Holy Trinity Anglican Church

Sermons and Reflections

Jesus in the Ordinary Life – Sermon at Holy Trinity Anglican Church 18 June 2017

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Today’s Sermon – Jesus in the Ordinary Life

LESSONS:

First Lesson          Exodus 19:1-8

Psalm                     Psalm 100

Second Lesson     Romans 5:1-11

Gospel                   Matthew 9:35-10:15

COLLECT: O Lord, from whom comes all good things; grant us, your humble servants, the inspiration to always think and do those things which are good, and by your merciful guiding we may perform the same; through Jesus Christ our lord. Amen.

An Examen for Ordinary Time

– Thanksgiving for the simple beauty of ordinary life.

– Where have I observed Christ, where might I have missed Him?

– How is God calling me into His love and power?

– Where is God calling you to be a laborer in His harvest?

– Rejoice in the hope of the now but not yet Kingdom of God

What does it mean to be loved? Reflection for 18 June 2017

A church window depicts Jesus healing the blind man. (CNS photo/Crosiers) With Faith Alive! No. 13 MIDST, March 25, 2013.

“What does it mean to be loved?” When I first heard the question, I thought it was another theological abstraction or doctrinal test. Perhaps that initial thought is a sad commentary on the current partisan nature of the Church. Instead of secret handshakes and passwords, we have developed obscure doctrinal questions with narrow and sometimes questionable Scriptural support so that we can differentiate between the “true believers” (people like us) and the deceived (everyone else).

Once I recovered from this initial thought, I looked and saw the pain and longing in his eyes. There was no abstraction in the question. This was a gut wrenching cry to understand what it means to hear and believe that “God loves me, even me.”

Unfortunately, we too often read Romans as a theological treatise and not as a letter written to a church struggling to understand a concept of love very different from the world around them. I’m not so sure that the church today is all that different from the church to which Paul wrote. We still struggle to comprehend with our minds how God could love us. We hide behind intellectual discussions and theologically charged words like “justification” in a vain attempt to guard our hearts from fully experiencing the life changing love of God.

What if instead we read this passage of Romans (Romans 5:1-11) as an answer to the question, “What does it mean to be loved?” The first part of the question is “How can I be lovable?” Paul’s answer is simple, you are lovable (justified) because God loves you. There is no other reason at all.

When we believe that we are lovable by faith in Jesus Christ, or in Paul’s terms when we receive justification by faith, several things happen. We experience peace with God, we stand in the grace of God, and we rejoice in the glory of God. God’s love is poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit. By faith in the love of God for us expressed by the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ, we are able to be loved by God and to love others as His love overflows from our hearts.

If theology is understood as “faith seeking understanding,” perhaps the only truly useful theological question truly is, “What does it mean to be loved?” I pray that in this season of prayerful growth, each of you will open yourselves to rest in the love of God and understand with your hearts what it means to be loved.

God’s Garage Sale – Sermon at Holy Trinity Anglican Church 11 JUN 2017

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Today’s Sermon – God’s Garage Sale

LESSONS:

First Lesson         Genesis 1:1-2:3

Psalm                    Psalm 150

Second Lesson   2 Corinthians 13:5-14

Gospel                  Matthew 28:16-20

COLLECT: Almighty and everlasting God, you have given to us your servants grace, by the confession of a true faith, to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity, and in the power of your divine Majesty to worship the Unity: Keep us steadfast in this faith and worship, and bring us at last to see you in your one and eternal glory, O Father; who with the Son and the Holy Spirit live and reign, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Who is Holy Trinity? Reflection for Trinity Sunday 2017

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Trinity Sunday is the perfect day to reflect on the life and calling of Holy Trinity Anglican Church. This is the day we celebrate and rejoice that God has called us together to share in the mysterious, loving community that is modeled in the very character of the Triune God.

The Vestry and Clergy met last Sunday to review the movement of God within our parish and seek to discern His will for our future. We remain steady in our discernment of God’s purpose for our parish to invest in the work of God in each person’s life.

In order to walk into this purpose, we see ourselves in this way:

We are called together in the bond of Christian fellowship to work as a community to invest ourselves and our resources in the work of God within and around our congregation. We believe that God is active in the lives of all people inside and outside of our congregation. We seek to discern where God is working and invest Christian fellowship, Christian growth and Christian service within the context of Christian community. We acknowledge that calls each of us to serve Him in a variety of ways and places. We celebrate the Kingdom work and universal Church as others walk in the good works that God has already prepared whether within Holy Trinity or another congregation. We see our community of worship as not only a place of ministry but also as a platform for ministry as each of us lives out our call in daily life according to the will and purpose of God. We see the spiritual formation that occurs within the worship, teaching, fellowship, evangelism, and service ministries of our community as the process by which we become aware of God’s presence and purpose in our lives and act in that purpose in order to become fully alive in Him.

As we walk together as a parish family, we invite you to tell us how we can invest in the work of God in your life and how we can help you invest in the lives of the people to whom God has called you. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with us all evermore. Amen.

Sent by the Spirit – Sermon at Holy Trinity Anglican Church Pentecost 2017

406b0cf33c6e33ad992c3f0b3353210aToday’s Sermon: Sent by the Spirit

LESSONS:

First Lesson            Acts 2:1-11

Psalm                       Psalm 104:25-36

Second Lesson       1 Corinthians 12:4-13

Gospel                     John 20:19-23

COLLECT: Almighty God, on this day you opened the way of eternal life to every race and nation by the promised gift of your Holy Spirit: Shed abroad this gift throughout the world by the preaching of the Gospel, that it may reach to the ends of the earth; 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

 

You don’t have the proper certification – Reflection for Pentecost 2017

fe4ac98f1b2c76a9b10662e9caf8f180I love these passages given that they mock the work of man. Come on, God is doing something different and because Moses gathered the elders around the tent of the wilderness, it is assumed that everyone else is left out. The two men, we think elders, left behind in the camp have the Holy Spirit rest upon them in a different location than the seventy, somehow makes their prophecy less than authentic. Moses then hears about the mumbling and asks why are they upset ? Moses thinks that it would be great if everyone were a prophet Rules and rule breakers, everyone has to do it the same way or where is the order? A good question if you were talking about the issues of man, but we are talking about God. Could God not do it his own way? Look out here come the rule minders with the ruler to smack you hand if it is not done in a correct manner.

Jesus appears in a locked room and says Peace, and the apostles are standing in fear, not so much of Jesus but in fear of the Romans or the Jews, Jesus says peace to this place and then tells them they will receive the Holy Spirit. Not just them, now get this, but all who believe in Jesus as the Christ, for out of their hearts flow rivers of living waters. Time to wake up and realize the responsibility we have as believers. Out of our hearts living waters will flow. We are entrusted with the waters of life, do we even know that?

It seems to me that we have the keys for life abundantly, all we have to do is use them. Our words make a difference in the lives of people we encounter. The light of Christ shines through us into the world. We are what the Hebrews failed to understand and wound up codifying God’s Word instead of sharing and living it. Praise God that He knew what we are like and sent His Son on our behalf, so that we can be what God intended from the beginning in the Garden.
It is easy to speak words of spite, well he/she didn’t do it the way that Moses/?????? Did it. Pharisee, what is wrong with giving life to those who are in need? What is wrong with a smile, well I don’t feel like it, get over yourself. You want the Holy Spirit? You do not have to speak in tongues to have the Holy Spirit. Allow God to come in and fill you and live the life that is Spirit filled and become a river of living waters for the sake of the world. Amen.

By the Grace of God – Sermon at Holy Trinity Anglican Church 28 May 2017

the-ascensionToday’s Sermon – By the Grace of God

LESSONS:

First Lesson             Acts 1:1-14

Psalm                        Psalm 47

Second Lesson        1 Peter 4:12-19

Gospel                       John 17:1-11

COLLECT: O God, the King of glory, you have exalted your only Son Jesus Christ with great triumph to your kingdom in heaven: Do not leave us comfortless, but send us your Holy Spirit to strengthen us, and exalt us to that place where our Savior Christ has gone before; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

Hurry Up and Wait! – Reflection for 28 May 2017

1334-2-22It is tempting to hurry through the ten days of the liturgical calendar between the Ascension and Pentecost. Sometimes I find myself so familiar with the story that is easy to ignore the dull parts and just skip to the parts I like. I can plan my liturgical life moving from feast to feast – Easter, Pentecost, Trinity, Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent and then back to Easter. It is easy to be about doing. The hard part is taking time to wait. These ten days are about waiting.

As the disciples stand with Jesus on that hill outside of Jerusalem, the ask, “Is now the time?” Jesus responds that only the Father knows the time and that they should go back to Jerusalem and wait. That’s it, just wait. We have the benefit of knowing the rest of the story that the wait was ten days. For the disciples, it must have been agonizingly difficult to wait without knowing the end.

I don’t particularly like to wait. I suppose I come by it honestly. My grandfather’s favorite restaurant was the Catfish King in Lufkin because they “have the food hot and ready when you walk in and you don’t have to wait!” When I was in the clinic, I would stand over the machines in the lab trying to will them to produce results faster. Even with a countdown timer, the wait was infuriating to me. If I am truly honest about my prayer life, I admit that I am disappointed when God doesn’t fix things immediately. This time between Ascension and Pentecost is a time to practice prayerful waiting.

The disciples returned to Jerusalem and devoted themselves to prayer. Luke records that they were together and of one accord in their prayer. They waited and prayed together because there was nothing else they could do. There are times when the only thing we can do is to wait and pray together. I have a pastor friend who says, “The only effective response when someone asks, ‘Why, God?’ is a hug.”

May we not rush to Pentecost but rather savor this Ascensiontide as a time to practice waiting and praying together.

Lessons from a Tomato – Sermon at Holy Trinity Anglican Church 21 May 2017

IMG_3475Today’s Sermon – Lessons from a Tomato


LESSONS
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First Lesson           Acts 17:22-31

Psalm                      Psalm 148

Second Lesson      1 Peter 3:8-18

Gospel                    John 15:1-8

COLLECT: O God, you have prepared for those who love you such good things as surpass our understanding: Pour into our hearts such love towards you, that we, loving you in all things and above all things, may obtain your promises, which exceed all that we can desire; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen

Altars to the Unknown God – Reflection 21 May 2017

3athensThe account in Acts of Paul at the Areopagus is an interesting account of what it means to interact in a society that seems to worship anything and everything. By rights, this letter should have a subtitle of ‘How to talk with people who live in the 21st century’.

Much like the Athenians we have built worship areas to many gods. There are the gods of technology, attesting to our prowess to manipulate that which can not be seen without the aid of microscopes. This is a powerful god in the 21st century. We have the god of humanism, which worships self as the grand designer of life. There is also an altar to the god of social issues, where acknowledgement of its power is demanded of all peoples. It seems to be built on the altar of anger and violence.

These are some of the gods worshiped in the 21st century, as there are many more gods, i.e. Finance, status, ego, power, oratory, sports, self and addictions that allow numbing and forgetting as their masters incognito.

How do you convey a message of hope and the love of God, through the resurrection of Jesus, to this world of many gods?

It is done by respect, not ridicule or mockery, which alienates, or the language of condemnation.
It is done through the language of rescue, redemption, of love, so as to encourage rather than judge.

It is the desire of the Father that all might be saved on the day of judgement, that the Father has preset for time to come.

Pray and offer the hand of Christ for the sake of the redemption of the world.