What would it be like to grab a brewski with Bishop Lancelot Andrewes? Fr. Michael and Fr. Allen of St. Michael the Archangel Anglican Church Charolette invite you to the table for a drink and to discuss the works of this quintessential Anglican and famous Caroline Divine in order to see what he would have to say about the world in which we live.
Monday Sep 26, 2022
A Sunday Chaser on Living Faithfully Today 9/25/22
Monday Sep 26, 2022
Monday Sep 26, 2022
When we are not drinking brews with Andrewes and discussing his sermons, we are often preaching ourselves. Here is Fr. Allen’s sermon from Trinity XV 2022
"Living Today in Faithfulness not Fearfulness"
Preached at our sister-parish All Souls in Asheboro, NC on September 25, 2022
The future has a way of preventing us from seeing the present accurately and thus being able to act appropriately. It can both prevent us from seeing the truth, as well as keep us from living the truth. Some try to use an overly positive view of the future to mask the present (“He will be better tomorrow; even though he beat me today.” “Tomorrow, I will stop drinking; today isn’t who I really am”). Growing up watching cartoons, I distinctly remember one character who would say, “I will gladly pay you on Tuesday for a hamburger today.” He wasn’t going to pay; he wasn’t going to become the kind of person who would pay, even if he could.
Similarly, an overly negative view of the future can likewise prevent us from doing what needs to be done today. Simply by hearing news about the future, we can be stopped in our tracks by the fear and worry it can induce, and it will prevent us from becoming the kind of people we both want to be, and need to be. This is what Jesus is getting at in our Gospel Reading. He calls us to realize how an inappropriate perspective of the future can, and will, ruin the present and prevent us from taking care of what needs to be taken care of today. The necessities of today require action – actions that are necessary for forming the character we will need to able to take care of the future when it arrives.
The future fears which we imagine can cause us to shirk our responsibilities in the present and if we shirk the responsibilities in the present, it’s guaranteed that we will not be the people we need to be when the future arrives. This is why Jesus concludes this sermon of His with the parable of the Two Builders (7:24-27): He expects us put His instructions into practice today. Faithfulness today, not fearfulness, is the way to prepare for an uncertain future.
In this part of His sermon, however, He is shining His light of truth of just how inappropriate-views of the future cloud our judgment in the present. We know that we are called presently to love God and neighbor, but worry about being enough and having enough in the future can quickly lead us to start making excuses to both God and neighbor for withholding the acts of love we owe them today.
Throughout this sermon, Jesus teaches: we have to deal with our anger and resentment today, if we do not want to find ourselves in hell tomorrow. We have to address our wandering eye today, so we’re not faced with an affair and divorce tomorrow. We must address our discontentment today – which we try to numb by spending the majority of our income on things, experiences, and medications – so we are not faced with irreparable consequences tomorrow. We need to commit to Biblical generosity today if we are going to be able to be a part of the spread of Jesus’ Kingdom tomorrow.
Essentially, Jesus calls us to keep the main thing the main thing in the present (loving God and loving our neighbor), and if we do that today, the future we all long for will be ours: “it will be added unto you.” Negative views of the future can become self-fulfilling prophecies if they prevent us from doing what Christ calls us to do today. What does he call us to do? Our Prayer Books says it best on page 291, when it asks, “What is the bounden duty of a member of the Church?”: “Our bounden duty is to follow Christ, to worship God every Sunday in His Church; and to work and pray and give for the spread of His kingdom.”
If we are too busy today to work for this; if we are too unmotivated to pray for this; and if we are too anxious about the future to give to this, then we need to repent and believe afresh the Gospel which Jesus preaches here in His Sermon on the Mount.
All of Jesus’ commands work this way and are expected to be implemented today. Just as there is no baseball without spring training and football without offseason training, so there will be no Christian future for the man or woman who does follow Christ today. Do we want our Churches standing tomorrow, we must practice the faith today: working, praying, and giving for the spread of the kingdom.” And we come to the altar now to receive the grace, comfort, and assurance necessary to do just that.
For “The hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the father seeketh such to worship him.”
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