Holy Trinity Anglican Church

Sermons and Reflections

Lament – Reflection for 2 April 2017

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We know how to whine, blame, gossip, complain, pout, and stoically ignore. We can share our misery and disappointment by phone, text, e-mail, or social media. But, do we remember how to cry out in lament and share our pain with God?

A Biblical lament begins with the recognition that things are not right. Martha and Mary cry out, “Lord, if you had been here…” The dry bones of Israel cry out, “Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are cut off completely.” The Psalmist recalls, “Out of the depths have I called to you, O Lord.”

The lament continues with the recognition that things can and should change. Martha recognizes that “even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask of him,” the Psalmist waits, and Ezekiel speaks prophesy.

The beautiful conclusion of the prayer of lament is our recognition that only God can change things and our faith that God will act in ways far better than we can imagine. A faith more keen than a watchman waiting for morning. A faith that God will be glorified in all things. A faith that God can take what is broken and make it whole, what is wrong and make it right, what is dead and make it live.

In the prayer of lament, God gently turns our sorrow into worship. Praise be to God!

Resonating – Sermon at Holy Trinity Anglican Church 26 March 2017

john-9-healing-blind-man-mosaicToday’s Sermon – Resonating

LESSONS:

First Lesson 1 Samuel 16:1-13

Psalm Psalm 23

Second Lesson Ephesians 5:8-14

Gospel John 9:1-41

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 for ever. Amen.

Just Do It! – Reflection for 26 March 2017

stjohnpa-orgSamuel is told by God to go and do. His response to God is that Saul will kill him, so God gives him a plan. He is to anoint the king that God has chosen. Off he goes, under a flag of peace, to offer a sacrifice. In the process he has Jesse bring his son’s past him so the Lord can pick the king. Seven sons, all strong, big and perfect image of king, none were acceptable to the Lord. Samuel inquires if there are more and the only one left does not fit the bill as far as Samuel is concerned, but God tells him to anoint David as king. Not really kingship material via outside standards, but God knows the heart.

Blind man healed because of a faulty question, who sinned that he is blind from birth? Jesus tries to set them straight and in the process the religious rulers scream blasphemy because you healed on the sabbath. So Christ heals the blind man in the manner of Adam becoming alive, he made a mud pie for the eyes, sounds like God making mud pies in the garden of eden.

Message, sin can not rescue or heal only the grace of God can heal or restore to wholeness what was broken in the Garden.

I am too old, young, weak or don’t have the right background for God to single me out for a mission of his choosing. Hockey pucks! God can work in anyone who will follow his directions. You don’t know? Why not try faith that God knows what he is about, all you have to do is be willing. God takes great delight in calling those that seem wrong for the job he has at hand.

Lord Jesus, take my heart and let it be true to you. Amen.

(Reflection on 1 Samuel 16:1-13 and John 9:1-41)

Jesus is for Losers…Like Us! – Sermon at Holy Trinity Anglican Church 19 March 2017

 

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Today’s Sermon – Jesus is for Losers…Like Us!

LESSONS:

First Lesson         Exodus 17:1-7

Psalm                    Psalm 95

Second Lesson    Romans 5:1-11

Gospel                  John 4:5-42

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.

Where Do You Get That Living Water? – Reflection on John 4:5-42 – March 19th, 2017

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Jesus sits at Jacob’s well and talks to a woman who other self-respecting people would not. He engages in conversation and not argument. In today’s language, we might say that He was more interested in connecting than converting.

In this scandalous conversation, He promises living water, water which will quench thirst forever, water which wells up inside and flows over into others.  She asks about religious controversy. He talks about true worship. She admits to the behaviors that make her a social outcast. He responds with love and understanding. She introduces Jesus to the town in such a way that they want to hear what He has to say. Ultimately, they say, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.”

When I am quiet enough to be honest with myself, I have to admit that I am more often thirsty than overflowing. As I look a little more deeply, I realize that I am usually more concerned with the religious controversies around worship than actually meeting God in worship. I am more interested in who is in and who is out than how to love and understand. I am more interested in introducing Jesus in a way that others hear what I have to say. I am more interested in people hearing from me about Jesus than in them hearing Jesus speak for Himself into their lives.

The glass sits before me, will I choose to be thirsty on my own terms rather than be overflowing on God’s terms?

Would We Recognize Jesus? Sermon at Holy Trinity Anglican Church 12 March 2017

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Today’s Sermon – Would We Recognize Jesus?

LESSONS:

First Lesson        Genesis 12:1-4a

Psalm                    Psalm 121

Second Lesson    Romans 4:1-5,13-17

Gospel                  John 3:1-17

COLLECT: O God, whose glory it is always to have mercy: Be gracious to all who have gone astray from your ways, and bring them again with penitent hearts and steadfast faith to embrace and hold fast the unchangeable truth of your Word, Jesus Christ your Son; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

To Be Reborn – Reflection for 12 March 2017

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What does it mean to be born again? To be born of the Holy Spirit, is it painful? This rebirth thing sounds hinkey. Are you sure that it is for real?
These are questions that many are uncomfortable with as they feel they will embarrass themselves if they admit to being reborn.

Do Anglicans believe in rebirth? Let me answer with a question, do you accept the bible or buffet shop it for your faith?
This rebirth thing does it hurt? Yes, like the dickens! When you are reborn you give up the past of your life and accept Christ as your life in the present. Giving up old ideas and beliefs that have no structure in the scriptures is painful. Pride is one of the first parts of life that gets excised along with the idea or concept that you can do everything yourself and don’t need anyone’s help. Asking for help is one of the painful issues of rebirth. To insist that you can do everything yourself denies the fact that you are not the creator of all and it robs an opportunity for someone else to be a part of God’s grace.

Somewhere in the midst of faith there comes a point where you either cut bait or fish. Faith no longer has qualifiers, it is or it is not. To be born again is to be a new creation in Christ. Christ quits being only in the mouth and now Christ consumes the entire being. Where the idea of living without Christ in your life is not an option as you can not fathom living without the presence of the Holy Ghost in your life. You can not see the morning without praising God for the beauty of the day, be it rain, snow, ice, sun, it does not matter as you now view it as magnificent creation and an assurance of God’s presence in your world. Yes, be brave and be reborn in the Holy Spirit and become a new creation.

A Good Recipe -Sermon at Holy Trinity Anglican Church 5 March 2017

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Today’s Sermon – A Good Recipe

LESSONS:

First Lesson        Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7

Psalm                   Psalm 32

Second Lesson   Romans 5:12-19

Gospel                 Matthew 4:1-11

COLLECT: Almighty God, whose blessed Son was led by the Spirit to be tempted by Satan: Come quickly to help us who are assaulted by many temptations; and, as you know the weaknesses of each of us, let each one find you mighty to save; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

It’s Just Not Fair – Reflection for 5 March 2017

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It just doesn’t seem fair. It’s almost like Bill Belichek stole Satan’s playbook, videotaped all of his sideline signals, and then gave them to us. In the Garden, we see that crafty serpent challenge God’s word, twist God’s word, and finally question God’s love and goodness. Then once he sees a little opening, he pounces with doubt, fear, blame, and shame. In the wilderness, we see the same tactics once again. Only this time, Jesus stands firm in the knowledge and love of God. We’ve seen how the devil works, and we’ve seen how to beat him. Why don’t we just use this season of Lent to focus all of our efforts on defeating Satan since we know all of his tricks? Perhaps if we fast enough or pray enough or give enough or serve enough, we can be good enough this time.

This is the danger of Lent, the temptation to think that we can make ourselves holy by our own efforts. We are reminded in the invitation to Lent in the Ash Wednesday service that the church uses this time to prepare for Easter, to reconcile with those separated from the fellowship, and to prepare new converts for baptism. I am tempted to try to fulfill those baptismal vows to renounce the devil, the empty promises of the world, and the sinful desires of the flesh all by myself to prove myself worthy. When I inevitably fail, I am tempted to give up completely. Fortunately, Paul reminds us that our righteousness is completed in Christ. We have nothing left to prove.

The unfairness is actually more like being on a four-man best ball scramble with Jordan Spieth, Arnold Palmer, and Tiger Woods as the other three players. I know that my contribution to that team would not impact the outcome at all. For me, this is the hardest part of the Gospel. I get all of the benefit while Jesus did all of the work. In response, I try to hold parts of my life back from God until I can make them right on my own. The disciplines of Lent help me to recognize the impossibility and foolishness of this attempt. For me the best part of Lent is when I stop striving against the unfairness of God’s love for me and start resting in the grace of His love for all of us.

Getting the Question Right – Sermon at Holy Trinity Anglican Church Ash Wednesday evening

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Sermon from Evening Celebration of Ash Wednesday – Getting the Question Right

The Lessons:

First Lesson        Isaiah 58:1-12

Psalm                   Psalm 103

Second Lesson   1 Corinthians 5:20b-6:10

Gospel                 Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21

The Collect:

Almighty and everlasting God, you hate nothing you have made and forgive the sins of all who are penitent: Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of you, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.