The Gospel: Luke 6:20-31
Jesus looked up at his disciples and said:
“Blessed are you who are poor,
for yours is the kingdom of God.
“Blessed are you who are hungry now,
for you will be filled.
“Blessed are you who weep now,
for you will laugh.
“Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude you, revile you, and defame you on account of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, for surely your reward is great in heaven; for that is what their ancestors did to the prophets."
"But woe to you who are rich,
for you have received your consolation.
"Woe to you who are full now,
for you will be hungry.
"Woe to you who are laughing now,
for you will mourn and weep.
"Woe to you when all speak well of you, for that is what their ancestors did to the false prophets.
"But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again. Do to others as you would have them do to you.
Prayer: Lord, you have promised that when two or three gather in your name you will be present with them. We depend on that promise today and pray that you will move among us. Lord, we pray that you have inspired Mike's preparation, that you will enliven his presentation and that you will empower our application. Amen
The Message: This week there is lots of good news, we have a lot to celebrate, on this first Sunday in November. There is so much we are going to accomplish in this service.
Today we are celebrating All Saint Day. It actually took place last Tuesday but for some reason, none of you were here. Today we are also celebrating my being here at Christ Church for seven years. And in a few minutes, we will celebrate the Baptism of Xavier Haney. Then our service will culminate in the celebration of the Eucharist. Bringing us all together in thankfulness for all the Lord has done for us.
It will be Xavier's first Holy Communion as a Baptized believer. I hope it feels different for him today because I know it will feel different to me to serve him. This will be his first communion in the full assurance of his public statement of his trusting Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior.
I am going to read a prayer that we will hear as part of the Baptism service in a few minutes. Xavier, I want you to listen particularly closely because this is what we will pray over you and there are some exciting promises and some high expectations involved in this prayer.
Heavenly Father, we thank you that by water and the Holy Spirit you have bestowed upon this your servant the forgiveness of sin, and have raised him to the new life of grace.
Sustain him, O Lord, in your Holy Spirit. Give him an inquiring and discerning heart, the courage to will and to persevere, a spirit to know and to love you, and the gift of joy and wonder in all your works. Amen
Then Xavier I want you to listen to this scripture from the section of Ephesians we had read for us this morning:
"I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, and for this reason I do not cease to give thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers. I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe, according to the working of his great power." Ephesians 1: 15 - 19 (NRSV)
Five years from now I want you to contact me and tell me how this scripture is true in your life as you have grown up in your life with Christ. I am looking forward to hearing all about all the wonderful things the Lord is doing in your life.
Now I know that you are going to be challenged but I want you to take heart and listen to these words that are often read on All Saints Day:
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God." Romans 12: 1-2 NRSV
Now if you ever wonder how to put into practice the promises you made today in the Baptismal Covenant I want you to turn to this scripture:
"But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again. Do to others as you would have them do to you." Luke 6:27-31 (NRSV)
And always remember what all these people said when I ask them, in a few minutes, if they will help and support you.
I will ask your Godparents:
"Will you by your prayers and witness help this young person to grow into the full stature of Christ?
They will say in response: "I will with God's help."
Then I will ask everyone else here:
"Will you who witness these vows do all in your power to support this young person in their life in Christ?
They will all say: "We will."
So remember you are not alone and we are all here to love and support you. We are very proud of the young man you are becoming and are excited to walk alongside you into the future.
May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind be always at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face; the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.
Bishops & Father Mike