Holy Trinity Anglican Church

Month: October 2017

Who is the Messiah? – Reflection for 29 OCT 2017

IMG_3301What do you think of the Messiah? Whose son is he? Are you confused yet? Messiah, a minimum of 296 definitions talking about Christ. Some examples – 10 fold prophecy, 12 facts, 5 names,7 anointings, 2 judgements,10 blessings, 10 symbols, 3 predictions of his birth, animals tamed, man of sorrows, 10 proofs Christ bore sin and sickness, and the list goes on and on. So, …. The question Jesus asked the big shots when they tried to trick him again has bit them where it hurts, their intellect and rules, it is now addressed to us, you and I. What do you think of the Messiah? Whose son is he?

Is he literally the son of David? Are you a son of perdition or hell? Who do you call Lord? The Gospel is meddling in my life and I suspect it meddles in your life also, if you let it.

How can Jesus be the son of David, that was hundreds of years ago. While you are asking that question why not answer the one about David being a man after God’s own heart? How does that work?

I will let you off the hook on the 2nd paragraph, but the first one you need to answer for yourself and your life. If you can’t answer the question as it applies to your life, would it be possible you might need to do some research in the Bible? Or, would you rather that I and/or Rob answer the question for you? Oh, I forgot, we can’t answer that question for you since the answer we have applies to our lives, so that would not work.

Clue: when you get the answer you will also have answered the question of whose you are, not in the academic sense, but in the creation sense.

What Do You Think About the Christ – Sermon at Holy Trinity Anglican Church 29 OCT 2017

iconJesusToday’s Sermon – What do you think about the Christ?

LESSONS:

First Lesson              Exodus 22:21-27

Psalm                         Psalm 1

Second Lesson         1 Thessalonians 2:1-8

Gospel                       Matthew 22:34-46

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.

What is God’s? – Sermon at Holy Trinity Anglican Church 22 OCT 2017

IMG_3380 (1)Today’s Sermon – What is God’s?

LESSONS:

First Lesson             Isaiah 45:1-7

Psalm                        Psalm 96

Second Lesson        1 Thessalonians 1:1-10

Gospel                      Matthew 22:15-22

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

Ascribing Value – Reflection for 22 October 2017

RS4D_augustus_masked“Whose likeness is on the coin?” This is the question Jesus asks as the Pharisees and Herodians team up to try and trap him. “How do you measure value?” is the deeper question. As we look in our own wallets, we find pieces of paper with particular images and special ink. We have come to a shared understanding of the value of these symbols. We use these symbols to translate our labor into the things we need and the things we want. If we are honest with ourselves, we even use it to value other people and ourselves. The value of this paper lies only in the value we ascribe to it.

The psalmist exhorts us to ascribe unto God the honor due his Name. How do we ascribe honor to God? Is it with the same currency we use to value things in our daily transactions? Instead, how might we honor God with the things that He values? He has already told us the He doesn’t need anything we could give because whether we understand it or not, He owns all things. Instead, He calls us to honor Him with justice, kindness, and humility.

Jesus concludes his lesson to the Pharisees, the Herodians, and the gathered crowd with the instruction to “Give unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and unto God what is God’s.” As we go through our daily lives, we have the choice to ascribe value according to Caesar or according to God. Will we value our time based on what we earn or on how we love? Will we value others based on what they can earn or give or based on how they are loved by God? What will we value with our attention, our time, and our labor? Will we ascribe honor and power to Caesar or to God?

The Uncomfortable Now – Sermon at Holy Trinity Anglican Church 15 OCT 2017

IMG_3685

Morgan’s watercolor images of Isaiah 25:1-9. On the left are the bricks falling down and on the right God building the city back.

Today’s Sermon – The Uncomfortable Now

LESSONS:

First Lesson              Isaiah 25:1-9

Psalm                         Psalm 23

Second Lesson         Philippians 4:4-13

Gospel                       Matthew 22:1-14

COLLECT: God, our refuge and strength, true source of all godliness: Graciously hear the devout prayers of your Church, and grant that those things which we ask faithfully we may obtain effectually; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who sits at your right hand to intercede for us, and who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns in everlasting glory. Amen.

You’re Invited! – Reflection for 15 October 2017

Wedding Feast of the LambWhen I get an invitation to an event or party, I generally have two questions, “Do I want to go?” and “What will I wear?”

If I don’t really want to go, I will search for an excuse or try to create a conflict in my schedule so that I have an out, much like the first group invited by the king in our Gospel parable. While I would love to say that invitations from God are different, in all honesty, I still ask do I really want to. When God invites me to a time of quiet and prayer, I often find other more important things to do. When God invites me to share His love with someone, I often remain busy with whatever “important” task I have chosen for myself. When God invites me to worship, my body may be present but my heart and my mind may be too filled with the worry, anger, betrayal, unforgiveness, and the troubles of the week. William Willamon notes that the key to ministry is recognizing interruptions as divine appointments.

The question of what to wear may seem a bit silly, but after 20+ years wearing a uniform and not having to make this decision, the options are daunting. Clerics or street clothes? Tie or no tie? Jacket or no jacket? The beautiful part of today’s parable is that the king provides the clothing for the guests. The only one that is dressed poorly is the one who chooses to remain clothed in his own clothes rather than the clothes provided by the king. We have the opportunity to be clothed in the mercy of Christ. Too often, I choose to remain in the garments of pride, judgement, and self-righteousness.

As the King invites you today to the wedding feast of the Lamb, the question remains, “Do you want to go?” and “What will you wear?”

Tending the Vineyard – Sermon at Holy Trinity Anglican Church 8 OCT 2017

vineyard-grapes-home-slideshowToday’s Sermon – Tending the Vineyard

LESSONS:

First Lesson         Isaiah 5:1-7

Psalm                    Psalm 80

Second Lesson    Philippians 3:14-21

Gospel                  Matthew 21:33-44

COLLECT: Keep, O Lord, your household the Church in continual godliness; that through your protection it may be free from all adversities, and devotedly serve you in good works, to the glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

A Time for Lament – Reflection for 8 October 2017

The events of the past several weeks have left me raw and unsettled. Like the Psalmist, I desire to be restored, but as much as I would like to accomplish this restoration on my own, I am also aware of my limitations. At times like this, the practice of lament seems the best way for me to hand things over to God, and so I offer you this lament in the hope that it may help you to offer your struggles and disappointment to God.frontpage1400x700Sepia

Why are you distant, O Lord

Why do you hide your face
You promise freedom and we are trapped
You promise healing and we are broken
You promise peace and we are killed
You promise love and mercy and
we are surrounded by hate and violence

You have allowed your people who are called by your name
to be deceived
A small, narrow truth overcomes Love
A small, narrow love overcomes Truth
Shouting overwhelms listening
Name calling replaces reconciliation
Anger and fear defy Peace

Why are you distant, O Lord
Why do you hide your face
You have blinded our eyes
You have sealed our ears
You have hardened our hearts
You have sharpened our tongues

We have tried to heal ourselves
We have tried to conceal our hurt
We have tried to earn your grace
We have tried to manufacture your mercy

Yet we remain apart from your grace
There is no health in us
We are trapped and only you can free us
Only you, O Lord, can heal us

Your ways are wise
Your promises sure
You are near, let us see you
You speak, let us hear you
Soften our hearts that we may love
Loose our tongues that we may praise

Blessed be the Lord
Who made heaven and earth
All creation sings your praise
We join our voices in that song
Praise the Lord, O my heart,
Praise the Lord

A Mirror Before Us – Sermon at Holy Trinity Anglican Church 1 October 2017

IMG_3224Today’s Sermon – A Mirror Before Us

LESSONS:

First Lesson          Ezekiel 18:1-4;25-32

Psalm                     Psalm 25

Second Lesson     Philippians 2:1-13

Gospel                    Matthew 21:28-32

COLLECT: Merciful Lord, grant to your faithful people pardon and peace; that by your grace we may be cleansed from all our sins and serve you with a quiet mind; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

No Way… No…NO… NO!… OK

two_sons_detail_2I see no reason for me to go to church, my inner three year old insists. There is nothing there for me and I don’t like those people. They all act like they are happy to see me. I am not going, as my three year old goes into his tantrum. I am steadfast in my determination of staying home and not giving up what personal time I can scrounge for myself. You see, my three year old acts up a lot, especially when it comes to being around a number of people, then my wife speaks and my three year old wants to win the argument, but has to admit that after I get to the event or church I have a good time. I then feel good about myself as I did what was right, even though I refused to go in the beginning.

My cousin is different he will say yes to anything, as it relieves him of having to say no, all he does is not show up. He does not even give himself a chance to experience positive encounters and to develop a sense of community. Of course he is the first to complain that people don’t pull together anymore. He smiles to your face and then forgets you, making you believe that there is a relationship.

Jesus came to all of us, those who say no and do what is correct and to those who say yes and omit themselves from any relationships that are valued.
Another way of saying all this is with what we have heard before, ‘the church is full of bigots, phony people, flawed people, people who don’t understand, smiles of emptiness and meaningless platitudes. All of this is true and so much more. Those imperfect people are the ones that God sent His Son to save, people like me. We all have feet of clay and shiver at the thought of our finiteness. Yet, if we do what is correct, proper, suit up and show up, drag the body hoping that the mind will follow, maybe, just maybe, we might have a chance at understanding the love that God has for His Creation, you and me. Who knows some day that concept of grace and mercy may actually sink into our lives so that we can live the lives that God has intended for us, from the very beginning. Jesus Christ came to restore the balance of creation, to bring us out of our sin, ourselves, into the grace and mercy of restoration with the Father. Reach out and let God touch you in spite of all the noise of society, and live, live eternally, now and in the life everlasting of God’s Kingdom.