Holy Trinity Anglican Church

Month: June 2019

Is Believing Enough? – Sermon at Holy Trinity Anglican Church 30 JUN 2019

Listen to Fr Rob’s sermon from the morning service – Is Believing Enough?

LESSONS:

First Lesson           1 Kings 19:15-21

Psalm                      Psalm 16

Second Lesson      Galatians 5:1,13-25

Gospel                    Luke 9:51-62

COLLECT: O God, your never-failing providence sets in order all things both in heaven and on earth: Put away from us all hurtful things, and give us those things which are profitable for us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Formed by Liturgy and Sacrament (Part 1 – Liturgy) – Reflection for 30 JUN 2019

We are constantly formed, transformed, or deformed by the world around us. We can choose to be passively formed by our various encounters with people, institutions, entertainment, advertising, and other sensory media. We can also choose to actively seek to be formed in a certain manner by choosing who and what we encounter and how we react to those encounters. 

We live today in a hyper-connected world. The images and advertisements we encounter in the entertainment, news, and social media seek to shape and form our desires and expectations. If we allow it, culture will define for us standards of beauty and truth, standards of pleasure and pain, even standards of right and wrong, good and evil.

We live in a world that distorts, loads, and encumbers the words we use. We seem to have fewer words but each word carries more and more meanings, nuances, and potential for misunderstanding. These words are then adopted and changed by different groups into a specialized lingo. The groups with which we associate form us in and through the language and meaning they teach us.

We live in a world of calendars and planners. We have morning routines, weekly meetings, family commitments, and pretty soon a schedule that is overcommitted and undernourishing. As we get busy, we often allow our relationship with God, our most meaningful relationships with family and closest friends, and our care for our own health and well-being to suffer. We are formed by our habits, our routines, and our practices.

What if we were to choose to be formed by God instead of the world? What if we could choose to be formed into the image of Christ rather than the image of popular culture? What if there were another source to form our desires and expectations, our language, our habits and our thought patterns?

   “The collects, the Prayers of the People, the Lord’s Prayer, the Psalms, and other forms of liturgical prayer teach us what to desire and what to expect from God, give us language with which to approach God, and, through constant use, dig the spiritual aqueducts through which the living waters of the Spirit are released in our lives and prayers.” – David deSilva in Sacramental Life: Spiritual Formation Through the Book of Common Prayer

One of the great beauties of liturgical worship both in our Sunday service and in the Daily Office is the way that our habits are formed in the words of Scripture and the tradition of the church. As we allow liturgy to form us slowly and gently over time, we find that our desires, our language, our relationship with God, and our openness and recognition of the presence of God are indeed transformed.

Who Is This Christ? – Sermon at Holy Trinity Anglican Church 23 JUN 2019

Listen to Fr Rob’s sermon from the morning service – Who Is This Christ?

LESSONS:

First Lesson                   Zechariah 12:8-10, 13:1

Psalm                              Psalm 63

Second Lesson              Galatians 3:23-29

Gospel                             Luke 9:18-24

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.

Submitted to the Authority of Scripture

As a parish, we hold as one of our core commitments submission to the authority of Scripture. A matter this important deserves far more than the few paragraphs written here, but let this serve as a start as we explore what it means to be a people submitted to the authority of Scripture in our walk together. In Anglican tradition, we will start the conversation with reference to the Articles of Religion, commonly referred to as the 39 Articles, and end with a collect.

     Authority for Salvation. The 39 Articles (Article VI) declare that Holy Scripture contains all things necessary for salvation and that nothing that is not contained within Scripture or proven by Scripture may be required as an article of faith or deemed requisite for salvation. It is by Scripture that we understand the character and nature of God, the created, fallen, and redeemed nature of Humanity, and the work of the Church as a sign, foretaste, and instrument of the Kingdom of God.

     Authority for and over the Church. The 39 Articles (Article XX) also define the relationship between the Church and Holy Scripture. The Church is described as the witness and keeper of Scripture. As witness and keeper of Scripture, the life of the Church and of each parish should reflect and embody the power of God among His people as described in the Scripture. In Scripture and on our life together, we will hear and know God. We will wrestle with and even disobey God at times. We will be called to repent and return to God. We will be healed and restored. We will glorify God and dwell in His presence. We will be His people and He will be our God. The Church is also admonished to neither ordain any thing that is contrary to Scripture nor expound one place of Scripture to the extent that it is repugnant to another. In order to be submitted to Scripture, we must know the full breadth of Scripture such that we do not dwell only on the parts or interpretations that we like or avoid the portions that challenge us. The Scriptures are full of correctives to easy, simple, or self-serving interpretations. The Church gathered is at its best when we can bring a variety of faithful interpretations, historic and contemporary, together to listen, pray, wrestle, and discern so that we come to a deeper understanding of God and of ourselves. 

     Authority revealed and empowered by the Holy Spirit. I hope that by this point we can see that it is impossible to live under the authority of Scripture without the assistance of the Holy Spirit. As we encounter Scripture in the presence of the Holy Spirit, we should expect to be convicted, comforted, and transformed. Our encounter with Scripture should lead us to manifest the fruits of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Our faithful encounters may include personal and group study, lectionary readings in the Sunday service and the Daily Office, and quiet contemplation through lectio divina  or other contemplative reading.

     Collect Before the Reading of Scripture. Blessed Lord, who caused all Holy Scripture 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.

What Does God Look Like? – Sermon at Holy Trinity Anglican Church 16 JUN 2019

Listen to Fr Rob’s sermon from the evening service – What Does God Look Like?

LESSONS:

First Lesson                 Isaiah 6:1-7

Psalm                            Psalm 29

Second Lesson            Revelation 4:1-11

Gospel                          John 16:5-15

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.

 

A New Season – Reflection for Trinity Sunday 2019

This Sunday we begin the season of Trinity. The liturgical calendar also refers to this season as “Ordinary Time” or the “Sundays after Pentecost.” We move from marking our time moving through the great Feasts which mark the life of Jesus into a season of growth in our ordinary lives.This is the season in which we celebrate the life of the Church.

Like the rhythm and colors of the liturgical calendar, our weekly reflections change also with the seasons. In the seasons Advent and Lent, as we adorn the Table with penitential purple, our reflections focus on the prayer life of the Church. As we move to the Seasons of Christmas and Easter, as we adorn the Table with celebratory white, our reflections move to the Gospel, the Good News for all people which we joyfully celebrate and proclaim. As we move into the seasons following the Feasts of Epiphany and Pentecost, as we adorn the Table with the green of growth, our reflections turn to our life as the community of believers, the church.

During this season of Trinity, our reflections will move through what it means to live as the particular expression of Christ’s church which we name Holy Trinity Anglican Church, San Antonio. We will dig a little deeper into our commitments exploring what it means to be a community that is submitted to the authority of Scripture, formed by liturgy and Sacrament, and bound together on a sacred journey. We will look at what it means to encounter Christ together in the Body and the Blood of the eucharist, as His Body gathered as the Church, in the Word made flesh among us, in prayer and contemplation, and in the least of these. We will close this season by looking at some of our companions on this sacred journey, those among us and those who have gone before.

My prayer during this season of Trinity is that together we would grow in the knowledge and love of God, that we would experience the wonder of His grace, the power of His Spirit, and the Peace of His Kingdom.

Gifts for the Church – Reflection for Pentecost Sunday 2019

We celebrate Pentecost as the birth of the Church, the Body of Christ manifesting the Kingdom of God on Earth by the power of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit initiated the Church by giving gifts that the people gathered in Jerusalem might know the mighty work of God and the power of His Kingdom. The same Spirit gave gifts to the early Church, as Paul describes to the church in Corinth, for the common good. Paul is much more systematic as he tells the church at Ephesus that “He [the Spirit] gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:11-12).

The same Holy Spirit continues to give gifts to the Church and to this church as He continues to give us apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. Notice this, the Spirit does not give to people a gifting. The Spirit gives people as a gift to the Church. The Spirit may give you as an apostle at some times, a prophet at others, a teacher, pastor or evangelist at others. Let us briefly look at these ways we are given to the church so that we may recognize the work of the Spirit.

The Spirit gives the Church apostles who are sent to declare and manifest the in-breaking Kingdom of God. They are empowered and equipped by the Holy Spirit to “go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons.” (Matthew 10:1-15). The Spirit calls, equips, and gives apostles to call forth the transformation of the world.

The Spirit gives the Church prophets who declare the will of God from His Word to His people in their current circumstances calling us to repentance and to service with special attention to the poor and the outcast. The Spirit calls, equips, and gives prophets to call forth the transformation of our will.

The Spirit gives the Church evangelists who proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom to those who have not heard, to invite them to participate in the Kingdom. The Spirit calls, equips, and gives evangelists to call forth the transformation of our relationships.

The Spirit gives the Church pastors who care for the people of God tending their souls, bringing comfort and healing. The Spirit calls, equips, and gives pastors to call forth the transformation of our souls.

The Spirit, whom Jesus describes as the Spirit of Truth, gives the Church teachers who reveal and describe the Truth from God’s Word and revelation. The Spirit calls, equips, and gives teachers to call forth the transformation of our minds.

As I write this reflection after attending our Diocesan Synod this week, I am more confident than ever that the Spirit has indeed given His Church these gifts. I am also confident as I prayed for each and every one of you, that the Spirit has given you to this parish as apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. I could see the way that each of you has been called, equipped, and given by the Spirit to this parish. I hope you can see this as well, in yourself and in others. One of the great ministries of the Spirit is the ministry of affirmation. Please take some time this week to pray that the Spirit reveal how He has given someone else to this parish in a particular role. Then, I ask you to go and tell them, thank them for their faithfulness, and thank God for His gift. 

The Gift of the Holy Spirit – Sermon at Homy Trinity Anglican Church for Pentecost 2019

Listen to Fr Ed’s Sermon – The Gift of the Holy Spirit

LESSONS:

First Lesson Acts 2:1-11

Psalm Psalm 104:25-32

Second Lesson 1 Corinthians 12:4-13

Gospel John 14:8-17

COLLECT: O God, who on this day taught the hearts of your faithful people by sending to them the light of your Holy Spirit: Grant us by the same Spirit to have a right judgment in all things, and evermore to rejoice in his holy comfort; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Becoming One – Sermon at Holy Trinity Anglican Church 2 JUN 2019

Listen to Fr Rob’s sermon from the morning service – Becoming One

LESSONS:

First Lesson                Acts 16:16-34

Psalm                           Psalm 47

Second Lesson           Revelation 22:10-21

Gospel                         John 17:20-26

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.

Praying with Paul for the Church – Reflection for 2 JUN 2019

A few years ago, my prayer life felt a little stale. I decided that I would pray with Paul for a season. In his epistles, Paul gives the churches to whom he is writing a window into his prayer life and describes the way he is praying for them. I gathered these prayers into a single place and used these to pray for our parish and for the Church. I found that the challenges of the early church were not that different from today’s church. Paul’s prayers reinvigorated my prayers.

This week, representatives, lay and clergy, from the parishes in our diocese will gather in Toronto for our annual Synod. My hope and prayer is that this will be a time of fellowship, renewal, prayer, teaching, encouragement, and worship which draws our focus away from the challenges and trials of the world and towards the hope we share in Christ. 

I can think of no better prayer for this week than the prayers that Paul offers for the church in Ephesus. I invite you to join me (and Paul) in prayer this week as our diocese gathers.

Heavenly Father, I give thanks for this parish, for our archdeaconry, and for our diocese as I remember them in my prayers. I pray that you, the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give us a spirit of wisdom and revelation as we come to know you, so that, with the eyes of our heart enlightened, we may know what is the hope to which he has called us, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe, according to the working of his great power. Father, you put this power to work in Christ when you raised him from the dead and seated him at your right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the age to come. And you have put all things under his feet and have made him the head over all things for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all. For this reason I bow my knees before you, Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name. I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, you may grant that we may be strengthened in our inner being with power through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in our hearts through faith, as we are being rooted and grounded in love. I pray that we may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that we may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.