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.
Bishop Steve Lane presided at the mid-day Ash Wednesday service at St. Luke’s Cathedral, this afternoon. In his sermon he offered these words:
Today is the right time to begin. Right now. And we begin the process of divinization by throwing ourselves into the paradoxical hurly-burly of life – by being servants of one another and of the world. As servants of the Crucified One we will experience what he experienced: great endurance, afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger. And we will live as he lived: by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, holiness of spirit, genuine love, truthful speech, and the power of God.
What we do in this Lent is not about drawing inward, about drawing apart to perfect our spiritual life. It is rather a movement to engage, to engage with God and God’s world so that we become instruments of God’s reconciling love. May we in this Lent see that Christ has joined us in our sinfulness that we might join Christ in his righteous love.
Bishop Steve Lane spend the last Sunday of Epiphany with the people of St. Patrick’s, Brewer. In his sermon on Luke’s account of the Transfiguration of Jesus he had this, in part, to say:
But worship is not sufficient. What’s required is that we listen to Jesus and, by implication, that we do what he teaches. In the oral tradition that predates literacy, the verb, “to hear,” actually meant to act on what one heard. The proof of the listening was the action that followed. If one did not respond, then, clearly, one had not heard. Listening wasn’t a passive activity, but rather an action going forward. God says listen to Jesus: follow him, act like him.
He also said this:
It’s been said that we must rescue Jesus from the church, the fatal flaw of the church has been that we have worshiped Jesus instead of following him. We have been content to build booths in which to stay a little while with Jesus, but have not been willing to follow him down the mountain to share in the work of healing and reconciliation. We have been content to bask in the reflected light of Jesus while all around us God’s sons and daughters die of poverty, disease and war. We have been happy that Jesus was transfigured, but we have not looked for our own transfiguration.
Last weekend, Bishop Steve Lane visited with the people of the Diocese of Newark where he preached at their Convention Eucharist on the conversion of St. Paul.
He had this, in part, to say:
We have been chosen to bring God’s spirit to a weary world, not because we deserve this high calling, but because God loves us. Our hope is not rooted in our own abilities or the survival of our institutions, but the love of God which fills us, which pulls the scales from our eyes, and sends us out.
Bishop Stephen Lane preached at the Christmas Eve service at St. Luke’s Cathedral. In his sermon he offered this message of hope:
The story of Jesus’ birth is many things, but it may be most of all the story of ordinary people who found the courage to say “yes” to God. Ordinary folk who felt the love of God in their hearts, who grabbed at hope when it was offered to them, and never looked back. People living under the boot of the greatest power the world had ever known, people who had no freedom, no rights, no prospects, yet who still could imagine a better world.
Bishop Steve Lane spent the Third Sunday of Advent with the people of Trinity Church in Portland. In his sermon he had this, in part, to say:
What mattered for John was that Jesus was coming. There was a new world order just beyond the horizon, a world in which, as Mary proclaimed, the powerful are pulled from their thrones, and the lowly are raised up. And this world, the coming world, required a new standard of behavior. The normative behavior of the old world was not sufficient. What was required now was to live by the standard of the new world: to live kindly, honestly and peaceably…
John puts before us a question and a choice. The question is: What world will we live in? Whom will we follow? Will we live in the old world that is passing away? Or will we live in the world that is coming? Will we follow Caesar or Herod? Or we follow Jesus? Our choice.
Bishop Stephen Lane visited the people of St. Paul’s, Brunswick, on Sunday, December 6. In his sermon he said, in part:
Let me suggest that perhaps, just perhaps, these are our wilderness days and that we are the nobodies God has chosen to do God’s will.
I don’t think that what’s happening to us is simply the result of secularization and consumerism, although there is no doubt a crisis in American values. And I don’t think that God has abandoned us. Rather, I think that, as always, God is doing a new thing. God is leading us from the comforts of Egypt into a wilderness where can get clear again about who God is and who we are and where we can be prepared to share the good news with our neighbors.
And why would God choose us? Who are we? If it were up to me, I’d pick Barack… But, you know, it’s not up to me. God has always chosen to work through ordinary folks. And the changes never take place in Jerusalem or Rome or Washington, but in Nazareth and Galilee (and Brunswick), places where ordinary people live.