Holy Trinity Anglican Church

Sermons and Reflections

If – Sermon at Holy Trinity Anglican Church Palm Sunday 2019

Listen to Fr Rob’s sermon from the morning service – If

Lesson for the Liturgy of the Palms – Luke 19:28-40

Lessons for the Passion of Christ –

Old Testament                  Isaiah 52:13-53:12 

Psalm                                 Psalm 22

Epistle                                Philippians 2:5-11

Gospel                                Luke 22:39-23:56

Finding My Story – Sermon at Holy Trinity Anglican Church 7 APR 2019

Listen to Fr Ed’s sermon from the morning service – Finding My Story

LESSONS:

First Lesson           Isaiah 43:16-21

Psalm                      Psalm 126

Second Lesson      Philippians 3:7-16

Gospel                     Luke 20:9-19

COLLECT: Almighty God, you alone can bring into order the unruly wills and affections of sinners: Grant your people grace to love what you command and desire what you promise; that, among the swift and varied changes of this world, our hearts may surely there be fixed where true joys are to be found; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Walking the Way of the Cross – Reflection for 7 APR 2019

For many years I brushed through Holy Week just like any other week. I skipped from the triumphant entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday straight to the triumphant exit from the tomb on Easter without ever really considering what happened in between. I probably saw my faith journey in this way as well, proclaim Jesus as King and everything is good because the tomb is empty. That superficial faith served me well until everything was not good. That faith was unable to speak into sadness, pain, suffering, and failure. The rhythms of Holy Week were essential to disrupting my superficial faith and developing a deeper my faith.

The first disruption comes on Palm Sunday. Our liturgy begins by celebrating the triumphal entry with palms and hosannas, but it concludes with the death of Jesus on the Cross as we read the entire passion account. No longer can I simply skip from the triumph to triumph. I must now consider the suffering and death that intervenes.

We will next celebrate Maundy Thursday as we remember Jesus washing the disciples feet, giving a new command to love as He loved, and instituting the Lord’s Supper. In different years, each of these remembrances has disrupted and deepened my faith. From the washing of the feet, I recognized my own need to receive the love of Christ even when it made me uncomfortable. From the new commandment, I recognized the ways that I had withheld love from those to whom Christ extended love. In the Lord’s Supper, I heard in the depth of my heart that Christ had given His body for my life.

As powerful as these services are, walking the Station of the Cross on Good Friday is perhaps the most disruptive and deepening service of Holy Week for me. As we walk together in prayer from the presentation of Christ before Pilate to the placement of Christ in the tomb, we are confronted by sadness, pain, suffering, and failure as women weep, as Jesus falls, as Simon of Cyrene is called from the crowd to bear the Cross, as Jesus dies and is placed in His mother’s arms. As I walk the Way of the Cross, I recognize that Jesus Immanuel, God with Us, is not just a proclamation for the joy of Christmas. I come to know that Jesus is also with us in the midst of our sadness, pain, suffering, failure. As I consider all of the ways in which Jesus could have “fixed” instead of “being with,” I recognize the ways in which my prayer tends to be of the “God fix this” variety rather than the “God may I know you in this” type. I recognize the ways that I miss the presence of Christ with me as I wait for the solution I desire.

I begin to see in the people my own needs and desires. As Jesus falls and the Cross is pressed upon Simon of Cyrene, I recognize the ways in which I resist and resent asking for the help of others. I recognize the ways that I see falling as failing rather than seeing getting up as resilient. As Veronica comes from the crowd to wipe the face of Jesus and sees the image of Christ on her handkerchief, I begin to realize the ways that the face of Christ is revealed in small acts of mercy. I begin to pray to see Christ revealed in the face of the poor and the outcast. I pray for the humility to receive this gift from those I think I am helping.

While we will not sit the Easter Vigil together as a congregation, I invite you to consider this service as a private devotion. I pray that in this Holy Week, you will receive what the Lord has prepared for you to disrupt and deepen your faith.

A Lost and Found People

Listen to Fr Rob’s sermon from the afternoon service – A Lost and Found People

LESSONS:

First Lesson                 Joshua 4:19-5:12

Psalm                            Psalm 34:1-8

Second Lesson            2 Corinthians 5:17-21

Gospel                           Luke 15:11-32

COLLECT: Gracious Father, whose blessed Son Jesus Christ came down from heaven to be the true bread which gives life to the world: Evermore give us this bread, that he may live in us, and we in him; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Returning to Scripture – Reflection for 31 March 2019

As the season of Lent invites us to turn our attention back to God, we are often also called to return our attention back to Scripture. When this happens to me, I often find myself having to relearn how to read Scripture. I find myself reading Scripture in the same way that I would read a news article or a text book or a blog post or even an instruction manual. While God still works in me in this way, I often feel like something is missing, so I turn to other ways of encountering God in His Word.

Sometimes, I will turn to an approach that leads my mind deeper into Scripture. After praying for guidance from the Holy Spirit, I will read a passage then begin to ask questions such as “What is this passage saying?” Then, I will ask, “What is this passage saying to me?” and “How does this passage reveal the character of God and my own nature?” As I ask these questions, I will listen for how God desires to transform me through this passage. Finally, I will ask, “Who else needs to hear this message?”

At other times, it is the “eyes of my heart” that need enlightenment (Eph 1:18). At these times, I will often turn to a narrative passage within one of the Gospels (Bartimaus is one of my favorites). I will pray for enlightenment and then read the passage slowly to hear the story. I will then read again and allow the Holy Spirit to guide the eyes of my heart to experience the story. I will try to hear the sounds, smell the smells, see the colors, and allow the story to come to life. I will read one more time through and ask the Holy Spirit to place me within the story as one of the characters. I often find something unexpected in reading this way. When I do, I try to simply thank God for this noticing rather than find an explanation or meaning too soon.

When I find my soul needing nourishment, I read in still another way. The practice of lectio divina places me in a position for my soul to receive nourishment in the Word of God. The first step for me is to set aside time for encountering God’s Word without rushing. I find that I am better able to encounter in this way with a paper Bible rather than the electronic version I often use. After preparing myself in prayer, usually with the acknowledgement that God knows what I need far more clearly than I know myself, I will begin by reading through a short passage of Scripture (the Psalms are particularly good for this type of reading). I find that reading out loud is helpful on this first reading. I will read again slowly paying attention to the words or phrases that catch my attention. After this reading, I will spend several minutes reflecting and considering why these particular words or phrases drew my attention. I will pay attention to the emotions and feelings that these words brought up. This reflection soon turns to prayer as I offer any questions I may have and any feelings that may have come up to God. I will then read the passage once more and wait silently for several minutes resting in God’s presence, listening for His response, and trusting that in this time God is nourishing my soul whether I am aware or not. After this time of silence, a prayer of thanksgiving closes my reading time.

I invite you to use these and other ways of reading to allow the Word of God to bring you into the love of God in your mind, your heart, and your soul.

Seeing Differently – Sermon at Holy Trinity Anglican Church 24 March 2019

Listen to Fr Rob’s sermon from the morning service – Seeing Differently

LESSONS:

First Lesson                Exodus 3:1-15

Psalm                           Psalm 103:1-12

Second Lesson           1 Corinthians 10:1-13

Gospel                         Luke 13:1-9

COLLECT: Heavenly Father, you made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you: Look upon the heartfelt desires of your humble servants, and stretch forth the strong hand of your Majesty to be our defense against our enemies; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, world without end. Amen.

The Work of Reconciliation – Reflection for 24 MAR 2019

The season of Lent invites us to self examination, but we don’t always know what to do with the things we find as we look at ourselves. While our minds may know that God forgives us and calls us into His love, our hearts may not be able to hear it. This is a beautiful reminder of the community into which God has called us, the community of reconciliation, the church. In this community, we are able to bring our hurts, our doubts, our fears, our mistakes, and our deliberate sins and hear the reassurance of God’s love. Within the Anglican tradition, we have the option of confession and reconciliation with a priest. You can find the office for Reconciliation of Penitents from the Prayer Book below. We can summarize the Anglican view of this office as, “All may. Some should. None must.” Please schedule a time with one of us if you need to hear this reassurance.

The Penitent begins Bless me, for I have sinned.

The Priest responds The Lord be in your heart and upon your lips that you may truly and humbly confess your sins: In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Penitent I confess to Almighty God, to his Church, and to you, that I have sinned by my own fault in thought, word, and deed, in things done and left undone; especially__________. For these and all other sins that I cannot now remember, I am truly sorry. I pray God to have mercy on me. I firmly intend amendment of life, and I humbly beg forgiveness of God and his Church, and ask you for counsel, direction, and absolution.

Here the Priest may offer counsel, direction, and comfort. The Priest then declares

Almighty God, our heavenly Father, who in his great mercy has promised forgiveness of sins to all those who sincerely repent and with true faith turn to him, have mercy upon you, pardon and deliver you from all your sins, confirm and strengthen you in all goodness, and bring you to everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Priest The Lord has put away all your sins.

Penitent Thanks be to God.

Priest Let us pray. 

O most loving Father, by your mercy you put away the sins of those who truly repent, and remember their sins no more. Restore and renew in your servant whatever has been corrupted by the fraud and malice of the devil, or by his own selfish will and weakness. Preserve and protect him within the fellowship of the Church; hear his prayers and relieve his pain; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Priest concludes Go in peace, and pray for me, a sinner.

The Narrow Way – Sermon at Holy Trinity Anglican Church 17 MAR 2019

Listen to Fr Rob’s sermon from the morning service – The Narrow Way

LESSONS:

First Lesson           Genesis 15:1-12,17-18

Psalm                      Psalm 27

Second Lesson      Philippians 3:17-4:1

Gospel                    Luke 13:22-35

COLLECT: Almighty God, you know that we have no power in ourselves to help ourselves: Keep us both outwardly in our bodies and inwardly in our souls, that we may be defended from all adversities which may happen to the body, and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.