Church Pulpit Posts
When was the last time you thought about your relationship with the Lord? How is it? Do others see the light of Christ shining in your eyes and from your face? Do you serve the Lord letting your light shine in the darkness, or do you only allow it to shine in the light, among other Christians, where it may not be seen? Does your salt flavor the world or does it harm those around you?
We need to get out and salt the world and lead the lost to the light of Jesus Christ. If we are not doing so, then we need to ask the Lord to forgive us where we have failed Him….
As you have heard and read over the past weeks, the Annual Meeting of Church of the Holy Apostles is scheduled for this Sunday, January 29. It is a general expectation that all parishes in the Episcopal Church hold a meeting open to members of the congregation at least once per year, and the bylaws of most churches (including ours) codify this expectation and make it a requirement.
In worshipping communities, where mystery is assumed and faith provides the foundation for action, annual parish meetings are very businesslike affairs. Vestry members are elected. Budgets are presented. Projects are discussed. Reports are offered, and the Rector tries to sum everything up in a “state of our church” address (I will deliver mine in place of the sermon during the 11 am service). All of this is very important—essential, actually. Not everyone serves on every committee, and we all benefit from being able to hear the same information at the same time, and from the opportunity to ask questions in an open forum….
On Sunday mornings this Epiphany season we are offering an Adult Forum series called, “Eco Saints.” We are highlighting people of remarkable faith who have particularly raised our consciousness about the sacredness of the universe, our world, and all of life – the sacredness of earth and birth….
It’s easy to dismiss dreams. While we may find them interesting, we rarely take them seriously. If our dreams have been pleasant, we smile to ourselves as we wake, realizing that what had seemed so real in our sleep fades quickly as we regain consciousness. Or, if the visions we experienced were unsettling, we sigh with relief when we wake up and comfort ourselves by saying, “it was just a dream.”…
On Sunday we will hear the story of Jesus’ Baptism. As he came out of the Jordan River, a voice from heaven was heard to say, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.”
As we reflect on Jesus’ baptism we take the opportunity to reflect on our own baptisms. John practiced a baptism of repentance. Our Baptism is done in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
There is a similarity between John’s baptism and ours. In baptism we are adopted as God’s sons and daughters. That act of baptism is God’s way of saying, “You are mine. I love you. I am well pleased with you….
The picture below is a rendering of Exodus 15:20-21. The Israelites have just crossed through the Red Sea, and the Egyptian army has drowned in the water rushing back to its normal depth. In the awe and wonder that follows, the text tells us “Then the prophet Miriam, Aaron’s sister, took a tambourine in her hand; and all the women went out after her with tambourines and with dancing. And Miriam sang to them: ‘Sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously; horse and rider he has thrown into the sea.’”….
One of the best bumper stickers I ever saw was this: Don’t Postpone Joy!
It might seem like following that exhortation should be easiest to do at this time of year. There are gatherings of friends and family and church communities. There are sparkling lights and festive music. There are sweet smells of cookies and fresh cut trees.
But it is also easy to get caught up in what some have called the “Christmas Machine” – the stress of family tensions, finding perfect gifts, traipsing to gatherings hither and yon, or playing the consummate host. And it is also easy to feel left out – estranged or just far from family, missing friends who are traveling, or beset by worries or grief….
With only one week to go until Christmas, we may find ourselves caught up in the final stretch of last-minute preparations. For me that includes some version of the Advent carol People Look East: “Make your house fair as you are able, trim the hearth and set the table. People look east and sing today: Love the guest is on the way.” We are looking forward to having visitors this year. My father and his husband will be celebrating Christmas with us, and I want to make sure all is clean and comfortable for their stay….
Have you ever been in a situation where people did not live up to the hopes and expectations you had for them? If so, you can probably understand why John the Baptist was confused in this coming Sunday’s gospel.
Uncertain, scary times can shake us and cause us to have doubts about our faith. John the Baptist is a good example. When we like John, are moved by the Holy Sprit, we vow to follow God. When we receive blessings, we are sure that Jesus is our Savior. When we face tragedies and disasters, we perhaps may question our faith. We question why these things happen. There are times when we are wrapped up in our suffering that sometimes we can’t see, or feel God’s presence….
It’s hard for those of us who are older to believe, but the musical production of The Lion King is marking twenty-five years on Broadway. First an animated movie and then, famously, a production that melded puppetry and human performance, the show is a legendary staple of theater-going in our city (and in many others—productions of the show have toured all over our nation and all over the world).,,,
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