ON THE WAY OF SALVATION: Twelfth Sunday After Trinity

ON THE WAY OF SALVATION

A Sermon by Pastor Chico Martin

August 14, 2016 Twelfth Sunday After Trinity

Lections: Jeremiah 23:23-29; Psalm 139; 1 John 4:7-19; John 15: 9-17

 

This morning I want to begin by bringing our attention to the Collect for the Day.  This beautiful prayer has a long history in the church; Thomas Cranmer took it from the Latin Rite, where it is originally attributed to the 5th century Pope Leo.  Over the centuries, it has been edited and altered only slightly, most recently for the 1662 English Book of Common Prayer.[i] Its petition is for mercy, “forgiving us those things of which our conscience is afraid, and giving us those good things which we are not worthy to ask.” In his sermon “The Scripture Way of Salvation,” John Wesley calls conscience, “more properly ‘preventing grace.’”[ii] This preventing, or prevenient grace, is perhaps John Wesley’s most distinctive doctrine, described in The Book of Discipline (BOD) as “the divine love that surrounds all humanity.”[iii] Prevenient grace prevents our utter ruin and enables our initial response to God: the ‘drawings’ of desires and ‘showing’ “to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with his God.” Prevenient grace is the first marker along “the way of salvation.”  Today I want us to journey up that path, minding its guideposts as they appear in our readings and hymns.   Continue reading

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THE PROMISE OF GOD’S CREATION: Eleventh Sunday after Trinity

THE PROMISE OF GOD’S CREATION

A Sermon by Pastor Chico Martin

August 7, 2016 Eleventh Sunday after Trinity

Lections: Genesis 15:1-6; Psalm 50; Heb 11:1-3, 8-16; Luke 12:32-40

 

Were I to ask, from when would you date the beginning of the Christian church?, how would you answer?  Many might say, at Pentecost, when tongues of fire ignited the words and acts of the followers of Jesus; and this surely would be correct.  Others, recalling that Christ reconciled both Jew and Gentile to God through the cross, might say, the Christian church began on Easter Sunday, and this too would be correct (Eph 2:11-22).  Still others, remembering that Abraham is called “father of us all,” might say the church was founded in the desert, before the time of Moses, and this also would be correct (Rom 4:16). Going back even further, one commentator writes, “The story of God’s redeeming purpose in Abraham has its starting point in Babel, in the dispersion of humanity into many peoples and tongues.”[i] Indeed, no matter how far back in time we go, we can make a case for the presence of the church, because the church is the body of Christ, and Christ is the creator of all that is created.   Continue reading

July 24, 2016 Ninth Sunday after Trinity

PRAYER IN THE MIDST OF VIOLENCE:  CENTERING OUR LIVES

A Sermon by Pastor Chico Martin

Lections: Colossians 2:6-11; Luke 11: 1-13

Imagine yourself entirely alone.  You have you have just arrived in a city, where you have rented a room in a flop house for a week. There’s a bed, a chair, and a chest of drawers.  There’s also a closet.  The bathroom is down the hall.

You don’t know anyone in the city, and you have very little money. You remember that you have a family, but you don’t remember where they are.  You want to pray.  You think there is one spot in the room that will be best for prayers, but you don’t yet know where that spot is.  Maybe you should move the chest of drawers.  There’s a window. The room is dirty.  You should always stand when you pray.   Continue reading