The Propers for today are found
on Page 112-113, with the Collect first:
The Third Sunday after The Epiphany.
everlasting God, mercifully look upon our infirmities, and in all our dangers
and necessities stretch forth thy right hand to help and defend us; through
Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Ryan Hopkins read the Epistle for today, which came
from the Twelfth Chapter of Paul’s letter to the Romans beginning at the
The Epistle shows the way to Christian action in
life. Paul lays out a hard path,
but one that goes where we want to be in the end.
E not wise in your own conceits. Recompense to no man
evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be
possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved,
avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written,
Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy
hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap
coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with
Deacon Striker Jack Arnold read the Holy Gospel for
today which came from the Second Chapter of the Gospel of St. John beginning at the First Verse.
ND the third day there was a marriage in Cana of
Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there: and both Jesus was called, and his
disciples, to the marriage. And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus
saith unto him, They have no wine. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to
do with thee? mine hour is not yet come. His mother saith unto the servants,
Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it. And there were set there six water-pots of
stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins
apiece. Jesus saith unto them, Fill the water-pots with water. And they filled
them up to the brim. And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the
governor of the feast. And they bare it. When the ruler of the feast had tasted
the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants
which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom,
and saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and
when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good
wine until now. This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and
manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.
Today’s sermon brought the
Collect, Epistle and Gospel together and is partly contained in the forewords
Consider these words from the Collect:
… mercifully look upon our
infirmities, and in all our dangers and necessities stretch forth thy right
hand to help and defend us …
In the Collect, we are
asking God to set aside our failure and protect and aid us in all we do with
His strong hand. God is perfect,
thus so is His counsel. When we
acknowledge our imperfection and ask Him for help, we should look to the
written record of His Son, our Savior.
We should do our best to follow His example, to be honest, hard working,
peaceful and helpful. When we do
this, we will prosper, not only in this world, but in our hearts. When we pray for His Help, we need to
listen for the answer, then act on it, not ignore it because it is not the
answer we wanted.
Why the continuous
emphasis on action? Simple. The line of time stretches from the far
distant and unknown past to the far distant and unknowable future. Yet, God is there, He has always been
there and He will always be there.
Where His finger touches that line of time is today. That is where we live; it is the only
place where action can happen in our time space continuum. Today.
God, our God, is a God
of Action. No less is His Son one
of action. All throughout the
Bible, you find Jesus doing things, not just talking about them. His faith, shown in the action of His
giving His Life that we might live, speaks through His actions. No matter where you turn while reading
the Bible, what you find is Action, not Diction. Recall the second half of the Book of the Acts of the
Apostles. It is known as Acts, not
thoughts, not prayers, not meditations, not wishes or anything else; The
ACTS. He expects us to act in our
lives, not talk.
So, when we act, how
should we act? To the extent you
are able attempt to do good to all.
We are not Christ, but if we do our best emulate His earthly actions, we
do well. If you treat your enemies
with respect and kindness, you oft make them your friends. We have the right of self-defense, not
of vengeance. Bring them up, don’t
Like Jesus at the well,
remember that your purpose is to help bring people to salvation. Any step you
take today may have future consequence.
Your witness, your testimony, your actions can bring people to the point
they accept the Holy Spirit or not.
Your interface may only be one small step; but do your best to make it a
step towards God, not away.
Error is error, wrong
is not right. But, a person’s
final destination is up to God, not us.
Fortunate for each of us, it should be considered. During the journey of life down that
time space continuum, we need to do our best to keep ourselves and those around
us moving towards God, not away from Him.
The direction is always clear, sometimes we just do not want to read the
If we understand we are
less than perfect, actually far less than imperfect, we have a good start. We know we need God in our lives to
give us direction. We need His
guidance to direct our ACTION.
Read the Bible, find
out what He wants you to do, then Do It. What can you do today to carry out His Will? There are a multitude of things you can
DO to carry out His Will, but the question is, “Will you?”
We are oft fortunate to get copies of Bishop Jerry’s
sermon notes. Today is one of
those Sundays. Today we get a
brilliant analysis of the Gospel for this week:
22 January 2012, Anno Domini
St Andrews Anglican Orthodox Church
"When therefore the
Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more
disciples than John, (Though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples,) He
left Judaea, and departed again into Galilee. And he must needs go through Samaria.
Then cometh he to a city of Samaria, which is called Sychar, near to the parcel
of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Now Jacob's well was there. Jesus
therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was
about the sixth hour. There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus
saith unto her, Give me to drink. (For his disciples were gone away unto the city to
buy meat.) Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being
a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no
dealings with the Samaritans. Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of
God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have
asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. The woman saith unto
him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence
then hast thou that living water? Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave
us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle? Jesus
answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But
whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but
the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up
into everlasting life." (John 4:1-14)
Though the Gospel text today covers
only the first fourteen verses of chapter 4 of the Gospel of St John, we may
not do justice to the text without covering the first 42 verses.
Thirst is a
powerful hunger – a hunger for water. A man or woman cannot live more than a
few days, or even hours, without the benefit of water. Water is necessary for
life. This principle holds true across both the physical and spiritual realms.
Men will run, walk, and finally crawl across the desert sands to find water.
The desire for physical life is quite strong. Should the desire for that
spiritual life that is eternal not be more so?
Water is a compound
comprised of two elements – Oxygen and Hydrogen. Oxygen is essential for fire
(combustion) and hydrogen is an explosive gas, yet, when combined as H20, water
is capable of extinguishing fires. Spiritual Water can extinguish the fires of
You may recall poor Hagar,
the concubine of Abraham, being sent out alone with her young son into the
desert Wilderness with only a bottle of water upon which to survive. "And
Abraham rose up early in the morning, and took bread, and a bottle of water,
and gave it unto Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, and the child, and sent her
away: and she departed, and wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba. And
the water was spent in the bottle, and she cast the child under one of the
shrubs. And she went, and sat her down over against him a good way off, as
it were a bowshot: for she said, Let me not see the death of the child. And she
sat over against him, and lift up her voice, and wept. And God heard the
voice of the lad; and the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said
unto her, What aileth thee, Hagar? fear not; for God hath heard the voice of
the lad where he is. Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him in thine hand;
for I will make him a great nation. And God opened her eyes, and she saw a
well of water; and she went, and filled the bottle with water, and gave the lad
drink." (Gen 21:14-19)
It is noteworthy Hagar was
oblivious to the well of water until God opened her eyes to see it though it
was there all along.
In today's text, we see that
Jesus has made it a particular point to divert the journey from the usual
circumvention of Samaria to go directly to a city at the base of Mt Ephraim
called Sychar (Sheckham in the Old Testament) . This is the burial place
of Joseph and the city of Jacob to whose Well Jesus arrives at the noon hour
and sits upon the stone casing of the Well. He came to this place wittingly for
He knew that He would meet a particular Woman here today. "And he
must needs go through Samaria. Then cometh he to a city of Samaria, which is
called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph.
Now Jacob's well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey,
sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour."
A Samaritan Woman of
ill-repute approaches at the unusual hour of noon with her water bottle to draw
from the Well. Jesus asks the Woman for a drink of water. The woman is taken
aback by the request of Jesus because He appears to be a Jew and the Jews hate
the Samaritans. But this man seems somewhat mysterious. She wonders at His appearance.
"There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto
her, Give me to drink. (For his disciples were gone away unto the city to
buy meat.) Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being
a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no
dealings with the Samaritans."
Have you ever wondered why
Christ, the Lord of Heaven cares for you and will request your love? Have you
wondered why He would bother to give you the time of day?
We may learn from the
approach of Christ to this Woman in personal evangelism which resulted later in
broader evangelism to the entire village at Sychar. We may sometimes feel
`uncomfortable' in raising the subject of Christ to a stranger. Here, Christ points
the way. Put the person at ease with a casual remark as Jesus' request for
water. We all want to share the blessings of Heaven. Here is our best example
of personal evangelism.
There seems to be seven
principles of personal evangelism represented in this exchange with the Woman:
1. We must have face-to-face
contact with the sinner. Though the Jews had no contact with
Samaritans, Christ harbored no such prejudice or resentment. He traveled across
a great distance and over dry and dusty roads for this meeting. If Christ did
not go to the place where the Woman was, she would never have received Him or
If we are to be fishers of men, we will catch few in a
barrel. We must go to the Sea of Life.
Our problem in planting seed may not be the lack of good
ground, but that we have left the seed in the silo. "Is the seed yet
in the barn?" (Hag 2:19)
Do not equate separation with isolation. Christ talked to
sinners far more than those who were Godly .Even in war, we must mix with the
enemy in battle. However, "Be ye not unequally yoked together with
unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and
what communion hath light with darkness ." (2 Cor 6:14)
Our contact must be across age considerations as well as social
concerns. Jesus said in Mark 16:15 – "Go into all the world."
2. Establish a common
interest. See how Christ does so with the Woman. She came desiring water
to quench her thirst. Christ also indicates a desire for water. "Give me to drink." This demonstrated to
the Woman a common interest shared by the two of them.
Christ immediately built a bridge which connected the
interest of the Woman with His own. Once a bridge is built, much
traffic may cross thereon.
One common interest may expand into others of greater import.
Jesus has a special kind of water – the Water of Life. It is precisely the kind
of water this Woman thirsts after even without knowing.
3. Emphasize the spiritual over
the physical. Every human needs temporary benefits for life but, to a greater
extent, we need everlasting provision for eternal life. We may accomplish this
Our example – Jesus speaks with courtesy to the woman and she
can detect His great sincerity.
Our actions – Christ treated even abject sinners with
compassion and respect. The words of Christ drew at first on the physical, but
transitioned smoothly to the spiritual (from physical water, to water of life).
4. Measure your pace – do not
get ahead of the understanding of your party. See how Jesus teaches from the
known to the unknown: Well Water to Heavenly Water; Worship at Mt. Ephraim to
Jerusalem; the perfect means of worship (Spirit and in Truth)
Jesus did not dwell unnecessarily on the fact that this woman
was an adulteress. He came to save and not to
Preach against sin, but do not close the door to salvation to
the sinner. The Door belongs to Jesus. The emphasis must be on the seriousness
of sin, but also the availability of forgiveness.
6. Keep the Main Thing
the Main Thing! Be persistent in adhering to the point.
The Samaritan Woman tried to turn the conversation from her
sins and need of forgiveness to worship
Christ answered her question but went straight back to her
need of Him as the Savior.
7. Be Direct – people appreciate
honesty. If we try to be politically correct, we will not be good witnesses of
Christ. He is exceptional and exclusive (not common and inclusive). Direct is not the same as mean.
Do not argue over issue beyond the party's ability to
comprehend (ie prophecies of Revelations).
Please consider the result of Jesus' encounter with
the Woman at the Well: it led to many of the Samaritans accepting Christ. One
Seed planted begets much fruit.
Remember, sharing the Gospel releases us from personal
liability for a soul. We plant the Seed. Leave its germination to God and His
Holy Spirit. We may witness to one today and seemingly lose that person to the
devil, but years later, the seed sprouts and that person comes to Christ
because of that word you shared years ago.
Have you shared with one at the Well of Christ lately?
Dennis Campbell’s Sunday Sermon
As is oft the case, we are honored to present Bishop Dennis’ Sunday sermon
presented to his parish. Dennis
has an excellent command of scripture and is able to present it in a manner
which is completely understandable to the rest of us. This year’s sermons are drawn from the book of
Psalms, or, as it is known by Anglicans, "The Psalter" which begins on page 343 of the Book of Common
A Thirst for God
Third Sunday after Epiphany
22 January 2012
Psalm 42. Quemadmodum.
IKE as the hart desireth the water-brooks, * so longeth my soul
after thee, O God.
2 My soul is athirst for God,
yea, even for the living God: * when shall I come to appear before the presence
3 My tears have been my meat day
and night, * while they daily say unto me, Where is now thy God?
4 Now when I think thereupon, I
pour out my heart by myself; * for I went with the multitude, and brought them
forth into the house of God;
5 In the voice of praise and
thanksgiving, * among such as keep holy-day.
6 Why art thou so full of
heaviness, O my soul? * and why art thou so disquieted within me?
7 O put thy trust in God; * for I
will yet thank him, which is the help of my countenance, and my God.
8 My soul is vexed within me; *
therefore will I re- member thee from the land of Jordan, from Hermon and the
9 One deep calleth another,
because of the noise of thy water-floods; * all thy waves and storms are gone
10 The Lord will grant his
loving-kindness in the day- time; * and in the night season will I sing of him,
and make my prayer unto the God of my life.
11 I will say unto the God of my
strength, Why hast thou forgotten me? * why go I thus heavily, while the enemy
12 My bones are smitten asunder
as with a sword, * while mine enemies that trouble me cast me in the teeth; 13
Namely, while they say daily unto me, * Where is
now thy God?
14 Why art thou so vexed, O my
soul? * and why art
thou so disquieted within me?
15 O put thy trust in God; * for
I will yet thank him,
which is the help of my
countenance, and my God.
Psalm 42 is the cry of a soul in
deep sorrow. Many believe it was
written when King David's son, Absalom, raised an army and attacked Jerusalem,
forcing David to flee for his life.
It certainly expresses the kind of thoughts and feelings a person would
have in that kind of situation.
Listen to the grief in the words. "My tears have been my
meat." "My soul is vexed
within me," "all thy waves and storms are gone over me."
"My bones are smitten asunder as with a sword, while mine enemies that
trouble cast me in the teeth," "when shall I come to appear before
the presence of God?"
Here is a man who feels deserted
by God. Here is a man who prays,
but feels like his prayers aren't reaching God, as though God is not
listening. He even says, in verse
11, "Why hast thou forgotten me?" There is here a warning about trusting our feelings. We may feel something is right when it
is actually very wrong. We may
feel good about something we should actually feel very bad about. We may feel like we are very close to
God when we are actually very far from Him, and we may feel like He is very far
from us when He is actually here with us, dwelling in us by His Spirit. We must trust the Scriptures rather
than our feelings, and I think this is one of the great lessons of Psalm
42. Notice that a refrain appears
twice; once in verse 7 and again in verse 15. "O put thy trust in God; for I will yet thank him,
which is the help of my countenance, and my God." This refrain is a
declaration of faith over feeling.
David is making a conscious decision here to trust God instead of his
own feelings. He is deciding to
trust the Word of God, not his own fears or emotions, or even his
circumstances. It is so important
for us to remember that our God will never desert us. "I am with you alway," Jesus said, "even unto
the end of the world."
You may feel alone, but God is with you. You may feel deserted, but God is with you. In the deserts and caves, God was with
David, and He is with you always if you are His by faith. He dwells in you, whether you feel it
or not, and you know He is there because He said so, not because you have a
feeling He is with you.
It is the same in other areas of
life; we must trust the Scriptures rather than our feelings. When tempted we can easily make
ourselves "feel" something is right. We tell ourselves "it can't be wrong if it feels so
right." It's O.K. for me to
be rude because I've had a hard time.
It's O.K. for me to drive like a maniac because everyone else
does." It's O.K. for me to be
selfish because I'm worth it.
It's O.K. for me to..., and you can fill in the blank with the things
you talk yourself into, because..., and you can fill in the blank with your own
lame excuses. And you can convince
yourself, your friends, and even your minister, that it's O.K., but you can't
convince God. When He says,
"Thou shalt not," thou shalt not! We must obey Scripture, not our feelings.
In David's case, it is his
circumstances that make him feel far from God. A large number of his own people have turned against
him. His own son leads the
rebellion and desires to kill him and become king in his place. He has been forced out of his palace to
live in the fields and wastelands.
The attack by enemies is stated plainly in verses 11 and 12; "the
enemy oppresseth me," "enemies that trouble me cast me in the teeth." It is stated more poetically in verse
9; "One deep calleth to another, because of the noise of thy water
floods." The deeps are
troubles, specifically enemies that trouble David and they are pictured as
mighty waves tossing him about and threatening to drown him. It is as though the waves of the sea
call to one another and counsel together on how to destroy a small and battered
ship. The Bible often uses water
and bodies of water to represent the unGodly, especially when they attack or
trouble the Church. Thus, the
beast of Revelation 13 rising out of the sea, means it comes from the pagan
nations and cultures; it rises out of the unGodly people.
When David cries out that he
thirsts for God as a hart thirsts for water in the desert, he means he wants
God to change his circumstances.
He wants the good old days back.
He remembers when he lived in the palace and led the people into the
house of God in worship, and his land was at peace, and things were good, and
he wants it to be that way again.
And he has a question; where is God? Or, more to the point, why doesn't God do something? Why does He allow my enemies to cause
me so much trouble?
Is there anyone who has not asked
this question at some point in his life?
Haven't we all wondered where God is when we hurt, and why He doesn't do
something about al the pain and suffering of life, and why He allows His own
people, we who seek Him in faith, and who strive to live according to His
teaching, to be trouble and oppressed by those who care nothing about Him? Truly it is not only our enemies who
taunt us in our trials asking, "Where now is thy God?" For we ourselves ask, "Where now
is my God?"
The Bible addresses these
questions in many places, but not in Psalm 42. The Bible gives answers, which are the only possible answers
to these questions, but not in Psalm 42. Psalm 42 gives no answers. It only issues a call to trust
God. "O put thy trust in
God." I think this is
significant. We like to have all
the answers and know the plan. We
like to have input into the plan.
We want to know the destination, the food stops, and the motels
reservations, and the cost all aid out in front of us before we start the
journey. In many ways and in many
things, that's good. But with God
it is not always possible.
Sometimes He calls us to follow Him "unto a land that I will shew
thee," as He said to Abraham.
Sometimes He just calls us to trust Him. "O put thy trust in God," He said to David, and He
says the same, the very same thing to us.
We can never know all the answers in this life. We see through a glass darkly. There is much about God that is
mysterious, even hidden from us because our finite human minds cannot
comprehend the infinite God. A
thimble cannot contain the Atlantic no matter how long you pump water into it. But we can trust Him whom we have met
in the Word and Sacrament, whose Spirit dwells in us, who promises to give all
that He has "declared "unto mankind in Christ Jesus our Lord" to "all those who truly
repent and unfeignedly believe His holy Gospel." And He promises that nothing in Heaven or earth can prevent
Him from fulfilling His promise.
tR. Dennis Campbell
Bishop of Diocese of Virginia
Rector, Holy Trinity Anglican