Author Archives: commcanon

Participation must undergird anticipation

Last Sunday, Advent 2, Bishop Lane preached, celebrated, visited, and baptized at St. George’s in York Harbor. In his sermon he had this, in part, to say:

Which I think is what John the Baptizer is saying about the coming of the Messiah. It is not enough for us simply to hope that God will come among us, to sit back and wait to be set free. Our anticipation must be undergirded by our participation. We must make room, clear a space – in our hearts, in our homes… and in our institutions and country. We’re invited to bulldoze that straight path.

The Good News, the hope we embrace, is that God is, in fact, coming; is, in fact, among us. God is coming without our invitation. And people are responding. In Ferguson, MO, a new generation of young, articulate black leaders, many of them women, committed to non-violent change is emerging. They are supported by the clergy of many churches and synagogues, including our own, who are present on the streets and in the protests to be, for police and demonstrators alike, the human face of God.

Read it all here.

Bishop Lane’s Advent message

A. Up Close

A. Up Close

Waiting in the dark for the coming of the light; thirsting in the desert for springs of cool water; locked in conflict seeking for peace; fearing the stranger, yet looking for angels: we live in an Advent world. We know that the way things are is not the way they’re supposed to be. So we live in hope, looking for a new day.

Yet our hope does not ignore what’s real. The darkness is real. Our thirst is real. The conflict is real. Our fear is real. Our hope for a savior only matters if the savior will make a difference.

Advent is not a time to turn away from the darkness, to cover what’s wrong with “sweetness and light.” Advent is, rather, a time to dwell IN the darkness, to recognize the truth of the darkness, and, then, to pray fervently for the light.

We know we are not the answer we seek. Christ is the answer. Yet, we – as members of Christ’s body – are invited to live in the light. We are invited to BE light in our many and varied ways to the world around us. So… we light a candle; we share a cup of cold water; we reconcile with a neighbor; we make an effort to befriend a stranger. In these ways, we fan the flames of the light that is coming – and receive as well as give.

My invitation to you this Advent is to take steps to live in the light: invite someone who’s lonely into the light of your hearth; share a cup of kindness with a neighbor; make peace with an antagonist; speak a word of welcome to a new Mainer; make a contribution to the Advent Campaign for Bucksport Mill Employees. Live in the light that is coming.

In baptism, the Light that is coming was kindled in our hearts. Together – may we let it shine!

God gives us to each other without asking our permission

Catching up on Bishop Lane’s recent sermons:

On November 16, he visited St. John’s in Bangor and had this, in part, to say in his sermon about the parable of the talents:

“…what do we think of God? Who is God? Is God loving and merciful, one who will take our best efforts and use them? Or is God fierce, demanding and punishing, waiting to judge our failures and our mistakes? How we perceive God may very well determine our willingness to invest ourselves in the work of the kingdom.”

Last Thursday, the congregations of Christ Church, Norway, and Trinity Lutheran, South Paris, gathered to celebrate the Rev. Nancy Moore coming to be their rector and pastor. In his sermon, Bishop Lane said:

“The first is to recognize that although, as you already know, Nancy is a gifted priest and pastor, this work is not primarily about her. This work is primarily about us and our claiming the ministry of Christ. Christianity has always been a lay movement, and it remains so today. While Nancy is called to preach and teach, to celebrate the sacraments, to support us with pastoral care, the work of Christ belongs to all of us. And rightly so – the kingdom of God requires all the gifts we bring. None of us is sufficient alone to do the work of Christ. All of us, bringing all our gifts, make up the Body of Christ and make the Body effective. Every person and every gift is needed. This service tonight is as much a commissioning of all of you, as it is of Nancy.”

And on Last Pentecost, November 23, Bishop Lane gathered with the people of St. Giles’ in Jefferson where he had some new words about the ancient parable of the sheep and the goats.

“There was a time, not so long ago, when we believed that the good people were all found in the Church offering charity to those in need. We were all sheep. Except that we were often quite unneighborly in many ways. We didn’t actually know the folks we helped, we weren’t in relationship with them. We weren’t very kind to other Christians – Baptists or Roman Catholics – with whom we differed over doctrines or spiritual practices. We weren’t even always nice to each other. Our churches were hard to break into. One had to learn the unwritten rules and conform to the expectations of the established members. One wonders how often Christ tried to join our churches only to be turned away.”

You may read the sermons all here.

Citizens of two worlds

On Sunday afternoon, November 9, Bishop Steve Lane presided at a regional service at Saint Mary the Virgin in Falmouth, where he received and confirmed new members of Saint Mary’s and St. Alban, Cape Elizabeth.

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

We live with a foot in two worlds. We live in this world where we plan and dream and go to school and to college and find a job and earn our keep and pay our bills. And we can’t pretend we don’t need to do that. Feeding ourselves and our children is a responsibility that drives most of us all of our lives. And yet, that world is not the land of our ultimate hopes or our deepest loyalty. Our hearts belong to another world where justice and peace rule and the lion and the lamb lie down together, and where we, with God, rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the ruined cities.

Read it all here.

Still Waiting

Today, Bishop Steve Lane visited the people of St. Michael’s in Auburn, where he preached and celebrated the Eucharist and confirmed and received new members. In his sermon, he talked about the parable of the wise and foolish bridesmaids. He had this, in part, to say:

I really want the world turned upside. I really want a new heaven and a new earth. I’m really waiting for justice to flow down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream. And waiting for that, I need more than oil in my lamp.

Read it all here.

How do we bear the image of God?

Bishop Steve Lane visited with the people of St. George’s, Sanford, on Sunday, October 19. In his sermon he had this, in part, to say:

If, as Jesus tells us, everything belongs to God, and therefore we belong to God, if we are stamped with God’s image, how do we bear that image? Is our fidelity lived out in every context of our lives: in our homes, at our workplace, at school, in the military, at the ballot box, in traffic? Is the image we wear one we put on or take off as it’s convenient or is it with us 24/7? Do we wear the divine image when we come to church and worship, while we pay our Temple tax, and then do we leave it at the door as we head out to be parents and employees and consumers? How is the claim that God created us, redeemed us and walks with us lived out in our days?

Read it all here.

Give it all away: the unlikely business plan of God’s vineyard

On Sunday, October 5, Bishop Steve Lane visited the people of St. Matthew’s in Hallowell. In his [particularly fine] sermon he had this, in part, to say:

The economy of the kingdom of God is not about producing and keeping, but about producing and sharing. And God’s giving knows no limits. God gives everything – the produce, the work of our hands, and even God’s own son, God’s own self. Nothing is held back in God’s care for his vineyard.

and this,

I wish I had a crystal ball so that I could tell you the end of the story. But I don’t, and I can’t. What I do know is that God is faithful…God is inviting us into a relationship of trust and inviting us to be fruitful, for ourselves and for others. We can be sure that God will take what we do and give it away. And we can also be sure that God will love us and care for us no matter what.

Read it all here.