Grace Episcopal Church



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Proper 23a 2014
12 Oct.
Pledge Drive kick off
Jack Hardaway
                                                Costly Grace

"A God without wrath brought men without sin into a kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a cross."

That was the criticism of American Christianity by a theologian named Richard Niebuhr.

Let’s hear that again.

"A God without wrath brought men without sin into a kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a cross.”

A Christianity that doesn’t believe in much and that ultimately finds itself powerless and incapable of caring for and serving a broken world.

It is a Christianity caught up in what Dietrich Bonheoffer called “cheap Grace” rather than costly grace.  Cheap grace is a life without discipleship, without change, without taking up the cross and forsaking ourselves.  It is a grace of comfort alone without challenge.

Costly grace, now that is a grace that costs us our lives, giving up on the old life and taking up the new life of discipleship, of being freed from all the false idols that enslave and twist us, of daring to become free.

If God is real, if God is incarnate in Jesus Christ, if Jesus was crucified to set us free from the powers of sin and death, if God’s judgment is redeeming and restoring a desperately broken creation, if that Grace is real and true and is at work in the world….then what are we going to do about it?

That response is the life of faith, the life of discipleship, that response is Church, that response is stewardship.  This is about much more than paying dues, this is about much more than using resources carefully, this is about living a life and being the Church that makes this costly grace present in the world, a world in desperate need.

How thankful are we for this costly grace?  Will I be a minister of this grace that sets us free?
It is grace because it is freely given, all are invited to the banquet.  It is costly because it changes who we are, we have to put on wedding garments, clothe ourselves in Christ.

Today is the beginning of our annual pledge campaign.  Grace has become a fully activated and enlivened Church.  We are being the body Christ on every level.  We are growing and changing.  It is the consequence of being faithful, as opposed to just maintaining what used to be.

We have reached a transition in our life as a community where we are now too big for one priest, but we are nowhere near financially able to call a second priest.  It is an awkward size.  How will we maneuver through this?  With costly grace. 
It is time to start planning seriously for a second priest, and part of that is this pledge campaign for 2015.
It would take an almost 20% increase in giving to call a full time priest, realistically I don’t see that happening, but it is time to start talking about to make this happen, sooner rather than later and that this pledge campaign is the beginning of that to see just what we can do.

This is a good problem.  I am more than a little proud to serve a congregation that has this challenge to face.

I don’t think it comes down to doing more and doing better.  I think the motivation comes from someplace deeper, from believing that God is real, that God’s grace really has embraced the world in Jesus Christ, that our response to this grace is costly because it changes us, and that the world desperately needs us to make that Grace present and real in the world.

I think this comes down to simply being Church.

Sermon Archives

(These are Microsoft Word documents)
10-12-2014 Proper 23A 2014
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