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When a Friend Betrays

2016 February 11

Bishop David Epps

The Cathedral of Christ the King
Fourth Sunday of Epiphany
January 31, 2016

Sermon Link: When a Friend Betrays

Mercy

2016 February 11

Bishop David Epps

The Cathedral of Christ the King
Third Sunday of Epiphany
January 24, 2016

Sermon Link: Mercy

Fight!

2016 February 10

Bishop David Epps

The Cathedral of Christ the King
First Sunday of Epiphany
January 10, 2016

Sermon Link: Fight!

Finding God in the New Year

2016 February 10

Bishop David Epps

The Cathedral of Christ the King
Second Sunday after Christmas
January 3, 2016

Sermon Link: Finding God in the New Year

Wedding Day

2016 February 6

It was January 18, 1995 when I first met her. My wife and I were sitting in the hospital waiting room when my son, Jason, brought her out to meet us. Jessica has just given birth to her first child. He carefully laid her into my arms and, for the first time, I saw her: My first grandchild and my first granddaughter. And that is how Cindy and I met Victoria Sabrina Epps who would come to be called “Tori.”

I had no sisters and my wife and I had three sons and no daughters, so, little girls were always a bit of a mystery to me. As I looked upon her with wonder, I felt totally inadequate and unprepared for grandparenthood. However, when someone later asked me how it felt to hold her, I replied, “It felt like my life mattered—it felt like I would live forever!”

She was always a sweet child and never need much, if any discipline. She was a favorite of her teachers and, as far as I can tell, never met a person that she treated badly or with indifference. I watched her grow academically and athletically, especially in recreation league softball and on the high school swim team. From her earliest days she has always been in church and I was the one to baptize her.

At the age of 11 she looked 15, which aroused the protector in me. I would ask her frequently, “Do you have any boyfriends I need to kill?” When she was 12 and playing a softball game, two sixteen year old boys noticed and took an interest in her and struck up a conversation between innings. Within minutes, I had intervened and the boys vacated the area.

A couple of years ago, she wanted to move out of her parent’s house and “get out on her own.” So, she moved in with us. Her parents were delighted with her choice of residence and I tried hard not to be the overbearing grandfather.

From her early days as a little girl, she told me that, when she got married, she wanted me to perform the ceremony, a desire she voiced over the years. Five years ago, she once again reminded me of that desire. I said, “Well, Tori, if I can, I would be honored.” “What do you mean, ‘if you can’?” “Well,” I replied, “if I am still around, I will.” “Why wouldn’t you be around?” she queried. “Tori, honey, I’m 60.” Quizzically, she said, “So?”

“As gently as I could, I said, “My father died at 69.” A look of horror came over her face and she said, “Well, that can’t happen! You have to be here!” And then she cried. I held her close and told her that I was planning to be here and not to worry. And then I shed tears for causing her to cry.

Some time ago, she met a wonderful young man, Joshua Buth. Josh and his family are devout Lutherans and he is a brilliant, exceptional young man with a strong work and school ethic. He has a good sense of humor and, against all odds, likes our family. Eventually they were engaged.

Tonight, she will walk down the aisle with her father as her escort. At the appropriate time, I will ask, “Who presents this woman to be married to this man?” And 21 years and a few days after he did it the first time, her father will present her to me. Only this time, I will hold her hand for only a brief moment and then give it to Josh. My heart will swell with pride and will ache all at the same time as I pronounce them husband and wife. Josh will now be the primary protector, provider, and priest of his home. He will do just fine.

As for me, I will have accomplished my goal. I will have been there, just as I hoped and prayed and promised. And once again, it feels like my life matters—and that, in her, the other ten grandchildren, and in those generations to come, I will live forever!

Happy Wedding Day, Tori! Papa loves you!

David Epps is the pastor of Christ the King Church (www.ctkcec.org). He is the bishop of the Diocese of the Mid-South, (www.midsouthdiocese.org) which consists of Georgia and Tennessee and is the associate endorser for his denomination’s military chaplains. He may be contacted at frepps@ctkcec.org.

Do Babies Go to Heaven?

2016 February 5
Comments Off on Do Babies Go to Heaven?

Bishop David Epps

The Cathedral of Christ the King
First Sunday after Christmas
December 27, 2015

Sermon Link: Do Babies Go to Heaven?

Alone

2016 February 5
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Bishop David Epps

The Cathedral of Christ the King
Christmas Eve
December 24, 2015

Sermon Link: Alone