Holy Trinity Anglican Church

Month: December 2019

Questioning God – Sermon at Holy Trinity Anglican Church 29 DEC 2019

Listen to Fr Rob’s sermon for the Feast of the Holy Innocents – Questioning God

Listen to the Litany for the Holy Innocents

Collect: We remember today, O God, the slaughter of the holy innocents of Bethlehem by King Herod. Receive, we pray, into the arms of your mercy all innocent victims; and by your great might frustrate the designs of evil tyrants and establish your rule of justice, love, and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

First Lesson: Jeremiah 31:15-17

Psalm: Psalm 124

Second Lesson: Revelation 21:1-7

Gospel: Matthew 2:13-18

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I’m Not Sure I Believe – Sermon for the Fourth Sunday in Advent 2019

Listen to Fr Rob’s sermon – I’m Not Sure I Believe

LESSONS:

First Lesson Isaiah 7:10-17

Psalm Psalm 24

Second Lesson Romans 1:1-7

Gospel Matthew 1:18-25

COLLECT: Stir up your power, O Lord, and with great might come among us; and as we are sorely hindered by our sins from running the race that is set before us, let your bountiful grace and mercy speedily help and deliver us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory, now and for ever. Amen.

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Loving Yourself in Order to Love Others – Reflection for theFourth Sunday in Advent 2019

   We have looked at God’s love for us as an example of how to love God. Big order, but do able, and life giving and life changing. Now the toughest of all, loving yourself so you can love your neighbor in the same manner, so much so that it runs the danger of becoming trite. 

   Let’s look at what it means to love yourself. What if it does not mean to embrace self indulgent behavior? After all, that has little value in loving your neighbor. Ok, then what? Love is a verb. It is always action oriented. Looking at love through the liturgy of worship in the Word and the Sacrament, we see multiple times when we confess our sin acknowledging that we are unlovable, but God in His mercy and loving kindness has forgiven us, proclaiming that we are forgiven because God’s love is great than our sin. The action of this love is forgiveness and reconciliation in the presence of God. As we come to understand the role of our confession and the loving forgiveness of God. To love yourself requires accepting this forgiveness and the life changing transformation that accompanies it.

   Moreover, because we are loved be God, we are declared lovable, hard to believe, but true. It means we have value and worth. Grasping this concept is a moment of pure joy. Life has purpose, in spite of ourselves. At this point our life becomes not simply renewed but reborn as a new creation in Christ. There is no longer reason to listen to the lies of Satan that attempt to convince us that we must in some way make ourselves loveable, valuable, or worthy. To love ourselves therefore means to see ourselves as God sees us, as beloved. 

   It is only when we comprehend the love of God for us and learn to walk as the beloved that we can begin to love others in the same way. We can recognize that we are not called to make judgments of who has value or worth. Christ has already declared that on the Cross. We do not get to decide who can or can not be forgiven, just forgive. 

   In forgiving, we are not just living out God’s love for another, we are living in God’s love for us. Forgiveness of others is not for them, it is for you to be able to relive the burden of unlove on your soul, so that life can be restored to you. While we carry the burden of unforgiveness joy eludes us and the fullness of joy is always less. Thereby, robbing us of the Peace that only God Can grant to us. A peace that passes all understanding. You are precious to God and therefore forgiven. Christ died and was raised from the dead. He lives now so that all might be saved (healed, forgiven, made whole, loved). To love oneself is to love as God loves, therefore, we are able to love our neighbor as ourselves. 

   Two simple commands are the foundation of God’s people, Love God and Love People. Listen to the angels praising God and we join our voices, perfect in love, with theirs praising God for the love for us.
In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen. Amen. 

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The Baptist’s Call – Sermon at Holy Trinity Anglican Church 8 DEC 2019

Listen to Fr Rob’s sermon – The Baptist’s Call

LESSONS:

First Lesson Isaiah 11:1-10

Psalm Psalm 72

Second Lesson Romans 15:1-13

Gospel Matthew 3:1-12

COLLECT: Blessed Lord, who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that by patience and the comfort of your Holy Word we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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Love, Repentance, and Transformation – Reflection for 8 DEC 2019

   The love of God is a terrifying thought. What if God knew about the parts of me that I keep hidden from everyone, sometimes even myself? Would He still love me? Perhaps once I get everything about me fixed, I can stand in the love of God. Perhaps if I can do the things that make people like me, I can pretend that I am actually lovable. Maybe I can continue to hide, deny, or justify the things about me that I know deep down are broken. Maybe if I continually point out the faults of others, I won’t feel as bad about myself. Then, I will at least feel lovable by comparison.

   Do you ever tell yourself these lies? Do you ever hide from the love of God out of fear that deep down you are incapable of being loved?

   One truly terrifying part of the love of God is that He does know all of those things about us and declares His love for us in Christ. The call to repentance is a call to stop hiding, denying, justifying, and ignoring the brokenness within us. Instead, we are called to present all of ourselves, the “good” and the “bad” before God to be loved.

   Another terrifying part of the love of God is that in His love we find healing and transformation. Too often, we become comfortable and satisfied in our current state of misery. We have come to rely on our ability to conceal our pain and are unwilling to be healed. We have come to rely on the transient comfort of the lies we have constructed about ourselves, about the world, and even about God, the lies that give us the illusion that we are in control. Healing and transformation in the love of God threatens to disrupt our illusions so we turn away.

   In this season of Advent, I invite you to hear the Baptist’s call, “ Repent, the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” I invite you to encounter the terrifying love of God. I invite you to encounter yourself as beloved. I invite you to turn away from the lies and deceptions that keep you from experiencing the ever present love of God and be healed and transformed.

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The First and Greatest Commandment – Reflection for 1 DEC 2019

   To love the Lord your God with your whole heart, mind, and soul. What is required to love? How do I love? What is love? Can I put it in a box with a lid? Can I buy it?
   The Greeks took love and put into three categories, thereby limiting and maintaining control of the thing called love. They put love into the form of defined sculpture, thereby imposing boundaries on what is boundless by creation itself. 
   Philio, brotherly love, also includes sisterly love, a binding of family inherited or chosen, is wonderful but restrictive . An act of true Philio is an act that is historically recorded, for example the Christmas Day in the first World War where a cease fire and both sides sat down together to celebrate and remember the reason fighting could even halt in the midst of war, is God’s love for His creation by giving us His Son, in the form of a newborn infant. The world changed that day and continues to change when we remember the gift of boundless love in the form of the baby infant Jesus.
   Eros, the love that allows for bonding of relationships, in marriage, in child birth’s joy. An action of blending of the physical on one level to the maturity of spiritual on another level. Eros is not the lust of the pornographic but the foundation for family, where two truly become one, another mystery of God for our blessing.
   Agape, a love that is all giving, a love that is so true we think it rare when we see it. An action that focuses on the other than the self. An action that is sacrificial in its nature, as the sacrifice nurtures and encourages and mentors the receiver in his or her journey.
   All these definitions of love have limitations and fall short of what true love is about. True love is an action that is so overwhelming that to grasp its substance is to have your breath taken away with the understanding that you don’t have to know the answer to, what is love. As it is all consuming and impossible to describe except as an unending sense of joy. Is it any wonder that at this time of the year we can become misty eyed over the quietness of the star studded night.
   This is the kind of love to which we are called. This love that has no bounds, no definition, no start or stop. This is the love that God has for us in the infant of Jesus and the adult Jesus on the cross, a love that resurrects the wreckage into glory. C.S. Lewis speaks of that kind of joy when he realizes the love that God has for us, a joy without explanation.
   LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, MIND AND SOUL, because He has loved you with all of Himself through Jesus the Christ, God is with us! 

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Expectant Waiting – Sermon at Holy Trinity Anglican Church 1 DEC 2019

Listen to Fr Rob’s sermon – Expectant Waiting

LESSONS:

First Lesson Isaiah 2:1-5

Psalm Psalm 122

Second Lesson Romans 13:8-14

Gospel Matthew 24:29-44

COLLECT: Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which your Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

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