"The Preachers chiefly shall take heed that they teach nothing in their preaching, which they would have the people religiously to observe and believe, but that which is agreeable to the Doctrine of the Old Testament and the New, and that which the Catholick Fathers and Ancient Bishops have gathered out of that Doctrine." A proposed canon of Elizabeth I, 1571

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Location: Bedford, Texas, United States

I am a presbyter in the diocese of Fort Worth, Texas (Anglican Church in North America). I serve as Chaplain at St. Vincent's School and as a canon of St. Vincent's Cathedral Church in Bedford, Texas. In addition to my parish duties and teaching Religion classes in the school I am also the Middle School Social Studies teacher.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Nashotah Commencement Sermon

Canon Harmon has posted the text of Canon Heidt's sermon last weekend at Nashotah House here. It is well worth reading. Canon Heidt is canon theologian to the bishop of Fort Worth. The sermon is a fine reflection on priestly vocation. An excerpt:

"Looking back over the years, we come to realize that, apart from a few highlights here and there, our life and ministry has been mostly a failure. But then, with God’s grace, the light may begin to dawn, and we realize that it was for all this that we were ordained. We were ordained for failure. Now this in no way excuses the failures of the lazy, the indifferent, and the careless. But it is a warning to the industrious, the eager and the caring that though God uses all our abilities and talents, our efforts and energies to further His work, it was not for these that we were ordained.

We were ordained to live our lives on the sacrificial cross of disappointments and frustration, of criticism and contradiction, of exhaustion and personal suffering which we all bear in one way or another - because this is the cross which when high and lifted up will draw all people to Him and away from us - a cross forged by nothing less than the divine love among the persons of the Blessed Trinity worked out in the flesh of our humanity under the pain of our sinfulness. It is in our sinful flesh that the Lord will be high and lifted up – and nowhere else. It is in us that the people of this world will come to know Jesus, if they come to know Him at all.

The truth was driven home to me shortly after I was ordained. I was walking along Milwaukee’s Third Avenue between Wells and Wisconsin, in my brand new black suit and shiny white collar, when two little boys passed by me, street urchins really, and as they passed one looked up and said, “Hello Church.” And from that moment I knew who I was and always would be. Wherever I would go, whatever I would do, whatever I would say, for the people of this world I would always be their vision of the church. In me the world would know the church as either aggressive or gracious, arrogant or humble, self-serving or self-effacing, ambitious or sacrificial and simple."


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