4th Sunday After Pentecost

“The haughtiness of man shall be humbled, and the pride of men shall be brought low!”

In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.

We normally like to talk about the new life that our Christianity brings us, which is good and true. As has recently crashed into our reality we have been painfully made aware of the presence of death.

We always know about it, we generally live in complete denial of its presence, and do everything we can do to skirt the issue. As our present public health situation has bludgeoned our reality, death has gotten right up in our faces.

As per usually the Church comes in and gives us the message we need, possibly not exactly what we want. Our life of Christian faith does not shy away from death at all, because Christ destroyed the terminal nature of death.

We know it, but we do not always act like we know it. In your very Baptism in the name of our Triune God you died to the world in Christ Jesus, that you might have fullness of life just as Christ Jesus was resurrected to the Glory of God the Father.

So the fact is St. Paul is telling us, yes we are going to die, and already have in a sense sacramentally in our Baptism. If you want to share in Christ’s resurrection, then you also share in his death. You can also say, Oh death where is your victory, Oh death where is your sting? Because it is gone. Those who are marked for the Father by Christ do not really die, they are alive in and through Christ Jesus.

The history of great prayers of our Church confirm this fact. The Litany of the Saint? Ora Pro nobis Deum. The absolutely dead do not Ora Pro Nobis, therefore they are not dead. They are not dead, and it is not over with the grave. Not by a long shot. “we believe in the Resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come.” Do we not? We do.

At the end of the day St. Paul’s letter to the Romans is not at all about the Church at Rome. It is not about St. Paul, and it is not about you or I. It is about God, and what follows the realization of God’s internal righteousness.

St. Paul as you know was a controversial figure in his day and could be a very polarizing figure. He is just the sort of man a peace-loving Priest such as myself would not likely want to come to my town and Parish. You know he is going to get into it with all and sundry. Sure, he is brilliant, an Apostle, great Church founder, Holy, and in general liable to cause all sorts of problems for me after he leaves my scene. No doubt the Church at Rome had many of these same misgivings about St. Paul coming their way.

We have no clue who founded the Church at Rome, it was done exceedingly early on though, and St. Peter was likely there with St. Mark when this letter from Paul made it way to Rome. Peter and Paul will both be killed there in a few years. There is some controversy as to what sort of Gospel St. Paul is preaching, and many have their doubts.

Paul knows a lot about this Church and mentions 26 members by name. He is making the point to the Church at Rome that the Gospel is not this or that exponents of the message. In fact the Gospel/Good News he brings is the Gospel of God himself in Christ. Christ is God’s Gospel.

A bit later the Church continues this message in the Gospel of Mathew which we hear today. “He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life will find it.” “he who receives me receives he who sent me.”

Listen to these beautiful words from the 1662 BCP Rite of Baptism. “Dearly Beloved, for as much as all men are conceived and born in sin, and that our savior Christ sayeth none can enter into the Kingdom of God except be regenerate , and born anew of water and the Holy Ghost; I beseech you to call upon God the Father through our Lord Jesus Christ that of his bounteous mercy he will grant to this Child that thing which by nature he cannot have that he may be Baptized with water, and the Holy Ghost, and received into Christ’s Holy Church, and be made a lively member of the same.” Think about it. You can not be born anew, unless you die.

The Christian walk is a process of dying to the self and sin, while becoming more and more an imitation of Christ Jesus. Conversatio Morum is the old term for it. It is a continual conversion process that does not reach its culmination until this life is over.

This again is why “one and done theology never works” The great Anglican Bishop Lancelot Andrews nailed it for us when somebody once asked him if he was saved. He responded in Greek. “I have been saved, I am being saved, and I will be saved.” That shows his profound understanding of the process of being Christian.

You died to the world and sin through your Baptism, you will continue to die to such as you walk your Christian Journey of faith, you will suffer a mortal death, but you will not be dead because Christ has conquered death that you might live eternally In him with him and though him to the Glory of God the Father.

In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.

Amen.

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  • July 14, 2020
    • Divine StitchesDivine StitchesTime: 6:00 pm
      Divine Stitches is a sewing ministry. We provide simple blankets for the First Responders in the Burkburnett area as well as work on our own personal projects.
  • July 15, 2020
    • Bible StudyBible StudyTime: 6:00 pm
      Grow your knowledge of the Bible and theology with Fr. John every Wednesday night.
  • July 19, 2020
    • Christian Ed. & Holy EucharistChristian Ed. & Holy EucharistTime: 9:30 am
      Christian Education @ 9:30AM
      Holy Eucharist @ 10:30AM
  • July 21, 2020
    • Divine StitchesDivine StitchesTime: 6:00 pm
      Divine Stitches is a sewing ministry. We provide simple blankets for the First Responders in the Burkburnett area as well as work on our own personal projects.
  • July 22, 2020
    • Bible StudyBible StudyTime: 6:00 pm
      Grow your knowledge of the Bible and theology with Fr. John every Wednesday night.
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