Sunday, December 16, 2012

December 16, 2012 Sermon--St. Luke's Episcopal Church Minneapolis, MN

This is the sermon I preached at my home parish in response to the shooting that occurred in Connecticut.  


“Surely it is God who saves me; I will trust in him and not be afraid. For the Lord is my strong hold and my sure defense and he will be my Savior.”

I had just got off the plane in Minneapolis on Friday and as soon as I got home Matthew and I turned on the television and watch with great shock at the shootings that were occurring in Connecticut.  As I was watching my mind went to the words of our Gospel today, “YOU BROOD OF VIPERS!”  Only a viper would do something like this to innocent children who were in school, a place where they should feel safe!  I could not keep my eyes away from the TV I called Katherine and we talked about this sermon and how it should be approached.  We talked about different ways of responding to the events.

The initial reaction hearing the news was that only a terrible person, a viper, would do something like this.  I wanted answers; I wanted to know why this happened why did God allow this to occur to innocent people?  In times such as these there are so many questions, so much confusion, so much pain and hurt.  To be honest, I do not have the answers to these questions but we search for meaning and answers.  It is in times such as these that we turn to each other and to God seeing for solace and comfort. I watched and saw how there were people all round the school hugging crying and being there for each other in that time.  Many of these people knew each other while others did not but it did not matter in this moment their were all the same a community of people hurting and deeply wounded.  We also turn to scripture looking for guidance.   I watched with amazement as President Obama teared up as he was speaking about the events that occurred Friday Morning.  The most interesting part that struck me was how he ended his speech with words of scripture he stated, “May God bless the memory of the victims and, in the words of scripture, heal the brokenhearted and bind up their wounds.” I also turn to our readings today, Canticle 9 is one that has always been one of my favorites the opening, “Surely it is God who saves me; I will trust in him and not be afraid. For the Lord is my strong hold and my sure defense and he will be my Savior.”

I think that in many times we look to God and ask the same question that crowds asked John in the Gospel today, “What then shall we do?”  John responds, “Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none; and whoever has food must do likewise.”  We need to turn to each other and give a hand of peace and reconciliation to each other.  Not just in times such as Friday but every day of our lives.  We need to build a community where we no longer look at how we are different and focusing on ensuring that we are keeping the walls up between each other but rather we need to open the doors of welcome and consolation.  Our church is a church where we are all welcome and one that gives us safely in God’s love and hope but also one where everyone is a child of God no matter who they are.

But there is one more person that some might be forgetting and that is the one who shot all of those people.  This man also is a Child of God and even though it is hard for us to see God working in his life because of his actions he is no less a child of God.  There might have been mental illness or something else that lead to these actions but that is not for us to decide but we should still be praying for this man as well as his family.  Praying for someone who hurts us is a very difficult task to take on but it is one that Jesus himself spoke about, Matthew 18:21-22 tells us, “Then Peter came and said to him, ‘Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?’ Jesus said to him, ‘Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times.”[1]  Despite the terror, fear and pain, he created we need to try to forgive him.  This is something that will not happen over night but over time.  This is when we rely on our faith in God and our community help us work on being able to give someone forgiveness when they have hurt us.  I pray that God will give us the grace to be able to heal and to forgive.

 “Surely it is God who saves me; I will trust in him and not be afraid. For the Lord is my strong hold and my sure defense and he will be my Savior.”

I was reading Facebook last night and I was reading all the responses that were coming across there were people who are all across the political and social lines saying the same thing: “we are scared, we are hurt, we need to pray.”  The questions that I brought up earlier as well as the many questions that are coming up surrounding the events that happened on Friday morning are questions that we do not have the answers for and there are times where the answers can only come from God alone.  So how do we live in the tension of knowing that there are some answers that God can only answer and it is these questions that we might not get for a long time?  This is where our faith comes in; it is a tension where we continue to pray and to study the scriptures and serve one another.  We live in the moments of hope, prayer and service and this is how we live in to this tension. This tension is not a very easy thing to live but our hope in is God and in each other to help us through this tension.

“Surely it is God who saves me; I will trust in him and not be afraid. For the Lord is my strong hold and my sure defense and he will be my Savior.”

In this time of Advent when we are preparing our hearts to share in the celebration of the Birth of Jesus; we must remember what Jesus gave to us and that is the hope of the resurrection where we will be united with all the saints in the heavenly banquet.

May we spend these next two weeks of Advent in prayer and reflection on those questions that can only be answered by God and come together in prayer in community to help us on the journey of life.  Unfortunately, events such as the events in Connecticut will happen again but if we work to be with each other and serve each other and to stand up for change then we can cause great change in the world.  Many people say to themselves well I am just one person what difference can I make?  Well think about the apostles Jesus picked twelve apostles and their work and ministry has brought the Good New of Christ to all corners of the Earth.

These events have given me a fire in my belly to go out and work for change.  I invite you to join me in helping to create a world where all people are safe, where we can go to work or school and know we are safe, where poverty and injustices are worked in and to see Christ in all people where no matter who we are and what we are the core relationship we have with each other is being children of God.

“Surely it is God who saves me; I will trust in him and not be afraid. For the Lord is my strong hold and my sure defense and he will be my Savior.”

[1] Matthew 18:21-22

Monday, October 8, 2012

Hello from the land of Sunshine!

It is hard to imagine that I am quickly coming up on reading week, which is the 1/2 point of the semester.  Soon my thoughts will quickly turn towards finals and another semester will be done.  It is hard to imagine that this journey is quickly coming to an end, when I first started I thought that seminary would never end but the days keep going quicker and quicker!  I think that the main reason is that I am now doing things and putting the book learning to action.  I have been working as a Deacon at Church of our Saviour in Mill Valley, this is the same parish where I had been the seminarian last year and I was offered and I accepted the ability to work there during my Transitional Diaconate year.  I have been serving in the liturgy, going on pastoral care visits, and leading the stewardship campaign this year. 

In September I was approached and told that there was someone who found out that her brother was killed in Guatemala, she was crushed that she would not be able to go to the funeral.  As I was talking to her the spirit spoke and we decided to hold a memorial service  for her brother.  I was asked to lead it and to continue the pastoral care for her and her family.  I was amazed to see how beautiful the experience was!  To walk with someone on there journey is where God is calling me to be and this situation helped confirm it.  I was also able to practice my Spanish, being a native speaker I had thought I had lost alot of my Spanish since moving to Minnesota but I was amazed how much I remembered and it was old hat for me!

I am currently taking Christian Ethics, Exegesis of Luke for Preaching, a Special Reading Course (independent study) on Latin American Anglicanism, and Senior Liturgical studies. The classes are alot of work and reading but it is so worth it.

Prayers and blessings to you all!

The Rev. Jason Lucas

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The audio portion of my senior sermon

Hi everyone, just a quick link to the audio from my senior sermon.  Hope you like it!


Jason Lucas

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Hello there!!! It is me I am here! and Text from my senior sermon

Hi everyone, I am sorry for the late very late update; I am back in California after a very full summer. I returned back to Minnesota in May and spent some wonderful time with Matthew and the pugs, as well as seeing many of you. While I was in Minnesota I was also ordained to the diaconate. It was an absolutely wonderful service and I am so thankful to all of you for your prayers love and support!

 A picture with The Rev. Alan Grant one of my favorite mentors

I quickly then returned back to California to be a Teaching Assistant for two classes during our Anglican Immersion summer school.  It was an amazing experience to be able to be on the other side of the classroom as well as being able to help plan liturgies and work as the sacristan for the classes.  It was two weeks of very long days but it was a wonderful experience. 

I have been working as a deacon in a few different communities and it has been so much fun.  I am now back in classes and it is time to switch back to the "student mode".  

Today I gave my senior sermon at CDSP, I was very apprehensive to be preaching not only my senior sermon infront of my peers and my professors but there was the element of September 11.  Below is the text of my sermon.  I will try to get more postings out there to let you know what I am doing.

Thank you all so much for your love and support!  

The Rev. Jason Lucas

Senior Sermon--The Rev. Jason Bryan Lucas
Church Divinity School of the Pacific September 11, 2012
All Saint’s Chapel
Genesis 8:12-17, 20-22; Hebrews 4:12-16; Luke 23:32-43

I was asleep and heard a pounding at my door; it was my friend from down the hall yelling at me that we were “under attack!” I went and answered the door and had no idea what was happening. We ran down to the TV lounge and watched the news we watched in awe as we saw billows of smoke coming out of one of the Twin Towers. I sat and watched in terror, I saw people who were bloody, covered in dust, panicked, confused and terrified. I sat and did not leave watching the news for over 6 hours; I kept asking myself who would do this to us? My friend who was sitting with me kept saying “we need to get them back this is not going to stand we will get them back!”

Watching and listening to the events that occurred on September 11th I realized that our country and world had changed, we could never go back to the way things where. We saw many in this country coming together to pray, to console each other; to stand as Americans TOGETHER! But following the event the divisions started to occur, our united country started to divide, as there were discussions about if we should go to war, what should be the response from the United States. We have seen these divisions being played out in our country and even our world in many ways.

We are here to remember the lives of those who died in the September 11th tragedy but it is just more than remembering the lives but it is looking at the world in a different light. We live in a world we self-identify as progressives, traditionalist, liberals, conservatives, Roman Catholic, Episcopalian, Jewish, Muslim; we use these identities to show the world who we are and we surround ourselves with like minded people, because it is safe and comfortable. No matter how comfortable we feel these labels put us into silos. From within our own silos we are able to observe that the other silos contain people that are different than us; we disagree with their ideologies, their way of thinking, how they pray, among other things. Soon we begin to step back from them further and further until our disagreements turn ugly. We are seeing these divisions playing out in very difficult and sometimes terrifying way. We are see mudslinging in elections, wanting to exclude others from being part of community with us, no longer wanting to break bread, to stand up and walk away from the table rather than have a conversation and dialogue. Turn on the news and watch the current political debate we are inundated with hearing how one party is right and how the other is wrong, how if you vote this way every will be ok; see how there was so much tension in our own Church during General Convention. We are spending time focusing on how we are different than the “other” group of people and how they are wrong with us. But I think it is time for a new way; what we are experiencing in the world is not working. I am not sure about you but I am praying for a change. That is why when I was working with the group planning this liturgy it was suggested that we look at the proper’s for Reconciliation and Forgiveness. These are two concepts that we talk a lot about in the church and in our lives but they are very difficult ones to put into practice.

As humans when someone hurts us it is very easy to stay angry with the person that hurt us and to put them in a silo that we will not engage with; we are quick to say, “I don’t want to deal with that person because they hurt me.” It is easier to stay away then tell the person directly how their actions affected us. I dream of a world where instead of quickly writing someone or a group of people off for hurting us we first looked at them as Children of God. In this world, we would look at each other as being a gift from God even if they are, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, Roman Catholic, Episcopalian, or anything else that is different to who we are. It is not until we can see each other as children of God that reconciliation can be accomplished. So how can we make this dream a reality? Recently, I was sitting with a fellow student talking about this and that when she shared a meditation that she uses in her life. It is a meditation called Ho'oponopono. Maybe you are familiar with it. It has been sitting in the back of my mind as I left her room. The mediation is, “I am sorry, please forgive me, I love you, thank you.”[1] This simple meditation brings with it a very powerful message; the words contained in this mediation are some of the most difficult words that we can ever say; to admit to another person that we have hurt them; then to ask for forgiveness. To see them as a child of God and to share with them that we Love them for who they are and finally to thank them not only helps to bring true reconciliation but opens up a dialogue between people that have shared great division.

In the Gospel today we hear of the criminals that were crucified with Jesus; one of them is asking Jesus to save them from what is happening while the other one turns and says, “and we indeed have been condemned justly.”[2] The criminal in his own way is offering an apology and acknowledgement of the wrongs he had done. He asks Jesus to remember him when he comes into his Kingdom. Jesus’ response to the second criminal is one that showed that he had made his reconciliation with God and with Jesus.

Let us remember the words of the opening collect, “give us the grace to make peace with those from whom we are divided, that, forgiven and forgiving, we may ever be one in Christ.”[3] This collect reminds us that in order to work on reconciliation with each other we need to ask for the grace to enter into it.

We as Christians talk about being the body of Christ, but the silos and divisions that we live in are breaking apart the body of Christ. Disagreement within the Body of Christ will occur but at the end of the day we need to know that we need the people on the other side of the table. Even if we disagree with them they are apart of the same body of Christ that we are. A body that is divided is one that can not live.

For many in this chapel today, we are preparing to enter into leadership positions in the Church as such we are being called to teach and preach the word of God. When Jesus was teaching the things he was saying he made people uncomfortable and I am sure that some of the things that I have said today have made some uncomfortable, but there are times in our lives where we are called to be uncomfortable and it is in this uncomfortable place we are able to grow as Christians and in our relationships with each other. So I challenge each of us in this chapel today to try to live our lives in a way that each of us putting aside the labels that we have put on ourselves, to break down the walls of silos we have put around us and to see people as what they are Children of God! This will not be easy this will take changing a lot of our habits and biases that we have. In the words of the Ho’oponopono mediation and I say to you, the community that I have come to love and learn from in these years in seminary, I am sorry, Please Forgive me, I love you, thank you. May God give us the grace to strive for reconciliation and of Peace.

[1] Ho'oponopono mediation retrieved September 10, 2012 from

[2] Luke 23:41

[3] Holy Women Holy Men, p. 737

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Back from Haiti

Hello everyone!! I came back from Haiti Friday Morning and after a weekend of lots of sleep and unpacking I am back and ready to hit the ground running. This is going to be a pretty long post so please bear with me.

Day 1--Travel to Haiti
I left San Francisco on a Red Eye flight to New York to head to Haiti. I love to fly so spending a long time in an airplane was no big deal. When I arrived at Haiti I was amazed to be guided to a bus that took us to a warehouse kind of thing for customs. I was scheduled to arrive about an hour before Katherine+, Sif and Jane; so I went to the customs area and asked one of the luggage assistants if I could sit at the little desk they had while I waited for my companions. They said yes and the next thing I know I was talking away with people as well as helping to guide people through the process!

Fr. Deravil arrived and we went on the 2 hour drive to Montrious (Moe-wee). The drive was already very eye opening, I was witnessing people still living in tents as well as the large amount of garbage that was around us. I remember vividly the rancid smell of burning garbage. We finally arrived at the rectory and as I looked bast the house I could see the ocean right infront of me!! It was clear blue and you could see the coral right through the water.

Day 2--St. Paul's School
We woke up to breakfast and the sound of the waves crashing against the beach. We drove the short distance to the school and when we arrive we were greeted by the principal and the director of education. We were allowed to go from class to class observing the class rooms. When we arrived in the first class room (kindergarten) they all stood up and sang us a song about welcome friends! I was so moved. We then went the the other class rooms where i was able to read the children a story about snow; something that they more than likely have never seen before. After the story we handed out sheets to the kids asking them to fill out information about themselves so we can take it back to our children back in Minnesota. As we were going through this process I noticed a young boy sitting there and through the interpreter I asked him why he was not doing the activity. He told me that he could not read; so I said no problem and the interpreter and I were able to write the sheet for him as well as having him draw a picture of himself. It was so wonderful.

We then were able to watch the meals that are being prepared for the students. We were able to help serve and get the meals ready and when it was time we watched each of the classrooms come to the cafeteria area and have lunch. After lunch the children had a little bit of play time and while I was standing around a young boy pulled on my hand and invited me to a wonderful game of Breadfruit Ball Soccer. The next thing I knew I was on a basketball court playing with about 15 kids this game. It was so much fun!!

Day 3--We went to the local market to see where the food for the lunch program is purchased. It was no supermarket that we are used to here in the US. Local merchants just set up on the ground or on some of the booths that are established in the area. I was amazed to see that there was everything that one could imagine.

Day 4--It was Sunday and we arrived at St. Pauls (same building for the church and the school) and I saw how everyone was dressed to the nines for Church. Since the service was in French I did not know much of what was going on but I was able to follow along because they used the same Book of Common Prayer that we use here. As I was standing there just absorbing the service around me a man handed me his hymnal for me to use. I was amazed to see how similar it was so Spanish and he let me use it for the entire service. We got to hear a sermon from my Rector Katherine Sedwick and it was translated by the priest. After the service we then were taken to a few hotels in the area. This city was the where Club Med used to be located but even though Club Med was no longer there the hotels still were. As we were driving to the hotels I see beat up houses and people selling what ever they could on the street. Then we turned into a driveway and the world changed. We noticed that the lawns were manicured and there were really nice cars in the parking lot. As we walked up to the hotel we found out that it is over $250 a night to stay there. While we were also there we noticed that there was an aid organization that had booked up two of these hotels for a long period of time. This was very aggravating; I kept asking is this where the donation dollars that people have given have gone?

Day 4--We interviewed two children who eat the lunches that we help provide and then headed to Port Au Prince. During the drive to Port Au Prince to the Episcopal Diocese Center where we got in another car (thankfully air conditioned) to go to the orphanage where we were staying. We arrived at the Orphanage and we were all beat.

Day 5--One of the things that St. Luke's does is it purchases Haitian art and brings it back to Minnesota to sell to raise money for the lunch program. We had a wonderful tour guide Loull (Lul) who drove us around to make the purchase. Our first stop was a local artist co-op where we made many purchases. After that we went to some of the street vendors where I learned that I have a knack for negotiating prices. We also were able to visit a community of Episcopal Sisters. These sisters had their convent destroyed in the earthquake but still were able to continue the ministry of providing care and housing for senior women.

Day 6--We quickly had to find a new place to stay for our last night in Port Au Prince. After an angel came to our rescue we continued our mission to find art. I was able to continue my negotiations with the street vendors to purchase art for the program. Finally we spent the time together as a group in prayer and just spending some time decompressing and packing.

Day 7--Headed back to the US after 7 very fast and confusing security checks I made it to the plane and I came home tired.

This journey was wonderful beyond words, I know that it would be hard to put it all here in this blog post. It was transformative for me; I came home honestly having a very difficult time with the reentry. It was hard to see some of the things I witnessed in Port Au Price. This led me to give a pretty powerful sermon on March 25 at my field ed parish. I will post it as soon as it is posted on the parish website.

Thank you so much for your prayers while I was there and also to those who donated the money to help me get to Haiti.


Jason Lucas

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Off to Haiti

Hi there everyone, it has been a while since I have posted so I thought I would give a quick update. In January when I was back in Minnesota I found out that there was going to be a trip to visit the school we partner with in Haiti and was invited to go. I was able to fundraise the money to be able to go on this trip with the generosity of many people. To them I say thank you so much! I hope that this trip will be a rich and rewarding experience.

I am right now sitting in the airport about to board a red eye flight to New York City then connect to the plane that will take me to Haiti. It will be about a 12-14 hour total travel time to get to the placce where we will be staying but I know that it will be worth it. I am not sure what kind of internet access I will have so I might not be able to update anything until I get back into the United States on March 15. I ask that you please keep my Rector Katherine, Jane Sif and I in your prayers while we are gone.

Thank you so much for your support and love. I will give you a longer more indepth update when I get back.


Jason Lucas

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Faithful Friends

I am sitting here still in Minnesota and starting to get ready to head back to California. For those of you who are on Facebook and friends with me you might remember that I posted a scripture one day it was from the Book of Sirach and is one of my favorite passages it says:

"Faithful friends are a sturdy shelter:
whoever finds one has found a treasure.
Faithful friends are beyond price;
no amount can balance their worth.
Faithful friends are life-saving medicine;
and those who fear the Lord will find them.
Those who fear the Lord direct their friendship aright,
for as they are, so are their neighbors also."--Sirach 6:14-17

During this time home I have been able to see how this scripture passage really is apart of my life. I have been blessed and able to see so many friends while I have been home. I have been having lunches, coffees, breakfasts, and dinners and just chats with friends. It really hit me as I was going through these weeks was that I have been so blessed to have so many friends by my side. These friends have been by my side throughout this process and they continue to support me as I continue for me there is really, "no amount can balance their worth." I want to thank all of those who I was able to see and offer an apology to those that I did not, Ill be back in June!!

I was also able to see my family; I was able to participate in the annual Johnson Family Christmas in Duluth. While I was there I was able to see the family and to see how committed they are to being there for Matthew and I. I was able to share what I have been up to as well as being able to get some much needed family time; I had been running on fumes being away for so long and my heart has been filled.

The other part of my time off was to go back to my home parish and to serve on the altar. While I was there it was so great to feel at home! As with my family I was able to connect with the community that raised me up and who also continues to support me. While I was there it was so wonderful to hear feedback from the community, I would hear, "my you have grown so much!" "Keep up the good work you look fantastic" and "it is so wonderful to have you home" and many others. This is my home parish no matter where this journey takes me, I have been with the community in the good times and the bad and I am so thankful for their support.

I also was able to attend the Seminarians Conference for the Episcopal Church in Minnesota; it was wonderful to see friends and to spend some time in prayer, reflection, and sharing with my fellow seminarians. During this time I also met with the standing committee and I am now a candidate for holy orders.

This time at home, I promised myself that I was going to be kind to myself and to relax. Even though my schedule was filled with meeting various friends this time has been one of rest, relaxation, and reminders of how blessed I am and how much support I have.

I leave back to California on Saturday the 14th and I am leaving is a very peaceful place. Today I had coffee with a friend and one of the first things she said to me was, "wow you look so peaceful." I think that this is where my soul is right now, it is at peace. There is always going to be anxiety in my life but I am at peace with this journey that I am on. I will say that there is some to be said about the way one feels when they are doing what they are called to be doing. In a year and a half I have seen how much growth I have received, and even though growing is something that I will be doing for the rest of my life, I am so thankful for the growth I have received.

Many of you have asked me about my sermons; the parish I am intern at posts 4 weeks of sermons for anyone to hear. For those who would like you can click on this link and hear the sermons right over the web (please note it is audio only).

So as I close I want to thank you all for your love and support through this process; please know that you are in my prayers.


Jason Lucas