Friday, March 23, 2018Gregory the Illuminator
Sunday, March 25, 2018THE SUNDAY OF THE PASSION: PALM SUNDAY
The liturgies on the morning of Palm Sunday are designed by the Book of Common Prayer to take us through the week to come. So, since this is Holy Week, Palm Sunday covers both the triumphant entry into Jerusalem (the Blessing of the Palms and the Palm Procession) as well as Christ's Passion, which we unpack each day of the rest of the week. The idea here is that a person could attend church only on Sundays and still participate in the entirety of Holy Week and Easter: Palm Sunday takes us through Christ's Crucifixion, and then Easter Sunday celebrates Christ's Resurrection.
Of course, we're not suggesting you skip the rest of Holy Week—indeed, we encourage you to spend the entire week with us. But if you are wondering why the morning liturgies on Palm Sunday end with Christ Crucified, you now have your answer. The church is structured so that Sunday worshippers get the gist. If you seek more than the gist, you're in luck: at Saint Thomas, we know how to dwell on the details. You are most welcome to join us as we mark each day of Holy Week in scripture, song, meditation and prayer.
Even if you cannot join us in person for everything, please know that all choral services throughout the week are webcast live and then available on-demand.
Almighty and everlasting God, who, of thy tender love towards mankind, hast sent thy Son our Savior Jesus Christ to take upon him our flesh, and to suffer death upon the cross, that all mankind should follow the example of his great humility: Mercifully grant that we may both follow the example of his patience, and also be made partakers of his resurrection; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Friday, April 6, 2018FRIDAY IN EASTER WEEK
Almighty Father, who hast given thine only Son to die for our sins and to rise again for our justification: Grant us so to put away the leaven of malice and wickedness, that we may always serve thee in pureness of living and truth; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Sunday, April 8, 2018THE SECOND SUNDAY OF EASTER (Low Sunday)
The Second Sunday of Easter is commonly called Low Sunday because it follows the hugely important and busy Holy Week and Easter Day, and therefore is a Sunday when the church slows down, the choir on break. However, Low Sunday is especially important to us at Saint Thomas, because it is the Sunday when we have the Gospel from John 20:19-31, wherein we have the description of Doubting Thomas (our patron saint) who, at long last, having seen the Risen Christ, declares “My Lord and my God.” And Jesus responds, “Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.”
Here are some sermons from past Low Sundays:
Probing the Wounds (2013) by Fr Spurlock
Where Was Thomas? (2012) by Fr Spurlock
Faith, Doubt and the Sign of Thomas (2009) by Fr Austin
Doubt is Okay, but Beware of Magical Thinking (2007) by Fr Austin
Tommy-Come-Lately (2006) by Fr Andrew
St Puddleglum (2002) by Fr Mead
Almighty and everlasting God, who in the Paschal mystery hast established the new covenant of reconciliation: Grant that all who have been reborn into the fellowship of Christ’s Body may show forth in their lives what they profess by their faith; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Tuesday, April 10, 2018THE ANNUNCIATION
From Fr Mead's sermon on the Eve of the Annunciation in 2001:
At Saint Thomas we have great respect for the holy season of Lent. We do not interrupt the Lenten observances of each day or the use of Lenten colors lightly. Only two feasts suffice to break the pattern. The feast of Saint Joseph on March 19 is one. The feast of the Annunciation of our Lord Jesus Christ to the Blessed Virgin Mary... is the other.
The Annunciation is very important, because it is the actual beginning of our Lord Jesus Christ’s life in the flesh. The Church calendar places the Annunciation exactly nine months before the date of Christ’s birth, from March 25 to December 25, so we see that the Annunciation is the moment of Jesus Christ’s conception as a human being in the womb of his mother Mary.
Read the rest of Fr Mead's 2001 sermon here.
You might also want to read or listen to Fr Austin's sermon on the line from the Apostles' Creed: "who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary."
We beseech thee, O Lord, pour thy grace into our hearts, that we who have known the incarnation of thy Son Jesus Christ, announced by an angel to the Virgin Mary, may by his cross and passion be brought unto the glory of his resurrection; who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Friday, April 13, 2018
Sunday, April 15, 2018THE THIRD SUNDAY OF EASTER
The Gospel for The Third Sunday of Easter is from Luke 24, wherein the risen Christ reveals himself on the road to Emmaus to two followers and then later (if you were to continue on past today's Gospel through the rest of Luke 24) to the eleven disciples gathered together, where Jesus actually eats before them a broiled fish and a honeycomb. Is he a ghost? Clearly not. Does he have a body? Yes, but one that is so much more than what we have.
What to make of this? These sermons by the Rector might help:
O God, whose blessed Son did manifest himself to his disciples in the breaking of bread: Open, we pray thee, the eyes of our faith, that we may behold him in all his redeeming work; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Tuesday, April 17, 2018
Wednesday, April 18, 2018
Friday, April 20, 2018
Sunday, April 22, 2018
Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Friday, April 27, 2018Christina Rossetti
Sunday, April 29, 2018THE FIFTH SUNDAY OF EASTER
The Gospel appointed for the morning services on this Fifth Sunday of Easter is John 14:1-14, in which Jesus tells his disciples, "In my house are many mansions..I am the way, the truth and the life."
As you try to contemplate the meaning of this alongside the disciples, consider these sermons:
Reservations in the Father's House (2011) by Fr Mead
Is Jesus the Only Way? (2010) by Fr Austin
A Presence within an Absence (2008) by Fr Austin
Pope Benedict and Jesus (2008) by Fr Mead
Freedom from Fear (2005) by Fr Mead
With God, at Rest and not at Rest (2005) by Fr Austin
Religion: Vertical and Horizonton (2002) by Fr Mead
O Almighty God, whom truly to know is everlasting life: Grant us so perfectly to know thy Son Jesus Christ to be the way, the truth, and the life, that we may steadfastly follow his steps in the way that leadeth to eternal life; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Tuesday, May 1, 2018SAINT PHILIP & SAINT JAMES
Almighty God, who didst give to thine apostles Philip and James grace and strength to bear witness to the truth: Grant that we, being mindful of their victory of faith, may glorify in life and death the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Friday, May 4, 2018Monnica
Lesser Feasts and Fasts tells the story:
Monnica’s life story is enshrined in the spiritual autobiography of her eldest son, in The Confessions of Saint Augustine. Born in North Africa about 331, of Berber parents, Monnica was married to a Latinized provincial of Tagaste named Patricius, whom she won to the Christian faith before his death. In her earlier years she was not without worldly ambitions and tastes. She grew in Christian maturity and spiritual insight through an ever-deepening life of prayer.
Her ambition for her gifted son was transformed into a passionate desire for his conversion to Christ. After his baptism in Milan in 387, by Bishop Ambrose, Augustine and his mother, together with a younger brother, planned to return home to Africa. While awaiting ship at Ostia, the port of Rome, Monnica fell ill.
Augustine writes, “One day during her illness she had a fainting spell and lost consciousness for a short time. We hurried to her bedside, but she soon regained consciousness and looked up at my brother and me as we stood beside her. With a puzzled look, she asked, ‘Where was I?’ Then, watching us closely as we stood there speechless with grief, she said, ‘You will bury your mother here.’ ”
Augustine’s brother expressed sorrow, for her sake, that she would die so far from her own country. She said to the two brothers, “It does not matter where you bury my body. Do not let that worry you. All I ask of you is that, wherever you may be, you should remember me at the altar of the Lord.” To the question, whether she was not afraid at the thought of leaving her body in an alien land, she replied, “Nothing is far from God, and I need have no fear that he will not know where to find me, when he comes to raise me to life at the end of the world.”
Recent excavations at Ostia have uncovered her original tomb. Her mortal remains, however, were transferred in 1430 to the Church of St. Augustine in Rome.
While Monnica is sadly missing from sermons in our online sermon archive, there are of course many references to Augustine. You might be interested in this one:
To be Transformed, Present your Body (2008) by Fr Austin
O Lord, who through spiritual discipline didst strengthen they servant Monnica to persevere in offering her love and prayers and tears for the conversion of her husband and of Augustine their son: Deepen our devotion, we beseech thee, and use us in accordance with thy will to bring others, even our own kindred, to acknowledge Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord; who with thee and the Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Sunday, May 6, 2018THE SIXTH SUNDAY OF EASTER
The Sixth Sunday of Easter is often called Rogation Sunday, as it precedes the three rogation days that always fall on the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday before Ascension Day. You'll notice hints of prepartion for the rogation days in the morning services today, when at times there is an emphasis on God our creator and provider. For example, pay attention to the words of the psalm and the hymns. See also the words of the collect, which, through petition and gratitude, approaches God as the provider of all things.
Among the sermons in the archive that can help you understand God as creator and provider, consider these:
The Father Almighty, Maker of Heaven and Earth (2011) by Fr Spurlock
On Providence (2010) by Fr Austin
Bread and Life, Freedom and Friendship (2009) by Fr Austin
All Ours as Gift (2008) by Fr Austin
Food in the Wilderness (2003) by Fr Mead
O God, who hast prepared for those who love thee such good things as pass man’s understanding: Pour into our hearts such love toward thee, that we, loving thee in all things and above all things, may obtain thy promises, which exceed all that we can desire; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Tuesday, May 8, 2018Julian
Dame Julian of Norwich
Believed to be the first woman to write a book in the English language (see Norwich Cathedral's website), Dame Julian authored Revelations of Divine Love after her experience at age 30 of having fifteen visions of the Passion when she suddenly recovered from a deadly illness.
Lesser Feasts and Fasts has a detailed descrption of her life, which ends: Lady Julian’s book is a tender and beautiful exposition of God’s eternal and all-embracing love, showing how his charity toward the human race is exhibited in the Passion. Again and again she referred to Christ as “our courteous Lord.” Many have found strength in the words the Lord had given her: “I can make all things well; I will make all things well; I shall make all things well; and thou canst see for thyself that all manner of things shall be well.”
Lord God, who in thy compassion didst grant to the Lady Julian many revelations of thy nurturing and sustaining love: Move our hearts, like hers, to seek thee above all things, for in giving us thyself thou givest us all; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Friday, May 11, 2018
Sunday, May 13, 2018THE SEVENTH SUNDAY OF EASTER
The Seventh Sunday of Easter is also called The Sunday after Ascension Day. Because Ascension Day is always the 40th Day of Easter and Pentecost is always the 50th Day, The Sunday after Ascension Day is always the Sunday preceding Pentecost. So it is always the last Sunday in the Easter season.
These last 10 days of Easter are called Ascensiontide, the period of time after Christ ascended to the Father, yet before the coming of the Spirit. It, therefore, was a time of waiting, yet with much to do. Not unlike the way we live now...though we have the Spirit ever with us.
There are some sermons in the archive that can help you understand all of this. Consider:
He Ascended into Heaven (2011) by Fr Spurlock
The Presence of Christ in Works of Love (2010) by Fr Mead
A Sermon for Ascensiontide (2009) by Fr Mead
A Presence within an Absence (2008) by Fr Austin
God's Cloud and Fire (2003) by Fr Mead
The Ascension: Christ Fills All Things (2002) by Fr Mead
O 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 unto the same place whither our Savior Christ is gone before; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.
Wednesday, May 16, 2018
Friday, May 18, 2018
Sunday, May 20, 2018THE DAY OF PENTECOST (WHITSUNDAY)
Today we mark the arrival of the Holy Spirit, the Counselor, the Comforter, an arrival which (2,000 years ago) transformed fearful and self-conscious men and women into fearless and selfless evangelists for Christ. Pentecost is, in many ways, the birthday of the Church. But it is not merely that. It is the acknowledgement and celebration of the on-going action of God in our lives, through the Spirit.
To gain a richer understanding, consider these sermons:
I Believe in the Holy Ghost (2011) by Fr Daniels
A Sermon for the Day of Pentecost (2010) by John Polkinghorne
The Holy Spirit Gives us a Future (2010) by Fr Austin
From Pentecost to Pop Hale to Fifth Avenue (2009) by Fr Mead
Three Points about Pentecost (2008) by Fr Mead
Where the Spirit of the Lord is, There is Freedom (2006) by Fr Austin
O God, who on this day didst teach the hearts of thy faithful people by sending to them the light of thy Holy Spirit: Grant us by the same Spirit to have a right judgment in all things, and evermore to rejoice in his holy comfort; through the merits of Christ Jesus our Savior, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the same Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.
Friday, May 25, 2018Bede the Venerable
Priest and Monk of Jarrow
Lesser Feasts and Fasts describes Bede in this way:
At the age of seven, Bede’s parents brought him to the nearby monastery at Jarrow (near Durham in northeast England) for his education. There, as he later wrote, “spending all the remaining time of my life. . . I wholly applied myself to the study of Scripture, and amidst the observance of regular discipline, and the daily care of singing in the church, I always took delight in learning, teaching, and writing.”
Bede was ordained deacon at nineteen, and presbyter at thirty. He died on the eve of the Ascension while dictating a vernacular translation of the Gospel according to John. About 1020 his body was removed to Durham, and placed in the Galilee, the Lady Chapel at the west end of the Cathedral nave.
Bede was the greatest scholar of his time in the Western Church. He wrote commentaries on the Scriptures based on patristic interpretations.
His treatise on chronology was standard for a long time. He also wrote on orthography, poetic meter, and especially on history. His most famous work, The Ecclesiastical History of England, written in Latin, remains the primary source for the period 597 to 731, when Anglo-Saxon culture developed and Christianity triumphed. In this work, Bede was clearly ahead of his time. He consulted many documents, carefully evaluated their reliability, and cited his sources. His interpretations were balanced and judicious. He also wrote the History of the Abbots (of Wearmouth and Jarrow), and a notable biography of Cuthbert, both in prose and verse.
His character shines through his work — an exemplary monk, an ardent Christian, devoted scholar, and a man of pure and winsome manners. He received the unusual title of Venerable more than a century after his death. According to one legend, the monk writing the inscription for his tomb was at a loss for a word to fill out the couplet:
Hac sunt in fossa
Bedae — blank — ossa
(This grave contains
the — blank — Bede’s remains)
That night an angel filled in the blank: Venerabilis.
Heavenly Father, who didst call thy servant Bede, while still a child, to devote his life to thy service in the disciplines of religion and scholarship; Grant that as he labored in the Spirit to bring the riches of thy truth to his generation, so we, in our various vocations, may strive to make thee known in all the world; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Sunday, May 27, 2018TRINITY SUNDAY
Trinity Sunday fittingly comes one week after the Day of Pentecost, which marked the arrival of the Holy Spirit, who, in the words of the Nicene Creed, "proceedeth from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified..."
It is actually the Athanasian Creed, not the Nicene Creed or the Apostles' Creed, which most aggressively affirms the nature of the Trinity. We never say the Athanasian Creed in church, but yet it can be found in the 1979 Prayer Book on page 864 in the historical documents section. Here is the portion pertaining to the nature of the Trinity:
And the Catholic Faith is this: That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity, neither confounding the Persons, nor dividing the Substance. For there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Ghost. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, is all one, the Glory equal, the Majesty co-eternal. Such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Ghost.
The Father uncreate, the Son uncreate, and the Holy Ghost uncreate.
The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible, and the Holy Ghost incomprehensible.
The Father eternal, the Son eternal, and the Holy Ghost eternal.
And yet they are not three eternals, but one eternal. As also there are not three incomprehensibles, nor three uncreated, but one uncreated, and one incomprehensible. So likewise the Father is Almighty, the Son Almighty, and the Holy Ghost Almighty. And yet they are not three Almighties, but one Almighty. So the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Ghost is God. And yet they are not three Gods, but one God.
So likewise the Father is Lord, the Son Lord, and the Holy Ghost Lord. And yet not three Lords, but one Lord. For like as we are compelled by the Christian verity to acknowledge every Person by himself to be both God and Lord, so are we forbidden by the Catholic Religion, to say, There be three Gods, or three Lords. The Father is made of none, neither created, nor begotten. The Son is of the Father alone, not made, nor created, but begotten. The Holy Ghost is of the Father and of the Son, neither made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding.
So there is one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons; one Holy Ghost, not three Holy Ghosts. And in this Trinity none is afore, or after other; none is greater, or less than another; but the whole three Persons are co-eternal together and co-equal. So that in all things, as is aforesaid, the Unity in Trinity and the Trinity in Unity is to be worshipped.
He therefore that will be saved must thus think of the Trinity.
If you struggle with this doctrine, you're not alone: it took the Church several centuries to clarify its teaching on the nature of the Trinity. These sermons may be of help also:
The Athanasian Creed (2010) by Fr Mead
Love is All You Need (2009) by Fr Mead
The Strong Name of the Trinity (2008) by Fr Mead
The Trinity: The God of Jesus (2007) by Fr Mead
The Trinity is Our Story (2005) by Fr Austin
Three Persons in One God (2003) by Fr Mead
The Holy Trinity (2002) by Fr Mead
Almighty and everlasting God, who hast given unto us thy servants grace, by the confession of a true faith, to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity, and in the power of the Divine Majesty to worship the Unity: We beseech thee that thou wouldest keep us steadfast in this faith and worship, and bring us at last to see thee in thy one and eternal glory, O Father; who with the Son and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Friday, June 1, 2018Justin
Born c. 110 in Samaria, Justin became a Christian as an adult, in Ephesus after a stranger told him of Christ while they walked along a beach. He was martyed after more than a decade of teaching and writing spirtied defenses of Christianity in otherwise pagan Rome. Rusticus gave him an opporutunity to renounce his faith, and Justin refused. He was put to death c. 167.
Among Justin's works: First Apology, Second Apology, and Dialogue with Trypho.
Almighty and everlasting God, who didst find thy martyr Justin wandering from teacher to teacher, seeking the true God, and didst reveal to him the sublime wisdom of thine eternal Word:Â Grant that all who seek thee, or a deeper knowledge of thee, may find and be found by thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Sunday, June 3, 2018CORPUS CHRISTI
Corpus Christi is Latin for "the body of Christ." In a sense, therefore, every Eucharist is a commemoration of the feast of Corpus Christi and, at Saint Thomas, we have nearly one thousand celebrations of the Eucharist each year. But on this particular Sunday we take the time to contemplate the holy mysteries in depth, to dig deep in heart and mind as we attempt to understand what it is we are doing when we go to the altar rail to receive the Blessed Sacrament.
Of course, during Holy Week, on Maundy Thursday, we commemorate the institution of the Eucharist by our Lord. Yet, because Holy Week is full of so much activity surrounding our Lord’s Passion, Death and Resurrection, it is appropriate that we set aside a time later in the year to return to ponder this most intimate and yet ubiquitous of sacraments. The feast day itself actually falls on the Thursday following Trinity Sunday. However at Saint Thomas we celebrate it on the Sunday following Trinity Sunday so that the maximum number of people can participate.
It is not by accident that this day falls after Easter Day, Ascension Day, the Day of Pentecost and Trinity Sunday. The risen Lord has ascended into heaven. He has sent his Spirit, and this same Spirit consecrates the bread and wine that is received by the gathered Christian community. As Saint Augustine is reported to have said at the presentation of these Eucharistic elements, "Behold what you are, and become what you receive: the Body of Christ."
God our Father, whose Son our Lord Jesus Christ in a wonderful Sacrament hath left unto us a memorial of his passion: Grant us so to venerate the sacred mysteries of his Body and Blood, that we may ever perceive within ourselves the fruit of his redemption; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Friday, June 8, 2018The Divine Compassion