… Here endeth the lesson.
Not the film starring Sidney Poitier, but rather the real story from which the film got it’s title. Since the beginning of human history, humans have strived to take control of their destinies – this striving has been in vain. To learn why click here.
As often as we might pray, we have to recognize the superficiality of them. These type of prayers are trite when measured against the collect for purity that I use to begin our service every Sunday…
“Almighty God, unto whom all hearts are open, all desires known and from whom no secrets are hid . . .”
There is no hiding anything from the all-powerful God mentioned in that prayer. The God mentioned in that prayer knows our innermost secrets. The God mentioned in that prayer knows the darkest thoughts in our minds and imaginations. He knows the things we won’t divulge to even our oldest and closest friend. In fact, he knows our thoughts before we do.
This raises the question… if God already knows… What’s the point of prayer? For the answer to that question, click here.
The beginning of every service of Holy Communion is designed to convince you that you are, in fact, a sinner… and a sinner in dire need of God’s forgiveness. Most Sundays we hear Jesus’ summary of the Law. Once a month we rehearse the Ten Commandments. Regardless, the point is the same – God has moral standards, we have not lived up to them and we are all here in church today to deal with this fact.
In today’s Gospel lesson, a man wants to know is the bare minimum required to stay on God’s good side. In short, the man is looking for Jesus to tell him how he can coast into heaven with as little effort as possible.
What did Jesus tell this “justified” man? Click here.
This morning’s collect begins, Almighty and everlasting God, who is always more ready to listen than we are to pray, and is always willing to give us more than we desire or deserve.
Jesus spends a lot of time performing physical healings on people. It is clear, especially in the Gospel of St. Mark, that his ability to heal and to cast out demons was the main way he attracted people. They would come to him because they had heard of His miracles and to some extent wanted to see a show, a spectacle, and maybe even a stoning. Regardless, the crowds would come for the show, and that would make them more receptive to His preaching and teaching.
Miracles, teaching and prophesies reinforce each another. Prophesies tell us what’s going to happen. Miracles attract people who then hear the teaching which explains the miracles, which in turn makes them more receptive to the possibility of miracles.
The church follows the same outline Jesus did. The Church offers preaching and teaching, and miracles come through the sacraments and in God’s answers to our prayers. Sadly, we see the major sacraments of baptism and Holy Communion performed so often that we forget that they are, in fact, miracles. It is extraordinary that someone dies and rises again when he is baptized – and that bread and wine become the body of and blood of Christ. To hear the rest of this sermon, please click here.