Holy Trinity Anglican Church

Month: January 2020

Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at Hand – Reflection for 26 JAN 2020

   Jesus begins his ministry with this message, “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” What does Jesus mean by commanding us to repent. The Greek word metanoeo means to change our perception or our understanding, that is to have a different mind. This is not a simple “I’m sorry. I’ll try to do better.” This is an eye-opening, mind blowing experience that the reality of the world around me is different from what I previously understood. Repentance is to understand and perceive through the reality of the Kingdom of Heaven instead of the ways of the world.

   Repentance in this way is not a one and done point in time or a single decision, it is a daily discipline of seeing our current circumstances through Kingdom eyes rather than our earthly senses, it is to reference everything to God rather than to ourselves. The journey of the disciple is the journey of repentance.

   One of the ways that we walk this journey is to simply take the time to notice where we place our attention, where do we turn our senses for understanding. I like Albert Haase’s analogy to teaching a child to cross the street. We teach our children as they come to a street to stop, look, listen, and go. We can apply the same process to our spiritual walk. At intentional times during the day and at times when we begin to feel anxious, uncertain, or angry, we can stop, look, listen, and go. 

   First, we stop. We take a deep, prayerful breath, still our bodies, and quiet our minds. Then, we look for the presence of God. Instead of seeking to perceive and understand from the vantage point of self, we seek to see where the ever-present Spirit is moving, where the Kingdom of Heaven is being made manifest in our midst. Next, we listen for the voice of God revealing to us the will of God. Finally, we go and do what God has invited us to do as we participate in the work of the Kingdom.

   In this way repentance becomes not a mournful or sorrowful burden but a beautiful invitation filled with anticipation. Repentance becomes a joy filled turning from darkness to light and from death to life. The Kingdom of Heaven is indeed in our midst may we all turn our perception and understanding to this present glory.  

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Are You Like Jesus? Sermon at Holy Trinity Anglican Church 26 JAN 2020

Listen to Fr Rob’s sermon – Are You Like Jesus?

LESSONS:

First Lesson Amos 3:1-11

Psalm Psalm 139:1-16

Second Lesson 1 Corinthians 1:10-17

Gospel Matthew 4:12-22

COLLECT: Give us grace, O Lord, to answer readily the call of our Savior Jesus Christ and proclaim to all people the Good News of his salvation, that we and the whole world may perceive the glory of his marvelous works; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

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Called – Reflection for 19 JAN 2020

   It may surprise some of you to know that I overthink things at times. I want to know the end before beginning and all the possibilities in between. If I am not careful, I can overcomplicate even the simplest task and over analyze the tiniest observation. I can become absolutely paralyzed when I consider what God has called me to do. Fortunately, our readings today call me back to simplicity.

   Isaiah reminds me that even as I look around and think that all of my labor is in vain, it is God at work and not me. It is God who formed me. It is God who empowered and directed me. It is God who is working through me. It is not my faithfulness but His that accomplishes the purpose of the Kingdom of God. It is not my light but His that illumines the world. I am relieved that I do not have to solve great problems or do mighty works to be used by God. I simply follow as a servant walking in the Light.

   Paul reminds me that we are called not only as individuals but as a church. It is in community that we are enriched and empowered. It is through the community of the church that we are not lacking in any gift. It is in this community that we encounter Grace and embody the Truth of Christ. 

   Our collect invites us to consider the magnitude and the simplicity of our call. We pray that having come together and encountered Christ as the Word made Flesh, as the Body and the Blood, and as the Body of Christ gathered, we may fulfill our call to show the light of Christ in our lives so that those around us may encounter His love in us.

   I invite you to prayerfully consider how God is calling you. How are you being filled with Light? Who among those you know is dwelling in darkness? How might you carry the Light of Christ to them? 

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What Are You Seeking? Sermon at Holy Trinity Anglican Church 19 JAN 2020

Listen to Fr Rob’s sermon – What Are You Seeking?

LESSONS:

First Lesson Isaiah 49:1-7

Psalm Psalm 40:1-10

Second Lesson 1 Corinthians 1:1-9

Gospel John 1:29-42

COLLECT: Almighty God, whose Son our Savior Jesus Christ is the light of the world: Grant that your people, illumined by your Word and Sacraments, may shine with the radiance of Christ’s glory, that he may be known, worshiped, and obeyed to the ends of the earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

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Conversation, Commotion, and Commentary – Sermon at Holy Trinity Anglican Church 12 JAN 2020

Listen to Fr Rob’s sermon for the Second Sunday in Epiphany, The Baptism of Our Lord – Conversation, Commotion, and Commentary

LESSONS:

First Lesson Isaiah 42:1-9

Psalm Psalm 89:1-29

Second Lesson Acts 10:34-48

Gospel Matthew 3:13-17

COLLECT: Eternal Father, at the baptism of Jesus you revealed him to be your Son, and your Holy Spirit descended upon him like a dove: Grant that we, who are born again by water and the Spirit, may be faithful as your adopted children; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

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Your Light Has Come – Sermon at Holy Trinity Anglican Church Epiphany 2020

Listen to Fr Rob’s sermon – Your Light Has Come

LESSONS:

First Lesson Isaiah 60:1-9

Psalm Psalm 72

Second Lesson Ephesians 3:1-13

Gospel Matthew 2:1-12

COLLECT: O God, by the leading of a star you manifested your only Son to the peoples of the earth: Lead us, who know you now by faith, to your presence, where we may see your glory face to face; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

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A Year in my Library – Reflection on a Reading Year

As we prepared to close one year and begin a new one, I took some time to look back through my calendar and recall the events of the year. Some things seem like yesterday and some like ancient history. I also took the time to look through my library and recall the books that I read this year. Some were drudgery, some were academic, and some were true gems. I would like to share the gems with you.

Perhaps my favorite book of the year was Becoming an Ordinary Mystic by Albert Haase. Fr. Haase does an excellent job of integrating the time honored spiritual traditions with the contemporary conversation on mindfullness and the self. His approach is thoroughly Christ centered without being tied to a specific school of Christian theology. All of this in an approachable and engaging writing style.

I also found Sacramental Life: Spiritual Formation Through the Book of Common Prayer by David deSilva to be an excellent devotional. In forty-five reflections, deSilva walks through the sacraments of Baptism and the Eucharist and the liturgies for marriage and burial. The 5-8 page reflections take some space, both temporal and spiritual, to absorb. I appreciated not being tied to a calendar like many daily or weekly devotional books so that I could pick this book up when I made the space to savor it. 

We were able to go to the Anglican Church in North America annual conference in June and discovered two more favorites there. James Bryan Smith was a keynote speaker and his book The Good and Beautiful God provides a fantastic introduction to spiritual self-care. The abbreviated prayer book Pray Daily from Christ Church Plano (https://www.christchurchplano.org/pray) has become a staple of our family rhythm of prayer.

Moving a bit more to the academic side but still very accessible to non-theologians looking for a fresh look on Scripture, I found Amy Jill Levine’s books on Passion Week (Entering the Passion of Jesus), Advent (Light of the World), and the parables (Short Stories by Jesus) well researched, well written, and refreshing. Dr. Levine is a New Testament Scholar and devoutly Jewish. She provides a perspective of Jesus and those who heard him within their context as first century Jews.

Other good books from my reading year include The Gift of Being Yourself by David Benner, Mansions of the Heart by R. Thomas Ashbrook, and The Anglican Way by Thomas McKenzie.

Blessings in the coming year and happy reading!

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