Posts Tagged ‘The Brady Bunch’

Sermon 06-22-14: “He Who Humbles Himself”

June 30, 2014

Wedding Receptions

This sermon explores the nature of Christ-like love—especially its demand for humility. “What if we woke up every morning with this thought in our minds and our hearts: ‘I don’t deserve any of this, Lord. I don’t deserve this gift of life—of love, of family, of friends. I don’t deserve the financial and material gifts you give me. I certainly don’t deserve your love and grace and mercy. I know I was “bought with a price”—the infinite price of your Son Jesus, dying on the cross.’ ‘O to grace how great a debtor!’ I can’t begin to pay you back!’ What if we woke up praying a prayer like that and then spent time in God’s Word each day reminding ourselves of that truth!” 

I also applied this lesson to Vacation Bible school, for which our church had been busily preparing.

Sermon Text: Luke 14:1-14

No video this week: instead you get to hear the sermon in old-fashioned audio! Click on the play button below or right-click on this text to download a separate .mp3 file.

The following is my original sermon manuscript.

People of my generation got some sad news a couple of weeks ago: Ann B. Davis, the woman we know and love as Alice on The Brady Bunch, the live-in maid, the cook, the dispenser of Yoda-like wisdom, died at age 88. Those of us who grew up on The Brady Bunch loved Alice. We all wanted an Alice in our lives, right? At least some of us were blessed to know someone like Alice.


Did you know that in 1976, a couple of years after the show went off the air, Ann B., as she was affectionately called, came to know Jesus in a personal way, as her Savior and Lord? She had a conversion experience. In an interview in the early-’90s she joked to People magazine, “I was born-again. It happens…even to Episcopalians.” And although she participated in occasional Brady reunions over the years, she mostly retired from show business and acting and devoted the rest of her life to serving the Lord—offering her testimony at churches all over the country, working in homeless shelters, teaching in church schools, and always worshiping and serving through her local church. Read the rest of this entry »

“I was born again. It happens to Episcopalians”

June 23, 2014


I’m a little late getting around to this, but let me offer a word of gratitude for the life of actress Ann B. Davis. She died a couple of weeks ago at age 88. Of course, people of my generation may be forgiven for knowing her by another name. For us, she was Alice, the live-in housekeeper, cook, and dispenser of Yoda-like wisdom on The Brady Bunch. As I said in yesterday’s sermon, we all wanted someone like Alice in our lives, and I hope many of us were blessed to know someone like her. (I was.)

The actress herself, though a lifelong churchgoer, had a conversion experience in 1976. “I was born again,” she told the AP in 1993. “It happens to Episcopalians. Sometimes it doesn’t hit you till you’re 47 years old.”

Her quip is funny, of course, because we don’t normally associate being “born again” with Episcopalians. On theological grounds, I dislike the term because it implies that being born again is an optional feature for some Christians. In truth, new birth happens to all Christians with genuine faith.

Still, I know what she means: I had a similar experience in 1984, when I first professed faith in Christ and was baptized. Like Wesley, “I found my heart strangely warmed” by a powerful sense that God loved me, forgave me, and made me a part of his family.

Long-time readers of this blog probably won’t be surprised to know that I’ve experienced a powerful renewal of my Christian faith over the past five years. I first became aware that something was happening within me in 2010, around the time of my ordination. I’ve called this experience my “evangelical re-conversion.” It has been accompanied by a powerful conviction of my own sins, a profound sense of gratitude for Christ’s atoning work on the cross, and a renewed commitment to God’s Word, the Bible.

Consequently, my preaching and writing have emphasized sin and repentance, the cross of Christ, and the authority of scripture.

So I can identify with Davis’s experience. She was part of an evangelical renewal movement within her church (Hey, just like me!). Although she participated in occasional Brady reunions over the years, she mostly retired from show business and devoted the rest of her life to serving the Lord as part of a community of like-minded Episcopalians.

At her funeral, the Rev. Paul Frey, son of her long-time pastor, the Rt. Rev. William Frey, said that when she first volunteered to work at a homeless shelter, she said, “‘I want a backstage job. I want to do laundry.’ I told her that meant cleaning mostly really nasty socks. These guys have been wearing socks for three or four weeks. She said, ‘It’s OK,’ and did it faithfully for more than six years.”

I also like this, from one recent blog post:

Speaking with People in 1992, Davis talked about the religion that meant so much to her: “‘My mother would write letters when I was away at camp and say, “There’s an Ann-shaped space around the house. Nobody fills an Ann-shaped space except an Ann.” I’m convinced we all have a God-shaped space in us, and until we fill that space with God, we’ll never know what it is to be whole,’ she said.”