Fear and Great Joy: A Sermon for the Great Vigil of Easter, 2017


Fear. What are you afraid of? When you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep, what kinds of things run through your mind? Cancer, dementia, Alzheimer’s? Something tragic happening to your parents or your children? Losing your job? Terrorism? A white male intoxicated with his masculinity, guns, and anger? Are you afraid of bigger things? Global warming? Nuclear war, given the increased tensions on the Korean peninsula? Continue reading


An Empty Tomb, A Resurrection Journey: A Sermon for the Great Vigil of Easter, 2015

Does anybody know what the score is right now?

How strange it is that we are gathered here tonight on a Saturday night, while the beloved Badgers are hopefully playing their hearts out in the Final Four! Yes, we do it every year, and yes, every year it’s just a little bit jarring to be worshiping and celebrating the resurrection in a dark night while all around us the world goes about its regular Saturday night routine. What’s different tonight is only that some of us are just a little more distracted than usual, as the city around us pays attention to more important things, one of our annual sporting rituals. Continue reading

Mortals, Can these bones live? A Homily for the Great Vigil of Easter, 2014

“Mortal, can these bones live?”

It’s a wonderful passage of scripture, powerfully evocative of resurrection and new life, full of earthy and eerie images. The reading from Ezekiel 37 practically shouts itself out and as a lector, it’s hard not to succumb to the temptation to add one’s own dramatic effects. We imagine ourselves Lawrence Olivier, or Maggie Smith, or Morgan Freeman declaiming it from the stage. Continue reading

Remembering Resurrection: A Homily for the Great Vigil of Easter, 2013

In addition to everything else, Holy Week and Easter are all about memories for me. Memories of family and childhood, memories of the church I grew up in, memories of college and young adulthood. But the most vivid memories are of the Holy Weeks I spent with Episcopal congregations, first as a worshiper, then as a participant and finally as celebrant. The Triduum, the Great Three Days of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Great Vigil of Easter are as powerful experiences for me now as they were the first time I witnessed them. Continue reading

An Empty Tomb, Fearful Women: The Resurrection: A Sermon for the Great Vigil of Easter, Year B

April 7, 2012

A few days ago, I was walking on Capitol Square. It was a beautiful day, warm, sunny, the crabapples almost in bloom. I looked up and across the square and saw in front of me two familiar buildings—the State Capitol and next to it, the steeple of Grace Church. As I looked, I was reminded of the history of those two buildings, of their long presence next to each other, of the visions of their builders to create and shape a vision of a certain kind of society and polity. I thought, too, of their intertwined history, the men who in the nineteenth century wielded power in both places—Fairchilds, Vilases, et al. From a distance, both church and capitol look solid, secure, built for the ages. Continue reading