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    Twenty-Sixth Sunday after Pentecost

    Preacher: David Macdonald

    Category: Faith

    Luke records (having most likely received the story from St. Matthew) that Jesus told the early church in Jerusalem that he would not simply leave them alone in the world to deal with all the surprises that come in life, families, and dare I say it...national life.

    Jesus told the disciples that he would be with them when “two or three were gathered in his name”…

    That he would send them the counsel and guidance of the Holy Spirit. So the church would not be left adrift…or any of us in fear at the outcome of things…

    Most worldly movements…fall apart after the visionary dies…
    But that is not what happens to us who have faith in Christ...we continue…because God continues with us…and Christ is with us.

     

    The worldly wise and non-spiritual people like to say…
    All of this was merely
    “wishful thinking, excited nerves & a lot of hocus- pocus”…and since the events of last Tuesday…
    That the sky is falling…I’m moving to Canada…or let us continue to be contentious.

    But folks…this kind of attitude…based in fear…denies the fact that the ‘holy spirit’ is still with us…enabling Christ’s followers…and other people of good will to do some amazing things.

    I would posit that all of us should take a deep breath…have faith in goodness…and settle down and pray for one another…as we come before the Lord…in this thin-place of spirituality and beauty…

    where the holy spirit comes upon a people…moving over and within them…
    There is change, movement, excitement, energy, new possibilities, new people, and an eagerness to forgive others…living lives that reflect Christ in the world…not fear.

    You know…we should be a people of faith first…
    Not partisans of this or that group.

    Why?
    Because my money is on Christ, god and the holy spirit.
    Christ teaches us that goodness wins.

    Within 100 years of Christ’s resurrection…Christianity spread throughout the mid-east, Africa, Asia & Europe…becoming the number one concern of the Roman Empire.

    As the
    Emperor Nero said…
    “it infected
    Roman, slave, gentile, and even the Jews”.

    He noted with strong disapproval… that within the empire…
    Christians were found in 30 provinces…
    A geography that covered the Mediterranean…stretching east to west from the borders of India to Britain…and north to south from Germany to Ethiopia.

    Peter, John, Philip, Paul, Luke and Barnaba’s witnessed this rapid growth…& commentators like Irenaeus and historians like Josephus were left speechless by it.

    Pliny the younger who was a philosopher, poet, civil servant & governor of the roman province of Bithynia…compared the spread of Christianity to, “a scourge of locusts that could not be stopped.”

    He said, “nothing good would come of Christianity.”

    He used imprisonment, beatings, litigation, legislation, plots, torture and speeches to try and limit it…only to give up and retire to his seaside villa on the Greek island of Corfu in disgust.

    The reason he could not stop the Christians…nor could anyone else...
    was the power that drove them…
    Was the same power that was in Jesus.

    ~it was the power of God~
    That removed fear.
    And enabled God’s people to live fulfilled lives! Not bitter ones.
    Now…what is the lesson in all of us for today?
    It is this…
    at this venerable parish…
    we will move forward in the years to come with faith in God almighty…in Christ…in the Holy Spirit…in love for each other.

    We will plan and expect that things will improve in our country and this world…that we are God’s children…not simple protagonists for competing political views.

    At the corner of Roslyn & Glen Avenues…in the Village of Sea Cliff…
    There will be a thin place between heaven & earth…
    Moved by ministry, community & faith…

    • Christ’s peace…will be our peace...
    • There will be laughter, fun, fellowship…and sharing
    As Christ would wish…
    At St. Luke’s…
    We will have nothing to fear…and everything to look forward to because…
    Christ will live in us…