Sixth Sunday of Easter 2020

The Truths of Christianity can be arrived at by reason alone, but they are never unreasonable!

In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

So very good to be here with you on this 6th Sunday of Easter, where has the time gone, and will we ever forget Eastertide 2020?

Just imagine being at the Areopagus in Athens in the 1st Century and having the courage to address the men of Athens in such bold terms. Thinking Greeks have long ago worked out many of the theological requirements of what God must be, in order to be God, and not a god.

Let’s jump forward to St. Anselm of Canterbury, 1033-1109, this is one directly in our Anglican tradition for sure. He came up with the idea that God must be that than which nothing greater can be conceived. If you are thinking of any deficit whatsoever, you are clearly not thinking of God proper.

An important concept here is that we can arrive at absolute truth via different methodologies, and this is not me being ecumenical at all. That is not being loose with the facts. One can equally cut down a tree with a saw, or an axe. The end result is the tree is cut down.

When the Greeks what to come to the correct conclusion about things theological they resort to systematic philosophy, which later becomes very key to systematic Theology in western Christendom.

When the Jewish people want to speak to the truth of what, and how God is they tend to tell stories to make their point. They use tools such a parables, much like Christ does in the Gospels. They like to compose and sing Psalms. Both methods are effective, but they are different. The work of the Christian Church will be to make the revelation given to the Jewish people understandable to the systematic thinkers in the Greco Roman world. This of course does happen. The stories of the Jewish people will have to withstand the philosophical scrutiny of the Greek mind, and in fact they do that in an amazing way. At the end of the historical day very few of the Jewish people convert to Christianity, but the Greek and Roman worlds come over to the faith by the droves. As well as huge numbers of the Celtic peoples who play a large role in the formation of our Anglican traditions and support the Christian cause to this day.

This is the sweet core of Christian Apologetics, you are called to better than good, and more charitable than Justice would demand.

Always be prepared to make a defense to any on who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence; and keep your conscience clear, so that, when you are abuse, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.”

What we are hearing in 1st Peter today is be so sharp and learned to defend the Christian faith at any turn, but really let your behavior and you way of life do the speaking much more than you words of defense. Right here in this little parish community of St. Johns, for sure let these sermons we deliver be within the confines of Orthodoxy, and congruent with the history of the proclamation of the Gospel of Christ. But even more let the life and actions of the people of this parish speak so much louder than their works, that anybody who would wish to take exception with their practices would be shamed by our peoples profound charity toward them.

By the time we get to todays Gospel we are in the arena of profound revelation given to men by Christ himself. As is so Jewish about the Christ when he teaches the Apostles in terms they can comprehend he tells a story about how reality is. Christ is the true vine, and the Father will tend this particular vine, and so far as I know with certainty, no other vine.

Abide in me and I in you.” “Apart from me you can do nothing” Read the Gospel.

This is why everything I said in the first part of this sermon makes sense. We start right here at the Ambo, and the Altar, that is in Word, and Sacrament. This is exactly how we follow the mandates of Christ going out into the world as a force of goodness and Charity.

Fr. Randy Rogers

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