Advent 1 – Sermon

St. Mary the Virgin Anglican Church, Advent 1, November 29, 2020 Canon Claude Schroeder

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Here we are. 

It’s the First Sunday in Advent, and the beginning of a new year and a new season in our church calendar. Advent means “to come”, as the Advent collect puts it, “He came to us in great humility, and will come again in His Glorious Majesty.” And Advent is a season of a season of remembrance, of longing, and of hope and expectation at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ

How strange it is for me to be preaching and recording this sermon in an empty church, and how strange for you who are reading and perhaps listening to this sermon not to have come to church today

And yet, as the Anglican theologian Fleming Rutledge writes, ““The uniqueness of Advent is that it really forces us more than any other season, even more than Lent, to look deeply into what is wrong in the world, and why the best-laid plans don’t work out the way we meant them to, and why our greatest hopes are so often confounded, and why things happen the way they do, and why sometimes it is so difficult to see where God is acting. Every year,” she writes, “Advent begins in the dark…” 

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Sunday Next Before Advent Sermon

St. Mary’s Anglican Church, Sunday Next Before Advent, Nov. 22,2020, Canon Claude Schroeder

Sermon on John 1. 35-45

Today is “The Sunday Next Before Advent” in our church calendar, affectionately known to generations of Anglicans as “Stir Up” Sunday, from the Collect for today: “Stir up, the wills O Lord of thy faithful people.”

I think our wills could all use a little bit of “stirring up” this time of year, more than in most years when we haven’t had the mental and emotional exhaustion of a pandemic to deal with, and the strain that has put on relationships.

But the way things work in our church calendar, in the first half of the year from Advent to Trinity, the Church, like a mother who is teaching her child how to walk, takes us by the hand, and leads us on a journey, a spiritual journey through the mighty acts whereby God has saved us and set us free from the power of sin and death. On this journey, we “re-live” and re-experience for ourselves the Birth, the Baptism and Temptation, the Preaching, the Teaching, the Miracles, and the Suffering, Death, Resurrection, and Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ and sending of the Holy Spirit into our hearts, to be with us forever, and to lead us into all Truth.  Who is this Jesus Christ and what has He done for us? Those are the questions which are the focus of the Church’s worship, preaching, and teaching from Advent to Trinity.

And then in the second half of our spiritual pilgrimage, in the long season of Trinity, we are seeking, by God’s grace to apply the teaching and example of the Lord to our own lives, by following in His footsteps in the Way of the Cross, in living a life of self-emptying love. What God has done for us, He now means to do in us and through us, which is to make us into Christians, that is “little Christs.” This is the structure and the logic behind the liturgical worship of the Church.

Today we come to the end of our spiritual pilgrimage for 2020. The question is, “Have we arrived?” “Have we reached our destination?” “Have we come to the end or goal of our journey?”

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Trinity 23 Sermon

St. Mary’s Anglican Church, Trinity 23, November 15, 2020 Canon Claude Schroeder (Matthew 25. 14-30)

In today’s gospel lesson, we heard what is commonly called “The Parable of the Talents”, where, as Jesus tell us, “It is as if a man, going on a journey, summoned his slaves and entrusted his property to them; to one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability.”

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Trinity 22 Sermon

Sermon for St. Mary’s Anglican

Date:  Nov 8, 2020

Scriptures:  Amos 5:18-24, Psalm 70:1-5, I Thessalonians 4:13-18 and Matthew 25:1-13

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of our hearts together, be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, our strength and our redeemer.

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The Wise and the Foolish

            When I began my preparations for this sermon on Monday, the sun was shining brightly and the temperature was +16. It is November so I knew that the autumn weather would not last and that the cold winter weather would come – I just didn’t know it was going to come as suddenly as The Weather Network is predicting it will come. I am speaking this to you on Friday evening and as yet there is no sign of the blizzard but when it comes, there will be no doubt that one season is ending and another is beginning.

            In Matthew chapter 24 Jesus also talks about an end and a beginning: it is the “end of the age” and what is in the future is the “the coming of the Son of Man”. These are chronologically imprecise phrases and Jesus does not make them as historically specific as his disciples would like Him to. Despite this, various Christians down through the ages have speculated as to when exactly all the things Jesus talks about in these chapters, will actually take place. 

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Sermon – All Saints Day – Nov 1, 2020

St. Mary the Virgin Anglican Church, All Saints, Nov.1, 2020  Canon Claude Schroeder

So today, we have great cause for celebration at St. Mary’s. 

Earlier this morning we celebrated the baptism of Sophia, and now in this service we are celebrating the great and wonderful Feast of All Saints, or as it used to be called “The Feast of All Hallows”, from which we get the word Hallowe’en.

There is no trick or treating going on at the church this morning. 

God has something much better in store for us. 

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Sermon – Trinity 20, 2020

I was listening to the Mockingbird podcast this week, and the host quoted from an online newsletter called “The Unfurling,” written by a woman called Mo Perry.  In this article, Perry talks about the strange times we are living in, and how it has affected us.  She says: “Everyone is doing their own calculus when making their choices about how to live these days. Some have concluded — by evaluating their personal risk factors and interpreting the news headlines and local public health stats — that they don’t want to go into shops or walk outdoors in crowded areas. They want to get their groceries and other essentials delivered, stay in, and minimize contact with others. 

Others have looked at their own constellation of factors and needs, and come to different conclusions. There’s a huge spectrum of ways people feel about the right balance between sensible precautions and what they need to do for their own economic, mental, physical, and relational wellbeing. 

It seems to me that the vast majority of us are trying to navigate our individual circumstances as responsibly as possible, even if one person’s idea of what that looks like for them is different from another’s.  

The virus is one thing that can hurt us, but there are others. Fear, shame, loneliness, anxiety, depression, poverty, isolation…I posed this question on Facebook and Twitter: “Do you feel like you have to hide (or are less inclined to share) pleasurable or fun activities you do outside your home?” The answers were striking. The folks who said no all explained that they’re not doing anything risky, so they have nothing to hide.

A lot of other folks said yes. And the reasons they gave were only partially about [being] risk-sham[ed]; they also mentioned wanting to be seen as appropriately somber in these dark times.

All this seems to add up to a new relationship we’ve communally developed with social media. It’s a place we go to demonstrate our goodness, display our adherence to the rules, and show our fealty to the approved positions on social issues.

Our real lives — the parts that are messy, fun, joyful, playful, morally ambiguous, less than perfectly ethically vetted — stay in the shadows.”

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Sermon – Trinity 19, 2020

St. Mary the Virgin Anglican Church, Trinity 19, Oct. 18, 2020 Canon Claude Schroeder

Sermon on Matt.22. 15-22.

I think we have all learned from bitter experience that when it comes to preserving relationships with friends and family, there are two subjects you must never bring up: the one is religion and the other is politics, and never, ever bring these two subjects up at the same time. 

That’s a recipe for disaster.

But it’s election time here in Saskatchewan and elsewhere, and our Gospel lesson is all about the intersection between religion and politics as it relates to Jesus Christ.

How could we not talk about religion and politics? 

So here we go…

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Sermon – Trinity 18, 2020

St. Mary the Virgin Anglican Church, Trinity 18, Oct. 10, 2020 Canon Claude Schroeder

Lectionary Readings: Isiah 25. 1-9, Philippians 3. 4-14, Matthew 22. 1-14.

Even under these present ‘unhappy circumstances’, I want to wish you all “Happy Thanksgiving.” Thank you all so much for coming today.

Our tradition of  having Thanksgiving Long Week End goes back to 1957, when the Governor General of Canada Vincent Massey, issued a proclamation stating: “A Day of General Thanksgiving to Almighty God for the bountiful harvest with which Canada has been blessed – to be observed on the second Monday in October.” 

Well, a lot has changed in this country in the last 63 years.  For one thing, our connection with the land is not what it used to be.  We can come to church at Thanksgiving and sing, “We Plough the Fields and Scatter”, but how many of us plough the fields and scatter? But as it happened, back in May I got to go out with Henry Friesen and Nat Ross and ‘ploughed the fields’ in the community gardens to raise money for our refugee family. We had great harvest of potatoes, tomatoes, zucchini and strawberries in the garden at home. (May have wrecked a few friendships forcing zucchini onto people). And although there is a renewed interest in our culture in things local and organic, overall our relationship with the land is rather tenuous.

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Trinity 17 2020 Sermon on Matthew 21. 33-46

St. Mary the Virgin Anglican Church, Trinity 17, Oct 4, 2020 Canon Claude Schroeder

Sermon on Matthew 21. 33-46.

In today’s gospel lesson today from St. Matthew, Jesus is in the Temple in Jerusalem addressing the crowds who had come to celebrate the Passover. We are here on the day after Jesus made his triumphant entry into Jerusalem, on what we call Palm Sunday, where and the crowds hailed Jesus as their King. 

But no sooner does Jesus enter the city, than he makes a bee line for the Temple where he proceeds to turn over the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons, declaring, “My house shall be called a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of robbers” thus provoking a confrontation with the religious leaders as the ones responsible for the corruption at the centre of the Israel’s spiritual life. 

The issue here was one of authority. They asked Jesus, “By what authority do you do these things, and who gave you this authority?” 

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Trinity 16 Sermon

We are approaching the end of Ordinary Time.  We have been working our way through Matthew’s Gospel, and now we find ourselves near the end of the Gospel and the end of Jesus’ ministry.  Here in Matthew 21, Jesus has returned triumphantly to Jerusalem.  He has been to the Temple already, and driven out the money changers and the people selling animals for offerings.  In these last days of his ministry, he will be confronted multiple times by the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the chief priests and elders of the people.  They will try to trip him up, to make him say something they can arrest him for.  We read about the first in this set of challenges this morning.

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