Archive for April, 2010

Upcoming at St. Paul’s Church in Troy

April 21, 2010

Sunday Services are at 8 and 10am. Each week at St. Paul’s we hold Morning Prayer at 8:15 on Tuesday and Friday in the side chapel. We also have a Noon Communion service each Wednesday.

On May 18,The Tuesday at Noon Concert Series will present the cellist, Andre O’Neill for the last performance of the season  His program includes not only a familiar repertoire, but also Mr. O’Neil’s own compositions.

Saturday, June 5 is the date for the annual parish book sale.  Contributions toward the sale are welcome. Receptacles for used reading materials are in the Church and Guild House.  We will welcome fiction, non-fiction, craft and cookbooks, children’s books, CD, VHS, DVD and Audio Books.  No text books, periodicals or encyclopedias, please.

St. Paul’s Church in Troy, NY
58 Third St., Troy, NY  12180
518.273.7351

St. Paul’s Website

Easter Sunday Sermon

April 7, 2010

Easter 2010 Sermon

There is a long-standing tradition of using a bible text for a sermon. I’m going to use six different texts for today’s sermon. Don’t worry, I promise we won’t be here all day.

This is my personal New Testament [hold up], and these are the verses that make the main points of the Bible.

1. (Romans 3:23)   I am a sinner no better than all the rest.

2. (Romans 6:23)   The wages of sin are death.

3. (John 14:6)   Jesus is the way.

4. (Romans 10:9)   If I confess on my lips that Jesus is Lord, and believe in the Risen Christ, I will be saved.

5.  (2 Cor. 5:15)   Jesus died for all.

6. (Rev. 3:20)   The Risen Lord Jesus is standing at the door knocking. If I invite him in, he will come in and we will have dinner together.

In the church, the local church, this particular church – I often hear concerns that compete with the main message of the Bible. And then there is something else that may apply to this church more than some others – something I hear over and over:

“What a beautiful church!   Shame you don’t have a bigger congregation.”

“What a beautiful church!   It must cost a lot to maintain it.”

“What a beautiful church!   Do you mind if I walk my dog in the church yard?”

I am a sinner no better than all the rest.

I could die in my sins.

Jesus is the way.

Confessing and believing I am saved.

Jesus died for all.

The Risen Lord stands at the door knocking.

Last Thursday night we had a service here. It was the Maundy Thursday service. There were just a few people in the congregation, but we had a full choir. So, I stood right over there in the sanctuary and preached to the choir! I just about ignored the congregation, and I stood there and preached to the choir.

My message was this: God washes feet. I’m not sure what the choir heard, but that was my intended message. I said something about the nature of the Divine Love, and how it was a servant-like love. But my message was basically that God washes feet.

My father is Jewish. I wonder what my great-grandfather in Russia would have said about this. “God washes feet?” “Who knew?”  (I’m sorry. I don’t know what a real Russian Jew sounds like. I grew up in New York. Jews sound to me like Mel Brooks.)

If God washes feet, his clergy should wash feet. I think everybody should wash each other’s feet. If everybody washed everybody else’s feet the world would definitely be a better place. Instead of making and selling weapons and drugs we should wash feet.

The choir sang. The Deacon and I washed some feet; we shared Holy Communion; we stripped the altar; we turned the lights off and went home. It was a lovely service.

Before the service Betty and Carl came in. I was sitting over there at the side chapel. Betty came down the middle aisle with her husband Carl in tow, and they came over to me. Betty introduced herself first and then Carl. She said, “Carl just loves this church. He thinks this church is the most beautiful church in the world.” Carl was silent, and just nodded his head in agreement. Betty continued, “Carl just loves this church. He feels such a sense of peace when he is here. I was wondering if you do blessings?

She said, “I was just diagnosed with cancer today.”

So I took them over to the communion rail and anointed them and prayed for healing.

I ran into a guy I know at the coffee shop up the street. He said, “Pastor Mike, right?” I said, “That’s right, and you are Jeff. You’re an architect, right?” He said, “Yeah, that’s right. Good memory. Now, you’re the pastor of what church in Troy?” I said, “St. Paul’s Episcopal – down at the corner.” Jeff said, “What a beautiful church!    How many do you have there on Sunday?”

I went to visit a lady at a nursing home last week. She said, “I sure do miss St. Paul’s Church. What a beautiful church!    How much do you have in the endowment fund left?” I told her, and she said, “Oh, that’s too bad.”

A mother emailed me two weeks ago. Her infant boy needs brain surgery on the 26th of April. The little guy has a serious condition where his skull isn’t making room for his growing brain. The mom said that the Episcopal church that she and her husband used to go to just lost their priest. The priest moved away to another part of the country. She wanted to know if I would baptize their baby. She had seen pictures of St. Paul’s. She said it looked like such a beautiful church!

Actually, I was a little worried about the politics and protocols involved. The other Episcopal church was in another deanery in the diocese. I’m the Dean of the Metropolitan Deanery.  I thought I better call the Dean of that Deanery, and also call the lay warden of the other church. I didn’t want to step on any toes. The Dean said, “Michael, whatever you want to do is fine. You do what you think is best. If you can arrange the baptism, that’s fine. If you need me to handle it I will. Just call me if you can’t fit it in your schedule. (Very gracious)

The warden of that church said, “It would be such a blessing and a comfort to the family if you could baptize that baby. We have been praying for them. Right now, we’re going week to week with substitute clergy. The family reached out to you and if you can be of help to them, please do so.” (This also was very kind and gracious.)

I’m a sinner no better than all the rest.

I could die in my sins.

Jesus is the way.

Confessing and believing I am saved.

Jesus died for all.

The Risen Lord stands at the door knocking.

Next Saturday, I am going over to that home (in a foreign land out in the far reaches of East Greenbush, NY) and I’m going to baptize that baby, and we’re going to have Holy Communion, and the Risen Lord will be standing knocking at the door, and we’re going to invite Him in to have dinner with us.

May we leave here this fine day keeping in mind what is important, and also what is less important.  Amen.