MAY 22, 2016, TRINITY SUNDAY

BEING IN COMMUNION WITH GOD:  TRINITY SUNDAY

A Sermon by Pastor Chico Martin

The first time I preached on the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, there was a retired minister in church; he came up to me afterwards, and said, “You know, most people don’t understand the Trinity.”  His comment was no doubt true, but I find it curious that should there be so much difficulty with the doctrine at the heart of our belief; I also acknowledge the difficulty of speaking plainly about the Trinity in ways that are neither confusing nor simplistic.

Today we begin with the incident of the shamrock; when St. Patrick first arrived in Ireland,   Continue reading

MAY 15, 2016, PENTECOST SUNDAY

THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES | PART 7 (Conclusion) Acts 2:1-21 

A Sermon by Pastor Chico Martin

“Let the righteous be joyful; let them exult before God; let them be jubilant with joy, alleluia, alleluia.”  –  Ps 68:3

The descent of the Spirit on the first church of Jerusalem is an event accompanied by wonders and signs the like of which have not to be seen or heard since. The assembly of a hundred and twenty are gathered in the upper room, when the sound “like a rush of violent wind,” the sight of “divided tongues, as of fire,” and the sudden speaking in “other languages” fills the entire house. A life-giving wind kindles the consuming flames that catch in the phenomena of language and burn through the confusion of understanding that had reigned since God halted construction of the Tower of Babel.  A crowd gathers “at this sound” and Peter and the other eleven apostles go outside to speak.   Fear and suspicion are overwhelmed by joy, the Gospel is preached, and “devout Jews from every nation living in Jerusalem” are united by belief into a Messianic community that continues today to add to its numbers.   Continue reading

MAY 8, 2016, 7TH SUNDAY OF EASTER

THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES | PART 6 Acts 20:7-12  

A Sermon by Pastor Chico Martin

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This, the sixth in a series of sermons on The Acts, happens to fall on Mother’s Day, so I thought I would begin by talking about Mary, the Mother of God.  My favorite time to talk about Mary is during Advent, when she is celebrated as the Birth-giver: “The Holy Spirit will come on you,” the angel in Luke’s Gospel says, “and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:35).  All of creation, through the many generations following Adam and Eve’s expulsion from the Garden of Eden, had groaned in travail, until the Mother of our Creator, the Mother of Our Savior, the Mother of Grace and Mercy, was born and then conformed – by the grace of God – her will entirely to his.

I do not doubt that Mary is the most exalted of all God’s creatures. Regrettably, Mary is neglected in Protestant worship and doctrine, because most of what we know about Mary   Continue reading

MAY 5, 2016, ASCENSION DAY

WHERE IS JESUS NOW?

Ascension Day Sermon by Pastor Chico Martin

Ascension Day addresses the question, Where is Jesus Now? Many people have only a vague notion of what Ascension Day signifies for the church.  Even in the church, the Ascension of Our Lord is often overlooked, despite its centuries-long tradition of marking this date with celebration.  In part this is because Ascension Day always falls on a Thursday (40 days after Easter); but John Wesley, the founder of our Methodism, kept the festival of Christ’s Ascension in the church calendar that he approved for use here in North America.   Wesley only approved two other traditional church festivals that don’t fall on a Sunday:  Christmas, and Good Friday.  Wesley recognized the benefit of asking, Where is Jesus now?   Continue reading

May 1, 2016, 6TH SUNDAY OF EASTER

THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES | PART 5  Acts 20:17-38  

A Sermon by Pastor Chico Martin

Paul has served the Lord in Ephesus “with great humility and with tears.”  He has preached to the heart with reason everything “helpful” to the church, and he has taught “publicly and from house to house” to “Jews and Greeks” the twofold basis of Christian salvation: repentance and belief in Jesus.   The gospel is the good news about Jesus Christ, the Messiah, and what has done, and The Acts is emphatically Gospel, because The Acts continues Luke’s narration of what Jesus Christ has done, specifically, what he has done after his Ascension.  Jesus has founded his church.    Continue reading