An Invitation, not an Ultimatum

SERMON Immanuel Episcopal Church, Ripley, Tennessee The Reverend Alexander H. Webb II (“Sandy”) March 14, 2021 The Fourth Sunday in Lent (Year B) Revised Common Lectionary Numbers 21:4-9 John 3:1-21 (Expanded)   In the name of God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.   This morning’s gospel reading contains what is arguably the most famous passage in the entire bible. John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his... Read More
Posted by The Reverend Sandy Webb at Sunday, March 14, 2021
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Timeless Significance

In December, the vestry approved a design for a new dossal curtain and centerpiece for our renovated nave; it will take the place of our current dossal curtain later this year. Our recent nave renovation project included efforts to restore our historic dossal curtain, which was a gift from Calvary Church on our opening day in 1950. However, deterioration due to dry rot in the dossal curtain’s silk fibers was more than anyone expected; the current piece is beyond repair.  ... Read More
Posted by Emily Austin at Tuesday, January 19, 2021
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“The Goal of All Our Hoping”

In seminary, I encountered a new word. Some of you may already know it, but it was new to me: Teleology . My professors used teleology enough in their lectures that I knew I needed to know what it meant, but I was too embarrassed to ask. So, I broke it down…   I knew that the phoneme “-ology” derived from the Greek word logos , which means “word” or “knowledge” or “thought.” Theology, words or thoughts about God. Psychology,... Read More
Posted by The Reverend Sandy Webb at Monday, January 11, 2021
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Christmas 2020 at Holy Communion

Christmas Services at Holy Communion UPDATED DECEMBER 22, 2020 at 2:30 P.M. Dear Friends, Late yesterday afternoon, Bishop Phoebe Roaf made a decision to suspend in-person worship throughout the Diocese of West Tennessee for at least the next several weeks. Her decision is effective immediately, and does include Christmas Eve. We will not have in-person worship on... Read More
Posted by The Reverend Sandy Webb at Tuesday, December 15, 2020
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Remembering Buddy: Creative Reflection from Deacon Randy

Remembering Buddy: Creative Reflection from Deacon Randy from Church of the Holy Communion on Vimeo . Read More
at Friday, July 31, 2020
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From Home to Heart: Forgiveness

A few months ago, Holy Communion received a loan under the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program. It made a big difference in our operations and gave us confidence that we could afford to continue paying our bills. With that money largely spent, we are now preparing to apply for “forgiveness.” “Forgiveness” is a theological word that bankers have borrowed. Financial forgiveness is receiving permission not to repay a debt, but theological... Read More
Posted by The Reverend Sandy Webb at Monday, July 20, 2020
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Keeping Watch: A Creative Reflection From Deacon Randy

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at Thursday, July 9, 2020
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From Home to Heart: Ethics

  The hardest questions to answer in a seminary ethics class are those that put two goods in tension: If you select Option A, certain things will happen. If you select Option B, other things will happen. Each option has some good outcomes and some bad outcomes, but you can’t have your cake and eat it too. How do you choose? The easiest way out of these dilemmas is to appeal to some core value – a principle, or a rule – that will give you some perspective. If... Read More
Posted by The Reverend Sandy Webb at Monday, July 6, 2020
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From Home to Heart: Trees & Trauma

  Trees have long memories. Trees are changed by their experiences. The rings of trees absorb their history: Droughts, floods, fires, injuries, and diseases – they’re all recorded. Our bodies have long memories, too. Psychologists tell us that the human body remembers trauma in all its forms – the horrific traumas that are evoked by the word, as well as the invisible traumas that can be just as devastating. The body absorbs them all, and is changed by... Read More
Posted by The Reverend Sandy Webb at Sunday, June 28, 2020
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From Home to Heart: Overton Park

Images Courtesy Melissa McMasters, Overton Park Conservancy Director of Communications Why can’t life be more like Overton Park? For those of you who may not know about Midtown’s treasure, let me tell you: Overton Park is a 200-acre oasis in the city. Overton Park contains an old growth forest where plants and animals coexist sustainably. The people who exercise in Overton Park seek to live healthy lives and they reflect the diversity of our city – all races, all... Read More
Posted by The Reverend Sandy Webb at Monday, June 22, 2020
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2020 Nave Pilgrimage Sermon

  Pilgrimage Opportunities to the Restored Nave (in the midst of a global pandemic) Ezekiel 37:1-14     In the Name of God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.   God places the Prophet Ezekiel in a field of dry bones. The bones are long dead; the breath of life has long departed. God tells Ezekiel that the bones can live again, but Ezekiel has a hard time believing it; he looks around and sees only death.   God says,... Read More
Posted by The Reverend Sandy Webb at Monday, June 15, 2020
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From Home to Heart: Original Sin

The church’s ancient doctrine of original sin can be hard to get our arms around. Why does Adam’s sin carry on to me? I didn’t eat the apple. I didn’t seek to be like God.   Here’s the key to understanding original sin: It’s not about you.   The idea that sin is about our own individual actions and inactions was rejected in the fifth century. Sin is about the state of the world. None of us started it, and none of us can stop it.... Read More
Posted by The Reverend Sandy Webb at Monday, June 15, 2020
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From Home to Heart: Neighborhood

My neighborhood feels larger than it did three months ago. We still have the same number of houses, and the streets are still configured in the same way, but the neighborhood just feels larger. As a result of this pandemic, I have spent more time in my neighborhood. We have been eating dinner on our front porch, which has given us a better sense of the people who live near us and of the people who walk their dogs on our street. I have been exercising in the... Read More
Posted by The Reverend Sandy Webb at Monday, May 25, 2020
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Home to Heart: Disruption

Disruption is the forerunner of creation. Whenever God creates something new, he first disrupts something old. In the very beginning, scripture tells us, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the deep. Then, God disrupted it. God created light, and then boundaries, and then life itself. God disrupted what was so that God could create what is. The ministry of Jesus was similarly disruptive. A pandemic of sin had plagued the world since Eden, and just when it seemed that... Read More
Posted by The Reverend Sandy Webb at Monday, May 11, 2020
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Home to Heart: Dreams

I recently saw a sign in the park near my home: “COVID-19 helped me dream.” What an unexpected thought: A global pandemic helped me dream. I do not know what the writer meant, but I have found myself more open to new possibilities recently, to the opportunities that this crisis presents for me as a person and for us as a community of faith. This moment may be dark, but our future is bright. Have you ever noticed that most dreams come to us in the night? We need to be... Read More
Posted by The Reverend Sandy Webb at Monday, May 4, 2020
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