Sermons at Emmanuel Episcopal Church
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.
Not A Parade, But A March: The Sunday of the Passion, Palm Sunday| Speaker: The Reverend Andria Skornik
Not A Parade, But A March: The Sunday of the Passion, Palm Sunday
Our liturgy for Palm Sunday starts with the triumphal joy of Jesus' entry into Jerusalem and ends with his death on the cross, abandoned and alone. From the highest of highs to the lowest low we see the events of that last week of HIs life. It's important to remember that His entrance wasn't a victory parade, but an intentional protest against Roman occupation, against injustice to the poor and the unwelcome, and against death itself. Jesus' death on the cross was part of God's redemptive plan from the beginning; His incarnation in His Son and His love for us existed since before the world was made. God doesn't react but acts supremely and freely. Knowing that the presence of this complete and unquestioning love coming in human form would be rejected violently by the world, He came anyway. Those who did not reject Jesus and witnessed the resurrection lived to share the story of the Passion with others so that they too could know that perfect love, just as so many young people are bearing witness today for the benefit of those who will come after them. This Holy Week, remember that we are loved and are witnesses too.
The Scripture reference is Zechariah 9:9-12. The Gospel reference is Mark11:1-11.
The Hour Has Come: The Fifth Sunday in Lent| Speaker: Vicki Garvey
The Hour Has Come: The Fifth Sunday in Lent
Christ's ministry as recorded in the gospel of John is bookended by a wedding, at Cana, and a funeral, of Lazarus. Just as we see on that first Easter morning where the grief and pain of death is interrupted and replaced by the unimaginable new life to come, the pain of the losses we have seen from gun violence in our schools is being replaced with the call to action driven by the voices of young people calling for change. This is the hour where a change for the good of all can come, where the status quo will no longer suffice, and where we can act.
The Scripture references are Jeremiah 31:31-34, Psalm 51:1-2,9-113, and Hebrews 5:5-10. The Gospel reference is John 12:20-33.
Believe, and Have Faith: The Fourth Sunday in Lent| Speaker: The Reverend Andria Skornik
Believe, and Have Faith: The Fourth Sunday in Lent
John's gospel tells us that God so loved the world that He sent His only Son so that the world might be saved through Him. The love of a parent for a child is the deepest sort of love, and shows the depth of God's love for His creation. It is hard for us, in our material world, to accept love so completely and freely given, such a radical grace. We must always remember that God made us, and He made us worthy of his love. Once we've acknowledged our worthiness and received that love, we're better able give that love to others and see them as worthy of love, too.
The Scripture references are Numbers 21:14-9, Psalm 107:1-3,17-22, and Ephesians 2:1-10. The Gospel reference is John 3:14-21.
Righteous Indignation: The Third Sunday in Lent| Speaker: The Reverend Andria Skornik
Righteous Indignation: The Third Sunday in Lent
When Jesus drove the moneychangers from the temple, He was reacting to Herod's and the temple authorities' exploitation of the faithful as they came to worship God. This angry Jesus is so out of character with the loving Messiah we have come to know, it is important to remember that anger in and of itself is not bad. Anger is a God-given emotion, and when we are angry it is for a reason. The important thing is knowing how to handle and use our anger in constructive ways. Anger tells us that something needs to be addressed; anger can lead to change, and change can lead to action. Jesus' actions showed the faithful that there was an alternative to inaction and they did not need to rely on the moneychangers' sacrificial animals for God to hear their prayers. Our righteous indignation and our anger at injustice should be the catalyst for change that brings healing to our world.
The Scripture references are Exodus 20:1-7, Psalm 19:1-4,7-10, and 1 Corinthians 1:18-25. The Gospel reference is John 2:13-22.
Take Up Your Cross: The Second Sunday in Lent| Speaker: The Reverend Douglas Rogers
Take Up Your Cross: The Second Sunday in Lent
As Jesus describes the suffering and rejection that will take Him to the cross, it's easy to sympathize with Peter's inability to accept what his Messiah is telling His followers. Peter's focus is on the here and now, hence his unwillingness to believe that Jesus must be taken from them to die. This is not the military ruler Messiah that had been foretold and hoped for; this Messiah is so much more. Our cross is discipleship, and by taking it up we are called to continue His mission of love, of compassion, and of healing. For when we reach out to those in need, we are reaching out to Christ Himself.
The Scripture references are Genesis 17:1-7,15-16, Psalm 22:22-30, and Romans 4:13-25. The Gospel reference is Mark 8:31-38.
Spiritual Fasting: The First Sunday in Lent| Speaker: The Reverend Andria Skornik
Spiritual Fasting: The First Sunday in Lent
The story of Jesus' trials in the wilderness and His temptation by Satan appear in three of the Gospels, and tells of His preparation by prayer and fasting. Fasting is a spiritual discipline that is often overlooked in our hectic modern lives. Fasting comes in many forms and isn't self-punishment but rather, self-discipline. When we say no to one thing, it creates a space to say yes to another. Our physical hunger engages our spiritual hunger; by welcoming and engaging our weaknesses, we are able to be fed by God. Whatever you feel called to this Lenten season, consider adding a spiritual discipline to your days as we journey toward Easter.
The Scripture references are Genesis 9:8-17, Psalm 25:1-9, and 1 Peter 3:18-22. The Gospel reference is Mark 1:9-15.
Imagine What Might Be: Transfiguration Sunday| Speaker: The Reverend Andria Skornik
Imagine What Might Be: Transfiguration Sunday
All transfigurations, from the resurgence of Rockford's urban center to Jesus on the mountaintop, have one thing in common: First, someone has to see the potential for greatness in the ordinary. God has seen the potential in all of us, has seen the vision of what our lives and our world can be transfigured in His light and love. Faith should be dynamic, not bound by the past but a proactive belief in the present and our shared future. As is written in the letter to the Hebrews, "faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen." Let us all keep our eyes open for the hidden potentials that can usher in the transfigurations we desire.
The Scripture references are 2 Kings 2:1-12, Psalm 50:1-4, and 2 Corinthians 4:3-6. The Gospel reference is Mark 9:2-9.
The Ministry of Presence: The Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany| Speaker: The Reverend Thomas S. Rogers
The Ministry of Presence: The Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany
In Mark's Gospel we see Jesus heal Peter's mother in law just by taking her hand. Those who witnessed this desired a miracle for themselves, bringing their sick and possessed to Him to be healed, and He gave them what they desired. Think of those who we know in our lives that need that healing and wholeness that comes from being with another person. Visit them, hold their hand, be there for them. By being present with those in need we open a space for compassion, and for God to enter in.
The Scripture references are Isaiah 40:21-31, Psalm 147:1-8, and 1 Corinthians 9:16-23. The Gospel reference is Mark 1:29-39.