[Jesus] took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” – Luke 22:19

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Parables on Parade


Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52

Jesus put before the crowds another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”

He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.”

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and caught fish of every kind; when it was full, they drew it ashore, sat down, and put the good into baskets but threw out the bad. So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous and throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

“Have you understood all this?” They answered, “Yes.” And he said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the master of a household who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.”


Our reading this week is the end of the Lectionary‘s three week tour of Matthew 13 (see also here and here).  This chapter is a collection of parables about  Read more

Ancient Biological Warfare

photo by freefoto.com, Creative Commons License

photo by freefoto.com, Creative Commons License


Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43

Jesus put before the crowd another parable: “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to someone who sowed good seed in his field; but while everybody was asleep, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and then went away. So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared as well. And the slaves of the householder came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where, then, did these weeds come from?’ He answered, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The slaves said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ But he replied, ‘No; for in gathering the weeds you would uproot the wheat along with them. Let both of them grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Collect the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.’”

Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples approached him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.” He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man; the field is the world, and the good seed are the children of the kingdom; the weeds are the children of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. Just as the weeds are collected and burned up with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers, and they will throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Let anyone with ears listen!”


This is one of several parables that Jesus uses to teach those around him. They are sometimes collectively known as the “Kingdom Parables,” as each one is about “the kingdom of heaven.” This parable is one of only a few for which Read more

Falling on the Path, or in the Garden


Matthew 13: 1-9, 18-23

Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. Such great crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat there, while the whole crowd stood on the beach. And he told them many things in parables, saying: “Listen! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell on the path, and the birds came and ate them up. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and they sprang up quickly, since they had no depth of soil. But when the sun rose, they were scorched; and since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. Let anyone with ears listen!”

“Hear then the parable of the sower. When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in the heart; this is what was sown on the path. As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet such a person has no root, but endures only for a while, and when trouble or persecution arises on account of the word, that person immediately falls away. As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the lure of wealth choke the word, and it yields nothing. But as for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”


In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus tells this parable after a number of disputes have gone on about who he is and what he is doing. Despite this, the size of the crowds following him has Read more

Double Standards and Paradoxes



Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30

Jesus said to the crowd, “To what will I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to one another,

‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance;
we wailed, and you did not mourn.’

For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon’; the Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.”

At that time Jesus said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.

“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”


John the Baptist is in prison, Read more

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8AM Service

July 27, 2014 8:00 am

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July 27, 2014 9:15 am

10AM Service

July 27, 2014 10:00 am

Daughters of the King

August 11, 2014 6:00 pm

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All Saints Episcopal Church
2076 Sutterville Road
Sacramento, California 95822
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Worship Service Times

8:00 am Sunday Holy Eucharist, Rite II
9:15 am Sunday Adult Bible Study
10:00 am Sunday Holy Eucharist, Rite II
Nursery and Sunday School at the 10 am service.

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Listening in Kairos


Sermon for Sunday July 6, 2014, by Dr. Jill Joseph

Readings: Genesis 24:34-38, 42-29, 58-67; Song of Solomon 2:8-13; Romans 7:15-25a; Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30

“At that time, Jesus spoke…”

What a mish-mash our readings are today: a search for a bride, complete with nose rings and bracelets; a wonderfully joyous and frankly erotic song of spring and lust; Paul wrestling with Paul, and therefore with sin and law and evil and faith; and, finally, Jesus sharing a perplexing parable of taunting children followed by an intimate prayer and then a summons.

I typically begin preparing a homily by supposing that there is some thread of grace, a fabric of meaning, however subtle, woven through the Hebrew biblical reading, the Psalm, the epistle, and the Gospel. But as the books piled higher and the hours passed, my perplexity grew and the fact that my brother and sister are visiting here today made the struggle all the worse. After all, I have to perform, don’t I?

Of course not. The wonderful fact is that this preparation always Read more

Trinity and Theology: A means to understand belief

Trinity Sunday, June 15, 2014

I was in a literature class in college where the professor described how novels – as opposed to other kinds of writing, like plays or short stories – offer us a particular way of relating to a story. Novels are meant to be read over a period of time: a few days, or maybe a week or two. During that time we take in a part of the story, then live a part of our lives, then go back to the story, over and over for a period of time. The story gets absorbed into our day-to-day existence slowly as we move back and forth between reading and living. After its all done, we may think about the story and try to understand it or figure out what it means; but the real experience of the story is during that time when we are reading and experiencing it while in some way connecting it to our everyday lives.

This is very different from the way we relate to movies, where the whole story is blasted at us in a couple of hours or so, and much more of our reaction to it takes place afterward. At least, that is the way it is for me: I often feel that I don’t know what I really think about a movie when I first come out of the theater. It takes me a few hours to digest the story.

The liturgical year in the church is a lot like the experience of reading a novel. For the first half of the year, we are following the life of Jesus, from Advent and Christmas, through Epiphany, and Holy Week, through the Crucifixion and the Resurrection, and on to Pentecost. During the rest of the year, we also hear about the life of Jesus, but we cease to have a series of feasts and events connected to reliving the story and its events in order. All of that was finished last week, with Pentecost.

Today is also a principal feast of the church: Trinity Sunday. But it is not a celebration of an event in the story. Instead, you might think of it as representing the moment after the story is finished, when we think over and Read more

Losing Our Lives

Jesus is speaking to his disciples, to the twelve, as he is sending them out to continue doing his work. They are to preach and teach, heal and cast out demons. This paragraph is part of a much longer speech in which Jesus is giving his disciples instructions and telling them what they are going to be facing when they are out there.

He tells them that people won’t like to hear what they have to say. “If they call the master of the house Beelzebul,” which means prince of demons, “what do you think they’ll be calling you? Some kind of demon flunky, most likely.”

Read more