Holy Trinity Anglican Church

Month: July 2017

Discerning the Kingdom – Sermon at Holy Trinity Anglican Church 30 JUL 2017

db85fa98aa431e1c58538237b636d32d--mustard-tree-mustard-seed-tattooToday’s Sermon – Discerning the Kingdom

LESSONS:

First Lesson            1 Kings3:3-14

Psalm                       Psalm 119:121-136

Second Lesson       Romans 8:26-34

Gospel                     Matthew 13:31-33, 44-50

COLLECT: Almighty and everlasting God, you are always more ready to hear than we to pray, and to give more than we either desire or deserve: Pour upon us the abundance of your mercy, forgiving us those things of which our conscience is afraid, and giving us those good things for which we are not worthy to ask, except through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ our Savior; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Proof? – Reflection for 30 JUL 2017

Egg Washed and Proofing Rolls - 1020 (7-14-15)I was watching ‘Britain’s Great Baking Show’ and sat absolutely amazed at the trials the bakers had to complete successfully in order to continue on the show. All the faults and emotional temperaments showed up during the baking challenges. One person had a mistake with his baked Alaska and dumped the whole thing in the trash. Obviously, he did not do well in the remaining judging and was eliminated from the contest. They started with 8 bakers of various ages and I am at the point in the show where there are only four bakers left. Many times the bake looked good on the outside, but it was over proofed, underproofed, raw, squishy, messy, no eye appeal, no taste and the list goes on. Some of the bakers nail the task and the judges are happy, but someone is going to leave the show.

What does that have to do with “The Kingdom of Heaven is like…” in Mathew’s Gospel? As I look at the examples it strikes me that for each of the good there is the potential of the bad. For example, yeast in baking is an active, alive substance. It will grow and produce carbon dioxide and cause the flour to rise. If the temperature is too hot it can blow out and leave you with a crater in the dough, if the temperature is too cool it may not rise, if you add too much flour you won’t get a light dough. It takes the correct amount of temperature and the correct amount of flour and time to get the desired end product. This resembles the sower parable in that it takes the correct conditions to grow to maturity.

The need for continued study of God’s Word so that it can infuse your life to give you stability and character. Yeast needs other yeast to be able to grow the dough and so it is with us. We only grow in Christ when we are in communion / community with other believers. Our understanding of what it means to be heirs of the Kingdom keeps us vigilant of our surroundings. We watch for those things that create the heat of anger, temptation, or anything else that can parade as good but is really sin in disguise. If we ignore community we risk getting cold and careless and the enemy can strike during this period of weakness.

Yeast or no yeast. Proofed or over/under proofed. Fully baked or half baked (that does not apply to the rector’s sermons) Jesus says to make a choice, fence sitting is not an option.

Walking with the Spirit – Sermon at Holy Trinity Anglican Church 23 JUL 2017

406b0cf33c6e33ad992c3f0b3353210a

Today’s Sermon – Walking with the Spirit

LESSONS:

First Lesson              Isaiah 44:6-8

Psalm                         Psalm 86

Second Lesson         Romans 8:18-25

Gospel                       Matthew 13:24-43

COLLECT: O God, you declare your almighty power chiefly in showing mercy and pity: Grant us the fullness of your grace, that we, running to obtain your promises, may become partakers of your heavenly treasure; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Trampled Wheat – Reflection for 23 JUL 2017

wheatI was greatly saddened this week over the discussion centered on Eugene Peterson. Regardless of whether one agrees or disagrees with his opinion, the absolute hatred and vitriol streaming from self-identified Christians has no place in discussions of the Kingdom of God.

Closer to home, I had a discussion with a fellow pastor in a different denomination on the challenge of “church hurt.” He remarked that the greatest meanness that he had ever seen between two people was within a church. Some of you may have experienced this and some of us know people who have been so hurt by the church that they may never experience the true joy of the Body of Christ gathered in worship.

While some people may rightly focus on the judgement that Jesus promises in his explanation of the parable of the wheat and the tares, perhaps we should also spend some time on His warning about our current actions. Jesus warns His servants not to pull up the weeds lest they damage the good wheat as well. I wonder how much good wheat lies trampled from our efforts to pull a few weeds.

We will do well to remember that as we gather there will be good and fruitful wheat. There may also be annoying weeds. Let us remember always that the field and the harvest belong to the Lord. Our purpose is not to pull weeds. Our purpose is to produce the fruit of the Kingdom.

 

 

Understanding the Kingdom – Sermon at Holy Trinity Anglican Church 16 July 2017

IMG_2732Today’s Sermon – Understanding the Kingdom

LESSONS:

First Lesson          Isaiah 55:1-13

Psalm                     Psalm 65

Second Lesson     Romans 8:7-17

Gospel                   Matthew 13:1-23

COLLECT: Hear us, O Lord, when we cry out to you; and that we might receive what we ask, enable us by your Holy Spirit to ask only what accords with your will; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the same Spirit lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.

 

Membership Without Cost – Reflection for 16 JUL 2017

IMG_3284You are well acquainted with me asking ‘so what’ and Jesus answers that question for the disciples in the parable of the sower, but what does that look like in today’s world. I immediately hear, ‘but I am not being fed.’ I will go somewhere else and the somewhere else winds up being the golf course, shopping, t.v., or sleeping or cleaning the garage. You can’t help but wonder how the individual even managed to find their way into a church, but maybe they didn’t. They could have been caught up in the excitement of a crusade, or a large gathering. They sense the excitement and want to be a part it until it looks like they may have to do something.

Then you have those that are like the hill country, rocky and thorny with a minimal amount of soil or water. They found a church and the pastor is a great speaker, but he retired and the new guy is not as good at telling stories. After a short period of time they lose interest and move on from the church altogether, there just isn’t the same without pastor so and so. The music just doesn’t move me. Besides the t.v. has just run a whole series on how religious leaders are milking their congregations for thousands of dollars. Did you read the articles that says religion is all myth with no proof of anything, I am not sure I want to be identified with them. My friend practices scientology or something and is doing very well for themselves.

Plants that grow have to work at growing. They need to be receptive to leaving behind the hard shell of the seed that has provided comfort and security for them. When the water comes they allow the water to seep into their shell and expose the core, the essence, of the seed. This essence reaches out for the nutrition in the soil and begins to grow. Soon there are roots going out and a stalk starts to emerge from the soil and behold a leaf reaches out to the sun for its life giving rays. Growth starts and the other seeds nearby provide support and protection for the seed as it also extends itself to encourage and protect other new seedlings.

The Word of God can break into our shells so that we can grow and develop as heirs of the kingdom. This growth is the immersion into God’s holy word, supported by teaching, enriching, uplifting support of the community. Growth takes place in the community of believers. Believers teaching other believers. Always the focus in this growth is not me, but God. God is the focus of the teaching. Jesus is the means to understand and be in relationship with the Father. The Holy Spirit enables us to pursue the worship of God, the study of God, the community of God. It is God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit that grow us up into the kingdom and life. Paths and rocks and thorns are easier and require next to no work, but life in the fullness of God requires effort. Where do you live? Paths, rocks, thorns, or fertile soil.

Are Your Ready For Peace? Sermon at Holy Trinity Anglican Church 9 July 2017

RestToday’s Sermon – Are You Ready For Peace?

LESSONS:

First Lesson         Zechariah 9:9-12

Psalm                    Psalm 145:1-13

Second Lesson    Romans 7:21-8:6

Gospel                  Matthew 11:25-30

COLLECT: Grant us, Lord, we pray, the spirit to think and do always those things that are right, that we, who cannot exist without you, may by you be enabled to live according to your will; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

The Eyes of a Child – Reflection for 9 July 2017

IMG_1417I have a friend who tells the story of her child looking at the sunset and exclaiming, “Look at what God painted just for us!” I am constantly amazed by the ways in which my own children remind me to see God’s glory in the small and large things of each day. I am convinced that my five year old does not need to be reminded by the Psalmist that “Great is the LORD, and marvelous worthy to be praised; there is no end of his greatness.”

Together with Jesus, we can thank God that He has “hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children.” We can also be thankful that He has given us children to revealed to us these hidden things through eyes of wonder.

The Psalmist tells us that “One generation shall praise thy works unto another, and declare thy power.” As a parent, I can only hope to have the humility to let my children teach me about the wondrous works of God.

Another friend tells of her pre-school aged son sitting in timeout after a particularly difficult afternoon and telling her, “Mom, it’s really hard to be good all day long.” I wonder if this is what Paul is really trying to say. Perhaps this also sheds a different light on our Gospel reading. As Jesus talks about those who labor and are heavy laden, I wonder if these are the people who are trying to bear the burden of “being good.”

Just as my friend’s son was deeply loved when he was able to be good and when he wasn’t, we are deeply loved by God even when we do not feel very lovable. What would happen if we laid down the burden of being good and took up the yoke of being loved?

What is Peace? – Sermon at Holy Trinity Anglican Church 2 July 2017

1676-01Today’s Sermon – What is Peace?

LESSONS:

First Lesson            Isaiah 2:10-17

Psalm                       Psalm 89:1-19

Second Lesson       Romans 6:1-11

Gospel                     Matthew 10:34-42

COLLECT: O God, your never-failing providence sets in order all things both in heaven and on earth: Put away from us all hurtful things, and give us those things which are profitable for us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Will You Follow? Reflection for 2 July 2017

2trumpetsIn today’s Psalm, we hear “Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O LORD, in the light of thy countenance.” The “joyful noise” of this Psalm is the trumpet blast that signaled either a call to arms or the sabbath rest of a festival. The trumpet blast is always a call to action, however, the action is specific to the season – a call to rejoice in the Lord, to battle in the Lord, or to rest in the Lord.

Madelene L’Engle claimed that when she came across an idea too difficult for adults, she would put it in a “children’s book.” In that same manner, Jenny Cote in her book The Ark, The Reed, and The Fire Cloud deals with the difficult adult problem of discerning God’s call to action in a conversation between the wise mountain goat, Gillamon, and the trusting Scottish terrier, Max.

After Max tells Gillamon about hearing the Voice, Gillamon responds, “Max, lad, this is quite the puzzle. There is always a reason for things. There is always a purpose behind everything, even when there is not an explanation. We must begin by not explaining what happened, but by trying to find the purpose behind it…Sometimes a question grows into more questions rather than a single answer. ‘Tis the way of life, Max. If there is a purpose for you beyond what you know, the all-powerful One— the Maker— always has a way of making it known. He will give you a revelation and show you what to do. You may not understand it. You may fight it. You may be afraid of it. But if it comes from the Maker, you can always trust it.” Gillamon paused and leaned in close to look Max right in the eye. “The true question is: Will you follow it, Max?”