Sunday, July 12, 2020
Fifth Sunday after Trinity
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:
… the course of this world may be so peaceably ordered by thy governance, that thy Church may joyfully serve thee in all godly quietness …
In the Collect, we ask that the events of this world might follow God’s governance or will. Why? Because in those places where it does, we find happiness and joy. It is that simple, it means more, reflect on that. After all, amazing is it not? Since the Garden, it has always been one of the two same choices:
1. We follow God’s Will for us, we do what is good for us, individually and as a people or a country. It is hard work, but easier than we imagined; we prosper when all goes well. It was all our doing, we are happy because we were so smart.
2. We ignore God’s instructions, doing what we want to do, not what we are supposed to do. It turns out to be way harder than we thought possible, in the end everything turns to weasel spit. It was not our fault, it is God’s fault, He is punishing us.
As long as we are imperfect creatures with free will, humanity will not change. The key word in this phrase is will. The will of humanity is set towards embracing sin and running away from God. But there is the possibility that through the Holy Ghost, we as individuals can change and with enough individuals changing, the whole of humanity of change. We just have to start with our corner of the world and work out from there. Humanity would be better off if we fully embraced the principles found in the Gospel. However, there is a big obstacle to this: human nature. By our own nature, we are naturally resistant to embracing what God wants. We have to understand doing what God wants will be better for us in the long run than doing what we want.
If you think about it, all of our problems can be solved by doing what God asks! Don’t try to get out of doing what God wants to do what you want, and don’t look for loopholes. Don’t be a Pharisee! Consider when Jesus told Simon Peter to go out and set his nets. Simon was tired, he was hungry, he had fished all night with no result. After making excuses, he decided to do what he was told! There is a lesson there, instead of making excuses why things are the way they are, why not be quiet and do God’s will instead? It will have a lot better result, that is for sure!
That is what happened to Simon Peter; that is what will happen to you, if you will but listen and act. Listening and then acting are the key principles of this Gospel, we must listen to what He says, and then ACT upon it.
The point Saint Peter makes in this morning’s Epistle is that it is easy for us to be sinful creatures and not do good. It is much easier to swim with the flow than it is to swim against it. God is calling us not to swim with the flow of the world, but to swim against it, for as GK Chesterton put it, A dead thing goes with the stream, but only a living thing goes against it. It is much harder to resist that sin and to do good. However, we have help in the form of the Holy Spirit. He will give us that strength to resist the sin and to good and to overcome obstacles and feelings, but only if we let it. God is open to those who do good and He is against those who are evil. God will open his ears to us, but we have to also open our ears to what He asks us to do. The Epistle is calling us to action, to act for Him, to be Holy and not conform our minds and actions to this world but God’s World.
Action and not just diction are what counts in the end. That phrase is what St. Peter’s Epistle boils down to and it is also a shared theme with this morning’s Gospel. When Simon Peter finally listened and acted according to Jesus’s instructions, wonderful things happened. So too will they happen for us when we finally actually listen to what God wants and do it instead of doing what we want.
Do not misunderstand, every day Jesus speaks to you telling you what to do. It is your choice, you can listen like Simon Peter or you can ignore Jesus. He has the pony for the lottery. He wants to give it to you, all you have to do is accept. While He is a bit more subtle than a Drill Instructor, the question is the same, “Can you hear me?” The problem with us is that we just do not want to hear. That is why we need the Holy Ghost to open up our ears, that we might hear and obey.
There are none so deaf as those who will not hear.
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