Verse of the Day

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Sunday after Ascension Day - Propers and Rev Jack's Sermon

The Propers for today are found on Page 179-180, with the Collect first:

The Sunday after Ascension Day.
The Collect.

 GOD, the King of glory, who hast exalted thine only Son Jesus Christ with great triumph unto thy kingdom in heaven; We beseech thee, leave us not comfortless; but send to us thine Holy Ghost to comfort us, and exalt us un-to the same place whither our Saviour Christ is gone before, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Holy Ghost, one God, world without end.  Amen.

The Collect for Ascension Day, found on Page 177, is also read due to the rubric:

The Collect for The Ascension Day.
The Collect.

RANT, we beseech thee, Almighty God, that like as we do believe thy only-begotten Son our Lord Jesus Christ to have ascended into the heavens; so we may also in heart and mind thither ascend, and with him continually dwell, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end.  Amen.

¶ This Collect is to be said daily throughout the Octave.

This morning’s Epistle is written in the Fourth Chapter of the First Epistle of Saint Peter beginning at the Seventh Verse.  Peter reminds us of the shortness of our lives, the eternity of the next world and implores us to live as if we were eternal now, not wait until we die. For then, eternity will be a bit late. 

HE end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer. And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.  Use hospitality one to another without grudging. As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

Today’s Holy Gospel came from the Fifteenth Chapter of the Gospel according to Saint John beginning at the Twenty-Sixth Verse.  The Gospel talks about the origin of the Holy Ghost and the reason for which He is being sent.  It also foretells the enmity that Christians will find from those of this world who do not share their understanding of God and His Will: 

HEN the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: and ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning. These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended. They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me. But these things have I told you, that when the time shall come, ye may remember that I told you of them.

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. 

Once again the propers for this week come together very well, their focus is narrow, thus powerful.

Consider these words from the Collect:

… leave us not comfortless; but send to us thine Holy Ghost to comfort us, and exalt us unto the same place whither our Saviour Christ is gone before …

In some ways, today is no different than the very First Sunday after the Ascension.  Jesus has ascended in to heaven, we are alone and physically separated from God who gives us the strength we need to do His Will.  Like Peter and the cock who crew thrice, the further we are from God, the weaker we are.  Thus, we are looking towards Pentecost and the arrival of the Holy Ghost.  We ask for God’s help we might have the true belief, courage, knowledge and strength to follow Jesus to heaven for all eternity.  That help is on the way in the form of the Holy Ghost.  On the othe rhand, it is different today than two thousand years ago.  We actually have the real presence of the Holy Ghost, here and now.  He does not ebb and flow with the liturgical year; where would we be if He did?
The end of the earth and this world may come at any time, indeed for 313,000 people each day, their time here is up.  Thus, in a very real sense as Saint Peter put it, “The end of all things is at hand…”  We need to be mindful of the fact that at any time, the world may well end for each of us. With that in mind, how are we to act?  We should act as if it was our last day on earth and do our jobs with smiles on our faces knowing our eternal destination is secure as long as we do our best to follow Him.  

That is a question we all must ask more often and not only ask it, but answer it. The answer comes with the help of the Holy Ghost, who could only come once Jesus left. That is one of the reasons Jesus ascended into heaven. He left so the Holy Ghost could come down and dwell amongst us and in us to provide us with the guidance we need to follow God.

We have to wait and hear what the Holy Ghost has to say before we act. Then once that Holy Spirit has given the answer, we must act upon the answer. This is a continuous cycle and we must always prioritize our work to be for God, our Country, Family, friends and co-workers in that order and things will fall in line. Along these lines, we must strive to work hard, take care of those who cannot and be good stewards of the considerable grace God has given us.  This does not just refer to spending MONEY, but rather to giving of our time and effort to bring the Gifts of God to others. We are called not to hoard love, but to spread it throughout our travels. For as love is of God, then it follows there is an infinite supply of love.  In fact, love multiplies with use, so there is more than infinite amount of love out there.

For as Saint Peter says in his Epistle this morning, charity (love) truly does cover a multitude of sins. So, when we do things for others, the driving force behind our actions should be that of charity, or love, for our fellow human beings and not any self-seeking motivation. Charity will cover for our multitude of sins, but we need to be thinking how we can help others. It is the greatest of gifts God and the Holy Ghost gives to us; a gift we find ourselves needing to use more often. The Holy Ghost is key in giving us the desirable thoughts and attributes that we need to carry out His Plan on Earth. He also helps us deal with our less desirable thoughts and attributes and helps us deal with very difficult people and situations. Turning to the Holy Spirit in those very stressful times will reduce the burden on your heart and shift it from you to God, giving you the clarity you need to act for Him, to be able to act in an effective and Christ like manner.

The Gospel’s take away is without the Holy Ghost’s presence in our hearts, the needed action on our part is impossible.. The Holy Ghost is that portion of God who can enter our hearts bringing the needed spiritual resources to help us win the spiritual battle here on Earth.  Those who will not have Him in their hearts can never understand God and His Will.  That is why they cannot understand or fathom the plan He has for us. They cannot understand why we follow God and Christ. They do not believe; therefore, they cannot have Him in their hearts, and therefore they will not understand. 

The end of time is nearer each day than the day before, of that we can be certain.  But there is a certainty we have in this uncertainly world, the unfailing love of our Lord and Saviour Jesus and the presence of the Holy Ghost in our lives, if we let Him in, and the inerrant Holy Scriptures to guide us throughout the rest of our lives. With this knowledge of an unchanging standard, we can stand fast by this standard and be content knowing we are following the One True Triune God, and though we may physically suffer a while, it is nothing to enjoying eternity with God. 

The current world climate, even in this country, is less hospitable than in centuries to Christians.  There is a reason for this which only God understands and not us. God has a plan for all of this.    In time, we will realize what the plan is. But for now, we are unaware of His plan in the greater scheme of things. But what it is doing is solidifying the faith of true believers around the globe, forming the Army of Light together, ready to battle against the malicious forces of Satan. We cannot make this journey alone.  We must have the close and continuous presence of God.  That presence is the Holy Ghost.  That is why He is here.

Pray for His continual presence in your heart.

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

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