Holy Trinity Anglican Church

Month: November 2017

Sheep or Goat? – Sermon at Holy Trinity Anglican Church 26 NOV 2017

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Today’s Sermon – Sheep or Goat?

LESSONS:

First Lesson           Ezekiel34:11-20

Psalm                      Psalm 95

Second Lesson      1 Corinthians15:20-28

Gospel                    Matthew 25:31-46

COLLECT: Almighty and everlasting God, whose will it is to restore all things in your well-beloved Son, the King of kings and Lord of lords: Mercifully grant that the peoples of the earth, divided and enslaved by sin, may be freed and brought together under his most gracious rule; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Thankful in the Wilderness – Reflection for 26 November 2017

IMG_2720The first seven verses of our Psalm today make up the Venite, the traditional first canticle of Morning Prayer. This canticle reminds us of the majesty of God and our proper response in worship. The words, “Oh, that today you would harken to His voice!” introduce the Psalms and lessons of Morning Prayer.

However, it is the last four verses that captured my attention this week. These verses provide a warning based on Israel’s history when God had brought them forth from Egypt and they grumbled and doubted. They did not believe that the God who defeated Pharaoh and parted the Red Sea, the God whose presence was visible with them night and day could lead them through the wilderness. They grumbled and complained to Moses.

Like Israel, my temporary discomforts and disappointments can very easily draw me into ungrateful grumbling. I can forget the tremendous blessing, presence, and power of God. In the distractions and busyness of daily life, I can let my heart harden. I can miss the love and grace of God. I can create my own wilderness where joy and peace are far away, where there is no rest.

It is easy for me to be thankful when things are going well. Or, perhaps I notice things going well when I am thankful. It is when things seem to be falling apart that I need the discipline of thanksgiving. A time when I stop everything else and remember the blessing and presence of God. A time when I let God soften my heart and open my eyes to His presence. A time to harken to His voice and enter into rest. A time like Morning Prayer.

Not Performance but Relationship – Sermon at Holy Trinity Anglican Church 19 NOV 2017

273719.pListen to guest preacher Rob Malloy’s sermon from the afternoon service – Not Performance but Relationship

LESSONS:

First Lesson          Zephaniah1:7,12-18

Psalm                     Psalm 90:1-12

Second Lesson     1 Thessalonians 5:1-10

Gospel                   Matthew 25:14-30

COLLECT: Stir up, O Lord, the wills of your faithful people; that they may plenteously bring forth the fruit of good works, as they await the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ to restore all things to their original perfection; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.

Faith, Love, and the Image of God – Sermon at Holy Trinity Anglican Church 19 NOV 2017

PARABLE-TALENTS-STAINED-GLASS-238x300Listen to Fr Rob’s sermon form the morning service – Faith, Love, and the Image of God

 

LESSONS:

First Lesson            Zephaniah1:7,12-18

Psalm                       Psalm 90:1-12

Second Lesson       1 Thessalonians 5:1-10

Gospel                     Matthew 25:14-30

COLLECT: Stir up, O Lord, the wills of your faithful people; that they may plenteously bring forth the fruit of good works, as they await the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ to restore all things to their original perfection; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.

Attitude Check – Reflection for 19 NOV 2017

Stained glass (detail) from the parable of the Talents, St Edward the Martyr's Church, Corfe Castle, Dorset, England. Flickr CC / Romano

We have all heard about the parable of the servants and the master giving them money before he left on a trip. We know two of the servants invested and had a return and the third servant was foolish in burying his one talent. Sermons galore have spoken to the issue of investing your talents and or recognizing your talents. They encourage you to make use of your one? Talent.

I have come to the conclusion that the parable is not about investing talents, rather it is about attitude and perspective. I tell you right off the bat which servant had the best ‘can do’ attitude, the first one, right? The second servant also had a good attitude, but more than likely was occasionally prone to the ‘poor me‘ syndrome, but still a good fellow. I do not have to stretch my imagination very far to what the third servant was like to be around. Mr. doom and gloom, nothing is going right, everybody hates me, I am going to eat some worms. Yech! Hey, the master took a chance with the fellow and gave him one talent to use, to see what results would be achieved.

Listen to the servant number three, not from the other two, “I knew you to be a hard master” if so why didn’t the others mention this, that “you reap where you don’t sow and gather where you don’t scatter,” is it any wonder that the master is cross eyed with this servant?

Father Ed, I don’t like where this is going, you just might be meddling in my life. You can see the question that is being asked, can’t you.

Attitude about what we believe to be true effects and affects our lives, our worship, our relationship with God, our relationship with each other. God says judgement is His, yet when we engage in attitude of the third servant, we just set ourselves up to be handing out judgement, in doing so we begin to miss the blessing our Father has for us. We miss out on the joy of life and the hope of life eternal. We do it to ourselves, just as the third servant did to himself.
Do you believe that God so loved the world that he gave his only son to die for our sins? If so, then rejoice and again I say rejoice. In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, REJOICE!!!

A Different Kind of Story – Sermon at Holy Trinity Anglican Church 12 November 2017

five bridesmaidsToday’s Sermon – A Different Kind of Story

LESSONS:

First Lesson             Amos 5:18-24

Psalm                        Psalm 70

Second Lesson        1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

Gospel                      Matthew 25:1-13

COLLECT: O God, whose blessed Son came into the world that he might destroy the works of the devil and make us children of God and heirs of eternal life: Grant that, having this hope, we may purify ourselves as he is pure; that, when he comes again with power and great glory, we may be made like him in his eternal and glorious kingdom; where he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

How does the story end? – Reflection for 12 November 2017

oil_lampI often try to avoid talking about the day when Jesus returns. It is not that I don’t look forward to that great and glorious day, nor is it because I am uncertain or doubtful that Jesus will return. I avoid talking about that day because of all the weird things that other people have said. Like a movie trailer, the Bible gives us just enough information for us to want to see the full picture, and as with a movie trailer, we respond with speculation and theories to fill in the blanks.

Unfortunately, my frustration with the speculation sometimes keeps me from talking about the things we are certain about. I miss out on the opportunity to talk about the hope of the resurrection. Paul instructs us to encourage one another with these words. I also miss out on the opportunity to talk about the judgement that will occur on that last day.

This week’s gospel begins the first of three parables that Jesus uses to prepare us for that day. As we spend these last three weeks before Advent in the 25th chapter of Matthew, I invite you to read these three parables together. As you read about the maidens awaiting the bridegroom, the servants charged with the masters treasure, and those who care for the helpless, consider what it means to know Christ and to be known by Him. Consider as well how joyous an occasion it will be to see the bridegroom come, to hear the words “well done good and faithful servant,” and to accept the invitation of Christ to come into His Kingdom.

When I am truly honest, I admit that I avoid talking about the return of Christ because I don’t like to consider that some people are shut out of the glory. As long as I avoid thinking about this, I can avoid praying for those who are careless and forget to bring extra oil and for those who hide their gifts out of fear and misunderstanding. Perhaps I can even avoid thinking about how easy it is to keep God safely inside the church so that He doesn’t interfere with my week. As long as I can avoid thinking about the judgement on that last day, I can avoid introducing people to Jesus so that they might come to know Him.

On second thought, Matthew 25 isn’t really a very good movie trailer since it gives away the ending. As you read this chapter and we hear it read over the next three weeks, rejoice in the ways you know Jesus, consider the ways in which you would like to know Him more, and think about the people in your life who might not know Him. How might you pray for them? How might God use you to answer that prayer?

Updated Site for Sermons

We just updated the platform on which we publish our recorded sermons (The old hosting site went out of business). I have archived almost all of the sermons from the past 2 years, but I have not uploaded them to Podbean. If you see one on the website that you want to hear, message me and I will post it.

Practicing What We Preach – Sermon at Holy Trinity Anglican Church 5 November 2017

170px-Spas_vsederzhitel_sinayToday’s Sermon – Practicing What We Preach

LESSONS:

First Lesson            Micah 3:5-12

Psalm                       Psalm 43

Second Lesson       1 Thessalonians 2:9-20

Gospel                     Matthew 23:1-12

COLLECT: Grant us, Lord, not to be anxious about earthly things, but to love things heavenly; and even now, while we are placed among things that are passing away, to hold fast to those that shall endure; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Consolation – Reflection for 5 November 2017

IMG_3706 2We have fallen back, the leaves have started to turn, the shorter days and cooler (hopefully!) weather are just around the corner. The difference in season here in San Antonio is much less dramatic then what we experienced in Germany where the gray days of January through March threatened to overwhelm our memories of the beautiful summer days, the fall fests, and the Christmas markets. In many ways our spiritual life is similar. The times when we feel distant from God threaten to blot out our experiences of the love and joy of God. This is why small habits of thankfulness that recognize and remember our experiences of grace in the small everyday things are so important. This storing up of consolation strengthens and sustains us through periods of desolation.

Fall sunsets remind both to savor God’s grace in the moment and to store these memories safely away for times when His grace feels more distant.

 

Shadows lengthen
as day gives way to night
A gentle breeze carries
the hint of winter’s chill

The sharp edge of cold
threatens to erase
summer’s warm embrace
and autumn’s refreshing kiss

Wisps of cloud grasp
the sun’s last golden rays
hoarding color for the dark foretold
as pink deepens into purple

Green clings to grass
before the coming frost
renders fields bleak
with soulless brown

Yellow, red and orange
mix to paint the trees
while weathered hands wise with years

Gently pause

To capture this fleeting moment
for youth that longs for endless spring
and fools too busy to notice

An image, a moment, a memory,
a grace to nourish the soul
through trial of night
and chill of winter
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This poem was inspired by a watercolor by Virgil Carter painted on site at the Comfort Art Festival.