Church of the AscensionAug 22, 2022
If we think we are living in act five—the end times—and allowing fear to drive our beliefs and choices, then we are missing out on the joy, opportunity, and creative nature that is the church. Most of all, we are missing out on nurturing our relationship with the one who shapes us as the work of his hands: the Father in which we are the clay and he is the potter.
When we feed, give drink, visit, welcome, and cloth the stranger we do this to Jesus because we are all created in our beloved maker’s image and so are created with his light and life in us. While we all are a little bit goat and we all are a little bit sheep, I think Jesus is calling us this morning to be his sheep in the world as we seek to spread his love in a world full of goats.
Hope and Possibility
That is the invitation we are always being offered by God. The invitation to live in this world from a position of hope instead of fear, from possibility instead of doubt.
The kingdom of heaven summons us to new life, active waiting in hope, and renewed vigor in faith. The best part of all of this is that Jesus is preparing a huge feast for us. A feast that we are all invited to. The real truth is that the door is always open for us at all times, day or night, but we must be prepared to enter that door when the time comes.
All Saints' Sunday
Jesus reminds us through the beatitudes that this life is not an easy one but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a joyful one. Blessed are we when we do not allow the distractions of the world to keep us from dying to false self and embracing our true self in joy and wonder; when we embrace the spirit of all the saints as a little child might receive them and claim our true inheritance in the kingdom of God.
Jesus shows us that what is most important is that we give our hearts to God and the rest will follow. In giving our hearts to God, our motivations will be good. We won’t always get it right but in loving God our intentions will be good.
Confirmation Sunday with Rt. Rev. Dr. Glenda Curry.
God gives us fertile soil in which to grow in the rich relationships that we are given as caretakers. Our family and friends, our church, our work relationships, and social groups are all fertile grounds of connection that we are called to nurture. How are we doing with our harvest?
Blessing of the Animals
With everything going on today in our lives, I ask you to take a moment and be wholly present here today and bless all of these precious creatures God gave us. Remove those outside distractions because they will still be there when we are done. And remember, there is a God who is fully present in all our days and all our moments. Good and Bad, God is fully present with us.
Eat the Worms
We can choose to pout and sing songs like, “Nobody loves me, everybody hates me…” and eat the worms of dissatisfaction and disengagement or we can choose to give as God gives to each of us. We can choose to be offensive in our grace—giving in such a way that is unexpected, even to ourselves. The parable Jesus tells this morning is one of equality in the eyes of God. It is also one of choice—we can choose to be the laborers who rise early and get to work—giving fully of ourselves and expecting fully of God.
Forgiveness is the Attitude of the Strong
While there must be an effort on our part to seek reconciliation with ourselves and with those whom we have wronged, we are called to recognize our own humanity so that we may seek and serve that same humanity in others.
Rolling in Dead Fish
The goal of the church, of those who belong to the salvific community of Christ, is to embody the holiness of God in life and witness. We do that by being the place of return; an open and inviting place that praises one another for our willingness to return to God—even and especially when that choice is hard. We don’t go to church to avoid the devil; we go to church to grow in our love of God and one another.
Bearing the Cross
Cross-bearing does not have to mean what it meant for Jesus: the price is already paid for in his blood. For most of us today, cross-bearing means serving others with compassion. Because all of us are cross-bearers, and all of us are gods’ allies. And, when we take up our cross and faithfully follow Jesus without worldly distractions, we find ourselves resurrected to a new life in many different ways.
Son of Man
God doesn’t perceive us as sinners in need of redemption. He knows us to be his children. Our perception as sinners is a name we give ourselves. And in so doing, we have lost the awareness of who we truly are.
Fountains of Youth
When Jesus doesn’t respond to us in the way we want, what does our pursuit of him look like? Are we willing to accept the miracles he gives and continue to pursue him even when the miracles he gives are not the miracles we expected?
Walking on Water
We laugh because God laughs too.
We must open our eyes and see the world as it is, as a beloved child of God. We must let God's love transfigure our hearts and then take that love down from the mountain and bring it into the world to share.
Pass or Fail
As recipients of God’s love, we are called to in turn share that love with all those whom we encounter. This is the work of building the kingdom.
Heroes & Heroines
Our stories are how we understand who we are, and what we strive for in the world.
Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seed you plant
Be Christopher Robin
It it better to hurt with the truth than comfort with a lie.
Life is a Pilgrimage
The Christian life is a pilgrimage from earth to heaven, and our task is to take as many as possible with us as we make this journey.
The Trail of Tears... And Hope
Hope makes room for love. It liberates us, freeing us from our fears. It unites us, breaking down the barriers that isolate us from one another. Hope is about casting vision. The more we share in hope, the brighter the light will shine. Hope knows the shadow of darkness, but it does not linger there.
Beautiful Sunsets Need Cloudy Skies
Notice those little signs from God that help strengthen your faith and continue your call to Follow.
In the Beginning
As people of the Trinity, we know that the only way to live in unity is by celebrating our diversity and turning our hearts to the possibility and promise that God’s very creation offers us.
The Day of Pentecost
Come Holy Spirit upon all of us this Day! Like a mighty rushing wind that blows through those doors and ignites that flame within all of our hearts today and forevermore.
What is Prayer?
Jesus wants to share a gift with those who follow him that is only realized through relationship with the Father that will be achieved through the Holy Spirit.
The Challenge of Faith
We may all wrestle with God from time to time, but in doing so we realize that we have never let go of God, and He has never let go of us.
The Way, The Truth, The Life
If we live the way Jesus lives then we don’t have to worry about finding our way to the kingdom—we will already be a part of it.
The Lord is our Shepherd
Jesus is trying to keep all of us in a community together. A community that loves each other and looks out for each other. Not a community that looks at differences but a beloved community that embraces differences and grows together, stronger as one.
Maybe Jesus swag comes to us in grace, that unearned and underserved love of Jesus that everyone sees in how we love and care for our neighbor.
Be an act of God's presence in someone else’s life
Jesus is the Life of the Party
May your Easter be filled with love, laughter, and joy!
Palm Sunday to the Passion
From king to cross. It is finished. Yet, when Jesus breathes his last, we know that truly it has just begun.
The Gifts That God Offers
The Lord has written the promise of resurrection, not in books alone, but in every leaf in springtime.
Even When We See, Our Sin Remains
Many have sight but few have vision.
The Woman at the Well
Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty.
Joe Versus the Volcano
Find joy in the little things in life because one day you may look back and realize they were the big things. Appreciate the blessings God gives us all.
You are Enough
Though our feelings come and go, God's love for us does not.
It is not what you have but what you give that brings happiness.
A Beacon of Hope
Nothing can dim the light that shines from within.
Walk a Mile in Someone Else's Boots
Sometimes you need to look at life from a different perspective.
A Thousand Points of Light
There is light in darkness, you just have to find it.
I Am Well Pleased
Our relationship with God is transformational, not transactional. It is a partnership in which we grow together, rooted in covenant.
What's in a Name?
God ensures we know his name, not because we might exercise power or control over God, but because by knowing his name, we are granted power by him to spread that name through all the world.
Being fearless doesn't mean living a life devoid of fear, but living a life in which our fears don't hold us back.
Hallmark Happy Endings
Transformation is a journey without a final destination.
Look Back as Long as You Keep Moving Forward
It's fine to look at the past as long as we learn from it and don't dwell in it.
What We Can All Learn From Corporal Louis LeBeau
The ability to cast light into even the deepest and darkest aspects of life should be cherished.
An Evensong of Thanksgiving
Rabbi Scott Looper gives the homily in a joint Thanksgiving service between Episcopal Church of the Ascension, Temple Beth Or, and First United Methodist Church.