Awake and rise from the dead
THE EPISTLE. Ephes. 5. 1
BE ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; and walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savour. But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient; but rather giving of thanks: for this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ, and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them: for ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light; (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, and righteousness, and truth;) proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them; for it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. Therefore it is said, Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.
Friends in Christ,
During this Holy Season of Lent we are reminded of Christ's love for us and that He has given Himself for us as an offering and sacrifice to God. It is obvious to me that because Christ has loved us that He expects us to be followers of God and walk in that love. If you take the opportunity read the Epistle for this morning from Blessed Saint Paul's letter to the Ephesians, chapter 5, beginning at verse 1, then
it becomes clearer to what your responsibilities as Christians are and how you should live your life.
Saint Paul was an Apostle of Jesus Christ. I am a Priest in a Church, which believes in Apostolic succession, in other words me and my collegues in Christ are called to be Apostles in Jesus Christ, so we need to bring this subject " Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light" up in the course of our Ministry. But we fail to do so. We as Anglican Catholics focus very much on the Blessed Sacraments and that is fine, but preaching the WORD is also important and we need to have a good balance. In the three years I spent as a Postulant , but training for the Anglican Catholic Ministry, in the Roman Catholic Church of Oxford, New Zealand, a message such as this Epistle this morning would be seldom preached. Father said to me, if I start to preach about fornication etc then
I start loosing Parishioners. During my time as a server at Saint Michael's Anglican Church , Christchurch, New Zealand , not only was Bishop Sprong
promoted , he was also asked to preach. When I and my friend Peter questioned this and objected to this we were told by the clergy that we had to be more flexible. What does the Epistle say? Let no men deceive you with vain words.
Have you ever sung the hymn " Jesus whereever Thy people meet " ? There is a second verse which starts with the lines "Dear Shepherd of Thy chose few". Makes you think does it not ? You cannot be a committed Christians and have two standards, one Holy one for attending Mass and Church and another one in the course of our daily life. I.E. at work laughing at dirty jokes , tolerating cursing and swearing by others, watching television programs, which contents from Christian point of view are questionable. We take part of gossip in the workplace and we dont think anything of it. In this country there are more porn shops than McDonald's restaurants, are we ever going to speak up about it?
Our Government wont do anything.
Prior to my ordination to the Priesthood, this is something I wanted to do later in life , I had a career as a Middle Manager in the ANZ Bank.
Here as a committed Christian I had a daily challenge trying to stop my Senior Manager, who sat close by to use the f word every five minutes, trying to stop another Senior Manager making sexual advances to the General Manager's secretary, right in the open. I did manage to put a stop to all this , but it did not do much for my career. Tell me , can we as Christians stand up and be counted?
Is there a way out for all those bound by the shackles of sins and vice? Is there a way out for all those, who are asleep , living a life without Christ in the bondage of sin and sorrow? Yes there is , there is hope, pray that you may filled with the Holy Spirit of God ,because the fruits of the Holy Spirit are goodness, righteousness and truth! You cannot do it alone. Through the power of the Holy Spirit you shall awake from the dead and Christ will give you Light.
Father Ed Bakker
Anglican Catholic Church / Original Province
Mission of Saint Aidan of Lindisfarne