Epiphany 5, 2021 – Sermon

Sermon for St. Mary’s Anglican – by Henry Friesen           February 7, 2021

Scriptures for the 5th Sunday of Epiphany:  Isaiah 40:21-31, Psalm 147: 1-11, I Corinthians 9:16-23 and  Mark1:29-39

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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.

Questions That Push Us Toward God

            Asking the right question is one of the most incisive ways to get to the heart of any issue or problem. Your family Doctor listens to your explanation but then begins to ask pointed questions – the better the questions, the more certain her or she is about what the treatment options are. Parents can only understand their child if they ask the questions that will reveal what is really going on with their child, what is behind their discomfort, anxiousness or sadness. I suggest to you this morning that good questions will also reveal your spiritual malaise or areas where you and I have forgotten the reality of God’s presence.

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Epiphany 4, 2021 – Sermon

St. Mary the Virgin Anglican Church, January 31, 2021 The Fourth Sunday after Epiphany
Revd. Canon Claude Schroeder. Sermon on Mark 1. 21-28

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In this season of Epiphany, we have been celebrating and considering the means by which Jesus Christ becomes visible and known in the world. In our Gospel lesson today from St. Mark, we have another wonderful and powerful “epiphany.” Who is Jesus Christ? He is the Holy One of God comes to release His people from the grip of the unclean spirits of the Evil One which has holds them captive! 

This manifestation of both the power and identity of Jesus Christ comes to us perhaps as a bit of challenge. In our modern world, we generally believe that evil is simply a personal and/ or systemic problem, that can we address by means of education and legislation, government programs and improved technologies, all of which require a lot of effort and a lot of money!  But the conception of reality that emerges from the pages of the New Testament suggests that this is inadequate. There are radically evil, demonic spiritual forces at work in the world which actively assault, enslave, corrupt and destroy the creatures of God, and from which we need to be protected and delivered. Jesus Christ has come to do precisely that.

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Epiphany 3 2021 Sermon

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If you follow the schedule for the Psalter as it is laid out in the Book of Common Prayer, you would have read Psalm 106 last Thursday evening.  It’s a long psalm – 48 verses.  The purpose of the song was to remind Israel of their history, of who they were as a people.  Beginning at the Red Sea, it moves through the history of the nation, reminding the listener of events they had been learning about all their lives, as they were set down in the Pentateuch.

Here are some of the highlights of Jewish history as recounted by Psalm 106:

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Epiphany 2 2021 Sermon

St. Mary the Virgin Anglican Church, Epiphany 2, Jan. 17, 2020
Revd. Canon Claude Schroeder.

Lectionary: 1 Samuel 3. 1-10, Psalm 139. 1-5, 12-17, 1 Cor. 6. 12-20, John 1.43.51

Today is the Second Sunday after Epiphany in our church calendar. Epiphany, the season devoted towards celebrating “the manifestation” or the “showing forth” of God in the person of Jesus Christ.  

For a lot of people mid-January in Regina is physically and emotionally a pretty dark time and place at the best of times, made worse this year by you know what…Is there light at the end of the tunnel? I’m not so sure. But then again, I’m not sure “at the end of the tunnel” is the right place to be looking for light.

 “The light shines in the darkness “writes St. John at the beginning of his Gospel, “and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1.5). The place where the light shines is in the darkness.  And as St. Paul writes, “The God who said, let light shine out of darkness, has shone in ourhearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (2 Cor.4.6). Our task as Christians is to turn to the light that is right here and right now shining in our hearts, and to bathe ourselves in that light. This is the gift and the blessing of the season of Epiphany, the season of light. “With thee is the fountain of life,” wrote the Psalmist, “in thy light we shall see light.” (Psalm 36.9)

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Baptism of the Lord, 2021 – Sermon

St. Mary the Virgin Anglican Church, Baptism of the Lord, January 10. 2020
Revd. Canon Claude Schroeder.
Lectionary: Genesis  1.1-5  , Psalm 29, Acts,19.1-7, Mark 1.4-11

I was sitting in my study here at the church  one day, this was quite a few years now, when the phone rang. “Good Morning, St. Mary’s Anglican Church.” 

It was the location manager for a local film company looking for a church in which to film a baptism scene, and she was wondering if St. Mary’s might be available. 

The story concerned a young woman who had started attending A.A. meetings in a church basement, such as happens here at St. Mary’s on Wednesday evenings. It was in the A.A. meeting where this young woman, according to the 12 steps, 

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Christmas 2 Sermon

Sermon for St. Mary’s Anglican
Date:  January 3, 2021
Scriptures:  Jeremiah 31:7-14, Psalm 147: 12-20, Ephesians 1:3-14 & John 1:1-18
Prepared by Henry Friesen

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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.

My sermon this morning is based on the words of the Lord given to the prophet Jeremiah and recorded in chapter 31. I have given it the title:  There is a Future

            Several weeks ago now I saw a political cartoon that I thought so clearly captured the feeling of what the past year has felt like to me. The cartoon was of two boxers inside a boxing ring.  One of the boxers was a huge fellow with broad shoulders, great big muscles and a large set of boxing gloves. The gloves looked strangely like the microscopic images of the coronavirus particles that we see time and again on TV or on websites and in news articles.  You know, the round ball-shaped image with what looks like mushrooms or small suction cups sticking out of the round surface – that is what the boxing gloves looked like on the big boxer; he was clearly the winner. His opponent in the ring was very small in comparison; he had small gloves, a terribly bruised face and a battered body.  The boxing match has been very one-sided. What made the cartoon so vivid for me was that on the back of big boxer was the number 2020 while on the back of the small boxer was simply “the world”.

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Sunday After Christmas 2020 Sermon

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Thirty or so years ago, my aunt and uncle were pastors of a little church in Calgary, and for a while they did this show on one of the local public access tv stations.  I don’t remember very much about it.  I think they played music and sang and preached.  They probably had guests on.  It was 100 Huntley Street without the production value.  But I do have one clear memory about their show.  When their oldest grandchild was born, my aunt did a segment where she held him in her arms while she read scriptures and talked about the hope and promise that he represented to her.  That baby, firstborn of her firstborn, held for her in his tiny being at that moment all the promises of God for the future of her family.

As a nine-year-old I found all this vaguely embarrassing.  My aunt on tv talking like she’d invented being a grandparent.  And sure, baby Jordan was cute and all, but he was just a baby.  There were already a bunch of us kids running around.  No one else talked about how the future of the world rested on our shoulders.  Still, this particular memory has stayed vivid for me.  I carry that image of her holding Jordan and looking into the camera, her belief in God’s promises for her future shining out of her.  She is what I always imagine when I read this story of Simeon and Anna.

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Advent 4 – Sermon

St. Mary the Virgin Anglican Church, Advent 4, December 20, 2020

Revd. Canon Claude Schroeder, Sermon on Luke 1. 26-38.

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Today we have come to the 4th Sunday in Advent, and our last Sunday in this season of preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of the Lord. In our Gospel lesson today we heard the good news of The Annunciation of the Angel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary, “And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus.” (Luke 1. 31) Today I want to reflect with you on the significance of the Virgin Mary and the role she plays in our faith.

Have you ever wondered why it is that we celebrate Christmas on December 25th? Back in the 1800s an anti-Christian historian proposed that this was an attempt by the Church to “Christianize” the ancient Roman pagan celebration of Saturnalia, which marked the return or re-birth of Saturn, the Roman sun god at the time of the winter solstice.  For pagans, then and now, this was viewed as a hostile take-over by the Church of a good party.

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Advent 3 – Sermon

St. Mary the Virgin Anglican Church, Advent 3, Dec 13, 2020 Canon Claude Schroeder
Sermon on John 1. 6-8, 19-28

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So today we have come to the Third Sunday in Advent in our church calendar, and we all know what that means … 12 more sleeps until Christmas!

Of course, this year it’s not going it be quite the same, is it?

In 1943, the American singer and entertainer Bing Crosby recorded a song entitled, “I’ll be home for Christmas” in honour of American troops fighting in the war in overseas, which since has become a Christmas standard.

Maybe you know how it goes.

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Advent 2, 2020 – Sermon

“Waiting Well”

We spend a great deal of our lives waiting.  Waiting for it to be lunchtime.  Waiting in line.  Waiting for our vacation to start.  Waiting to grow up.  And now, waiting for a vaccine.  For we creatures who exist in time, “now” is always fleeting, and it is easier to live in our minds either in the past or the future.

I envy the writers of stories.  They have the option of simply skimming over in a few sentences the time their characters spend waiting for something to happen.  At the stroke of a key, they can make days, weeks, or months go by for their people.  They only have to linger when something’s going on.  But real life often seems the exact reverse of that, isn’t it?  

In Advent, we are called to practice waiting well.  Advent is about practicing real presence in this uncomfortable, in-between time where we hold in tension the first coming of Jesus, fleshed and vulnerable as any human, and the second coming of Jesus, the Word that establishes the world, in all his glory and majesty.  The question Advent prompts for Christians is: what does it mean to wait well? 

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