Sermon - March 22, 2020 - St. Martin's In the Desert


Sermon – March 22, 2020

The Holy Eucharist: Rite Two

The Word of God:

Celebrant Bless the Lord who forgives all our sins.

People His mercy endures forever.

Almighty God, to you all hearts are open all desires known, and from you no secrets are hid: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of you Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy Nama; through Christ our Lord. Amen

Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

Celebrant The Lord be with you.
People And also with you.
Celebrant Let us pray.

Gracious Father, whose blessed Son Jesus Christ came down from heaven to be the true bread which gives life to the world: Everyone give us this bread, that he may live in us, and we in him; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen

The Lessons:

A Reading: 1 Samuel 16:1-13

The Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you grieve over Saul? I have rejected him from being king over Israel. Fill your horn with oil and set out: I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons. “Samuel said, “How can I go? If Saul hears of it, he will kill me.” And the Lord said, “Take a heifer with you, and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.’ Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, name to you. “Samuel did what the Lord commanded, and came to Bethlehem. The elders of the city came to meet him trembling, and said, “Do you come peaceably?” He said, “Peaceably; I have come to sacrifice to the Lord; sanctify yourselves and come with me to the sacrifice.” And he sanctified Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice. When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is now before the Lord.” But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for the Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart. “Then Jesse Aminadab, and made Shammah pass by. And he said, “Neither has the Lord chosen this one.” Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel, and Samuel said to Jesse, “The Lord has not chosen any of these.” Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all your sons here?” And he said, “There remains yet the youngest, but he is keeping the sheep.” And Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and bring him; for we will not sit down until he comes here.” He sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and had beautiful eyes, and was handsome. The Lord said, “Rise and anoint him; for this is the one.” The Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the presence of his brothers; and the spirit of the Lord came mightily upon David from that day forward. Samuel then set out and went to Ramah.

The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

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 forever.

Second Reading: Ephesians 5:8-14

Once you were darkness, but now in the Lord you are light. Live as children of light—for the fruit of the light is found in all that is good and right and true. Try to find out what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what such people do secretly; but everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for everything that becomes visible is light. Therefore, it says, “Sleeper, awake! Rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”

The Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John 9:1-41 
Glory to you, Lord Christ.

As Jesus walked along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God’s works might be revealed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; might is coming when no one can work. Ss long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” When he has said this, he spat on the ground and made mud with the saliva and spread the mud on the man’s eyes, saying to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). Then he went and washed and came back able to see. The neighbors and those who had seen him before as a beggar began to ask. “Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?” Some were saying. “It is he.” Others were saying, “No, but it is someone like him. “He kept saying, “I am the man.” But they kept asking him, “Then how were your eyes opened?” He answered, “The man called Jesus made mud, spread it on my sight. ‘They said to him, “Where is he?” He said, ‘I do not know.” They brought to the Pharisees the man who had formerly been blind. Now it was a sabbath day when Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes. Then the Pharisees also began to ask him how he had received his sight. He said to them. ‘He put mud on my eyes. Then I washed, and now I see. “Some of the Pharisees said, ‘This man is not form God, for he does not observe the sabbath.” But others said, how a man who is a sinner perform such signs?” And they were divided. So, they said again to the blind man, “What do you say about him? It was your eyes he opened.” He said, “He is a prophet.” The Jews did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight until they called the parents of the man who had received his sight and asked them. “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?” His parents answered, “We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind; but we do not know how it is that now he sees, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him; he is of age. He will speak for himself.” His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews; for the Jews had already agreed that anyone who confessed Jesus to be the Messiah would be put out of the synagogue. Therefor his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.” So, for the second time they called the man who had been blind, and they said to him, ‘Give glory to God! We know that this man is a sinner.” He answered, “I do not know whether he is a sinner. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.” They said to him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?” He answered them, “I have told you already, and you would not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become his disciples?” Then they reviled him, saying. ‘You ae his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where he comes from.” The man answered. “Here is an astonishing thing! You do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners, but he does listen to one who worships him and obeys his will. Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a person born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.” They answered him, “You were born entirely in sins, and are you trying to teach us?” And they drove him out. Jesus heard that they had driven him out, and when he found him, he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” He answered, “And who is he, sir? Tell me, so that I may believe in him.” Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, and the one speaking with you is he.” He said, ‘Lord, I believe.” And he worshiped him. Jesus said, ‘I came into this world for judgement so that those who do not see may see, and those who do see may become blind.” Some of the Pharisees near him heard this and said to him, “Surely we ae not blind, are we?” Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would not have sin. But now that you say, ‘We see,’ your sin remains.”

The Gospel of the Lord.
People Praise to you, Lord Christ.

The Homily:

Fourth Sunday in Lent
Year A
March 22, 2020

First Reading: 1 Samuel 16:1-13
Psalm 23
Second Reading: 5:8-14
Gospel: John 9:1-41

“Do Not Be Afraid”

(John 9: 1-41)

Our Gospel today, a blind man trying to defend himself on how he went from being blind all his life to now seeing. 

As Jesus and his disciples were walking in Jerusalem, they came across a man, he was more than likely begging, and Jesus see’s that he is blind. The scriptures tell us later that he was blind from birth, but not when Jesus came upon him. The disciples asked him…

“Rabbi (Teacher) who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God’s work might be revealed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

Suffering was attributed to sin, either of the parents or of the man before birth. Jesus denies this explanation and shifts attention from cause to purpose; this is and opportunity for God to act. 

We must work, Jesus is including his disciples in the fulfillment of his mission.

Jesus had spat on the ground and made mud with the saliva and spread the mud on the man’s eyes, saying to him “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (Which means Sent) After the man went and washed, he was able to see.

Throughout Jesus’ ministry he has healed each person in different ways. He might have touched them, or they reached out and touch him.  He has healed with words and actions of some kind. He would be in public at times and in private at times.

This time, he is in the public eye and it’s on the sabbath to boot. The blind man had not asked to be healed; Jesus seeks him out.

The blind man, first hears Jesus when he tells him to “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent).

As one possessing the imperfection of blindness, the man was forced to exist outside the community of worship and forever not permitted beyond the gates to the synagogue.

Jesus’s meaning……. “seeing and hearing and believing”.

The man has to defend his position of seeing, he was born blind, but he could hear and after being healed he believed, even his parents didn’t understand and put it back on him….they were afraid because if they spoke of a Messiah, it would put them outside the synagogue. 

The Pharisees miss the point of Jesus and his miracle, you could say they are spiritually blind. 

He, the blind man was driven out of the synagogue once again and Jesus heard about it. He finds him and says

 “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” He answered, “And who is he, sir? Tell me, so that I may believe in him. “Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, and the one speaking with you is he. ‘He said, “Lord, I believe.” And he worshiped him.   

God’s Amazing Grace

You heard the Hymn Amazing Grace in the beginning of our service. 

Amazing Grace…how sweet the sound!  

Yes, this man was born blind and he could not see with his eyes, he saw with something more powerful, he saw though the eyes of “Faith.”

Today! This year of 2020, In the entire world, we are all! experiencing something unlike anything we have ever experienced.

It is something we cannot See!!…we are blinded to a virus we cannot see!!  But we have God’s amazing Grace.


The world as we know it, has come to a complete crawl, no planes, cruses, sport events, anything and everything we are used to has stopped.

We haven’t been kicked out of our synagogue’s but, we have been asked to close our churches and stop our service’s. At least the service where we are together as a church family. The walls of the church, with a small c are closed. But the Church with the capital C God’s church is always open. 

Scripture tells us “365” times in the bible, “Fear not” (“Do not be afraid”), that’s one for every day of the year.

Maybe God knew we would need that reassurance.

We are in the fourth week of Lent. A time of self-denial, you are living that now, having to stay home, denying yourself from normal everyday things.

The blind man was isolated, he had been isolated since birth and he was alone, but he could see through the eyes of “Faith.”

Lent, lead us to the cross where Jesus is and are suffering just as Jesus did. 

Suffering is a state of undergoing pain, distress, or hardship.

We are going to get through this and we are going to get through it together!

There is no reason to let fear control your life,” Feed your Faith and not your Fears.”   

“As long as I am in this world, I am the light of the world.”

We have been given sight by the grace of God.

We have been given hope in place of fear.

Pray for one another, love one another, help one another!

“Do Not Be Afraid”

Rev. Lola Culbreath

The Nicene Creed:

We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father.

Through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man.

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no dnd.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son, he is worshiped and glorified. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen

The Prayers of the People  

Form 3 

Father, we pray for your holy Catholic Church;
That we all may be one.

Grant that every member of the Church may truly and humbly serve you;
That your Name may be glorified by all people.

We pray for all bishops, priests, and deacons;
That they may be faithful ministers of your Word and Sacraments.

We pray for all who govern and hold authority in the nations of the world;
That there may be justice and peace on the earth.

Give us grace to do your will in all that we undertake;
That there may be justice and peace on the earth.

Give us grace to do your will in all that we undertake;
That our works may find favor in your sight.
Have compassion on those who suffer from any grief or trouble;
That they may be delivered from their distress.

Give to the departed eternal rest;
Let light perpetual shine upon them.

We praise you for your saints who have entered into joy;
May we also come to share in your heavenly kingdom.

Let us pray for our own needs and those of others.

Heavenly Father, thank you for living and loving in us and through us. May all that we do flow from our deep connection with you and all beings. Help us become a community that vulnerably shares each other’s burdens and the weight of glory. Listen to our hearts’ longings for the healing of our world. Knowing you are hearing us better than we are speaking, we offer these prayers in all the holy names of God. Amen 

Let us confess our sins against God and our neighbor.

Most merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, by what we have left undone.

We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.

We are truly sorry and we humbly repent.

For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ,

Have mercy on us and forgive us; that we may delight in your will, and walk in your ways,

To the glory of your Name. Amen   

Almighty God have mercy on you, forgive you all your sins though our Lord Jesus Christ, strengthen you in all goodness, and by the power of the Holy Spirit + keep you in eternal life. Amen

The Peace

The Holy Communion

The Great Thanksgiving

Eucharistic Prayer A

The Lord be with you.
And also, with you.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give him thanks and praise.

It is right, and a good and joyful thing, always and everywhere to give thanks to you, Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth.

Therefore we praise you, joining our voices with Angels and Archangels and with all the company of heaven, who for ever sing this hymn to proclaim the glory of your Name.

Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might,
Heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
+Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.

Holy and gracious Father: In your infinite love you made us for yourself; and, when we had fallen into sin and become subject to evil and death, you, in your mercy, sent Jesus Christ, you only and eternal Son, to share our human nature, to live and die as one of us, to reconcile us to you, the God and Father of all.

He stretched out his arms upon the cross, and offered himself, in obedience to your will, a perfect sacrifice for the whole world.

On the night he was handed over to suffering and death, our Lord Jesus Christ took bread; and when he had given thanks to you, he broke it, and gave it to his disciple, and said, “Take, eat: This is my Body, which is given for you. Do this for the remembrance of me.

After supper he took the cup of wine; and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, and said, “Drink this, all of you: This is my Blood of the new Covenant, which is shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Whenever you drink it, do this for the remembrance of me.”

Therefore we proclaim the mystery of faith:

Christ has died.
Christ has risen.
Christ will come again.

We celebrate the memorial of our redemption, O Father, in this sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving. Recalling his death, resurrection, and ascension, we offer you these gifts.

+ Sanctify them by your Holy Spirit to be for your people the Body and Blood of your Son, the holy food and drink of new and unending life in him. + Sanctify us also that we may faithfully receive this holy Sacrament, and serve you in unity, constancy, and peace; and at the last day bring us with all your saints into the joy of your eternal kingdom.

All this we ask through your Son Jesus Christ. By him, and with him, and in him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit all honor and glory is yours, Almighty Father, now and forever. AMEN.

And now as our Savior Christ has taught us, we are bold to say.

Our Father, who ae in haven, 
Hallowed be thy Name,
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done.
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those
Who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
And the power, and the glory,
For ever and ever. Amen

Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us; 
Therefore, let us keep the feast.

The Gifts of God for the People of God. 
Take them in remembrance that Christ died for you, and feed on him in our hearts by faith, with thanksgiving.

The Body of Christ, the bread of heaven.
The Blood of Christ, the cup of salvation.

Let us pray.

Eternal God, heavenly Father, you have graciously accepted us as living members of your Son our Savior Jesus Christ, and you have fed us with spiritual food in the Sacrament of his Body and Blood. Send us now into the world in peace, and grant us strength and courage to love and serve you with gladness and singleness of heart; through Christ our Lord. Amen.

+ The blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be upon you and Remain with you forever.Amen