Excerpts of Lent IV Sermon by Archbishop Mark Haverland, Metropolitan of The Anglican Catholic Church, Original Province
"In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
I don't know if you've noticed it on your own or if a preacher has ever pointed it out to you, but the gospel lessons for the first three Sunday in Lent all involve the devil. On Lent I we have the story of the three temptations of Christ - by the devil. On Lent II we have the woman of Canaan, whose daughter is 'grievously vexed with' - 'a devil' (Matthew 15). Then last Sunday, on Lent III the gospel began with our Lord 'casting out' - 'a devil' and continues with a long discussion of demonic possession.
In short, the first half of Lent is surprisingly focused on the demonic and spiritual evil. Why is that? It seems odd at first, but really it isn't. Lent is the season for spiritual renewal and for getting rid of unhealthy things in myself and in my relationships. This healing requires both negative and positive work. Spiritual growth has a negative element, which spiritual writers often speak of as purgation. This means that we have to turn away from or do away with or purge bad habits, bad attitudes, and bad associations. We can't make spiritual progress until, if you will, the devils are cast out. I think that is the point in the heavy emphasis on the demonic in the first part of Lent. To borrow a phrase from Paul and the Advent collect, in Lent we 'cast away the works of darkness'. We clear away the junk. We open up room in ourselves.
But as last week's gospel told us, making room in our souls by casting out some bad things doesn't do us much good if a vacuum remains within us. Vacuums tend to fill. It does us no good to cast out one devil if, in the words of last week's gospel, he 'then goeth... and taketh to him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in, and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first'. We need to fill ourselves with God and goodness, or removing this or that bad thing won't do us much long term good.
Which is why, I think after three weeks dealing with the negative work of exorcism, of renouncing evil and casting it out, we find that today's gospel changes gear. Today we turn towards a more positive message of the gospel. Today we begin to consider what will replace evil within us if make room.
One of today's popular names is Refreshment Sunday. Today we learn of the help God offers us in our spiritual warfare through the refreshment and grace of the Eucharist. In fact the whole of chapter 6 of John, from which today's gospel is taken, concerns the Eucharist and its heavenly Bread.
The chapter opens with John's version of the miraculous feeding of the five thousand. One of the persistent themes of Saint John's gospel is the way in Christ replaces Jewish feasts and observances with himself. In today's gospel this theme is clearly presented in the introduction: 'And the Passover, a feast of the Jews, was nigh.' As you will remember, the Passover was and is a feast that involves a meal. The meal includes bread, wine, and lamb. In today's lesson bread also appears, as our Lord feeds the multitude. This miracle in turn ushers in a long discussion that continues past the end today's lesson. This discussion, involving Christ, his disciples, and the Pharisees, concerns the true and proper meaning of the Passover with its bread and the manna.
Christ tells those around him that he is the true Bread, the Bread from heaven. And so for us as Christians the meaning of the manna, the Passover bread, and the bread of today's miracle is fixed. All of these breads - indeed all of the bread and grain which abound in Scripture - are types, foreshadows, prefigurements, and symbols that point us to Christian realities. Christ is the Bread of Heaven. Christ is the Bread of the Eucharist. Christ is our spiritual food, our sustenance, our life, and our hope on earth. Christ is our Refreshment. Christ is the living Bread that came down from heaven. And in the Eucharist Christ replaces the Passover. . ."
REMEMBER THE WORDS OF THE LORD JESUS, HOW HE SAID, IT IS MORE BLESSED TO GIVE THAN TO RECEIVE
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Sunday Services, 7:45, 9:00 & 11:15 AM nursery care provided during 9 & 11:15 AM services (for online participation for the services go to: https://www.facebook.com/saintsofscotland/ )
Sunday school, 10:30 AM
Wednesday Service 12 noon (can be seen also at https://www.facebook.com/saintsofscotland/)
Stations of the Cross & Lenten Suppers, Every Friday during Lent at 7:00 PM (except Good Friday) If you can provide a soup without meat and a bread supper for one or more of these Fridays, please sign up on the sheet on the bulletin board in the undercroft.
Vestry meeting, Monday March 28, 7:30 PM, undercroft
Please remember to pray for everyone on the parish's prayer list that is in the attached bulletins.
Your Food Donations are Greatly Needed
Please help this month with a food donation if you are able. Christ House is very thankful for the food we provide to them each month. Please also buy low sugar cereals (and not the kid's types that have lots of sugar). Current needs include the following:
• canned meats (chicken, corned beef, spam)
• peanut butter
• canned vegetables (corn, green beans - (regular and low sodium)
• individual fruit cups (low sugar)
• canned fruit (low sugar)
• cereal (low sugar)
• pasta (regular and gluten-free)
• instant potatoes
• Macaroni & cheese kits
• Coffee, cooking oil, flour, sugar
MaRIH Center is also in great need of our help (crisis pregnancy center)
MaRIH Center with its all volunteer staff has been providing help to mothers-to-be and mothers in need. If you can provide some of the items that are needed, please do so. (You can leave the donations where the food for the food bank is collected on the pew in the undercorft.)
Baby wipes (an ongoing great need)
Diapers (sizes 1, 4, 5, & 6)
Similac Advanced Formula
Batteries (all sizes)
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