On Tuesday, April 11, Bishop Stephen Lane, gathered with the clergy of the Diocese of Maine, offered this sermon at the annual Renewal of Vows and Chrism Eucharist at St. Luke’s Cathedral in Portland.
In his sermon he had this, in part, to say:
‘But we preach is Christ crucified, a stumbling block for the Jews and folly to the Gentiles.’ What Paul is talking about is a new way of relating in which the differences of race, class, sex, religion and culture are subsumed into our union with God and one another in Christ. Good news, yes, but oh, how we cherish the differences! How we want our identities, our understandings, to predominate! The notion that God loves us all, that Christ died for us all, that our message is meant to be good news for all people, is simply more than we want or comprehend. And yet it is the path of life, not only for them, but for us.
On March 5, Bishop Stephen Lane marked the first Sunday in Lent together with the people of Grace Church in Bath. In his sermon he had this, in part, to say:
The temptation we face in this time – in every time – is to abandon our identity and to make ourselves over, to try to create an identity that seems more suitable to the age we’re living in. But we can’t really do that. We can’t make ourselves alone. We will always do that as part of some group. Ubuntu. And when we forget whose we are, when we forget that we were embraced in baptism as God’s beloved, then we risk falling far from the path that gives us life, that makes us whole.
Bishop Steve Lane visited and preached at St. Giles’ Episcopal Church in Jefferson on January 29. In his sermon had this, in part, to say:
To be blessed is to be met in our weakness by God. It is at the point of an impoverished spirit, in the midst of grief, in the effort to make peace, in seeking and suffering for God’s justice, that God meets us. It is here, not at the place of strength, that God finds us and blesses us.
Bishop Steve Lane visited the people of St. Barnabas’, Rumford, on Sunday, October 2. In his sermon he had this, in part, to say:
The problem with notions of heroic faith is that it suggests that the outcome is dependent on us, that it’s up to us to save the world. It suggests that God isn’t present and active here, that we need to bring God to this place in order for good things to happen. And that, of course, is contrary to everything we believe about God.
Over the past two Sundays, Bishop Steve Lane visited Maine summer chapels celebrating their 100th anniversaries: All Saints by the Sea on Bailey Island, Harpswell, on July 31, and St. Martin in the Fields in Biddeford Pool on on August 7.
[We’ll add more photos as they become available.]
In his sermon at St. Martin’s he had this, in part, to say:
Although the chapels operate according to the traditions of The Episcopal Church, they do so without all canonical bureaucracy of an Episcopal congregation. They are places where the church and the world can meet in the beautiful Maine landscape, where persons of all sorts can mingle without pressure to join, and where the love of God isn’t nuanced by church politics. Summer chapels are places where people who deeply love God and the church can share their faith and tradition, and people who rarely come to church can hear and consider the love of God. It may well be that the openness and low key vibe of summer chapels offers some important learning for year round congregations.
On Sunday, June 19, Bishop Stephen T. Lane confirmed (12!), received, and baptized at a regional service hosted by St. George’s in York Harbor.
In his sermon he had this, in part, to say:
“…there is no place God can not or will not go to meet us, to reach us, to save us. God, in Christ, crosses the Lake of Gennesaret in the middle of a storm, goes to any unclean land, confronts any evil, for us. God is with us in the midst of all that terrifies us, all that causes us despair, in the midst of the evil done to us, and the evil we do to others. God meets those lost to addiction, challenged by illness, twisted by hatred, and oppressed by wickedness. God lies down in bathroom stalls with the wounded and the dying in a nightclub in Orlando.”
On April 10, Bishop Steve Lane visited with the people of St. John’s in Bangor. In his sermon he had this, in part, to say.
Jesus says to Peter, if you love me, come as you are, and feed my people; share my love with the world, bring my good news to everyone. This is not about making converts, although some may be converted. It’s about lighting fires, and making a meal, and sharing breakfast on the beach. It is about reaching out to people in their ordinary lives – as fisherman or lobstermen or bankers or lawyers or shopkeepers – and helping them find abundant life.
Bishop Steve Lane made his way downeast during Holy Week. He celebrated Easter Day with the people of St. Francis by the Sea in Blue Hill. In his sermon he had this, in part, to say:
And the deepest truth about ourselves is the relationship we have with God: the truth that we were created in the image of our loving God, who called us out the depths by name and loves us with a love greater than death, and who gives into our hands the work of sharing the Good News of God’s love. The great good news of Easter is that God’s love cannot be broken – ever – and that, from beyond death, God calls us to share what we know with the world around us.
On Sunday, Bishop Steve Lane visited St. Ann’s in Windham. He preached on the Gospel reading of the Prodigal Son, God’s grace, and God’s crazy irrational love for us. He had this, in part to say:
Let me suggest to you that today’s Gospel is not about lostness — we’re all lost more or less. It’s rather about grace, and our responses to receiving grace. And the fact is, we have trouble with grace. Because grace isn’t fair. Grace isn’t just. Grace doesn’t give people what they deserve but, rather, what God wants to give them.
On Sunday, February 28, Bishop Stephen Lane visited the people at Church@209 in Augusta. Since late 2014, Prince of Peace Lutheran Church and St. Mark’s Episcopal Church have worshipped together, engaged in local ministries together, and shared a pastor, the Rev. Erik Karas. Last fall St. Matthew’s, Hallowell, and St. Barnabas, Augusta, joined the Church@209 experiment, but a few weeks ago that arrangement was suspended for now.
In his sermon last Sunday, Bishop Lane has wise words for the people of Church@209. He had this, in part, to say:
What gives us hope – in Lent, on this journey, in our lives – is not that we might somehow escape suffering, but that God loves us. God loves us enough to give us some more time, to loosen our soil, to fertilize our roots, to let us grow. The realities of today are not the final realities. The possibilities for turning around, of bearing fruit, still lie before us.