Sunday, September 22, 2019
Fourteenth Sunday after Trinity
Church of the Faithful Centurion - Descanso, California
Today’s sermon tied the Collect, Epistle and Gospel together and is partly contained in the forewords above.
Today we talk consider The Law and how it failed to solve the problems of the people it was designed to help and think about how getting around technicalities is different than doing what is right.
Consider the words of the Collect, “…give unto us the increase of faith, hope, and charity; and, that we may obtain that which thou dost promise, make us to love that which thou dost command …”
The Collects often are repetitive, in that we ask the same thing, week after week in differing ways. Why is that? Sadly, we have the same needs and the same failings week after week. We are WEAK, we need God’s STRENGTH. Today, we ask Him to help us, through the Holy Ghost, to increase our faith, to help us love what He wants us to do, to make His Wishes our wishes. To make us want to follow Him that we might gain the prize which He has promised us. That prize is eternal life which begins when we accept it, not when we die. We need to realize this fact and adjust our lives accordingly. We have to shift our focus from the short term to the ultra long term (i.e, eternal) view of our actions. This will help us to become better spiritual stewards of the gifts which God has bestowed upon us.
We are praying for that increase of faith, hope and love, so we can maintain that course guidance. Just like Paul says, if we do not have these qualities in us, it is impossible for us to stay on course. And we do not obtain these qualities from ourselves, but from the Holy Ghost. We need to listen to Him in order to stay on course. Not just listen to what He says then go off and do what we want to do. He is our infallible navigation aid. He will never fail us. The problem lies more in us failing Him. But with His Help and Guidance we will succeed. To succeed, there must be change on our part, modification of our behavior to follow Him. It requires actual action. This is the constant of Christian living that is unavoidable. We cannot be considered true Christians and not act. For if we say we are Christians we need to perform those actions, which will truly identify us as believers. Like the tag-line at the end of my sermons, it is truly by our actions we are known.
We need the Holy Ghost in order to serve him. However, the question is who will listen to the Holy Ghost? The only people who listen are those who are in need, hurt, pain and despair. Often it is because they, or one of their loved ones, are ill or injured, perhaps near death. Perhaps they are unemployed or undergoing some family upheaval. Their situation is less than perfect. They need help and they know it. In their own mind, they are the Samaritans of this world. It is no accident Jesus’ parables and stories center on actions, not words, thoughts and meditations. Actions are who you are. Actions show the world who you follow, God or Mammon. You are not truly be a believer if you don’t act for Him. Without action, there is nothing. The key driving principle behind his parables are actions for Him, are those of goodness, not of evil. Those who believe on me keep my commandments.
Yet, those who turn to God in “need” are no different than each of us. To quote Paul, “None are perfect, all fall short.” We, each and every one of us, need God’s help. Perhaps some need it more, none need it less.
When Luke tells us of Jesus and the ten lepers whom He heals and only one expresses thanks, do you think he is only telling of lepers? It is a metaphor for us. All too often, when God assists us, we do not turn back to Him in thanks, but merely go on our way and credit ourselves for being so smart. One of the lessons is that when God helps us in our lives, we should always take the time to give thanks to Him who helped us and created us.
Through our Lord, God is there for each of us if we will accept His help. When He gives that help, how do we react? Frankly most of us just think it our due. We oft fail to give thanks for all that He gives us.
When we get an answer we don’t expect, do we thank Him? What if we get an answer? Do we thank Him?
Like the lepers only one in ten will show thanks for the mercy and help given them. Rarely do people give thanks for large efforts done to help them. We must endeavor to be grateful for Him and for all of those who strive hard to help us out in our times of need. In the case of the lepers, it was the Samaritan, showing that fancy dress and rules are not as important as doing what is right and being grateful for what we are given.
Are you part of that 10 percent?
Remember, it is Please and Thank You that are the magic words, not Please and I don’t have time for you.
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
 Samaritan - Of or pertaining to Samaria, in Palestine. -- n. A native or inhabitant of Samaria; also, the language of Samaria. [1913 Webster]
Samaritans were descendants of those who had stayed behind during the Captivity and had been separated for many years from the body of Judaism. They had not developed, nor did they subscribe to them, all the rules the Jews managed to invent during their separation. The main body of Jews viewed them as lesser peoples, not really Jews.