Holy Trinity Anglican Church

Sermons and Reflections

Repairing the Breach – Sermon at Holy Trinity Anglican Church For Ash Wednesday 2017

frontpage1400x700SepiaSermon from Noon Celebration of Ash Wednesday – Repairing the Breach

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.

Called and Sent – Sermon at Holy Trinity Anglican Church 26 FEB 2017

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Today’s Sermon – Called and Sent

LESSONS:

First Lesson         Exodus 24:12-18

Psalm                    Psalm 99

Second Lesson    2 Peter 1:16-21

Gospel                  Matthew 17:1-9

COLLECT: O God, who before the passion of your only begotten Son revealed his glory upon the holy mountain: Grant to us that we, beholding by faith the light of his countenance, may be strengthened to bear our cross, and be changed into his likeness from glory to glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Mountain Top News – Reflection for 26 February 2017

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The old gospel hymn ‘GO TELL IT ON THE MOUNTAIN’ is the retelling of the greatest story

ever told. The hymn tells us to seek the highest places and once there proclaim that Christ is born.

Moses ascended the mountain, Jesus goes up the mountain, Peter, James and John have been to the mountain top and witnessed the glory of God and lived to tell about it. They heard the voice from the cloud. They saw Moses and Elijah, the pillars of the Jewish Faith with Jesus! They know the truth and they still made mistakes, all this gives hope in a time of chaos.

Go tell it, what do I tell, the good news that salvation has arrived. Go shout from the mountain top, we have been redeemed, by God through his son, Jesus the Christ. Go tell it on the mountain that the Holy Light of the Creator is in the world. Go to the highest place, physically, spiritually, emotionally and proclaim that Jesus Christ is born, never to die again and is raised to life everlasting. This is the good news that the hymn speaks of, everyday, not just at Christmas time.

From the mountain top death has no place to hide. From the top there are no shadows of ‘what if’ or ‘I can’t forgive myself’, as the Holy Light shines on all.

The Holy invites people into relationship with a promise of redemption. The message is simple and adheres to the principle of K.I.S.S. or better known as ‘keep it simple stupid’, Jesus Christ was born, died on a cross accepting my sins as though they were his, buried (very important as the dead stink) was raised from the grave and walked among the disciples eating and drinking, something that ghosts don’t do, ascended into the clouds (the physical manifestations for God’s presence into the creation) seated on the right hand of God, never to die again! From there Jesus sends the Holy Spirit to dwell within us.

Rejoice and again I say rejoice, Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior, we are redeemed and marked as God’s own.

I Have a Plan – Sermon at Holy Trinity Anglican Church 19 FEB 2017

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Today’s Sermon – I Have a Plan

LESSONS:

First Lesson         Leviticus 19:1-2, 9-18

Psalm                    Psalm 119:33-40

Second Lesson    1 Corinthians 3:10-11,16-23

Gospel                  Matthew 5:38-48

COLLECT: O Lord, you have taught us that without love whatever we do is worth nothing: Send your Holy Spirit and pour into our hearts your greatest gift, which is love, the true bond of peace and of all virtue, without which whoever lives is accounted dead before you. Grant this for the sake of your only Son Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Wholly Perfect and Perfectly Holy – Reflection for 19 FEB 2017

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Our readings today start with God commanding Israel to “be holy for I the LORD your God am holy.” (Leviticus 19:2) Our Gospel lesson concludes with Jesus instructing the people gathered around Him to “be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48) With these bookends, it would be easy for me to get discouraged for I am certainly neither holy nor perfect!

Seeking some degree of encouragement, I looked at the text between these statements. In this section of Leviticus, God first reminds Israel what it means to be ready for worship (vv 3-8) then describes the community that results from worship. A community that values generosity over selfishness, honesty and fairness over selfishness, and justice and reconciliation over oppression, hatred, and vengeance. Jesus then expands the scope of this benevolent community to include not only the oppressed but also the oppressor as he instructs us to respond to injury and insult with love instead of anger, to extend grace not only to those we like but also to those who hate us, to be grace filled not only to those who respond in grace but also to those who respond with vitriolic insults.
I’m not sure that I am any more encouraged as I read this. It seems so unnatural and against everything that the world would think justified. Why would anyone take what was his own and give it away generously to someone who probably wouldn’t even say thank you? Why would anyone pursue with love after someone who had turned their back on him? Why would anyone seek reconciliation through forgiveness rather than just restitution? Why would anyone respond in such a foolish manner? Wouldn’t they just be taken advantage of and tossed aside?

Perhaps the only reason to live this way is because God lives this way. Too often, I focus only on the command “Be holy” or “Be perfect” without even seeing the purpose or reason. We are called not to achieve holiness or perfection, instead we are called to live in and live into the Father’s love, to enter into His presence in worship and carry His holiness into the world, to enter into His Truth and live according to His wisdom instead of the “wisdom” of the world, to pray as in our collect that He will pour the Holy Spirit into our hearts that we may love with His love and live with His life. It is in Him, by Him, and through Him that you have been made and are being made wholly perfect and perfectly holy. Be loved because you are beloved by our heavenly Father!

Contagious Love – Sermon at Holy Trinity Anglican Church 12 FEB 2017

Sermon On The Mount with the Healing of the Leper Cosimo Rosselli, 1481

Sermon On The Mount with the Healing of the Leper Cosimo Rosselli, 1481  

Today’s SermonContagious Love

LESSONS:

First Lesson         Deuteronomy 30:15-20

Psalm                    Psalm 119:1-8

Second Lesson    1 Corinthians 3:1-9

Gospel                  Matthew 5:21-37

COLLECT: O God, the strength of all who put their trust in you: Mercifully accept our prayers; and because in our weakness we can do nothing good without you, give us the help of your grace, that in keeping your commandments we may please you both in will and deed; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

It’s the Law – Reflection for 12 Feb 2017

 

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Rules and regulations, rules and regulations, it seems there are always rules and I can’t do what I want to do. True, there are many rules and regulations in our lives, but when God gave us His set of rules they were for our preservation as a people. They are pretty straight forward, 10 rules, the first three are thou shall and the remainder are do not. Surely we can follow 10 rules?

Telling a five year old to play outside while you get ready to go some place is not the greatest idea in the world. They may be dressed and ready to go, but you did not tell them to stay clean while they play outside. They see no reason not to be in the sand pile, rolling in the grass with the dogs and jumping off the wall of the fire pit. They did not hear, stay clean and sit quietly, while I get dressed. They heard play outside.

Adults in the church and out of the church are no better and Jesus was fully aware of this proclivity for only looking at the surface, the letter of the law and not the intent of the law, when he addressed the crowd in his teachings. This is why 10 laws became over 613 to 1050 laws and commands. This is why it is impossible to keep the law.

Seriously, Jesus said to keep the law by keeping yourself from letting your mind take you down a primrose path. Thinking about breaking the law was tantamount to breaking the law.

HALT! IN THE NAME OF THE LAW! It is time to change viewpoint of the law, from don’t to do and prosper! Do this so that you might have life abundantly and prosper. Jesus came to give us life and life abundantly, regardless of where we are physically. Christ is the focus of life and the world rotates around Him, not the other way around. Christ gives us what we can not give to ourselves, peace in the midst of chaos. If you are in chaos why not ask another believer for prayer and let the mind of Christ be in you and the Holy Spirit to guide and comfort you. It is trite but,

Let go and let God !!!!!!!!!

Why Bother? Sermon at Holy Trinity Anglican Church 5 FEB 2017

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Today’s Sermon – Why Bother?

LESSONS:

First Lesson      Isaiah 58:1-12

Psalm                 Psalm 112:1-9

Second Lesson 1 Corinthians 2:1-16

Gospel                Matthew 5:13-20

COLLECT: Set us free, O God, from the bondage of our sins, and give us the liberty of that abundant life which you have made known to us in your Son our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen

 

Building Walls – Reflection 5 February 2017

2trumpetsReflection on the Fifth Sunday after Epiphany

Most of the time I am able to keep things separated. Like keeping the gravy away from the salad on my plate, I can usually keep the news and the Bible far apart. I read the news as an American and the Bible as a Christian. This distinction allows me to maintain the illusion that repentance is for other people. I can also avoid or ignore the parts of the Bible that challenge me to actually listen to God rather than seeking God’s approval of my own well formulated opinion.

Today was different. I could continue to ignore the polemic rhetoric about walls and travel bans with political and religious pundits on each side. As long as I maintain a degree of abstraction and ignore the faces, I can still seek after God and delight in His ways as if we “were a people that practiced righteousness and did not forsake the ordinance of their God.” However, it was the reminder of human trafficking and oppression that accompanies major sporting events like the Super Bowl that I could no longer ignore. Isaiah’s trumpet blew loudly in my ears and like the walls of Jericho, the wall that I had carefully erected between the news and the Bible came crashing down.

I must admit that I am a little frightened about how God might answer if I find the courage to pray for Him to open my eyes. How might He call me to “loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?” Would He really ask me to “share my bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into my house?” Perhaps these are just metaphors that I can find a way to ignore as I try to rebuild my wall.

I must admit that it is far easier to see the world through what Paul calls “the spirit of the world” and keep the “Spirit that is from God” confined to the church and other activities where I can maintain an illusion of righteousness similar to the scribes and Pharisees. That familiar wall keeps the salt in its cellar and prevents the light from shining too brightly. It keeps things separated and comfortable.

It also keeps me from entering the Kingdom. It keeps me from seeing God at work around me. That wall of my own making keeps me separated from God. It keeps me from seeing “what God has prepared for those who love him.”

Offering Myself – Reflection for 29 JAN 2017

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A meditation on today’s offertory hymn:

Lord, make us servants of your peace;

where there is hate, may we sow love;

where there is hurt, may we forgive;

where there is strife, may we make one.

Where in my week will I bring peace in the midst of the world’s discord?

Where all is doubt, may we sow faith;

where all is gloom, may we sow hope,

where all is night, may we sow light;

where all is tears, may we sow joy.

With whom in my life will I share faith, hope, light and joy?

Jesus, our Lord, may we not seek

to be consoled, but to console,

nor look to understanding hearts,

but look for hearts to understand.

In what ways have I been too caught up in my own hurt to see the hurt in others?

May we not look for love’s return,

but seek to love unselfishly,

for in our giving we receive,

and in forgiving are forgiven.

How can I love unselfishly this week?

Dying, we live, and are reborn

through death’s dark night to endless day;

Lord, make us servants of your peace,

to wake at last in heaven’s light.