Tag Archives: Year A

“Do not be afraid, for see– I am bringing you Good News” Christmas Eve 2016

A sermon preached on Christmas Eve, 2016 at the Church of the Good Shepherd, Pawtucket, RI.  The Gospel text was Luke 2:1-20.


Please hear “Harry Emerson Fosdick” every time I said “Henry Emerson Fosdick.” Oops. Facepalm.  Even as I said it, I sensed it was wrong, but I had lost my place in my notes so couldn’t gracefully check.

Continue reading

Proper 11 A: Weeds and Wheat

Proper 11A

Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43 and Romans 8:12-25

July 20, 2014

The Rev. Gillian R. Barr

Church of the Good Shepherd, Pawtucket


My father was a WW2 combat infantry officer, who decided that one way of putting the deadly skills he’d learned to good use after the war was by teaching gun safety and coaching youth who wanted to compete in competitive marksmanship. Since he and my mom were teachers, they had summers free, and for several years both worked as camp counselors at the NRA’s summer camp, back when the NRA really did focus on sportsmanship and safety.


As a result I grew up around guns, had gun safety drilled into me at a very early age, and indoor smallbore target rife was actually my sport as a teenager. Long before I was old enough to actually go to the range and shoot competitively, my father taught me gun safety: Continue reading

“But We Had Hoped!” Easter 3A, May 4, 2014

Luke 24:13-35

The Rev. Gillian R. Barr, Church of the Good Shepherd, Pawtucket, RI

There are several sermons in this morning’s texts, even more than usual. I will try to restrict myself to just one, however.  The Road to Emmaus story.

This is a carefully crafted story—the author of Luke-Acts is probably the best story-teller of the 4 Evangelists, and this is one of his gems. 

In one story he manages to sketch not only a marvelously human account of one of the encounters between the resurrected Jesus and his followers, but also to paint a portrait in miniature of what the life of the Church is supposed to look like.

Cleopas and his friend are walking along dejectedly, Continue reading

It Stinks.

Lent 5 RCL Yr A

John 11:1-45 and Ezek. 37:1-14

The Rev. Gillian R. Barr

April 6, 2014

The Church of the Good Shepherd, Pawtucket

It stinks.

That is the King James Version of Martha’s description of four-days-dead Lazarus, what we heard as “already there is a stench.” Actually, the King James says, “he stinketh.” Lots of things stink, literally or figuratively. The death of a friend. Disease-laden drinking water. The smell of gunpowder after a shooting. Flop houses and crack houses. Bodies on a battlefield. Antiseptic in hospitals and the deadly infections it fights. A person living on the streets without access to a shower or clean clothes. Salty tears. Continue reading

Fifth Sunday After the Epiphany: Salt and Light

Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany

Yr A RCL: Mt 5:13-20 and Isa. 58:1-12

February 9, 2014

The Rev. Gillian R. Barr

Church of the Good Shepherd, Pawtucket, RI

(This sermon was preached from notes in rough outline form, so that is how I am posting it)

I. Salt and Light are familiar images

A. salt: reveals the true character, complexity, depth of flavor

B. light: brings something out of obscurity, beats back darkness, clarifies way forward

C. both do this just by virtue of being what they are

D. they do not restrict or limit—they enhance and free and illuminate and attract

D. C.S. Lewis said, “I believe in Christ like I believe in the sun—not because I can see it, but because by it I see everything else.”  Continue reading