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.
Sunday Jul 10, 2022
Sunday Jul 10, 2022
Sunday Jul 10, 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 IV 2022
"Living our Our Christian Ideals"
July 10, 2022
There is a quote about “freedom” that I love, which reads, “Freedom is a fragile thing and it's never more than one generation away from extinction. It is not ours by way of inheritance; it must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation, for it comes only once to a people” (Ronald Reagan, 1967). In other words, the life we all desire does not and will not come automatically. There’s work to be done and realities to be built and guarded by each of us. But as has become an all too familiar reality, it’s hard to find people to work.
Nearly fifty-five years before this speech, GK Chesterton put out his book What’s Wrong with the Word, and part of his answer was both religion and politics love to spout out ideals, but they stop working toward their ideals before the world can benefit from them. So, what’s wrong with the world isn’t religion or politics per se but rather the people spouting out religion and politics aren’t living out and up to the ideals of their espoused religion or politics. People will sign up and talk about it, but once the work becomes too demanding it becomes someone else’s problem and responsibility.
Now, this morning we do not want to talk politics, and there is no need, because religion is just us much at fault for our current predicament. Of religion, Chesterton said, “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left on tried.” A lot of people have heard Jesus’ call and began to follow him, but then instead of personally putting in the work to become men and women who truly love God and their neighbors, they made it as far as a church pew and said, “Phew. This is far enough” (Like our old GPSs which lead us into the middle of nowhere, their internal GPS said, “You have reached your destination” even though they clearly haven’t made it). And the world suffers because of it.
If we really want to see where the hammer gets dropped and people walk off the worksite, look no further than our Gospel reading this morning. We know that Jesus is building a church (Matt.16:18) and that people are to be that church’s living stones (1Pet.2:5), but today’s reading says not just any kind of stone will do – only the ones which Jesus has shaped into being generous and forgiving will suffice.
If we want to be a part of His Church that brings heaven’s ideals to earth making them a reality, we will have to allow Him to chisel off the parts that do not fit. Like freedom, revival and spiritual blessing are not inherited, only the testimony of those who have gone before us who tell us what practices procure them is handed down. We simply must choose to follow their good examples or not.
They followed Jesus all the way, but we too often want to set our tools down and say, “I have come far enough. I am merciful enough. I have given enough. I have forgiven enough.” And because of it the temple we were going to be a part of never gets too far off the ground.
Yet, Jesus doesn’t call us to do anything He has not done. He doesn’t espouse things He Himself isn’t willing to work toward.
As the Way, the Truth, and the Life, He simply calls us to begin judging life according to His truth (not according to our standards) – and as many of us know, speaking the truth (even when done in love, Eph.4:15) causes many of our temporal activities and acquaintances to be chiseled away from our lives, but once it happens, eternal ones can be sought.
As the One Who saves us from the sins we have committed against God (Matt.1:21), He calls us to begin to save others from the sins they have committed against us – not perpetually rubbing it in their faces, but letting it go so that eternal friendships can be formed.
As the One who emptied Himself of unfathomable riches so that in becoming Poor, we might become rich (2Cor.8:9), He calls us to quit squandering our temporal resources on self-indulgent gratification and to become generous toward those eternal things that last (Lk.16:1-9).
This is the work we are to “spend and be spent in” answering His call and allowing Him to chisel away our judgmentalism, unforgiveness, and stinginess, until we are shaped into stones of forgiveness and generosity – cut to align with Him and others.
This, of course, is the most adequate understanding of why a person becomes a disciple of Jesus – why they would begin submitting to him as their master. It is an apprenticeship to become like Him and shaped into His likeness.