Epiphany 2, 2022 – Sermon

On this Second Sunday of Epiphany, we continue our reading about the manifestation or revelation of Jesus Christ to the people, cultures and the nations of the world. 

One may ask why Jesus Christ should be revealed to us? It is because Christ is the Son of God who has revealed God’s love for us by offering to be the sacrificial lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. According to the Gospel of John, “No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart (bosom), who has made him known” (1:18). 

Epiphany is also about the compelling personal transformation as become aware and accept the new identity that uplifts us beyond our normal life to the new lifecycle of love, hope and faith.

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Baptism of the Lord, 2022 – Sermon

(Modified 2022-01-10: Added audio recording)

Isaiah 43:1-7
Psalm 29
Acts 8:14-17
Luke 3:15-17, 21-22

January 9, 2022
St. Mary’s Regina
Baptism of our Lord
Year C

Audio recording of this sermon

Within the season of Epiphany, we celebrate the Baptism of our Lord. It is one of the traditional times for baptism in our church year.  Most, if not all of us have been baptized. (If you haven’t and are interested in baptism, please see me after the service.)  Most of us have been witnesses to many baptisms over the years. Some of us are God-parents or sponsors. We ourselves were presented for baptism by parents or someone who cared about us or for us.  We, in turn, have presented our children for baptism and perhaps grandchildren…I had the privilege of baptizing my grandson Owen and Boyd had the privilege of baptizing all but one of his grandchildren.  We know that Baptism is a holy time within families and for the people of God.

           When we present our children or ourselves for baptism, we are responding to the gentle call of God…to begin a journey with God. Baptism marks the beginning of a life long journey of discovery for us as we learn to love God.  As we learn to love God, we discover that we too, are the beloved of God.  Therefore, Baptism is a time of joy within the church as well as a time of celebration for families.  We warmly welcome the newly baptized who are brought, by faith, into the family of God.  So with these thoughts in mind, let us turn our attention to the baptism of our Lord and his call to ministry.

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Christmas 2, 2022 – Sermon

Isaiah 60: 1-6
Psalm 72:1-14
Ephesians 3:1-12
Matthew 2: 1-12
January 2, 2022
St. Mary’s Regina
Epiphany Sunday
Year C

         Whenever people gather in groups, it is almost inevitable that one will hear stories.  Stories are the vehicle that we human beings most commonly use to make sense of the world in which we live.  Through stories told around kitchen tables over cups of coffee or tea, or maybe something a wee bit stronger, we share some of the things that have shaped and informed our lives, both present and past and these stories become our family histories.  In my family I have noticed that through the years, some of the details of the events are changed depending on who is telling the stories and even though it makes for lively discussions on occasion…the inherent truth it holds for us doesn’t change.  This is one of the ways that families pass on the values and traditions that have shaped and formed their lives.  

Story telling is so important that we are taught from a young age to listen carefully and respectfully when someone is telling a story. Stories are powerful. Survivors of all sorts of trauma often need to tell their story in order to move forward from the event. A dear friend of mine once told me that we will re-tell or relive a traumatic event/story until we can make some kind of sense of what happened OR until we can find a safe place to store it inside us. It is a well-documented fact that being able to share our story often leads to healing and restoration.  There is something powerfully sacred in the telling/sharing as well as in the listening. And I believe THAT is evidence of God’s grace in the world.   

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Advent 4, 2021 – Sermon

(Modified 2021-12-19: Added audio recording of this sermon.))

Audio recording of this sermon

God in Flesh Our Hope Divine

God of heaven, Lord of earth
We beseech thee
Born of Mary, virgin birth
Lord, we greet thee
God in flesh, our hope divine
Alleluia
Babe of heaven, God’s own son
Alleluia

Star of David, Son of Man
God be with us
Suff’ring servant, wounded lamb
Bring peace to us
Broken flesh, our hope divine
Alleluia
Lifted up for all mankind
Alleluia

Gloria, gloria, gloria in excelsis Deo! (×2)

Root of Jesse which shall stand
Lord, we need thee
Banner o’er the nations
We receive thee
Glorious resting place for all
Alleluia
Jew and Gentile, welcome home
Alleluia

Gloria, gloria, gloria in excelsis Deo! (×2)

“Come, Lord Jesus,” people sing
We are yearning
Give us back the garden
We are longing
On that day we’ll see thy face
Alleluia
This whole realm in your embrace

Alleluia

Gloria, gloria, gloria in excelsis Deo! (×6)


(If you have an account on Spotify or Apple Music, you can play this song using the players below.)

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Advent 3, 2021 – Sermon

(Modified 2021-12-12: Added audio recording of this sermon)

Zephaniah 3:14-20
Psalm
Philippians 4:4-7
Luke 3:7-18

Dec 12, 2021
St. Mary’s Regina
Advent III
Year C

Audio recording of this sermon

            I want to begin with a list of  words this morning.  These words aren’t often heard outside of a religious context, but since we’re in church I think it’s appropriate to introduce them this morning. How we understand the meaning of each of these words, influences or drives our spiritual journeys. So, I believe Advent is the perfect time to ponder these words. Ready? Here they are: Sin, Repentance, Confession and Forgiveness. What we think or believe about ourselves and others through the use of these words can be helpful or destructive for us. 

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Advent 2, 2021 – Sermon

(Modified 2021-12-05: Revised sermon text. Added recording of this sermon.)

Second Advent Sunday December 5, 2021.
St. Mary the Virgin Anglican Church, Regina

Readings: Baruch 5:1-9; Psalm 126; Philippians 1:3-11; Luke 3:1-6.

Living God, increase your joy in us so that we may praise and worship you in truth and spirit. Amen. 

When you read about how Judah was overrun by the enemies and how Jerusalem was destroyed during the time of Jeremiah and Baruch, you may ask where is God in this situation? 

When you read how Paul was imprisoned and humiliated, you may ask where is God in all this? 

When you think of the ongoing coronavirus that has confined us into our houses and inflicted great pain and suffering in us, because we have lost friends, coworkers, family members, or someone we know personally, you may ask where is God in all this?

There are other countless examples that we may give on how we may think in human terms about situations where we expect the powerful hands of God, but all we see and find is darkness hovering over our lives and denying us the joy of life. There is no joy in these circumstances, is there?

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Advent 1, 2021 – Sermon

(Modified 2021-11-28: Added audio recording of this sermon)

Jeremiah 33:14-16
Psalm 25:1-9
1 Thessalonians 3:9-13​​
Luke 21:25-36

November 28, 2021
St. Mary’s Regina
Advent 1
Year C

by Paula Foster

Audio recording of this sermon

Every so often, we get a strong reminder that the ways of God are not the ways of the world.  According to the ways of the world, Christmas is lighten-up time…one month out of twelve when we give ourselves permission (perhaps guardedly because of Covid) to go to parties and buy gifts for friends and family and decorate our homes with trees, lights and ornaments of every kind. It is the season of eggnog and sweets and assorted beverages when the instinct to purchase is hallowed and overeating is required.  Whatever else is going on in the world, Christmas is a time to rise above it…to be happy, to be at peace, to anticipate birth.​

The ways of God are less cheerful, overall.  They offer us no shortcuts to joy.  If the church calendar is any indication, things always get darker before they get light. No matter how much we’d like to take a straight road to Christmas, there are these dark days of Advent to go through first.  Advent leads us down a road that leads through the graveyard of our sinfulness, through the wilderness, and through a river of repentance.  There is a lot of waiting along the way, waiting and telling the truth about all the scary things that can happen before the birth of real joy takes place.

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Sunday Before Advent, 2021 – Sermon

(Modified 2021-11-21: Added audio recording)

Audio recording of this sermon

Let us pray.  Lord, have mercy upon us.  I wanted to begin by asking for mercy from our king, because this Jesus we are talking about today in our readings is hard to wrap our minds around.

This is the last Sunday of the year.  Did you know that?  Next week, November 28th, is the first Sunday of Advent.  It is the start of a new liturgical season.  We will change all our colours to purple.  We will hang our Advent wreath, and start singing Advent hymns.  Even the canticles in Morning Prayer change.  But beyond moving into a new liturgical season, we also begin the new liturgical year.  Our cycle of Scripture, and prayer, and worship of our Lord Jesus Christ begins anew.

This day, the final Sunday of the old year, is known as Reign of Christ Sunday, or Christ the King in Catholic and Lutheran churches.  We have these gorgeous Scripture readings full of the majesty and glory of Jesus.  In Daniel’s vision, we see the Ancient of Days, too bright to look at, like the sun, sitting in His throne room, surrounded by multitudes, and preparing to sit in judgement on the whole universe.  And one like a son of man approaches the Ancient of Days and is welcomed into His presence, and he is “given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshipped him.  His domain is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.”

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Remembrance, 2021 – Sermon

(Modified 2021-11-14 Added audio recording of this sermon)

Daniel 12:1-3
Psalm 16
Hebrews 10:11-25
Mark 13:1-8

 November 14,2021
St. Mary’s Regina
Proper 33
Year B

Audio recording of this sermon

Have you ever been afraid of something?  When I was a child, I was really afraid of the dark and of cockroaches. (pause) and truthfully, they both still bother me.  There are cockroaches in El Paso, Texas (where I come from)…. BIG BUGS that inhabit cool, dark places like garages, cupboards, and basements and they scurry around at night in particular, which may have aggravated my fear of the dark.  I hate being around them… I hate it when they startle me…. it doesn’t make any difference that I am a hundred times bigger then they are…. when one scurries across my path, my heart pounds, adrenaline rushes through my body and I instantly want to run the other way.  Don’t even suggest that I simply step on it and kill it. The crunchy, splatty sound they make underneath my foot makes my skin crawl. I have tried over the years to talk myself out of this fear, but the last time I was home, I had to steel myself every time I had to walk into the garage, because I KNEW that there might be a roach out there.  It was a great relief for me as I began my northern migration, to realize that there aren’t as many cockroaches up here as there are in El Paso because Cockroaches frighten me.

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All Saints, 2021 – Sermon

(Modified 2021-11-07: Added audio recording of this sermon.)

Sermon. All Saints Sunday November 6, 2021. St. Mary the Virgin Anglican Church, Regina. Nathaniel Athian Deng Mayen.

Audio recording of this sermon

Today 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’. 

Rather than doing scary things, I would like to give a brief summary of the readings before we talk about the concept of the ‘communion of the saints’ and its significance to our faith.

In Isaiah 25:6-9, we read about God’s deliverance of the faithful from the oppressive regimes of the world, that is, sin and death. It is from the Scripture such as this that suffering, persecution and martyrdom, the blood shed for the sake of our faith in Christ, are considered signs of sainthood in ancient Christian theology and teaching. We suffer and die now on earth in hope that our faith will be accredited righteousness in the new life to come with Christ.

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