Grace Episcopal Church



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Proper 18a 2014
7 Sept.
Ex. 12:1-14; Ps. 149
Rom. 13:8-14; Matt. 18:15-20
Jack Hardaway          

                        THE MEANS OF GRACE

            I like to say that I have pedestrian habits.  I like to go running and walking.
            Since cell phones and texting while driving have become so common place I’ve had to pay extra attention for distracted drivers.  Every week or two I have to dodge a car whose driver is busy paying attention to something other than the road.  Sometimes they are parishioners!  Or maybe they were aiming for me…
            I’m just as bad.  I get distracted while driving and start weaving down the road.
            Most of us live like we drive.
            It seems that we are a distracted people and we pay good money to stay that way.

            How do we pay attention to God?
            Or perhaps a deeper question would be how does God pay attention to us?
            How does God call us out of our distractions into paying attention?
            The Moses story continues today with the final plague of Egypt and the command to remember the Passover.  It is a story about God getting the attention of both corrupt and abusive Pharaoh and a fraught and beaten down people.
            The Gospel lesson about dealing with conflict is really about paying attention to each other.
            The reading from Romans is about truly paying attention to God’s commandments by loving our neighbors as our selves.
            Since at least the second century the Church has called this attentiveness of God “the means of grace.”  The means of Grace are Word and sacrament: scripture, Baptism and Eucharist.  They are the three primary ways that God gives us attention, the three primary ways that we come to know God.
            We are a deeply scriptural and sacramental Church that is why we call our newsletter “The means of Grace” and why our vision statement says that we exist as a parish to proclaim and celebrate these means of Grace, The word and the sacrament of God in Christ embracing the world. 
            That is why we are here.  Jesus is God embracing the world, setting us free from ole pharaoh and all that enslaves, corrupts and destroys God’s creation.
            Our worship revolves around these things, the word and the sacrament, the ways that God gives us attention and calls us out of our distraction to paying attention to being alive, to being set free.
            Today is really the ministry Sunday of this parish, things get going: Sunday school, three Sunday liturgies, children’s choir, we intensify our attention upon word and sacrament.
            How will we respond to God’s gift of life giving attention, of being set free?  Worship and ministry are how we respond.  Both worship and ministry are all about telling God thank you, we give God thanks for embracing the world in Jesus Christ by worshiping God and by giving ourselves to ministry.
            Ministry is more than volunteerism and community involvement, ministry is how we tell God thank you for Jesus, and ministry builds up the church, it edifies the body of Christ, it builds community.  We are set free for ministry, the ministry of freedom.
            Over the next month we are going to hear every Sunday from several ministries of Grace Church and how they are about giving God thanks.  They are meant to get us to think about how we respond to the gift Jesus. What is our ministry?  How do we support the ministry and purpose of this parish?  How do serve this liberty that we are given in Christ?
            Today we are reminded, our attention is called forth.
            Are we paying attention or are we living our lives like distracted drivers?

Sermon Archives

(These are Microsoft Word documents)
9-07-2014 Proper 18A 2014
8-24-2014 Proper 16A 2014
8-10-2014 Proper 14A 2014
7-27-2014 Proper 12A 2014
7-20-2014 Proper 11A 2014
6-08-2014 Pentecost 2014
6-01-2014 Easter 7a 2014
5-25-2014 Easter 6a 2014
5-18-2014 Easter 5a 2014
5-11-2014 Easter 4a 2014
5-4-2014 Easter 3a 2014
4-27-2014 Easter 2a 2014
4-20-2014 Easter 2014
4-18-2014 Good Friday 2014
04-09-2014 Lent 5a 2014
03-30-2014 Lent 4a 2014
03-06-2014 Lent 2a 2014
03-09-2014 Lent 1a 2014
03-05-2014 Ash Wednesday 2014
02-23-2014 Epiphany 7a 2014
02-09-2014 Epiphany 5a 2014
01-26-2014 Epiphany 3a 2014(pdf)
01-19-2014 Epiphany 2a 2014
01-12-2014 Epiphany 1a 2014
01-05-2014 Christmas 2 2014
12-25-2013 Christmas 2013
12-24-2013 Christmas Eve 2013
12-22-2013 Advent 4a 2013
12-01-2013 Advent 1a 2013
11-24-2013 Proper 29c 2013
11-17-2013 Proper 28c 2013
11-10-2013 Proper 27c 2013
10-27-2013 Proper 25c 2013
10-20-2013 Proper 24c 2013
10-13-2013 Proper 23c 2013
10-06-2013 Proper 22c 2013
9-29-2013 Proper 21c 2013
9-22-2013 Proper 20c 2013
9-15-2013 Proper 19c 2013
9-08-2013 Proper 18c 2013
9-01-2013 Proper 17c 2013
8-25-2013 Proper 16c 2013
8-18-2013 Proper 15c 2013
8-4-2013 Proper 13c 2013
7-28-2013 Proper 12c 2013
7-14-2013 Proper 10c 2013
7-07-2013 Independence Day 2013
6-09-2013 Proper 5c 2013
6-02-2013 Proper 4c 2013
5-26-2013 Trinity Sunday C 2013
5-19-2013 Penecost C 2013
5-12-2013 Ascension Sunday 2013
5-5-2013 Easter 6c 2013
4-17-2013 Easter 4c 2013
4-14-2013 Easter 3c 2013
3-31-2013 Easter 2013
3-29-2013 Good Friday 2013
3-28-2013 Maundy Thursday 2013
3-17-2013 Lent 5c 2013M
3-13-2013 Christ Church Lenten Sermon
3-10-2013 Lent 4c 2013
3-3-2013 Lent 3c 2013
2-24-2013 Lent 2c 2013
2-17-2013 Lent 1c 2013
2-13-2013 Ash Wednesday 2013
1-27-2013 Epiphany 3c 2013