Trinity News and Sermons

12/24/14 Sermon Bullets

  • Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace!
  • CUNY Grad student, and editor in chief of the grad student newspaper, Gordon Barnes writes: “The time for peace has passed. . . . The acts of looting, destruction of property and violence directed towards state representatives is not only warranted but necessary.”
  • The editorial says that it is time to move from non-violence to violence in hopes the unrest will morph into a revolution.
  • Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace!
  • Is there peace in Crimea and eastern Ukraine this year?
  • Is there peace in the ancient lands of the Christian faith – Syria, Iraq, Palestine & Israel, in Gaza, Egypt and in many parts of Africa?
  • Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace!
  • For many, Christmas spent with family is the LEAST peaceful day of the year – old resentments, terrible childhoods, and a sense of obligation that you have to spend at least ONE DAY with the people you dislike the MOST.
  • For others, there is a restlessness in their hearts – certainly not peace, as they are alone and wonder why; are experiencing their first Christmas without a significant loved one, and the pain is so deep; or are not sure that the New year will be so happy – what will the future hold for me, in my relationships, with my job, in my spiritual life?
  • Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace!
  • In our great city there is not much peace as great unrest, and in some places chaos, reigns. Protestors are calling for significant change in the way we conduct ourselves. Tired of being treated differently because of the way they look or from where they come – they are ready for change to come – AND COME NOW.
  • The New York City Police Department mourns two of its own who were gunned down in cold blood, and are told to watch their backs and travel in groups for safety.
  • They Mayor calls for a “time out” in the protests so that we may mourn Officers Liu and Ramos. Many listen, but some say, “This is a revolution and we will not be repressed!”
  • Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace!
  • Martin Luther King, Jr., a number of years ago stated: Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
  • We are not called to be silent, but to speak up. But how? In what way? And for what purpose?
  • Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace!
  • Is there any way to find peace in these days?
  • On a crisp, clear morning 100 years ago, thousands of British, Belgian and French soldiers put down their rifles, stepped out of their trenches and spent Christmas mingling with their German enemies along the Western front.
  • In the hundred years since, the event has been seen as a kind of miracle, a rare moment of peace just a few months into a war that would eventually claim over 35 million lives.
  • To this day historians continue to disagree over the specifics: no one knows where it began or how it spread, or if, by some curious festive magic, it broke out simultaneously across the trenches. Nevertheless, some two-thirds of troops — about 100,000 people — are believed to have participated in the legendary truce.
  • Albert Moren of the Second Queens Regiment recalled, “First the Germans would sing one of their carols and then we would sing one of ours, until when we started up ‘O Come, All Ye Faithful’ the Germans immediately joined in singing the same hymn to the Latin words Adeste Fideles. And I thought, well, this is really a most extraordinary thing ­– two nations both singing the same carol in the middle of a war.”
  • The next morning, in some places, German soldiers emerged from their trenches, calling out “Merry Christmas” in English. Allied soldiers came out warily to greet them. In others, Germans held up signs reading “You no shoot, we no shoot.” Over the course of the day, troops exchanged gifts of cigarettes, food, buttons and hats. The Christmas truce also allowed both sides to finally bury their dead comrades, whose bodies had lain for weeks on “no man’s land,” the ground between opposing trenches.
  • The phenomenon took different forms across the Western front. One account mentions a British soldier having his hair cut by his pre-war German barber; another talks of a pig-roast. Several mention impromptu kick-abouts with makeshift soccer balls.
  • Yet for many at the time, the story of the Christmas truce was not an example of chivalry in the depths of war, but rather a tale of subversion: when the men on the ground decided they were not fighting the same war as their superiors. With no man’s land sometimes spanning just 100 feet, enemy troops were so close that they could hear each other and even smell their cooking.
  • A century later, the truce has been remembered as a testament to the power of hope and humanity in a truly dark hour of history.
  • And though the Christmas Truce may have been a one-off in the conflict, the fact that it remains so widely commemorated speaks to the fact that at its heart it symbolizes a very human desire for peace, no matter how fleeting
  • The angels told the shepherds so many centuries ago that the birth of the Baby Jesus would be Good News for all people. He would be your Savior!
  • The angel announced to Joseph, in Matthew’s Gospel, that the child is to be called Jesus “for he will save his people from their sins.” In other words, this baby born in Bethlehem saves us from the worst part of ourselves.
  • How we need peace in these days, in our hearts, in our city, across the globe. Could it happen? Might there be something, SOMEONE who could bring about peace for us?
  • From one who called for a change in society, in the way we treat each other – one who did NOT advocate acquiescence, hear these words:
  • The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it.
  • Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth.
  • Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate.
  • In fact, violence merely increases hate. So it goes.
  • Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.
  • Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that.
  • Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.
  • You KNOW who said this, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a Christian pastor who knew what the birth of Jesus meant for this world.
  • Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that.
  • Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.
  • Peace cannot be brought about with war.
  • Justice cannot be brought about by becoming unjust.
  • Equality cannot come from treating others with hatred and enmity.
  • Or, as that great theologian, My Mom said: Two wrongs don’t make a right!
  • How we need peace tonight: in our world, in our city, in our hearts.
  • How can it come? Who will bring it?
  • Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace!
  • This past Sunday, in talking about Mary being impregnated with the Word of God, Jesus, I told our congregational family that you and TOO are impregnated with God’s Word.
  • It is not enough to pray to a distant God for peace to come.
  • It is not enough to hope that somehow the violence will end.
  • It is not enough to wish that somebody else will help us sit and reason with each other over our differences.
  • In our Christmas story, the shepherds told others what the angels said to them: When they saw (the baby in the manger) they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them.
  • We who are here tonight come with various wishes and desires and hopes and dreams for our lives and for our world.
  • We come to worship the One who came to change all of this violence into something better.
  • We come to worship the One who succumbed to violence on the Cross to show us that hatred, jealousy, enmity may have their day, but they are NOT the final word.
  • We come to worship the One who defeated all of the worst in us by rising from the grave on Easter morning.
  • We come to worship the One of whom the angels sang: Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace!
  • As we go forth from this place, WE are called to be the peacemakers, in our homes, in our city and in our world.
  • We are called to join the shepherds in telling the ancient story of Jesus – the Child of Bethlehem, the Prince of Peace.
  • We are called to share his desire for justice and equality for ALL – no matter what they look like, sound like, or from where they come.
  • We are called to join with that shepherd, Dr. King in saying: Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.
  • Come tonight and worship the Light of Lights, the Prince of Peace.
  • Go forth tonight and seek justice and equality for all.
  • Go forth tonight and let the world know that the word of the angels is not some fleeting wish or hope, but is reality. And it is, because we resolve ourselves, in those places where God has placed us, TO BE PEACEMAKERS.
  • Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace!