Author Archives: commcanon

Forgiveness is the heart of the church

On Sunday, September 7, Bishop Lane visited the people of St. Dunstan’s, Ellsworth. In his sermon he had this, in part, to say:

The heart of the matter is that forgiveness is the heart of the church. We are a community, not because on our own we can achieve unity. We are a community because when two or three are gathered, Christ is in the midst of us. Christ gives us our unity, and our responsibility is simply to keep coming together. Our responsibility is to create an environment in which we can seek and offer forgiveness and keep coming together even when we can’t agree.

Read it all here.

Bridging the gap between saying and doing

baileyallsaintsOn Sunday, August 24, Bishop Steve Lane visited with the people of All Saints by the Sea, Bailey Island, at the far end of the Harpswell peninsula. In his sermon he had this, in part, to say:

“The difficulty for us is not in saying the words; it’s not in making our confession of faith. It’s in living out that confession in our daily lives.

So… who do I think Jesus is? I think Jesus is the presence of God among us. Jesus shows us not only that God loves us, but that God came to be with us and to be like us. There is nothing in human life that is unknown to God and nothing that God can not or will not face and transform. Jesus is the sign of God’s embrace of human life and the human condition. And more than that Jesus is the model and the goal of human life. Living the life of faith means to become more and more like Jesus, living our lives following his example, knowing that failure is forgiven and that, with God, all things are possible.

That’s my confession. Not perfect… there’s probably more to say. And I struggle with it. As Christians in every generation have struggled to live out their faith, so I struggle as well. I take some comfort that it has never been easy.”

Read it all here.

The hardening of our hearts is not an option

On Sunday, August 3, Bishop Steve Lane visited, preached, and celebrated with the people at Trinity Chapel, Kennebunk Beach. The passage in Matthew is the story of the feeding of the 5,000. He had, in part, this to say:

God was with the disciples on that day when all those people needed to be fed. And God is with us in a world that still needs desperately to be fed. For us, hardening our hearts is not an option. We are called to compassion. Despair is not an option. We are called to thanksgiving. And helplessness is not an option. We are called to action. Because God is with us, and despite all that the powers and principalities are doing, God will prevail.

Read it all here.

Thanksgiving for St. Luke’s, Caribou

Tweets from Bishop Steve

Tweets from Bishop Steve

Bishop Lane concludes a three day trip to Aroostook County to visit with the clergy and members of the churches of the Aroostook Episcopal Cluster . This morning he gathered for worship at St. Paul’s, Fort Fairfield, and St. Luke’s, Caribou. Today marks a sad day for the people of St. Luke’s: the service of thanksgiving was their last as a congregation, a congregation that first met in 1868 and became a parish in 1955.

In his sermons this morning, Bishop Lane had this, in part, to say:

In our time, with all the rapid shifts we’ve experienced, with declining cultural support for religion, with aging members and tight resources, we may be tempted to think that God can’t be truly trusted, that what God demands is more than we can give, or we may be tempted to think in primarily financial terms or institutional terms, to think in terms of what we can do to save our church. Our lessons today tell us that people have thought that way before. But then or now, what God asks of us is the same: to trust God, to give our whole lives to God, to serve God in all that we do, to make every act, even the smallest, a sign of our love for God and God’s world. God’s promise to us that such faithful lives will not be lost, that even the smallest act will be noticed and will count for good.

He had a special word to the Episcopalians of the Aroostook Cluster, which has marked the closing of two – St. Luke’s and St. Anne’s in Mars Hill – of its five congregations in 2014:

All of you – have been faithful and brave in making the difficult decisions you’ve had to make over the past year. You have stepped out in faith. You have taken big risks, and you have pulled together for the sake of Christian witness here in the County. You have trusted in God even when it was hard, and you have made painful sacrifices. You have given up things you love for the sake of common good.

I want you to know that God cares. That God knows what you have done and that the work you have done will count for good. And I want you to know that I know what you have done and that I care, too. You have been leaders in helping all of us discover again how to be the church in a new time. You have helped us place our devotion to secondary concerns in second place in order to strengthen our witness to Jesus Christ. For all of that I thank you. And I think God thanks you to.

Read it all here.

 

In the face of fear, God holds us while nudging us into the world

Last Sunday, Bishop Steve Lane visited the people of St. James’ in Old Town. In his sermon he had this, in part, to say:

I think what’s truly different about the time we’re living in is that folks are no longer looking to the church for solace and support in their lives. Either they don’t know about the church – that’s apparently true for nearly 70% of young adults – or they don’t trust large institutions, including the church – that’s true for almost everybody else. And so they aren’t coming to us. They aren’t looking for our red doors. They don’t see us as having answers for their lives.

Our response cannot be to give up. We need to meet folks where they are. We haven’t been relieved of our responsibility to bear good news. We’re still charged to bear the message. So we have to move out of our doors and meet folks in their lives, learn their language, create relationships with them in their spaces, and – from within those relationships – share what we know and love.

Read it all here.

No church is exempt from the work of joining God’s Project

On Trinity Sunday, Bishop Steve Lane visited the people of Saint Mary’s, Falmouth. In his sermon he had this – in part – to say:

“…if participating in the life of the church simply means supporting one among many narrowly defined and competing institutions, then it’s not worth the effort. And I would agree. If the point is simply to sustain the church, then it’s not worth the effort. But  if the point is to participate in God’s work of reconciliation, then there is nothing more important on God’s green earth.”

Read it all here.

Pentecost: The most dangerous day in history

This morning Bishop Steve Lane preached a challenging sermon on Pentecost at St. Barnabas’, Rumford. It’s hard to know which quote to pull out, but this one jumps out:

On Pentecost, we, as disciples and members of Christ’s body, are invited into this same life of risk and challenge. We’re empowered to leave our hidden, upper rooms and go out into the plazas of life to share what we’ve been given. We’re driven to let go of our anonymity and to engage with the people we meet, speaking their languages. We’re invited to spend our lives helping others to recognize and know God.

I’m not sure that’s how we often feel about the church. We’d rather, I think, consider the church a safe place, like the upper room, not a launching pad into the world. And we’d like consider our work safe and comfortable not full of risk and, no doubt, failure. But Pentecost was not the end of anything – not the destination. Pentecost was the beginning, and the work begun on that day continues to this day.

If you want to find out why Pentecost is, perhaps, the most dangerous day in history, read the whole sermon here.