Holy Trinity Anglican Church

Month: June 2018

Crying Out to Jesus – Sermon at Holy Trinity Anglican Church 24 JUN 2018

Listen to today’s sermon – Crying Out to Jesus

LESSONS:

First Lesson                  Job 38:1-18

Psalm                             Psalm 107:1-3, 23-32

Second Lesson             2 Corinthians 5:14-21

Gospel                           Mark 4:35-Mark 5:20

COLLECT: Lord of all power and might, the author and giver of all good things: Graft in our hearts the love of your Name, increase in us true religion, nourish us with all goodness, and bring forth in us the fruit of good works; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. Amen.

Ancient Anglican – Reflection for 24 JUN 2018

Last week we looked at the Biblical foundation of our faith as we began a series of reflections considering how we might describe the Anglican tradition as:

“A Biblical faith, rooted in ancient tradition, relevant for the questions and challenges of today, and with a bright hope for the future.”

This week we will explore the ancient roots of our faith. Our faith heritage goes back even before the Incarnation of Christ. The Biblical foundations of our faith include the Hebrew Scripture and go back to the very beginning when God created heaven and earth. We affirm the roots of our faith in the creation of the world as we recite the historic creeds of the Church within our corporate worship, the Nicene Creed as we celebrate the Eucharist and the Apostle’s Creed in the Daily Office. These creeds root our faith in the foundations of Christianity as the Apostle’s Creed dates back to the earliest days of the Church as the foundational set of beliefs for Baptism and the Nicene Creed represents the basic beliefs which have bound the Church together since the 4th Century AD. This creed defines the Church as One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic. We celebrate and maintain our connection with the Apostolic church through our continuance of the three orders of bishop, priest, and deacon within the church. In the laying on of hands by bishops, we maintain the Apostolic succession of these orders.

Our liturgy also recalls our ancient heritage in celebrating the sacraments ordained by Christ in Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Our liturgy preserves the words of institution in the Eucharist as given by Christ and prescribed for the Church by St. Paul in his instructions to the church in Corinth (1 Cor 11:23-26). In doing so, we indeed join our voices with angels, archangels, and all the company of heaven in the eternal liturgy of praise and thanksgiving.

Distinctive to the Anglican tradition is the manner by which we bring the ancient roots into the contemporary practice of the parish. Prior to the English Reformation of the 16th Century, the Eucharist was celebrated in a language that was largely unknown to the people and the daily prayers were recited in monasteries and not parish churches. The great beauty of Cranmer’s Prayer Book was the translation of the Eucharistic celebration into the common language of the people and the consolidation of the monastic hours of prayer into the Daily Office of Morning and Evening Prayer. We begin to see the way that the ancient roots of our Biblical faith are brought to bear on the daily challenges and concerns of everyday people in our Anglican heritage.

Boring and Unexpected – Afternoon Sermon at Holy Trinity Anglican 17 JUN 2018

Listen to Fr Rob’s Sermon from the Afternoon Service – Boring and Unexpected

LESSONS:

First Lesson                Ezekiel 31:1-14

Psalm                           Psalm 92

Second Lesson           2 Corinthians 5:1-10

Gospel                         Mark 4:26-34

COLLECT: O Lord, from whom comes all good things; grant us, your humble servants, the inspiration to always think and do those things which are good, and by your merciful guiding we may perform the same; through Jesus Christ our lord. Amen.

Kingdom Teaching- Morning Sermon at Holy Trinity Anglican Church 17 JUN 2018

Listen to Fr Rob’s sermon from the morning service – Kingdom Teaching

LESSONS:

First Lesson                  Ezekiel 31:1-14

Psalm                             Psalm 92

Second Lesson             2 Corinthians 5:1-10

Gospel                           Mark 4:26-34

COLLECT: O Lord, from whom comes all good things; grant us, your humble servants, the inspiration to always think and do those things which are good, and by your merciful guiding we may perform the same; through Jesus Christ our lord. Amen.

Sheltering on an Anglican Branch – Reflection for 17JUN 2018

In our Gospel today, Jesus compares the Kingdom to a mustard tree with large branches on which the birds make their nests. As we look at our own walk in the Kingdom, we find ourselves sheltering on the Anglican branch of this tree, but what exactly does it mean to be ‘Anglican’?

I am often asked this very question. Unfortunately, it is not an easy one to answer. I sometimes try to answer with the breadth of the worldwide Anglican Communion of 85 million people from 165 countries organized into 39 provinces linked together by a common liturgical heritage. I am sometimes tempted to answer by comparing the Anglican Church in North America with the Episcopal Church with whom we share our history. I sometimes resort to full geek-mode and begin with the history of the English reformation. None of these responses feels quite right.

At synod last week, I asked our keynote speaker, a church planter from Georgia, how he answers the, “What is Anglican?” question. His response provides a good starting point. He described the Anglican Church as:

“A Biblical faith, rooted in ancient tradition, relevant for the questions and challenges of today, and with a bright hope for the future.”

While this is an accurate description of Anglicanism, I hope that it describes most other Christian churches equally well. It describes the full mustard tree. How can this answer help us understand our place on a particular branch of the tree?

Let’s start with “Biblical faith.” One of the beauties of the Anglican tradition is the ability to comprehend and include a wide variety of liturgical and theological positions. However, each of these must ultimately be weighed against the canon of Scripture. The Articles of Religion hold that the Scripture of the Old and New Testament contain all things necessary for salvation (Art. VI) and warn that no single portion of Scripture should be elevated above others to the degree that it becomes repugnant to the whole (Art. XX). These two guidelines provide instruction as to how we are submitted to the authority of Scripture as individuals and as a church.

Our Biblical faith is also reflected in our liturgy and Prayer Book. The Sunday Lectionary guides us through Scripture in a way that prevents us from skipping over the difficult parts and the Daily Lectionary guides us through the majority of the Bible over the course of a year as we pray Morning and Evening Prayer. The collects we pray in the course of the liturgy are steeped in Scripture and teach us how to pray God’s Word back to Him.

Over the next several weeks, we will explore the role of “ancient tradition,” the ways that the Anglican expression helps us with the “questions and challenges of today,” and how we celebrate our “bright hope for the future.”

 

Witness Protection – Reflection for 10 JUN 2018

I am always fascinated in Scripture that Satan tempts us with what we already have. In the Garden, Satan first asks, “Did God really say?” Adam and Eve have a relationship in which God walks in the Garden with them yet Satan asks if they really know God. Satan then tells them, “If you eat, you will be like God.” Adam and Eve are created in the image of God. They are already like God and yet they eat. They have been tempted by what they already have. 

We can see the same pattern in Job as Satan tests Job with a faith that Job already has. Even when Job’s friends doubt his faith, God continues to have faith in Job. We see this pattern as Satan stands ready to accuse Joshua the high priest in Zechariah’s vision. Satan desires to accuse Jerusalem of not being worthy, yet God demonstrates His steadfast love for Israel (Zechariah 3). We see this pattern of temptation with what is already ours in the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness. Satan begins with, “If you are the Son of God…” Jesus refuses to take the bait and responds with what God really said!

Even knowing Satan’s tricks, I still fall for them. I hear “If God really loves you…” or “If you want to be good enough for God…” and begin to wonder. While a part of me knows that God loves me (and you) and that it is Christ who is good enough for me (and you), there is a part of me that still wonders if God is really that crazy.

In our Gospel today, people begin to wonder if God is crazy. First, the people accuse Jesus of being possessed or in league with Satan. I can almost hear Satan whispering, “Can this really be the power of God to heal?” Next, his own relatives come to take him away. I can hear the whispering all around, “If you love…” or perhaps “If you are loyal…” or even, “If family means something to you…”

In the midst of this, Jesus responds to the lies of Satan with the Truth of God. Jesus makes the bold declaration that you and I are no longer defined by our past, but rather by walking in the love of God. Jesus calls us family when we walk with Him. When we are His witnesses, He gives us a new identity as beloved children of God, heirs with Christ who calls us brother or sister. 

Satan still tries to tempt us and test us with what we already have in Christ. He tries to tempt us with brokenness from our childhood or our family. He tempts us to find our identity in our earthly inheritance, circumstances, or achievements. He tempts us to be defined by our genetics or personality.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we have a new identity and a new inheritance, the ultimate witness protection program. We even have a new citizenship in the Kingdom of God. As crazy as it sounds, in our baptism we are welcomed into the Communion of Saints, the family of God. We are called to dine at the Table of the King not as guest but as brothers and sisters. Through the Cross, we are invited to once again walk with God and allow all of the lies to fall away as we rediscover the image of God in which we were created. Since you are Beloved, come let us walk together with God! 

One at the Table – Sermon at Holy Trinity Anglican Church 10 JUN 2018

Listen to today’s sermon – One at the Table

LESSONS:

First Lesson          Genesis 3:1-21

Psalm                     Psalm 130

Second Lesson     2 Corinthians 4:13-18

Gospel                   Mark 3:20-35

COLLECT: Grant, O Lord, that the course of this world may be so peaceably ordered in your providence, that your Church may joyfully serve you in all godly quietness and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Growing in Rest – Sermon at Holy Trinity Anglican Church 3 JUN 2018

Listen to today’s sermon – Growing in Rest

LESSONS:

First Lesson          Deuteronomy 5:6-21

Psalm                     Psalm 81

Second Lesson     2 Corinthians 4:1-12

Gospel                   Mark 2:23-28

COLLECT: O God, the protector of all those who trust in you, without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy: Increase and multiply in us your mercy, that, with you as our ruler and guide, we may so pass through things temporal that we lose not the things eternal; grant this, heavenly Father, for the sake of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen

A Not So Ordinary Time – Reflection for 3 Jun 2018

Last week on Trinity Sunday, we looked at the character of our parish as submitted to the authority of Scripture, formed by liturgy and Sacrament, and joined together on a Sacred journey. We described the sacred journey as living from inside out, living from our identity as beloved children of God and allowing that identity to shape our choices and our view of our circumstances. 

This week as we begin the liturgical season known as “Ordinary Time,” we will work through the Gospel of Mark for the next twenty-six weeks. Mark begins his Gospel with the declaration, “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” One way that we can look at his shortest of the gospel accounts is by seeing the way in which Mark develops the disciples understanding first of Jesus as the Christ and then the understanding of Jesus as the Son of God. In the first section, Jesus is presented as teacher, prophet, then messiah culminating in the chapter 8 as Peter declares, “You are the Christ.” The second half of the gospel is devoted to understanding what it means for the messiah to be the Son of God. Jesus presents himself as Son of Man, Son of David, and finally it is the centurion at the foot of the cross not the disciples who recognizes that, “Truly this man was the Son of God.”

We begin our walk through Mark today as Jesus reinterprets the Pharisaic notion of what it meant to live under the authority of Scripture. As we progress through this season in which the church turns towards spiritual growth, will you allow Jesus to interpret or reinterpret what it means for you to live submitted to the authority of Scripture? As the disciples discover more about Jesus as his identity as the Son of God is revealed to them, will you also allow the Holy Spirit to reveal to you your identity as a beloved child of God? As we encounter truths about Jesus, Scripture, and ourselves, will you allow these truths to lead you deeper into the sacramental life of the church through which we are nourished and transformed?

My prayer for each of you is that this season of “Ordinary Time” is anything but ordinary!