Sunday, October 29, 2017

The Rev. Peter M. Carey Sermon 29 October 2017




The Rev. Peter M. Carey
Sermon
29 October 2017

Listen to the audio track HERE

“increase in us the gifts of faith, hope, and charity”

“You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy.”

“’You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”


Cut to the chase
At the end of the day
The bottom line is
The final score

I hear that there are people who like to read the final page of a book before they begin the book.  They want to know what happened, and want no surprises along the way.  They want to know “who-done-it” before the mystery begins and likely are the kind of folks who might ask you to “cut to the chase” when you speak with them.

I don’t think I have ever picked up a book and read the last page first, I would rather enjoy the book, and I am one who is interested in the process, interested in the narrative, character development and the descriptions so carefully presented by the author along the way.

However much I enjoy the story and the developing narrative or argument of a writer or speaker, there are times, when I appreciate having a clear “takeaway” from a talk, lecture, book or essay.  What about you, are you more of a “enjoy the narrative process” sort of person, or are you someone who want a message you can memorize or put on a notecard?  I think, no matter how much we love the story, at times, we are looking for a “lunchpail message” which we can reflect upon over our peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

“increase in us the gifts of faith, hope, and charity”

Pour into us, increase in us, fill us with gifts.  There is a deep recognition that we are gifted with our very lives, with all that we are, and all that we have.  Here we ask God to build us up with faith, hope and love.  Where we may falter in faith, God will provide faith.  When we may falter and enter fearfulness and have hopelessness, God will increase our hope.  Where we may falter and fear, God will increase our love and charity - caritas.  Just as we have these gifts increased in us, we also steward and care for all the blessings that God has given us, and we offer these gifts to others.  We offer our time, our treasure and our talent back to God.  “All things come of thee, O Lord, and of thine own have we given thee.”


“You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy.”

Blessed.  Set aside.  Having a holy purpose - not unlike the frontal, the chalice, the paten.  You shall be holy.  Not merely here as crude matter, not merely as automotons, not merely as random beings in the world.  We are called, and empowered to be holy, to be set aside as blessed beings for God’s mission in the world.  We are empowered to be disciples, to follow God, to enter the Way of Jesus.


“’You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

Cut to the chase.  Here, the lawyers, pharisees, sadducees are finally trying to trick Jesus again, but here the question is not unlike our own.  Fine, Jesus, many parables later, many healings, exorcisms, miracles and all that.  But, really, Jesus, what are we to do, what is the one most important commandment?  Here, Jesus breaks it down.  Here, Jesus cuts to the chase.  Here, Jesus gives us all the bottom line.  “Love the Lord your God will all your heart, and with all our soul, and with all your mind - (and) You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

So get to it.  Go do it. Every single bit.  That’s it.

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