Sermons 2009
Pentecost 6B (Proper 10B), 12 July 2009, Mark 6:14-29

Home | Proper 17B, 30 August 2009, Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23 | Proper 16B, 23 August 2009, John 6:56-69 | Pentecost 10 (Proper 14B) 9 August 2009, John 6:35, 41-51 | Pentecost 8B (Proper 12B), John 6:1-21, 26 July 2009 | Pentecost 7B (Proper 11B), 19 July 2009, Mark 6:30-34, 53-56 | Pentecost 6B (Proper 10B), 12 July 2009, Mark 6:14-29 | Pentecost 5B (Proper 9B) 5 July 2009, Mark 6:1-13 | Pentecost 4B (Proper 8B), 28 June 2009 | Pentecost 3B (Proper 7B), 21 June 2009 | Pentecost 2B (Proper 6B), 14 June 2009 | About Pentecost, Pentecost B, 31 May 2009, | On the Trinity, Trinity B, 7 June 2009 | Jesus and Prayer, Easter 7B, 24 May 2009, John 17:6-19 | How can we love? Easter 6B, 17May 2009, John 15:9-17 | 2 Sermons: Vineyard and a Baptism, Easter 5B, 10 May 2009, John 15:1-8 | Who's in? Who's out? Easter 4B, 3 May 2009, John 10:11-18 | Sacramental Meals, Easter 3B, 16 April 2009, Luke 24:36b-48 | Resurrection, continued, Doubts, and a Baptism, Easter 2 B, 19 April 2009, John 20:19-31 | He is not here, Easter B, 12 April 2009, Mark 16:1-8 | The Seven Sayings from the Cross, Palm Sunday B 2009 | We wish to see Jesus, Lent 5B, 29 March 1009, John 12:22-33 | For God so loved the world, Lent 4B, 22 March 2009, John 3:14-21 | Out with the money changers! Lent 3B, 15 March 2009, John 2: 13-22 | On taking up the Cross, Lent 2B, 8 March 2009, Mark 8:31-38 | News or the real Good News?, Lent 1B, 1 March 2008, Mark 1: 9-15 | Listen to Him! Epiphany Last B Transfiguration, 22 February 2009, Mark 9:2-9 | What do you mean, demons? Epiphany 4B, 1 February 2009, Mark 1:21-28 | Immediately and discipleship, Epiphany 3B 2009, 25 January 2009, Mark 1:14-20 | Right in front of your eyes, Epiphany 2B, 18 January 2009, John 1:43-51 | In the beginning, water and the Spirit, Epiphany 1B, 11 January 2009, Genesis 1:1-5; Mark 1:4-11 | In God we trust, Christmas 2B, 4 January 2009, Jeremiah 31:7-14; Matthew 2:1-12

Proper 10B 2009                                                Mark 6:14-29


Dance, then, wherever you may be;
I am the Lord of the Dance, said he.
And I’ll lead you all wherever you may be,
And I’ll lead you all in the dance, said he.


            I, being a clumsy sort, was never a good dancer.  The best I could manage was a slow shuffle around the dance floor.  Yet there are people entranced by the TV Program, “Dancing with the Stars,” and wouldn’t miss it.


In our Old Testament reading and the Gospel for today, there are dances taking place.  The dance of King David before the Ark of the Covenant, a dancing before the Lord, was a dance of rejoicing, of the sound of the trumpet, with only a small sour note from King Saul’s daughter.


But in the gospel, the dance ends in tragedy, as evil takes hold in the palace of Herod as his daughter dances before him, and Saint John the Baptist is murdered, beheaded in his prison cell.


The Episcopal Church is in its triennial dance gathered as it for General Convention 2009.  Most of us receive the Virginia Episcopalian which has been discussing the 76th General Convention of the Episcopal Church in Anaheim, California, July 8-17, 2009, now at itrs midpoint.  Unlike our parish lay delegates to the Annual Council of the Diocese of Virginia, deputies to General Convention are not bound by resolutions of vestries or Annual Council itself.  By canon and custom each deputy is enjoined to vote according to conscience and good reason.  And I would add, attentive to the promptings of the Holy Spirit.  The deputies elected to General Convention from our Diocese are sensible and responsible people, not given to extremes.  We can trust their good will and judgement, even though we may not agree with them entirely.


Discussion of human sexuality again occupies debate at General Convention, particularly concerning blessing of same gender unions and partnerships.  This has taken on renewed life as increasing numbers of states have legislated approval of the same.  I do not know how General Convention will decide.  It won’t make any difference here, either way.


            The Standing Liturgical Commission continues to tinker with new and alternate liturgical forms for life transitions, celebration of new ministries, and burial rites.  Much of this is as a result of sensitivity to political correctness with regard to gender.  I do not think there is a serious move afoot to incorporate these liturgies into our Book of Common Prayer, at least not yet.  At most they will be made available for those parishes wishing to use them. 


            While I am grateful that these issues do not present as they did in 2003 and 2006, I don’t think that any minds in the schismatic churches will be changed or hearts softened.  In discussions with other priests around the diocese, we are agreed that there is probably nothing General Convention can do to satisfy their demands.  


So I fear that the recent schism will continue.  What a shame that is.  We all have lost something.  We can live in the tension of honestly agreeing to disagree – but not at the price having one group dictate that we follow their narrower beliefs to the exclusion of our own more generous theology and understanding of things divine.  I hope the more moderate conservative evangelicals who are still undecided will remain in the Church so that the evangelical voice will still be heard in our councils and deliberations.  W need to hear them – and they need to hear us, if we are to continue to reason sweetly and prayerfully together.


            So we may still be sailing in deep and stormy waters.  God willing we can hold together and refocus on God’s love for us and our love for God and our neighbors, God’s children everywhere regardless of race, color, gender, sexual orientation, creed, religion, language – whatever makes us different one from the other.  Please pray for General Convention and for this dear old church which has nurtured us and sustained us over so many centuries.


            In any case we here will continue to love the Lord and our neighbor and continue with the work God has given us to do in this time and in this place.


Dance, then, wherever you may be;
I am the Lord of the Dance, said he.
And I’ll lead you all wherever you may be,
And I’ll lead you all in the dance, said he

I danced in the morning when the world was begun,
And I danced in the moon and the stars and the sun,
And I came down from heaven and I danced on the earth,
At Bethlehem I had my birth.

I danced for the scribe and the Pharisee,
But they would not dance and they would not follow me;
I danced for the fishermen, for James and John;
They came to me and the dance went on.

I danced on the sabbath when I cured the lame,
The holy people said it was a shame;
They whipped and they stripped and they hung me high;
And they left me there on a cross to die.

I danced on a Friday and the sky turned black;
It’s hard to dance with the devil on your back;
They buried my body and they thought I’d gone,
But I am the dance and I still go on.

They cut me down and I leapt up high,
I am the life that’ll never, never die;
I’ll live in you if you’ll live in me;
I am the Lord of the Dance, said he.

Dance, then, wherever you may be;
I am the Lord of the Dance, said he.
And I’ll lead you all wherever you may be,
And I’ll lead you all in the dance, said he


LORD OF THE DANCE  Words and music: Sydney Carter, 1963  Stainer & Bell Ltd.   (Admin. Hope Publishing Company,  Car­ol Stream, IL 60188) All rights reserved. Used by permission.