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Ben Bullington Memorial

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This post is the manuscript of a sermon from the memorial service for Ben Bullington that was held at St. John’s Episcopal Church, Roanoke, VA this morning, the church where Ben grew up.He was an amazing man, according to his obituary and eulogies done by two of his siblings.It was a lovely service and I was honored to be a part of it.My husband was on the bulletin to preach but I felt moved to tell the story of my unlikely encounter with Ben, five days after he died.It is a brief sermon and worth the time to dig through to the story of this encounter and what I learned from it, about Ben and about myself.Peace.
December 28, 2013 Memorial Service for Benjamin Parrott Bullington St. John’s, Roanoke Psalm 121 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 Rev. Kathy Dunagan
I am not The Rev. Dr. Joe Dunagan.I am, in fact, The Rev. Mrs. Rev. Dr. Joe Dunagan, a.k.a. Kathy.Joe and I have both written homilies for today and we decided to use mine because I have a story I want to share with you. Though this is a homily, …

Saint Nicholas Trophies

Yesterday I saw a decapitated deer carcass by the side of the road of my commute. Deer carcasses are sadly a frequency by the rural roads I travel to work, but the vehicle that may or may not have caused the death of this buck did not decapitate him. His head had been severed by a human. This was obvious to me, even in a glance. Who would do this for a trophy and leave behind the remains like so much trash for someone else to clean up? I was left pondering such trophy hunting and remembering concern for elephants, gorillas and other victims of massacre. Then I had to ask myself what kind of trophies I seek. I had a friend once who collected Santas. Her home was decorated for Christmas with such abundance of beauty that one couldn’t help but feel delighted and invited to express the joy of the season. She had a Christmas tree in every room of her Victorian gingerbread house. Each room had a theme, and my favorite was the Santa room. The tree in this room had only Santa Clause ornament…

Relational Repentance, A Sermon

“Because without you we are not able to please you, mercifully grant that your Holy Spirit may in all things direct and rule our hearts.” (Collect of the Day) Today’s readings are about repentance. We must first change ourselves before we can make change in the world. In today’s readings, Moses and God dialogue on Mt. Sinai, Jesus tells parables about finding things lost, and the lovely Psalm 51, which is only otherwise used in the lectionary on Ash Wednesday, is a chance for us to recite our plea with God to find us and bring us home in spite of our sinfulness. We think of repentance as that thing we do once with God in order to become saved in the first place and maybe something we do when we catch ourselves backsliding as an effort to make amends with God and neighbor, but I think it is more an ongoing part of our daily life in relationship with God and each other. The coin did not repent, and it also didn’t get itself lost in the first place.The lost sheep that Jesus told of may have…

A Meditation for Tuesday in Holy Week

1 Corinthians 1:18-31 John 12:20-36
The lessons for today’s service point the way to the cross.Now we come toward the end of our Lenten journey and prepare our hearts for the remembrance of the last days that lead up to the crucifixion.It is sometimes difficult this time of year to slow down and tend to this task.It is difficult to practice introspection and solemnity during Lent because of the temptations of Spring all around us.It is difficult to look at the cruelty of the cross at any time, especially in the middle of the Cherry Blossom Festival for goodness’ sakes! But here we are and if we are here it is because we do care about these things.We care about taking this journey to the cross with Christ, we care about our annual re-examination of ourselves and we care about our call to follow the One who died for us. In today’s reading from Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthian’s we are asked to focus on the cross, on this spectacle of vulnerability, shame and weakness.It is hard to rem…