Sermon for St. Mary’s Anglican – by Henry Friesen, May 30, 2021
Scriptures for Trinity Sunday: Isaiah 6:1-8, Psalm 29, Romans 8:12-17 and John 3:1-17
Entering Into the Mystery
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.
When Claude asked me to preach this morning he suggested that this Sunday is Trinity Sunday and that it is therefore a preacher’s favourite Sunday. He was laughing when he said this knowing full well that preaching about or at least trying to explain the Trinity is filled with theological land mines; a preacher is sure to say something that many theologians and students of the Bible would take issue with.
Claude assured me though that our liturgy and in particular our affirmation of faith via the Nicene Creed would make clear the correct doctrine in regard to the Trinity so that even if I wandered a little, we would be OK!
(Modified 2021-05-23: Added audio recording of sermon)
St. Mary’s Anglican Church, Pentecost Sunday, May 23, 2021 Canon Claude Schroeder.
Today we are celebrating the great and wonderful Feast of Pentecost, which brings to an ecstatic climax the final revelation of Jesus Christ, and the fulfillment of His promise to send us the Holy Spirit, in fulfilment of the prophecy of Joel, “In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions and your old men shall dream dreams. Even upon my slaves, both men and women, in those days I will pour out my Spirit. (Acts 2. 17-18).
Our celebration of Pentecost today stands as a powerful sign of contradiction to this confused, divided, sin-sick, despairing, death-bound, and socially distanced world in which we live. In place of confusion there was clarity as the tongues of fire rested on the heads of each them, purifying and illuminating the intellects. In place of division there was unity, as the assembled multi-racial and multi-ethnic crowd, all heard them in their own tongues the mighty works of God. In place of sin sickness, and death, the announcement of salvation. “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved!” And in place of social distance: fellowship and community, as over 3,000 people were baptized that day.
If ever there was a time we needed the Holy Spirit to manifest Himself to us, that time is now.
(Modified 2021-05-16: Added recorded sermon audio)
St. Mary’s Anglican Church, Sunday after Ascension, May 16, 2021 Canon Claude Schroeder
So today we have come to The Sunday after Ascension in our church calendar where we are remembering the time in-between Ascension, which we celebrated on Thursday, and Pentecost, which we will celebrate next Sunday. It’s an odd moment for us, because we really aren’t going anywhere, or moving forward on anything, or have anything particularly to celebrate. It’s a time of patient waiting and of praying. Sounds a bit like COVID, doesn’t it?
Our Collect for today is doubly appropriate.” We beseech thee, leave us not comfortless, but send to us thine Holy Ghost, to comfort us and exalt us to same place where our Savior Christ is gone before.” That word comfort means to strengthen. We are praying today for God send his Holy Spirit to strengthen us, and lift us up. I think we could use a little bit of lifting up. But this lifting up is not an emotional boost, but a spiritual one. When the Holy Ghost exalts us, lifts us UP, we find ourselves, reigning and ruling over the chaos and madness of our world, it’s sin and its sadness. This precisely what is given to us to experience in the Holy Communion. It’s our Ascension to be with Christ in the heavenly places.
(Modified 2021-05-09: Added recorded audio of sermon.)
St. Mary’s Anglican Church, Fifth Sunday after Easter, May 9, 2021 Canon Claude Schroeder
So today we have come to the Fifth and final Sunday in the season of Easter, where we have been rejoicing and celebrating and reflecting together on the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
Alleluia! Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed. Alleluia!
Now today is also a very happy day, as we welcome little Gunnar, and his parents Karen and Steve who have come as enquirers into baptism, who are here with Art and Marion, and we send greetings today to Steve’s mom and dad, Karen and Kelley. The memory of that fabulous wedding we celebrated at St. Mary’s almost two summers ago, still brings a smile to my face.
As we look into the Scriptures one of the things we see is how it is that God reveals Himself to us, and how that revelation then gets passed on through the generations. A couple has a child, and in addition to providing him with shelter, food, drink, clothing, love, and affection, they initiate him into the mysteries of the Christian faith, and hand on that revelation. Baptism is the sacrament of this initiation, the result of which is that the child undergoes a “second birth,” a spiritual birth from above,” where, emerging from the womb of the Church, his now a child of God by adoption. Like any good mother, the Church, nurtures that child with the pure milk of the Gospel so that he might grow up in his salvation. (1 Peter 2.2). O taste and see the Lord is good. Happy are they who trust in Him. And on and on it goes throughout the generations.
(Modified 2021-05-22: Added audio recording of sermon.)
Several years ago, some researchers asked a group of children to explain what love is. The results have been passing around the internet ever since.
Karl, age 5: “Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other.”
Chrissy, age 6: “Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs.”
Emily, age 8: “Love is when you kiss all the time. Then when you get tired of kissing, you still want to be together and you talk more.” She went on to comment, “My Mommy and Daddy are like that. They look gross when they kiss.”
Some of the answers were quite wise.
Billy, age 4: “When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You just know that your name is safe in their mouth.”
St. Mary the Virgin Anglican Church, April 25, 2021 , Third Sunday after Easter
Revd.Canon Claude Schroeder
So today is the Third Sunday after Easter, and we are at the half way point in the season of Easter. Aside from Trinity season, the 50 days of Easter comprise the longest season on our calendar, and with good reason, given the centrality of the Resurrection for our faith. As St. Paul wrote, “If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all men most to be pitied.” (1 Cor. 15.19) But if Jesus Christ is risen from the dead, that changes everything, and there is more going in the world and in our lives than meets the eye.
I was standing in the chancel on Tuesday after Morning Prayer this week, beholding the sunlight shining through and illuminating the Resurrection window here at St. Mary’s, which is tucked off in the corner to the right of the altar. Facing the Resurrection window on the opposite side tucked in the corner to the left of the altar is the Annunciation window. It made me wonder, “What were they thinking?” Here we have the two central mysteries of our faith, the Incarnation and Resurrection of the Son of God represented in places where nobody hardly gets to seem them, unless you steal a glance when you come up for communion. How strange! But then it hit me. This is exactly right, because both the Annunciation and the Resurrection were events that took place in secret, hidden from public view. Nobody saw what happened, and yet there were witnesses, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the Apostles, who testified to these mighty acts of God.
St. Mary’s Anglican Church, Second Sunday after Easter, April 18, 2021 Canon Claude Schroeder
Lectionary: Acts 3. 12-19, 1 John 3. 1-7, Luke 24. 36-48
Today we are continuing our celebration of Easter, which is a 50-day celebration, leading up to the Feast of Pentecost and the celebration of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles.
It’s clear from the Gospels that when Jesus appears to the apostles to manifest His resurrection, the initial reaction in each case was not one of faith, but rather of fear, of doubt, and un-belief. There is something comforting in this, because ever since the apostles went to bear witness to the resurrection of Jesus Christ, a common and predictable response has been fear, doubt, and unbelief!
SERMON – for the Second Sunday of Easter, April 11, 2021
TEXTS: Acts 4:32-35, Psalm 133, I John 1:1-10, 2:1-2 & John 20: 19 31
Opening prayer: 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. Amen
“Seeing and Believing”
One of the things I love about spring is that it means that I soon will be able to cultivate my garden plot and put seeds into the ground. I like to get my hands in the dirt, I like the feel of the texture of the garden soil, and I like to scratch out a furrow and carefully place my seeds there and then cover them up and tamp the ground firmly. To me it is like putting them to bed and tucking them in firmly so that they will be surrounded by moist soil and ready to respond to the warm sun.
The next step is always a little difficult for me; I have to now wait for the seeds to germinate and for those first tiny shoots of the plants to push their way to the surface. I have no choice, I have to wait because I simply cannot make them germinate immediately, in fact I can’t make them germinate at all – the best that I can do is hope that I have put them in the right environment so that they can come to life.
(Modified 2021-04-04: Added audio recording of sermon.)
St. Mary the Virgin Anglican Church, Easter Sunday, April4, 2021 Revd. Canon Claude Schroeder
It was 8.30 in the morning on April 16, 1927 that a police officer and his wife welcomed their third and youngest child, a boy, into the world in their home at 11 Schulstasse, in the tiny village of Marktl-an -Inn, in Bavaria, Germany. The police officer’s name was Joseph and his wife’s name was Maria, or Mary, and they named their son, Joseph Aloisius.
April 16, 1927 was a Saturday morning, but not just any Saturday. It was Holy Saturday, the Saturday between Good Friday and Easter Sunday, the day after the Son of God was tortured and executed on a Cross, when His Body lay buried in the tomb.
That same day, Joseph and Maria brought their son to the church to be baptized at the Easter Vigil ceremonies, a providential connection in that as he was born at 8.30 in the morning, and at that time the anticipated liturgy was also celebrated in the morning. Having emerged from the womb of his mother, to be born in the flesh, he would emerge almost immediately from the womb of the Church to be born anew by ‘water and the spirit’, through the waters of baptism. As a result, the first full day of Joseph’s life, both on earth and in the Church…was Easter.
Small wonder that Joseph Aloisius would one day become Pope Benedict XVI.
St. Mary’s Anglican Church, Palm Sunday, March 28, 2021 Canon Claude Schroeder
From today’s reading of the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Mark:
“There were some who said to themselves indignantly, “Why was the ointment thus wasted?For this ointment might have been sold for more than three hundred denarii, and given to the poor.” And they reproached her. But Jesus said, “Let her alone; why do you trouble her? She has done a beautiful thing to me….she has anointed my body beforehand for burying. And truly, I say to you, wherever the gospel is preached in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.” (Mark 14. 46, 8-9)
In an article entitled, “The Christian Art of Dying”, the British Orthodox priest and theologian John Behr argues that, “in discussing the ages of the spiritual life, nothing is as important or as difficult as facing the reality of death.”
I don’t think any of us would dispute this. We shift nervously in our seats whenever the subject comes up, but it’s a subject that has certainly reared its ugly head under COVID, where from some, stepping outside the doors of one’s house, means courting death.