Verse of the Day

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Second Sunday after Trinity

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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 these words from the Collect:

who never failest to help and govern those whom thou dost bring up in thy stedfast fear and love; Keep us, we beseech thee, under the protection of thy good providence, and make us to have a perpetual fear and love of thy holy Name

We must acknowledge God will help and lead us if we will look to him for that help and leadership.  We need His Help, in the form of the Holy Ghost, to direct our hearts, minds and souls to look to Him for that Help in our time of need.

Speaking of time of need; when do we need God?  Only when we are falling short of perfection.  That would be all the time.

The Epistle is a great illustration of why we need guidance from the Holy Ghost all the time.  The world is not a nice place and at times it gets depressing to be in. However, there is one person that is always there for us, regardless of how dreary and awful it gets. And that is God, and He has a way to comfort us in these times, through His Love and the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost is here to help us spread that love, and to help us figure out what we need to do, to make our corner of the world a better place. But how do we get His Love?  If we want God’s love, we have to love those around us.  That is pretty easy.  It is easy to love people.  The problem is that we actually have to act on that claim of love, not just say we love them.  We have to give of our time and effort to help those around us who have problems. Loving our neighbor as ourselves is harder than it sounds.  John tell us “And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment. And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.”

So how far do we have to go to fulfill our obligation to love our fellow beings?  We have a leader, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he is not only the Propitiation for our sins[1], but who set the standard for our performance.  As John reminds us, “He laid down his life for us.”  So, too much work or I don’t have time are probably not valid excuses. There is no excuse for not doing as Christ did and loving our fellow beings even unto death. There is no excuse that is adequate to get us out of this job. So we must perform this task with great cheer. For you cannot have true love without cheerfulness and a giving heart. We may be serious at times, but we can still be cheerful in that we have the love of God within our hearts and we can spread that to others.  Don’t forget the little reminder from GK Chesterton:

The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, and also to love our enemies; probably because generally they are the same people.

Speaking of time, many times people put off church for other “more important” things, do you?  Like the certain man who made a great supper, the Lord sets aside a time every week for us to worship with Him.  Actually His time is pretty flexible.  The Lord’s worship can be done at times other than 1000 on Sunday morning if you really do have to work, you have weekend duty, you are on alert or something you really cannot get out of.  But, where are your priorities?  Is a football game, a fishing trip or just plain sleeping in the “reason” for your failing to show for the great supper?  When you fail to plan ahead, you plan to fail.  So always plan ahead and plan for success, that way you will never fail to show for the great supper.

The Gospel is about more than just going to church, it is about priorities.  We need to put the things that are really important in the list of things to do above the things that are not really important.  We need to think about what is important to us and to God.  Sometimes they are different.  Then, we need the Holy Ghost to get our priorities in order.

People do what is important to them.  When they feel guilty they come up with excuses, but in reality, they please themselves.

So, what we need to do is ask the Holy Ghost for help to make God’s agenda ours; thus when we please God, we please ourselves.  A win – win situation. And it will make us far happier people as a result, which is what God’s plan is for us all along. Whenever He tells us not to do something, it is to make us happy not sad. He never wants us to be sad, to the contrary, He wants us to be happy. But unlike us, He really does know what will make us happy, and that is to follow His Will. But until we get that thought into our hearts, souls and minds, we will never be truly happy.

If we do not make time for God, how do we expect Him to make time for us?  If we will not diligently study the lessons He has left for us, how can we expect to know what He wants us to do?

Do you recall more sage words from GK Chesterton?

Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried.

We need to come to church and read the Bible so we can find out what God wants.  But, the idea is not to find out what He wants so we can work around it or live with it, but rather live in it.  Or rather, to live it. Once we find out what God wants for us, we need to live that reality that He has planned for us, not the one that we want for ourselves. Think about the 613 Mosaic laws and the Pharisees who made a good living telling people how to comply with them to the letter and still do just what they wanted to do. 

If we find out what God wants and decide to actually do it instead of avoid it, we are still faced with an often huge problem of where do we get the strength to accomplish this task.  The answer is circular, from God, the Holy Ghost.  He never asks us to do anything we cannot do good enough for Him if we rely on Him.  Never. 

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

[1] Book of Common Prayer, the Comfortable Words, Page 76

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