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Showing posts from December, 2008

Newman on Lessons from the Nativity

Salisbury Cathedral Nativity From his sermon on Religious Joy , Luke ii., 10,11; Parochial and Plain Sermons , Volume 8, No. 17 T HERE are two principal lessons which we are taught on the great Festival which we this day celebrate, lowliness and joy. This surely is a day, of all others, in which is set before us the heavenly excellence and the acceptableness in God's sight of that state which most men have, or may have, allotted to them, humble or private life, and cheerfulness in it. If we consult the writings of historians, philosophers, and poets of this world, we shall be led to think great men happy; we shall be led to fix our minds and hearts upon high or conspicuous stations, strange adventures, powerful talents to cope with them, memorable struggles, and great destinies. We shall consider that the highest course of life is the mere pursuit, not the enjoym

Joseph's Challenge - First Sunday After Christmas - '08

In Acts 26, we read Christ's words to Paul while he was on the Damascus road concerning the mission given to him. It was Christ's intention to give to Paul's hearers forgiveness of sins and the inheritance of all those sanctified by faith in Him. However, these wonderful gifts would only be given on two conditions. The first is that their eyes would be open, that is, that they should understand the spiritual truth which Paul would preach. The second is that they would turn from darkness to light. That is the message of repentance. The blessings of Christ are in His light. All those who would have them must leave their darkness behind. They must leave their sins and their idolatry if they would have Christ. This is always the challenge of Christ to us. Will we have Him or will we hang on to what we have without him, namely sin and death? As the angel proclaimed to Joseph, Jesus came to save His people from their sins. This is a message much grander than merely goi

Jesus, Stand Among Us - St. John 1:19 - Advent IV

We may not have thought about this before, but both John and Mark do not write about the birth of Jesus in their gospels. Those stories are found in Matthew and Luke. John does say more than Mark about his origins, but they both jump right into the days of Jesus' ministry, bypassing the Christmas story. After John's introduction to Jesus as the divine Word made flesh, he takes us to the public confession of John the Baptist under the interrogation of the Jews. This confession took place after the baptism and temptation of Christ. How do we know this? The next day, John declares Jesus to be the Lamb of God and that he knew he was so because he had already seen the Spirit come upon Him in His baptism. Also, since Jesus went immediately to His tempation after his baptism, then He is obviously back from the temptation, ready to begin His ministry. Now John tells the Jews, in effect: "There stands one among you whom you do not know and he is more important than I am.&quo

Behold the Lamb - Advent III - '08

The Advent season is the beginning of the Church calendar for the year and rightly so, for the earthly story of our Saviour begins with His coming to us, born as a child in Bethlehem. Because Advent is the beginning of the year, it is thus during this time that we observe the first of quarterly Ember seasons. During these times, three days of prayer and fasting, the Ember Days, are set aside in preparation for the following Sunday on which ordinations of deacons and priests of the Church traditionally take place. In this manner, the Church expresses her deep concern that her ministers be men of spiritual quality and duly ordained. This is why we have the prayer and Bible readings in our prayer book on this Sunday. They all have to do with the ministers of the church and they prepare us to participate in the first Ember season. The Scriptures teach us much about the qualifications for the clergy, through both instruction and example. In our Gospel reading today, one of the best examples

The Importance of Educators for the Sake of the Church

From Martin Luther’s "A Sermon On Keeping Children in School" (1530): At this point I should also tell how many scholars are needed in medicine and other liberal arts, concerning which a great book could be written and about which one could preach for a half year. Where would the preachers and lawyers and physicians come from, if we had not grammar and the other sciences of speech? They must all flow from this spring. But the task would be too long and too great. I would be brief and say that a diligent and pious schoolteacher, or master, or whoever it is that faithfully trains and teaches boys, can never be sufficiently rewarded, or repaid with any money, as even the heathen Aristotle says. Nevertheless, this work is as shamefully despised among us as though it was nothing at all. I myself, if I could leave the preaching office and other things, or had to do so, would not be so glad to have any other work as that of schoolmaster, or teacher of boys, for I know that this

A Church of the Book - Second Sunday in Advent, '08

Archbishop Cranmer I thought I'd post this sermon ahead of the day this week, since I remain without a cure and am not preaching anywhere this week. On this second Sunday in Advent, our Collect and Scripture readings have concerned the Holy Scriptures and their value to us. It is only fitting that, during this season when we remember the Word become flesh, we be reminded of the wonderful treasure that the Lord has given to us in the Bible. As Christ became a human baby, so weak to human sight, so His Wisdom revealed to us is enclosed in a book that looks much like any other book. However, by faith, we recognise that therein lies the knowledge of our salvation, of Christ Himself. Thus Christians heartfully sing words such as those found in Mary Lathbury’s hymn “Break Thou the Bread of Life” wherein she writes: Beyond the sacred page I seek Thee Lord: My spirit pants for Thee, O living Word! Historically, the Anglican Church has been a Church of the Book. The shape of th

Rev. Robertson's Obfuscation

"And we reiterate what has been true of Anglicanism for centuries: that there is room within The Episcopal Church for people with different views, and we regret that some have felt the need to depart from the diversity of our common life in Christ," the Rev. Charles K. Robertson said in the written statement. The problem with Rev. Robertson's "regret" is 1) it is hypocritcal - the Episcopal Church is very intolerant of diversity, because it is persecuting and excluding the orthodox, and 2) the diversity which is supposed to be of the common life "in Christ" as it is found in the Episcopal Church is not "in Christ," but in the modernistic, anti-Christian revolution. If Robertson and his ilk were so doggoned concerned for what has "been true of Anglicanism for centuries," they would cease their innovations, repent, seek the new birth, return to a Biblical world-view and ask the orthodox to forgive them for their apostasy and to pra