This blog will include the sermons I have preached as a lay minister with the Anglican Parish of South Queens in the Diocese of NS and PEI in the Anglican Church of Canada. Because my preaching schedule varies, the frequency of postings will vary.
I hope that these sermons will enrich your spiritual life as much as they have enriched mine.
Saturday, 9 February 2013
Isaiah 58:1-12 The RIGHT Way to Fast for God
all know the story of the three wise men who came to see the baby Jesus after
he was born, but did you know that there is a story about a fourth wise man?
The story says that he left with the other three to follow the start in search
of the baby Jesus. Along the way he was constantly distracted by people who
needed his help. He would send the other three ahead and catch up with them
within a day or two, but when the other three reached Bethlehem , the fourth
wise man was nowhere to be found.
years later the fourth wise man arrived in Jerusalem-three days after Jesus'
crucifixion. He mourned and wept, grieving the fact that the King he had come
to worship had already grown up and had been put to death. He had spent 30
years helping others in need and had missed the one person he most wanted to
something extraordinary happened. Jesus rose from the dead and appeared to the
fourth wise man. The wise man started to apologize for not having arrived in
time to worship him at his birth. Jesus replied with words similar to these
words from Matthew 25:35-36, "I was hungry, and you gave me something to
eat. I was thirsty, and you gave me something to drink.I was a stranger, and you invited me in. I
needed clothes, and you clothed me. I was sick, and you looked after me. I was
in prison, and you came to visit me."
fast referred to in Isaiah 58:6 was supposed to bring God's people back to him
in humility and repentance, but over time it became merely a ritual that the
people used to show their so-called observance of God's law. In reality, the
people continued to act in ungodly ways.
loses its flavour when it becomes merely a ritual. When worship becomes just a
ritual, or when it becomes our main focus, we end up majoring in minor things.
We must observe this lesser requirement without neglecting the most important
requirement-caring for others. We must turn our focus from self-centered to
other-centered. The flavour is restored when we serve God by serving others. Serving
others is the fast that God wants us to observe. True fasting equals true
blessing, not just for us but for those we serve as well. Are we willing to
make the sacrifice of fasting for spiritual freedom? Justice, sharing our
wealth with the poor, feeding the hungry and freeing the oppressed are God's
requirements for a true fast. Fasting means more than just giving up food. It
means giving up some of our time and resources to do God's work in our world.
placed righteousness in our hearts through Jesus Christ, and he wants that
righteousness to show in our lives through godly obedience to him. In calling
us to obey him, God calls on usto fast
in a way that will bring us back to God in humility, repentance and true faith,
especially during Lent. If we do, we will grow closer to God. We have to be
willing to obey his will. When we don't obey his will, we rebel against him.
addition, we are to work toward providing justice for the oppressed and mercy
to the poor. As Anglicans, one way we can provide mercy to the poor is to
support the work of the Primate's World Relief and Development Fund, which many
of us will do by attending the Lenten soup luncheons that will be put on by
various groups and individuals within our parish. We can also help the poor by
donating time, food or money to the local food bank. For example, lay readers
in our Diocese are encouraged to become involved with issues related to social
justice, and the way I fulfill that expectation is through my work as the
volunteer Secretary-Treasurer for the Queens County Food Bank. In addition, I
have been providing advice and help to an individual who is starting a food
bank geared toward children in the Lockeport area.
being focused on others, we avoid being focused on ourselves and our problems.
For example, some people suggest that serving others is a good way to cope with
depression. When we focus on others, not only will God will nourish us and give
us strength to cope with our problems, but he will also give us a special place
in his heart.
heart yearns to ease the plight on those who suffer. He wants to use us as his
arms and legs to ease their misery. God directs us to ease their pain. God
wants us to do the work not with what we don't have, but with what we do have.
He wants us to use what he has given us to do his work in our world.
fourth wise man fulfilled God's purpose for his life by reaching out and
helping those people God put in his path, and in doing so he worshipped God.
When we also respond faithfully to those people God puts before us. we will
also fulfill part of God's purpose for our lives---and we will be worshiping
God in a faith-filled manner.
C.F., The Charles F. Stanley Life
Principles Bible, New American Standard Bible (Nashville, TN: Thomas
Nelson, Inc.; 2009)
Conley, "Rx for Depression". Retrieved from
Tada, "Answering Isaiah". Retrieved from
Eareckson Tada, "Bending Over Backward". Retrieved from
5.Os Hillman, "Your
Ministry to the Poor". Retrieved from Christianity.email@example.com
Shearman's Lectionary Resource, 5th Sunday After Epiphany, Year B. Retrieved
McGregor, "McGregorPage #75,Epiphany 5, 2/6/11". Retrieved from
Schuller, "The People Part of Purpose". Retrieved from
Anderson, "Doing God's Work". Retrieved from
Isaiah 58:1-12. Retrieved from www.sermonwriter.com
"A Passion for Justice". Retrieved from firstname.lastname@example.org
Roberts, "The Fasting God Desires". Retrieved from
& Ogilvie, L.J., The Preacher's
Commentary Series, Vol. 18:Isaiah 40-6. (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc,;
J., The MacArthur Study Bible, New
American Standard Bible (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers; 2006)