4 Easter, 7 May, 2017

Sermon originally presented  May 20, 1962 at Saint Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Edgartown, Massachusetts. Composed by Rev. Henry L. Bird using (then) year A of the 1928 BCP Lectionary. Transcribed by Asher Barreras (C) 2017 Based on the Gospel of John Chapter 16: (v):1-16, which follows from the KJV:

 

1 These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended.
2 They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.
3 And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me.
4 But these things have I told you, that when the time shall come, ye may remember that I told you of them. And these things I said not unto you at the beginning, because I was with you.
5 But now I go my way to him that sent me; and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou?
6 But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart.
12 I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot* bear them now.
13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.
14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.
15 All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.
16 A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me, because I go to the Father.

To be read  during Morning Prayer, 4 Easter, May 7, 2017 at Saint John Episcopal Church, Tulare, CA:

 

Sermon ­ Sunday, May 20, 1962­ 4th after Easter­
­St. Andrew’s
John 16:13 “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of Truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth”

I.
“Howbeit, when he, the spirit of truth, is come he will guide you into all truth.”

Tending to “label” our period of history­

“The Age of World Conflict” ­ College History Course

“The Age of Anxiety”­

“The Age of Technology”­

“The Space Age”
­­

etc.

I would like to add another that might be worth thinking about ­­

Newspapers­
Magazines­­
Pamphlets­
Advertizing­
Radio­
Television­ Film
Paperback ­
Books­
Lectures ­ Talks ­
Deluge of Words ­ all competing to be
heard­
persuading­
enticing­
pleading­
competing­

We’re pulled in every possible direction

­2­

until, it’s quite possible, we don’t know where to stand­­

We don’t know ​
what​
to believe­­

We find ourselves without standards­

Without any concrete aims or goal or purpose in life ­­

Guided purely by the latest word that appeals to us­
be it “Anti­ Communism” ­
“getting ahead”­
etc.
“enjoying oneself”
etc.

Parents are bombarded by advice from all kinds of sources­
Magazines + newspaper articles
books
t.v. programs
etc.

Utter confusion­
often with the sad result that parents just give up and don’t
do anything­

And so it goes­

In the “Age of Words”

instead of clarification ­ ​
confusion

Courage
­​
fear
responsibility ­
apathy
etc.

­3­

In the midst of all this
confusion
­

There ​
is​
an answer ­ a guide

though we ​
rarely​
seriously look at it­­
1. The Holy Scriptures­
2. God in Christ­
3. THE​
Word­

II.

THE Way­
THE Truth­
and THE Life­

and this what our N.T. Lesson
pointing to today­

There is ​
ONE​

source ­

and basically ONE only

In this “Age of Words”

by which one’s life should be guided ­

“Howbeit, when he, ​
the Spirit of truth is​
come he will guide you into all truth­”

The ​
Spirit​
of ​
Truth

The Spirit​
:
As said often before ­­

The Spirit ­ ​
not​
a disembodied “GHOST”
­4­

but a means of describing the very ​
real​
power that comes as one responds to the call ­
claim ­ of Jesus Christ upon one’s life ­­

As we know the Bible word for Spirit means the same as wind ­ or breath ­

moving ­
powerful­
unpredictable­
mysterious ­ (sailor!)
necessary for life­
source of energy­­

oxygen that the mountain climber carries with him­­
vital for conversion
of food into actual energy­

The Spirit vital for conversion of Christian into the ​
action​
of Christian living!

Our Lord knew this­

Knew the vital need of the Spirit­

and teaches his disciples­

“When he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth”

­5­

III.

The Spirit of ​
TRUTH​
­
A.
Pilate at our Lord’s trial cynically asked­
“What ​
is​
truth?”

And today an awful lost of Pilates in this world­

We think that “truth” is relative­

Anthropology course in college compared the moral standards of various forms of
culture­
N.W. Indians
Navajos
Polynesians
etc.

all​
standards purely relative to the culture­

fine for S.A. Indians to have human sacrifice­
fine for South Sea Islanders to hunt heads­
fine for street gang to “rumble” ­
These the relative standards of the cultures­

Really doesn’t make any difference what a person lives by­­
That’s his business ­

What difference does it make if legislators get a cut on illegal gambling?

What difference does it make if tax money given away on overpriced land taking deal?

­6­

What difference does it make if public garage built fraudulently
etc.?

What difference if cut a few corners on income tax return?

etc.

Anti­ Communist program presented a few weeks ago­

doesn’t matter if facts are twisted ­­
doesn’t matter if procedure questionable­
doesn’t matter if innuendo and suspicion used­
all relative­­

An article in paper a week or two ago about Cleveland people resistant to bringing in
Cuban refugees­
(This unimportant ­ they don’t have atomic bomb!)

An article (AP) in Friday’s paper about Barbed wire wall in Hong Kong (​
NOT​
built by
communists) to keep refugees ​
OUT​
­ Why??

“​
No country​
will take any appreciable number of them!”

Our own immediate comfort and security come first

Truth is relative­

Obviously ­ to some extent it is a fact­ that what is true for one

­7­

person ​
not​
necessarily so for another­­

All have different gifts
Physical
Mental­
etc.

But ­ all​
subject to basic natural laws­
all​
born
all​
will die­
etc.

Truth ​
NOT​
just what ​
we​
want to make it­­
but something we are all subject to whether we like it or not!

A.A. (again) ­
alcohol​
= poison ­ truth
HOW​
one stops = relative ­
but ​
MUST​
stop­

and this AA adamant on ­ an absolute!
a truth!
reality ​
!

Now the word “TRUTH” ​
can ​
mean factual accuracy­­
B.

and it is important that
­in this day of profusion of words ­ and confusion
factual accuracy a vital necessity­

­

It is not easy to be “objective” for we all color our approach to things
inevitable­
but the Christian­ of all people­
­8­

Should be uncompromising in seeking factual truth­­
for it can only be
consistent with the Gospel
of the crucified and risen Lord­

However­
we must be very careful
NOT​
to make factual truth
our Lord­

then, we’ll soon find, our so called “objectivity” colored by some other standard a lot
less likely to come up with the actual facts

and ­ as St. Paul reminds us­
Facts​
are not enough­

“If I understand all Knowledge­­­
but have not ​
love​
­ I am nothing” (1Cor. 13)

factual truth in and of itself not enough­­

“Truth in the intellectual sense is far from being all that man needs; the primary thing is
not to understand and make sense of the universe, but to know God and live a good life”
(Richardson ­ W’d b’k of the Bible ­p.270)

Not really matter how critically, historically, intellectually one understand the Bible­ etc.
but has one allowed Spirit of Christ to fill his life­­??

MUST​
go beyond ­­ the purely factual

and this brings us to the Biblical meaning of the word ​
TRUTH

­9­

In the Bible­ truth seems essentially to indicate­
faithfulness
reliability
perseverance­

we might almost say­ “divine stubbornness”

a persistent, consistent heading for the mark!

truth = being on target­

and the target = Jesus Christ­

the utmost in truth, for the Christian,
is seen as God’s faithfulness
TO MAN­
God’s patient­
persistent­
LOVE
and CARE
as revealed in
Jesus­

We want to know what the Spirit of Truth is­
we seek it in Jesus Christ­

and find not a living up to moral standards­
(though that happens)
not an intellectual group of facts
(though it is there too)
but rather a quality of life­
life lived in relationship
to God and man­

and ​
here​
is truth­
truth NOT a “spectator sport” but joining the team
­10­

and ​
risking one’s life​
­

(Thanksgiving for Birth of a Child­ marriage)

Bishop Pike once wrote a book
called “​
Doing​
the Truth”­

truth ​
not​
an intellectual exercise­

but something ​
lived​
­

and, praise God, this power to live the truth is ours­
in the promise of life in Christ­

“Howbeit­ when he the Spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all truth.”

Humbly submitted for your perusal,

Gratefully Yours,

W. Brewster Bird,

Jr. Warden,  Saint John Episcopal Church

559-967-6773

Compare  the above with todays Gospel and Scriptural readings:

Sunday, May 07, 2017
Year (cycle):

A

The Collect:

O God, whose Son Jesus is the good shepherd of your people: Grant that when we hear his voice we may know him who calls us each by name, and follow where he leads; who, with you and the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

First Lesson:

Acts 2:42-47

42They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.

43 Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles. 44All who believed were together and had all things in common; 45they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, 47praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.

Psalm:

Psalm 23

1 The Lord is my shepherd; *
I shall not be in want.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures *
and leads me beside still waters.
3 He revives my soul *
and guides me along right pathways for his Name’s sake.
4 Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I shall fear no evil; *
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
5 You spread a table before me in the presence of those who trouble me; *
you have anointed my head with oil,
and my cup is running over.
6 Surely your goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, *
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

Epistle:

1 Peter 2:19-25

19For it is to your credit if, being aware of God, you endure pain while suffering unjustly. 20If you endure when you are beaten for doing wrong, where is the credit in that? But if you endure when you do right and suffer for it, you have God’s approval. 21For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you should follow in his steps.
22 ‘He committed no sin,
and no deceit was found in his mouth.’
23When he was abused, he did not return abuse; when he suffered, he did not threaten; but he entrusted himself to the one who judges justly. 24He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that, free from sins, we might live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. 25For you were going astray like sheep, but now you have returned to the shepherd and guardian of your souls.

Gospel:

John 10:1-10

1‘Very truly, I tell you, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate but climbs in by another way is a thief and a bandit. 2The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5They will not follow a stranger, but they will run from him because they do not know the voice of strangers.’ 6Jesus used this figure of speech with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.

So again Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. 8All who came before me are thieves and bandits; but the sheep did not listen to them. 9I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. 10The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.

The Old Testament, New Testament and Gospels readings are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

The Collects, Psalms and Canticles are from the Book of Common Prayer, 1979.

 

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