The Rev. Dr. William Heisley
Lessons: 2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16; Psalmody; Romans 16:25-27; Luke 1:26-38
Today physical and spiritual realities are joined on earth and in heaven and our modern minds’ longing for clarity is not satisfied. The physical is joined with the spiritual. But how can this be?
Right here in New York City, at 93rd Street and Park Avenue, is the Russian Orthodox “Cathedral of Our Lady of the Sign.” “Our Lady of the Sign” is the title of a famous and classic icon of Mary. This icon, written on wood in vibrant colors over and over, across the centuries, so that all who want might pray before it depicts the Virgin who is Jesus’ mother. This is the maiden who became Mother of God. And she sits as a sign of the joining of earth and heaven. Her hands are open – open to all of earth and all of heaven. Open to the presence of God in her life. Her hands are open and there on her breast, she carries an image and the image is of priestly Jesus. This is Jesus the Emmanuel, God with us. This is the One who is to come and who has come through Mary by the power of God. This is the One who is God in our lives. (more…)
Fourth Sunday of Advent – December 21, 2014
Mass at 11:00 AM. Readings: 2 Samuel 7:1-11, 15; Psalmody: Luke 1:46b-55; Romans 16:22-27; Luke 1:26-38. Pastor Heisley will preside and preach.
God keeps the promise made to David, to give him an everlasting throne. The angel tells Mary that God will give David’s throne to her son, Jesus. She is perplexed by Gabriel’s greeting and by the news of her coming pregnancy, but she is able to say, “Count me in.” We who know that Jesus is called king only as he is executed still find it a mystery hard to fathom, but with Mary today we hear the news of what God is up to and say, “Count us in.” (more…)
The Rev. Dr. William Heisley
Lessons: Isaiah 6:1-4, 8-11; Psalm 126: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24; John 1:6-8; 19-28
If you’ve heard me preach over the last two weeks you will not be surprised that I long ago grew tired of talking about Advent as a time to prepare, a time to simply wait.
I don’t mean that dislike the season. I love it. I love the cold weather here in New York Advent. I love the huge umbrella of darkness off of which the lights of the city and the lights of the heavens reflect. I love the hymns and the prayers. Especially the prayers.
“Stir up your power, Lord Christ, and come.” You might remember that I’ve said that there was a time in England when women would go home from church on the first Sunday of Advent and stir up their fruitcakes. It was time to stir up. “Stir up your power, Lord Christ, and come.” The priest had said so.
Last Sunday we prayed, “Stir up our hearts, Lord God, to prepare the way of your only Son.” We moved from praying that Christ would be stirred into action, to praying that we would be stirred into action. (more…)
SERMON – Advent 2b – December 7, 2014
The Rev. Dr. William A. Heisley
Lessons: Isaiah 40:1-11; Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13; 2 Peter 3:8-15a; Mark 1:1-8
“Let us attend!” I began last Sunday’s sermon with those words that are cried out at liturgies in the Orthodox churches. “Let us attend” calls people to pay attention to the gospel that will be sung. “Let us attend!” is the strident call to pay attention to the coming of Jesus into the midst of the people.
But attending to God’s coming to the people is not a thing that was new with Jesus. The ancient Jews were called over and over to attend to their God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Sarah, to attend to their God coming to them throughout their history. The prophet Isaiah wrote, “Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God.” Comfort…comfort. In Hebrew linguistics this is called a double imperative. It is not a longing. It is a command. “Comfort my people,” says God. Do it now. Do it well. (more…)