Holy Trinity Anglican Church

Month: October 2018

That I May See – Sermon at Holy Trinity Anglican Church 28 OCT 2018

Listen to today’s sermon – That I May See

LESSONS:

First Lesson            Isaiah 59:9-20

Psalm                       Psalm 13

Second Lesson       Hebrews 6:1-12

Gospel                      Mark 10:46-52

COLLECT: Almighty and everlasting God, you govern all things both in heaven and on earth: Mercifully hear the supplications of your people, and in our time grant us your peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

What Do You Want? Reflection for 28 OCT 2018

One of the ways in which we open ourselves to the work of the Holy Spirit is to engage our imagination in the reading of Scripture. Today’s Gospel reading is one of the classic texts to read in this way. If you have never experienced Scripture in this way, I invite you to try!

I invite you to find a quiet space and some unhurried time. Read slowly through Mark 10:46-52 several times. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you into the story. Experience the sights and sounds, the excitement and emotions. View the events unfolding through the eyes of someone in the crowd or perhaps as one of the twelve. 

Now pray to experience the story in the place of Bartimaeus. 

Where in your life do you need that deep spiritual transformation that comes only when you abandon all restraint and cry out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

When Jesus responds and calls you to Him, what will you lay aside just as Bartimaeus put aside his cloak?

When you encounter the loving gaze of Christ and he says to you, “What do you want me to do for you?” Are you able to name your desire? Rest in knowing that desire for a moment.

As Jesus provides that wholeness and healing and transformation, how do you respond?

It is tempting to answer these questions too quickly, or to answer them with what we think the answer should be. I invite you to take time to let the Holy Spirit search you and bring forth the deep longings and wounds of your heart.

This is one of my personal favorite spiritual exercises and especially with this passage of Scripture. The process of naming my desire in the presence of a loving Savior brings comfort and clarity. However, I have never had the audacity to view the story through the eyes of Jesus. As I reflected on this passage this week, I realized that if the church is to be the hands and feet of Christ, perhaps we should seek to understand His view.

Are You Able? Sermon at Holy Trinity Anglican Church 21 OCT 2018

Listen to today’s sermon – Are You Able?

LESSONS:

First Lesson           Isaiah 53:4-12

Psalm                      Psalm 91

Second Lesson      Hebrews 4:12-16

Gospel                    Mark 10:35-45

COLLECT: Set us free, loving Father, from the bondage of our sins, and in your goodness and mercy give us the liberty of that abundant life which you have made known to us in our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

 

The Cup and the Font – Reflection for 21 October 2018

Thunder and lightning, James and John, are at it again! Jesus has to groan to himself with these two brothers. “Grant us a favor Let us sit on your left and your right when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus listens to them and then reminds them they are acting just like the Romans that they so very much dislike.
Before Jesus lets them down he asks two questions that are timeless in nature and intent; Can you drink of the cup that I drink and can you be baptized in my baptism? It is interesting that these questions are two of the most defining questions for Christians today. Understand that these questions have nothing to do with power or recognition or score keeping. It has to do with the reflected love that God shows to creation through Christ Jesus.
Jesus goes on insisting that the road to greatness is found in servanthood. To drink the cup that Jesus drinks puts us in a sacrificial covenant posture. God’s covenants are blood covenants establishing the bonds between the giver and the receiver of the covenant. The blood of Jesus is the final blood covenant for the world. To drink from the same cup is to understand what it means to live life in service. To be baptized with the baptism of Christ is to conquer self, giving up self centeredness for other centeredness. When I put the clergy sign on the car door for hospital or house visits, I am declaring my attitude and lifestyle for all to see. Not for the purpose of eliciting praise, which I don’t feel worthy, but so that others who have needs and questions can find a safe venue to speak with me. I have many times received nasty notes attached to my windshield or door about ignorant views of Christianity. These are nothing compared to what Christ did for us. To be baptized in Christ’s baptism is to be in Christ’s glory in the Resurrection. 

Now the question comes, innocently mostly, but sometimes with intention, of sitting on the right or left of Christ, what kind of acts do I have to do to be in the resurrections of Christ. I don’t know. What I do know is found in Micah 6:8 and just for good measure Jesus makes clear the Two Great Commandments, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your mind, with all your spirit, all that you are and the second is like it, Love your neighbor as yourself.”
There it is, the cup of Christ and the baptism of Christ. Can you drink of the cup of Christ and will you be baptized in the baptism of Christ? 

A Kingdom Encounter – Reflection for 14 OCT 2018

What happens in the Eucharist? This mystery has both united and divided the Church for 2000 years. While I am certain that I will not answer it in three paragraphs, I will invite you to consider a way of understanding our experience of Christ at the Table.

As the Church has tried to fit the Eucharist into the current understanding of the world, a variety of explanations have been popular ranging from the bread and wine being a mere symbol to the bread and wine being fully changed into the Body and Blood of Jesus. Instead of trying to fit the Eucharist into a way of understanding the world, I prefer to see the Eucharist in terms of the Incarnation.

In the Incarnation, Jesus is fully human and fully God. In the same way, the bread we take in the Eucharist is fully bread and fully Body just as the wine is fully wine and fully Blood. However, the mystery of the Eucharist includes more than the bread and wine. The Eucharist includes us as well.

We pray for Christ to dwell in us and we in Him. We pray that we will be fed and nourished spiritually in the physical act of receiving the Body and Blood. We ask that the Body and Blood keep us in eternal life. In some way, we encounter Christ in the Eucharist.

We may understand the mystery of our own experience of the Eucharist through the Incarnation as well. Just as the eternal Son became flesh and dwelt on earth in a specific time and place, in our specific time an place, we encounter the eternal. We are fully here and also fully in the Kingdom through the Eucharist. We are fully in the “now” and also fully in the “not yet.” 

We come to the Table to encounter Christ and to experience the Kingdom. We come fully broken and fully loved. We come to be nourished and we come to be changed. We are drawn to the Table and we are sent out from the Table.

Put Down the Box – Sermon at Holy Trinity Anglican Church 14 OCT 2018

Listen to today’s sermon – Put Down the Box

LESSONS:

First Lesson             Amos 5:6-15

Psalm                        Psalm 90

Second Lesson        Hebrews 3:1-6

Gospel                      Mark 10:17-31

COLLECT: God, our refuge and strength, true source of all godliness: Graciously hear the devout prayers of your Church, and grant that those things which we ask faithfully we may obtain effectually; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who sits at your right hand to intercede for us, and who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns in everlasting glory. Amen.

I Don’t Want to Talk About This

Listen to this morning’s sermon – I Don’t Want to Talk About This

LESSONS:

First Lesson         Genesis 2:18-24

Psalm                    Psalm 8

Second Lesson    Hebrews 2:9-18

Gospel                  Mark 10:2-9

COLLECT: Keep, O Lord, your household the Church in continual godliness; that through your protection it may be free from all adversities, and devotedly serve you in good works, to the glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Fix My Church – Reflection 7 OCT 2017

This past Thursday, the Church celebrated the feast day of Saint Francis of Assisi. More than the patron saint of garden statuary, Saint Francis calls us still to the radical transformation of the Gospel. Now, some 700 years since God called to Francis in the dilapidated chapel of San Damiano and commanded him to repair the Church, the Church still needs the correction of Saint Francis. Now as in Francis’ time, the Church is wracked with scandal and avarice, looking more to worldly power and wealth than the radical call of the Kingdom, looking more to exclude than to love, characterized by fear as much as faith.

Ian Morgan Cron provides a fantastic look at the way Saint Francis can speak into the world of the Church today in his book Chasing Francis. He challenges us to consider whether we are spiritual pilgrims or spiritual tourists, do we come to worship and prayer to be transformed or to simply observe. He challenges us to prayerfully enter into the grand narrative of God’s story, the Bible, rather than standing on the outside of the Bible arguing about rules and doctrines. Francis reportedly used three teachings of Christ to form the initial rule by which he and his companions would live, the command to the rich young man to sell everything and give to the poor, the command for the apostles to take nothing with them on their journey, and the command to take up the cross daily. 

By living without social status or property, Francis and his companions were free to love anyone deeply whether that love was returned or not. Their love and freedom served as a corrective and challenge to those living in jealousy, hate, and fear. It is in this freedom to love that Francis found love as he stopped on his journey and overcoming his own fear and repulsion, offered the kiss of peace to a leper. In seeing this leper not as a disease, a curse, or something to be fixed, but instead as a person to love, Francis and his ministry were transformed.

This radical, transforming love of Francis was powered by prayer. One of his biographers even described him as “a man become prayer.” From the simple to the profound, for Francis every moment was an encounter with God, a lived prayer. 

As we consider the world and the Church today, reflecting on the scandals, the hurts, the fears, the divisions, the way in which those who call themselves Christian can post a hate filled political diatribe on Facebook immediately after posting an inspirational Bible verse about love, in a political season where it seems more fashionable on both sides to brutally attack a person than discuss ways of solving difficult problems, what might it be like to approach worship and Scripture as pilgrims seeking transformation rather than tourists seeking a quick glimpse of the highlights? What might it be like for prayer to so permeate our lives that every moment is lived as an encounter with the God who is with us? What might it be like to love with complete freedom, to see the person behind the label, to love with God’s love?

I would think it impossible except that Francis of Assisi lived and prayed and loved in this way.

A Kingdom Tapestry – Sermon at Holy Trinity Anglican Church 30 SEP 2018

Listen to today’s sermon – A Kingdom Tapestry

LESSONS:

First Lesson              Numbers 11:4-6,10-17, 24-29

Psalm                         Psalm 19

Second Lesson         James 4:7-12

Gospel                       Mark 9:38-48

COLLECT: Merciful Lord, grant to your faithful people pardon and peace; that by your grace we may be cleansed from all our sins and serve you with a quiet mind; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Committing to Community – Reflection for 30 SEP 2018

A few weeks ago at our annual meeting, I set out three goals for our growth as individuals and as a parish, commitment to the Gospel, commitment to prayer, and commitment to community. This week, we will explore our commitment to community.  

Our commitment to community begins within our parish community. In any group of people there will inevitably be disagreements, misunderstandings, and hurt feelings. Being committed to community means being committed to reconciliation with one another when these things occur. True reconciliation begins when both parties recognize their own part in the disruption of relationship and the pain they have caused the other person. Making excuses for our own or another’s hurtful behavior prevents reconciliation. Discounting our own hurt or the hurt another has experienced prevents reconciliation. Reconciliation continues as we seek forgiveness from one another fully aware of the pain we have caused. Reconciliation is complete when we determine that the relationship is more important than our own pain or pride. I pray that as we experience the inevitable tensions, misunderstandings, disagreements, and hurts of that come with being a member of any group that we will grow such that Christ’s love in us and our love for one another is stronger than anything that might come between us.

Our commitment to community extends beyond our parish to our archdeaconry, our diocese, and other churches in our community. This commitment to community places into action the belief we profess each week in the catholicity or oneness of the Church as the body of Christ. The same love that joins our parish together also joins us in communion rather than competition with other parishes and churches.

Our commitment to community extends even beyond the church to our neighborhoods, our workplaces, and other places we encounter people. Just as Jesus radically expanded the definition of ‘neighbor,’ we also radically expand community to include all of our ‘neighbors.’ In this way, we commit to seeing all people through the lens of Christ’s love, refusing to divide the world into “us” and “them” and resisting the temptation to dehumanize anyone as “other.” 

Will you join me in these commitments to the Gospel, to prayer, and to community?