Monday, June 16, 2014

June 15, 2014 Sunday Sermon, Father’s Day

... in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.  Amen.  Through the prayers of our holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us.  Amen.  Glory to You, our God, Glory to You.

O Heavenly King, the Comforter, the Spirit of truth, You are everywhere and fill all things, Treasury of blessings, and Giver of life: come and abide in us, and cleanse us from every impurity, and save our souls, O Good One.

Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us (three times).

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, as it is now, was in the beginning, and ever shall be, world without end.  Amen.

All-holy Trinity, have mercy on us.  Lord, cleanse us from our sins.  Master, pardon our iniquities.  Holy One, visit us and heal our infirmities for Your Name’s sake.  Lord have mercy (three times).

June 15, 2014 Sunday Sermon, Father’s Day

The Scripture

Exodus 20:2, 12

I am the Lord your God, Who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

Honor your father and your mother: that your days may be long on the land which the Lord your God gives you.

Psalm 119:12, 18

Blessed are You, O Lord: teach me Your Statutes.

Open my eyes, so that I may behold wondrous things out of Your Law.

Hebrews 11:32-12:2

What more shall I say: for time would fail to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and all the prophets: who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, grew valiant in fight, made the armies of aliens flee.  Women received their dead raised to life again.  Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection.  Others had trials of cruel mocking and scourging; yes, even chains and prison.  They were stoned, they were sawn in two, tempted, slain with the sword.  They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, and tormented (of whom the world was not worthy).  They wandered in deserts, mountains, dens, and caves of the earth.

These all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise.  God has provided some better thing for us, that they should not be made perfect without us.

Therefore seeing we are also surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily besets us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

The Gospels

Matthew 10:32-33

Whoever confesses me before men, I will also confess before my Father Who is in heaven.  Whoever denies me before men, I will also deny before my Father Who is in heaven.

The Homily

Hebrews 11 refers many of the exemplary Old Testament fathers and mothers.  It also seems to refer to several of the early martyrs of the Church.  If we compare ourselves too closely with these, we might draw some wrong conclusions about our own faith.  Even so these are examples for us and Paul indicates that they look down from heaven and are keenly interested in our welfare.  It’s as if Paul is picturing the Roman arena, the stands are filled with our fathers and mothers of the faith, who have hone before us.  Many of these have faced grave danger, confronted terrifying wickedness, and even conquered through death.  We are on the arena floor, we are on the area floor facing whatever hell can throw at us.  But our Champion, Jesus is on the arena floor with us.

Nevertheless, when we come to the Law, we frequently see a list of don’ts, forgetting that these things are for our freedom in Christ.  Two things are often overlooked and underemphasized in the Law.  First, is the introduction which emphasizes the Loving Father, Who has set us free from the slavery of sin.  That’s verse 2.  Second, is the perfect Son Who honors His heavenly Father, and His earthly mother, The Church, as no other child has ever honored father and mother so gloriously.

The Law is similar to other ancient covenant documents in which, after a king’s brief introduction a list of stipulations are given, the requirements for staying under the king’s protection.  In the middle of the covenant the king may represent himself, in this case in the image of his son.  Jesus is that perfect Son, that Champion, Who fulfills all of the Law’s righteous demands.  It is He, Who provides the gift of victory on the arena floor.

The Law is a perfect Father and Son, painting not only a picture of our example, but the promise of His gift of victory in Christ.

The path to being a better father or mother, is by becoming a better son or daughter in Christ.  As Jesus conforms us to His image, we become better sons and daughters by grace.  That is the perfect Father’s Day.  This is what the Gospel lesson teaches us, isn’t it?

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