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Trinity Sunday 2017

Our new vicar – Rev. David Ferner – has been gracing us with some wonderful poetry.  The following are two pieces with direct reference to the Trinity were part of our celebration of Trinity Sunday this past week!

Trinity Is A Poem – Michael Coffey
(from his blog – http://www.ocotillopub.org/search?q=Trinity)

Trinity is a poem uttered free verse as cosmic love gift
sending sound waves through earth to hurl speech
into the ionosphere stirring radio waves to hum

Trinity is a synchronistic dream we and God have
nightly about the interface of human and divine
the matrix of connections between holy and common

Trinity is a syncopated counterpoint of melody lines
referencing each other and making music as sonorous
as whales and pulsars and seismic waves all held in tension

then someone inscribed the free utterance in indelible ink
and someone analyzed the shared dream with Freudian precision
and someone forced the messy melodies smooth in straight time

behold: just when they think they finished the job and
brush the dust of such work off their hands and rest
Trinity dances out the door and finds willing partners to twirl

 

Trinity Sunday by Malcolm Guite

In the Beginning, not in time or space,

But in the quick before both space and time,

In Life, in Love, in co-inherent Grace,

In three in one and one in three, in rhyme,

In music, in the whole creation story,

In His own image, His imagination,

The Triune Poet makes us for His glory,

And makes us each the other’s inspiration.

He calls us out of darkness, chaos, chance,

To improvise a music of our own,

To sing the chord that calls us to the dance,

Three notes resounding from a single tone,

To sing the End in whom we all begin;

Our God beyond, beside us and within.

Advent 1 2013

Fr. Charles Blauvelt, Vicar

A Advent 1

St. Matthew 24:36-44

 

Gathering his disciples on a hilltop far removed from the noise and haste of the bustling city, Jesus cautioned them to be ready.  As Noah in the days before the flood, as the faithful worker in the field, as the householder in the middle of the night, “you also must be ready, for the Son of man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”

 

Without having taken a single step outside the confines of his tiny homeland nestled at the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea, Jesus knew that things were going to get difficult for his followers everywhere.  He saw the signs in the world around him, and warned them to be prepared, to be ready, to be alert through the times of darkness and doubt.  Forces, both religious and political, were already mounting in strength against the small band of believers.  Temptations were beginning to lure some away, including the one who would eventually betray him.  Fear had claimed the allegiance of many hundreds, and would continue to do so even in the best of times.  Disillusionment was waiting in the wings to snatch the new-found faith of others.  And the first of many times of persecution would soon be visited upon the few who remained.

 

If nothing else, the season of advent flies in the face of our yearly plunge into cultural denial, and connects us those same forces of darkness that still infest our world, and afflict our daily lives.  A cursory glance at the recent headlines reminds us that the reality of human evil abounds.  U.S. soldiers are blown up by terrorists, killing and maiming hundreds of innocents—all in the name of God.  In Bagdad a car bomb explodes, and in Afghanistan news of yet another massacre leaves the prospects for peace at an even greater distance.  Young children are assaulted and murdered in schools and houses next door by teenagers and adults who show neither remorse for their actions, nor concern for the pain and heartache they cause others.  And pictures of incredible suffering and devastation left by incredibly violent storms in the Philippines leave us feeling afraid and out of control.

 

In all of this, Jesus reminds us to be ready.

 

A little closer to home, over morning coffee we are greeted by the unsettling news of a neighbor being beaten and robbed right down the street.  Less and a week later an armed robbery closes the bank, with rumors of a bomb scare to boot!  All this follows close on the heels of similar crimes at neighborhood convenience stores, a shooting here, a mugging there.

 

Through all of this, Jesus counsels us to be ready.

 

“How?” we may well ask; ‘how do we stand ready through all of this chaos erupting, not only around the world at large, but also right here in our own back yard?  Do we carry on as others do, and pretend that it’s not really there?  Or do we wall ourselves away, turning our homes into fortresses with alarm systems and trunks full of automatic weapons?  Could that be what Jesus, the Prince of Peace, means by being ready?

 

While these may be the answers which some people adopt for their lives, I would certainly challenge the notion that the same holds true for Christians.  Beginning with the disciples themselves, and continuing throughout history right to our present day, faithful followers of Jesus the Christ have struggled to avoid falling victim to the fear-inspired mindset that leads to a denial of the evils of life on the one hand, or armed confrontation with those evils on the other.  As St. Paul instructed us so many years ago, the Christian path is to know the hour, to know the realities of life, but to live according to a different reality; to “cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light,” that we may “conduct ourselves becomingly as in the day.”

 

So where do we find this armor of light that helps us in standing ready?  Where are whatever tools we need not only to survive the current chaos, but to know the hope of salvation promised by Christ?  Well, my friends, you’ve come to the right place.  For the answer is sitting all around you.  Leaving us much more than a set of teachings for the good times and the bad, Christ Jesus left us Himself—the Body of Christ, the Church.  Our readiness for the advent of God in our lives depends to a large extent on the surety of our connection with this, the Body of God’s Son, right here at Holy Cross.

 

As we have rehearsed since the moment of Christ’s Ascension, the way to remain on a firm and faithful footing amid all the craziness of human existence is to build our lives in the company of other faithful people, that together we may remain focused on Christ and healthy in our approach to life on earth.  For us, the secret is in a faithful balance—structuring our lives that all bases are covered, that all needs are met, allowing faith to form the foundation of our days.

 

Several years ago, Fr. Oehmig of the University of the South offered some helpful hints for discovering this balance in building a faithful life, one day at a time.  In ten simple steps we are connected with one another, able to “conduct ourselves becomingly as in the day.”

 

  1. “In a conscious, sincere way, daily turn your life over to the care and protection of God, asking for the empowerment to do what God has given you to do.”  Surrender, which lies at the heart of every prayer, recognizes that we are cradled in the arms of holy love every minute of even the most stressful days, leading us lean on one another for help and support.

 

  1. “Read something from Scripture daily, even if it is but one verse.  In a planned or unrehearsed way, it’s up to you.  And when God presents a chance to do so, share your insights or questions with another Christian or two.”

 

  1. “Go to church at least weekly.  Forget being the Church without going to church.  Has anybody ever come into a deep Christian commitment watching ‘Dateline’, [the Today Show], or slogging through the mud on a football field?”

 

  1. “Forgive whoever has offended you, regardless of the quality of his or her repentance.”  Resentment or unforgiveness blocks any possibility of finding joy in life.

 

  1. “Give more money than you think you can, with no thought of the way it is going to be spent or how you are going to be repaid.  Remember the root of [the word] ‘miserable’ is ‘miser.’”   It is only when we give of ourselves that we can know how abundantly blessed we truly are.

 

  1. “Tell someone you love that you love them.”  Don’t rationalize or assume that your words of love are unnecessary, even if you see them every day.  Stay connected.

 

  1. “Pray for someone you dislike to be blessed in abundance.  Very similar to forgiveness, praying for another is a good way to get unhooked from your favorite enemy and your favorite bad feeling.”

 

  1. At home, at the store, even at work, “Say ‘no’ to something you feel angry or depressed after doing, and ‘yes’ to something you feel happy about after doing.  Forget if it’s religious or not.”  Half the time, as C.S. Lewis reminds us, God’s joyous presence with us comes as a complete surprise.

 

  1. “Allow any portion of the day, however serious, to be interrupted by a joke.”  Even the armor of light needs a lift now and then.  And,

 

  1. “Discover at least seven ways to play that cost less than $5.00.  I know this will send MasterCard and the shopping malls into apoplexy [especially at this time of year], but it is possible—and necessary—to do.”

 

It’s all there, my friends—all that we need to keep our armor of light shining brightly.  And the people we need to help us stay ready are all here, here in the Body of Christ.  For it is in coming together, striving together to keep all things in balance, that we remain ready together—ready to ward off the forces that would pull us from the way of Christ, ready to welcome the Lord Jesus upon his glorious return.

 

Let us pray:

 

Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness and put on the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which you 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 living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through Him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

November 13, 2011 Sermon – 22nd Sunday of Pentecost

a sermon by
The Rev. Canon Charles LaFond
Proper 28, November 13, 2011
Holy Cross, Weare, NH

When I was a child, I had a collection of post cards from my grandmother. One day, a friend, staying at my house as our guest, ripped the corners off most of them to steal the stamps. When I saw what had happened, I confronted him and he said he did not think I would miss them. The relationship was permanently damaged. That experience was my first exposure to what I do now as my life’s work – encouraging this conversation we are having in the church around stewardship. I did not love my friend less, however, I was always aware that there was less joy in our friendship after that. When we hold back our pledge, it is not the love between us and our god which is sapped – rather it is some of the joy that is reduced. And the irony is that it is OUR joy which is withered by the self-worship of that particular flavor of greed.

This morning’s readings from the prophet Zephaniah, from Paul’s letter to the Philippians and from the Gospel are all pointing to right relationship. The entirety of the Holy scriptures of the Hebrews and the Christians can be summed up as a story about the difficult relationship between God and God’s created humans. And this set of readings is no different. Continue reading ‘November 13, 2011 Sermon – 22nd Sunday of Pentecost’

October 23, 2011 – 19th Sunday after Pentecost

HOLY CROSS CHURCH, WEARE, NH
The Rt. Rev. Arthur E. Walmsley

Leviticus 19:1-2, 15-18; Psalm 1; I Thessalonians 2:1-8; Matthew 22:34-46

“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?”

To begin: a story. It took place on a July day in the summer of 1988, twenty-three years ago. In Connecticut where I was then the bishop, we had a summer camp, Camp Washington, which offered a full summer of programs for kids from grade school through high school. I was standing on the steps of the dining hall on a bright summer afternoon when he came up to me, threw his arms around me, gave me a hug and said, “You are my most favorite bishop!” I watched as his beaming smile was mirrored by the gentle care and affection with which he was surrounded by fellow campers and staff members. Danny was a young man who had Down’s Syndrome. His greeting reminded me of the day on which I had confirmed him, when he had stood in the midst of the congregation, proud with his daddy and his mother. He called out the best in those around him by his trust, his affection, and his smile. He was a gift to us. Continue reading ‘October 23, 2011 – 19th Sunday after Pentecost’

October 9, 2011 – 17th Sunday after Pentecost

by The Rt. Rev. Arthur E. Walmsley

Exodus 32:1-14; Psalm 23;  Philippians 4:1-9; Matthew 22:1-14

The telephone rang just as we were sitting down to dinner.  Often such calls come from someone trying to sell us something — new siding for our house, maybe, or cheaper car insurance — I seldom remember what it was five minutes later.  I sometimes get irritated when the seller is insistent, even though my better judgment says that the caller is probably low-paid and has taken the job because he — usually it’s a he — because he needed work  and is paid by the volume and success of his calls.  So I try not to be abrupt.

This time the call came from a pollster wanting my views on the economic situation and the upcoming election.  He was well-spoken and obviously well-trained, and I was hooked.   Continue reading ‘October 9, 2011 – 17th Sunday after Pentecost’

September 25, 2011 – 15th Sunday of Pentecost

by The Rt. Rev. Arthur E. Walmsley

Philippians 2:1-13; Psalm 25:1-9; Matthew 21:23-32

“By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?”  Matthew 21:23

“Father Walmsley, when are you going to get your damn clergy out of my office?”  The speaker was a leader in the United States Senate, Everett Dirksen of Illinois, a man whose prominent place in the Congress and whose vote would make all the difference in the cause for which we were there.  He knew the answer to his question.  We would stop our lobbying and celebrate his change of heart when the Congress finally passed the civil rights bill of 1965, one which established voting rights for African American citizens in those southern states where they were disenfranchised.  Continue reading ‘September 25, 2011 – 15th Sunday of Pentecost’

September 18, 2011 – 14th Sunday of Pentecost

CELEBRATION OF HOLY CROSS DAY

by The Rt. Rev. Arthur E. Walmsley

I Corinthians 1:18-24, Psalm 98; John 3:13-17

“God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” — John 3:17

One of the most widely quoted texts from scripture is John 3:16.  Will someone quote it for me:

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have everlasting life.

No wonder that it is such a popular summary of  Christian belief.  You have seen it everywhere: Continue reading ‘September 18, 2011 – 14th Sunday of Pentecost’

September 11, 2011 – 13th Sunday after Pentecost

by The Rev. Darrell Huddleston

Gen. 50:15-21; Ps. 103:1-13; Rom. 14:1-12; Mt. 18: 21-35

Two little boys had a brother who was a bully.  He was always beating on them.  One day coming home from Sunday School they were discussing the morning lesson which had been about forgiving seventy times seven.  They were earnestly striving to apply this to their older brother.  Finally, one suggested:  “We’ll keep a notebook, and write down every time we forgive him.”  “Yeh,” said the younger of the two, “and when it reaches 490 he had better watch out.”

The ancient rabbis said three pardons were adequate.  Peter went them four better and said seven.  His response was most likely said as repudiation of the 7-fold curse in Genesis.  So Peter’s answer seems quite generous especially when we find no mention in the text of any repentance by the offender.  But, neither the rabbis nor Peter had their math correct, and neither did the two little boys, because when we are counting then we really haven’t understood what Jesus meant. Continue reading ‘September 11, 2011 – 13th Sunday after Pentecost’

September 4, 2011 – Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost

by The Rev. Darrell Huddleston

Ex. 12:1-14; Ps. 149; Rm. 13:8-14; Mt. 18:15-20

In the Protestant churches of Colonial America the worship services used to last for three hours, with the sermon taking an hour or so of that time.  The rest of the time was for prayer, scripture, psalms and censuring wayward members.  If you had been identified as being guilty of some sin, you were brought before the congregation and asked to repent.  You repented or faced public censure, perhaps exclusion from the church for a time, and possibly excommunication.

Such a practice is practically unheard of today in churches in this country.  I say practically because in the hills and hollers of Appalachia the custom of  ‘churching’ someone still exists in some conservative congregations.  The term means you are thrown out of the church because of your unrepentant sinful ways. The Amish still shun those who won’t repent after they have been confronted.  They are shunned not only by their church but also by their own family.  Continue reading ‘September 4, 2011 – Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost’

August 21, 2011 – 10th Sunday After Pentecost

by The Rev. Darrell Huddleston

Exodus 1:8-2:10; Ps. 124; Rom. 12:1-8; Mt. 16:13-20

The conversation between Peter and Jesus has been the source of division in the Christian community.  It all centers on what Jesus meant by the phrase “you are Peter and on this rock I will build my church.” Going back to the early days of the church there have been four interpretations of this conversation, represented by four early church fathers, all of whom lived in the first two or three centuries after Christ.

Origen (185-254) Peter is only a ‘type’ of every true Christian.

Tertullian (170-220) Peter is the rock.

Theodore of Mopsuestia (350-428), Peter’s ‘confession’ is the rock.

St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430) Christ is the rock.

Some of the early church fathers and The Church in Rome chose to follow Tertullian’s view that Peter was the Rock, then expanded it to mean he was the first Pope and that all bishops of Rome (Popes) are the inheritors of that position. Continue reading ‘August 21, 2011 – 10th Sunday After Pentecost’