Saturday, April 14, 2018

Second Sunday after Easter, April 15th, 2018

Second Sunday After Easter, April 15th, 2018

Now, I don't consider myself an authority on parenting by any means, but it seems to me that a lot of parents are making some mistakes when it comes to raising their children.  Now, I'm no "Dr. Spock" when it comes to raising children.  I just want to point that out, first and foremost.  But it seems to me that children need their parents to be there for them.  Parents need to be in their child's life.  Now, you're saying to yourself as you read that last statement:  "Thanks, Mr. Rocket Scientist, That's just common sense."  Well, yes, it certainly is common sense.  So let me try to explain what I mean.  From my perspective on things, I see a lot of parents equate "buying things" or "giving things" with spending time with their children.  It's not the same thing, first and foremost.   I have seen parents . . .  mom's and dad's  . . . . spend their hard-earned money to buy their children:  computers, toys, expensive shoes and/or clothing, etc. The problem is that a lot of these parents that are buying things for their children do not necessarily spend any time with their children.  That's the sticking point right there.  These parents equate "buying things"  . . . . even expensive things . . . . they equate this as the same thing as spending quality time with their children.  It's not the same thing and it never will be.  I have seen fathers, for example, who pride themselves on being there for their children and yet, ironically, they are never there.  In other words, the father is always away working or spending time with friends or taking care of business.   But on the other hand very often these fathers will be the ones who buy their children expensive shoes, TV's, games, clothes, etc., etc., etc.  Buying things for children.  . .. even if it's expensive things . . .  is not the same as spending time with your children.  And I think that is the key right there.  It's easier for us to spend money than it is for us to spend time.  Now, I'm certainly not saying that buying things for your children is out of the question.  Obviously, as a parent you are obligated to provide food, shelter, clothing, etc. for your children.  What I'm suggesting is that very often parents who do NOT spend time with their children, try to ease  their conscience by buying their kids "this, that, and the other."   And then these parents turn around and say that they are a good parent.  No, you're not.  You're just good at buying things.  Buying things, again, is NOT the same thing as spending time with your children.  And this is why Our Blessed Saviour is the perfect role-model for parents because He came to spend time with us.  In the Tenth Chapter of the Gospel of St. John, Our Lord describes Himself as the Good Shepherd.  He says: "I am the good shepherd; and know my sheep, and am known of mine, even as the Father knoweth me, and I know the Father; . . ." He knows His sheep because He is with them.  He knows His sheep by spending time with them.  He knows His sheep because they are His.  And then Our Lord goes on to point out that "the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep"  In other words, Christ gave His life for us.  In life and in death, Christ chose to give of Himself.  In life, He chose to spend time with His children.  And He chose to die so that we could have new life with Him.  In both cases, He gave of Himself.  Likewise, this is what parents need to do with their children:  parents need to give of themselves and not just "buy."   God gave of Himself to His children.  That's how much He loves us.  Anybody can go out and "buy something" but the question is:  can you give of yourself?  Can you give of your time?  To your children?  To God?  

St. Margaret Church meets each and every Sunday morning at 9:30 AM to gather together as God's family so that we worship God in a traditional liturgy.  We use the King Jame Version of the Bible.  We also use the 1928 Book of Common Prayer.  We listen to what God is saying to us and open our hearts to hear His Word.  And then we receive His Most Precious Body and Blood at Communion time.  We worship at the beautiful chapel at Marquette Manor, located at 8140 N. Township Line Road on the Northwest side of Indianapolis.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Be Not Afraid

"The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?  The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?"  (Psalm 27:1)

Children seem to be scared about various things, don't they?   Whether it be a strange noise or fear of "monsters under the bed," children get scared quite often.  And as we get older, we still get scared of various things:  watching scary movies or hearing unfamiliar noises.  Even as adults, we still can get scared.  Whether it be someone threatening us or  receiving a bad health report from the doctor.   Again, the point is that all throughout our life human beings will get scared of various things.  But fear always seems to go away . . . or at least diminish a great deal .  . .  when someone is with us.  When the young child is scared of a "monster under the bed" or scared after having a bad dream, and mom or dad comes in, the child is relieved, the child is comforted.  When the teenager is bullied at school, it is comforting to be in the company of friends.  When someone gets a questionable health report and a MRI or a CAT scan is ordered, aren't we relieved when someone goes with us to the hospital . . . . to support us . . .  to help us  . . . . to be by our side?.  

I recently saw a TV program where it recounted a horrifying event where a woman was involved in a high-speed car chase.  The woman was being chased by an ex-boyfriend.  The man had intentions of killing this woman and so was chasing her with his car because he wanted to shoot her.  Well, the visual scenes were portrayals of the event that occurred but they played the actual recordings of the 911 calls.  You see, the woman was on the phone with the 911 operator for some eleven minutes while this whole event unfolded.  At one point, when the woman knew that the man was upon her and she felt that her end was near, this woman asked the 911 operator to please call her mother.   They interviewed the woman for the TV show and she explained the reason why she asked the operator to call her mother was because she wanted to hear her mother's calming voice.  She wanted to hear the voice of the person that was there for her throughout her entire life.  In her moment of panic, when things seemed the darkest, she wanted someone to be there for her.  She wanted her mother to be with her at that moment even if it was only via telephone.  Again, when we are facing trials or tribulations that scare us to death, we feel comfort when someone is with us . . . to support us,  . . .  to be with us, . . .  "Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD Thy God, He it is that doth go with thee; He will not fail thee, nor forsake thee." (Deuteronomy 31:6

In the Twentieth Chapter of St. John's Gospel, St. John describes the disciples days after Our Lord's Crucifixion.  St John describes that the disciples were found shut up behind closed doors: " . . .  . where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, . . . . " (St. John 20:19) The disciples were scared, St. John writes.  They had "fear of the Jews," we are told.  Now it's not the fear of the disciples that I want to focus on.  I mean, let's face it, wouldn't you be scared too?  I think I would be.  If we had been in their shoes and had seen our teacher, our leader, taken into custody, savagely scourged at the pillar, forced to carry His own Cross, and then crucified, they probably thought that they were next.  They obviously thought that they were targeted as well because, again, St. John tells us that they were "assembled for fear of the Jews."  All of this is obvious.  So what I want to focus on is the complete turn around when Our Lord appears to them.  We read that Our Blessed Saviour appears to them and shows them His Hands and His side.  And when the disciples recognize that this really is their Master, St. John writes:  "Then were the disciples glad when they saw the Lord. " (v. 20)  They were glad.  More than that, they were relieved.  The Lord was with them.  Similar to when the small child is scared of the "monster under the bed" or frightened due to a sudden shock, and the parent is there to protect, to comfort.  The child feels protected.  So, too, the disciples felt protected that the Blessed Lord was there in their midst . . . to comfort them . . . to relieve them . . .  to protect them.  

So often if life we get scared by a whole host of scary things:  losing people we don't want to lose . . . being overwhelmed by bills  . . . . health concerns . . . . getting older . .. . the list goes on and on.    We all have things that cause us to be scared to one degree or another.   And when people are scared, sometimes they turn to things they should not turn to to help them cope with their fear:  drugs, . . .  drink,  . . . .  But we should turn to God when we are scared.   We should turn to Our Heavenly Father when we have concerns.   God is the One that will help us.  God is the One that wants to be there for us.  God is the One that is concerned for our well-being.  Turn to God and turn your life over to Him.  Let Him be your guide, your inspiration, your anchor in the storm.   Remember when the disciples were in the ship and a storm came up and they became afraid that they were going to die.  Our Blessed Lord came to them:  "But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid."  (St. Matthew 14:27)

Our Lord is always with us.  God is always faithful to us.  God is always true to His word.  The problem is that we are not always true to our word.  Despite the fact that God is always with us, we are not always with God.  In other words, we are too busy with our own lives . . . our own concerns . . .  we are too busy involved in what keeps us busy in this life . . . too busy to notice that God was with us all along.  Our Lord said to the disciples in the last chapter of St. Matthew's Gospel:  " . . . and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." (St. Matthew28:20)  

"Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you.  Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."  (St. John 14:27)  Only the peace of Christ can give us true security.  Only the peace found in Our Blessed Saviour can give true peace . . .  lasting peace . . . real joy.  So many of our concerns in our everyday life seem to trouble us to no end:  bills that never seem to get paid off . . . . responsibilities at work and home that seem to overwhelm us . . .  concerns for our well-being or the well-being of our loved ones that burden us.  We know that life is not always the proverbial "bowl of cherries."  Sometimes life is difficult, quite frankly.  Sometimes, life is overwhelming.   But God is there with us in the good times and the bad.  God is there for us  . . .  and with us . . . . when things seem the darkest.  "Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord Thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest."  (Joshua 1:9)  As I stated, sometimes life can be scary.  Sometimes life can be downright overwhelming.   Sometimes we have good reason to be scared . . . to be nervous.  I have to admit I always liked the John Wayne quote regarding courage.  He said:  "Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway."   He's right.  The definition of "Courage" is not the absence of fear.  The definition of courage, it seems to me, is being afraid and moving forward despite the fear.  Be strong!  Have courage!  God is with us.  "Be not afraid."  "I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world."

Saturday, April 7, 2018

First Sunday after Easter, Low Sunday, April 8th, 2018

First Sunday After Easter,  
Commonly Called Low Sunday, 
April 8th, 2018

"The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?  The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?"  (Psalm 27:1)

Children seem to be scared about various things, don't they?   Whether it be a strange noise or fear of "monsters under the bed," children get scared quite often.  And as we get older, we still get scared of various things:  watching scary movies or hearing unfamiliar noises.  Even as adults, we still can get scared.  Whether it be someone threatening us or  receiving a bad health report from the doctor.   Again, the point is that all throughout our life human beings will get scared of various things.  But fear always seems to go away . . . or at least diminish a great deal .  . .  when someone is with us.  When the young child is scared of a "monster under the bed" or scared after having a bad dream, and mom or dad comes in, the child is relieved, the child is comforted.  When the teenager is bullied at school, it is comforting to be in the company of friends.  When someone gets a questionable health report and a MRI or a CAT scan is ordered, aren't we relieved when someone goes with us to the hospital . . . . to support us . . .  to help us  . . . . to be by our side?.

I recently saw a TV program where it recounted a horrifying event where a woman was involved in a high-speed car chase.  The woman was being chased by an ex-boyfriend.  The man had intentions of killing this woman and so was chasing her with his car because he wanted to shoot her.  Well, the visual scenes were portrayals of the event that occurred but they played the actual recordings of the 911 calls.  You see, the woman was on the phone with the 911 operator for some eleven minutes while this whole event unfolded.  At one point, when the woman knew that the man was upon her and she felt that her end was near, this woman asked the 911 operator to please call her mother.   They interviewed the woman for the TV show and she explained the reason why she asked the operator to call her mother was because she wanted to hear her mother's calming voice.  She wanted to hear the voice of the person that was there for her throughout her entire life.  In her moment of panic, when things seemed the darkest, she wanted someone to be there for her.  She wanted her mother to be with her at that moment even if it was only via telephone.  Again, when we are facing trials or tribulations that scare us to death, we feel comfort when someone is with us . . . to support us,  . . .  to be with us, . . .  "Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD Thy God, He it is that doth go with thee; He will not fail thee, nor forsake thee." (Deuteronomy 31:6)

In the Twentieth Chapter of St. John's Gospel, St. John describes the disciples days after Our Lord's Crucifixion.  St John describes that the disciples were found shut up behind closed doors: " . . .  . where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, . . . . " (St. John 20:19) The disciples were scared, St. John writes.  They had "fear of the Jews," we are told.  Now it's not the fear of the disciples that I want to focus on.  I mean, let's face it, wouldn't you be scared too?  I think I would be.  If we had been in their shoes and had seen our teacher, our leader, taken into custody, savagely scourged at the pillar, forced to carry His own Cross, and then crucified, they probably thought that they were next.  They obviously thought that they were targeted as well because, again, St. John tells us that they were "assembled for fear of the Jews."  All of this is obvious.  So what I want to focus on is the complete turn around when Our Lord appears to them.  We read that Our Blessed Saviour appears to them and shows them His Hands and His side.  And when the disciples recognize that this really is their Master, St. John writes:  "Then were the disciples glad when they saw the Lord. " (v. 20)  They were glad.  More than that, they were relieved.  The Lord was with them.  Similar to when the small child is scared of the "monster under the bed" or frightened due to a sudden shock, and the parent is there to protect, to comfort.  The child feels protected.  So, too, the disciples felt protected that the Blessed Lord was there in their midst . . . to comfort them . . . to relieve them . . .  to protect them.

So often if life we get scared by a whole host of scary things:  losing people we don't want to lose . . . being overwhelmed by bills  . . . . health concerns . . . . getting older . .. . the list goes on and on.    We all have things that cause us to be scared to one degree or another.   And when people are scared, sometimes they turn to things they should not turn to to help them cope with their fear:  drugs, . . .  drink,  . . . .  But we should turn to God when we are scared.   We should turn to Our Heavenly Father when we have concerns.   God is the One that will help us.  God is the One that wants to be there for us.  God is the One that is concerned for our well-being.  Turn to God and turn your life over to Him.  Let Him be your guide, your inspiration, your anchor in the storm.   Remember when the disciples were in the ship and a storm came up and they became afraid that they were going to die.  Our Blessed Lord came to them:  "But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid."  (St. Matthew 14:27)

Our Lord is always with us.  God is always faithful to us.  God is always true to His word.  The problem is that we are not always true to our word.  Despite the fact that God is always with us, we are not always with God.  In other words, we are too busy with our own lives . . . our own concerns . . .  we are too busy involved in what keeps us busy in this life . . . too busy to notice that God was with us all along.  Our Lord said to the disciples in the last chapter of St. Matthew's Gospel:  " . . . and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." (St. Matthew28:20)

"Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you.  Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."  (St. John 14:27)  Only the peace of Christ can give us true security.  Only the peace found in Our Blessed Saviour can give true peace . . .  lasting peace . . . real joy.  So many of our concerns in our everyday life seem to trouble us to no end:  bills that never seem to get paid off . . . . responsibilities at work and home that seem to overwhelm us . . .  concerns for our well-being or the well-being of our loved ones that burden us.  We know that life is not always the proverbial "bowl of cherries."  Sometimes life is difficult, quite frankly.  Sometimes, life is overwhelming.   But God is there with us in the good times and the bad.  God is there for us  . . .  and with us . . . . when things seem the darkest.  "Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord Thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest."  (Joshua 1:9)  As I stated, sometimes life can be scary.  Sometimes life can be downright overwhelming.   Sometimes we have good reason to be scared . . . to be nervous.  I have to admit I always liked the John Wayne quote regarding courage.  He said:  "Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway."   He's right.  The definition of "Courage" is not the absence of fear.  The definition of courage, it seems to me, is being afraid and moving forward despite the fear.  Be strong!  Have courage!  God is with us.  "Be not afraid."  "I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world."

St. Margaret Church meets each and every Sunday morning at 9:30 AM.  We worship at the beautiful Chapel at Marquette Manor, located at 8140 N. Township Line Road on the Northwest side of Indianapolis.  We use the King James Bible and the 1928 Book of Common Prayer.  Come join us as we listen to God speak to us through His Word.  At Communion time, we receive the Precious Body and Blood of Christ to nourish us and give us strength for our journey called life.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Easter Sunday, April 1st, 2018

Easter Sunday, April 1st, 2018

First, I would like to take this opportunity to wish each and every one of you a very happy, a very blessed Easter to both you and your loved ones.  The events commemorated in Holy Week . . .  in particular, Good Friday and Easter Sunday . . . provide each one of us with an opportunity to reflect on what Our Blessed Saviour has done for us . . . what He has done on our behalf.  Let's get straight to the point.  What was the purpose for Our Lord to die a brutal death on the Cross?  What was the point of Our Lord to be beaten? . . . . mocked? . . . . spit upon?   Why was He so savagely tortured and humiliated?  Why was the King of Kings treated worse than a common criminal?  But even more to the point, why did He openly endure all of this?  The pain . . . the suffering  . . . the humiliation . . . . the beating . . . and finally . . . . an agonizing death on the Cross.   Why would He go through all of that?  What was the point?  What did all of this accomplish?  His efforts on our behalf did something we could never do ourselves:  He saved us from our sins and gave us the opportunity to spend eternity with Him in Heaven.  The media went on a frenzy this week when a certain famous clergyman . . .  this clergyman used to live in South America but now he resides in a beautiful city in Europe . . .  this clergyman was supposedly quoted as saying, "There is no Hell."  Now, of course, after this quote came out all the representatives of that famous clergyman scrambled to say that this quote was taken out of context.  But the point remains the same:   Why did Our Blessed Lord suffer and die on the Cross?  If there is no Hell, does this mean that Our Lord's suffering, pain, humiliation, and death meant nothing?  Of course, there is a Hell.  We read in the Book of Revelation:  " . . .  a lake of fire burning with brimstone."  (Revelation 19:20)  This is what most of us throughout history, I would suppose, picture Hell as.  But whatever it is, Christ suffered on our behalf so that He can save us from separation from God.   You see, whatever Hell consists of, the real tragedy of Hell is that it is ultimately, first and foremost, separation from God.  Christ died on the Cross to save us from our sins and thus the opportunity to be united with God for all eternity.  This is why St. Paul writes that we must "seek those things which are above" (Colossians 3:1).  So many of us seek the things below . . . and not the things above .  We spend our time, our effort, our energy seeking out the things below.  We live our lives chasing after the carnal pleasures with no regards for anyone or anything.  And yet, God loves us so much that He sent His Only Begotten Son into the world to save us from our sins . . . something that we could never hope to achieve ourselves.  And He did this because He loves us and wanted to save us.  He wanted to save us from ourselves and to save us from suffering the consequences of our living apart from God . . . . . eternal separation from God:  Hell.  This is the beauty of the events of Holy Week:  Christ did what He had to do in order to save us from ourselves.  For this, we should be eternally grateful and to fix our minds on Him and serving Him all our life.

Easter Sunday Mass will be held on Sunday, April 1st, 2018 at 9:30 AM at St. Margaret Church.  Mass is held at Marquette Manor, which is located at 8140 N. Township Line Road on the Northwest side of Indianapolis.

 Please note that on Easter Sunday, we will not be in the chapel as we normally celebrate there.  Rather, we will be on the Fourth Floor of Marquette Manor

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Palm Sunday, March 25, 2018

Palm Sunday, March 25th, 2018

Now, if you are like me, you are a creature of habit and  this means you never change.  I do the same thing over and over.  I wear the same thing over and over.  I watch the same TV shows and movies over and over.  It doesn't even bother me to eat the same thing over and over.  I'm the first one to admit it . .  .  I'm set in my ways.  But even for someone like me that is set in their ways it is really amazing how much choice we have in life.  We make choices that we don't even think about.  We make a choice when we pick out one pair of socks over another pair.  We make choices when we go to work one direction as opposed to another direction.  We decide whether we want to eat eggs for breakfast . . .  or toast  . . . or both . . .  or neither one and get biscuits and gravy instead.  We choose what to wear.  We choose what to watch on TV.  We choose what brand of cornflakes we buy at the store . . . or macaroni and cheese . . .  or frozen pizza . . . . or . . .  or  .  .  . or  . . . .  We choose to eat healthy  . . . or we choose to get a delicious apple pie.  We choose to be productive on a Saturday.  Or we choose to be a couch potato and watch Bonanza reruns all day.  Life is filled with choices.  As I stated, some of the choices we make are so simple that we make them without even blinking an eye.  

In the Twenty-Seventh Chapter of St Matthew's Gospel, St Matthew describes the events as they unfold on that particular day.  Our Blessed Lord had been brought before the Sanhedrin, the ruling class of the Jews, on charges of blasphemy.  Now, keep in mind, they did not like Our Lord.  They did not like Him one little bit.  At best, they considered Him to be a rabble-rousing rabbi who was stirring up the people.  At worst, they considered Him a blasphemer.  And as such, they brought Our Blessed Saviour that day before the Sanhedrin on charges of blasphemy.  Now the reason Pontius Pilate got involved in all of this was because the Sanhedrin could bring charges, yes, but they could not order the death penalty.  And this was what they wanted.  They wanted Our Lord to be put to death.  They wanted Him out of the way.  They wanted to be done with Him.  So they brought Him to the Roman Governor.  They wanted Pilate to put Our Lord to death.  They wanted Pilate to do their dirty work.  So Pilate contemplated the whole matter.  As we read through the chapter, we see that Pilate was trying to let Jesus go.  He did not think that Jesus was guilty.  Certainly, it does not appear that Pilate believed that Our Saviour deserved the death penalty for these charges.  Pilate tried to think of a way out of this situation so he offered the crowd a choice.  St Matthew tells us:  "Now at that feast the governor was wont to release unto the people a prisoner, whom they would." (St. Matthew 27:15)  So Pilate offered the people a choice:  "Pilate said unto them, Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ? " (St. Matthew 27:17)  The people had a choice.  They were given their choice by the Governor.  Would it be Barabbas or would it be Jesus?  The people made their choice.  They chose Barabbas over Jesus.   How often do we make our choice when it comes to Jesus?  Whom do we choose over Our Blessed Lord?  What do we prefer in place of Jesus.  We all have choices, don't we?  The world is full of people who have clearly made their choice already.  They don't care about God.  They don't care about Him.  They don't care about serving Him . . .  following Him . . . . obeying Him.  But what about the ones reading this . . . or me, the one writing it . . . . how often do we make our choice?  How often do we make a choice that isn't really the best choice we could make?  How often do we choose to turn a blind eye to God because it's not really convenient or not really what I might want right now?   How often do we choose to treat people poorly but then complain when we are treated poorly?  How often do we choose to sacrifice what we know is right for convenience sake.  Or because "what is right" gets in the way of "what I want"?   You see, life is filled with choices.  Big choices.  Little choices.  And we need to choose to be on the side of God.  We need to choose to be in God's corner.  We need to choose what God wants us to do and not what I want me to do.  What choice would Pilate offer to each one of us?  What do we choose in place of Our Blessed Saviour?  Drugs?  Drink?  Food?  The Internet?  Money?  Fashion?  Expensive shoes?  "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."  (St. Luke 12:34)   It is fine to have nice things.  God is the one that made the "nice things" possible for us to have.  But when the "nice things" stand in place of God.  When the "nice things" overshadow God.  When the "nice things" take over our heart.  This is where the problem comes in.  Let us always make our choice for God and His Kingdom.  Let us choose Him over all else.  And let us grow stronger in our devotion to Him and never leave His side.

Join us as we listen to the Word of God found in the King James Bible and the 1928 Book of Common Prayer.  Join us as we join together as God's family and worship Our Heavenly Father.  Join us as we come to the altar to be fed the Precious Body and Blood at Communion time.  And, finally, please stay after Mass for some fellowship at our coffee hour.

St. Margaret Anglican Church worships at the beautiful Chapel at Marquette Manor, which is located at 8140 N. Township Line Road on the Northwest side of Indianapolis.  Mass begins at 9:30 AM.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Fifth Sunday in Lent, Passion Sunday, March 18th, 2018

Fifth Sunday in Lent, 
Commonly Called Passion Sunday, 
March 18th, 2018

I never really had very much interest in any type of "Awards Shows."   You know what I'm talking about.  A night where celebrities get all dressed up in beautiful gowns and tuxedos and walk the red carpet and then they go inside and get nominated for "Best Actor;" "Best Actress:" "Best Movie:" "Best Song;" "Best Album:"  etc . . . . etc.   They have these awards programs for movies, for television, for music, for sports, etc.  They just had the Oscars not too long ago.  I haven't watched the Oscars in years, quite frankly.   The award winners try to get too political in their acceptance speech.  But that's an entirely different sermon topic so let's move on.   It is good, in my opinion, to be rewarded for your hard work.  It's good to acknowledged for dedication.  Far too often, it seems to me, people from all walks of life are never truly acknowledged for the hard work that they do in their professions.   Whether you are a trash man or a bus boy . . . . a teacher.  . . . . nurses  . . . . doctors . . police  . . . fire-men . . . We could go on and on.  Personally, I wish they had an awards show for "ordinary" people where awards are given to our military,  . . .  our teachers, . . . . our police and fire-fighters. .   . .  etc.   But getting back to awards shows, it boils down to a group of people honouring themselves, so to speak.  People in the film industry are giving awards to people in the film industry.  People in the music industry are handing out awards to people in the music industry, etc.  In other words, they are honouring themselves.

In the Eighth chapter of the Gospel of St. John, Our Lord is having a lengthy discussion with the Pharisees.  The Pharisees were trying to figure out exactly whom they were dealing with.  If you read through this eighth chapter, you will soon see that Our Lord is answering their questions directly.  And so at one point, the Pharisees ask Our Lord:  "Art thou greater than our father Abraham, which is dead? and the prophets are dead: whom makest thou thyself?" (St. John 8:53)  And Our Blessed Saviour responds:  " . . . If I honour myself, my honour is nothing: it is My Father that honoureth Me; of whom ye say, that He is your God . . . "  (v. 54)  Again, Our Lord Himself stated:  " . . . . it is My Father that honoureth Me . . ."  We need to e more like Our Blessed Saviour.  We need to be concerned more with what God thinks of us than what the world thinks of us.   So often we get all caught up in worrying about what people are thinking  .  .  . . what they are saying . . . . about us.  Especially in this age of "social media" that we live in, people seem to get their knickers all knotted up worrying about what people are saying and thinking behind our backs.  "Was that post about ME?!?"  "Were they writing that about ME?!?!"   We worry about other folks opinion of us and what they are saying and thinking about us.  But do we ever stop to think about what God thinks about us?  Do we care about what God has to say about us?  So often we do indeed "honour ourselves," as Our Lord said.  We give ourselves awards.  We make ourselves to seem more important than we are.  We want people to notice us . . . to acknowledge us.  But just as Our Blessed Saviour said to the Pharisees:  " . . . it is My Father that honoureth Me . . .  "  We need to be more concerned with what God thinks of us.  We need to focus on how impressed God is with our efforts.  I am sure we have all heard those letters:  "WWJD," which of course stands for "What Would Jesus Do."  But maybe we can get some wristbands made up with the letters "WWJT," which stands for What Would Jesus Think."  Are we more concerned how the world honours me or how God honours me.  Are we more interested in impressing the world  . . .  or impressing God?   

St. Margaret Church meets each and every Sunday morning at 9:30 AM.  We worship at the beautiful Chapel at Marquette Manor, located at 8140 N. Township Line Road on the Northwest side of Indianapolis.  We use the King James Bible and the 1928 Book of Common Prayer.  Come join us as we listen to God speak to us through His Word.  At Communion time, we receive the Precious Body and Blood of Christ to nourish us and give us strength for our journey called life.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Second Sunday of Lent, February 25th, 2018

Second Sunday of Lent, February 25th, 2018

In the beginning of the Fourth Chapter St. Paul's First Epistle to the Thessalonians, we hear St Paul advising them:  " . .  . .that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more"  (I Thessalonians 4:1)  In other words, St. Paul is telling them that they have learned and been taught and now he is hoping that they will take what they have learned and have been taught even further.  It is only logical, isn't it?  I mean think about it.  When a baby is born, this little one is dependent on you for everything.  But little by little he/she begins to learn a little at a time.  As children grow they learn how to do more and more things for themselves.  And then as teenagers they "branch out," so to speak, by getting a job .  . . learn how to drive . . . go out with friends . . . etc.  By the time they leave high-school, they either get a full time job or continue full time in college.  They learn more and more as they progress in life and they do more and more things in life until they are fully independent.  They live away from home.  They pay their own bills.  They make their own decisions.

This is what St. Paul hopes for the Thessalonians.  He is telling them that they they know how to lead good lives.  They know how to lead lives that are pleasing to God.  They know exactly what they are supposed to do in life.  Now, says St. Paul, you need to put these things into practice.  In the society in which we live so many of us know exactly what is right and what is wrong . . . and yet we continue to make the wrong choices.  Why is this?  How often do we do something stupid and end up paying the consequences and then we say to ourselves:  "Why did I do that?"  "Why was I so stupid?"  "I can't believe I did that."  

The problem is that we depend more on ourselves than we do on God.  Or, more specifically, we listen more to what WE want and our desires than we do to what GOD wants for us in our life.  "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God."  (Romans 12:2)   The problem is that we "conformed to this world" instead of being conformed to the will of God.  We focus more on what the world would have of us than what God would have of us.  We listen more to what the world wants of us than what God wants of us.  We listen to the opinions of actors and actresses.  We listen to sports-stars.  We listen to politicians.  We listen to commercials.  We listen to fads and gimmicks.  How often do we listen to God?  We know right from wrong.  The problem is that so often doing the wrong thing is easier than doing the right thing.  Very often it takes courage to do the right thing in this world that we live in.  That is because in this world we have gotten to a sad state.  We have gotten to the point where doing what is right is mocked by the world as evil or backwards.  And very often those who do the right thing  . . . and stand by God . . . are mocked and persecuted and shamed for standing up for what is right.   "Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil: that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!" (Isaiah 5:30)  What we need as Christians is Courage, Conviction, and Fortitude.  Courage to stand against the world when the world is against God.  Conviction in knowing that we are standing with God and listening to Him instead of the world..  And Fortitude in carrying out the will of God, to standing up with Him, and moving forward no matter what.  

St. Margaret Church gathers together every Sunday morning and we would love for you to join us in our weekly worship of Our Heavenly Father.  Mass begins at 9:30 AM.  We celebrate Mass in the Chapel of Marquette Manor, which is located at 8140 N. Township Line Road in Indianapolis, Indiana.  Please choose to take some time out of your busy schedule to spend some quality time with God.