And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us,
(and we beheld His glory, the glory as of
the Only Begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
(St. John i. 14)
This evening you and I bring our Advent journey to a close. In Advent we toiled and labored to cast away the works of darkness and put upon us the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life. (Advent Collect) In Advent season we struggled to die to ourselves that Christ might be born again in us on this Christmas night. Christmas is really all about Christ’s birth in us. And this is why our English Reformers opted to preserve the Gospel reading from St. John that was first used in the ancient Latin Western Church. They did this because they knew that Christmas was about much more than past history. Christmas is about conversion, being born from above, or being born again as Christ, who is Emmanuel – Christ with us and for us, is born in our hearts and souls, yes even on this Christmas night.
Now, to be sure, being born again is no easy business. It doesn’t just happen. Instantaneous conversion is a hard thing to come by easily. Actually it is something that God alone can bring about. And for the ancient Latin Fathers the most articulate expression of God’s conversion of the world and the men who inhabit it is found in the Prologue of St. John’s Gospel. For there, after a mystical vision, St John learns and teaches that all created life finds its beginning, middle, and end with the eternally-begotten Word of God’s love. St. John, according to Holy Tradition, lived a very long life. He was probably the youngest of the Apostles and is referred to in his own Gospel as the disciple whom Jesus loved, who also leaned on His breast at the [last] supper. (St. John xxi. 20) He alone amongst the Apostles stood at the foot of the Cross, and to him was entrusted the care and service of the Blessed Mother. Later he evangelized in Asia Minor and was thought to have outlived all of his Apostolic brothers who died as Martyrs. St. Irenaeus of Lyons, a 2nd century Church Father, tells us that after Saints Peter and Paul were martyred, and after Saints Matthew, Mark, and Luke had compiled their Gospels, St. John wrote his while living in Ephesus. (Ad.Haer. iii. 1.1) He was an old man when he wrote his Gospel and Epistles, and so looks back not only over the Crucifixion, Resurrection, Ascension of Jesus Christ, and Pentecost, but also upon the life and witness of his friends in whom Christ was born again and reconciling the world to himself.
St. John knows that Christ has ascended to the right hand of the Father, and since that time has been reconciling the world to himself in the hearts and minds of Christians everywhere. But how should he begin? He knows of Matthew and Luke’s accounts of Jesus’ birth. That terrain has been covered, he thinks, so what more can be said? And then he realizes what he must do. Matthew and Luke have told of Christ’s earthly birth. But Jesus Christ’s birth was no mere mortal entry into the external and visible world of time and space. St. Luke had recounted Mary’s conversation with the Angel who said to her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.(St. Luke i. 35) St. John must speak not only of the Son of Man, but of the Son of God. His beginning must move beyond time and space, and find its root in the heart of God.
For, it is the heart of God’s love that has left its deepest impress upon the life of John. John was called the disciple whom the Lord loved. (St. John xxi. 20) And the love which Jesus shares with him is indicative of an intimacy and closeness in friendship that the other disciples seemed to miss. But John perceives Jesus’ love always, and in that lasting impression he finds the love of God at work in the life of his Lord long before he understood the meaning of his life. By the time John writes his Gospel he has been progressively altered and redefined by the love of Jesus that has never ceased to come to him through the Holy Spirit. And so, St. John is intent upon articulating just how God’s own Son was the product of the Father’s eternal Love. God is love, and he that abideth in love, abideth in God and God in him. (1 St. John iv. 16) John remembers that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. (Ibid, 9) John who has been living in and through the Son realizes that the Son is the expression, utterance, voice, or the Word of the Father’s Love. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (Ibid, 1) What St. John says is that before all beginnings God and His Word of Love existed. (The Mystery of Eternity, Mouroux, p.34) Furthermore, He says that all things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made. (Ibid, 3) Through his Word of Love, God chose freely, without compulsion or need, out of sheer joy and ecstasy, to make and to create all things. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. (Ibid, 4,5) Through his loving Word, God gave life to all things. But he gave also meaning, definition, truth, intention, and purpose through the life that was the light of all men’s potential consciousness. The living and loving light offered itself always to the minds and hearts of men, who alone were called to see and understand, to cherish and treasure the knowledge and love of God. But the living and loving light encountered resistance, obduracy, and hardness of heart from the souls of sinful men. There was a darkness in man that could neither comprehend nor overcome the living and loving light. But that was the true light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. (Ibid, 9) This living and loving light informs and defines all human life. He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not. He came unto His own, and His own received Him not. (Ibid, 10, 11) The same loving light never ceases to shine forth into the creation, making and creating, conserving and preserving, defining and informing, and calling and summoning His own – all men - though thought of him never so much as crosses most of their minds. But to those few whose eyes are opened, ears unstopped, hearts softened, and minds opened to his coming, something radically new begins to transpire. But [to]as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. (Ibid, 12, 13) The same living and loving light, God’s eternal Word of Love, desires to come to those who freely and willingly, and inwardly and spiritually receive Him that they might be born again, born from above, born of the Spirit as they become his own. And the Word [of God’s eternal Love] was made flesh and dwelt among us. (Ibid, 14) John sees and knows, receives and embraces, cherishes and treasures that Word of God’s Love that was made flesh and dwelt among us in the life of Jesus Christ, and he continues, we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only-begotten of the Father full of Grace and truth. (Ibid, 14)
So John has articulated his vision of the eternally-begotten life, light, and love of the Father’s Word or Son. What he sees is that the Son is the mirror Image of the Father’s Love, passion, and desire. He sees that this Love is not only what creates and makes, conserves and preserves, beautifies and adorns, but what also finds and rescues, saves and delivers, protects and defends, redeems and sanctifies. The evil that opposes the Word of God’s Love is never an obstacle to God’s determination to save and deliver the people whom He forever longs to reconcile with Himself. You see, John’s Prologue is not merely the theological articulation of a beginning that had no end. This Word made flesh is life, light, and love, and John remembers Jesus’ words: I am come that [you] might have life, and that [you] might have it more abundantly. (St. John x. 10) And in another place: Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God…. Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. (St. John iii. 3, 5-7) And, again, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. (St. John xiv. 23) Jesus Christ, the eternally begotten Word of God’s [Love is] made flesh so that the beginning which He shares with the Father might become the source and origin of our new spiritual birth that issues forth into a life that ends with God in Heaven. This is the eternal Love that moves St. John to write to us on this Christmas night. This is the eternal Love which can move from his heart to ours.
Christmas must be all about the Word of God’s Love made flesh in us. At Christmas time Christ desires be born again in you and me! True life, light, and love are found in the eternally-begotten desire of God’s Word for us. On this Christmas night, God’s Word made flesh speaks to us and awaits our response. Will we be born again? Let us close with the words of Arthur Edward Waite.
WITH a measure of light and a measure of shade,
The world of old by the Word was made;
By the shade and light was the Word conceal’d,
And the Word in flesh to the world reveal’d
Is by outward sense and its forms obscured;
The spirit within is the long lost Word,
Besought by the world of the soul in pain
Through a world of words which are void and vain.
O never while shadow and light are blended
Shall the world’s Word-Quest or its woe be ended,
And never the world of its wounds made whole
Till the Word made flesh be the Word made soul!
Then judgment shall dwell in the wilderness,
and righteousness remain in the fruitful field.
(Isaiah xxxii. 16)
You can say what you will about the old Book of Common Prayer, which we use exclusively in this mission church, but what you cannot say is that it is not honest and forthright about the struggles which any human being finds in his journey towards salvation. Indeed, perhaps its most brilliant contribution to the history of Christianity lies in its full appreciation of the spiritual warfare that accompanies every honest pilgrim’s desire to embrace the Grace of Almighty God and eschew evil. The Church Year is defined and informed by the persistent recognition of the difficulty that lies in the effort to die to oneself and to come alive to God through Jesus Christ our Lord. And the Advent season is no exception to this rule. It commenced with the spiritual desire to cast away the works of darkness and put upon us the armour of Light now in the time of this mortal life. (Advent I, Collect) And it concludes with: O Lord, raise, up, we pray thee, thy power, and come among us, and with great might succor us; that whereas, through our sins and wickedness, we are sore let and hindered in running the race that is set before us; thy bountiful grace and mercy may speedily help and deliver us…. (Advent IV, Collect)
Now, a Prayer Book Advent is by no means a mere repetition of a single theme. I hope that our Advent has been preparing us progressively and logically for the Christ’s coming at Christmas time. As Father Crouse reminds us, on the First Sunday in Advent we prayed that our souls would be awakened and cleansed to prepare for the coming of Christ. On the Second Sunday we were called to forsake the passing and impermanent world that we might prepare for God’s enduring Word. Last Sunday we were called to witness to the Word in hope, as the impending suffering and death of John Baptist were consecrated to the mission and meaning of Christ’s coming. And today we are called to see and perceive this coming Word of God and rejoice in His coming. (Advent I-IV Summary Sermon, RDC)
But to see and perceive the coming Word… and rejoice in it, we must realize that all of our preparation must end in spiritual death: I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord… [for] there standeth one among you, whom ye know not; he it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe's latchet I am not worthy to unloose. (St. John i. 23, 27) John’s words are spoken just prior to his literal death at the hands of Herod, just before he was carried out of the wilderness. Getting out of the way, receding, decreasing, and dying are all part of the example John provides for us. In Advent, with John Baptist, our preparation concludes with a call into our own spiritual death, to everyone and everything that stands in the way of the coming Christ’s birth in our souls on Christmas day.
Our spiritual death is something for which ancient Israel had been preparing long before the coming of John Baptist. Along with John, Isaiah the Prophet helps us to see and understand both spiritual death and the new life that God prepares to bring. He proclaims, Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness… . (Is. xxxii. 1) And then he goes on to say that a man shall be as a hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land. (Ibid, 2) When this king comes to reign, His power and might, His love and compassion, and His wisdom and truth shall rule and govern the human heart. The nature of Christ’s reign will be inward and spiritual. The Christ who is coming shall not be perceived by most men, for they will be too busy basking in the light of their own abilities, accomplishments, and achievements. But for those whose faith yearns, longs, and hungers for Christ’s coming – because they have long since begun to decay, deteriorate, and die in their own eyes - a new world order, a new cosmic governance, is about to be seen and understood, heard and comprehended spiritually. The eyes of them that see shall not be dim, and the ears of them that hear shall hearken. The heart also of the rash shall understand knowledge, and the tongue of the stammerers shall be ready to speak plainly. (Ibid, 3,4) This will mean that what men thought was true, beautiful, and good will be seen now in God’s Light as what could, at best, promote and enhance a kind of life that leads only to death. And for those who cannot see and hear spiritually because they have not yet died to themselves, their own darkness will become darker, more nefarious, treacherous, malignant, and contrary. In the words of the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, The fool will no more be called noble, nor the knave said to be honorable. For the fool speaks folly, and his mind plots iniquity to practice ungodliness, to utter error concerning the Lord, to leave the craving of the hungry unsatisfied, and to deprive the thirsty of drink. (Ibid, 5,6) God’s truth, goodness, and beauty are about to be expressed through the coming of Christ and will forever relegate man’s good intentions and noble works to the dustbin of a fallen and dead creation. Good works, the Prophet insists, can never save a man because they only ever satisfy earthly and worldly needs, and, so, leave the soul empty and destitute of lasting, spiritual life and salvation. Tremble, ye women that are at ease; be troubled, ye careless ones: strip you, and make you bare, and gird sackcloth upon your loins. Beat upon your breasts, for the pleasant fields, for the fruitful vine. (Ibid, 11, 12) The Prophet refines his message. True new birth and new life will come from God alone, and then only through the Mother who has died to herself, who will be then full of Grace, who will be highly favored because her singular passion and heartfelt desire is for God’s will to be done through her: Be it unto me, according to thy Word. (St. Luke i. 38) Christ the coming Word of God can only and ever been conceived and born in the soul which has died to itself in order to come alive to God’s will and way. The coming Christ came alive to John Baptist in hope; the coming Christ came alive to the Blessed Virgin Mary first in faith and then in deed and in truth.
So today we need to ask ourselves if we have indeed been preparing for the coming of Christ by dying to ourselves. John Baptist in another place says that He must increase and I must decrease. (St. John iii. 30) Of course, we can comply with his sentiments only when we come to the point of realizing that, for the most part, we have been engaged in a living death. And living death is just another way of saying that we have lived in, for, and to ourselves. The man who is immersed in a living death is moved and defined by the world, the flesh, and the devil. And he need not be an un-compromised pagan; he might even be a compromised Christian. Such a man is self-consciously moved and possessed by himself. He would be surprised to learn that he is immersed in a living death. Why? Because he has casually and carelessly justified or dismissed the sins of his past life. In other words, he has never measured his every thought, word, and deed in the pure light of Christ’s coming. Unlike Isaiah the Prophet, John Baptist, or the Blessed Virgin Mary, he has never seen that the future in store for those who indulge a living death is neatly summarized in the words of the Prophet: Upon the land of my people shall come up thorns and briars; yea, upon all the houses of joy in the joyous city: because the palaces shall be forsaken; the multitude of the city shall be deserted; the forts and towers shall be dens forever, a joy of wild asses, a pasture of flocks; until the Spirit be poured upon us from on high. (Ibid, 14, 15) There is one reality in store for those who live to themselves, and unless God’s Spirit be poured upon them from on high, their living death can never become a dying life.
But a dying life is precisely what is in needful for Christians who will welcome the birth of the coming Christ once again at Christmas time. Our Prayer Book does not underestimate its importance, but, in this morning’s properly appointed Psalm, situates it in the face of God’s response to it. The Psalmist is coming alive always to the coming Christ, to God’s Word which lifts him into the presence of the Father. O be joyful in the LORD, all ye lands: * serve the LORD with gladness, and come before his presence with a song. Be ye sure that the LORD he is God; it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; * we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture, (Ps. c. 1,2) he sings today. O go your way into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise; * be thankful unto him, and speak good of his Name. For the LORD is gracious, his mercy is everlasting; * and his truth endureth from generation to generation. (Ibid, 3,4) Over and against our living death stands a loving God whose everlasting mercy will perfect a dying life. And much later in time, after Christ himself had died, risen, ascended, and was glorified, St. Paul exhorts his friends to the same posture. Rejoice in the Lord always; and again I say, Rejoice. (Phil. iv. 4) The Lord is at hand, he insists, and so we must be careful for nothing. (Phil. iv. 6) We must not be anxious about life in the temporal world, since it stands only to disrupt and frustrate our dying life. But in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving [we are to make our] requests be made known unto God… [that] the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Phil. iv. 6,7) God’s peace and good will are about to visit us in the Nativity of our Saviour when our dying life can be redeemed and perfected by his coming Birth.
As our Advent preparation comes to a close, our prayer should be:
O Lord, let me claim and confess that I have been living
A living death.
O Lord, let me hunger and thirst for true dying
A dying life.
O Lord, let this dying life find new believing
A believing soul.
O Lord, let this believing soul seek new living
Thy living Birth.
And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, and said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.
(St. Matthew xxi. 12, 13)
Father Robert Crouse used to remind us that the traditional Anglican Lectionary was the only remaining calendar of liturgical readings that remained mostly unaltered since the times of the early Western, Latin Church. For even the Roman Church, prior to Vatican II, had altered the ancient lectionary. But our own Anglican Reformers decided to opt for the readings selected by the Ancient Fathers, since they thought they were probably safer guides to our salvation journey than any others that came after them. And today’s readings are a case in point. We have read this morning about Jesus’ exultant and euphoric entry into Jerusalem, and your mind jumps to Palm Sunday. You might say to yourself, Oh my, Father Martin’s intestinal pain has got the better of him, and he isn’t thinking straight. He read the wrong Gospel. But happily for me, you are wrong.
So then, you might ask, why did the Ancient Fathers choose this reading for Advent Sunday? Aren’t we supposed to be getting ready for Christmas, you might ask? And the answer is, Yes, we are. But according to the logic of the Church Fathers, preparing for the coming of Christ means readying our souls for the His birth in us at Christmas time. And this means the hard work of waking up to the awesome mystery that is coming to us. St. Paul tells us this morning that, The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. (Romans xiii. 12) Christmas is all about the coming Light, the Light which was the life of men…the Light [which] shineth in the darkness, and the darkness [overcame] it not…the Light that ligtheth every man that cometh into the world. (St. John i. 4,5,9) So Advent, for the Ancient Latin Fathers, was a time of spiritual preparation for the birth of Christ the Light, and this involves arranging and assembling the inner self for this mystical arrival and birth of Christ in the soul so that there might indeed be room for [Him] at the inn. (St. Luke ii. 7)
And Advent facilitates this spiritual state through repentance. And what is repentance but that casting away the works of darkness, through sorrow, penance, and contrition? What is compunctious and contrite sorrow or penance if not that determination to exorcise, expel, and expurgate all darkness from our souls? And what is this darkness, but an accumulation and accretion, a cluster and conglomeration of vice and sin that stubbornly resist and repel the liberating Light and brightness of Christ’s coming? The darkness, actually, hates the passion and desire of Christ the Light to redeem and save us through His birth in our souls. Thus Advent is all about that spiritual preparation that conscientiously and fastidiously locates the darkness of sin that lingers or even grows in our souls, and then begins to welcome the Light that alone can infiltrate, penetrate, and vanquish it.
Without God’s Grace, we can do nothing, and so we must ask Him for it more fervently and expeditiously in Advent. And so God’s Grace in Christ must come to us one way now in Advent in order to come in a far more glorious way then at Christmas. If we do not allow Him to come in the first manner, we shall fail to appreciate Him the second. And the first manner in which He comes to us is through all meekness, humility, and lowliness. He comes to us as a servant. So we read that God’s Light and Desire made Flesh entered the ancient city of the Jewish kings in fulfillment of the prophecy: Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass. (St. Matthew xxi 5) Christ comes to us now, as He came to the crowds then. Because He loves men’s innermost being most, He will not confuse and complicate matters with any hint of worldly or earthly power and might. He comes to serve where the work is most needed. And so His servant-hood is directed to the cure of men’s souls. In the end, He will serve all men in all times by laying down His life for his friends. (St. John xv. 13) His mission of service will involve the expression of true kingship, where the ruler so loves His peculiar people that He is willing to surrender His own life for their future well-being and salvation.
So long before Christ suffers and dies for those whom He loves, He rides into the Jerusalem of our souls. With the crowds of old in this Advent season we must respond: Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest. (Ibid, 9) We rejoice at Christ’s Advent coming to us. We sing Hosanna because the God of all glory and holiness has stooped down from His heavenly throne to enter our souls in an unassuming, inconspicuous, and unpretentious way. He allows us to proclaim Hosanna only if it means our praise and glorification of the One who comes as the Great Physician and healer of our souls. The Christ who comes in Advent awakens, alerts, and even alarms us to our sinful condition in relation to salvation. He doesn’t have time for external and outward displays and spreads of His Divine Majesty. He knows [the] time, [and] that now it is high time to awake [us] out of sleep, for now is our salvation closer than when we first learned to believe (Romans xiii 11: AV & Knox) ; the cure of our souls is pressing, urgent, and impelling. His impassioned and industrious determination is revealed after He dismounts His ass and enters the temple. Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, and said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves. (Ibid, 12, 13) Christ means business. And if we want Him to cast away the works of darkness in our souls, we had better be ready for His courageous and determined assault on our sickness. Christ is like any good doctor or surgeon. By all appearances He is kind, gentle, loving, and compassionate. But once He knocks you out with anesthesia, He goes after the disease and sickness with the zeal, fervor, and alacrity of a whirling dervish. He is determined to rid our bodies and souls of any idea, word, or occupation that frustrate His birth, growth, and maturation in our souls.
So our determination on this Advent Sunday must be to open our souls to the penetrating, invasive, determined, and dynamic Light of Christ’s healing power. But St. Paul tells us this morning that our patient-prep for spiritual surgery must involve love. If Christ is to enter our souls to purge, purify, cleanse, and wash away our sins, we must not be distracted by anger, fury, rage, resentment, bitterness, or revenge. He says, Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. (Romans xiii 8) This means that we must not allow ourselves to be drawn into and determined by distractions that enhance, enlarge, broaden, and deepen any malevolence towards our fellow men. Perhaps an example would be useful. We might start to practice love when we get behind the wheels of our cars. The Ancient Fathers tell us that we are most liable and susceptible to vice when we are moving too fast. Well, when we are in our cars, our rapid pace outruns our hearts and minds. And then we find ourselves too easily subject to passions and emotions that yield so quickly to judgment, condemnation, and derision. We cry out, you idiot, you fool, or you moron. The words jump out of us, one thing leads to another, and before we realize it, we are bothered, distracted, and then even possessed by subjects of passing importance, ephemeral meaning, and unlasting merit.
My friends, in this Advent Season we are called to slow down. No doubt, Advent is all about waking up, be roused, and becoming conscious of our need for Christ’s effective healing. Indeed, we are called to name, identify, and claim our sins that He might help us to conquer them through His Grace. We need to tell the good physician where we hurt, in what way, and to what extent spiritually. We need to admit and confess our weakness, fatigue, and powerlessness over sin and its effects in our lives. As John R. Brokhoff says, If Christ is going to come again into our hearts [at Christmas], there must be repentance [in Advent]. Without repentance, our hearts will be so full of worldly things that there will be ‘no room in the inn’ for Christ to be born again.…We have the joy not of celebration. Which is the joy of Christmas, but the joy of anticipation. (Preaching the Parables) Advent is about anticipating, waiting, and watching for the coming of Christ’s birth at Christmas. But with no repentance, there will be no room in the inn of our souls for Christ’s birth. The Advent fire of Christ’s Light can wash, cleanse, purify, and heal us of all our sins only if we remain still and passive on his spiritual operating table and allow Him to do His work. What needs to be alive, zealous, and passionate in us is the willingness to pray more fervently for the purifying fire of Christ’s Light in our hearts. Then we need enduring vigilance, alacrity, and eagerness to remain obedient, docile, and acquiescent to the healing directives of Christ the Light, Christ the Good Physician. If we persist in the spiritual healing process and begin to be cured, we shall die to our sin and ourselves. Through Him, we shall cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armour of Light. (Idem) Then we shall be ready to be born again in Christ at Christmas time. At that is only the beginning! All births are! What follow are spiritual growth and maturity in the firey Light of Christ the Word. And then, knowing that our salvation is nearer than when we first began to believe (Idem), at the last day, when [Christ] shall come again in His glorious majesty to judge both the quick and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal, through Him who liveth and reigneth with [the Father] and the Holy Ghost, now and ever. Amen.
St. Michael and All Angels Sermons: