Epiphany 3, Year A
St. John’s 2014
The Rev. Elaine H. Breckenridge
Listen to this…Sermon 2014.01.26
Jesus walks by the Sea of Galilee, calls Peter and Andrew, and immediately they follow him. And going on a little farther, he sees James and John, the Sons of Zebedee. He calls them and immediately they follow him too. Imagine that, Jesus demands no interviews, no formal process of discernment. There are no background or reference checks. There are no contracts or letters of agreement to sign, no terms of their discipleship to be negotiated. Unlike other sages and rabbis of his time and culture, he does not require his new disciples to enter into a period of testing and trial to gauge whether or not they have an aptitude for discipleship. He doesn’t even go to the temple or a synagogue to find his ministry recruits. No, instead he meets the men not in a religious sphere but in their everyday lives–in their place of work. Jesus meets them where they are and without qualification invites them to be a part of the kingdom.
The disciples are asked to follow him and they do so, immediately. For their part, they do not ask for time to think about their decisions, nor even ask for time to pray on it. There are no consultations, no interviews with other teachers, no listing of the pros and cons of following Jesus. Tossing their nets aside, without delay, they head for Capernaum.
Well, eureka, I have struck gold! What a great Gospel to have in front of us this morning as we prepare to hold our annual meeting in just forty-five minutes! Sure part of the business of the annual meeting is to look back at the preceding year, but it is also a wonderful opportunity for a priest- in-charge to inspire and motivate the congregation to become missionaries like those first disciples. Here is a golden opportunity for me to look at the behavior of the earliest disciples and say, ‘Come on folks this could be us. Jesus is calling, lay aside the mending of those nets, drop what you are doing and follow Christ’. Follow Christ: code words for saying, ‘Support the ministries and the mission of the Episcopal Church of St. John the Baptist’.
Annual Meeting Address 2014
The Rev. Elaine H. Breckenridge
January 26, 2014
They say that honesty is the best policy and I have to be honest, I feel like the new preacher who was called to serve a new congregation in a new town. Not soon after he had moved there he was walking the downtown streets in search of the post office, when he spied a little boy. “You look like a knowledgeable young man” said the preacher to the boy. “Perhaps you might give me directions to the post office.” The boy did so and the preacher thanked him. But before he turned away to head to the post office, he said, “You know young man, you should come to my church this Sunday and I will show you the way to heaven.” And without missing a beat the boy said, “How are you going to show me the way to heaven when you cannot even find the post office?”
A good question. And in like manner, how on earth am I supposed to deliver a report to you on the state of the health of the church when I have not yet had first contact with so many of the ministries contained in this booklet? So please receive my comments today as a work in progress.
Actually a work in progress is probably a good way to describe each of us on our respective faith journeys. And a work in progress is a good way to describe this congregation.
Bishop David Rice, the provisional bishop elect of the Diocese of San Joaquin has chosen St. John’s as the first congregation to visit as he begins his new ministry in our Diocese. To celebrate the event there will be one celebration of the Eucharist at St. John’s on Sunday, February 23, 2014, at 10:00 a.m., so that we may welcome him as one parish family. He will preach and celebrate and a festive reception will follow.
Baptism of Christ 2014
The Rev. Elaine Breckenridge
January 12, 2014
Listen to this…Sermon 2014.01.12 EHB
So that’s it then. We are officially finished with the Christmas season. The greens, the wreathes, the poinsettias, the creche and the three kings have all been taken out of the church and boxed up for another year. All that remains is the star. Given today’s Gospel reading the star should have been replaced by a dove, but I just couldn’t bear to see it boxed up yet. It is just too magnificent not to enjoy a second week. It is a reminder of light.
I often have mixed feelings when it comes to putting away the lights of Christmas. It seems wrong in some ways, since we think of the Epiphany season as the season of light. Although the days are getting a wee bit longer, we still rise in the morning before daylight and we often don’t return home after a day of work until it is dark. So it is ironic that we should put away lights during the season of Epiphany. But alas people have taken down their outside lights and my neighborhood is plunged into darkness once again. So I feel justified leaving our star in place for this second Sunday. It testifies to the light, to the appearance of God not only in the little child born for us, but in the Christ whom we meet in this morning’s Gospel.
Epiphany Sunday 2014
January 5, 2014
A Sermon by The Rev. Elaine H. Breckenridge
Listen to this… Sermon 2014.01.05 EHB
They made it! It took them only twelve days but the wise men, our three figures of nobility in the Gospel reading finally made it to the site of the infant king! Not only the wise men made it but our church’s creche figures also made it! The month of December was kind of like playing hide and seek with the Designer Guild. Where would the three kings turn up this Sunday was always the question? But they have arrived and are safely installed in the marvelous nativity scene in the narthex.
Yes, the wise men arrived –late and over dressed and with spectacular gifts. Poor Mary and Joseph probably could have used food, diapers and layette and instead they got gold, frankincense and myrrh. And yet it adds charm to the story for the great light of Epiphany teaches us that Immanuel, God-with- us came for all of humanity.
Sunday January 26 at 9:00 a.m. we will have one combined service.
Our Annual Meeting starts at 10:15 a.m.
Following the meeting is an All Parish Potluck luncheon. Sign-up sheet for the potluck is located on the ministry table.