Sunday, June 11, 2017TRINITY 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 We never say the Athanasian Creed in church, but yet it can be found in the 1979 Prayer Book on page 864 in the historical documents section.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.
Sunday, June 4, 2017THE 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.
Sunday, May 28, 2017THE 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.
Acts 1:6-14 , I Peter 4:12-14, 5:6-11 , John 17:1-11
Sunday, May 21, 2017THE 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.
Sunday, May 14, 2017THE FIFTH SUNDAY OF EASTER
At the morning services on this Fifth Sunday of Easter, we have John's Gospel in which Christ describes himself as the true vine: "I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing."
Consider reading these past sermons for some help in understanding this lesson:
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.
Sunday, May 7, 2017THE FOURTH SUNDAY OF EASTER
The Fourth Sunday of Easter is commonly known as Good Shepherd Sunday.
Among the many sermons in the archive that can help you understand Christ as shepherd, consider these:
Jesus Our Good Shepherd (2012) by Fr Mead
The Spring Lambs and the Shepherd (2011) by Fr Mead
Why We Need To Be Saved (2010) by Fr Mead
Do You Love Me? (2010) by Fr Austin
A Sermon for Confirmation (2009) by Bp Sisk
From Hanukkah to Easter (2004) by Fr Mead
A Safe and Nurturing Pasture (2002) by Fr Mead
The Last Krisis (2002) by Fr Mead
O God, whose Son Jesus is the good shepherd of thy people: Grant that when we hear his voice we may know him who calleth us each by name, and follow where he doth lead; who, with thee and the Holy Spirit, liveth and reigneth, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Exodus 28:1-4, 30-38 , Matthew 7:15-29
Sunday, April 30, 2017THE THIRD SUNDAY OF EASTER
The Gospel for The Third Sunday of Easter (Year C) is from Luke 24, wherein the risen Christ reveals himself to the disciples and 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.
Sunday, April 23, 2017THE 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.
II Peter 1:3-9 , John 20:19-31