November 27, 2016: AT THAT TIME OF WAITING

AT THAT TIME OF WAITING

An Advent Sunday Sermon by Pastor Chico Martin

Lections:  Isaiah 2:1-5; Psalm 122; Romans 13:11-14; Matthew 24:36-44

  

We approach

At that time of waiting…hoping…looking

In the all-at-once of the Great Time …

of origins, of preparation

 

Alive in an in-between time, between nothingness and eternity,

Between darkness and light,

Between the Advent and the Second Coming of the Lord of lords,

the Child King and The Ancient One;

we live in a time of pregnancy, in the fullness of time,

and we live in a finished time, a redeemed time, when all future things have been

accomplished, and already are, complete.   Continue reading

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NOVEMBER 20, 2016: BE STILL, AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD (Christ the King Sunday)

BE STILL, AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD

A Sermon by Pastor Chico Martin

November 20, 2016 Christ the King Sunday

Lections: Jeremiah 23:1-6; Psalm 46; Colossians 1:11-20; Luke 23:33-43.

Stat crux dum volvitur orbis

(“The Cross is steady while the world is turning”) – Carthusian Motto

“Be still, and know that I am God! I am exalted among the nations;

I am exalted in the earth.”  – Ps 46:10

 

Today we celebrate “God becoming king” and the inauguration of his kingdom “on earth as in heaven.”  Heaven is “God’s place,” and Jesus – from the moment his public ministry began – assumed his sovereignty on earth “as the Father’s accredited and appointed agent,”[i]  For this reason, we celebrate not only “God becoming king” but also “the kingship of Christ” over every earthly power.  Christ’s kingship – his sovereign rule on earth – is the central story of the four Gospel accounts.  Therefore, we celebrate Matthew, Mark, Luke and John for their accounts of the life of Christ the King. On the final Sunday of the liturgical year, which draws to its close this week, the church gives us these three things to reflect on:  God becoming king, the four sacred stories passed down to us about the life of our king, and the kingship of Jesus.    Continue reading

November 13, 2016: THE GOVERNMENT OF YOUR SPIRITS

THE GOVERNMENT OF YOUR SPIRITS

A Sermon by Pastor Chico Martin

November 13, 2016

Second Sunday Before Advent

Lections: Isaiah 65:17-25; Psalm 118; 2 Thessalonians 3:6-13; Luke 21:5-19

Joseph Benson was an 18th-century English Methodist preacher and the author of a well-regarded 5 volume commentary on the Old and New Testaments of the Bible.   In his notes on the last verse in our gospel reading, “By your endurance you will gain your souls,” Benson says, “Be calm and serene, masters of yourselves, and superior to all irrational and disquieting passions.  By keeping the government of your spirits, you will both avoid much misery, and guard the better against all dangers.”[i] The identical comment appears in his friend John Wesley’s Notes. Today I want us to focus on this verse.   Continue reading

NOVEMBER 6, 2016: THE EXAMPLE OF THE SAINTS (ALL SAINTS SUNDAY)

THE EXAMPLE OF THE SAINTS

A Sermon by Pastor Chico Martin

November 6, 2016

Third Sunday Before Advent

Lections: Revelation 7:2-4, 9-14; Psalm 24; 1 John: 3:1-3; Matthew 5:1-12a

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no man

could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples

and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb,

clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands,

and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God

who sits upon the throne, and to the Lamb!”

 

In the Eastern Orthodox church, at my chrismation, which is a ceremony comparable to confirmation, I was given the name John, after Saint John Chrysostom, the 4th century Archbishop of Constantinople. Chrysostom means “golden-mouthed,” and Saint John was known, among other things, for his preaching skills. Today, on the Sunday after All Saints Day, we remember the many thousands of people whose lives, like John Chrysostom’s, serve as powerful examples for us, as we strive to live our Christian lives. The God who calls each of us in a particular way to discipleship does not leave us alone, to make our way through the very human challenges of living Christian lives; rather, he gives us the example of fellow human beings “to show us the way.”  “By word and example,” one Franciscan reflects, John Chrysostom’s preaching “exemplifies the role of the prophet to comfort the afflicted and to afflict the comfortable. For his honesty and courage, he paid the price of a turbulent ministry as bishop, personal vilification, and exile.”[i]   Continue reading

October 30, 2016: SALVATION HAS COME TO THIS HOUSE

SALVATION HAS COME TO THIS HOUSE

A Sermon by Pastor Chico Martin

October 30, 2016

Fourth Sunday before Advent

Lections: Habakkuk 1:1-4; Psalm 32; 2 Thessalonians 1:1-4;11-12; Luke 19:1-10

 

Zacchaeus, the chief tax collector in Jericho, was a wealthy man, who worked, as did the Publican we read about last week, with the Roman occupiers of Israel; therefore, his neighbors despised him.  Zacchaeus seems to have been much better off than the Publican, which means he regularly overcharged people for their taxes and kept much of the revenue for himself.  Thus, he disgraced himself and his family, because of how he made his living, and he is labelled as a sinner.  Somehow, for we are not told how, Zacchaeus has heard of Jesus, and he wants to see this person, but he is too short to see over the crowd that follows Jesus.  So “he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to see him.”   Continue reading

October 23, 2016: THE PUBLICAN’S PRAYER

THE PUBLICAN’S PRAYER

A Sermon by Pastor Chico Martin

October 23, 2016

Twenty-second Sunday after Trinity

Lections: Joel 2:23-32; Psalm 65; 2 Tim 4:6-8; 16-18; Luke 18:9-14

 

This morning’s Gospel teaches us about humility by giving us the example of the Publican. The job of the Publican was to collect taxes from his fellow Jews for the Roman occupiers of their country.  As you can imagine, these tax collectors were not liked by their countrymen, who regarded them as traitors, and they had a bad reputation for corruption: they collected more than they had to and kept the difference for themselves. So publicans were not allowed to serves as judges, trusted as witnesses in court, or permitted to take part in the temple activities, and they brought disgrace upon their families.[1]  This is why the tax collector “stood at a distance.”   Continue reading