|Christmas Day, Year A||December 25, 2016||Christmas Day, 2016||Isaiah 52:7-10, Hebrews 1:1-4, Psalm 98, John 1:1-14|
|The Eve of the Nativity||December 24, 2016||Christmas Eve||Isaiah 9:2-7, Luke 2: 1-20|
|Third Sunday in Advent, Year A||December 11, 2016||Third Sunday of Advent, Year A||Psalm 146:4-9, Matthew 11:2-11|
|Second Sunday in Advent, Year A||December 4, 2016||Second Sunday of Advent, Year A||Matthew 3:1-12|
|First Sunday in Advent, Year A||November 27, 2016||First Sunday of Advent, Year A||Isaiah 2:1-5, Ps 122, Romans 13:11-14, Matthew 24:36-44|
|Christ the King Sunday, Year C||November 20, 2016||Christ the King Sunday, Year C||Jeremiah 23:1-6. Ps 46, Colossians 1:11-20, Luke 23:33-43|
|Twenty Sixth Sunday after Pentecost, Year C||November 13, 2016||Proper 28, Year C||Malachi 4:1-2a, Ps 98, 2 Thessalonians 3:6-13, Luke 21:5-19|
|Charles Sydnor’s sermon, Nov. 6, 2016, All Saints||November 6, 2016||All Saints, Year C||Luke: 6: 20-31|
|Twenty Fourth Sunday after Pentecost, Year C||October 30, 2016||Proper 26, Year C||Isaiah 1:10-18, Psalm 32, Luke 19:1-10|
|Twenty Third Sunday after Pentecost, Year C||October 23, 2016||Proper 25, Year C||II Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18; Luke 18:9-14|
|Twenty Second Sunday after Pentecost, Year C||October 16, 2016||Proper 24, Year C||Luke 18:1-8, Genesis 32: 22-31|
|Twenty First Sunday after Pentecost, Year C||October 9, 2016||Proper 23, Year C||2 Kings 5:1-3, 7-15c; Luke 17:11-19|
|Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost, Year C||October 2, 2016||Proper 22, Year C||II Timothy 1:1-14|
|Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year C||September 25, 2016||Proper 21, Year C||Luke 16:19-31|
|Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year C||September 4, 2016||Proper 18, Year C||Philemon 1-21; Luke 14:25-33|
Tenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year C
Sermon Date:July 24, 2016
Scripture: Luke 11:1-13
Liturgy Calendar: Proper 12, Year C
"Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread"- James Clarke Hook (1866)
Fairy tales often have plot lines that go something like this. A person who is seeking something starts out on a journey.
These fairy tale journeys tend to include lots of asking, seeking, knocking, and finally a satisfying ending in which some mystical being intercedes on the traveler’s behalf and at last the person comes to the end of the journey, the search completed in such a way that evil is vanquished, and good prevails.
We generally wouldn’t describe our lives as fairy tales, but very morning we too start a new journey through a new day.
Throughout the day we will be seeking all sorts of things—basic things like food, a cup of coffee, air conditioning, or freedom from pain, or a more cooperative body–and intangible things as well; things like love, strength, support, guidance, patience.
We go through most of our days asking, searching, and knocking on doors that may be hiding the very things that we want and need so desperately.
Jesus knows this journey. At the beginning of every day of his life as one of us, he too began a new journey—and he too needed bread, shelter, love, strength, and the support of those he had gathered around him, and most importantly, God’s guidance.
So when the disciples ask Jesus how to pray, he gives them the words that we know as the Lord’s Prayer and then follows the prayer with some advice on being persistent in prayer.
And then he says to them, “Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.”
The imperfect people who love us, like our parents, or our grandparents, tend to give us good things even before we ask, and certainly when we do ask, and Jesus points out that of course God will answer our prayers when we ask.
But does this promise mean that God is going to be like that proverbial rich uncle who extravagantly and surprisingly fulfills our wish lists? Does this mean that the ministers who preach the prosperity gospel are right, that if you ask for good things long enough and hard enough, they will come?
Luke tells us that the ultimate answer to prayer, the ultimate gift that God will give us if we ask, seek, and knock, is the gift of the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is the good thing, the thing that will be “added unto us” as today’s paraphrased sequence hymn puts it.
What happens when we ask and God gives us the Holy Spirit?
Through the ages this gift has manifested itself in people in many different and particular ways—but overall, the following things about receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit are true for each and every one of us.
When God gives us the Holy Spirit, the Spirit grows in our lives.
The Spirit produces love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control in us.
We have been truly blessed in this church lately. A few years ago at a Vestry retreat, Vestry members were asking, seeking and knocking at God’s door on behalf of St Peter’s.
And God sent us children!
Last week we had all of the children in our church here for Bible School—thirteen children plus our three tiny ones—Marie, Katie, and Scarlett. Thank you to everyone who helped Becky Fisher create a wonderful week for the children.
Whether or not you helped with Bible School, the job of all of us to teach and to show our children how to ask, and seek, and knock, and to help them grow up knowing about and being full, not only of daily bread, but also full of the fruits of the Holy Spirit.
By being a group of people in which love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control shape who we are as individuals and also our St Peter’s community, we help our children experience these good things, so that someday they will hopefully ask God for the Holy Spirit for themselves, and seek the Holy Spirit with all their hearts.
Outside these walls, the gifts of the Holy Spirit seem to be in short supply.
We probably won’t find much mention or evidence of love, joy, peace and faithfulness when we read the day’s headlines or listen to the news, and we may not run across much forbearance, kindness, goodness, gentleness or self-control as we travel through the day. And at the end of the day, we can end up exhausted when these fruits haven’t been readily available to refresh us.
So we have to remember to ask, remember to search, remember to knock. We have to remember to do these things every day, so that the Holy Spirit stays strong and fresh and springing up within us.
So now, let us pray.
Lord, encourage us to pray. Give us what we need for the day. Forgive us when we come up short and give us the courage to forgive those who’ve wronged us.
Lead us, guide us, and deliver us from the trials and evils that would surely test our faith,
But most of all, give us the audacity to ask for the gift of the Holy Spirit, to seek it with our hearts, minds and souls, to go to the ends of the earth for it, and to knock on the gates of heaven until you, God, fling those gates wide and your kingdom becomes a reality here on earth.