A good sermon, or essay, or action is memorable. One that is great moves us. The greatest transform us.

In the fall of 2001, we were attending services at BU's Marsh Chapel. One Sunday, the sermon was preached by the late Anthony Campbell, Professor of Homiletics. His text was the rich man and the beggar Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31).

Tony Campbell was a large, imposing black man, standing in the chapel's place of honor in his resplendent purple robes. Through word and gesture he painted the scene for us: the rich man at the table's place of honor, imposing in his own resplendent purple robes; poor Lazarus at the gate, hungry and covered in sores, begging for crumbs from the table.

Then he painted a different scene, one of the poverty here today in Boston, and contrasted it with those of us sitting in the pews, warm and well fed, with homes and cars and jobs and all material needs cared for.

We are all, he told us, the rich man. You may not feel it, he said. You may see others who are richer yet, and feel envy. But if you open your eyes you will see that you are the rich man, and you will see families here in our own community desperate for the crumbs from your table. He concluded, Christ's teachings here are clear. What are you going to do about it?

We left the chapel disoriented, questioning our very identity and feeling the sickening realization that we were not living up to our own expectations. In time we structured our contributions of time and money to bring us a step closer to the Christian ideal.

Tony's sermon was one of the greatest, for it transformed our behaviors. What have you heard, or read, or seen that has sparked a transformation in how you live your life? Please send your stories to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for inclusion in an upcoming Calendar.

Jim Bales and Elizabeth Laurençot

Click to login to St. Paul's Realm

Don't enter user/password below for Realm.

Below is for St. Paul's website login only

Website Login


Get weekly newsletter emailed to you each week!

catchme refresh