Author Archives: commcanon

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.

If you know me, you know my Father

On Sunday, May 18, Bishop Steve Lane visited St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Millinocket where he confirmed and received seven people, celebrated, and preached. In his sermon he had this, in part, to say:

I suspect we resist because knowing Jesus is at once too easy and too hard. It’s too easy because Jesus sat at table with everyone. No one existed outside his table fellowship. There are no limits to his loving embrace. To be in Christ does not make you special or elite. There’s nothing you have to do to earn his grace. The invitation to sit at the banquet is free and open to everyone. It’s all too easy. There ought at least to be some sort of entrance fee.

And it’s also too hard. It’s too hard because to follow Jesus means to love the world as he loved it, to care for all those poor and sinful people whom he loved, to set our own cares in the context of the larger community, and to be willing to suffer and die for the sake of others. To follow Jesus is to involve oneself in the suffering of the world.

Read it all here.

Holding all things in common for the renewal of God’s world

Bishop Steve Lane preached and celebrated at St. Mark’s in Augusta today with the five congregations of the southern Kennebec Valley: St. Mark’s and St. Barnabas’, Augusta; Christ Church, Gardiner; St. Matthew’s, Hallowell; and St. Andrew’s, Winthrop.

He had this, in part, to say:

We understand that our future is tied together – that unless we join together for God’s sake, we will each sink alone. But let me suggest that even when we speak of The Episcopal Church in the Kennebec Valley, we still tend to think of ourselves as members of St. Mark’s – or St. Andrew’s or St. Barnabas’ or St. Matthew’s or Christ Church. And we still often see our task as saving our churches, when our true vocation is to claim our identity in Jesus Christ and to join him bravely in the healing of the world.

Read it all here.

Trusting in the Witness of Others

Yesterday, Bishop Steve Lane visited the people of St. Luke’s in Wilton. In his sermon he had, in part, this to say:

We need to explore new ways of being church. We need to discover new ways of forming and education Christians. We need to find new ways to engage God’s mission in the world around us. But most of all we need to learn again to tell THE story – ourselves. We need to become the witnesses of what God has done in Christ. That’s job one, to be witnesses to the resurrection.

Read it all here.

Bishop Steve’s sermons from Holy Week

Bishop Steve Lane is spending this Holy Week with the congregations of York County. He’s posting his sermons from all services on this page.

From today’s Good Friday sermon preached at both St. George’s, Sanford, and St. David’s, Kennebunk.

Once Jesus began to proclaim that God had come among us, that God intended to pull down the mighty from their thrones, that God meant to lift up the poor and lowly, that God sought not sacrifice, but a humble and contrite heart, that love of God was revealed in love of neighbor and, even, of enemies – once Jesus had done that – then there was no place the story could end, but at Golgotha. And God could not stop it except by opposing force with force. And then Jesus’ words would not be true. Once begun Jesus’ journey led inevitably to the cross.

Follow the link above for more. Blessings to all as we approach Easter.

 

Palm Sunday: God meets us with the power of love

On Bishop Steve Lane’s first Sunday back from a four month sabbatical, he joins the people of St. George’s, Sanford, as the first stop with the churches of York County this Holy Week.

In his sermon, he had this, in part, to say:

What Palm Sunday/Passion Sunday truly is is an extended meditation on the nature and use of power – judicial power, religious power, military power, and divine power. It is a study of the contrasts between the power of the establishment, the power of empire, the power of religion, and the power of God. And the ironies are generated in the contrasts between appearances and reality. Only God arrives without the trappings of power – not on a warhorse, but on an ass. And only God behaves without the power of threat, without the power of coercion. Jesus has no centurions. Jesus bears no weapons. So who, truly, has power?

Read it all here.

Testifying to the hope that is within us

Last Sunday, Bishop Steve Lane visited St. Andrew’s, Newcastle, where he confirmed five people, preached and celebrated. In his sermon he had this, in part, to say:

To the extent that we believe that God is doing a new thing for ourselves – and the whole world – then we open ourselves to hope.

Such hope is most fully realized, most fully understood, in Jesus. Through all the things that happens to us, he is with us. And he is the sign that all these disasters, these wars and rumors of wars, do not have the last word. The last word belongs to God. The last word is life, and God will not let even a hair on our heads perish.

Do we believe that?

Read it all here.