Holy Trinity Anglican Church

Month: December 2017

Dwelling Among Us – Reflection for 31DEC 2017

Dec+28+Holy+Innocents+2There is great richness in the liturgical calendar during the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day. This last week of the calendar year holds the Feast of Saint Stephen, Deacon and Martyr, the Feast of Saint John, Apostle and Evangelist, and the Feast of the Holy Innocents. I am usually too tired and too busy during this week to fully appreciate these days until the end of the week. I invite you also to reflect on Stephen, the first Christian martyr who glories in the vision of Christ he receives during his execution (Acts 7:54-60). I invite you to consider John who also experienced a vision of Christ while exiled on Patmos (Revelation 1:9). I invite you to mourn for the children slaughtered by Herod (Matthew 2:16) and mourn with those who have lost children.

These Holy days serve to remind us that the Joy and Peace of the Christmas season is miraculous not because our circumstances are suddenly different. Instead the Joy and Peace of Christmas are miraculous because Jesus is with us in the midst of our trials as well as our triumphs.

This Christmas season, I was particularly aware of those who mourn the death of a loved one, those who spent Christmas in the hospital with a sick child, those who were unable to see loved ones, those who are more aware of what is missing than what is present, those who grieve the loss of health and independence. For many, it appears more fitting to name themselves “Forsaken” or “Desolate” as Isaiah describes Israel.

However, the miracle of the Incarnation reminds us that even in our most desperate times, Christ is with us. He came not to palaces and temples but to a humble stable. He lived not as royalty but as a refugee. He died not as a hero but as one accursed and despised. Indeed, the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. When we named ourselves “Forsaken,” He named us as His delight. When we called ourselves “Desolate,” He called us His bride. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness can not overcome it!

Rejoice! – Reflection for the Third Sunday in Advent 2017

IMG-3803Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice!  Phil.4:-5

Gaudete Sunday, often times referred to as Rose Sunday.  It marks the midpoint way of Advent and the time for penance is over and it is time for anticapation of what is coming.

I am the first to admit that the wearing of pink vestments is a stretch, but then I got to thinking, which is always a dangerous thing for me to do, and I asked the question, why pink?

It seems that in the ancient church on of the early popes gave a citizen a pink rose half way through the advent season, and caught on.  Now the vestments for this important point in Advent are pink.  Just as real men wear dresses so they also can wear pink.

Recent history note, this thing about pink being for girls and blue for boys is a very recent event, well within the last 100 years.  Originally pink was for boys and blue for girls, my how things get turned around in modern society.

Gaudete finds its makeup in the Latin word of gaudium, meaning to rejoice or be glad. The Lord is coming!  The first time I heard “Mary did you know” I was overwhelmed with emotion at the truth of the song.   So, my question to you, members of the body of Christ at Holy Trinity Anglican Church, “Do you know?”

REJOICE IN THE LORD ALWAYS, AND AGAIN I SAY REJOICE!!!  NOW YOU KNOW!!!

Keeping a Kingdom Focus – Sermon at Holy Trinity Anglican Church 17 DEC 2107

st-john-the-baptist-icon-726Listen to today’s sermon – Keeping a Kingdom Focus

LESSONS:

First Lesson           Isaiah 65:17-25

Psalm                      Psalm 126

Second Lesson      1 Thessalonians 5:12-28

Gospel                    John 3:22-30

COLLECT: Lord Jesus Christ, who sent your messengers the prophets to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation: Grant that the ministers and stewards of your mysteries may likewise make ready your way, by turning the hearts of the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, that at your second coming to judge the world, we may be found a people acceptable in your sight; who with the Father and the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Special Gift – Sermon at Holy Trinity Anglican Church 10 DEC 2017 (Afternoon)

IMG-3793Listen to this afternoon’s sermon – A Special Gift

LESSONS:

First Lesson Isaiah 40:1-11

Psalm Psalm 85

Second Lesson 2 Peter 3:8-18

Gospel Mark 1:1-8

COLLECT: Blessed Lord, who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that by patience and the comfort of your Holy Word we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

The Empty Manger – Sermon at Holy Trinity Anglican Church 10 DEC 2017 (Morning)

IMG-3792Listen to this morning’s sermon – The Empty Manger

LESSONS:

First Lesson        Isaiah 40:1-11

Psalm                   Psalm 85

Second Lesson   2 Peter 3:8-18

Gospel                 Mark 1:1-8

COLLECT: Blessed Lord, who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that by patience and the comfort of your Holy Word we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Faith on a Journey – Reflection for the Second Sunday in Advent 2017

IMG-3791On this second Sunday in Advent, we remember the faith of Joseph and Mary as they travelled from Nazareth to Bethlehem. I can only imagine what that journey must have entailed. Depending on the route they took, the journey would have been 80-100 miles.

I wonder if they travelled with a large group making the same journey, enduring the stares and muttered comments. Perhaps instead they braved the road alone fearful of wild beasts and lawless men. Even though both Mary and Joseph had been visited by angelic messengers and Mary’s pregnancy was proof of the truth of these messages, I’m sure that doubt and discouragement must have crept into their hearts as the journeyed the dusty road from Nazareth to Bethlehem.

We have the benefit of retrospect to look back and see how this journey was necessary to fulfill the prophecies surrounding the Messiah. We can also look back knowing the rest of the story. We have the record of the ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus and we have the gift of the Holy Spirit. It’s easy to forget the faith required for Mary and Joseph to take that journey of faith as common folk from a small town trusting that God had called them for something special.

It is also easy for me to talk myself out of difficult journeys. I can wonder about the danger, the shame, the futility.  I can be too busy, too uncertain, too comfortable, or too almost anything to journey into ministry whether across the street or across the world.

As we light this candle of Faith next to the candle remembering the Hope foretold by the prophets, let us consider those people and places where the hope is desperately needed, and let us consider what it means to journey in faith as we are called by God to be agents of His plan.

Seeing Things Differently – Sermon at Holy Trinity Anglican Church 3 DEC 2017

Pottery ChaliceToday’s Sermon – Seeing Things Differently

LESSONS:

First Lesson            Isaiah 64:1-9

Psalm                       Psalm 80:1-7

Second Lesson       1 Corinthians 1:1-9

Gospel                     Mark 13:24-37

COLLECT: Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which your Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

The Miracle of Candles – Reflection for the 1st Sunday of Advent 2017

C914C71067CA4750A5B1972C8CDAA855_Advent-candle-21The four candles at Christmas are nice and the little practice of lighting them one each week is lovely to observe, but what is really going on with the candles? Why do we even have candles, electric lights are so much more efficient, especially the LED lights? Let’s take a short trip into the past of our heritage. The menorah for the Jewish people, candles lit every year just around Christmas symbolize the faithfulness of God. For us who are Christian, meaning we follow the Son of God, the candles are more than decoration, they are a reminder of the wonderful acts of God. They remind us of the faithfulness of our God in sending Jesus. When the Advent candles are lit, for us, they symbolize the light of hope, faith, joy and peace, for the world.

This Sunday we light the candle of hope or sometimes called the prophets’ candle. The role of the prophets had nothing to do with fortune telling, as sometimes we are led to believe, no their role was much more important! They consistently called God’s people back to him as they went astray. The prophets remind us of the hope we have in God, that He will truly restore His people who are called by name. They remind us that God desires for all men to be saved, saved from our own foolishness, saved so that we can enjoy life and the blessings that God has bestowed upon each of us.

Remembering that our hope, our inheritance, is found in the risen Christ and that at this time of the year we look forward to seeing our Lord face to face, acknowledging that there is no other force in the world that can compare with our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God and He is the light of the world. What gives us hope in the midst of this mad, mad, mad world? That Jesus overcame death and Satan and offers eternal life to all who would accept it. In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen. Again I say Amen!