Are You the One ?

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Title Sermon Date Liturgical Scripture
Second Sunday in Lent, Year A March 20, 2011 Second Sunday in Lent, Year A Genesis 12: 1-4a; Romans 4:1-5, 13-17; John 3: 1-17, Psalm 121
First Sunday in Lent, March 13, 2011 March 13, 2011 First Sunday in Lent, Year A Matthew 4:1-11, Romans 5:12-19, Romans 8:18-25
Ash Wednesday Sermon March 9, 2011 Ash Wednesday Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21
Last Sunday After Epiphany March 6, 2011 Last Sunday after Epiphany Matthew 17:1-9
Don’t Worry About Tomorrow February 27, 2011 Eighth Sunday after the Epiphany, Year A Isaiah 49:8-16a; 1 Corinthians 4:1-5; Matthew 6:24-34
Choose Life February 13, 2011 Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany, Year A Deuteronomy 30:15-20; 1 Corinthians 3:1-9; Matthew 5:21-37
We are the Salt of the Earth February 6, 2011 Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany, Year A Matthew 5:13-20, Isaiah 58:1-12
Shalom January 30, 2011 Fourth Sunday after Epiphany, Year A Matthew 5:1-12
Third Sunday after the Epiphany, Year A January 23, 2011 Third Sunday After Epiphany, Year A Matthew 4:12-23, John 21
Second Sunday After Epiphany January 16, 2011 Second Sunday after the Epiphany, Year A John 1:29-42
The Baptism of our Lord January 9, 2011

The Baptism of our Lord, Year A

Matthew 3:13-17

Epiphany Service January 6, 2011

Epiphany, Year A

Matthew 2:1-12

Traveling Back On A Different Road January 2, 2011

Second Sunday after Christmas, 2010

Matthew 2:1-12; Jeremiah 31:7-14

The Dance of the Trinity December 26, 2010

First Sunday after Christmas, Year A

John 1:1-18

And she wrapped him in swaddling clothes December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve, 2010

Luke 2:1-20

 

Are You the One ?

Sermon Date:December 12, 2010

Scripture: Isaiah 35:1-10, James 5:7-10, Matthew 11:2-11

Liturgy Calendar: Third Sunday in Advent, Year A


Many of you made the journey to St Mary’s, Goochland, yesterday to the ordination of six of us into the sacred order of priests.

To those of you who were able to be there in person, my deepest thanks.

And I am also incredibly grateful for the prayers of those of you who could not be there in person.

Several of you had specific roles in the ordination service—Terri carried our beautiful banner and led me and my group of presenters into the church.

Elizabeth was one of my presenters.

The bountiful  reception afterward was a joint effort of women from both St Peter’s and St George’s—

headed up by Cookie and my friend Pam from St George’s.  I found Cindy helping Cookie in the kitchen. 

I was very proud yesterday to tell people who asked that I am the Priest-in-Charge at St Peter’s, Port Royal. 

I firmly believe that God has brought us all together here, at St Peter’s, and   

that who we will become together as a community  is an answer that will unfold as time passes, as we live and work together in community.

In the gospel today, John, who is in prison, wants to know,

“Are you, Jesus, the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?”

Jesus says to the disciples of John to give John this answer—

“Go and tell John what you hear and see:  the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them.”

If we buy into it, this answer from Jesus about his work in the world as a healer and a person of reconciliation shapes  how we live together as God’s people in community.

All of us are called to be healers and reconcilers for one another.

Now the letter of James was probably written about seventy years after the death and resurrection of Jesus. 

James was writing to a group of early Christians that emphasized prayer and morality, a community that was loyal to the teachings of Jesus, and who expected Jesus to return.

And our passage from James gives us some excellent suggestions about how to be a healing and reconciling community.

First, James reminds us that we are works in progress.  We aren’t complete yet, because we are waiting for Jesus to return in glory and to complete us, but

meanwhile, like farmers, we plant seeds.  Developing a Christian community is a lot like planting crops. 

The seeds we plant will have a lot to do with who we become.

If we are intentional about planting seeds of love and compassion for one another, then when these seeds take root and grow, we will find that  love and compassion  grow up among us. 

But crops do not grow overnight, which is why James gives us his next excellent suggestion.

We have to be patient with one another, because growing into the loving and compassionate community that we can become together will take time.

Second, James tells us to strengthen our hearts.  And the way we do this is of the utmost importance.  James says,

“Beloved, do grumble against one another, so that you may not be judged.” 

Notice that James is not talking about just grumbling—because grumbling is so natural to us as human beings. 

James is talking about a specific kind of grumbling—grumbling against one another. 

Grumbling against one another creates invasive weeds in our life together as community!

And when the weeds of grumbling against one another get too plentiful,  then our other crops of love and compassion for one another get choked out. 

So James  says in no uncertain terms– “Beloved, do not grumble against one another, so that you might not be judged.” 

Notice that James also  makes clear that we are not the ones in our community who are to sit in judgment on one another, but that our Judge is God. 

When we realize that only God is the one to judge us, then we can free ourselves from judging one another, because when we judge one another, we inevitably grumble against one another.

Freed of grumbling and judging, we will then  have more energy to devote to growing those crops of love and compassion for one another like the patient farmer.   

Finally, our passage from Isaiah reminds us that as this community, we are not only are we farmers,

but we are also we are pilgrims on the Holy Way, a highway for God’s people,

intentionally traveling toward God together, even as God travels to us in the form of his son, Jesus.

And  as we travel as witnesses to the joy of having been judged, saved and redeemed by God,

we show the world who we are as redeemed and ransomed  community of people, because we walk on the Holy Way together in joy and gladness,

joy and gladness that witness to God’s love  and presence in a broken and sorrowful world.

Listen to these words of Isaiah that describe a community of people who have been healed and redeemed and who are traveling toward God. 

“And the ransomed of the Lord shall return,

And come to Zion with singing,

Everlasting joy will be on upon their heads.

They shall obtain joy and gladness,

And sorrow and sighing will flee away.”

Even the earth itself participates in our joy and gladness when we walk together on the Holy Way, because God is in the process of redeeming not just human beings, but God’s whole creation. 

As Isaiah says, “The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad, the desert shall rejoice and blossom;

Like the crocus it shall blossom abundantly,

And rejoice with joy and singing.” 

So here today at St Peter’s, in this community, we ask John’s question–

“Jesus,

The one who gives the blind their sight,

who makes the lame walk,

who cleanses the lepers,

who make the deaf hear,

who raises the dead,

who brings good news to the poor—

are you the One who is to come,

or are we to wait for another?”

Our answer to that question will determine who we as a community will become. 

 

Amen

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