Sun, 20 December 2015
Father Michael McGhee preached a sermon on Gratitude on the Fourth Week of Advent December 19, 2015.
Gratitude is our “home in the presence of God” (Henri Nouwen). For Christians, “gratitude follows grace like thunder follows lighting” (Barth). It would then seem to follow that when a Christian considers the grace received in Jesus, gratitude would naturally spring from the heart. Yet sadly, gratitude seems to be a rare commodity in the church and even more rare in the culture. Part of this has to with the envy, consumerism and entitlement that is so prevalent today. These three things combine to create expectations of people, institutions, and ourselves that have little basis in reality. These expectations create an unending cycle of striving for unattainable things and ideas— mainly because they do not really exist—which poisons our relationships and communities . The antidote to this is equal parts gratitude and affirmation: gratitude for what we have been given and affirmation of who we are.
Direct download: St20Johns20Sermons20-20Dec2019202015.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:38am CDT
Mon, 7 December 2015
On Saturday, December 5, 2015, Father Michael McGhee preached a sermon on Telling the Truth for the Second Week of Advent.
Telling the truth is not just a matter of facts, but a way of life. A truthful life is characterized by patience, gentleness, forgiveness, to name just a few. Living a truthful life together means life will be a bit messy, but the freedom it offers a community makes the hard work worth it. There may not be a more fear inducing phrase in the Church than “speaking the truth in love.” Although the Apostle Paul used it to speak of how we grow up (Ephesians 4:15), in todays church, it usually means that you are about to get beat up by a list of your faults— and you can’t get angry because it was offered in “love”. “Being truthful is not only about speaking hard things, but discerning the whole picture with gentleness, humility, and patience. A person’s gifts and flaws often come packaged together, and it is important to discern the difference between weakness and wickedness.” (Pohl, Living into Community). To live truthfully means we must acknowledge our sin; however, we must tell the whole truth. We must speak of Grace.
The belief in an all-knowing God should inspire the search for truth; the awareness of our human limitations should make us modest about the claims that we have found it, however. We ‘know in part’ (1Corinthians 13:12) first because we are finite beings…. ‘We know in part,’ second, because our limited knowledge is shaped by the interests we pursue and filtered through the cultures and traditions we inhabit. - Miroslav Volf
Direct download: TellingtheTruth.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:44pm CDT
Mon, 7 December 2015
On November 28, 2015, Father Michael McGhee preached a sermon on hospitality for the First Week of Advent.
In this first week of Advent, our focus turns to hospitality. Hospitality has always been a central Christian practice. Our welcoming of others is reflective of the Grace we received when God welcomed us as Sons and Daughters. Hospitality is not simply a matter of technique (fancy meals, lavish homes, special soaps in the bathroom no one ever gets to use). Jean Vanier offers, “Communities in which hospitality is a vibrant practice tap into deep human longings to belong, find a place to share one’s gifts, and be valued. The practice of hospitality reflects a willingness on the part of a community of people to be open to others and to their insights, needs, and contributions. Hospitable communities recognize that they are incomplete without other folks but also that they have a ‘treasure’ to share with them (Community and Growth).” So our practice of hospitality is not just a welcoming of people into our homes, but creating space for people to share the gifts God has given them. We seek to meet the needs of others not only in a physical sense, but also in a way that allows them to grow more fully into who God has created them to be.
Direct download: Hospitality.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:38pm CDT