Worship

Sermon Archive

Sunday, February 12, 2017

THE SIXTH SUNDAY AFTER THE EPIPHANY (SEPTUAGESIMA)

Collect:

O God, the strength of all those who put their trust in thee: Mercifully accept our prayers; and because, through the weakness of our mortal nature, we can do no good thing without thee, grant us the help of thy grace, that in keeping thy commandments we may please thee both in will and deed; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Fr Turner | 11:00 am Choral Eucharist
Deuteronomy 30:15-20 , Matthew 5:21-37

Sunday, January 29, 2017

THE FOURTH SUNDAY AFTER THE EPIPHANY

Collect:

Almighty and everlasting God, who dost govern all things in heaven and earth: Mercifully hear the supplications of thy people, and in our time grant us thy peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Fr Turner | 11:00 am Choral Eucharist
Matthew 5:1-12

Sunday, January 22, 2017

THE THIRD SUNDAY AFTER THE EPIPHANY

Collect:

Give us grace, O Lord, to answer readily the call of our Savior Jesus Christ and proclaim to all people the Good News of his salvation, that we and all the whole world may perceive the glory of his marvelous works; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Fr Turner | 11:00 am Choral Eucharist
I Corinthians 1:10-18

Sunday, January 15, 2017

THE SECOND SUNDAY AFTER THE EPIPHANY

Collect:

Almighty God, whose Son our Savior Jesus Christ is the light of the world: Grant that thy people, illumined by thy Word and Sacraments, may shine with the radiance of Christ's glory, that he may be known, worshiped, and obeyed to the ends of the earth; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who with thee and the Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Fr Turner | 11:00 am Epiphany Procession & Festal Eucharist
Matthew 2:1-12 , Luke 3:15-17, 21-22 , John 2:1-11

Sunday, January 8, 2017

THE EPIPHANY

The Epiphany celebrates Jesus revealed as Christ. January 6 is not only the Feast itself, but also the beginning of a season in which we come to know, one epiphany at a time, Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah, our Savior and Redeemer, very God of very God.

In 2017, we celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany not only on January 6 (with three said Masses in the Chantry Chapel), but also on Sunday, January 8 with choral services at 11am and 4pm.

At Saint Thomas, we also celebrate the visit of the wise men to the Christ child at an Epiphany Procession, which also includes commemorations of Christ's baptism in the River Jordan and also Christ's first miracle at the wedding of Cana. In 2017, the Epiphany Procession is at 11am and 4pm on Sunday, January 15.

To more fully understand the season of Epiphany, which extends all the way though Shrove Tuesday (the day before Ash Wednesday), consider reading or listening to these sermons.

Collect:

O God, who by the leading of a star didst manifest thy only begotten Son to the peoples of the earth: Lead us, who know thee now by faith, to thy presence, where we may Behold thy glory face to face; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Fr Turner | 4:00 pm Festal Evensong
Isaiah 49:1-7 , Matthew 12:14-21

Sunday, December 25, 2016

CHRISTMAS DAY

A bit on the history of the development of the feast called Christmas, in which the Church sets aside a day and season to celebrate the incarnation of God in Jesus:

About 1,700 years ago the Church settled on December 25 as Jesus’ birth date for the Christian Year. It seized upon the pagan feast of Natalis Solis Invictus, which among other things marked the lengthening of the light at the winter solstice. The Church appropriated this feast for the Nativity of Christ, baptizing it and reasoning that the Lord’s Incarnation was the beginning of the lengthening of the light of the Sun of Righteousness. So our feast of Christmas began by rubbing shoulders with secular or pagan festivals. Some writers of Antiquity complained that the new rising Christian movement was weakening the Roman Empire and that before long the old gods of Rome would be pushed out. The Emperor Constantine the Great, whose mother Helena was a devout Christian, had already ascribed his military ascendancy to the throne to a vision he had of the cross of Christ; and he had issued an Edict of Toleration for the formerly persecuted faith. Christianity now enjoyed imperial favor, and the celebration of Christmas adorned the Church’s new position.

One very good effect of Christmas in modern times has been the increased American Jewish observance of Hanukkah, which celebrates the victory of Judas Maccabeus over the pagan tyrant Antiochus IV Epiphanes in 167 BC. Antiochus was a king in one of the Hellenistic empires stemming from the conquests of Alexander the Great. He had ordered an altar to Zeus built in the Jerusalem Temple and had swine sacrificed on the Jewish altar. Hanukkah, or the Feast of Lights, celebrates the cleansing and dedication of the temple – it is the Feast of Dedication referenced in St. John 10:22-23 when Jesus walked in the temple in winter. You may find the original Hanukkah story in I Maccabees, chapters 1-4, in the Apocrypha. It is not only a Jewish feast; it is an important antecedent to the time of Christ.

By no means are all modern developments with regard to Christmas reason to lament, O tempora, O mores! The centennial observance of our current church building in 2013 shed light on the influence of the twentieth century on the way the Church celebrates Christmas – a very good influence indeed. In September 2013 we had our parish Hymn-Sing, featuring hymns that were sung a century ago in 1913. The surprise: not one Christmas hymn from that year would be familiar to us today.

The twentieth century has made all the difference. What happened?

The fact is, Christmas as we know and love it is largely the product of the great English choral foundations – collegiate chapels such as King’s College, Cambridge, and great churches such as Westminster Abbey and Saint Paul’s Cathedral, London. Particularly through the development and ensuing popularity of the services of Nine Lessons and Carols led by Boris Ord and David Willcocks at Kings, the beautiful carols, hymns and anthems we cherish made their way across the Atlantic and around the world – thanks in no small measure to recordings.

Before the twentieth century, Protestantism, deeply influenced by its puritan strain, regarded Christmas with suspicion as “popish.” In the nineteenth century, the Oxford and Anglo-Catholic movements promoted the liturgical celebration of Christmas. Pioneering hymnals such as Hymns Ancient and Modern brought the hymnody promoted by English High Churchmen to the pews; but this did not reach the United States and the Episcopal Church’s hymnal until our Hymnal 1916, which was only a beginning. Hymnal 1940 and Hymnal 1982 fully adopted the work of Anglo-Catholic musicians and hymnologists. It is hard to believe, but in 1913 they did not sing Hark the Herald Angels Sing or O Come All Ye Faithful at Saint Thomas Church Fifth Avenue.

What Saint Thomas has now is in many people’s opinion as good as it gets for Christmas music and liturgy. But we are deeply indebted to the Church of England’s great choral foundations, which we both emulate and rival, for this wonderful repertoire.

Collect:

Almighty God, who hast given us thy only-begotten Son to take our nature upon him and as at this time to be born of a pure virgin: Grant that we, being regenerate and made thy children by adoption and grace, may daily be renewed by thy Holy Spirit; through the same our Lord Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Spirit ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

Fr Turner | 11:00 am Solemn Eucharist of the Nativity

Saturday, December 24, 2016

CHRISTMAS EVE

A bit on the history of the development of the feast called Christmas, in which the Church sets aside a day and season to celebrate the incarnation of God in Jesus:

About 1,700 years ago the Church settled on December 25 as Jesus’ birth date for the Christian Year. It seized upon the pagan feast of Natalis Solis Invictus, which among other things marked the lengthening of the light at the winter solstice. The Church appropriated this feast for the Nativity of Christ, baptizing it and reasoning that the Lord’s Incarnation was the beginning of the lengthening of the light of the Sun of Righteousness. So our feast of Christmas began by rubbing shoulders with secular or pagan festivals. Some writers of Antiquity complained that the new rising Christian movement was weakening the Roman Empire and that before long the old gods of Rome would be pushed out. The Emperor Constantine the Great, whose mother Helena was a devout Christian, had already ascribed his military ascendancy to the throne to a vision he had of the cross of Christ; and he had issued an Edict of Toleration for the formerly persecuted faith. Christianity now enjoyed imperial favor, and the celebration of Christmas adorned the Church’s new position.

One very good effect of Christmas in modern times has been the increased American Jewish observance of Hanukkah, which celebrates the victory of Judas Maccabeus over the pagan tyrant Antiochus IV Epiphanes in 167 BC. Antiochus was a king in one of the Hellenistic empires stemming from the conquests of Alexander the Great. He had ordered an altar to Zeus built in the Jerusalem Temple and had swine sacrificed on the Jewish altar. Hanukkah, or the Feast of Lights, celebrates the cleansing and dedication of the temple – it is the Feast of Dedication referenced in St. John 10:22-23 when Jesus walked in the temple in winter. You may find the original Hanukkah story in I Maccabees, chapters 1-4, in the Apocrypha. It is not only a Jewish feast; it is an important antecedent to the time of Christ.

By no means are all modern developments with regard to Christmas reason to lament, O tempora, O mores! The centennial observance of our current church building in 2013 shed light on the influence of the twentieth century on the way the Church celebrates Christmas – a very good influence indeed. In September 2013 we had our parish Hymn-Sing, featuring hymns that were sung a century ago in 1913. The surprise: not one Christmas hymn from that year would be familiar to us today.

The twentieth century has made all the difference. What happened?

The fact is, Christmas as we know and love it is largely the product of the great English choral foundations – collegiate chapels such as King’s College, Cambridge, and great churches such as Westminster Abbey and Saint Paul’s Cathedral, London. Particularly through the development and ensuing popularity of the services of Nine Lessons and Carols led by Boris Ord and David Willcocks at Kings, the beautiful carols, hymns and anthems we cherish made their way across the Atlantic and around the world – thanks in no small measure to recordings.

Before the twentieth century, Protestantism, deeply influenced by its puritan strain, regarded Christmas with suspicion as “popish.” In the nineteenth century, the Oxford and Anglo-Catholic movements promoted the liturgical celebration of Christmas. Pioneering hymnals such as Hymns Ancient and Modern brought the hymnody promoted by English High Churchmen to the pews; but this did not reach the United States and the Episcopal Church’s hymnal until our Hymnal 1916, which was only a beginning. Hymnal 1940 and Hymnal 1982 fully adopted the work of Anglo-Catholic musicians and hymnologists. It is hard to believe, but in 1913 they did not sing Hark the Herald Angels Sing or O Come All Ye Faithful at Saint Thomas Church Fifth Avenue.

What Saint Thomas has now is in many people’s opinion as good as it gets for Christmas music and liturgy. But we are deeply indebted to the Church of England’s great choral foundations, which we both emulate and rival, for this wonderful repertoire.

Collect:

Almighty God, who hast given us thy only-begotten Son to take our nature upon him and as at this time to be born of a pure virgin: Grant that we, being regenerate and made thy children by adoption and grace, may daily be renewed by thy Holy Spirit; through the same our Lord Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Spirit ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

Fr Turner | 11:00 pm Solemn Eucharist of the Nativity

Sunday, November 27, 2016

THE FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT

Advent Sunday is the start of a new church year. At Saint Thomas, we celebrate Advent Sunday with a Procession at 11am and 4pm.

Advent puts past and future in the present moment and asks us to prepare, not for a distant future (for we know not when) but as if the future is today, because it is. Christ has already won the victory. So we are reminded of his incarnation, and wait for him to come again, even as we feed on him in the present moment through the Word and through the Eucharist, that is to say through Jesus Christ, the word made flesh.

As you contemplate what is, was, and is to come, consider any of these advent sermons in the archive.

Collect:

Almighty God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which thy Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the quick and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Fr Turner | 11:00 am Advent Procession & Choral Eucharist

Thursday, November 24, 2016

THANKSGIVING DAY

Though Thanksgiving is a holiday by annual Presidential proclamation and has developed through the great moments of American history, it is by no means restricted to the blessings of the national, political sphere. It is also deeply personal and profoundly spiritual, rooted in the soil of Holy Scripture and the faith of all believers in God.

Thanksgiving is a powerful, positive disposition of the soul. It is a grace we can receive, a habit we can learn, and a virtue we can acquire. And we can start by counting our blessings. Start off the holiday right: join us at church as we give thanks to God at 11am.

Collect:

Almighty and gracious Father, we give thee thanks for the fruits of the earth in their season and for the labors of those who harvest them. Make us, we beseech thee, faithful stewards of thy great bounty, for the provision of our necessities and the relief of all who are in need, to the glory of thy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Fr Turner | 11:00 am Solemn Eucharist

Sunday, November 20, 2016

CHRIST THE KING

Fittingly, the church year ends with Jesus "seated at the right hand of God the Father, and he shall come again to judge the quick and the dead." The following week a new chuch year begins with Advent Sunday, which is also a time of great anticipation. The great Advent Procession reaches its climax with the singing of "come thou redeemer of the earth."

And so we end the year waiting for Jesus to come, and we begin the church year waiting for Jesus to come. And all the while, Jesus already is.

As you consider the mystery of the One who was, is, and is to come, you might find these sermons in the archive helpful:

Where We're Going (2011) by Fr Austin
The Kingship of Christ (2011) by Fr Fletcher
A Different Warrior King (2009) by Fr Mead
Christ the King, and the Stranger (2008) by Fr Mead
Life with Christ the King (2007) by Fr Austin
The King's Highway: Of Judgment (2006) by Fr Andrew
Christ the King, Love Almighty (2005) by Fr Mead
An Invitation to Join the Penitent Thief (2004) by Fr Mead

Collect:

Almighty and everlasting God, whose will it is to restore all things in thy well-beloved Son, the King of kings and Lord of lords: Mercifully grant that the peoples of the earth, divided and enslaved by sin, may be freed and brought together under his most gracious rule; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

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