In that spirit of mixed guilt and vainglory, here is the text of a sermon I preached last Sunday, 19 Feb, at St. Margaret's of Scotland Anglican Church in Barrie. St. Margaret's is one of the healthiest Anglican parishes I've seen in a long while, not without its challenges but it has a shot at a long and bright future, in large part due to an excellent priest, Fr. Simon Bell. Simon+ has been kind enough to let me preach and preside on occasion.
I'm struck by how much of my preaching these days seems to involve some sort of ecclesiology, as if I am trying to work out and defend the importance of church and of worship. These days, I think this may be one of the preacher's most important tasks. MP+
A Sermon for the Seventh Sunday of Epiphany
Lectionary; Leviticus 19: 1-2,9-18; Psalm 119: 33-40; 1 Corinthians 3:10-11, 16-23; Matthew 5:38-48
Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matt 5:48)
Now think of church as a place where we do things that aren’t realistic by earthly standards. We shake the hands of strangers and wish them well. We practice being kind and gracious speech in the words of the liturgy (the lord be with you … and also with you). We meet people we might never otherwise associate with, eat with them, pray with them, together confess our need for and dependance on God. We honour all the generations, old and young. We welcome the poor, the rich, the fit and the frail, the banker and the street person. We give our hard-earned money to a cause that some would consider totally ridiculous. We form a community that has value solely because we see the face of Christ in one another. We are a community that is open to Christ’s work in us and amidst us, because we know that only in our dependance on Christ will we be complete.