Friday, January 25, 2008

Sermon for 3 Epiphany

Sermon for 3 Epiphany
January 27, 2008
(Annual Meeting of Good Shepherd Parish)
Fr. Tim Fountain

Well, here’s our last day to chant the old Army cadence:
Everywhere we go
People want to know

Who we are

Where we come from

So we tell them

About Jesus…

About Jesus

Today’s Collect asks God for two particular blessings for our church:
+ That we will "proclaim" the Good News of Jesus
+ That the world will "perceive the glory of his marvelous works"
+ In other words, what the church says and does should always point to Jesus

We find this double gift of "saying and doing" in two of our lessons today:
+ Paul tells the Corinthians about the "message of the cross" and its active "power" for those who are finding Jesus (I Corinthians 1:10-18)

+ Jesus went about "proclaiming" his good news and demonstrating its power by healing the sick (Matthew 4:12-23)

This is a "both/and" message:
+ Some forms of Christianity are rightly faulted for talking about Jesus but not doing his marvelous works
+ Other forms of Christianity (and Episcopal churches often fall into this group) are rightly faulted for doing good works, but never pointing to Jesus as their source

Today our parish meets to hear about our Lord’s message and work for us in the coming year:
+ Growth by sharing Jesus with others and serving their needs in His power
+ Education and Fellowship that teach us more about who Jesus really is and how he is really present with us in the Holy Spirit
+ Lay Ministry that really helps each of us find our part in the living body of Christ, and to work with His power, for His glory
+ Outreach that surprises the community beyond our church with living signs of the Heavenly Father’s love and favor

Let us pray:
Heavenly Father, pour out your Holy Spirit upon the Annual Meeting of this parish. Where we are too much about words, give us works by which others can perceive the power and presence of Jesus. And when we are too much about works, give us words that point away from ourselves and to Jesus. We ask this for the sake of your Son, our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.


Anonymous said...

Well done, Tim+. Short, clear, and challenging. I'm sure the listeners appreciated the extreme brevity since they were staying for the annual meeting.

Rick Warren says one of the keys to a healthy church is maintaining a reasonable balance between the five biblical purposes of the Church (worship, fellowship, discipleship, ministry, and mission) as well as between the Great Commandment and the Great Commission. Your reminder or call to both evangelism and social outreach or practical ministry is a fine example of that crucial balance.

Please let us all know how the meeting turned out. For instance, what you reported as the highlights of the past year, and goals for the coming year etc.

May the Lord bless you all richly!

TLF+ said...

The meeting went very well. Like many churches in the 100 ASA range, we are viable - just .

I've asked the congregation (and I am happy to report that a number of lay leaders are supporting this) to pray from Ephesians 4:11-13. 11It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
My point is that Christ has already given all these gifts to the church - we need to "find and open" them. We need to ask Christ to guide us to true apostolic leadership, to give us prophets who can discern and speak God's message here and now, evangelists (they MUST be present - Christ has promised to provide them!), and of course pastors and teachers that bring ministry out beyond the limitations of any one priest.

And, we need to pray for these gifts so that we will attain the goals laid out in the verses - to turn us all into ministers of Christ, to build up the church, and to give us a unity in faith that takes us into Christ-likeness.

Anonymous said...

Amen to that. Thanks.
Keep up the good work.