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Saint Timothy's Anglican Parish





Updated: 2014-10-02T21:41:13.242-07:00

 



Pentecost 16, September 16 sermon notes

2007-09-17T07:54:43.363-07:00

In the middle of the reading from Paul’s letter to Timothy is a sentence which has been part of the Anglican tradition of worship for over 450 years.15” The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”.It has come to be known as part of a small collection of verses known as the “Comfortable Words” found in the BCP Communion Service. Like John 3:16, it gives us a summary of why Jesus came. We hear the phrase “save sinners”, and we are perhaps not sure what it means. Well, today’s gospel reading tells us what this little verse means. What does it look like when Christ Jesus comes into the world to save sinners? I suggest we do a little refresher based on the Three R’s :RelationshipRepentanceRejoicing.The first R is Relationship. At the beginning of this gospel we see that the tax collectors and the sinners were coming near to Jesus to listen to what he was saying. Apparently whatever Jesus was selling, they were buying; whatever Jesus was teaching, they were willing to learn, and whatever Jesus was saying, they were listening. The beginning of relationship is just talking – Jesus is having a conversation with these notorious folks. And the Pharisees and scribes fill in the picture for us a bit more: "This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them.” Jesus does more than just lecture to the sinners and tax collectors. He spends time with them, welcoming them and sitting down and enjoying a meal with them, Jesus wants to build friendship, trust, relationship with them. It’s fairly evident that the Pharisees are not really interested in that sort of thing. But Jesus is. God is deeply interested in relationships: both those we share among one another, and the relationship we share with Him. It’s what Jesus summarized when he reminded us to love God and our neighbours.When we look at the parables Jesus tells, what is the outcome? The shepherd calls together his friends and neighbours; the woman of the house calls together her friends and neighbours.. Relationships are the building blocks of the Church. It’s what Jesus summarized when he reminded us to love God and our neighbours.The second R is Repentance.So what was Jesus saying to the tax collectors and sinners that made them want to stay listen to him? The parables he tells give us a hint: A sheep gets lost, a coin gets lost, ultimately of course, it is about hearts which are lost.15:3 So he told them this parable:15:4 "Which one of you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that is lost until he finds it?15:5 When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders and rejoices.15:6 And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.15:7 Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.The shepherd doesn’t tell us how the sheep got lost. he doesn’t say whether the sheep wandered off on its own, or gradually strayed little by little, or got scared by something and disappeared. The shepherd doesn’t give us the details of how far the sheep had wandered. No, the shepherd is not interested in us knowing those details.Jesus tells us that the shepherd does not cut his losses. After all, losing only one out of a hundred is pretty good. Why not just let it go? The shepherd cares for the one. He is willing to pursue it wherever it has gone, now matter how far. He wants that one. And what does he do when he finds it? He carries it home on his shoulders. And that is at the heart of repentance: It is not about punishment for wrongdoing, or excessive guilt over our faults; it is not about wringing our hands in self pity: it is about coming home. Coming Home on the shoulders of the Good Shepherd. Repent, and turn toward Home. And if you don’t think you can get there, don’t worry, the shepherd will carry[...]



Sermon Notes for September 16/ Pentecost 16

2007-09-15T19:47:16.766-07:00

In the middle of the reading from Paul’s letter to Timothy is a sentence which has been part of the Anglican tradition of worship for over 450 years.15” The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”.It has come to be known as part of a small collection of verses known as the “Comfortable Words” found in the BCP Communion Service. Like John 3:16, it gives us a summary of why Jesus came. We hear the phrase “save sinners”, and we are perhaps not sure what it means. Well, today’s gospel reading tells us what this little verse means. What does it look like when Christ Jesus comes into the world to save sinners? I suggest we do a little refresher based on the Three R’s :RelationshipRepentanceRejoicingThe first R is Relationship. At the beginning of this gospel we see that the tax collectors and the sinners were coming near to Jesus to listen to what he was saying. Apparently whatever Jesus was selling, they were buying; whatever Jesus was teaching, they were willing to learn, and whatever Jesus was saying, they were listening. The beginning of relationship is just talking – Jesus is having a conversation with these notorious folks. And the Pharisees and scribes fill in the picture for us a bit more: "This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them.” Jesus does more than just lecture to the sinners and tax collectors. He spends time with them, welcoming them and sitting down and enjoying a meal with them, Jesus wants to build friendship, trust, relationship with them. It’s fairly evident that the Pharisees are not really interested in that sort of thing. But Jesus is. God is deeply interested in relationships: both those we share among one another, and the relationship we share with Him.When we look at the parables Jesus tells, what is the outcome? The shepherd calls together his friends and neighbours; the woman of the house calls together her friends and neighbours.. Relationships are the building blocks of the Church.The second R is Repentance.So what was Jesus saying to the tax collectors and sinners that made them want to stay listen to him? The two parables he tells give us a hint: A sheep gets lost, a coin gets lost, a heart gets lost.15:3 So he told them this parable:15:4 "Which one of you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that is lost until he finds it?15:5 When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders and rejoices.15:6 And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.15:7 Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.The shepherd doesn’t tell us how the sheep got lost. he doesn’t say whether the sheep wandered off on its own, or gradually strayed little by little, or got scared by something and disappeared. The shepherd doesn’t give us the details of how far the sheep had wandered. No, the shepherd is not interested in us knowing those details.Jesus tells us that the shepherd does not cut his losses. After all, losing only one out of a hundred is pretty good. Why not just let it go? The shepherd cares for the one. He is willing to pursue it wherever it has gone, now matter how far. He wants that one. And what does he do when he finds it? He carries it home on his shoulders. And that is at the heart of repentance: It is not about punishment for wrongdoing, or excessive guilt over our faults; it is not about wringing our hands in self pity: it is about coming home. Coming Home on the shoulders of the Good Shepherd. Repent, and turn toward Home. And if you don’t think you can get there, don’t worry, the shepherd will carry you there himself. All sin is a wandering of the heart away from God. All repentance is a turning and being carried homeward; back to the One who made us; home to the[...]



Multi purpose lunch this sunday

2007-09-12T14:24:50.641-07:00

Just a quick reminder that we will be having a multi-purpose potluck this coming Sunday, September 16, after the 10 am service.



SErmon notes: Pentecost 13; Luke 14: 1, 7-14

2007-09-01T20:38:13.789-07:00

preamble:Most times when the lectionary leaves out a bit, it is usually a tale of woe or some such equivalent. This week's "official" reading is Luke 14:1, 7-14. Which of course leaves out verses 2-6. I wonder if the modern editors simply did not think that this passage "belongs" in this story.The main story is about Jesus coming to a banquet at the Pharisee's house, and what he says there. The little interruption comes in the form of a miracle of healing on the Sabbath - the man with the withered hand. So it makes sense that this interruption is dropped from the reading, right? I mean, after all, we are never interrupted. At least not that we notice. By people who need help. As we are on our way to a banquet. On the Sabbath.One of the things that sort of bothers me about the editing out of 2-6 in the lectionary version is simply that at the end of the parable, Jesus makes explicit reference to inviting the lame and the crippled; and yet a story which relates to one of them is edited out. It strikes me that to edit this passage on the basis of having covered the same material last week is to miss the point that last week's story focussed on healing on the sabbath in a synagogue, while this encounter happens precisely as they are going to a banquet - a banquet to which it does not appear the lame man is invited, which is exactly the point The editing treats the episode as merely another type of sabbath healing, which I suggest is insufficient. I suggest the editing also treats people in the gospel merely as "types" and not as persons - "we had a crippled healed last week, we don't need to cover that ground again."Luke 14:1, 7-14[blessed are those who are called to the wedding feast of the Lamb]14:1 On one occasion when Jesus was going to the house of a leader of the Pharisees to eat a meal on the sabbath, they were watching him closely.The very first line of this morning’s Gospel reading actually gives us something to think about: Luke tells us that as Jesus was going off to the Pharisee’s house to have a Sabbath meal, “they were watching him closely”. That is a rather obvious way of saying that they were paying attention to every detail of what Jesus was doing and saying; a cynic or a realist might say that they were spying on him. But at least they go this right, whatever their motives might have been: it is important to watch Jesus closely, to pay attention to the details of what he says and how he acts; to keep our eyes attentively on him. We might follow their example, but with a different motive in mind.14:7 When he noticed how the guests chose the places of honor, he told them a parable.It appears that Jesus is also paying close attention – he is watching how the guests tend to choose the “places of honour”. Not only are people watching Jesus closely, but he as well is watching them closely. Jesus notices the details of people’s lives – the guests who come to the Pharisee’s house, how they act, what they do. And Jesus is watching still – he notices the details of our lives.14:8 "When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not sit down at the place of honor, in case someone more distinguished than you has been invited by your host; 14:9 and the host who invited both of you may come and say to you, 'Give this person your place,' and then in disgrace you would start to take the lowest place.As Jesus is watching , he notices and comments on one general tendency which we humans have: - we tend to assume that we are more important than we really are. Surely there can’t be anyone more important than me coming to this banquet, right? I deserve this place of honour at the high table. I should be publicly recognized for the great person I am. I have the right to take whatever seat I want. This is when self esteem crosses the line and becomes pride – the deadliest of spiritual diseases. Jesus shows us what happens when pride goes public. It results in the guests thinking that th[...]



sermon notes: Pentecost 11, Luke 12: 32-40

2007-08-15T15:23:59.934-07:00

“Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again”“Looking for his coming again in glory”In the middle of the prayer of consecration is a little phrase which addresses what might be called our tendency to “spiritual procrastination”. Jesus speaks to his followers about his return: “You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour .”I want us to look at Jesus’ sayings this morning in reverse order: beginning with his statement to those who call themselves disciples: be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.” Jesus has several parables about an absentee landlord or king who disappears for a while and leaves some servants in charge for a while. And in each case the message is basically the same: be ready for his return.I used to own a t-shirt which said : Look busy, Jesus is coming! I was going to wear it today but fortunately is has gone the way of all flesh. But it strikes at something which besets us all: our tendency to shape up when someone is watching. When Jesus says to be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour, he is reminding his followers that being a Christian is not a part time affair – it is a 24/7 business.There are at least 2 senses to this statement of Jesus. First is the sense of the return of Christ and the fullness of the kingdom, which has been anticipated from the earliest generation of Christians. St Paul and his companions believed that Jesus would return quite soon. And each time we celebrate communion, we “proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes again”. We say it each week – we repeat it in the creeds and in our Eucharistic prayers – until perhaps it becomes so familiar that we forget that it is an actual eventuality. We look for his coming again in glory.There is another sense in which the Son of Man comes at an unexpected hour. Jesus also tells us that we meet him in the least of his brothers and sisters. Perhaps the Son of Man will come to you today, or this week, in an unexpected way, at an “unexpected hour”. This is when we “meet” Christ in those people we encounter. We meet Christ in those who are in need, in those who ask for our care, our time and our charity. Such meetings are not often arranged for our convenience – the Son of Man comes at an unexpected hour. When the son of man comes in an unexpected person – the one who has the need, the one who is least, how do we respond? Do we have eyes to see Christ in others who are in need? Do we give our alms to the poor? How will Christ find us acting when he comes in those unexpected ways?We also meet Christ in the person who reassures us in our anxiety, who prays for us in our illness or trouble, who cares for us in our need. Sometimes the Son of Man comes at an unexpected hour, but an hour at which we need him most.Sometimes, when we take that phrase in isolation, we fel there is a sense of dread or heaviness: we miss much of what Jesus has to say to us. Look at the examples Jesus gives: 35 "Be dressed for action and have your lamps lit; [36] be like those who are waiting for their master to return from the wedding banquet, so that they may open the door for him as soon as he comes and knocks.37 Blessed are those slaves whom the master finds alert when he comes; truly I tell you, he will fasten his belt and have them sit down to eat, and he will come and serve them. [38] If he comes during the middle of the night, or near dawn, and finds them so, blessed are those slaves.In the first example, Jesus says that the master is returning from a wedding banquet. One would hope that a master returning from a wedding banquet would be in a joyful and celebratory mood. At least, from all the evidence about wedding banquets Jesus attended, there is a good chance He would be celebrating – there would be no shortage of wine. And what will that master do? In an image which is echoed in the washing o[...]



Sermon notes for August 5 - the Feast of the Transfiguration

2007-08-04T21:07:28.643-07:00

The story of the transfiguration gives us a few basic lessons:1 When you spend time with God, you will shine.2 Learn to see the glory.3 Jesus is worth listening to.Number one:When you spend time with God, you will shine.Last week we heard about Jesus giving his disciples the Lord’s prayer when they asked him to “teach us to pray.” This week we see what happens when Jesus puts theory into practice. Luke tells us that Jesus took three of his disciples up to the mountain in order to pray. So what happens? [29] And while he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became dazzling white.Jesus is transfigured while he is praying.Everyone knows the old jokes about owners who begin to look like their dogs. And if you hang around someone long enough, chances are you will pick up a few of their habits or vocabulary or way of doing things. What happens when we spend time hanging around with God? It appears that some of who God is will eventually rub off on us.Spend time with God, and see if it rubs off. Spend time with God, and you will shine.Learn to see the glory, or Sometimes it takes us a while to see Jesus for who he really is.The disciples probably learn a little bit more about who Jesus is in this episode. Certainly the event stuck in Peter’s mind – we see him refer to it again years later in his letter. We see Moses and Elijah, representing the Law and the Prophets, talking with Jesus. Luke records that they too “appeared in glory”. They spoke about his “departure in Jerusalem”, which is a roundabout way of referring to this death and resurrection. And they hear a voice from the cloud - God’s voice – declaring again who Jesus is.So the disciples who went up the mountain with this ordinary looking Jesus get to see him in a different light. They saw the glory in the person of Jesus. And so we too are called to look for the glory in Jesus. And as well, we are called to see the glory in one another. When we see another human being, we are seeing someone made in the image of God. When we look around this morning at church, or tomorrow at work, or when we go shopping, we might think that we are bumping into ordinary people. But the truth is that we are bumping into creatures made in the image of God. We tend to look only at the outside, and fail to see the image of God on the inside of every human being we will meet.What would our world be like if treated every person as glorious creatures of God?Learn to see the glory, in Jesus and in everyone we meet.Jesus is worth listening to.When the voice of God speaks “from the cloud”, we hear an echo of the words that were heard at Jesus’ baptism. When Jesus came up out of the Jordan, a voice was heard saying “This is my son, the beloved”. The voice heard on the Mount of Transfiguration is like that voice, but with one little addition: “Listen to Him.”Apparently God thinks that Jesus has some worthwhile things to say. So how do we listen to him today? Well, a good place to begin is simply by reading the gospel stories. You can hear Jesus speak on quite a number of topics. Sometimes we like what he has to say, and sometimes we don’t.A few nights ago I was in our living room saying something to one of our kids who was in the bedroom. I repeated myself three times, and then I decided to try an experiment. I said “Do you want to stay up late and go to Dairy Queen tonight?” It is remarkable the quick result I got.Sometimes when we listen to Jesus we can have “selective hearing”.But everything he has to say has a purpose. It may take time or wrestling to understand, and at other times it may seem obvious.But Jesus has essentially come to bring us good news: that through him we too are being changed from glory into glory; that we too are beloved sons and daughters of the living God, we too are called to reflect the light of God to the world.[...]



sermon notes on Martha and Mary - July 22

2007-07-24T10:45:09.937-07:00

This morning’s Gospel reading is fodder for a lot of stereotypes. Some might look at this story and say we have a study of some not so uncommon family dynamics. The scriptures are full of stories of siblings who experience conflict: from Cain and Abel on down the line. And the different temperaments and preferences of Martha-types and Mary-types will probably be played out in quite a few homes later this afternoon.But this story is about more than just different temperaments and preferences between the two sisters. The story, like the whole of the Gospel, is about Jesus.10:38 Now as they went on their way, he entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. 10:39 She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to what he was saying.Mary is for us a model of the beginning of discipleship: she sits at the Lord’s feet and listens to what he is saying. We don’t know whether there were others present, but this much we do know: that Mary decides that listening to Jesus is more important than tasks which might need to be done, that listening to Jesus is more important than being “out of place” as a woman sitting at the feet of a rabbi, that it is, in fact, the most important thing for her to be doing at that moment. When Jesus is in the house, and he has something to say, it’s our task to listen attentively.10:40 But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to him and asked, "Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me."Now it is after all Martha’s house, and she has welcomed Jesus in. There are several things happening in what Martha says, and in the description of her.First is that she is distracted by many tasks. Perhaps she is making a meal in accordance with the customs of hospitality. The house has been described as “her house”, so perhaps she has some household affairs to run and manage. But whatever it is that she thinks is her duty to her guest, surely the first duty is to pay attention to his presence.And then she makes a request of Jesus: “Lord, look at how busy I am, doing all these urgent things, working away by myself. Get my sister up and get her to help me!” Martha is probably doing things that need doing, it’s just that now is not the time to be doing them. It is a matter of priorities: when Jesus draws near, pay attention to Him.But Martha does what many of us do: Her request is basically something like this: “Lord, make that person do what I think they should be doing.” We sometimes learn slowly that Jesus is not really into granting those kinds of requests.10:41 But the Lord answered her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things;[42] there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her."Jesus gives Martha an answer to her question: you are worried and distracted by many things, but there is need of only one thing. Jesus does not tell her that what she is doing is “wrong” or “Bad”; he simply points out to her that Mary has chosen something “better”. It’s as if Jesus is turning a phrase on its head and saying: “Don’t just do something, sit there!”. Much like what the psalmist means when he writes “Be still, and know that I am God.”Jesus knows that we want many things, that we are distracted people. Yet what we want is not always what we need. There is need of only one thing: listen to Jesus, and then act. Listen to Jesus, and then set the priorities in our lives. Listen to Jesus, and then the tasks of our daily lives can be lived out with more purpose, more grace, more love.[All those other things about which we busy ourselves, versus Jesus, who cannot be taken away from us.]Mary has not spoken a word through this entire story, and yet in some way we sense that she is the[...]



this, that and the other thing

2007-07-04T14:17:36.661-07:00

Welcome to the blog of St Timothy's Parish, Edmonton.