Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sermon 4 Easter 12

4 Easter 12

I am the Good Shepherd. I am the Bread of Life. I am the Living Bread. I am the Light of the World. I am the Gate.” These are some of the “I am” sayings of Jesus. Today is Good Shepherd Sunday. “I am the Good Shepherd,” Jesus says.

We have no idea however how bone jarring these expressions were in Jesus' time. Jesus was using the sacred words “I am” to describe himself – the very name of God revealed to the the Hebrews through Moses at the Burning Bush. These words (I am) were so sacred to them that they would not even speak them, not even pronounce them. The Hebrew name of “Yahweh” never passed their lips.

So when Jesus called himself “I am” their very bones were jarred. Consider this exchange from John
Chapter 8. Jesus is speaking to the Jewish leaders:

"Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad." The Jews therefore said to Him, "You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?" Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am." Therefore they picked up stones to throw at Him; but Jesus hid Himself, and went out of the temple.”

We have no real equivalent today. For me, sometimes when I hear the Spanish name “Jesus” (Heysus) spoken I am bit shaken. This is the name of Jesus. It is a perfectly good Spanish name and parents who name their child “Jesus” do that child great honor. But still, to me, it is sometimes hard to hear this name used.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Lector List Beta (under construction)

Date Sunday Lector
4/22 Third Sunday of   Easter

4/29 Fourth Sunday of Easter
5/6 Fifth Sunday of Easter
5/13 Sixth Sunday of Easter
5/20 Seventh Sunday after the Easter
5/27 Whitsunday - Day of Pentecost
6/3 Trinity Sunday - First Sunday after Pentecost
6/10 Second Sunday after Pentecost - Proper 5
6/17 Third Sunday after Pentecost - Proper 6
6/24 Fourth Sunday after Pentecost - Proper 7

Monday, April 23, 2012

Upcoming Vestry Retreat

The Vestry is holding a Retreat this Saturday, April 28, 2012 to address the theme of  "Church Growth."  The Venerable Dr. Harvey Huth will be our facilitator for the retreat.

(He has the title "Venerable" because he has been given the title of "Archdeacon" by the Bishop.  The title of Archdeacon is an honorable title given because of special service to the diocese and its people.  Sometimes an Archdeacon will be asked by the Bishop to represent him at ceremonial events.)

Do you have any thoughts about "Church Growth?"  What could be some of the ways our church can grow?  What can be done that isn't now being done?

You can make a comment about this post to give your thoughts.  Just click the comments link below.  You can give your comment anonymously or leave your name.  All comments are welcome. 

Sunday, April 15, 2012

2 Easter 2012

2 Easter 12

We meet Thomas again today. Some people say poor Thomas gets a bad rap. We don’t call Peter “Denying Peter.” So why does Thomas get stuck with his moniker, “Doubting Thomas?” But we have met Thomas before. Most of us live in his world, the world of doubt. Doubt is very familiar to us. We have been disappointed before. Why should we believe? Why should we trust? When we have trusted and believed, we have been disappointed. We have been let down. With Thomas we say, “I won't ... unless...” Unless this. Unless that... We join Thomas. We are doubters.

The disciples were surprised when Jesus cursed the fig tree that had no fruit. They were surprised that the fig tree withered. But Jesus wasn't. He lived in a different realm, on a different plan. He said, “If you have faith like a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain 'Be lifted up and cast into the sea,' and it will be thrown into the sea.” (Matt. 21.19-21)

The socialist reading from Acts today sometimes throws us off. “They shared all that had in common and no one was needy among them.” Clearly the early Church holds out an ideal that is difficult for us to strive toward: one of radical sharing and caring for one another. We do, however, share generously with the church and those we know who are in need.

Weekly Bible Study continues each Thursdays at 7 pm.   We end by 8:30 pm. We are starting to study the Gospel of Mark.  During the next several weeks, we are going simply to read through the entire gospel together without discussing it.  After that we will return to the beginning and go through it with discussions and questions.

Everyone is invited to attend weekly Bible Study.  The meetings are held at the Rectory.  Call Fr. Jay (518-229-9689) if you need directions.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

 Lori is having some medical problems and would like to have prayers for a happy outcome of her problem.  She didn't want to ask for prayers for herself. Just pray that all comes out well with her tests this week,

Easter Sermon 2012

Easter 2012

As we arrive at Easter morning and run with Peter and John to the empty tomb, we have to think about the events which have preceded this moment. As Peter and John look into the empty tomb their minds are filled with the memories of these recent events.

Peter and John remember how just a week a ago Jesus came into the city seated on a donkey, the way the prophet said the Messiah would come. He enters the city during the week of the Jewish Passover. The day that Jesus comes is the very day that people will pick out their pascal lamb to be sacrificed later in the week. It is like the day that the family goes out pick a Christmas tree in our culture. The Jewish families are out anticipating the holiday and into town comes Jesus. They hail him as King. The deep irony is that, as they pick out the pascal lamb for their family festival, they are also choosing the true Pascal Lamb, Jesus. All this happened last week on Palm Sunday.

As the Jewish family prepares for their holiday, they do spring cleaning. Every bit of leaven in the house must be found and thrown out. Why? Because during their holiday they eat only unleavened bread to remind them of their ancestors' journey out of Egypt, out of slavery. The leaven symbolized the oppression of slavery of in Egypt. So they get rid of all the leaven, every crumb, every drop. On the day of the feast they eat unleavened bread only. They will be purified.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Lector Schedule

This category will list Lectors for Sunday and other services.

This category will allow discussion of topics of interest.
Coffee Hour

This category will list those serving coffee hours.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Altar of Repose 2012

Holy Thursday Sermon 2012

Holy Thursday 2012

You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide; so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. 17 This I command you, to love one another.” John 15.14-17

Mediterranean cultures have stricter rules than we do about how to behave socially. You can see this in the Middle Eastern world today. This was true in Jesus' time, even more so than today. Jews could not eat a meal with Gentiles. Women and men ate separately.

While there were these strict divisions, once you were in, you were in. To invite someone to eat with you made them like one of the family. So these kinds of gestures were taken very seriously and meant very much.

This is also true about what Jesus does tonight in our Gospel lesson: washing the feet of his disciples. Gestures were taken much more seriously than they are today. As a rule we don't preform lots of serious social gestures. Shaking hands or kissing someone on the cheek are expressions we commonly make and these gestures do have a lot of meaning. But we just don't have as many as people did in Jesus' time. We salute the flag and throw the first pitch at baseball games but, if you think about it, there are not too many examples like this.