Sermons at Emmanuel Episcopal Church
Don't Hold Back: The Day of Pentecost| Speaker: The Reverend Andria Skornik
Don't Hold Back: The Day of Pentecost
We often approach our faith like one approaches a new recipe, carefully following prescribed rules and never varying the ingredients. As our faith grows, though, we should move outside our comfort zone just as great chefs try new innovations and techniques. God has asked to be faithful, not infallible. We must look for God's spirit within us, and trust in that Spirit to help us seek out the persons and references that will help us to truly examine our faith. We have to learn to speak our truth, and to not remain silent when we see God's message of love co-opted or corrupted. The Spirit will support us when we do, and we will not fail.
The Scripture references are Acts 2:1-21, Psalm 104:25-35,37, and Romans 8:22-27. The Gospel reference is John 15:26-27,16:4b-15.
We Are Holy: Ascension Sunday| Speaker: The Reverend Andria Skornik
We Are Holy: Ascension Sunday
What does it mean to live a holy life? Holiness should not be confused with perfection. It's not something we can achieve on our own, but is received from God. When Jesus prayed for His disciples, He was also praying for those who belong to God, and who is not created and loved by God? He has made us holy, completely and irrevocably. We can and should fully live lives of reverence, in the deep joy of knowing who we are in God.
The Scripture references are Acts 1:1-11, Psalm 1, and Ephesians 1:15-23. The Gospel reference is John 17:6-19.
"What's Not To Love?" The Sixth Sunday of Easter| Speaker: The Reverend Andria Skornik
"What's Not To Love?" The Sixth Sunday of Easter
When we hear or read something that sounds profound or helpful, it's often our first instinct to think of how much someone else needs to hear it. We can be so comfortable in our righteousness, so aware of the shortcomings of others, that we neglect to look in the mirror at our own lives. When we take Jesus' commandment to love God and love our neighbors as ourselves truly to heart, and honestly examine ourselves as well as those we know, then we can truly grow in God's love. Looking in the mirror we see ourselves made in God's image, created for the task of loving.
The Scripture references are Acts10:44-48, Psalm 98:5-10, and 1 John 5:1-6. The Gospel reference is John 15:9-17.
The Catechism: An Outline of the Faith| Speaker: The Book of Common Prayer
The Catechism: An Outline of the Faith
Have you ever wondered why we pray for the dead? Or what are the sacraments? The Episcopal Catechism speaks to these and many more foundational aspects of the faith. You can listen to it here, or read it on page 845 of the Book of Common Prayer.
Where Will We Live? The Fifth Sunday of Easter| Speaker: The Reverend Andria Skornik
Where Will We Live? The Fifth Sunday of Easter
In John's Gospel Jesus invites us to abide in Him and to share in the love of God. He asks us to make our home in God's love, the one place we are always safe and loved. Why would we want to dwell anywhere else? We do though, when we let our doubts and fears move us away from God's love. When we doubt our worthiness to be loved, or how others see us, or our failures in things we attempt, we build a home in fear. We don't have to be afraid. Our being loved has already been freely given to us by God and he has made us worthy, and no one can take that away from us unless we let them. We can live in fear or live in love, but not both. Where will you choose to live?
The Scripture references are Acts 8:26-40, Psalm 22:24-30, and 1 John 4:16-21. The Gospel reference is John 15:1-8.
Many Sheep, One Shepherd: The Fourth Sunday of Easter - Good Shepherd Sunday| Speaker: The Reverend Andria Skornik
Many Sheep, One Shepherd: The Fourth Sunday of Easter - Good Shepherd Sunday
In John's Gospel, Jesus tells His disciples that He has other sheep besides the children of Israel, and that He must gather them also. This passage may not refer only to the Gentiles, but to all of us who seek comfort by segregating ourselves away with others who think, act, and look like we do. This does not bring us comfort or joy, but to the contrary brings more sadness and misery to our lives. Making a conscious choice to engage with those who are different from ourselves, to seek the subtle opportunities to grow by accepting our own limitations and vulnerabilities, this is living His reality. Jesus said He would make us all one, not all the same; but we are all loved by the same God.
Influential Source: Brené Brown, Braving the Wilderness
The Scripture references are Acts 4:5-12, Psalm 23, and 1 John 3:16-24. The Gospel reference is John 10:11-18.
Finding Peace: The Third Sunday of Easter| Speaker: The Reverend Andria Skornik
Finding Peace: The Third Sunday of Easter
We crave peace in our lives, but too often the things the world offers as solutions depend on many things all happening at the right time. Jesus taught of a peace that comes from God, not the world, and he wanted us to have it as he did for his disciples: "My peace I leave with you." This peace will not feel like the temporary respite the world gives, but a deeper and more satisfying peace that only God can give. God wants us to have it, and it is through asking God for it that it becomes real to us.
The Scripture references are Acts 3:12-19, Psalm 4, and 1 John 3:1-7. The Gospel reference is Luke 24:36b-48.
Thomas A Doubter? Not Really: The Second Sunday of Easter| Speaker: Dennis Horton
Thomas A Doubter? Not Really: The Second Sunday of Easter
When Thomas said that he would not believe in the Lord's resurrection unless he could see and touch the wounds of Jesus, he was only asking to have that which the other disciples had already received. Not content to follow blindly, he wanted to really know and to be sure of this miracle, this risen Messiah. Doubt is not the absence of faith, indeed it is very much a part of our faith journey. By asking questions, by examining what we believe and why, our faith is ever strengthened and our ability to act as God's own in the world is strengthened, too.
The teens who are leading the campaign against gun violence in our schools know that these horrific killings are but a symptom of a greater evil, and are asking us to help. We should not doubt their dedication, but support them in bringing positive change to our society. Thomas saw and believed; let us do the same.
The Scripture references are Acts 4:32-35, Psalm 133, and 1 John 1:1-2:2. The Gospel reference is John 20:19-31.
We Can Trust This: Easter Day| Speaker: The Reverend Andria Skornik
We Can Trust This: Easter Day
How can we know we can trust the empty tomb, the resurrection, even God? It is so hard for us to trust at all, faced as we are with all the disappointments and tensions of daily life. We have an example of how to trust in the person of Jesus, who had to trust God the most. Through it all, His life and Passion, he never stopped trusting; even His last words were "into Your hands I commit my spirit." Faith allows us to trust in the things we cannot know; it allows us to experience joy when it seems fear and suspicion will win the day. Jesus trusted God in His life and with His life. Mary trusted God and stayed by the tomb, and her faith made her the first to see the risen Christ. Let us trust God like they did, and our trust will not be in vain.
The Scripture references are Isaiah 25:6-9, Psalm 118:14-24, and Acts 10:34-43. The Gospel reference is John 20:1-18.
We Are Not Made For Suffering: Good Friday| Speaker: The Reverend Andria Skornik
We Are Not Made For Suffering: Good Friday
We spend Good Friday mired in the sadness and the harsh realities of this earthly life. We see our Lord, a good man, son, teacher, and friend taken too soon and suffering at the hands of those who would not know Him. It is hard to see, and it should be. But Jesus has shown us that we are not made for suffering, for helpless surrender to the vicissitudes of the world. He shows us that God made us for eternity, for perfect love. For that we are made, and with Him we will be where we are meant to be.
The Scripture references are Isaiah 52:13-53:12 and Hebrews 10:16-25. The Gospel reference is the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John, John 19:1-37.