Sermon: August 28, 2022: Jeremiah 2:4-13. Rev. Nathaniel Athian Deng Mayen
What wrong(evil)did your fathers (ancestors)find in me that they went far from me, and went after worthless things (idols), and became worthless themselves? Jer. 2:5.
This important question comes directly from the Lord (Yahweh) to the hearers, the audience who listen to Jeremiah’s preaching of the living word of Yahweh. As a result, we who are here at St. Mary and everyone who believes in Yahweh must wrestle with this question. It is at the heart of the identity of Israel, as the covenant people with early devotion in Yahweh (Jer. 2:1-3), and the identity of the church, whose sole mission is God’s love and justice to the world.
Freedom at last! This is the commonest slogan in different nations struggling for independence from the oppressors. We hear and admire the slogan because it is at the heart of individual freedom, the most valued commodity in our culture.
Therefore, when we read Jesus announcing freedom to the woman, “Woman, you are set free from your ailment” (Luke 13:12), and laying his hands on her so that she immediately “stood up straight and began praising God” (Lk. 13:13), we understand individual freedom is a free gift from God.
However, strong opposition resulted from the religious leaders who were concerned about the healing of the woman on the Sabbath. Interesting enough, instead of facing Jesus and questioning him directly, the leader of the Synagogue turns to the crowd for validation of the accusation against Jesus.
TEXTS: Isaiah 5:1-7, Psalm 80: 1,2 & 8-18, Hebrews 11:29- 40 and Luke 12:49-56
Opening prayer: Let the words of my mouth…
Nero Claudius was the Emperor of the Roman Empire from 37 AD to 54 AD. During his time as the ruler in Rome, the Empire had control over all the nations bordering the Mediterranean Sea. Nero’s authority stretched from Spain in the west to Turkey and Egypt in the east and thus included France, Italy, Greece and all the countries on the northern edge of the continent of Africa. Roman garrisons, governors and administrative officials extended far and wide.
At the same time that Nero held this incredible position of power and was seen almost like a god, there was another historical figure although much smaller in terms of his political power or influence. This man was Saul who soon after his encounter with Jesus, became known as Paul and it was he who carried the message of the gospel to various parts of the Empire. Paul though did not seek political power but devoted himself to talking about God and about God sending his son Jesus to die for sins of the world. This is not the stuff that brings you political power or even makes you popular. The suffering he endured was incredible and in the end he died, it is believed, in Rome, perhaps as a result of Emperor Nero’s policies in regard to these lowly Christians.
SERMON –For St. Mary’s Anglican, July 3,2022 TEXTS: II Kings 5:1-15a, Psalm 30, Galatians 6: 7-16 & Luke 10:1-11, 16-20
Opening prayer: Let the words of my mouth…
Intro: At a time when the news headlines tells us about the horrors of the war in Ukraine, the death of a group of 50 or so Mexican people trying to enter the USA in a large truck, the terror of mass shootings, the suffering of those caught in the internal conflict in Sudan and other parts of Africa and the difficulties faced by families in Canada who are struggling with inflationary prices or with family who have overdosed on opiods – at such a time as this, you might ask yourself as I have “where is God?” “Is there a God in this world who still heals the broken hearted, rescues the desperate, brings forth justice or executes righteous?”
(Modified 2022-06-19: Added audio recording of sermon)
“Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you” (Luke 8:39).
In Christ Jesus, we have a lot to be thankful. One of the precious gifts from Triune God is freedom. What is freedom in God? Freedom from what? Freedom to do what? How does freedom feel?
The picture that Apostle Paul and Evangelist Luke have painted for us this First Sunday after Trinity is that of a jail, including the handcuffs, chains and chackles, and the image of the possibility of being locked in the most feared maximum-security cell without the possibility of a parole.
In today’s gospel story of breakfast on the beach, we enter further into the Easter season, and the work of Easter: working out what it means to have Resurrection set loose in the world, in the church, and in our lives.
One of the oddest experiences of Easter is that it can feel empty, after the graphic realities of Holy Week: bread broken, feet washed, thorns pressed into Jesus’ scalp, crosses raised, a body laid in a newly hewn grave. Easter, by contrast, is about an absence: the body is no longer in the tomb; and we are left to work out what that means.
Today’s story makes it clear that one of the functions of Resurrection life is restoration of relationship, and deep forgiveness.
Acts 10:34-43 Psalm 118:1-2,14-24 1 Cor. 15:19-26 John 20:1-18
April 17, 2022 St. Mary’s Regina Easter Day Year C Revd. Paula Foster
Alleluia! He is Risen, the Lord is Risen Indeed! Alleluia! That’s our shout, our cry, our joyous exclamation today. Three days after He died, the tomb is empty…..our Lord Jesus is risen! It’s amazing, it’s baffling, and yet it’s unbelievably true. We celebrate The Resurrection of Jesus along side millions of Christians throughout the world today. We all know the story,..most of us have heard it all our lives, but do you believe it? Does it make you stop and think about your life and the way you live? What do you believe about God and about Jesus…about the cross……and about the empty tomb? (Pause)
Good Friday is the most significant day that we remember or reflect on the only moment when humanity and God were reconciled in a drastic process of love, forgiveness of sin, and the death of Jesus Christ, the incarnate Son of God whose ministry has revealed God to humanity.
This is even a simplistic representation of the theme of the cross for us because Christians have no consensus on how the death of Christ has reconciled us to God or led to the forgiveness of our sins. After reading William Placher’s book, Jesus the Saviour, this week I was struck by his remarkable discovery: “the Christian tradition has never taken an ‘official’ position on how Christ’s death helps save us” (p. 113). For this reason, John Calvin has acknowledged a plurality of possibilities: “If the death of Christ be our redemption, then we were captives; if it be satisfaction, we were debtors; if it be atonement (reconciliation), we were guilty; if it be cleansing, we were unclean” (113, emphasis added).
I would like us to approach our preaching today through the atonement (reconciliation) perspective, in view of the same theme in Leviticus 16 (I encourage you to read this chapter at your free time).
Maundy Thursday St. Mary’s Regina Rvd. Paula Foster
April 14, 2022
This is a holy, sacred time and a holy, sacred place. This time and place are both holy and sacred because of two gifts that God has given each one of us. The first of these gifts is the ability to remember. What would we be if we could not remember the events, people and places we encounter in our lives? We’d be only creatures who react out of instinct for self-preservation like any other animal.
But because we CAN remember, we are not just creatures of the present, but people with a past and memories that influence, guide and shape our lives in the present and for the future. We remember the joys and the sorrows of our upbringing, of our growing up and going out into the world. At a deeply fundamental level, our memories root us and help us define who we are as people. We become separated from ourselves without our memory and that is part of the tragedy of diseases that destroy our ability to remember.