Chapter XV of the Gospel of St. John begins with Jesus telling us that He is the True Vine and we the branches
and He speaks of the purging of the branches, which bear fruit…
and He continues that we are HIS FRIENDS
if we do as He commands, – oh what a friend we have in Jesus….
and then we hear the words from our Gospel:
IF YE WERE OF THE WORLD,
THE WORLD WOULD LOVE HIS OWN;
BUT BECAUSE YE ARE NOT OF THIS WORLD,
“BUT I HAVE CHOSEN YOU OUT OF THE WOLD,”
THEREFORE THE WORLD HATETH YOU.
“BUT BECAUSE YE ARE NOT OF THIS WORLD,”
My brothers and sisters, my friends, within these words lie the state of St. Michael the Archangel Church.
On this day of our annual Parish Meeting, no other words could shine more light upon the status of St. Michael the Archangel.
Many people are in the place of which our Lord speaks this morning.
Today we are in a struggle, not only within Christ Church (within St. Michael’s), but within the world in which we live.
Daily, decisions are made within a vacuum which is void of our professed faith…void of our calling…
and little regard is given to the consequences of doing so.
As individuals, and as families, we struggle daily with the burden of “free will” as we seek balance within our daily lives.
As Christ says this morning; / struggling to be “of the world”,
“of the world.”
This search for balance should always be made, weighing upon Christ’s offer:
Of His Calling; for He has called each of us,
thus reminding us that we are not to be of this world,
but we are to seek His Love, which is not of “THIS WORLD.”
By ignoring His Calling, “Come unto me”
our desires TURNS TOWARD “pleasing ourselves” OR OTHERS
without Jesus ever entering within the equation, thus our choice is made easy because then there is really no choice
simply because “our calling” is not foremost in our mind.
The consequences of these decisions upon ourselves and our families,
made in absence Christ calling, has a chilling impact.
Then this situation is then made worse,
Because we associate Him as mainly within church on Sundays.
The battle between this world and His world often can cause sporadic attendance to His “House of Worship” on Sundays,
and this impacts the current situation within St. Michaels.
This battle, for our time, heart, and resources is not unique to St. Michael’s.
Regardless, the impact of this battle weighs heavily upon His Church.
And yet, this does not have to be a case, pitting the world against the Church.
How many of you, when thinking of “The Church,” see it as Sunday event;
therefore, when drawn to “This World” on a Sunday and pulled away from His Church,
often the thought process leads to, oh well, we can go to church next Sunday, or the next …
This thought process is tragic, dangerous, and harmful to oneself and family.
Rarely do we give a thought, when missing a Sunday, to the next six days.
When making a decision of being of this world on a particular Sunday,
the next question should be “well, what day this week will we go and partake of the Eucharist?”
St. Michael’s offers options to you and your family,
you could receive the Eucharist on Tuesday evening at six pm (this service is rarely attended,)
and we have the 6 pm mass on Wednesday (this mass is followed by a meal and Anglican Studies,)
recently, this service is drawing about the 20 people,
we also have the noon Eucharist on Thursday (once again followed by fellowship and food,)
and finally we have the 10 am mass on Friday.
He is not just a Sunday event, but is here to feed you throughout the week.
Think of the impression, and oh what an opportunity to teach the children,
that when you miss a Sunday Service, that you make the effort to come during the week.
By doing so, you show forth the importance of Jesus within your lives, I would say that no greater lesson could be given the children.
In Matthew, Chapter 26, Jesus asked Peter;
“What … could ye not watch with me one hour?”
This morning I follow his line of questioning:
“What, could ye not partake for just one hour?”
When we deny our Lord of his prominent place within our lives, we are denying His Church.
I know that these words sting
and are strong
and may even offend some,
but they are said in Love:
to strengthen you and your family.
This world is very good at elevating itself as people are encouraged to give their time and their resources to rescue “this world.”
Well, just imagine if we all at St. Michael’s gain this victory over the world
and placed Christ in His proper place within our lives…could you imagine…
The hungry would be fed,
The thirsty given drink,
strangers are welcomed and invited in,
The naked clothed,
The sick helped and care given (physically and spiritually),
The elderly visited,
the prisoners helped.
Basically, those alone would not be alone.
Is this not the world for which we all desire…
This is the state of our Church in 2018.
Our lives, our world, need to be balanced in favor our Lord –
for we are called to be not just with Christ, but “in” Christ.
This conflict of desires has been a battle for His Church from its beginning,
as it has strived to strengthen its people with an armor of faith.
This strengthening of His calling is to help you to say yes to Christ.
Yes, the world will love you if you are of the world,
Just as it hateth those of the Lord,
who are answering His Call.
Our choice daily is to which is most important…
We must decide and then set our priorities to reflect our decision.
St. Michael’s is a blessing to so many people,
May God continue to bless us, that we may be a blessing to the world around us.
The hour cometh…..