Sunday, April 28, 2019

April 28, 2019 - Easter 2C

Be with us, O Lord, for if you are with us, nothing else matters; and if you are not with us, nothing else matters. Amen.
            At the center of who we are, what we believe, and why we gather on Sunday morning is the Holy Eucharist. As we gather to share in the Lord’s Supper, we enter into a rich and deep story and set of symbols which point us towards the majesty and salvation of God. It has been said that "the Church makes the Eucharist and the Eucharist makes the Church,” and indeed, coming together to share in the breaking of the bread and the sharing of the cup is not only our identity, but also our purpose. Put another way, others have said that the Eucharist is the “source and summit” of the Christian life. Everything that we do as Christians flows out of the Eucharist and returns back to this Great Thanksgiving.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

April 21, 2019 - Easter Sunday

In the name of the Risen Lord Amen.
            What a joy it is to be with you all on this most festive and holy morning! Every Easter is special, but this one seems a bit more grand than usual. This past Holy Week was a profound one and it really set the table for our celebration this morning. Having the brass quintet and full choir are amazing. The flowers are beautiful. And you all look absolutely fantastic in your Easter best. Easter is the epitome of what it means to be the Church, and am I am so glad that each and every one of you are here. Your presence makes our celebration that much more joyous. And I know some of you have traveled a good distance to be here this morning, I know some of you struggled to get your child to wear that clip-on tie, I know some of you are here only to make a family member happy. Thank you for the effort you put into being here, I pray that you are richly blessed through your participation in this Easter celebration.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

April 20, 2019 - Holy Saturday

In the name of God Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
            As an Anglican, I absolutely love the Book of Common Prayer. I love the profundity and tradition of the prayers, the liturgical calendar, and even that section in the back called the “Historical Documents” that links us to generations past. Towards the back, you might know there is what is called “An Outline of the Faith,” sometimes called the Catechism. And the Catechism defines prayer as a response to God, by thought and deed, with or without words. The Catechism then notes that the primary types of prayer are adoration, praise, thanksgiving, penitence, oblation, intercession, and petition, and then proceeds to define each of those types of prayer.

Friday, April 19, 2019

April 19, 2019 - Good Friday

Jesus, Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, have mercy upon us. Amen.
            It doesn’t always work out this way, but this year our celebration of Good Friday falls on the Jewish Passover. Tonight, Jews around the world will gather with family and friends for a Seder dinner to remember the saving events of God that occurred at the Passover. You’ll recall that when the people were slaves in Egypt, God sent a series of plagues to get Pharaoh to let the people go free. The most severe of these plagues was the killing of all firstborn children in the land. However, to protect the Jewish firstborn, God instructs the people to get a lamb, eat it, and use its blood as a marking on the door post. When the plague of Death sweeps through the land, it will pass over the homes marked with the blood of the lamb. It was this event that led Pharaoh to tell the Hebrews to leave Egypt, and at the Red Sea, God ushered his people into freedom. Since then, Jews have gathered each year to remember the Passover.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

April 17, 2019 - Holy Wednesday

In the name of God Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
            When I sat down with these readings to prepare this sermon, what first caught me was what Jesus said, “[The one who will betray me] is the one to whom I give this piece of bread.” Maybe “caught” isn’t the right word, as it was more than that. It was more like that phrase arrested me, implicated me, challenged me. I thought of all the times that I’ve received the gracious piece of bread that Jesus offers, realizing that I am one of his betrayers. Deep and dark thoughts for this Holy Wednesday, I know.

Monday, April 15, 2019

April 15, 2019 - Holy Monday

In the name of God Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
            Here, at the front end of Holy Week, I want to say something about the week in general before getting into the specific texts for Holy Monday. Holy Week is when our faith is set before us in the unfolding drama of Jesus’ final week leading up to his Crucifixion and Resurrection. It’s a story that cannot adequately be reduced into Palm Sunday and Easter alone, though there are many Christians who will experience it that way. But something is lost when we stay at the surface level of these savings acts of God. And then there are the forgotten days of Holy Week – Holy Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday. The reason why we mark these days with special liturgies is to saturate ourselves in this story, because that’s really the best way to do it. It’s something like swimming – a question of whether we want to merely get our ankles wet, go up to our waists, or plunge ourselves into the deep end.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

April 14, 2019 - Palm Sunday

O God, grant us the will to change the things we cannot accept, the peace to accept the things we cannot change, and the wisdom to know the difference in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
            Palm Sunday, and really all of Holy Week, is a day of contradictions. When it comes to the story of Jesus’ Passion, left is right and down is up. It can be a disorienting, confusing, and downright absurd that somehow at the end of a story about betrayal, brutality, and death that we arrive at the salvation of our souls and the redemption of all Creation. These holy contradictions though are not problems to solve or an equation to balance; instead, they are the mystery of our salvation.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

April 7, 2019 - Lent 5C

O God, in your abundant grace you sent your Son to be the light of the world: Grant that we may come and see the difference that Christ makes in each of us as we seek to become your beloved community; and as we gather in intentional worship, may we ever be reminded of your transformative love which is the foundation of our faith; through Jesus Christ our Lord, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
            This is the final sermon in a five-week Lenten series about our new identity statement at St. Luke’s. We’ve been clear to call this an identity statement and not a mission statement. One theologian said that it is not that the Church has a mission, rather God’s mission has a Church. What our mission is changes based on how the Holy Spirit moves through our lives and community. But our identity being rooted in Christ is constant.