Holy Trinity Anglican Church

Month: May 2018

Choose Well Grasshopper- Reflection for Trinity Sunday 2018

Those who are old enough remember the story of the Kung Fu TV series where the young novice was always being presented with challenges that sometimes seemed silly, but instructional. Grasshopper played by David Carradine grew into a fine monk with wonderful training and desire to be helpful, courageous, and humble. There were many flashbacks during the sequences showing how Kane learned the magnificent moves we all watched with drool coming down our chins, as he spun and jumped and blocked the bad guys. The series even went on to inspire some modern day Kung Fu experts today, not to mention the Karate Kid movies. 

What does this to do with Trinity Sunday? Look at the lessons from John 3:1-16, Nicodemus must learn about something other than what he already knows. He must learn about what it means to be reborn, reborn of the Spirit, not of woman? It is a major question even today. Approximately 10 years ago I was at a Synod dinner and across from me sat a Vestry woman from another parish and she was going on and on about those “other” churches that were believing in being reborn. Thank goodness, she finished with, we Anglicans “don’t believe in that silly stuff”. Before I could open my mouth, one of the elder statesman clergy told her that we most certainly did believe in being reborn of the Holy Spirit and proceeded to tell her where it is found in the Scriptures. Her mouth dropped in astonishment, she had never heard of being born again in the Holy Spirit! But here it is in John, bold as day. Why do you want to be born of the Spirit, read today’s scriptures especially Romans. 

There are benefits to being a follower of Christ that exceed following anything else you can think of, especially the world. To have the Holy Spirit to intercede for you, help you, guide you, and bless you, is more than what the world will do for you. The world will eat your lunch and criticize the chef that made the lunch. The world will leave you a hollow shell, always asking, “is that all there is”?
  Life abundant is yours. Assurance is yours. Freedom is yours. The Kingdom is yours as heirs. Family is yours. Don’t live in doubt, fear, worry, or as orphans, believe Jesus is the Son of God and accept the Holy Spirit and be born into the greatest family Creation has ever known. Amen. 

Living Inside Out at Holy Trinity – Sermon at Holy Trinity Anglican Church 27 May 2018

Adapted from Margaret Silf’s Inner Compass

Listen to today’s sermon – Living Inside Out at Holy Trinity

LESSONS:

First Lesson               Exodus 3:1-6

Psalm                          Psalm 93

Second Lesson          Romans 8:5-17

Gospel
John 23:1-21

COLLECT: Almighty and everlasting God, you have given to us your servants grace, by the confession of a true faith, to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity, and in the power of your divine Majesty to worship the Unity: Keep us steadfast in this faith and worship, and bring us at last to see you in your one and eternal glory, O Father; who with the Son and the Holy Spirit live and reign, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Now It’s Clear – Sermon at Holy Trinity Anglican Church Pentecost 2018

Today’s Sermon – Now It’s Clear

LESSONS:

First Lesson             Acts 2:1-11

Psalm                        Psalm 104:25-37

Second Lesson        1 Corinthians 12:4-13

Gospel                      John 20:19-23

COLLECT: Almighty God, on this day you opened the way of eternal life to every race and nation by the promised gift of your Holy Spirit: Shed abroad this gift throughout the world by the preaching of the Gospel, that it may reach to the ends of the earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

God’s Big Plan – Reflection for Pentecost 2018

Pentecost is a great example of the way in which we experience God’s faithfulness across the generations. The shavuot or Feast of Weeks is commanded as a feast of Israel in the Torah. Counted as a “week of weeks” after the Passover, the feast falls on the fiftieth day after the Passover hence the Greek name of Pentecost (fiftieth). The feast in the agrarian society of early Israel represented an offering of the first fruits of the harvest, a festival of the Lord’s provision in the Land. 

By the Second Temple period in which Jesus lived, the festival had also been associated with the giving of the Law to Moses on Mount Sinai fifty days after the first Passover in Egypt and in some communities also with the sign of the rainbow given to Noah after the flood. The feast was a celebration not only of God’s provision in the Land but also a celebration of Gods covenant promises.

At some point, it also became customary within the Jewish community to read the book of Ruth at the festival of shavuot. This story of the entry of a gentile into the covenant people, as well as into the lineage of David and Jesus, represents  the loving kindness of God and a kind of first fruit promise of the time when God will gather all people into his covenant promise. In the book of Ruth, we find instruction on the practices of merciful generosity to the poor commanded in the Torah as well as the role of the kinsman redeemer to preserve the inheritance within a family. 

Against the rich and festive backdrop, we come to the celebration of Pentecost in the early first century as the Disciples were gathered in one place. On the day in which they celebrated the firstfruits of Creation, they are formed into the Church as firstfruits of the Spirit just as Jesus is the firstfruit of the Resurrection (Romans 8:23, 1 Corinthians 15:20-23; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; James 1:18; Revelation 14:4). As the Disciples celebrated God’s covenant with Noah and His covenant with Israel given to Moses on Mount Sinai, they experience the giving of the New Covenant promised through the prophet Jeremiah (Jeremiah 31:31-34). By the power of the Holy Spirit, God placed His law in our hearts. On the day in which they celebrated the loving kindness, mercy and redemption of God for Israel and the promise to the Nations, they experience the outpouring of the Spirit foretold by the prophet Joel, redemption for Israel and the promise to the nations.

As we gather today to celebrate Pentecost, let us take time to offer thanks for the provision of God given us in Creation and by His Spirit in His Church. Let us rejoice in the faithful covenant of the Lord written in our hearts. Let us consider the hope of redemption and promise to the Nations.

Waiting…Again… Reflection for the Sunday after Ascension 2018

This week, we experience another Sunday of waiting. On Thursday, we celebrated the Ascension of Christ. He lead them out of Jerusalem and gave them a vision of the Kingdom spreading through them to all nations, but He told them to return to Jerusalem and wait. Then He blessed them and ascended into heaven. 

While this is a different kind of waiting than the waiting after Easter, it is still waiting. Luke tells us that the disciples returned to Jerusalem with great joy. They were continually in the temple and devoted in prayer.  Our lesson in Acts finds the small band of 120 or so still in Jerusalem waiting, but they are preparing by selecting a replacement for Judas.

We have the benefit of knowing that the waiting for this group is rather short, the ten days between Ascension and Pentecost. We don’t often know how long our wait will be, nor do we often experience the dramatic, clear, and communal presentation of vision that the disciples experienced. However, we can still use these ten days to practice expectant waiting on God.

While we may lack the same specificity of mission that the disciples received, the mission has not changed greatly. The same Gospel of repentance and forgiveness of sins in the name of Jesus needs to be proclaimed to all the nations beginning right here. As we wait, consider who in your life needs to hear this message of hope.

While we may not know how long we must wait for the power and opportunity to share the Gospel with this person, we can spend the waiting time as the disciples did. As we come together in the presence of Christ, receive His blessing and worship Him. As we depart, let us depart in joy and devote ourselves to the teaching, to worship, to prayer, and to fellowship knowing that we do not wait without hope or promise. As we wait, let us also consider how we might prepare ourselves to embark on the mission to which Jesus calls us. 

As we prepare to celebrate the first fruits, the giving of the law, and the pouring out of the Holy Spirit next week at Pentecost, I invite you once again to practice waiting.

A Prayer for Us – Sermon at Holy Trinity Anglican Church 13 MAY 2018

Today’s Sermon – A Prayer for Us

LESSONS:

First Lesson          Acts 1:15-26

Psalm                     Psalm 47

Second Lesson     1 John 5:6-15

Gospel                   John 17:11-19

COLLECT: O God, the King of glory, you have exalted your only Son Jesus Christ with great triumph to your kingdom in heaven: Do not leave us comfortless, but send us your Holy Spirit to strengthen us, and exalt us to that place where our Savior Christ has gone before; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

Name not Title, Our Title is Loved – Reflection for 6 May 2018

Christian is our name, not a title, but a name that goes on the back of our legal name.

I am Ed Morgan, Christian, who happens to be a somewhat retired Anglican priest. I follow my Lord Jesus Christ. I am His! He is in me and I am in him. He has given to me the Holy Spirit to comfort, help, guide and sustain with intercessions for me to the Holy Father. I am loved because God first loved me before I had a chance to love him.

Think about that for a moment, God loved you before you were able or willing to love him. That meant during all those times in which you and I were in our errant ways, God loved us. 

When we were in Arizona for our conference we went to Sedona, two hours north of Scottsdale It is really beautiful for being in the high desert and very striking with surrounding hills, filled with various shades of red and brown. It is no wonder why so many westerns were filmed in Sedona, it grabs the imagination. I digress, we found this little art shop named Adonai, of course you know we had to stop in and look around at the art. I am glad we did, for I discovered a beautiful piece of artwork that illustrates the scriptures for this week. It is a cross, which we are all familiar, but instead of the cross containing the corpus of Christ, it displayed a hand reaching down for the top of the cross grasping a hand reaching up from the bottom of the cross, graphically depicting God’s love reaching down to save His Creation. 

I can not tell you the intensity of emotions that overwhelmed me when I saw that, I was actually weak in the knees for the overwhelming act of God portrayed in that piece of art.

I later found out that the people who run the shop run it as a 501c3 mission of outreach. The proprietor of the shop is retired Army and recently completed seminary and was ordained 2 years ago and is 72 years of age. I didn’t get to meet him, but his wife is a walking testimony for all who would listen about Christ and what God has done and is doing. So, was the 2 hour drive worth the effort? Praise God, it was magnificent. 

If you are on the cross of life, are you reaching up to grasp the hand that has always reached down to you? If not, look in the mirror and find out why! Amen. 

Following Love – Sermon at Holy Trinity Anglican Church for 6 May 2018

Today’s Sermon – Following Love

LESSONS:

First Lesson              Acts 11:19-30

Psalm                         Psalm 33:1-8,18-22

Second Lesson         1 John 4:7-21

Gospel                       John 15:9-17

COLLECT: O God, you have prepared for those who love you such good things as surpass our understanding: Pour into our hearts such love towards you, that we, loving you in all things and above all things, may obtain your promises, which exceed all that we can desire; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.