Saturday, January 20, 2018

Third Sunday after Epiphany, January 21st, 2018

Third Sunday after Epiphany, January 21st, 2018

In the Second Chapter of St. John's Gospel, we hear about the very first miracle that Our Lord performed.   Of course, this took place at the marriage feast at Cana where Our Blessed Lord turned water into wine.  There are so many aspects of this passage that we could touch upon.  In the story when the servants had filled the "six water-pots of stone" with water as Our Lord had directed, the water was turned into wine.  Now keep in mind that the whole reason for the water to be turned into wine to begin with was that they had run out of wine at the feast.  This would have been a source of grave embarrassment for the newly married couple.  And when the governor of the feast tasted the "new wine" . . .  . and not knowing where it had come from, quite frankly . . . . he tasted it and commented, "Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse." (St. John 2:10)   In other words, he is telling the bridegroom:  "Look, you brought out the quality stuff last but normally you are supposed to bring out the quality stuff first."  And then he goes on to say, "But thou hast kept the good wine until now." (v.10)   The water turned into wine that Our Lord produced was extraordinary, to say the least.  But then again Our Lord turns our "ordinary" into "extraordinary" whether we realize it or not.  This is the beauty of this miracle, quite frankly.  Now a miracle is a miracle.  Of course this is true.  But what is the importance of this miracle compared to other miracles that Our Lord performed?  Curing the lame . . . . Healing the blind . . . Raising the dead?  On the scale of "miracles," turning water into wine does not compare to raising someone from the dead, you might say.  And yet this miracle at Cana shows that God is indeed concerned with the "ordinary aspects" of our daily lives.  In other words, we can find God at work in our lives each and every day and not only at the major points in our life.  This is important to remember because it shows that God is concerned with every aspect of our life.  He is there for us day in and day out.  Can the same be said for us?  Are we there for God day in and day out?  Or do we only look for God when we need Him?  God cares for us.  He loves us.  Indeed, He loves us so much that He sent His Son into the world to be with us . . . to live among us.  He worked like you and I work.  He laughed.  He ate.  He got tired at the end of a busy day.  He felt worn out.  He felt every emotion that you and I feel.  God loved us so much that He sent His Son into the world to save us from our own sins.  As faithful, devout Christians we are called to live a Christian life.  In other words, we are called to dedicate our lives to Christ Who dedicated His life to us.  He did not come to this world to die on the Cross for Himself.  He died on the Cross for you and for me.  As such, let us never abandon Our Blessed Saviour.  Let us never turn aside from Him.  So often we get preoccupied with the business of the world . . .  or should I say the "busy-ness" of the world.  We don't have time for God because we are busy . . . . busy working . . .  busy cleaning . . .  busy shopping . . . busy running errands . . .  busy living life.  And yet the miracle at Cana shows that Our Blessed Saviour is indeed interested in every aspect of our lives.  He wants to be involved in our lives.  He wants to be a part of our lives.  Stay faithful to God.  Lead your life centered around God.  Turn your "ordinary" into the "extraordinary" as only Our Lord can do.

St. Margaret Church meets each and every Sunday morning at 9:30 AM.  Come hear the Word of God preached from the King James Version and the 1928 Book of Common Prayer.  Join us as we receive the Precious Body and Blood of Our Blessed Saviour at Communion time.  We worship at the beautiful chapel at Marquette Manor, which is located at 8140 N. Township Line Road on the Northwest side of Indianapolis.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Second Sunday after Epiphany, January 14th, 2018

Second Sunday after Epiphany, January 14th, 2018

Did you ever notice that sometimes something begins long before its' beginning?  In other words, sometimes things begin long before they ever start.  If I can use an example to try to show what I mean.  Think about sitting down to a delicious meal.  Now, this delicious meal doesn't simply begin when you sit down and start eating.  The food has to be prepared.  The food has to be delivered from the grocery.  The food has to be processed and delivered to the grocery and so on.  Same way with a movie or a TV show that you enjoy.  It doesn't just begin the moment you begin watching it.  The script has to be written.  The cast has to be chosen.  The production has to be produced.  There are rehearsals and lines to be memorized; sets to be built; etc.  Again, if you ever read a good book, very often there is a "preface" at the beginning which sets up the story or provides a background to what is important.  With this in mind, we hear St. Mark this morning beginning his gospel:  "The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God;"  And then St. Mark proceeds to talk about St. John the Baptist.  In other words, St. John the Baptist is the "preface" to Our Lord's Birth.  Well, if we want to be technical, the Prophet Malachi is the preface to St. John the Baptist because St. Mark writes "As it is written in the prophets . . . . "  and then we hear Malachi 3:1 quoted:  "Behold, I will send my messenger; and he shall prepare the way before me."  

The point is that sometimes that stories begin a long way back.  My story began a long way back.  Your story began a long way back.  It began with our parents . . . . and our grandparents  . . . . and our great-grandparents.   It began with our teachers and those who had an influence over us.  It began with the people who took an interest in us and wanted to instill in us values and beliefs and things that are important.  It began with the people that prayed for us . . . prayed for our spiritual and physical safety.  It began with the dreams of those who lived a long, long time ago but wanted things to be better.  Very often we are unable to see the relation between events but we know through faith that God is the Author of all things.  And as such, God put into motion the events that shape each one of us into who we are.  But if this is true, then we must also take the time to realize that God can use each one of us as His instruments in the world to help shape and form one another.  God uses us to do His work in the world.  The only question is do we allow Him to use us as His instrument?  

So many of us are too busy for God.  We are too busy with the things of the world to notice what God wants us to do with our lives.  You see, the question is not whether God has chosen us but whether we choose God.  God has chosen each one of us.  He has given each one of us special talents, skills and abilities.  But we are the ones who choose what we use those abilities for.  "You did not choose Me but I chose you; and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit; and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My Name He may give to you."  (St. John 15:16)

Remember in the Acts of the Apostles where Saul encountered Our Blessed Saviour and Saul was knocked to the ground and left blind for three days.  God chose Ananias to heal Saul but he was scared to do this because of the reputation that Saul had in persecuting the Church.  But God insisted because he had other plans for Saul.  "But the Lord said to (Ananias), 'Go, for he is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My Name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel."  (Acts 9:15)  Saul was indeed a chosen instrument and through God's help, Saul went on to become the Apostle Paul.  He was chosen. 

Listen to what Isaiah writes:  "Is the axe to boast itself over the one who chops with it?  Is the saw to exalt itself over the one who wields it?  That would be like a club wielding those who lift it, Or like a rod lifting him who is not wood."  (Isaiah 10:15) (NASB)  What Isaiah is referring to is the fact that the instruments only do what we would have them do.  It is not the mixer that prepares the cake, for example.  It is not the hammer that builds the house.  The worker is the one who uses the hammer to build the house.   The baker is the one who uses the mixer to prepare the batter for the cake.  God uses each one of us as His instruments here in the world.  We are not greater than God when we do His work.  God uses us and we do His will in the world.  This day we should decide if we are willing to do what God will have us do.

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, January 6, 2018

First Sunday after Epiphany, January 7th, 2018

First Sunday after Epiphany, January 7th, 2018

On this first Sunday in the year 2018, the Church celebrates the First Sunday after Epiphany.  The epistle appointed for this Sunday comes to us from the twelfth chapter of the Epistle to the Romans.  In this chapter, St. Paul is urging us to remember that we are called to a higher calling .  . . . .  called to be Sons and Daughters of the Most High.  He reminds us to present ourselves as a "living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God . . ."  (Romans 12:1)   This is difficult for us to do in the day and age in which we live.  I say it is difficult because human beings, let's face it, have a natural inclination to take care of ourselves first and foremost.  Self-preservation is a term that I have heard and read over the years.  In other words, human beings  . ..  like any animal, quite frankly,  . . . . have a need to take care of ourselves.  When we are hungry, we seek something to eat.  When we are sick, we seek medical attention.  As human beings, in other words, we need:  food, drink, a roof over our heads.  We need warmth in the winter months.   We have this built-in need to take care of ourselves.   What makes us human beings different from the animals is that we take it a "step further," so to speak.  We want things "our way."  We want not only the basic needs such as food, water, etc.  We want pleasure . . . we want our desires to be satisfied.  Now, these desires take different forms for different people.  Some people desire drink.  Some people desire drugs.  Some people desire to be popular.  Some people desire wealth, .  . . . or fame,   . . . .  or to satisfy their lust.  The bottom line is that whether we seek to satisfy ourselves with booze or money or the latest fashion trends, in whatever form we are talking about, we are simply satisfying ourselves,  .  . .   satisfying our urges.  Typically, when we satisfy these needs we are simply looking out for ourselves.  "Looking out for number one," as the old saying goes.  

St Paul, though, is again reminding us that as Christians .  . . as devoted, faithful Christians . .. . we are called to a higher calling.  To serve someone greater than ourselves . . . someone greater than our "needs."  ". . . . not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think" (v. 3)   As I have tried to show above it is only natural in the human way of things to want to have things our way.  And yet St. Paul asks us to be transformed by the "renewing of your mind." (v. 2)  This is why I say it is not always easy to achieve because our basic instincts as human beings demand that we take care of ourselves first and foremost.  Christ Himself gave up the comforts of Heaven to walk with us as a human being.  Our Blessed Lord Himself showed what true sacrifice entailed when He carried His Cross to the hill at Calvary.  And each and every one of us have seen a glimpse of true self-sacrifice in countless examples here on earth:  single mothers who work two jobs so that their children can be taken care of; fire-fighters who rush head-first into a burning building in the hopes of saving someone they do not even know; soldiers who march off to war knowing that they may never see home again and yet they do just that in hopes of keeping those homes safe for their loved ones; teachers, nurses, police officers, etc. who each in their own way go above and beyond to show that they do what they do not only for simply a paycheck but because they want to make a difference in the life of someone else.  All these examples and more truly show a glimpse into transforming lives into something more than simply looking after our own needs and leaving it at that.  We are called by St. Paul to transform ourselves into something greater.  As I like to say, each one of us is called to change the "ordinary" into the "extraordinary"  because this is what Christ did.   This is not always easy to do, but with God's help all things are possible.

St. Margaret Church celebrates Mass each and every Sunday at 9:30 AM.  Mass is celebrated at the beautiful chapel at Marquette Manor, located as 8140 N. Township Line Road on the Northwest side of Indianapolis.

Join us for Mass 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 hear God speaking to us in His Word.  Our Lord also offers to each one of us His Most Precious Body and Blood at Communion time.  Receive the Precious Body and Blood to strengthen and nourish you for your daily journey.  And afterward, please join us for our Coffee Hour to have some delicious goodies and good fellowship.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Excellency of Power . . . . New Years 2018 Message


Brothers and Sisters, As we are about to celebrate the (secular) New Years, it goes without saying that the vast majority of us wish for better things in the coming year.  As a result, many of us make "New Years Resolutions" and promises of things that we will do better  . .  . or do differently . . . in the coming year.  More than likely, most of these resolutions fall by the wayside after days or weeks into the new year.  But the point is still the same . . . . . as human beings we want better things for not only ourselves but for our loved ones as well.   We want to do better.  We want to act better.  We want to be better.   As human beings, though, we are prone to failure on a frequent basis.  We intend to do good but we end up failing.  As a result we get frustrated through our failure and simply quit trying altogether.  Think of the person, for example, who resolves to stop smoking in the coming new year.  Their intention is marvelous.  Their resolve is to be commended.  And yet when the urge is too great and they break their resolution, they become frustrated and convinced that they can not do it and give up altogether.  How many of us wish that we could do things better . .  . not just in the new year, but throughout the year.  How many of us wish that we could change things for the better?  How many of us, quite frankly, work and work and work on better results in our life and are often left feeling depressed and rejected when we fail?  I remember as a teenager growing up working on a school project.  I was making some sort of model or a model building.  I can not really remember what the exact project was but I do remember clearly my repeated frustration in attempting to put together the model and it kept breaking time and time and time again.  You see, I finally discovered after repeated failures that the materials I was using in making the project were not strong enough.  As a result I had to find something to make the materials stronger so that the project would hold up under the weight and strain.  After this, the project came out beautifully.  But prior to that I was pulling my hair out after repeated failure after failure after failure.

We hear in the Fourth Chapter of the Second Epistle to the Corinthians:  "But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us."  (II Corinthians 4:7)    As human beings we are weak; we fail; we are lacking; in short, human beings are not perfect.  We resolve to do good but we more often than not miss the mark.  As faithful Christians we know that our success comes through Our Heavenly Father.  In the First Epistle to the Corinthians, we also read:  "That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God."  (I Corinthians 2:5)  Any wisdom that we have comes from the Almighty.  Any power that we have comes to us from up above.  Any skill, any success, any blessing that we possess was given to us by God. "Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; our sufficiency is of God."  (II Corinthians 3:5)   In this new year, let us acknowledge the fact that our blessings come to us from God.  Let us acknowledge those gifts and continually give thanks to Our Heavenly Father for all the blessings that He bestows upon us.  And let us resolve to use the skills that God gives to each one us to do His will here on earth.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Fourth Sunday of Advent, December 24th, 2017

Fourth Sunday of Advent, December 24th, 2017

"REJOICE in the Lord always . . . " (Philippians 4:4)

Have you ever tried to do something "non-stop"?  In other words, you kept doing the same thing over and over and over.  It's gets tiring after a while, doesn't it?  And after a while, we get worn out from doing whatever we are doing.  Whether it's going to always working on reports or always working without any days off.  Whether it's always fixing the same thing over and over and over again.  And yet St. Paul is telling the Philippians to "Rejoice in the Lord ALWAYS!"  As human beings, we rejoice when we are happy.  When our favorite sports team scores late in a game and wins, we rejoice.  When we are with good friends that we haven't seen for a while, we rejoice.  We rejoice when we get a raise at work.  We rejoice when a project gets completed.  We rejoice at many times over many things, don't we?  And yet most people don't constantly rejoice, do they?   Sometimes our favorite sports team doesn't win the game or the season, for that matter.  I know . . . I'm a Cubs fan . . . . Sometimes we get overwhelmed at work.  Sometimes we get bad news.  Sometimes we get angry.  Do we rejoice in these situations?  No.  And yet St. Paul reminds the Philippians  . . .  as he does us . . . . to "Rejoice in the Lord always!"  The key is to set our mind to rejoicing no matter what.  The key is to remind ourselves that life is sometimes good . . . . sometimes it's bad.  Sometimes we are healthy, other times we get sick.   Sometimes we get a raise at work.  But some times we get laid off from a job.  Again, life is not one constant, straight path where nothing ever changes and always stays the same.  If it was that way, it seems to me that it would be somewhat boring.  Sometimes things get difficult in life.  But if we remind ourselves that God is always with us, even in the bad times, then we can rejoice.   Even in the times that things seem the darkest, as long as we keep our minds focused on God, we know that we will get through whatever faces us.  God loves us more than we will ever know.   How do I know this, you ask?  I know it because He sent His only begotten Son into the world to save us from our sins.  He sent His Son into the world to walk among us, to be with us, to eat with us, to talk with us, to witness our good times and our bad times.  God knows that life is not always easy for us.  And yet Our Blessed Lord is always with us . . .  in the good times and the bad.  And we are called to always rejoice in that fact.  As we are on the doorstep of Christmas on this Fourth Sunday of Advent, let us not get overwhelmed by life, but rather let us rejoice that God sent His Son into the world to be with us always.  Let us remember that God is with us when we are on the mountain top but He is also with us when we are far down in the valley.  Let us rejoice that God is always with us.

St. Margaret of Scotland Church worships in the beautiful chapel at Marquette Manor, located at 8140 N. Township Life Road on the Northwest side of Indianapolis.  Come join us for Mass.  We use the 1928 Book of Common Prayer and the King James Version of the Bible.  

Mass will be celebrated on Sunday, December 24th at 9:30 AM in the Chapel

Mass will also be celebrated Christmas Day, December 25th, at 9:30 AM in the Chapel.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Third Sunday of Advent, December 17th, 2017

Third Sunday of Advent, December 17th, 2017

For the Third Sunday of Advent, we hear Our Blessed Saviour speaking the praises of His cousin St. John the Baptist:  "What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is the one about whom it is written, `See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.' " (St. Matthew 11:2 ff)  In this passage, Our Blessed Saviour is quoting Scripture from the Book of Malachi:  "Behold, I will send My messenger, and he shall prepare the way before Me: And the Lord, Whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to His temple." (Malachi 3:1)   Two things for us to ponder in regards to these Scripture verses:  Number one, in God, we have such a loving Father that He was not just content to create us and then leave us alone.  No, He loved His creation so much that He not only created us, but He became one of us.  He became a Human Being.  " . .  . and the Lord, Whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to His temple . . ."  The Lord did come to His temple . . . . He came to the world as a little innocent child, Who was the Saviour of the world.  Elsewhere, we read:  "And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people"  (Leviticus 26:12)  Our Blessed Saviour has indeed walked among us . . . He is Our God and we are His people.

The second thing for us to always consider is that Our Blessed Saviour desires our assistance.  Let me emphasize, He does not require our assistance, rather, He welcomes our assistance.  He created the universe and He created each one of us.  Anyone that powerful does not need my help and, yet, He desires my help.  `See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.'  Like St. John the Baptist . . . like St. Mary . . . like St. Joseph . . .  each one of us are called to prepare the way of the Lord.  We prepare the way of the Lord for others to find God, but we also prepare the way of the Lord to our own hearts.  This is what the holy season of Advent is all about:  to prepare a place for the Christ Child in our hearts.

Join St. Margaret of Scotland Anglican Church on Sunday, December 17th, 2017 at 9:30 AM as we come together as God's family and worship Our Blessed Saviour in traditional worship.  Join us as we listen to God's Word found in the King James Version of the Bible and the 1928 Book of Common Prayer.  Join us as we spend quality time before Our Blessed Saviour and then receive Him in His Precious Body and Blood.  St. Margaret Parish worships each and every Sunday morning at the Chapel at Marquette Manor, which is located at 8140 N. Township Line Road on the Northwest side of Indianapolis.  Coffee Hour follows Mass where delicious goodies and treats are available.  Please consider taking time out of your busy schedule and join us as we prepare a way  for Our Blessed Saviour.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Second Sunday of Advent, December 10th, 2017

Second Sunday of Advent, December 10th, 2017

"Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost."  (Romans 15)

Did you ever order something or send away for something and the item finally arrived and you open it with great anticipation.  And when you open the package and see what you ordered, the item that arrived does not match up with what you thought it would be.  You were "under-whelmed," so to speak.  "This is it?!?"   "This is what I've been waiting for?!?"   As we have spoken in the past, the faithful Jews were indeed praying for a Messiah to save them.  They were anticipating the arrival of the Messiah.  They knew that God would save them and they were waiting.  But they had a preconceived notion of what the Messiah would look like, I would imagine.  They expected the Messiah to arrive as a great warrior riding in on a powerful horse, surrounded by a mighty army in support with flags waving and banners raised.  They expected this messiah and his army to wipe out their foes and save them from their misery.    And yet we know that, yes, the Messiah did indeed arrive as promised but Our Saviour arrived as an innocent little baby, born to a common family, born in a lowly manger on a cold winter night  because nobody would take them in otherwise.  In fact, the actual arrival itself was so "low-key" that hardly anyone knew about it at all except for the angels and a few shepherds.  I mean let's be honest here.  In regards to anticipating the arrival of the Messiah, I am sure that none of us would picture the Saviour of the world arriving as a small baby, born to an impoverished family, with nowhere else to stay other than in a place for animals.  But, then again, if we look at a dying man hanging on a cross, if we didn't know any better, we wouldn't picture that as "victory," either.  It would seem more like "defeat" than "victory."  And yet we know through our faith that hope was born in that little manger at Bethlehem and we know that victory truly was earned on that Cross at Calvary.  Sometimes, hope is deceiving to our physical eyes.  The important thing for us to always remember as people of faith that we have to look at hope through the eyes of faith if we really want to see how God is working in our lives.  So, use this holy Season of Advent to look at things in a brand new way, the way of faith.

St. Margaret of Scotland  Church worships every Sunday morning at the Chapel at Marquette Manor, which is located on the Northwest side of Indianapolis at 8140 N. Township line Road.  Mass begins at 9:30 AM.  Come join us for traditional worship.  We use the King James Bible along with the Anglican Missal and the 1928 Book of Common Prayer.  We gather together to join as God's family to listen to His Word and worship Him and receive Him in His Precious Body and Blood.  Please join us for Mass and then stay with us afterward for our delicious Coffee Hour.