St. Barnabas Episcopal Church, Ardsley, New York
Sunday, May 10th at 10:00 AM
See below for the info for our service on Sunday, May 10th at 10 AM; the service leaflet is attached.
When asked for a passcode, enter 491 632 6897, then press #
Please click on the PDF below to read the latest edition of The St. Barnabas Beacon, April 2020
Please click on the PDF below for March 22nd's homily by Dr. Father Varghese E. Mathew
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(Canceled until further notice) Sundays at 10 AM: Holy Eucharist, followed by fellowship coffee hour
(Canceled until further notice) Sundays at 10 AM: Sunday School
ASH WEDNESDAY SERMON
DR. REV. VARGHESE E. MATHEW
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of our hearts be pleasing in thy sight, O Lord, our rock and our redeemer. Amen.
Dear People of God,
The Season of Lent is celebrated in many Christian churches commemorating the forty days Jesus spent fasting in the wilderness. Very often, we are confronted with the question of what to give up during Lent as a token of our self denial and piety. Sometimes we hear Lent stories of people trying to give up drinking coffee or refraining from buying candy, or giving up consuming fish and meat products till the season is over. Even though, self discipline as part of a religious process is very good, the meaning of Lent is certainly much more than that. To me, Lent represents a time to get a spiritual check-up; a check-up to examine if I have been genuine and sincere before God.
In the Gospel lesson from Matthew chapter 6: 1-6, 16-21, Jesus warns us not to be like hypocrites in our religious faith. The word hypocrisy originated from Greek, and it is associated with the context of play acting where the actor is impersonating various characters that is different from the true self by putting on a mask of those characters. In the religious context, hypocrisy is a false appearance or pretense of religiosity, a mask of religiosity. Jesus exhorts us to be genuine and sincere in our spirituality. Our spirituality is our commitment to God; it is not for winning the praises of others. Jesus always taught about the practical aspect of living our faith.
We are also confronted with the question of our sins; the things we have knowingly or unknowingly done that displeases God. Needless to say, Lent is a season of self examination. However, I would like all of us to examine Lent in a different perspective. While asking ourselves the question of what have we done to offend God, let us also remind ourselves about the things we have left undone. Once, a nurse (from a parish I served before) was sharing with me a very tough day that she had at her work. She works in the critical care unit of a hospital and on that particular day, she had a couple of very critically ill patients in her unit. She noticed that some of her colleagues were really stressed out from their work load. During that time of stress, a doctor who is the head of the intensive care unit walked in with a gentle smile and presence of mind that lightened up the whole room. Just his simple smile comforted the patients and their families, and restored serenity to the hospital unit. Just a smile! Nobody knows what religion this doctor follows (it doesn’t really matter), however, this nurse told me that she saw Jesus in that man. Maybe a simple smile, perhaps just a greeting, or possibly a word of comfort can have the power to change the world. The Gospel reminds us to give rather than give up – we are called to be the light of change in a world surrounded by the nightmare of darkness.
Have we lacked in our responsibilities and commitments before God and our fellow human beings? Have we pushed aside the gospel of Jesus’ love by our own exclusive mentality? These are a couple of questions certainly worth exploring on our spiritual journey. This Ash Wednesday, I am reminded about my responsibilities toward God. What have I left undone? I am left with the thought of self-realization, that it is not my self- righteousness that justifies me but only God’s grace. I would like to conclude my sermon by sharing the last verses of a poem by Robert Frost titled “Stopping by the woods on a Snowy Evening.” This poem is about a lonely rider, who stops by the woods to enjoy the beauty of the woods. When his horse gives his harness bells a shake, the rider is reminded about the many things he has to do in his life and continues the journey. Let this Ash Wednesday Service today be a reminder to us on our journey ahead, our spiritual journey with God.
The Woods are lovely, dark and deep
But I have promises to keep
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep
May the Blessing of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you…Amen!