A Sermon for Christ the King Sunday

By: Amelia McDaniel, Director of Children’s Ministries

 

I speak to you in the name of the Good Shepherd, the King of Love, whose goodness fails us never.

Today marks the end of our liturgical Church Year.  The last Sunday in the Season after Pentecost. I guess you could call today the church’s New Year’s Eve.

Next Sunday the new church year begins with the first Sunday of Advent, the time of preparing for the birth of Jesus.  And we will begin anew the ancient pattern of days, the circle of the Church Year. Following the way to Bethlehem during Advent.  Celebrating the Birth of the Jesus on Christmas. Remembering the stories of how he grows from a baby into a man throughout the stories of the season of Epiphany.  During Lent we turn again to preparing, but this time not for his birth but for his death. And then thankfully there is Easter to celebrate. And we do that until the day of Pentecost, 50 days after Easter.  The day we remember that Jesus did not leave us here high and dry but sent the Holy Spirit amongst us. And then we hit the LONG season of the Season after Pentecost. It is almost impossibly long.

Pentecost amounts to a whole lot of Sundays.  Like half the calendar year of them. It seems that someone had the wisdom to know that it would take us an incredibly long time to grow into the mysteries of Christmas and Easter.  This Sunday is the 27th Sunday after Pentecost.  For 27 Sundays in a row we have heard stories inviting us to grow into a bigger understanding of the Kingdom of God.

Today on this Church New Year’s Eve, it is not the baby Jesus we are remembering.  Today our readings are full of the story of Christ the King. The psalm portrays a King, a man with splendid apparel, mightier than the biggest breakers of the sea.

The Epistle has Jesus rolling in with the clouds. Our Alpha and Omega who is and was and who is to come.

Strength, power, dominion, glory.  This is the picture of the King these scriptures hold.

Read more

A Sermon for the Twenty Fifth Sunday after Pentecost

By: David H. May, Rector

 

It’s interesting how this story of a widow who gave the last two coins she had to rub together to God always seems to be read during the final weeks of a parish’s stewardship campaign.  You might be tempted to think that we had planned it that way.  We haven’t.  This beautiful story has been a part of the reading the Scriptures in worship during the last Sundays just before Advent, for long centuries, long before there was anything like stewardship campaigns.  But it is a good one for us to consider.  Although maybe not for the reasons you might imagine.

According to Mark, this is the last scene we have of Jesus in his public ministry before his arrest.  And he begins with a warning.  Beware of the scribes – the doctors of God’s law (as one translation puts it) – who wear long robes and like for people to greet them out in public with a respectful salutation and always get a good seat for worship and at public gatherings and pray long prayers to show just how pious they are.  Beware of them.

As someone in a long robe and who always has a seat in church even those time when plenty of other people have to stand and who just two days ago was greeted in a 7-11 by a stranger who shouted out, ‘God bless you, father!’, and who later this week will be seated at a dais before a throng and has been enjoined to pray a prayer for the needs of the world that I was told is normally five to ten minutes long (even though I complained that I’m an Episcopalian and that we don’t ever pray that long!), I do feel a little like a conspicuous example and object of our Lord’s strong word of warning.

Read more