Skip to comments.Sermon for Pentecost: “Love and Obedience”
Posted on 06/05/2006 5:49:30 PM PDT by sionnsar
If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever. (St. John 16:4a)
If we love the Lord our God, we must show that love by keeping His commandments. That is to say, we can say we love Him and we can insist upon it when challenged, but what we say will only be words if we do not also follow up our words with actions. We must not only proclaim Him our Lord and God but we must put that proclamation into action and obey Him in what He tells us. After all, Jesus said plainly, Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Matt 7:21 And we all know this, at least on an intellectual level. We often feel it, when we say we love one another. We know we cant just say it. We have to do the things that please our beloveds, so they know we love them and that we really mean what we say.
And that is commonplace. This kind of instruction gets repeated often. So often is it rehashed that we mainly tune it out, thinking it just one more time around a tedious merry-go-round. And thats sad, though understandable. But I have a particular reason for emphasizing it this Pentecost Sunday.
We worship according to the traditional use of the Church of England, a use we term Anglicanism here in the USA. That means we worship in community, it means we hold sacred the Holy Scriptures and it means we require that our worship be led by ministers who are consecrated and ordained according to the ancient Catholic use. We require this because we most firmly believe that our Lord meant for us to commemorate His Passion and Resurrection by taking and eating of His flesh and drinking His precious Blood. We believe that He ordered us to consecrate bread and wine and that when we do so, He would enter into the bread and wine and make it into His body and blood. We believe that no ordinary person can make this happen. We believe that only men who have been consecrated in unbroken succession from the Apostles can have the authority to celebrate the Eucharist and provide us with our Lords Body and Blood.
To maintain all this, we hold sacramental communion with Bishop William C. Wiygul, who in turn has sacramental communion with Archbishop Robert S. Morse. Bishop Morse was one of the four bishops consecrated on January 28, 1978 so that the Apostolic Succession in our Church might be preserved against what was being done in the Episcopal Church. In those days, the Church began ordaining women to the threefold sacramental ministry in direct repudiation of Gods literal word. We hear Our Lords word, dispatching His Apostles into the world and we know that He sent only holy, dedicated and obedient men. And, as they obeyed and showed their undivided and complete love for their Lord and God, so in our turn, we must also show our love, even if it means walking apart from many with whom we have had great fellowship in the past. We believe they have chosen to take a new road and we believe that road is one taken in disobedience to the express Word of God. We cannot follow. We must obey.
And that is a hard choice, in the best of circumstances. It is painful and lonely to pursue the pilgrimage upon which we walk, but by doing so, we show our love for Him who so loved us, He gave us His only-begotten Son. We abandon all protection and community standing by refusing to go along with the herd and say what society would vastly prefer we say. We could be quite the social marvels, if only we would agree that the Episcopal ministry is what they say it is: a civil right and a job very like any youd find in any profession.
We disagree. Our Lord told us to leave all we have, take up our cross and follow Him. That means disregarding whatever society suggests we believe. That means knowing that the ministry is a calling and a yoke. It is not fulfilling in the way one finds joy from being a lawyer, an accountant or a medical doctor. It is very like the burden laid on the vine picker. It is no accident our Lord compares it with the sower and the householder. It is not like the other professions and if we are going to be true to our Lord, then we are going to bow our hearts and minds and acknowledge this.
But again, it is not just to rehearse all these facts and give these doctrinal instructions that this point is being made. The Episcopal Church is about to convene their triennial General Convention. They face a terrible choice, but it is one they have laid up for themselves. When they went ahead and ordained women without even asking the rest of the Church for their opinion, they began a process of disobedience that led in turn to changing the Prayer Book from being a jewel of Common Prayer to a congeries of banal alternatives, infected with secularism and even paganism. And that has now led to the consecration of a practicing and overt homosexual as a bishop. This General Convention has to face the ultimatum this effrontery has caused: they risk being separated from the Anglican Communion if they persist in their disobedience and many signs appear to indicate that they are willingly going ahead. That is wrongful and schismatic, but it is also what those who have already walked apart from them long ago believed would come to pass.
The reason is simple: once one begins to disobey, the urge is to go on disobeying. The principle changes from being how to discern what God wills and how to walk in His holy ways to exactly what personal whim will be satisfied today and how much acclaim will one gather for having done so. The purpose of worship also changes. When once the church alters the Word of God for convenience, at that moment God ceases to be the object of adoration. At that moment, the churchgoer begins worshipping himself. And we will not go along that.
But we still have a duty to our separated brethren. They have gone apart and have taken great strides to alter their worship to meet their own wants and opinions. We have kept alive the flame of Anglican worship in the beauty of holiness. We must not leave them to their apostasy, but must fall to our knees at every occasion and pray God that He will find a way to lift the burden of self-love and idolatry which plagues the Episcopal Church. These were our brothers and sisters and they could be again, if only they could open their hearts and recognize the unfiltered and pure Word of God. We will see this week what new steps they will take, but let us now pray that somehow they will find Gods true love and will turn back in true obedience to Him.
+And now, unto God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost be ascribed all might and majesty, power, dominion and glory, both on this day and every day, world without end. Amen.
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