Sermons

The Rev'd Gregory C. Syler

The Fullness of God, Going Before Us (The Trinity) | Sermon from Sunday, 11 June 2017

By: The Rev'd Gregory C. Syler

Sunday, June 11, 2017

A casual reader of the New Testament or, for that matter, any of the New Testament gospels might be left with a lingering question -- just how, exactly, did this movement of Christians swell to evangelize the entire known world, even making it over to the shores of this 'new world' centuries later?  It's not apparent from the pages of New Testament literature that these women and men, ordinary fishermen and everyday women, had the power and the capacity to do what we know they went on to do.  So how did they?!  Perhaps that's what we celebrate as Christian people when we celebrate the mystery of the Holy Trinity - one God, three Persons; a fulsome God who in His fullness already goes on before us.  Indeed, Jesus' commandment at the end of Matthew's gospel ("Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations...", Mt. 28:16-20) is dependent, logically, on the verse before: Jesus said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me​."  That's the importance of the "therefore" in that important phrase, "Go, therefore..."  In other words, Jesus isn't telling the disciples to do anything that He, himself, in the fullness of the nature of God isn't already doing before us, for us, in front of us.  Indeed, our capacity to touch lives and spread Jesus' good news isn't dependent on how good, or smart, or brilliant, or gifted we are -- just like it wasn't entirely dependent on those earliest Christians whom we read about in the pages of the New Testament.  It's dependent, ultimately, on the fullness of God -- one God, three Persons.

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First Sunday after Pentecost: Trinity Sunday

  • Genesis 1:1-2:4a
  • Psalm 8
  • Matthew 28:16-20

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The Method is not the Mission | Sermon from Pentecost Day, Sunday 4 June 2017

By: The Rev'd Gregory C. Syler

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Most often, the particular method we ascribe to -- our various way of doing things -- are not the same as the mission to which God is calling us.  Pastor Andy Stanley, one of the leading pastors in America today, founder and pastor of the growing NorthPoint Community Church in Atlanta, learned and spoke to this lesson -- as he has continued to expand, not break-away from his Southern Baptist roots.  Likewise, lots of congregations - including St. George's in Valley Lee - are re-learning God's mission, and re-committing ourselves to His mission, even as it  might sometimes mean expanding (not breaking) our inherited patterns and ways of 'doing church.'  And just what is that mission?  God's mission is to reclaim us by Jesus' love so that we have a redeemed relationship with God and one another and are set free to live the lives God wants for us.  This is, indeed, a Pentecost story, too -- for wherever God is, there life will be found; real life, full life, life caught up and convicted in the One who loves us so profoundly that He will continue to inspire and challenge and lead.

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Feast of Pentecost, Sunday 4 June 2017

  • Acts 2:1-21
  • Psalm 104:25-35
  • John 20:19-23

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Praying Life ... in the Middle of Life | Sermon from Sunday, 28 May 2017

By: The Rev'd Gregory C. Syler

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Reading someone's diary is always a fascinating thing, Fr. Greg says, reflecting on that genre of literature in today's sermon, because you're reading their life "in real time, as they're living it, from the middle of life; not looking backward decades later."  The great 20th century theologian and philosopher, Reinhold Neibuhr, kept a diary when he was a young preacher in Detroit in the early 1900's -- published, now, as Leaves from the Notebook of an Untamed Cynic.  It's illustrative to read the thoughts and thought-processes of this young, curious, intellectually-motivated but, still, nevertheless not-yet-great Giant of American Christianity, Neibuhr as a young man, Neibuhr in the midst of life, taking notes on his days, not writing systematic tomes.  In many ways, Jesus' prayer -- indeed, the true "Lord's Prayer" -- caught in the 17th chapter of John's gospel is like a diary.  In this long prayer, Jesus opens his heart before God and, obviously, before others.  Jesus expresses fear, confusion, hope, and joy -- all in one prayer.  Jesus prays his life in the midst of life, not from an overly systematic, cleaned-up version, looking backward.  Perhaps that is what prayer, true prayer is all about, like lighting a candle in a dark room.  True, the darkness does not overcome the light but neither does the light banish the darkness.  That candle does, however, give just enough light to take one step and, from that point, the next step, step by step by step.  Prayer, then, is about being real​ -- real with God, real with oneself, real with one another.  Prayer is not necessarily only about saying the right things.

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The Seventh Sunday of Easter, Sunday after The Ascension (Year A)

  • Acts 1:6-14
  • Psalm 68-1-10
  • John 17:1-11

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Being Different | Sermon from Sunday, 26 March 2017

By: The Rev'd Gregory C. Syler

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

On the surface, the story told in John's ninth chapter is simple and straightforward: Jesus heals a blind man; now "the man formerly blind" can see.  Period.  So why does it take an entire chapter in the gospel to tell this story?  The man himself is somewhat confused at first.  The Pharisees are beside themselves -- twice!  Even the blind, er, seeing man's parents throw him under the bus becuase they don't want to get kicked out of church.  Indeed, this really long story about a rather straightforward simple miracle is a story about being different, and how God sometimes turns this world upside down -- which is really God's way of making it right-side-up!  Following Jesus is also a path that will lead us in different, unexpected, sometimes challenging, sometimes exciting ways.  Following Jesus will make us a little different, that is.  How do we feel about being 'different'?

Lent 4, Year A

  • 1 Samuel 16:1-13
  • Psalm 23
  • John 9:1-41

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