Holy Trinity Anglican Church

Month: July 2018

Can I Understand? – Sermon at Holy Trinity Anglican Church 29 JUL 2018

Listen to today’s sermon – Can I Understand?

LESSONS:

First Lesson                 2 Kings 2:1-15

Psalm                            Psalm 114

Second Lesson            Ephesians 4:1-16

Gospel                          Mark 6:45-52

COLLECT: Almighty and everlasting God, you are always more ready to hear than we to pray, and to give more than we either desire or deserve: Pour upon us the abundance of your mercy, forgiving us those things of which our conscience is afraid, and giving us those good things for which we are not worthy to ask, except through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ our Savior; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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Keeping Your Mind – Reflection for 29 JUL 2019

Kipling’s poem “If —-” reminds me of the disciples in the boat. 

If you can keep your mind when all about you

    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you

Jesus gives them a chance to be alone and discuss what happened on the mountainside with feeding the 5000. Do they? 

No! They close their minds to the marvelous event, perhaps mumbling about not having time with the teacher. Is it any wonder that in the midst of the storm seeing Jesus walking on the sea shakes them to their marrow of their lives? Then, he climbs aboard and the sea calms down. 

This is the second miracle involving the sea and they are living proof that a vacuum can exist.  What gets me is how over the years all the way to today those vacuums still exist. How many times do we have to have chaos reigning in our lives before we invite the living Christ in to our lives to calm the storms that rage in and around us? 

The major miracle is the recognition that Jesus is Lord of all. We are His if we will let him on board our lives. We don’t have to fear the chaos raging around us when Jesus Walks with us. We have the peace that passes all understanding.

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More than Bread – Sermon at Holy Trinity Anglican Church 22 JUL 2018

Listen to today’s sermon – More than Bread

LESSONS:

First Lesson              Isaiah 57:14-21

Psalm                         Psalm 22:23-32

Second Lesson         Ephesians 2:11-22

Gospel                        Mark 6:30-44

COLLECT: O God, you declare your almighty power chiefly in showing mercy and pity: Grant us the fullness of your grace, that we, running to obtain your promises, may become partakers of your heavenly treasure; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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A Time for Solitude and Rest – Reflection for 22 JUL 2018

As the disciples return from their journey throughout the villages proclaiming the Good News of the Kingdom, calling the people to repentance, casting out demons, and healing the sick, they receive the news that John the Baptist has been beheaded by Herod. Jesus invites them to, “Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest for a while.” 

Take a moment to picture in your own life what it might look like to go somewhere and actually rest. What might it be like to experience a day or more without feeling the need to constantly entertain yourself or others? I wonder if, like Ruth Barton, I would become “awake and alert to a level of overstimulation and exhaustion that I had come to associate with normal Christian living.” 

Even as I look at recent vacations, I realize that they have been more filled with activity than rest. Time off has become just as filled with the desire to pack everything in and just as fueled by the fear of missing out on something as “normal” life. If I find a few moments in the day to sit quietly, either my mind races to catalog all the things that I haven’t done or all the things I need to do. My mind turns to entertainment or planning instead of true rest. When I look at the fascinating technology on my wrist that tells me how long and how well I sleep each night, I start to wonder if like my mind, my body has forgotten how to truly rest. I’m not certain that I even want to submit my prayer life to this type of examination for fear that I would find that my spirit has also forgotten how to rest.

As we add grief to the disciples level of physical, emotional, and spiritual exhaustion from their missionary ministry, their need for rest reaches an emergent level. It doesn’t take much effort for me to find examples from my limited experience in pastoral ministry of the detrimental impact of not taking the time to grieve. Perhaps one of the reasons we resist solitude so fiercely is the recognition that in solitude, God will invite us into the terrifying process of letting grace heal the wounds of our grief.

So it comes as a great surprise to me that on the way to the rejuvenating promise of retreat, Jesus stops and ministers to the crowd that has followed them. Instead of rest, the disciples find themselves once again at work. The key difference between Jesus’ reason for delaying rest and my own excuses is that we find Jesus is moved by compassion whereas I am more often moved by compulsion. 

We also find that in the miraculous grace that ensues all who ate, the disciples and the crowds, were satisfied. Yet, there remains a distance between satisfied and restored. I invite you to consider today the ways that you need the deep, penetrating rest of solitude in retreat. I invite you to consider the reasons you are resisting this rest. Are they reasons of compassion or compulsion? I invite you to come to the Table today and be satisfied, and I invite you to consider a retreat to be restored.

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Tink, Tink, Tink – Sermon at Holy Trinity Anglican Church 18 JUL 2018

Listen to today’s sermon – Tink, Tink, Tink

LESSONS:

First Lesson               Amos 7:7-15

Psalm                          Psalm 85

Second Lesson          Ephesians 1:!-14

Gospel                        Mark 6:7-13

COLLECT: Hear us, O Lord, when we cry out to you; and that we might receive what we ask, enable us by your Holy Spirit to ask only what accords with your will; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the same Spirit lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.

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A Daily Plumb Line – Reflection for 15 JUL 2018

In our first reading today, the Lord uses the image of a plumb line to describe His coming judgment of Israel. At its simplest, a plumb line is simply a weight at the end of a string that hangs straight down as a test of vertical for a wall or column or post. Because of the weight, the plumb line is referenced only to gravity and not to other structures or influences. Scripture, prayer, and community provide a similar reference in our lives as Christians. The question becomes what do we do when we realize that our lives are “out of plumb”? 

Similar to building a wall, the sooner we recognize it, the less dramatic the correction. This is why we have confession in both Morning and Evening Prayer as the Prayer Book gently walks us through the spiritual examination of our lives and our submission to the power and grace of God to return us to plumb.

Following an opening passage or passages from Scripture, we are invited to confession with the words: “Dearly beloved, the Scriptures teach us to acknowledge our many sins and offenses, not concealing them from our heavenly Father, but confessing them with humble and obedient hearts that we may obtain forgiveness by his infinite goodness and mercy.” We are invited to allow the words of Scripture and the working of the Holy Spirit to reveal those areas where we are out of plumb and bring them before God.

We continue with the words of confession: “Almighty and most merciful Father, we have erred and strayed from your ways like lost sheep. we have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts. We have offended against your holy laws. We have left undone those things which we ought to have done, and we have done those things which we ought not to have done; and apart from your grace, there is no health in us.” I usually pause after this last line and reflect on the ways in which the areas of my life not touched by God’s grace are crooked and falling down while the areas that are submitted to His grace are being rebuilt and transformed.
Finally, we receive the assurance of our absolution in the words: “The Almighty and merciful Lord grant you absolution and remission of all your sins, true repentance, amendment of life, and the grace and consolation of his Holy Spirit.” Remission of sins, repentance, amendment of life, and the experience of grace and peace are the reminder that as we bring our lives before God to be fully examined according to the Truth unreferenced to anything else, the love of the Father through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, in the power of the Holy Spirit transforms us from crooked and deformed into His image. 

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Why are you afraid? – Sermon from Holy Trinity Anglican Church 8 JUL 2018

Today’s Sermon – Why Are You Afraid?

LESSONS:

First Lesson         Ezekiel 2:1-7

Psalm                    Psalm 123

Second Lesson    2 Corinthians 12:2-10

Gospel                  Mark 6:1-6

COLLECT: Grant us, Lord, we pray, the spirit to think and do always those things that are right, that we, who cannot exist without you, may by you be enabled to live according to your will; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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A Bright Hope for the Future – Reflection for 8 JUL 2018

Over the last few weeks, we have looked at how we might describe the Anglican tradition as:

“A Biblical faith, rooted in ancient tradition, relevant for the questions and challenges of today, and with a bright hope for the future.”

This week we will conclude this series by exploring the ways we celebrate our hope for the future within the Anglican tradition. While the certain hope that Christ will return in glory is common to all Christians, there are ways that the Biblical and liturgical tradition of Anglican practice remind us of this hope. 

We mentioned last week the way that the Psalter as we pray through it monthly in the Daily Office teaches us to express the full range of our human emotions in the presence of a holy and loving God. In particular, the Psalms of lament teach us to hope in God in the darkest moments. I talked with someone recently who wondered how there could even be a God with all of the pain and suffering in the world. This is the first part of any lament, but without the other parts, we are condemned to a life without hope. Lament teaches us to see the suffering and pain within our lives and the world around us and bring the rawness of this pain before God crying out that the current situation is intolerable, that we are powerless to change it, and that God must act. Then we wait in the midst of our lament. This waiting is not marked in the Psalms of lament, but if we look closely, we can see the fruit of this waiting as the Psalm of lament moves from sorrow to hope and ends in praise of God who is faithful and just. While we may not see resolution to the pain and suffering we brought before God, we experience the mystery of hope by the consolation of the Holy Spirit. Lament reminds us that our hope is in God alone and not in our own plans and efforts. 

We also act in faith in a hopeful future as we pray whether in the liturgical prayers and collects of the Book of Common Prayer or in our personal prayers for ourselves or for others. This hope is well summarized in the Prayer of St. John Chrysostom which concludes Morning and Evening Prayer:

Almighty God, you have given us grace at this time with one accord to make our common supplications to you; and you have promised through your well beloved Son that when two or three are gathered together in his name you will be in the midst of them: Fulfill now, O Lord, our desires and petitions as may be best for us; granting us in this world knowledge of your truth, and in the age to come life everlasting. Amen.

Our Eucharistic liturgy is filled with hope for today, tomorrow, and for the age to come. It is in hope and faith that we join the eternal liturgy of praise, singing the Sanctus with the angels, archangels, and all the company of heaven. In singing together with all the communion of saints, we experience today the joy and hope of the resurrection. In the prayer of consecration, we acknowledge not only the certain hope of spiritual nourishment in the Body and Blood of Christ, but also the certain hope that we will see Jesus face to face when we enter into the fullness of the Kingdom. As we conclude the Eucharist, we pray that having been nourished and strengthened in faith, we will be sent out into the world in the hope that God has prepared good works for us to do and prepared us for those works of love and service.

In our Anglican tradition we celebrate our sure hope in the power and love of God and the glory of His Kingdom for the next moment, the next week, and the next age.

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Stewards of Grace – Sermon at Holy Trinity Anglican Church 1 JUL 2018

Listen to today’s sermon – Stewards of Grace

LESSONS:

First Lesson            Deuteronomy 15:7-11

Psalm                       Psalm 112

Second Lesson       2 Corinthians 8:1-15

Gospel                     Mark 5:22-24; 35-43

COLLECT: O God, your never-failing providence sets in order all things both in heaven and on earth: Put away from us all hurtful things, and give us those things which are profitable for us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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Anglican Practice for Today – Reflection for 1 JUL 2018

Last week we looked at the ancient roots of our faith as we continued a series of reflections considering how we might describe the Anglican tradition as:

“A Biblical faith, rooted in ancient tradition, relevant for the questions and challenges of today, and with a bright hope for the future.”

This week we will explore the ways this ancient and Biblical faith prepares us for the questions and challenges of today. Instead of trying to generalize about contemporary culture, I will talk about the ways the Anglican tradition speaks directly into my life.        

I find the order and discipline of the lectionary and the liturgical calendar a great comfort in the rapidly changing pace of daily life. The lectionary forces me to consider portions of Scripture that I might otherwise skip over and the liturgical calendar orders the seasons in a manner that orients me to the life, death and resurrection of Christ and the continued work of His church. In particular, the Daily Office of Morning and Evening Prayer grounds each day in prayer and Scripture. Through the Daily Office, I am carried through the Psalms each month. The Psalms give name and prayer to the full spectrum of human emotion and experience. They invite and instruct me to pray with full honesty and feeling.

I find the community inherent to Common Prayer a stabilizing factor in an uncertain world. In the liturgy of the Eucharist, we rehearse together the Gospel of Christ and join together in the mystery of Holy Communion. We are nourished spiritually in a way that is beyond description. However, it is our ministry at the assisted living facility that has truly revealed the formative, transformative, and sustaining nature of our sacramental liturgy. When nothing else remains, the words practiced over years of worship and the presence of Christ in the Eucharist continue to minister to our hearts.   

Several contemporary writers have described in more or less detail the relevance of our Anglican practice to daily life. Robert Webber’s classic Evangelicals on the Canterbury Trail describes how Anglican worship and practice fill in the spiritual and sacramental gaps of the Evangelical movement. Rev. Tish Harrison Warren’s Liturgy of the Ordinary describes her experience of Anglican spirituality in the daily life of a working mother. In a recent blog post, Rev. Dcn. Joshua Steele concludes that “within the Anglican tradition the Holy Spirit can teach us:

To value community in a world of rampant individualism,

To value history in a world of idolized novelty,

To value lasting beauty in a world of wasteful materialism,

To value steady reverence in a world of frantic busyness,

To value submission to authority in a world of radical independence,

To value unity-in-disagreement in a world of tribalized conflict.” 

(https://www.teloscollective.com/what-attracts-people-to-anglicanism-subversive-cultural-resonance/)

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