What the Waters Know: Re-Reading John 1:29-42

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Photo by Erinn Fahey

By James W. Perkinson

He lifted me out of the desolate pit, out of the mire and clay; he set my feet upon a high cliff and made my footing sure (Ps 40:2).

I myself did not know him; but I came baptizing with water for this reason, that he might be revealed to Israel. (Jh 1:31)

The next day John again was standing with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he exclaimed, “Look, here is the Lamb of God!” (Jh 1:36).

So we sit today in bit of snow here in Motown, while our news feeds show weekly pile-ups of cold precipitation elsewhere across the land—and pile-ups, as well, of twisted metal in our stupid infatuation with cars and speed—as the Great Stream of Jetting Air bends south and brutal, from the Arctic Circle to Arizona, in announcement that Change, with a capital “C’ is not future, but here.  And we wonder about the upheaval of an entire planet.  Australia become a living kiln, cooking up a billion-fold of living flesh, involuntary offerings to our wanton refusal to heed!  In Puerto Rico they sleep outside, as the fracked Earth, heaving from a thousand cuts, here, there, in Oklahoma now grinding Her teeth in warning hundreds of times per year where She used to rest soft and fecund and quiet, but in our little cousin island to the south, slipping and sliding the soil into great fear and one more sheer nightmare.  Last time—it was the sea and sky as Maria roared through.  Now it is rock and sand, all serving notice they do not plan on being raped and plundered, forever.  But it is the poor who are first forced to hear and bear the pain.  The rest of us sleep-walk in daylight and pull the covers of night over our oblivious heads.  But our time is coming as well, I am afraid.  And we are far more culpable. Continue reading

Sermon: St. Peter’s is Not for Sale

IMG_1878Sermon by Denise Griebler,
St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, November 17, 2019

Isaiah 65:17-25
Malachi 4:1-2a
Luke 21:5-19

May we see like God sees and hope like God hopes.  And may we not be afraid to live by that sight and that love in the meantime. Amen.

These scripture passages each get us thinking about the end. Nothing like beginning with the end.  But since we are dealing with these readings so rooted in apocalypse, maybe we are on the right track.

Imagine this community, this city, this country, this world that is going to pieces in so many places – whether by poverty or war or climate reckoning – and hear the words of Isaiah again: “I am about to create new heavens and a new earth; the holy city as a joy and a place where I will rejoice in my people the way they take care of each other – no more inconsolable weeping, no body in distress, babies get to live and old people get to  live our their days.  People enjoy the fruits of their labor, have homes to live in, food to eat.  Predators will cease terrorizing of the vulnerable and they will eat side by side. Healing and peace will come to the whole community. Continue reading

Sermon: Gathered Body

footprintsBy Rev. Denise Griebler at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church
January 27, 2019

Epiphany 3C    Annual Meeting Sunday

Luke 4:13-21, 1 Corinthians 12-20

Get comfortable in your body – best you can – as we begin – feet grounded – sit on  your bottom and let your back be straight but relaxed and just breathe – sometimes that’s enough! – you don’t have to do or think anything right now – just be here – relax your shoulders – relax your jaw – relax your cheeks and your eyebrows – and just keep breathing – enjoy being in your body as it is  – and staying relaxed and present, notice the people who are around you. Breathing.  Here. Continue reading

Sermon for First Week of Advent

Advent 1

First week of Advent. Bio-regional wreath by Sarah Holst

By Rev. Denise Griebler
St. Peter’s Episcopal
Dec. 2, 2018
Advent 1C & Homecoming

An earthquake in Alaska, fires in California, hurricanes, flooding, draught, the wars – especially the war in Yemen – refugees at the border, people living under constant threat of deportation or eviction or water shut-off or exorbitant rent increases and more auto plants being shut down. The Rev. Karen Kerrigan (who was just ordained a Roman Catholic Woman Priest here at St. Peter’s) observed that we don’t even need to read the gospel this week – we could just read the newspaper! Continue reading

Sermon: Death Has No Dominion

By Bill Wylie-Kellermann, last sermon as Pastor of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, Detroit

Romans 6:1-11
Matthew 10:24-39

When I was called to St Peter’s in 2006 it marked the close of an important part of my life and the beginning of another. On the last night of 2005, Jeanie Wylie crossed over to God, having lived 7 years, and gloriously, with an aggressive brain tumor. Though marked with grief, that was nonetheless an amazing time for me, for our family: in those seven years she was teaching us how to die, and so how to live.

Continue reading

Sermon: “Preceding the Dawn”

dawn.jpgBy Bill Wylie-Kellermann, Easter Vigil, April 16, 2017
– St. Peter’s Episcopal and Detroit Catholic Worker

Matthew 281-10

Dan Berrigan, now of blessed memory, who crossed over to the ancestors and saints a year ago this month, has since been repeatedly quoted as saying, “If you want to follow Jesus, you better look good on wood.” Theology in a quip. He also said, though less famously, “It all started with the Resurrection…If only we would have stayed put!”

I love the particulars, the details of Matthew’s story of how Jesus refused to stay put – and more often than not, God is in the details. Let me mention a few unique to Matthew’s Gospel. Continue reading

Advent 1 Sermon

Advent-1.pngAdvent marks the beginning of a new church year. Radicaldiscipleship also begins a new tradition for the year of posting sermons following the lectionary readings. It is a chance to honor the work of pastors who are part of this circle of radical disciples who spend each week examining the readings and the times.

Sermon by Bill Wylie-Kellermann
Advent 1 November 27, 2016, St. Peter’s Episcopal, Detroit

Isaiah 2:1-5
Psalm 122
Romans 13:11-14
Matthew 24:36-44

Advent is certainly the favorite liturgical season in our family. My own as well. We embrace the holy in candle-lit darkness as in our Taize services beginning tomorrow evening. In fact, in our household we light the wreath and sing on the eve before – kind of like a Jewish Shabbat service beginning the day at sundown. It’s the hour of prophetic promise. We anticipate the dawn and wait. There is a wakefulness in the dark, like a stiff cold breeze on the face. The stripped down sparseness of the season is so welcome a counter to the commercial shopping season of frenzied anxiety. Not to denigrate gift giving, but to deepen the gift, I commend it more as a season of gift making, than gift buying. In those crafts and constructions are a place for prayer. Continue reading