Joy, we win!

The Rt. Rev. Stephen Lane visited St. Luke’s Cathedral in Portland on the second Sunday of Advent. In his sermon he had this, in part, to say:

I invite you to look at this troubled, old world from the standpoint of victory. I’d like you to consider your lives from the standpoint of one who knows that God has already overcome sin and death. I’d like you to think how you can live according to the standard of the world that is coming; how you can be kinder, more hospital, more compassionate, more just.

Read it all here.

Jesus would have none of it

Most summer Sundays, Bishop Steve Lane may be found visiting one of the 18 summer chapels along the coast of Maine. On August 6 he gathered with the people of Holy Trinity on Peaks Island for the Feast of the Transfiguration.

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

If the events on Mt Tabor have any truth in them at all, then Jesus of Nazareth is revealed as holding the power of God: the light of truth, the well of forgiveness, and the sword of justice. In him the fulness of God resides; the God who created the universe from nothing and sustains it with his Spirit; the God who gives each of us the ability to be transfigured and transformed into the likeness of Christ.

Yet this power is not simply to be admired and worshiped. It is to be used for the benefit of others. And here, I think, is the sticking point for the disciples and for us. The disciples believed that closeness to such power should benefit them, should give them some exceptional place and status, should lift them up. They wanted to sit at the right hand of power, to be the viziers of omnipotence.

But Jesus would have none of it. He would not let Peter build a shrine. He would not let them stay on the mountain. He did not encourage them to share what they had seen. He went down the mountain and used his power to heal a young boy. And he taught his disciples that the greatest among them should be as a little child.

Read it all here.

Blessing: To be met in weakness by God

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.

Read it all here.

Resurrection always comes as a surprise

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.

Read it all here.

Come and have breakfast

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.

Read it all here.

God’s crazy love

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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.

Read it all here.

True listening means barreling down the mountain after Jesus

Bishop Lane leads the people of St. Patrick's in the renewal of their Baptismal vows. Photo by Mark Spahr
Bishop Lane leads the people of St. Patrick’s in the renewal of their Baptismal vows. Photo by Mark Spahr

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.

Whoa!

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.

Read it all here.

 

What world will we choose to live in?

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.

Read it all here.

God will see to the harvest

Bishop Stephen Lane spoke to the people of St. Nicholas, Scarborough on Sunday, June 14th, saying:

“You see, the key thing, the reason we’re all here, is that we’ve been called to follow God, to share in God’s mission. God is in charge. God will see to the harvest. And God doesn’t need us, at least, not in the conventional sense. God is not dependent on our planting straight rows, watering and weeding, standing ready for the harvest. God’s more like an invasive weed, finding a way in, growing in good soil and bad, seeking everyone out, even the least desirable, and inviting us to share his good news – the good news of the unstoppable reality of the kingdom of God, the good news that God loves everyone.”

Read the whole sermon here.

Trusting in our identity as God’s beloved

Follow Bishop Lane on Twitter @bishop_maine
Follow Bishop Lane on Twitter @bishop_maine

Bishop Stephen Lane visited with the people of St. Peter’s in Portland on the first Sunday of Lent. In his sermon he had this, in part, to say:

“The Good News of the story of testing is that God is with us. The time we’re in is difficult for us, but that does not mean we are alone. Far from it. God is with us ministering to us. God, you see, has promised never again to destroy his people. That’s the meaning of the Noah story, and why we read it on this day. God has made a covenant with us, a covenant renewed in every baptism. And that covenant is secure. Our relationship with God is fixed, like the rainbow. God loves us with a love greater than life itself and will not let us go, even in the midst of severe testing. We belong to God, and we can trust God come what may.”

Read it all here.