Holy Trinity Anglican Church

Sermons and Reflections

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.

#Blessed – Sermon at Holy Trinity Anglican Church 29 JAN 2017

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Today’s Sermon – #Blessed

LESSONS:

First Lesson                   Micah 6:1-8

Psalm                              Psalm 15

Second Lesson              1 Corinthians 1:18-31

Gospel                            Matthew 5:1-12

COLLECT: Almighty and everlasting God, you govern all things both in heaven and on earth: Mercifully hear the supplications of your people, and in our time grant us your peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

The Song of the Kingdom – Sermon at Holy Trinity Anglican Church 22 JAN 2017

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Today’s Sermon – The Song of the Kingdom

LESSONS:

First Lesson Isaiah 9:1-4

Psalm Psalm 27:1, 5-13

Second Lesson 1 Corinthians 1:10-18

Gospel Matthew 4:12-23

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.

The Darkness Flees – Reflection 22 JAN 2017

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Many of you have heard or actually experienced what it means to be in the dark, when you went on a cave tour. They always turn off the lights and let you feel the physical presence of the dark. Some tours will then strike a single match to illustrate the power of light. How one little insignificant match forcibly chases the dark to the outer regions. What is also notable is the amount of area that the light of the match extends. The radiance of the match is 100 times more present than the physicality of the wood of the match would lead you to believe that it could make that much of a difference. If one match can light up 1200 square feet of a cavern, just think what God’s Word does in the world. God’s Word reaches into the deep recesses of our lives and causes the darkness to flee. Flee, a very good word that is not used today, but it does convey a visual image that is more complete than if we said that the Word chases the darkness..

Look at the difference between the words, which gives hope and which could imply judgement? Chases requires us to pursue the darkness thereby causing us to interact with the darkness. Darkness fleeing from the presence of God’s Word is something that God does, we do not have to interact with darkness in any of its varied forms. This is Good News. This is life giving and is a gift from God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.

When God’s Word is spoken the darkness flees, all we have to do is to speak the Word into the world of darkness. The Bible is God’s Word for us, let us rejoice and be glad in it.
In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen

Feed Me – Sermon at Holy Trinity Anglican Church 15 JAN 2017

seymour-plantToday’s Sermon – “Feed Me”

LESSONS:

First Lesson           Isaiah 49:1-7

Psalm                      Psalm 40:1-12

 

 

 

 

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, worshipped, 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.

Come and See -Reflection for 15 January 2017

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Some things are just beyond explanation. The more we try to explain or define them the less sense anything makes. In our Tuesday night group this week we wrestled with the contrast of intimacy and power in the start of the Apostles Creed. How can I believe in a God who is both Father and Almighty? Theologians wrestle with describing the immanence and transcendence of God. The liturgy and worship of various expressions of church ride pendulum between these extremes of intimacy and glory.

Our readings this week remind us that this is not a new challenge. Isaiah reminds himself of the intimacy of the LORD who formed him in the womb and called him before he was born. He sees the futility of his own strength and rests in the strength of God. Likewise, David celebrates in song the God who bends down to hear him and respond with the power to save him. Paul describes this volatile combination of power and intimacy as being at work within us. He even calls the church to participate directly in this paradox. The church gathered has been enriched in speech and knowledge by grace. Thus empowered, they have been called into fellowship with Jesus.

In our Gospel today, we see Andrew and another encounter this power and intimacy in human form. We do not have a record of that day they spent with the Lamb of God, but it must have been extremely convincing. We do have a record of Jesus looking at Simon and changing his name. Perhaps Simon Peter experienced in a moment the intimate  power of God as God incarnate spoke the name He had spoken as He formed Cephas in his mother’s womb.

How can the Almighty God, the creator and sustainer of all things, invite us into relationship with Him and each other? Some things are indeed beyond explanation. Some things you just have to “come and see” for yourself. When you do, what new song will God put in your heart and your mouth? How will you respond to the call of God into the power and fellowship of His Church? How will you answer as He asks “What are you looking for?” I can’t wait to see!

That Aha Moment – Sermon at Holy Trinity Anglican Church 8 January 2017

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Today’s Sermon – That Aha Moment

LESSONS:

First Lesson        Isaiah 60:1-6

Psalm                    Psalm 72:1-7,10-14

Second Lesson    Ephesians 3:1-12

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.

Are You Wise? _ Reflection 8 January 2017

The Epiphany is depicted in a mural titled "Adoration of the Magi" in the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception at Conception Abbey in Conception, Mo. Painted by Benedictine monks in the late 1800s, the artwork is the first appearance of the German Beuronese style in a U.S. church. Christians celebrate the incarnation of the divine word -- the birth of Christ -- Dec. 25. The feast of the Epiphany is Jan. 2. (CNS photo courtesy Conception Abbey) (Nov. 8, 2004)

What is it that made the wise men wise? Was it schooling and experience? There were many well schooled and highly experienced people in the time of Jesus who were not wise enough to recognize Him. Was it intelligence? There were many smart people who also failed to recognize Jesus. In today’s epistle reading, Paul, a very smart, zealous, and well educated man, regards his wisdom as “the commission of God’s grace that was given me for you…the mystery was made known to me by revelation.” I think Paul provides an even greater insight into wisdom in his letter to the Romans when he writes, “For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.” (Romans 1:19-23)

The wise men were wise precisely because they saw the glory of God revealed in the stars and they honored God. Perhaps we can take their example into our lives by prayerfully considering the account of their visit.

For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.

In what ways has God invited you to “see His star rising?” How is God inviting you into His presence? How are you responding?

When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy.

As you draw near to God, do you allow yourself to be overwhelmed with joy and anticipation?

“On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage”

Is your response to the presence of God humility and worship?

“Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts”

Do you “present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship?” (Rom 12:1)

“And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.”

Are you willing to hear God speak to you? Are you willing to follow Him? Are you ready to be wise?