St. Mark's Episcopal Church

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Epiphany II 2014 Sermon
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Rev. Joyce Avery

When I was looking for a Sermon I found this one and it reminded me of Christy Lane singing, "One Day At A Time, Sweet Jesus. That's All I Ask Of You."  It's great!
 
A mother was telling her little girl abut life on the farm when she was growing up.  "I had great fun on the farm," she said.  "I had my own swing made from an old car tire that hung from an oak tree.  I had a pony to ride.  I used to slide down the haystack in the summer.  And when it snowed, I would ride in a sleigh pulled by one of the horses."  The daughter's eyes lit up as she said to her mother, "I sure wish I had met you sooner."
 
The scene in today's Gospel lesson takes place at the very beginning of Jesus' public ministry.  Earlier, John the Baptist had been questioned by some of the religious leaders about his own identity:  Could this be the Messiah?  "I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness," he replied.  "Make straight the way of the Lord.  Among you stands one whom you do not know, the thong of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie"
 
The next day, John sees Jesus coming toward him, and says, "BEHOLD, THE LAMB OF GOD, WHO TAKES AWAY THE SIN OF THE WORLD.  This is HE who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.  This is the Son of God."  Reading these verses, we can almost hear John saying to himself, "I sure wish I had met him sooner."
 
There is an old tale about an unemployed Jewish man who asks his Rabbi to help him find work.  "You are in luck," the Rabbi says.  "It so happens that we have an opening at the synagogue.  Moreover, it's an easy job.  All you have to do is stand outside the synagogue and watch for the coming of the Messiah."  "How much does it Pay?" asks the job seeker.  "Five hundred dollars a year," says the Rabbi.  "But that's so little." the man protests.  "Oh, but the work is steady," says the Rabbi.
 
Here, in our own Church, there is no such job opening, of course; we no longer watch for the coming of the Messiah.  We believe that he came into this world two thousand years ago.  And yet..and yet, in a very real sense we do need to keep on watching.  We do need to remain on the alert for His coming into our lives.  We do need to renew our awareness of His presence in our lives.  In this sense, the work is steady.  "How much does it pay?" you may ask.  "Keep at it," Jesus answers, "and I will give you eternal life. And this is eternal life--to be with God!"
 
Living things grow one day at a time. Never, in the entire recorded history of the human race, is there a single instance of a living thing being given more than one day at a time. Like it or not, life is given to each of us one day at a time (one of which is surely going to be our last), one day at a time in which to renew our faith and trust in the "Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world:"  One day at a time to renew our faith in "He who Baptizes with the Holy Spirit;"  One day at a time to renew our faith in "He who is the Son of God."
 
Take some time at the beginning of the day to be still, in quiet meditation, to indulge your "Love affair with God."  The Psalmist sings, "I will sing a new song to thee a God." This is the song of your soul which God is singing through you.  Listen .. and rejoice .. and then declare, "God has put a new song in my heart and I sing for joy.  Behold, the Lamb Of God!"  Tune out the song of other days and tune in the song that God is singing through you in that moment and your day will be a joyful, harmonious day.
 
Keep in touch with the living Christ!  Let the Christ-Spirit within you be released so completely that it permeates your entire being: Your mind, your emotions, your body, Your soul!  Let the Christ-Spirit become more and more the center and the source of power and of light and of love in your life!  In Paul's letters he writes about the indwelling Christ Spirit being present to all peoples through all ages from the beginning of time.  "God gave you New Life in company with Christ.  We discover that he has been leading up to a grand climax in which he tells us how to respond.
 
Clothe yourselves with heartfelt mercy, with kindness, with humility, with meekness and with patience. Bear with one another; forgive whatever grievances you have against one another; forgive as the Lord has forgiven you.  And above all these virtues, put on love, which binds the rest together and makes them perfect.
 
This little story happened at a fast-food restaurant: A small boy hopped down from where he sat with his mother.  He ran to drop the leftovers of his meal through the swinging lid of a trash can.  Rather than returning to his seat, the boy stood there for nearly a minute, his eyes fixed directly ahead.  His lips were moving in a silent reading until he suddenly snapped out of his trance and raced back to his mother.  "Mom," he said, pulling at her coat.  "Mom," she looked down, still eating, and mumbled "Hmmm?"  "I know how to spell garbage?"  The boy straightened himself up and said, proudly, "P-U-S-H. That spells garbage."  Then he waited for his mother's response.  Immediately, she flashed a big smile back at her son.  Then she reached out, hugged and kissed him, and whispered, "L-O-V-E you.  That spells what I feel for you."
 
In today's youth jargon, the phrase "Where are you coming from?" means "What motivates your life style?"  Do you know, really, where you are coming from?  To be absolutely sure, get in touch with the Cosmic Christ in the world around you.  Get in touch with the indwelling Christ in the depths of your being, and you will know.  You will know.  And your family and friends and neighbors will know.  And every perfect stranger will know.  They will know where you are coming from because you have put on love.  They will know that you are of Christ.  And with total conviction.  "Behold The L-A-M-B of God, Who Takes Away The Sin Of The World!"  AMEN 



 
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