The city of Jericho looked formidable to Joshua and the people of Israel and yet their hopes were high. After all they had participated in a long and detailed preparation for the entry into the Promised Land. Moses had spoken to them at length and reminded them that God was with them and that this was they were the generation and this was their time to realize the promise of God for a land of their own.
About two weeks ago one of the boys in my granddaughter’s kindergarten class lost his grandmother. Let’s call him Bobby. Bobby had been babysat by his grandmother since he was a baby and was still going there every school day up until the week before his grandma died. For about a week Bobby stayed home and wanted to stay home even a few more days but his mother said to him: “you need to go back to school. Your kindergarten classmates will welcome you back and they will help you to feel okay about being in school again.”
So Bobby took his mother’s hand and went back to school. When the got to the school they were still holding hands. Together they walked down to the kindergarten room. They were a little late because of Bobby’s reluctance but then they were at the door. And when they came in, 3 of his friends –I’ll call them Eva, Vassey and Sally – came right over and gave him a hug!
It was a beautiful moment and a wonderful expression of understanding and love.
It was a moment in history that will never be repeated in quite the same way by these little kindergarten students. But its meaning will carry forward and hopefully, they will all be involved in situations where love and understanding are given and received.
Today’s lesson from Acts, I suggest is also a “moment in history” that will not be repeated in exactly the same way but will introduce a conviction and a presence that has extended through the centuries and is with us today.
Date: January 22, 2023 Scriptures: Romans 12:16-21 and Matthew 8:1-13 Prepared by Henry Friesen
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.
A couple of years ago now we all became aware of Zoom or a similar computer App that would allow us to have a conversation or a meeting with people right from our own home. The camera on the computer allowed the other person to see us and see the room we were sitting in. It was quite a new idea but of course with Covid restrictions in place, it caught on very quickly. I remember then that one day in the on-line news there was an example of such a conversation: a man was sitting at his computer, talking to his boss or perhaps colleague about business matters related to his company’s plans and policies. It was obviously important work and necessary but suddenly in the background, a young child entered the room and said something like “Daddy I need help!” In that moment everything changed: for a while the man and even us who were watching this little video clip were interested in this new phenomena of communicating virtually and working from home and the next moment we were part of a small human drama in the life of a father and his child. Both aspects of that scenario were important but very different. It was important for the man to participate in his work but equally important to be a Dad to his child.
(Modified 2022-12-28: Added audio recording of this sermon)
St. Mary the Virgin Anglican Church, Christmas Eve, December 24,2022 Canon Claude Schroeder
I think that we all owe a huge debt of gratitude to Charles Schulz, the author of the Peanuts comic strip, because if you ever you were looking for evidence in our time for the existence of a good and gracious God, I think you need look no further than “Charlie Brown Christmas.”
What do people need from their leaders? We need them to maintain a world where we’re safe, right? We need them to make a world where we can live our lives, make our families, earn our livings. We need them to keep the peace.
Over the centuries and throughout the world, humans have tried a lot of different kinds of leadership. We’ve had the elders who kept the stories and the wisdom of the past alive. We’ve had the strong warriors who protect their tribe from the dangers of the physical world. We’ve had kings and queens, presidents, tyrants, and dictators.
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.