer was granted a New Jersey license … but I was refused. A woman with a suspicious tone in her voice explained that my name had a red flag next to it in the computer system. I would have to drive to the main DMV offices in Trenton. The answer to all my follow-up questions was to “go to Trenton.” more

The Rev. Christopher Brdlik, August 24, 2008

When I was a kid I used to mix up the words Oreos and orioles. My confusion was between the cookie and the baseball team — I knew nothing about the songbird. This was not a major problem, because my mother’s taste in cookies ran to Pecan Sandies and Chocolate Chips. But when she brought Oreos home from the A & P, I was confronted with my confusion. For I knew that the Yankees had perpetual problems with the team from Baltimore, and that prevented me from enjoying the cookies. I thought Oreos and orioles were the same thing. more

The Rev. Christopher Brdlik, August 17, 2008

Simplexity is the new name for an ancient observation. Simplexity is the idea that “simple things can be surprisingly complex, and complex things can be deceptively simple.” This notion is being studied scientifically as the key to understanding all sorts of events and happenings: the flow of traffic, the spread of disease, the movement of politics. And study of simplexity has revealed these phenomena hinge on tiny “choke points,” little things that happen, inconsequential to observe (or so it seems) yet shaping future outcomes in profound ways. The science behind simplexity, according to a recent column in the paper,* indicates simple patterns or rules underlie diverse fields from sociology to chemistry to physics. So more than just human behavior is involved — in fact, some neuroscientists believe simplexity explains human behavior. more

The Rev. Dr. J. Brent Bates, August 10, 2008

Last week, noting the recent discovery of water on Mars, Chris reminded us of the life-giving properties of water. Water is a basic requirement for the existence and flourishing of life, a symbol of God’s provision. And, yet, we hear in the gospel text this morning that water is not only life-giving, but also chaotic and destructive. And the symbol of destructive water appears throughout the Bible. In Genesis we have Noah. In Exodus the armies of Pharaoh drown in the Red Sea. The Psalms (i.e. 65, 74) speak of the chaos of the sea and the great Leviathan, the Dragon of the Sea, in a similar way to the ancient Mesopotamians who personified the power of the sea as the monster-goddess Tiamat, for whom my wife named our family’s cat (recognizing the chaotic destructive sovereignty of black house cats). more

The Rev. Christopher Brdlik, August 3, 2008

So I return from vacation, having enjoyed a relative isolation from current events, and here’s what’s in the news headlines: The upcoming Olympics, and how dirty the air is; the upcoming election, and how dirty the campaign is. But buried in the back pages this week is another little item that we should note with more than passing interest: NASA scientists have discovered the existence of water ice on Mars. This has been reported before, almost, as circumstantial evidence indicated water was possible or even likely on the surface of the Red Planet. But now the Phoenix spacecraft has located and tested good old H2O, frozen, and on Mars. more

The Rev. Laura Matarazzo, Final Sunday, July 20, 2008

Some of you know that I have a penchant for rocks. I don’t know why, but for as long as I can remember, I have been fascinated by pebbles and stones, boulders and rock walls—both natural and man-made. At least one of you know that a favorite solitary occupation of mine as a child was to sit on the driveway and break rocks open to see their insides. I was always eager to see what color or texture was hidden under the plain surfaces of stoned and I never tired of that sense of discovery. It’s not that I was interested in geology although we studied rocks in school. I remember igneous and sedimentary and that’s about it. But, speaking of geology—the science that measures the ages of the earth by stone, I have an inkling that my love for stones has to do with their being so elemental, so basic, so foundational. more

The Rev. Dr. J. Brent Bates, First Sermon, July 13, 2008

I loved the street I grew up on in Carrollton, Texas, a suburb north of Dallas. Southmore Lane would not have been known for its architecture; wide garage doors dominated identical ranch-style houses, their driveways emptying directly onto the street. But it was teeming with children my age. Directly across the street was Stacy. She played with my Star Wars figures and I played with her Strawberry shortcake dolls. One evening during tornado season the weather was so terrible that my parents didn’t even want me walking across the street, so Mrs. Durnal let me stay the night. more

The Rev. Laura Matarazzo, July 6, 2008
Since I have always felt conflicted about combining nationalism and religious faith, like today, as we sing our love of country alongside hymns of praise to God, I thought I would use this occasion for a challenge. On this Fourth of July Weekend, with the celebration of our national independence fresh in our minds, I want to challenge us to think critically about the potential pitfalls of independence. I suggest that we need to be wary of making an idol of our independence…on every level, politically, culturally, socially, and personally. more

The Rev. Christopher Brdlik, June 29, 2008

“…And from whom no secrets are hid.”

That familiar line is from the prayer that opens almost every celebration of the Holy Eucharist, the Collect for Purity. It calls to mind that, when we are in God’s presence, we are an open book to the Lord, with everything revealed: “all hearts are open, all desires known.” It reminds us God knows it all. This quality of God knowing the innermost secrets of our souls is almost the most basic thing we can say about the Lord, after first recognizing God as the creator and giver of life. Nothing is more true of the Deity than that God is all seeing, all hearing, all sensing and all knowing. At the start of every worship, therefore, we ask God to cleanse the thoughts of our hearts that we may worthily enter the place of prayer and thanksgiving.. more

The Rev. Christopher Brdlik, June 22, 2008

Late in life the composer Ludwig van Beethoven became completely deaf. Yet he continued to compose music, intricate harmonies, beautiful melodies. Those two facts add up to something more than irony — a man who can compose music while deaf reminds me of what one writer called, “the elegant puzzlement of being human.” At the debut performance of his Ninth and final symphony, one of his best, Beethoven was seated on the stage next to the director, facing the orchestra and chorus. At the conclusion of the symphony, the composer smiled benignly at the musicians. It took one of the sopranos, with tears in her eyes, to raise him from his chair and turn him around, so that he could see the joyous ovation of the enthusiastic audience. Sometimes it takes someone to turn us around to know what’s going on around us. It’s part of that elegant puzzlement of being human. more

The Rev. Christopher Brdlik, June 8, 2008

I like American history and I’ve read many books on the settlement of the American West. One thing that has always impressed me is the apparent willingness of the American frontiersman to travel vast distances over unknown, possibly hostile territory on foot or by paddle. Here I am, planning my own trip to the West this summer, worrying about the price of gas or whether the air conditioning will hold up — minor concerns, compared with what faced the pioneers. They traveled across what are now four or five large American states in a single season without seeming to think about it: Lewis and Clark — six or seven thousand miles by canoe and keelboat, for the joy of scientific discovery; or sometimes for religion — the Whitman party to Oregon, the Mormons to the Great Salt Lake; or often for gold or riches — the Forty-Niners to California. more

The Rev. Christopher Brdlik, May 25, 2008

You have heard that it was said: Turning the other cheek, giving the shirt off your back, going the extra mile — all are ideals, all are abstractions, lofty goals that cannot be attained in ordinary life. But I say to you: Jesus really meant them. (Matthew 5:38ff) These are examples of actions Jesus intended for us to follow in our day to day living. Because, if you study a little deeper, you’ll learn these three examples were drawn from the everyday social, cultural and political circumstances of his time. But even though these three have a specific cultural background, they retain wisdom for us to follow today. more

The Rev. Laura Matarazzo, TRINITY SUNDAY, May 18, 2008
There is no question that our current presidential campaign has brought the issue of race squarely into the national consciousness. The furor over the Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s preaching at Trinity Church and Barack Obama’s membership in his church, and the implications of that relationship, now ended, led United Church of Christ’s General Minister and President the Rev. John Thomas to call for UCC pastors to observe Trinity Sunday by using their pulpits to address the subject of race. I’d like to read to you part of a letter he sent to churches. more

The Rev. Christopher Brdlik, PENTECOST, May 11, 2008

My, O my, this church certainly looks good in red, doesn’t it? Every time we dress it in red, I admire it once again; and invariably somebody comments on how attractive it is decked out in that rich color. The truth is, we use the red hangings on only a few, limited occasions during the church year. Red is the color the Church uses to celebrate itself and its ministry. White is for Incarnation and Resurrection; blue for expectation and hope; purple for penitence; and green to mark the passing of time. The color for the Church is red — but then the Church’s calendar doesn’t schedule many days to celebrate itself. Today I want to think about that. more

The Rev. Christopher Brdlik, April 13, 2008

So much religion in the news this week, so many stories about religion — where do I begin? Perhaps with a little history behind the current events. This month marks the fifteenth anniversary of the federal siege against the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas. I don’t know what it is about April in Texas, but law enforcement authorities commemorated the anniversary with a frontal challenge to another religious commune, the Yearning for Zion Ranch of the Fundamentalist Mormons near San Angelo. Religious sects are, by definition, groups of worshippers following a creed or code somewhat at odds with the prevailing culture. Mostly we leave them alone — the Amish, for example. Our constitution, after all, guarantees freedom of religious expression, even to oddball groups. more

The Rev. Laura Matarazzo, March 30, 2008
The story of Thomas always makes me think of the familiar saying, “Seeing is believing;” a phrase we’ve all used at one time or another. But, we also say, “I could hardly believe my eyes,” and “looks are deceptive.” And how about, “I thought I was seeing things!” which implies that what we have seen may not be what we have seen! On the one hand, we insist that our physical sight provides the best evidence for reality and, on the other hand, we do not trust our physical sight to “see” what is real! So, which is it? Do we need to see to believe…or might it be the opposite: that we need to believe in order to see? more

The Rev. Christopher Brdlik, EASTER DAY, March 23, 2008

My friends, let me wish you a blessed and happy Easter. And let me welcome you to Calvary Church, welcome to this celebration of the enduring truth of God’s power to resurrect, God’s intention to restore, to raise up, to overcome whatever obstacle that stands between us and a loving relationship with God. For Easter celebrates the truth that the worst part of the story is never the end of the story — the worst thing to happen is never the last thing to happen. Easter reminds us that God is in charge, and God is love. . more

The Rev. Laura Matarazzo, Good Friday, March 21, 2008
I have a problem with one particular line we just heard: “Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him with pain.” Now, historically, in this declaration from the mouth of the prophet Isaiah, the “him” in the passage is understood to mean exiled Israel, the nation that suffered so long at the hands of oppressors. The people of Israel interpreted their exile as punishment from God for their unfaithfulness. Then, the early church saw in this image of what is called “the suffering servant,” their crucified Messiah, Jesus; and so we hear it today: “Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him with pain.” Hearing it thus, I take issue with it on two counts. more

The Rev. Laura Matarazzo, Palm Sunday, March 16, 2008
Paul advises us this morning to “Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus.” “Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus.” This seems to me like a very good place to begin this holiest of weeks in our calendar of faith. Putting on the mind of Christ, getting into his skin, as it were, to walk with him to the end of his path on earth; to join him on his way to Jerusalem, to sit with him at table in the upper room, to climb with him the hill of Calvary. To the extent we can, to take on the form of his experience. more

The Rev. Christopher Brdlik, March 9, 2008

March is a month of much wind and certainly last night was an example. It’s hard to imagine an evening with such a restless feeling. And yet I can remember several of them, particularly from the time I used to hike and backpack much more frequently, when the early spring wind made the nights positively scary. Such as the dark night in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia with a friend from seminary, when the crashing of heavy tree limbs in the wind over our little nylon tent made us pray for the relief of sunrise and silence. Or the early spring hike my wife and I took as newlyweds in the Rockies of Montana when we discovered a hunter’s camp abandoned from the previous autumn, tents blown down and equipment scattered by the winter and wildlife. more

The Rev. Laura Matarazzo, February 24, 2008
My sermon today is framed by a question and an answer, both of which we have just heard in our scriptures. The question: “Is the Lord among us or not?” The answer: “I am he, the one who is speaking to you.” It is between these two realities that most of us live our lives; that is, the tension between our human experiences that try our faith and our sure connection with a loving God who is ever-present. In that tension, let us take care not to “harden our hearts,” as the Psalm says, lest we close ourselves off from our divine potential and create a desert within us. more

The Rev. Christopher Brdlik, February 17, 2008

En arche ein ho Logos. “In the beginning was the Word.” That simple declarative sentence opens the first chapter of the Gospel according to John, and it opens to us the meaning of this book, which is the definitive statement of the divinity of Christ. En arche ein ho Logos. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The Word was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.” (John 1:1-3.) more

The Rev. Laura Matarazzo, February 10, 2008
A message I am taking from our gospel this morning…a little piece of Lenten advice I share with you is this: Beware of “If.” That’s right, beware of the word, “if.” It’s a small word, but one that may draw you onto some dangerous ground if you’re not careful. more

The Rev. Christopher Brdlik, January 20, 2008

A woman who travels for a living found herself at Dulles Airport outside Washington, DC, with time on her hands before her next flight. It was Sunday, and she hadn’t gone to church prior to her trip. But Terminal B at Dulles has a nice chapel, she was pleased to discover, and she went in to do her prayers and meditation. The chapel’s atmosphere, pleasant and appealing, was far from the agitation of the crowds in the Terminal. So she stayed in the pew, maybe for more than an hour. While it was quiet, she wasn’t alone. About three other people were like her -Christians, apparently, who stopped in for prayer. But a dozen or fifteen other visitors clearly were Muslim. more

The Rev. Laura Matarazzo, January 13, 2008
How graceful…to hear this story of Jesus’ baptism at the start of a new year! How blessed we are for this confluence of contemporary time and liturgical time; for, surely, the baptism of our Lord Jesus can inspire us here, at the beginning of 2008, by reminding us of our baptismal identity as members of the body of Christ on earth. more

The Rev. Christopher Brdlik, January 6, 2008

In our Bible, in the Old Testament, the section called the Books of Wisdom deals not with the history of patriarchs and prophets, nor with the Law of Moses. Rather, Wisdom books concern that part of the religious life that is – well, not necessarily religious. The Wisdom tradition records advice and learning about the ordinary affairs of daily life, like the Book of Proverbs. Often the Wisdom conveyed, even in the Old Testament, does not specifically speak of God, but passes on secular or cultural norms. The Wisdom tradition existed in non-Jewish circles as well. The Greeks had a strong Wisdom literature. And, at this time of the year, we’re reminded of the Magi, the Wise Men, Eastern sages, representing the Persian Wisdom tradition, who journeyed to worship the newborn Jesus Christ. more

Sermons: 2007
The Rev. Laura Matarazzo, December 23, 2007
I am pleased to present to you this morning one of the undersung heroes of our common story; one of a long line of noble persons who, if he were an actor today, would easily win the Oscar for “Best Actor in a Supporting Role.” I present to you Joseph: son of Jacob, husband of Mary, father of Jesus. more

The Rev. Christopher Brdlik, December 16, 2007

Last week’s Annual Meeting went smoothly. We had a good turnout — more people than usual. And the Parish Hall looked great in its handsome new paint with decorations all around left over from the Christmas bazaar. The speakers were brief but thorough. All made the point: the parish is in fine financial shape, but it walks a fine line, needing every dollar and welcoming every gift. Then a curious thing happened. At the end of the agenda, we waited for questions. . . And waited some more. . . For the first time I can remember no one asked a question, not even for clarification. It’s a curious thing that no one is curious about things. more

The Rev. Christopher Brdlik, November 18, 2007

Note: Since I wrote and preached this sermon, I have decided that it says what I want to communicate to the parish this year as we approach our congregational meeting. Therefore, let it stand as the Rector’s Annual Report to Calvary Church. –CB.

Jesus Christ didn’t have very good luck with ecclesiastical buildings. In the synagogue at Nazareth, his home village, he was invited to read a lesson from the Scriptures. Everyone there must have recognized great ability and spirituality in the young rabbi. But when he began to preach that he was the fulfillment of the prophecy of Scripture, they threw him out of the building. more

The Rev. Laura Matarazzo, November 11, 2007
I read a poignant story this week about a woman whose elderly father cam to speak to her about his inevitable death. Gently, he told her that he had decided to be buried beside the beloved wife with whom he had spent the past ten years—his daughter’s stepmother. This, of course, meant that he would not be buried beside her mother, and he wanted to know how she would feel about that. Luckily, they were meeting at a favorite diner, over coffee, and the woman made some reference to the coffee’s quality and to their history of meeting there to give herself time to ponder this unexpected intention. more

The Rev. Christopher Brdlik, October 28, 2007
The wind and the wildfires in southern California have died down for now. Hundreds of thousands of people in San Diego and Los Angeles were evacuated from their homes this week. Now they have largely returned, though there are still fires in isolated areas. When the fires started last Sunday in Malibu, I was reminded vividly of a conference I attended 15 years ago at a Franciscan Retreat Center in Malibu Canyon. The Franciscans built an attractive monastery in a remarkable place: on a butte, or promontory of land set in the middle of the canyon with views of the Pacific Ocean a mile or two off to the south, and Pepperdine University on a ridge to the west. In the valley below the Franciscan Center, circling it on every side, were the expensive homes of Hollywood luminaries. more

The Rev. Christopher Brdlik, October 21, 2007
Dr. Reginald Fuller, my professor of New Testament at Virginia Seminary, died earlier this year. He was a notable figure in the world of biblical scholarship, and of course important to me in my development as a Christian and a priest. Dr. Fuller was British, small and slight in stature, and always dressed in a tweed jacket and tie. He and his wife Ilse, who was German, were known for walking their little dog, Philo, around the seminary campus. He took particular joy in noting the bumper stickers on students’ cars. One he liked had the message, “Read the Bible. It’ll scare the hell out of you.” more

The Rev. Laura Matarazzo, October 14, 2007
Have you ever, in the normal course of a day, had an “aha” moment like this: maybe you’re on the sideline of the soccer field on a crisp and sunny fall afternoon, or your hands are sunk in a sink of soapy dishes where you hear the warm laughter of your family in the next room, maybe you are walking rapidly to the train on a Friday afternoon, the weekend invitingly before you… have you ever experienced one of those fleeting moments when you are sharply aware that you are just fine and, more than that, blessed with abundance? more

The Rev. Christopher Brdlik, September 23, 2007
An old member of Calvary once told me that having a Labrador retriever is like living with a stomach with four legs. She told me that as I got my first Labrador. Now I have two. And she was right. My dogs were bred for good temperament, and I think they are well trained and well behaved. But sometimes that stomach just gets the better of them — say, on a walk in the woods or wandering around the yard — and there’s not much I can do but shout from a distance when they go after something taboo. This time of year acorns are a problem, a no-no for doggies, but they nibble them anyway. Or else it’s the banana peel or chicken bone found on the ground — I yell, “No!” but their tummies tell them to go ahead. more

The Rev. Laura Matarazzo, September 16, 2007
So, my questions for this morning is “Which is it? Is God this angry, vengeful overlord who heaps devastation and desolation upon us because we cannot help but turn away and follow other gods? Or is God the one who loves us so much that he simply cannot let go; WILL NOT let go of a single one of us, no matter how far we may stray. Does God throw up his arms and rain down destruction at our faithlessness ….or does God bow down, come down… become one of us, to collect us from the darkness that separates us from him? more

The Rev. Christopher Brdlik, September 9, 2007
John Kenneth Galbraith, the gifted economist of the mid-20th century, left an imprint on thinking in economics and public policy that looms large today. But Galbraith’s range of inquiry was so broad, his stamp was placed on other disciplines as well, on language, for example. Fifty years ago, in writing The Affluent Society, he coined the term “conventional wisdom,” a lasting contribution to post-modern discourse. For Galbraith, conventional wisdom was not a compliment. He wrote, “We associate truth with convenience, with what most closely accords with self-interest and personal well-being, or promises best to avoid awkward effort or unwelcome dislocation of life. We also find highly acceptable what contributes most to self-esteem.” This is conventional wisdom, what one admirer of Galbraith called whatever is “simple, convenient, comfortable, and comforting — though not necessarily true.” Galbraith was speaking of economic thought, of course. But what he wrote applies, I think, more broadly to human experience. more

The Rev. Laura Matarazzo, September 2, 2007
What do you think of yourself? Seriously, how do you measure up in your own eyes? Are you intelligent? Kind? Do you think of yourself as particularly generous? Empathetic or understanding? By your own standards, do you consider yourself a good person? Would you call yourself faithful, devoted, loyal, honorable…or capricious, fickle, and vain? Are you never good enough, thin enough, smart enough or young enough? more

The Rev. Laura Matarazzo, August 19, 2007
Those of you who are gardeners, as I am, are familiar with the horticultural practice of division. When a perennial plant has grown and multiplied itself over the years there comes a time when it needs to be uprooted and divided in order to encourage new growth. Years ago, when Matty and I moved to the farm, I was presented with a number of long-neglected garden plants that needed just such treatment. I remember, in particular, a massive clump of irises, their tubers so thickly intertwined that they were literally strangling themselves. more

The Rev. Laura Matarazzo, August 5, 2007
This morning, George Hayman, our Parish Administrator, has presented us with a rather strange image on the front of our bulletin. From time to time, he likes to sneak some humor or whimsy into our sometimes staid weekly practices. You have before you a caricature of William Connor Magee, Bishop of Petersborough and later (briefly) Archbishop of York in the late 19th century. George found this image in his Google search around the word, “vanity” and you can just make out the title of the magazine in which it appeared: “Vanity Fair.” more

The Rev. Laura Matarazzo, July 29, 2007
The great 18th century writer Samuel Johnson once said, “Great works are not accomplished by strength but by persistence.” That is what I invite all of us to ponder today—persistence, and particularly persistence in prayer. Some of you may have seen a recent film called “Amazing Grace.” It is the story of William Wilberforce, 19th century Member of Parliament in England who, by the way, we remember in our church calendar tomorrow—July 30th. William Wilberforce championed the cause against the British slave trade. more

The Rev. Laura Matarazzo, July 22, 2007
I have a dear friend for whom the story of Martha and Mary raises hackles. I don’t think she is alone in having a decided reaction to this story, for it does convey a seeming lack of regard for Martha’s service; at the very least, a mixed message about how we are to respond appropriately to Jesus in our midst. Indeed, one of the notes in my study Bible reads, “Interpreters find in the story of Martha and Mary conflicting messages on service and listening.” more

The Rev. Christopher Brdlik, July 8, 2007
“First, do no harm.” Most of us recognize that phrase as the opening line of the Hippocratic Oath, the ethical statement that physicians vow to uphold when they go through the ceremony granting them the authority to practice medicine. “First, do no harm.” Even if we don’t know anything more about the Hippocratic Oath (and most of us don’t), that initial statement is enough to give us confidence when we place our lives, literally, into the hands of medical practitioners — confidence we will be treated well. Such confidence, shared by the public, gives the medical profession high standing in our society, a recognized reputation for intelligence, educational achievement, and humanitarian dedication. more

The Rev. Christopher Brdlik, July 1, 2007
One or two times a week I like to leave the TV on after the late news and weather to watch a few minutes of the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Sometimes Jay does a funny thing called “Jay-walking,” where he walks out on the street with a microphone and asks passersby simple questions, easy ones, really. But often people cannot answer them, or at least they pretend they can’t. This week he asked about our nation’s birthday: What holiday is coming up? One woman answered, “The Fourth of July.” What does it celebrate? “July fourth,” she said. But why, what does that mean? “Oh,” she answered, “Independence.” Independence from whom? A long pause. Then she said, “America?” more

The Rev. Christopher Brdlik, June 24, 2007
Events this week reminded me of another week in June, about a dozen years ago, also the last week of school. Son Ben was finishing the fourth grade. On the final half-day of classes, I picked him up around noon. Exiting the school parking lot Ben leaned the upper part of his body out through the open window (until I told him to sit down and put on his seat-belt), shouting, “I’m free! I’m free!” His friends on the sidewalk yelled back, “I’m free! I’m free!” We drove home, got out of the car, and I puttered around the garage waiting for lunch. About 15 minutes later — 15 minutes! — Ben appeared at the door of the garage and declared, “I’m bored.” more

The Rev. Laura Matarazzo, June 17, 2007
It is the season of school yearbooks, and I remember a popular feature of mine—one that was eagerly anticipated by the whole senior class. It was the “personality poll,” a somewhat tongue-in-cheek collection of “awards,” naming people by a dominant quality of theirs. (the teens tell me it’s called “Senior Superlatives” in the Summit High School yearbook.) I’m sure many of you remember something like this, with categories such as “chatterbox,” “friendliest,” or “class clowns.” more

The Rev. Christopher Brdlik, June 10 2007

Names are important; we value people with the gift of remembering names; and the naming of things — persons and places — is one of the distinctive habits of humanity, well attested in history and literature, including the Bible. Giving something a name establishes a relationship with that something, and gives personality to that relationship. For instance, the baptisms we perform today are the direct descendants of ancient naming ceremonies. For generations parents have celebrated the naming of their newborn children. more

The Rev. Laura Matarazzo, Trinity Sunday, June 3, 2007
In the name of God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen. Or, in the name of God the Creator, God the Redeemer, and God the giver of life…Or, God of love, Prince of Peace, Spirit of life…Or, in the words of the New Zealand Prayer Book: Love-maker, Pain-bearer, Life-giver… Today is Trinity Sunday, the day in our liturgical year when we acknowledge the triune God. more

The Rev. Christopher Brdlik, Day of Pentecost, May 27, 2007
One theme about Pentecost we all remember: It is regarded as the birthday of the Church. So let me begin this morning by wishing you the greetings of the day: “Happy birthday, dear Christians, happy birthday to you!” Like all birthdays Pentecost has an exchange of presents. Most of these gifts come from God to the Church. But in one case the Church presents a gift to the world. Let me explain by tracking down some of the interesting details of the story of Pentecost recorded by St. Luke in the second chapter of the Acts of the Apostles. more

The Rev. Laura Matarazzo, May 20, 2007
There is an old and probably overused story about a little boy who was walking along a beach littered with starfish. The tide had carried the delicate creatures to shore where they were stranded, just out of reach of the water they needed to live; and so the boy begins to pick up the starfish, one by one, and throw them back into the sea. more

The Rev. Christopher Brdlik, May 6, 2007
Sometime during the last year I passed a personal milestone, having now lived in Summit longer than any other place in my life. However, I have spent more years of my life in total living within the borders of Virginia, the Old Dominion. That’s a matter of some pride this week as the nation celebrates the 400th anniversary of the founding of the Jamestown colony, the first permanent English settlement in North America. One thing I share with most Virginians is a love of history, and we could certainly indulge our passion recently. For Virginians know well the history of Jamestown, and believe it should occupy as important place in the national consciousness as the landing at Plymouth Rock in Massachusetts. Because Jamestown was first. more

The Rev. Christopher Brdlik, April 29, 2007
At a Bible study earlier this week someone said the rural, agricultural metaphors used in the Scriptures don’t always make sense to us anymore. Here in suburbia, he said, we are so distant from the life of a farmer that we hardly know what it means to harvest wheat or herd sheep. I’m not so sure. Even in the city people are aware of the cycle of life of growing things and appreciate the blossoms of spring. more

The Rev. Laura Matarazzo, April 22, 2007
We keep killing each other. It’s one thing that we human beings do consistently…since the time of brothers Cain and Abel, we have taken each other’s lives. We kill each other because we are afraid, or because we disagree; because we want something that someone else has; because we are alienated, outcast, and angry; hurt, sick, demented. more

The Rev. Laura Matarazzo, April 15, 2007
Here, once more, is the classic tale of Thomas, the one who gives us permission to doubt and reminds us of Jesus’ longing for us to know him and to trust him. Today, however, I’d like to focus not on Thomas but on Jesus and, in particular, what it was that made the risen Christ recognizable to his closest friends. more

The Rev. Christopher Brdlik, Easter Day, April 8, 2007
Happy Easter everyone! Christ is risen indeed, and we are glad indeed to gather and to celebrate the power of Resurrection on this Easter morning. It’s unusually cool for Easter, perhaps even colder than Christmas. Yet we hope, through our prayers and music this morning, to create in our celebration the warmth we associate with the new birth of spring. more

The Rev. Christopher Brdlik, March 25, 2007
Let me talk this morning about several articles in the newspapers this past week. Whenever the Episcopal Church is the object of journalism, when the news is about the Episcopal Church rather than how the Episcopal Church is responding in ministry to the news (of some disaster or crisis), people get concerned and wonder what’s happening. They’re asked by their friends what’s going on in their Church. They ask themselves what to tell their families. Some P.R. person once said that no publicity is ever bad. But I’m not sure our people really believe that. When they read an article in the paper about their Church, at least they wonder and sometimes they get concerned. more

The Rev. Robert Corin Morris, March 18, 2007

A Tale of Two Brothers and the Gospel Call to Adulthood

Summary of a Sermon preached by The Rev. Robert Corin Morris

at Calvary Episcopal Church, Summit, NJ

on the Third Sunday in Lent, March 18, 2007


The Rev. Christopher Brdlik, March 11, 2007
Listeners of a certain age will remember these words: “Crest has been shown to be an effective decay-preventive dentifrice that can be of significant value when used in a conscientiously applied program of daily use and regular professional care.” Remember that? If you were watching TV in the 1960’s, you probably could repeat it from memory, without having to look at the box. Crest was the first toothpaste to receive approval from the Council on Dental Therapeutics of the American Dental Association. It was heavily advertised. Suburban moms, like my own, rushed out to buy in great quantities the pale blue toothpaste, replacing the white Colgate that had formerly occupied their medicine cabinets. more

The Rev. Laura Matarazzo, Ash Wednesday, February 21, 2007
Today we are invited to the observance of a Holy Lent. Nowhere else in our liturgical tradition is there a clearer call to participation in our common life in Christ. No such words issue in the season of Advent. There is no declaration of intention at the start of Epiphany or on the Feast of Pentecost. Lent, like no other time in our church year, draws us into intentional holy living. more

The Rev. Christopher Brdlik, February 18, 2007
Ladies and gentlemen! Members of the press! And the radio and television audience! I am proud to announce today the formation of an exploratory committee to explore my candidacy for President of the United States! Though I am not yet officially announcing that I am running for the nomination, this exploratory committee will help me raise money as I run without officially announcing whether I have decided to run. Therefore, following the services today, I will embark on a “listening tour” to Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, listening to the American people tell me what I want to hear: that I should officially announce I am running. more

The Rev. Christopher Brdlik, February 4, 2007
Well, it’s Super Bowl Sunday in the US of A today, the weekend of the year when even the amateur fan reads the sports pages and becomes a football expert. Drive around Summit later this afternoon — once the last minute dash to the store for more chip and dip is over — and you’ll notice very little activity — an uncommon quiet in the streets even for a Sunday afternoon — as people settle down before their TV’s to watch the big game. I sat next to Bishop Counsell of New Jersey the other night at a dinner. He remembers the same statistic I do for the Super Bowl from a couple of years ago. On the day after the game the NFL loves to boast about the size of its TV audience, which usually sets a record. Back in the ’90’s, when I first heard the stat, that figure for the Super Bowl (the biggest day of the year in football) was 150 million viewers. But on that same day, an ordinary Sunday for Christianity, attendance at worship was almost the same: 135 million more

The Rev. Robert Corin Morris, January 28, 2007

God’s Call in Our Time—Yours and Mine

A written, and amplified, version of the sermon preached by The Rev. Robert Corin Morris at Calvary Episcopal Church

on the Fourth Sunday After Epiphany, January 28, 2007


The Rev. Laura Matarazzo, January 21, 2007
“Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing,” Jesus declared to his listeners. Faithful Jews were gathered in the synagogue to hear the teachings of their faith. The words Jesus read were from the great prophet Isaiah, who had lived some 500 years before that moment; words that called out from a time of exile and oppression; words that promised healing and restoration. Jesus reached back into the long story of his people to define himself and his mission: he set himself squarely in line with God’s loving intention for creation and named himself the fulfillment of that loving intention. more

The Rev. Christopher Brdlik, January 14, 2007
Twice in my life I’ve taken on the discipline of flying lessons, of learning to fly a small private plane — once when I was a teenager, and again, when I turned 40. In both cases the expense of lessons and planes prevented me from getting a private pilot’s license. But of course I enjoyed the experience: the romance associated with the freedom of the open skies, the appeal of mastering the controls of a fine piece of machinery, the sense of adventure, the risk. And, of course, going through ground school, I learned a lot of (maybe) useless information. more

The Rev. Laura Matarazzo, January 7, 2007
What better way to start the New Year than to recall our baptism or, for those among us who are not baptized, to reflect upon its meaning and power. It is the sacrament that births us into the body of Christ and into the Church of God. What better way to be renewed than to remember the waters in which we are cleansed from sin and reborn; sealed by the Holy Spirit, marked as Christ’s own forever; and, like Jesus, named BELOVED by God. What better way to begin 2007 than by remembering that each one of us is a beloved child of the living God! more

Sermons: 2006
The Rev. Christopher Brdlik, December 31, 2006
In September 1974 I began my theological education, enrolling that month in Virginia Seminary, located in Alexandria, just across the Potomac from Washington, DC. . . The next day was Sunday, September 7th. I remember the date because it was my birthday. A local parish, Immanuel on the Hill, used the Seminary chapel for its Sunday services. That day Immanuel Church’s new young curate, the Rev. Pat Merchant, preached one of her first sermons. It was on forgiveness. In the congregation that morning was a man who had worshipped at Immanuel for more than twenty years . . . The man was Gerald Ford, and he had just become President of the United States. more

The Rev. Laura Matarazzo, Christmas Day, December 25, 2006
Our Presiding Bishop has sent us a Christmas message this week. It is entitled, quite simply, “God Among Us,” and it encourages us, at this feast of God’s incarnation, to be open to the presence of God in all of life. Now, I have spent the season of Advent teaching the Rule of Benedict, a way of life predicated upon the reality that God is with us in all things and so I thought I knew all about “God Among Us,” and her words about the birth of Christ really resonated with me. more

The Rev. Christopher Brdlik, Christmas Eve, December 24, 2006
Merry Christmas, everyone, and welcome to Calvary Episcopal Church on this holy night celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, with prayers and anthems and carols. And with communion, too. I want to make sure you know you are invited to share in communion at the altar when that time comes in the service. This is God’s holy table, not our own, and we believe God wants us to share fellowship at the table just as God offered to everyone the special gift of his Son on that night in Bethlehem. more

The Rev. Christopher Brdlik, December 17, 2006
I grew up in the New York metropolitan area. I understand the customs, like the New York way to walk down the street. Don’t make eye contact. Keep to yourself. Let other passers-by just pass by — don’t recognize or acknowledge them. Don’t look like an out-of-towner, gaping up at the buildings. Here’s why: The New York way lets you maintain a sense of personal space in a crowded, congested city. It values anonymity as a daily defense mechanism, keeping the crazies at bay. But when I moved back to the area twelve years ago, I consciously violated the custom. Walking back and forth from the rectory to the church, I intentionally greeted people on the Woodland Avenue sidewalk. This was conscious. . . more

The Rev. Christopher Brdlik, December 3, 2006
The first thing I need to do today is to wish you a Happy New Year. Advent season marks the beginning of the Christian calendar, the liturgical new year, and today conveniently corresponds with the date of our annual meeting. As I report to the congregation on the year that has passed, what comes to mind is a series of pictures, mental photos from some parish family album, pictures taken of scenes away from Calvary on those occasions in 2006 when the parish extended itself. more

The Rev. Christopher Brdlik, November 26, 2006
It seems as if you can’t call a business these days without hearing this phone menu: “To continue in English, press 1. Por español, dos.” Does that irritate you? Or have you pretty much grown accustomed to it? Globalization of the world’s peoples and cultures is all around us, sometimes creating conflict. The issue becomes more ominous when it concerns religions. The newspapers are full of these stories. Just last week six Muslim holy men were kicked off a plane in Minneapolis. more

The Rev. Laura Matarazzo, November 19, 2006
A couple of weeks ago, I saw the Wizard of Oz on television. I’m sure most of you are familiar with the story. Like many classic tales, it deals with perception and reality and our human experience of both. The scene I want to remind you of is near the end of the story—after Dorothy and her friends have dutifully destroyed the wicked witch of the West and removed the dark pall of her presence in the land. They return to the palatial room of the great Oz, who gave them this awful task, to apprise him of their success and to receive their respective rewards… more

The Rev. Christopher Brdlik, November 12, 2006
Let me begin this morning at the point where I intend also to finish. And that’s with an admission: I was wrong. Let me say that I think I was wrong in my initial response to the news about the election of Katharine Jefferts Schori as our next Presiding Bishop. Back in June, when all this happened, my first response was irritation or exasperation that someone so inexperienced had been chosen for the highest office in our Church. . more

The Rev. Laura Matarazzo, October 22, 2006
In this time when we are celebrating our stewardship, let’s see if we can stand with our ancestor and fellow-steward Job this morning. Let us take our place beside this man who suffered through every catastrophe known to humankind—loss of loved ones, the ruin of his business, a plague upon his body and the unmerciful judgment of his peers. If we stand with Job then we, too, face God’s challenging inquisition, only some of which we heard in our reading. more

The Rev. Christopher Brdlik, October 15, 2006
Exactly 200 years ago this autumn the Corps of Discovery, captained by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, were floating down the lower reaches of the Missouri River ending their expedition across the North American continent. They had made their way successfully and scientifically from one end of Thomas Jefferson’s Louisiana Purchase to the other. And, in so doing, they had established a new identity for the young United States of America, granting it continental status across a rich and varied land, rather than just thirteen struggling outposts huddled along the Atlantic coast. more

The Rev. Christopher Brdlik, October 8, 2006
Last week’s rain cleared away just enough on my day off to bring a cool fall afternoon. I took one of the dogs and headed for a favorite trail along the Paulinskill River. For most of the hike we had the woods to ourselves. We saw no one else, except for a large turkey buzzard we startled — or rather, who startled us, and flew up into a tree to give us the ugly eyeball. Then, just about the point we intended to make a U-turn and head back to the car, we came across a group of school children intently examining something along the side of the trail. While the kids petted the dog, the principal introduced himself and his school, a charter school located on a ridge above the valley of the trail. more

The Rev. Robert Corin Morris, October 1, 2006
I got an email recently from my cousin in the South, one of those circular email political jokes sent, I suspect, to get a rise out of me. It started with the widespread conspiracy theory that a UFO crashed in New Mexico in 1947, whose alien inhabitants escaped. The whole thing was covered up by the U.S. government. “Where are those aliens now?” the joke wondered. It turns out they are the leaders of the political party I vote for. My cousin’s vote goes to the other end of the political spectrum more

The Rev. Christopher Brdlik, September 24, 2006
Yesterday, before the start of the diocesan convention to elect the new bishop, I helped register and orient the reporter from National Public Radio. He was at our convention, of course, because one of the nominees on the ballot was an openly gay man from California. “What do you do if we don’t elect him?” I asked. “Then you don’t have much of a story.” He agreed that the newsworthiness depended on the gay candidate. more

The Rev. Laura Matarazzo, September 17, 2006
A priest of this diocese died last month. His name was Dana Rose and I attended his memorial service at the cathedral yesterday. I knew Dana some; we shared a common interest in youth and he came here a couple of years ago to address the J2A group. At the service, several people offered remembrances, and I learned more about his rocky path of faith. more

The Rev. Christopher Brdlik, September 10, 2006
The dog is not man’s best friend in the Middle East. Domestic canines do not have the same level of affection we hold for them in the West. Middle Easterners don’t fawn over them or pamper them or keep them in such close companionship as we do. In some cases dogs are regarded as only one small step in respectability above the pig. more

The Rev. Christopher Brdlik, September 3, 2006
This weekend marks the end of summer, the relaxed season of the year. But around the parish office the end of summer is actually quite busy, and there’s been a lot of activity at Calvary recently. Our new coordinator of children’s ministry, Bonnie Magnuson, has been hard at work recruiting and training teachers, finding new curriculum, checking out the classrooms, and generally introducing and orienting herself to our parish. Laurie Matarazzo has been busy planning the youth groups for fall…. more

The Rev. Laura Matarazzo, August 27, 2006
t’s not often that our holy scriptures conform to popular culture, but I must say that two of today’s readings are as much about “image” as our favorite magazines. Some might say, we are obsessed with personal image in these United States; and here we have Jesus and Paul weighing in on two of the most important components of image—what we eat and what we wear. This morning, these two rival the food and fashion editors of “GQ” and “Elle”– Jesus with his advice on our diet, and Paul with his outrageous fashion statement! more

The Rev. Christopher Brdlik, August 20, 2006
Somewhere out there in TV Land — maybe on the Animal Planet Channel — is a new series about dog obedience training hosted by its latest guru. This is a man who got his start working as a professional dog walker in the City. His shtick is a critique of American dog owners for their laissez-faire attitude when it comes to dog training. Dogs are pack animals, he points out, and they will obey you only if you lead them like a top dog. Americans let their dogs go first. He believes he should go first. more

The Rev. Laura Matarazzo, August 13, 2006
Has anyone ever surprised you? …I don’t mean as in showing up on your doorstep unannounced; or, jumping up from behind a sofa on a particularly memorable birthday… I’m talking about the kind of surprise you feel when you think you know someone…you’ve known them a long time, maybe you even live with them. You have an idea of how they think and a sense of how their emotions run; you’ve watched them respond to circumstances and challenges; you’ve been with them when they were angry and when they were at a loss for words… I’m talking about the kind of surprise you feel when someone you think you know behaves in a completely unexpected and wonderful way. Has anyone ever surprised you like that? more

The Rev. Laura Matarazzo, July 23, 2006
The news from the Middle East once again threatened to bury my hope for peace under escalating counts of rockets and missiles and bombings and deaths this week. Last Sunday, in conversation with my mother, I heard myself say, “I am hopeless about the situation.” Hopeless is an awful word and an even more awful condition, and one that should be foreign to we who hope for a kingdom where peace will reign, where truth sets people free, and where love is the essence of all life. more

The Rev. Laura Matarazzo, July 16, 2006
The Psalmist asks, “Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place?” The answer: “Those who have clean hands and pure hearts, who do not lift up their souls to what is false, and do not swear deceitfully.” more

The Rev. Christopher Brdlik, July 9, 2006
Three weeks ago I was sitting in the lobby of a hotel somewhere in central Anatolia, getting ready for another day of sight-seeing and dialogue on the interfaith/intercultural tour of Turkey that I described for you last Sunday. Someone in the group had brought along a laptop, which produced the news from home that the Episcopal Church had elected Katharine Jefferts Schori as the next Presiding Bishop. A woman on the tour asked me my reaction. She, a Roman Catholic and a professor of Religion at Felician College, favors women’s ordination and seemed pleased by the news. I surprised myself, however, by the negativity of my response. more

The Rev. Christopher Brdlik, July 2, 2006

Listen to the following propositions and consider if you agree:

“Religions, languages, and ethnicities exist so that we can learn from, not fight, each other.”

“We share values to promote; we share problems to solve.”

“Coexistence of civilizations is possible only through dialogue; dialogue is a virtue of globalization.”

“The pillars of dialogue are love, tolerance, compassion and forgiveness: Love is the essence of existence. Tolerance is our binding spirit. Compassion and forgiveness are inclusive aspects of a just society, in which individuals will flourish, and community will arise.”

“Diversity is our richness. Diversity without dialogue causes fear; dialogue without diversity brings distortion.”

Are these sentiments with which you can agree? more

The Rev. Laura Matarazzo, June 18, 2006
When our Parish Administrator George Hayman first showed me the picture he had created for the cover of today’s bulletin, I laughed…. If you look, you will see there a photograph of a mustard bush, towering over the head of my husband, Matty. On second thought, I realized the value of the picture for our reflection this morning. It brings the message of our scripture into our present lives more

The Rev. Christopher Brdlik, June 11, 2006
W.W.J.D.: What would Jesus do? That catchphrase was invented by a youth minister a couple of years ago. She wanted a handy way for her teenagers to refer to the example of Jesus when making decisions. W.W.J.D. More recently the catchphrase has taken on a contemporary edge: What would Jesus drive? more

The Rev. Laura Matarazzo, June 4, 2006
Let us begin, this morning, by taking a deep breath, as we are able. Let us to be aware of this life-giving activity…this essential movement that supplies oxygen to our bodies. Note the rhythm of exchange as you inhale and exhale; notice the air around you and in you. more

The Rev. Laura Matarazzo, May 21, 2006
Jesus calls his disciples friends and invites them to abide in his love. He declares that this abiding friendship will yield “fruit that will last.” more

The Rev. Christopher Brdlik, May 28, 2006
I once heard that, in the 1860’s, the editors of The New York Times withheld publication of an editorial opinion on some issue, pending the outcome of the discussion on the same issue at the annual convention of the Episcopal Diocese of New York. more

The Rev. Christopher Brdlik, May 14, 2006
. . . I, however, have just returned from a mission trip to Mississippi for Hurricane Katrina relief, and I want to report on it. more

The Rev. Laura Matarazzo, May 7, 2006
We call this “Good Shepherd” Sunday, the 4th Sunday of Easter. After two weeks of appearance stories, we are reminded of the character of this Lord who died and rose again for us. He calls himself “The Good Shepherd.” Psalm 23—arguably the most well-known of all the Psalms—eloquently expresses the nature of our Lord and our relationship with him. more

The Rev. Christopher Brdlik, April 30, 2006
I did something for the first time ever this week, and I’ll bet you did, too: I paid three dollars for a gallon of gasoline. more

The Rev. Laura Matarazzo, April 23, 2006
“Peace be with you.” Here are the risen Christ’s first words to his friends upon his return from the grave. “Peace be with you,” he says in greeting these men and women who are full of fear and mightily confused, and maybe on the very edge of despair. more

The Rev. Christopher Brdlik, April 16, 2006 Easter Day
One year spring came this way: the earth moved around her axis and pointed her north end toward the center if the solar system. The sun’s rays penetrated the atmosphere and warmed the soil, just the surface at first, then, gradually, deeper and deeper. The days grew longer. The birds returned. This was just as God had intended. more

The Rev. Christopher Brdlik, April 9, 2006
What does it mean to be a member of a church called “Calvary,” named for the hill on which Jesus was crucified? What does it mean for us to follow Jesus on the Way of the Cross? more

The Rev. Laura Matarazzo, April 2, 2006
John 3:16. We see it in the stands at professional football games, held aloft on a poster by faithful fans who seek to bring Christ into the stadium. more

The Rev. Laura Matarazzo, March 26, 2006
John 3:16. We see it in the stands at professional football games, held aloft on a poster by faithful fans who seek to bring Christ into the stadium; we see it on license plates, T-shirts, bookmarks, baseball caps and bumper stickers. It just may be the most famous verse of the New Testament. Martin Luther called it “the gospel in miniature.” “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. “ more

The Rev. Christopher Brdlik, March 19, 2006
Two of the pillars of the ancient world — Jewish ethics and Roman law — conspired to crucify Christ. Two of the accomplishments most important and notable in the development of civilization more

The Rev. Laura Matarazzo, March 12, 2006
For most of us, death is about the worst thing than can happen in this life. Your take on this position may depend upon your age, experience, circumstance, or faith in God; but, by and large, for most people, death is about the worst thing that can happen in this life. more

The Rev. Robert Corin Morris, March 5, 2006
Every encounter of our lives involves a choice for or against Christ and our own potential Christhood more

The Rev. Christopher Brdlik, February 28, 2006
Out in the country west of here I have a favorite road I travel over as often as possible. It’s on a regular route that I have to take — well, okay, it’s the scenic version of the regular route. But it’s not so far out of the way that I can’t justify using it. The road is narrow and slow, crossing a brook time and again as it traverses a little valley. As it nears the end, the road takes two sharp curves — a right, and then a left — as it descends a steep hill. Of course, those curves are marked with a yellow sign to warn drivers what’s coming. But the sign is wrong. It shows the road curving first left, and then right -the opposite of what’s the case. more

The Rev. Laura Matarazzo, February 19, 2006
Today’s readings and collect speak to us of love and of newness. In our collect we prayed for God to “send your Holy Spirit and pour into our hearts your greatest gift, which is love, the true bond of peace and all virtues.” Through the prophet, Isaiah, God declares that God is doing a new thing; and in our gospel story we see Jesus bring newness of life to a paralytic. So, let’s look at what we know about love and about new things. more

The Rev. Christopher Brdlik, February 12, 2006
I want to say three things this morning, and only the latter two are connected. First, today is being observed as Evolution Sunday. Charles Darwin, originator of the theory of natural selection, was born on this day in 1809. …Theology done well and thoughtfully is not negated by scientific discovery. Religion that resists science tends to lose the intellectual argument. See Galileo and Copernicus, for example. Yet let me make the same point in a different way by reminding you, as I’ve mentioned in sermons before, that Charles Darwin was an ordained Anglican clergyman. more

The Rev. Laura Matarazzo, February 5, 2006
“In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed.” This one sentence in scripture, the like of which occurs only rarely and which is almost always lost behind the dazzling miracles and the astounding teachings, is the one we need to hear today. more

The Rev. Christopher Brdlik, January 29, 2006
Religions sometimes establish strange customs. Sectarian religious groups are often known for unusual traditions in clothing, eating, or habits. Observing these customs gives believers a sense of identity apart from the wider world — indeed sometimes they seem a defense from the wider world. more

The Rev. Laura Matarazzo, January 22, 2006
The Psalmist sings, “God has spoken once, twice have I heard it, that power belongs to God.” Power belongs to God. Think about it; this acknowledgment is at the very heart of our faith. Power belongs to God. more

The Rev. Christopher Brdlik, January 15, 2006
Two Friday evenings ago I got back to the house after walking the dogs when the phone rang. It was the voice of a parishioner: “We’re wondering if you’re watching the program,” she said. “You know, the new program about the Episcopal priest.” I wasn’t watching it, but thought maybe I should. It isn’t often that our Church and my profession get any attention from the popular media. The program’s name is “The Book of Daniel,” and it’s about the rector in a wealthy Westchester congregation, the Rev. Daniel Webster, whose personal and professional problems are manifold. more

The Rev. Laura Matarazzo, January 8, 2006
To begin with, today, I invite you to a brief exercise about listening, using this Tibetan prayer bowl. I ask you to close your eyes, as you are able, and try to listen with more than just your ears. Try to listen with your whole body. more

The Rev. Christopher Brdlik, January 1, 2006
As we begin a new year, 2006, let us pause first and consider this point: Habits are made up of virtues and vices. There isn’t a soul alive with an operating conscience who doesn’t know the difference. And there isn’t a soul alive who doesn’t know about itself which virtues need encouragement and which vices need change. more