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Sunday, July 19, 2015
Seventh Sunday after Trinity
Sermon – Reverend Jack Arnold - Time and Action
Church of the Faithful Centurion - Descanso, California
Today’s sermon brought the Collect, Epistle and Gospel together and is partly contained in the forewords above.
Consider the words from the Collect, … author and giver of all good things; Graft in our hearts the love of thy Name, increase in us true religion, nourish us with all goodness, and of thy great mercy keep us in the same (that is to say keep us in goodness)…
To get anywhere, we must acknowledge in our hearts that all good is of and comes from God. Once we acknowledge that, we are in a position to ask God to put in to our hearts love of Him and all that is His. This will help us to appreciate and act in goodness. Without His love our efforts will ultimately be of no avail. We cannot do anything with out His help, and with it, it will be easier. There will be times where we fail, but if we turn back to Him, then we shall succeed. I find personally when I turn to Him nowadays for help with stuff, that I do far better than if I do not. When I pray for something that I truly need, I find that He answers. I just have to listen to what He says. That holds true not just for myself, but all of us who follow under Christ’s banner.
So, pretty clearly we need to be of God. Thus, when Paul wrote to the people of Rome, he was writing to all of us; for there truly is nothing new in the world. There is truth to the saying of Solomons that there is nothing new under the sun. For there is no new sin in the world that has not existed since the time of Adam. Before we are of God, we are of this world. Our life is here, our end is here. Once we are of God, then we are merely sojourners here; our life is not really here and certainly does not end here. We are merely passing through this world as a portal to our new unending life with God. The only way to be of God is through God, that is His Son, our Lord. “I am the way, the truth, the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6, KJV.) Jesus himself clearly says the only way to be of God is through Him. Nobody comes unto God but by Christ. What does that mean for those of other faiths? Nobody knows but Christ, what provision – if any – He has made for those who chose not to follow Him here on earth for whatever reason. We do know He always means what He says and no one comes unto the Father (gets into heaven) except through Him. That is clear, beyond any misconstruing. He is the only way, so why not follow the proven way to God and salvation?
If we will follow God, we will live, not only forever in the next world, but better in this world, starting right now, not just after we our earthly time is gone. We must put aside what we did and do what He would have us do. Actions are the key to everything. Talk is nice. Action is what counts. We have to act upon our beliefs, which can be very hard sometimes but must be done. I struggle with this myself, but I find that returning to God helps with this, and He cleans the slate, so I can try again anew. This is always a very comforting thought, that God will always accept you, if you repent and do your best not to make that same error again. This will be a continuous never ending cycle for us, who will endeavor to do our best to follow Him, make mistakes, then get back up and try our best again.
Saint Mark tells us of action. Jesus had been in the wilderness teaching a multitude, some four thousand in number. In those pre-restaurant on every corner days, the people had been without food and were hungry. Jesus was concerned and inventoried their supplies, seven loaves and a few small fishes. He gave thanks to God, and commanded the food to be set out before the people. When they had eaten their fill, the scraps gathered up from the seven loaves filled seven baskets.
Many speculated over the years as to just how He did it. The answer is simple; He did it. He did not talk about feeding the multitude and then sit down to His own meal. He acted and they were fed. The clear message of the story is action, and the whys and hows behind all of it does not matter as much as the simple message that He did it. It is all too easy to get wrapped around in fine details, when it is the bigger picture that matters. The clear moral of this story is that He acted, not just talked, but he actually acted and fed the people. That is a model we should follow, not just talk but act as well. Does this story recall the words from the Last Supper used in Holy Communion at the Consecration? “he took Bread; and when he had given thanks, he brake it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, Take, eat, this is my Body, which is given for you; Do this in remembrance of me.” Those few words produced The Word, which has satisfied so many over millenniums. It does not take a lot of words to satisfy us, but they have to be the right ones, which come from Our Lord.
Heaven is at the end of an uphill trail. The easy downhill trail does not lead to the summit.
The time is now, not tomorrow. The time has come, indeed. How will you ACT?
It is by our actions we are known.
Be of God - Live of God - Act of God