According to Luke, (and as offered in this painting by Brian Whelan) it must have been a miraculous, stupefying sight for the disciples who reported witnessing Jesus leaving them for the heavens.
This Advent sermon, entitled “Not a Spirit of Fear,” was given by Fr. Lonnie at Christ Church, Greenwich, CT as part of their ongoing preaching series called Faith on Fire.
“Having a full and robust theology of the Second Coming inoculates us against sentimentality and self-idolatry that says, ‘We can fix this. Just give us time, O Lord, and we can make it better.’ We are entangled in Sin, and there’s only One who can undo this Gordian knot. Whether we believe it or not, we need Judgment. We need to be shown the mirror of who we truly are. The last time that happened for us, it ended up looking like a man hanging on a tree, bleeding for us as both our victim and our king.”
“These are anxious times in an anxious world, but I remain convinced now more than ever that the world is still good. Noisy, distracted, suspicious, yes . . . but still very, very good. My hope for you—for all of us—is that we can make time to find a little more silence in our lives. That we can rest our hearts and minds and lay aside some of our nagging fears. That we can stop running ourselves ragged in the endless pursuit of ‘enough.’ That we can take daily stock of the blessings that surround us on every side, even those that seem at first like burdens.”
Now more than ever, we need to keep alive hope in the gospel, hope in our community, hope in the redemption of the world. We need to saturate these walls with prayers for the hurting, the grieving, for those living in isolation, and for those who have lost their way and just might see the light coming from our open doors.
“This is how I think of St. Anne, both in her role as grandmother to Jesus, and to this parish. A patron who is always lovingly standing by to hold us in anxious times, to comfort us as we grieve what is passing, and to strengthen and to guide us through each new challenge as we discern the will of God for our common life together.”
“As graduates, our faith reminds us that God is with us on all our new adventures. Our congregation knows this faith as well because today is the day we decommission the old Education Building and pick up our work as God’s people in a new Ministry Center.”
“For years Bert Bacon has laid a foundation for us in this place: a foundation of music, beauty, and love. Like Ezra and Nehemiah, he has given us something rock solid. His music, like the walls of Jerusalem, has given us a place to exist, a place to be, a place where we can find God and live with him on this very earth. Right here at St. Anne’s Episcopal Church, Bert Bacon has built up Zion’s walls … and we are glad indeed.”
❝God is able to use anyone, and in fact he often uses the people you least expect. No one ever would have thought that our messiah would come from the lineage of a poor, widowed girl named Ruth from Moab. But that means there’s hope for you and me, too, which is something worth celebrating on this All Saints Sunday.❞
❝What often happens to us when we arrive at a place of victory or status in our lives is that we, like many of those with Joshua, get into a place of spiritual amnesia. We forget the hard places, the struggles, the failures, and humiliations that came along the way. We begin to think it’s something we’ve accomplished, deserved, or earned.❞