Friday, May 5, 2017

Bishop’s Note: May 04, 2017 – Christ is Present

Bishop Eric Menees

This past Sunday we journeyed with the two bewildered disciples on the Road to Emmaus. While many sermons and articles could be written on that portion of scripture - and they have been - a few things struck me.
It’s important to note that the disciples begin to recognize Jesus when they invite him to sit at table with them. Cleopas and his friend are very intentional in asking Jesus to sit at for meal with them. How often do we intentionally invite Jesus to sit down with us? How often do we create the space and time, in our homes and our lives, for Jesus to come in?
Only you can answer that question for yourselves, but for us, as the church, the answer to that question is: “Every time we gather as the Church, the Bride of Christ, for worship!” In the Anglican Church, we describe “church” in terms of the 39 Articles, which state in Article 19: “The visible Church of Christ is a congregation of faithful men, in which the pure Word of God is preached, and the Sacraments be duly ministered according to Christ's ordinance.”
Note that no building is mentioned, only the faithful people of God gathered to preach the word and administer the sacrament. As the Word of God is faithfully preached, Jesus is present – He is the Word become Flesh (John 1). Isn’t it something how, during the reading of the Word or during the sermon, you can feel like God is speaking directly to you! Or how, when reading the bible, you may have read the same passage fifty times, but you read it as if for the very first time? That’s because God the Holy Spirit is moving!
In the Holy Eucharist we invite Jesus, very intentionally and very personally, to be with us, and yet we are HIS guests. There is a hymn that captures this beautifully - #306: “Come, risen Lord, and deign to be our guest; nay, let us be thy guests; the feast is thine; thyself at thine own board make manifest in thine own Sacrament of Bread and wine.”
I pray that your week is blessed and that each of our homes will become our Emmaus. 

Thirty-nine Articles of Religion
XXVI. Of Baptism
 Baptism is not only a sign of profession, and mark of difference, whereby Christian men are discerned from others that be not christened, but it is also a sign of Regeneration or New-Birth, whereby, as by an instrument, they that receive Baptism rightly are grafted into the Church; the promises of the forgiveness of sin, and of our adoption to be the sons of God by the Holy Ghost, are visibly signed and sealed, Faith is confirmed, and Grace increased by virtue of prayer unto God
The Baptism of young Children is in any wise to be retained in the Church, as most agreeable with the institution of Christ.

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