Good morning, my brothers and sisters in Christ. The church, here at St. Mark and the Cure, in its responsibilities to proclaim the Good News through the ‘Word and Sacraments” has to organise itself for the task. It requires leadership at all levels; Sunday school, youth ministry, organizations and committees, guided by the Holy Spirit to make the growth possible, so to this end, we have gathered to recommend, nominate, and elect those who desire to serve.
In this context, we hold our congregation meeting to share information and decisions. “Share each other’s troubles and problems and in this way obey the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2)
Our mission is guided by the five marks of mission;
1. To proclaim the good news of the Kingdom of God;
2. To teach, baptize and nurture new believers;
3. To respond to human need by loving service;
4. To challenge violence, injustice, and oppression, and work for peace and reconciliation;
5. To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and to sustain and renew the life of the earth;
If we hold to them, we will achieve much more for the glory of God.
I wish to thank all those who have served the church in their various capacities for 2016. You have made 2016 a successful and memorable year, especially through our 200th year celebration.
Good morning, my brothers and sisters in Christ. Today we celebrate the Baptism of our Lord, which marks the beginning of His ministry of Salvation to us, and the coming of the Kingdom. The New Year brings with it beginnings and renewals in which we will in some way, or the other, be a part of; this will depend on our involvement in the various activities and development that as a church we desire to fulfill. Our Baptism caused us to begin a new life in Christ, and being empowered by the Holy Spirit we are urged to tell others of our relationship with him. At Jesus’ baptism we are told that God, was ‘well pleased’ and that he was loved. We, too, can be said to be ‘loved’ of God and that he desires to be pleased with us, if we but trust and accept the Christ as His Son. Jesus begun his ministry with that assurance of being loved and pleased with, knowing the path he was to walk to bring about the salvation for which he came, and we too can walk that path, so as to share in the promised Kingdom.
Theme: “True worshipers.” Jesus said, “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.” (John 4: 23)
My brothers and Sisters in Christ, as we continue to reflect on our 200 years of Influence, we need to consider this ‘influence’ as our evangelism, making aware, making known to others the good news of salvation. This ‘influence’, as we stand in the midst of the community of Mandeville, is that when others see and encounter us, they see the Christ whom we proclaim. How we are seen and encountered says much of who we are in Christ. The vibrant future can only be when, in our evangelism, we bring others to Christ and make them welcomed in the family of God, the Church. “When we receive God’s love in our own experience, it is not meant for us to keep it to ourselves. His Love in Jesus is for the whole world, and Christians are ‘sent’ (the root meaning ‘mission’) to take to others what Jesus has brought to them.” We find this evangelism thrust in the post communion prayers; “Send us now into the world,” and “Send us out to do the work you have given us to do.” (Pg 148) “To evangelise is to present Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit, that men and women shall come to put their trust in God through him, to accept him as their Saviour, and serve him as their King in the fellowship of his Church.” (Archbishop William Temple.) We as a country celebrates fifty-four years of our Independence, and have in many ways been influential in many areas, giving us the possibility of having a vibrant future if we only live in love, unity and peace with each other. ‘Out of many one.’ One love
Yours in Christ
My brothers and Sisters in Christ, today we welcome our Diocesan Bishop, the Rt. Rev. Dr. Howard Gregory, our Celebrant and Preacher, and Mrs. Gregory, as they continue to share with us in our 200th Anniversary celebration. We welcome the confirmands as they share with us in their first communion, having been strengthened to grow in relationship with our Lord and Master. I encourage us to embrace them in the love of Christ so that the family of God, the Church, can be the place where they feel empowered to be a part of the Kingdom. As a church celebrating 200 years of influence, we need to look inward, as we look outwards, so as to be strengthened for the responsibilities we have as Christians. I ask us to reflect on these words of 1 John 4:20- 21. “If anyone says. ‘I love God,’ yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen, And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.” I urge us to embrace each other in Christ for the building up of the Body of Christ.
Every blessing be yours.
“We thank you, our God and Father for those who in Confirmation have made a confession of their faith and have been welcomed into the communicant life of the Christian Family. Help us to encourage them in the way of Christ by our prayers, our friendship and our example that they may fully grow up in Him and continue steadfastly in the worship and fellowship of the Church to the glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Amen.
My brothers and sisters in Christ, the story of the sisters, Martha and Mary, whereby they were depicted as being distracted or focused is one that reflects the attitudes of many of us. Some of us may be distracted by one thing, and at another time very focused. So, in a sense we may embrace the attitudes of Martha and Mary. My question to us however is, what distracts us that we are not able to listen to God speaking to us? Too often it is the menial things that satisfies our material needs; ‘I need to wash my clothes, since I have to work all week, so I cannot go to church.’ Distraction causes us to lose our way, be it in our work, relationships, and even playing a game. When we are distracted from God, we become unloving and selfish, causing conflict and discord. Being focused give us the opportunity to engage the other towards unity, displaying love and hope for a better future in our pilgrimage of life, and the promise of everlasting life. Being focused on our relationships build our desire to be in the presence of the other, and more so with God, who desires our response to his being ‘always with us.’
Every blessing to you all.
My brothers and sisters in Christ, we too ask this same question of Jesus as did the Lawyer; “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” St. Paul responds to us by saying; ‘believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.’ But that’s not all. To ‘inherit’ and ‘believe’ requires that there ought to be a relationship with the one who offers the inheritance, and the one in whom we believe. The foundation of that relationship is one that is based on love; love of God, love of neighbour, and love of self. This love that is required is set in a command; “love one another as I have loved you.” Loving God, neighbour and self is not an easy task, more so as it relates to our neighbour. It requires us to be purposeful, faithful in the giving of self, time and talent. The Samaritan did just that as outlined in the parable that Jesus gave. The two others, I believe reacted to the situation just as many of us would, we would show no mercy to the helpless. Jesus is calling our attention to how we treat the other, even if they are not ’one of us.’ Would not you and I, if some thing bad befall us, want someone to help us up? So why should we not embrace the other, even if they were our enemy? To inherit the Kingdom, is to show mercy, and Jesus tells us ‘to go and do likewise’ just as the Samaritan did. Let’s show mercy, love, justice and peace.
Every blessing to you all.
My brothers and sisters in Christ, Jesus asked his disciples to ‘rejoice that their names are written in heaven.” The question is asked of us today; “is your name written in heaven?” Jesus’ disciple had gone on a mission to tell others of the Good News, that the kingdom of heaven was at hand, and had returned to give thanks for their accomplishments. They seemed to be ‘beating their chest’ as they shared their report, missing out on the real purpose as disciples, their role and responsibilities as ‘laborers in his harvest.’ The mission is not about us, but about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and bringing others to him. There are many persons who need to hear the Gospel, and it is our duty as children of God to go tell them by the life we live, the desire to forgive, and being agent of reconciliation. The disciples where empowered to go and make a difference, so too are we to bring ‘peace’ and destroy evil, giving hope to a nation in turmoil. Jamaica today needs, we who are called ‘children of God’ to act as agents for peace and justice, encouraging a return to ‘Jamaica land we love.’
Every blessing to you all.