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Sermon from April 22 2012

This sermon was delivered by Rev. Linda Young on April 22,  2012 - the third Sunday of Easter.

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Sermon from March 4 2012

This sermon was delivered by Rev. Peter D'Angio on March 4, 2012 - his first Sunday as the rector of Trinity Episcopal Church, Covington KY.

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Sermon from Sunday, August 7 2011

Based on: Matthew 14:22-33


The lovely thing about scripture is that there is always more than one way of looking at the story. All four of the gospels offer us multiple challenges about what Jesus really meant and what that tells us about God.

This particular reading from Matthew's gospel is multi-interpreted. Some people believe Peter's great desire to go where Jesus was made him get out of the boat and he should be commended for that. Some people take Peter to task for not keeping his eye on Jesus, which of course gives us a handy reason for why Peter started to sink. Then there are people who say this story is really about being willing to take risks because God is always there to uphold us. Certainly all of these interpretations are valid. None of us has an absolute corner on scriptural interpretation, and all of us are working to understand more about following Jesus.

The interpretation that makes the most sense to me, based on what I know about being a Christian, and the balance of scripture, is that Peter is asked to follow Jesus willingly into chaos.

The disciples are in a boat that's been battered by the waves, is far from land, and worst of all, the wind was against them the whole night. This means getting back to where they started will take a long time.

In the midst of this struggle, Jesus appears, walking on water. Understandably, the disciples are terrified. They are terrified because this walking on water stuff is completely outside their human experience. They think they have seen a ghost. They cry out in fear.

Yet all of their recent experiences with Jesus have been about normal things becoming abnormal. Remember, Jesus just fed thousands of people from two fish and five loaves (in last week's gospel). Now the disciples have spent the entire night trying to cross about six or seven miles of sea at most. And right after that, here comes someone walking on water! The disciples have good reason to be fearful. If it really is Jesus, they are probably thinking, "Is this going to be the ‘new normal?'"

Peter, impetuous leap before he looks Peter, is ready to walk into that new normal. He's ready to follow Jesus now, no waiting. But for once, just to be sure, he asks, "If it's really you, command me to do the same thing you're doing."[1] I'm pretty sure Peter didn't think he would be any less afraid, he simply thought following Jesus was what to do even if he was afraid. Peter thought following Jesus was all and everything and yes, if that really was the "new normal" then he'd better step out into it.

We may not like this and I'm pretty sure neither did Peter most of the time, but this is how Jesus works. This is how God, made in the shape of God among us, works in the world. What was normal is no longer normal. God creates a scary, walking on water, risky business new normal that turns everything inside out and upside down. The sick get visited, the poor get fed, the children learn to read, and those who suffer receive justice and dignity.

That is how Peter knew it was Jesus. Peter recognized that Jesus comes in the midst of chaos. He asks us to leave the familiar, the safe. He has us get into the boat and set out even when the wind is against us. And then, when we are brave enough get out of the boat, Jesus is there with his hand out when we begin to sink. Truly he is the Son of God. AMEN.

The Rev Nicolette Papanek

Trinity Episcopal Church

Covington, Kentucky


[1] Matthew 14:28b (NRSV) Paraphrase mine.

Sermon from Easter Sunday - April 24, 2011

Based on: John 20:1-18

I must admit I was sorely tempted to stand up here this morning and say:

  • Jesus died.
  • Jesus rose.
  • Go do something about it!

And then sit down.

Because truly, what else can you say on the Sunday of the Resurrection, Easter Sunday?

  • Jesus died.
  • Jesus rose.
  • Go do something about it.

If you were here on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, you have the sense of "He died." No need to belabor the point. If you missed out on the deep darkness of the story that led to today, well then, come back next year during Holy Week. We do this every year you know.

Homily from Funeral for Charles F. Allnutt - April 23, 2011

Based on: Luke 10:25-37

"Go and do likewise." These are the ending words from the scripture Charlie's family chose. It was chosen because in their eyes this scripture is most representative of Charlie's life as husband, father, friend, physician, and gentleman.

"Go and do likewise." These words at the end of Luke's story often get lost in the trivialities when the parable of the Good Samaritan becomes just another story about how to act. Yet this powerful story can signal to us there is much more than simply helping others.


Trinity Episcopal Church of Covington Kentucky
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