First Reading: Acts 16:9-15
Epistle: Revelation 21:1-27
Holy Gospel: John 16:23-33
Old Testament Reading: Deuteronomy 32:36-39
Epistle: Philippians 2:5-11
Holy Gospel: Luke 23:1-56
Palm Sunday/Passion Sunday Sermon 3/19-3/20 2016 – ‘The Long and Winding Road”
Palm Sunday The Sunday of the Passion – The Long and Winding Road – Series C Luke 23
George Martin, a music producer and one who was often referred to as the 5th member of the iconic band The Beatles, died this month at the age of 90. Though Martin worked with other artists of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s such as America, Cheap Trick and Jeff Beck it was his work with The Beatles, in my opinion and the opinion of countless others, the greatest and most influential rock band, in fact band of all time, that charted his course and cemented his expertise as a producer. In fact I believe that Chris Boc our DCE and our resident officio-nato of all things music and many other things, would probably even agree on my reflection of The Beatles and maybe even, George Martin. Ever want an education in music and again many other things, take a stroll by his office, for most days you will be greeted with some form of rock music emanating from his computer. So I will let you ask him directly to find out, though I can share that I overheard him speaking about the Beatles on Wednesday during soup supper and he has spoken to me directly at other times, so I believe I’m correct.
The legend of The Beatles is well known by those who lived during their arrival on the music scene as well as so many others which hopefully includes millennials and younger as you listen to the music of today, the roots of which can be traced back to the four friends from England, John, Paul, George and Ringo, who came together and did change the world of music. Their music has been covered by hundreds of artists from Tony Bennet, to Cher, to Billy Ocean to Aretha Franklin. And Yet by 1968 the one time friends were, angry, broken, in chaos and disillusioned. In response to this, Paul McCartney wrote the song, “The Long and Winding Road,” that put to pen the growing tension among the Beatles and wrote this verse.
“The long and winding road
That leads to your door
Will never disappear
I’ve seen that road before
It always leads me here
Lead me to your door.”
For many, this song and in fact the breaking up of the band that occurred even before the song was released, was the beginning of the end of the dreams and hopes of a generation.
As we gather together on this Palm/Passion Sunday the dreams and hopes of a generation of people that were so strong just a few days earlier, have been overcome by, anger, brokenness, chaos and disillusionment. Though more to the point this just highlighted the anger, brokenness, chaos and disillusionment that had been pervasive for centuries. Yet instead of this all leading to a door, as it had always done, the events of This Road leads us to the Cross where Christ will be raised up and slaughtered for the Sins of the World.
Life for you as it does for me often leads me down a number of Long and Winding Roads.
One such road came upon me this week, as I shared in the mourning and grief over the death of a friend of mine and of others, former Islip school teacher Jane Lascher.
Jane lived a fascinating life and try as I did to capture some of that life Monday night at her wake, or as Monsignor Tom Coogan did at her funeral on Tuesday, it was Jane herself who captured it best as told through the words of her very dear friend Mary Gravina. Jane had been suffering the effects of the cancer that had been diagnosed in her last summer. You may have remembered that we offered her up for prayers for healing at that time and thought the Fall. As the months went on and her treatment was started, stopped, started and stopped again, it became apparent that her Long and Winding Road, had led her to the same door that it leads for many others.
You are well aware of the door I speak of. It’s the door that says the cancer has spread and there is nothing else that can be done. It’s the door that says you are in so much debt, there is no way to pay it back. It’s the door that says, the troubles and pain you have caused or others have caused you, will now destroy your relationship forever. It’s the door that says you have no skills, and no job, nor will there be any in the future. This is the door that Satan is all too willing to shut, lock and guard to keep you trapped in anger, brokenness, chaos and disillusionment. This is the door that The Long and Winding Road of life has led you to.
It’s the same door that Jane was being led to, yet it was not a door that was going to be the final chapter and verse of her life. As shared by Mary with me last Saturday and with the congregation of friends and family on Tuesday, Jane told Mary a couple of weeks before her death that she wanted to wrap things up by the weekend of the 12th of March. Jane died on the 11th. That was Jane to the end, arranging things according to her schedule. Yet if we stop there we miss the rest of the story. What Jane hoped to wrap up was her life here, trapped in her brokenness and in her deteriorating body. Jane was confident that what lay ahead for her was a life that was filled with healing, hope joy and peace.
The same life and confidence that we share in Christ. The same confidence and life that is yours.
The Long and Winding Road for many, maybe for you is filled with Regret. Yet the Long Road that Winds thru Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem and continues on the road to the Cross is one filled with Repentance, Renewal and Righteousness. The Long and Winding Road that Jesus took, a road that began in the Garden of Eden, when Adam and Eve turned their back on God and stopped at the door Satan had shut for them. A road that would continue with the Father willing to send His Son into this world of anger, brokenness, chaos and disillusionment to suffer and die. A road that would lead Jesus to ride into Jerusalem on a road strewn with palm branches. And a Road that would lead Jesus to be brutally punished and raised up on a Cross, to take your place, to take on your sin, to take on all of the anger, brokenness, chaos and disillusionment in your life and the life of the world so that you would be forgiven and live in peace.
For the church this is a Road we will walk again this week and hopefully together with you. A road that will take us to Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings this week. A road that will take us to the Upper Room on Thursday to hear once again the Power that you have been called in by His grace and through His Body and Blood that has been given and shed for you. It’s the road that will take us to Friday and His death on the Cross. It’s the road that will gather us together on Saturday for the Vigil and the Road that will Lead us not to the Stone or Door of the tomb of chaos and death, but to the Stone and Door of the Tomb that has been rolled aside to reveal a place of Life, for you here now and forevermore. Amen.
Old Testament Reading: Isaiah 43:16-21
Epistle: Philippians 3:8-14
Holy Gospel: Luke 20:9-20
Old Testament Reading: Ezekiel 33:7-20
Epistle: 1 Corinthians 10:1-13
Holy Gospel: Luke 13:1-9
Old Testament Reading: Jeremiah 26:8-15
Epistle: Philippians 3:17-4:1
Ho;y Gospel: Luke 13:31-35
Old Testament Reading: Deuteronomy 26:1-11
Epistle: Romans 10:8b-13
Holy Gospel: Luke 4:1-13
Old Testament Reading: Deuteronomy 34:1-12
Epistle: Hebrews 3:1-6
Holy Gospel: Luke 9:28-36
Old Testament Reading: Isaiah 43:1-7
Epistle: Romans 6:1-11
Holy Gospel: Luke 3:15-22
Old Testament Reading: Micah 5:2-5a
Epistle: Hebrews 10:5-10
Holy Gospel: Luke 1:39-45
Advent Greetings to you all and with that comes the same dust up that happens every year.
The season to be upset over how Christmas and in part though no small part, how Jesus is defined comes around as soon as the first Christmas display goes up in the department stores, which by the way seems to be earlier and earlier every year.
Social media, the local news stations and the newspapers have been ripe with Starbuck’s cups, Christmas vs Holiday Trees and to a lesser extent, partly because this “controversy” folded like a stack of cards, Glacier displays. Yet while Santa and his “traditional village” has returned, the Tree debate and Starbuck’s cup debate continues to simmer. This becomes very emotional. It seems that for some this is an attack on Ho Ho Ho Jolly Ole St. Nick for others this is an attack on Jesus and for others this is another attempt by Christians to force “their religion,” into the lives of others. My response though somewhat sarcastic and cynical, is for all to “Cut back on the caffeine and step away from the counter.”
See for me, Jesus is not defined by a coffee cup any more than He’s defined by a fat man in a red suit named Santa Claus. But than again for me Jesus is not defined by a glacier any more than He is defined by a tree, unless we are talking about the one He died on. For me Jesus is not defined by my friends marriage that ended in divorce any more than He is by my marriage of almost 33 years. Jesus is not defined by the red, white and blue, though I love my country, anymore than He is defined by the red, white and blue that calls themselves the NY Rangers, or the orange and blue that calls themselves the NY Mets. And oh,by the way, how I wish that were so.
For me Jesus is not defined by the vocation I serve in, by the money I make or don’t, nor the town I live in. For me Jesus is not defined in the candidate I support nor the causes I rally around. For me Jesus is no more defined in the beer I drink than He is defined in the company I keep. Nor is He defined this way for you.
See Jesus is defined in the Cross, where He went to die for my sins, your sins and the sins of the world. Jesus is defined in the empty tomb, where life now and forever more is assured. Jesus is defined in the manger where God entered into His creation in the flesh. Jesus is defined in His Word, that declares, “I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6) This is who Jesus is not only just for me.
The rest, for me though is just idle conversation for social media types and maybe to keep us busy until He returns.
So Give Thanks, Give Praise, and Rejoice this Advent and Christmas Season. Remember why we celebrate and that though the world may put their trust in other places and other things, we put our trust and our hope, not in the world or our own understanding,(Proverbs 3:5-6) but in Jesus and Him alone. For me, For you, For all.
So from my family (Tricia, Matthew, Stephanie, Alec, Caleb and my two dogs Lily and Lizzie) as well as from the Family of Trinity I pray that you remain strengthened and nourished this Season by His Word and Sacrament. Share His love and tell of His story to those you meet, not to destroy or attack, but to uphold and comfort, as you are called to do through the Power of the Holy Spirit.
Peace and Blessings in the Name of our King, the Baby in Bethlehem, the Crucified One, The Risen Lord, Him Who Ascended, Who sits at the right hand of the Father and the One who will Come again, Whose Coming we Await.
Pastor Michael Staneck
Old Testament Reading: Malachi 3:1-7b
Epistle: Philippians 1:2-11
Holy Gospel: Luke 3:1-14
Old Testament Reading: Isaiah 51:4-6
Epistle: Jude 20-25
Holy Gospel: Mark 13:24-37
Old Testament Reading: 1 Kings 17:8-16
Epistle: Hebrews 9:24-28
Holy Gospel: Mark 12:38-44
First Reading: Revelation 14:6-7
Epistle: Romans 3:19-28
Holy Gospel: John 8:31-36
Old Testament Reading: Ecclesiastes 5:10-20
Epistle: Hebrews 4:1-13
Holy Gospel: Mark 10:23-31
Old Testament Reading: Amos 5:6-7, 10-15
Epistle: Hebrews 3:12-19
Holy Gospel: Mark 10:17-22
Old Testament Reading: Genesis 2:18-25
Epistle: Hebrews 2:1-13
Holy Gospel: Mark 10:2-16