2018 06 10: The Church's One Foundation (Summer Sermon Series #1)

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For six weeks starting today... we’ll be saying in effect: Ok, God has done extraordinary things for us in Christ, and he’s poured out the Holy Spirit in our midst to send us out on mission as Christ’s body in the world.  So what does that look like?  What is the mission of the Church, here and now in the ordinary everyday time of our lives?  What’s my mission as a disciple, and what’s our mission as a community? 

To get inside these questions, Mother Emily and I thought: what better way to do this than to preach all the way through one of St. Paul’s letters, written to the church in Ephesus when it was brand new by a man who knew the resurrected Jesus and was taught by none other than the twelve disciples.  I encourage you to read along each week at home, one chapter at a time. 

2018 06 03: Guest Preacher, Dr Joseph Galgalo

This Sunday, we were delighted to welcome the Rev. Dr. Joseph Galgalo as our guest preacher, all the way from St. Paul's University in Nairobi, Kenya, where he serves as Vice-Chancellor and professor of theology.  Dr. Galgalo is a globally respected leader in the Anglican Communion, with a PhD from Cambridge University and a number of published books including African Christianity: The Stranger Within.  He preached on how to practice true Sabbath rest, and he told a story we won't soon forget about a thief who was converted in a surprising way by the prayers of the elderly woman he was about to rob.  You'll have to listen to find out what happened!

2018 05 27: The Power of Love

You could see the surprise on the faces of people in old St. George’s Chapel that day—people with little thought bubbles above their heads that said, “I had no idea that Christianity could be like this!”  Maybe they had never seen the Good News of Jesus preached with such joy and passion.  Maybe it had been a long time since they had allowed themselves to hope for a world transformed by love, had allowed themselves to be carried away by a joyful vision of a new world, had allowed themselves to believe that there is a balm in Gilead that can make the wounded whole.  Maybe they allowed themselves to wonder, for the first time in a long while, whether it might actually be true that the power of love that can bring races and peoples together from across an ocean and carry the mystery of life across generations is the same power that created the world itself, the same power that we name Almighty God, the power that was alive in Jesus of Nazareth and lives still today. 

2018 05 20: Deep Breath

So now, my brothers and sisters, we live in the moment after judgment, the moment when God has already poured out the great love of his Holy Spirit upon his sons and his daughters, the moment when the world groans in birth pangs, as our brother the Paul puts it. The travail is already over, even as we feel ourselves in its midst. And that is why Jesus ends by telling his disciples and by telling us, “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.

 

2018 05 06: I Have Called You Friends

Jesus tells us something today that should absolutely astonish us: that you and I are called to be not just his servants, but his friends.  The eternal and almighty God who created the heavens and the earth, who needs nothing and knows everything—this God wants to be friends with you and me.  It means that God wants to spend time with us, to talk around the dinner table long into the night, for no other reason than the joy of friendship.  It means God is faithful like a true friend is faithful, there for us when we need him, even if it means laying down his life.  It means that the closer we are to God, the more we grow into better, fuller versions of ourselves. The wisest thinkers in the history of the church saw here a deep clue to the heart of the Christian faith.  St. Thomas Aquinas said that this shows what we were made for: friendship with God.  That’s why God made us: so that we could be his friends. 

2018 04 29: Praise and Thanksgiving

How do you know when you’ve done enough? How many times per day should I be praying? How do I measure up against really good Christians? What do I do with those uncomfortable moments in my car at a stoplight when someone reaches out their hand for change? Do I need to volunteer at a homeless shelter or a poor school once a week? Is my duty discharged if I tithe 10%?

I want to be grateful, and I want to be in tune with God; I want to be a good Christian and I want to teach my children how to be good Christians too; how do I do all that?

2018 04 22: Little Children, Love One Another

There is a wonderful story we have about St. John, the author of today’s Gospel and our epistle lesson.  Tradition has it that all of the twelve disciples of Jesus except for John died a martyr’s death.  John however lived to a very great age, ministering to the end to the churches he founded around Ephesus.  The story is that John as he aged grew short of breath, and as he became older and weaker his sermons grew shorter and shorter.  Toward the end of his life, his sermons had shrunk to just one line.  John would be lifted up and carried to the front of the church, and his sermon would simply be: “Little children, love one another.”