Verse of the Day

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Third Sunday after Easter

The Third Sunday after Easter.
The Collect.

LMIGHTY God, who showest to them that are in error the light of thy truth, to the intent that they may return into the way of righteousness; Grant unto all those who are admitted into the fellowship of Christ’s Religion, that they may avoid those things that are contrary to their profession, and follow all such things as are agreeable to the same; through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Sermon – Reverend Jack Arnold - Time and Action
Church of the Faithful Centurion
Descanso, California

We are in the Easter Season which consists of Easter and the following four Sundays, through Rogation Sunday.  This is a time we should work on centering our lives on the central figure in our religion, Jesus Christ.   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 showest to them that are in error the light of thy truth, to the intent that they may return into the way of righteousness; Grant unto all those who are admitted into the fellowship of Christ’s Religion, that they may avoid those things that are contrary to their profession, and follow all such things as are agreeable to the same

God is a Triune God; Father, Son, Holy Ghost.  The Holy Ghost’s job is to open our souls, hearts and minds to God’s Will.  It is to help us see where we are in error and how to fix those errors.  Thus, to open our “ears” to His Voice so we can listen and make our improvements based on His Words.  What the Collect is saying is that we let the Holy Ghost in so He can change us.  Without the Holy Ghost, change is impossible.   

Consider this quote from Jack Lewis out of Mere Christianity:  “When He said, ‘Be perfect,’ He meant it. He meant that we must go in for the full treatment. It is hard; but the sort of compromise we are all hankering after is harder—in fact, it is impossible. It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad.”

It does not matter if it is hard for us to listen to the Holy Ghost, we must do it.  He is our perfect instructor and if we will listen to Him, God will always provide the light to show us where “We have erred, and strayed from His ways like lost sheep. Where we have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts. Where we have offended against His holy laws. Where we have left undone those things which we ought to have done; And we have done those things which we ought not to have done[1]…”   He will shine His Light onto the dark areas in our heart and souls so we can focus on removing those evil attributes and replacing them with more Godly attributes.

The Holy Ghost  this so that we can remain on the course which brings us to His World.  For without that guiding light, we will be forever lost on the path to darkness. He is our infallible navigator/GPS. If we will always rely on Him, He shall never fail us. We more have to worry about failing Him than Him failing us. 

Then we can shine that Light for others to see, to lead them to that Light, that they might pick up their torches and bring His Light into the darkness of the world, be it the Western Civilized Word or the Eastern World. First, we have to let His Light into our hearts before we can shine it to others that they may see the works of His Light. We cannot lead others to a Light we do not have within us. So, we must first make sure we have the Light of the Holy Ghost within us before we can think of leadings others to that Light.

We can start in our own little corner of the world and work our way outward. We are always striving to work towards total transformation of our area to the light. However, we will always find opposition from evil. If evil is thwarting our efforts then we all must put in 110% to stop evil and combat it across the world wherever it is. We must never, never, never, ever give up on this fight.  

We must fight evil wherever and whenever we run across it. Evil anywhere is Evil everywhere[2].  We must not let the little and big evils in this life get us down or defeat us. We must rely on the guiding power of the Holy Ghost and God’s unlimited grace to save the day. His Grace can help you out of any horrific situation; only if you ask for and accept His help, which is a universal theme in our sermons here, because it is a truth and one that Jesus preached, that is that we have to accept Him into our hearts, if we are to become truly Christians. 

Peter tells us our actions need to be consistent with the principles of Scripture and of Jesus’ message. In short, we need to be good citizens, be good neighbors, take particular care of our Christian family.  In short, do what Christ would do, as far as it is in us. We need to cling to the good and reject the evil thoughts and actions of our old sinful selves.  Let us do our best to think, in hard and trying times, what would Jesus do in our situation, and then act in a manner most like Him. In order to make the world a better place, we first have to start with our selves then work out word, applying the principles of Christ to our lives. God does not ask us to be perfect; He does ask us individually  to do our best to try to be perfect, to follow Jesus’ lead to the extent we have it in us.  Each of us is different, some are in truth less bad than others.  God holds us each to the same standard, that is to do our best. 

We are not competing against each other. All of us in the Church are on the same team. We are just called to do the best individually for our Team and to stay on that narrow uphill path towards heaven. 

In the Gospel according to Saint John, Jesus tells of His impending bodily death and resurrection.    He reminds us if we have eternal life, sorrow, even the sorrow of death is transient, for He has conquered death. It is a very minor thing in the long term view the sorrow of a temporary parting of a loved one. For that is all that is, if we put our trust and hope in God and do our very best to follow Him.  We have to keep this in mind throughout our travel along the straight and narrow upward path. His One Sacrifice, made One Time, for All Mankind, for All Time is that joy that no man can take from us.  But, if we want to share in that eternal life, we need to see the error of our ways in the Light of His Light and take actions to follow Him.

Often it seems much easier to take the path of least resistance, to quit our work at the first sign of effort, to goof off when “no one” is looking.  But in the end, the right thing to do is always the easiest, the most profitable.  The one that will result in happiness.  It might seem hard, but it will not be as hard as doing the “easy” thing.

The time is now, not tomorrow.  The time has come, indeed.  How will you ACT?

It is by our actions we are known.

As we go off on our business, please recall this quote from GK Chesterton:

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

Be of God - Live of God - Act of God

[1] General Confession – BCP Page 6
[2] Lord of the Rings
[3] Note the Declaration of Independence:  

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
[4] Theology - the study of the nature of God and religious belief.

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