A Pastoral Epistle on Texts of Terror

Yesterday we covered grotesque violence in Judges in my Introduction to Interpreting the Hebrew Bible in Context course at Brite Divinity School. The texts were traumatizing. I was traumatized. I felt the trauma of my students and held it through the night. This morning I sent them this pastoral professorial epistle. Gentle Students, Yesterday’s readings more »... Read More

Holy Blackness: The Matrix of Creation

Let us pray: God of fire and light who dwells in thick darkness,the light and the dark are alike to thee,open the eyes of our hearts that we might see. Amen. In the velvet darkness, darker than a thousand midnights down in a cypress swamp, this luminous darkness, this radiant blackness, the wholly black and more »... Read More

Holy Blackness: The Matrix of Creation

"Jesus showed us by how he lived and died and lived again on the other side of death that nothing is too big, too much, too hard for God, that human dignity and flourishing are God’s dream for us no matter under what oppressive systems we find ourselves. The Jesus who allied himself with the poor and disenfranchised by becoming poor and disenfranchised will not abandon us to a world that does not love us, fears us and seeks to harm us. Rather Jesus stands with us as we remake the world that is our heritage, our sacred trust, as we rediscover its poetry and the poetry inside of each of us."

Sermon by Wil Gafney at All Saints Church, Pasadena, on Sunday, December 1, 2019.... Read More

Holy Leviticus! Justice is True Holiness

There are some verses from Leviticus 19 that we don’t often hear, in part because the verses we do often hear have been decontextually weaponized and which, even when contextually comprehended, speak more to ancient biases than to actual biology. Yet just as Jesus the Son of Woman is fully human and fully divine, so more »... Read More

Exegeting the Times: An Ordination Sermon

Speak life through words ancient and new, that we might serve you, serving those whom you love in life, in death, and in life beyond death. Amen. As I thought about what I want to say to Christian on the occasion of his ordination, remembering my first ordination 23 years and one day ago, it more »... Read More

Was It All A Dream? A Resurrection Story

A narrative sermon in first person, delivered without notes, Easter 2019.

I’ve been sleepwalking through the last three days. It’s been a living nightmare. You don’t know if you weren’t here. I told myself not to go, but I went anyway. I told myself not to look, but I looked anyway. Almost every day the Romans hang someone from one of their crosses or invent some new form of public humiliation. But this was different. He was such a gentle soul. You should see the way children climbed all over him. He could get loud and he could be sharp. His words could cut you to the bone and leave you in tears, but it was always the truth, whether you wanted to hear it or not. And if you would listen, he would always tell you what would make you whole. I didn’t want it to be true, but I saw it with my own eyes.... Read More

Lament for Jerusalem and Genocidal Violence

Luke 13:31 At that very hour some Pharisees came and said to him, “Go! And get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you.” 32 He said to them, “Go and tell that fox for me, ‘See here, I am casting out demons and restoring health today and tomorrow, and on the third I more »... Read More