Ray Of Hope Church Of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Inc.
The Church in Central New York founded and consistently fostered by the GLBTQIS community. October 31, 2018 was the 35th Anniversary in our 36th year in Ministry.
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Sermon for June 20, 1999
Gay Pride Weekend, Father's Day


The following are the Scripture readings as scheduled in the "Revised Common Lectionary," an ecumenical schedule of readings of Holy Scripture. Our sermons are based on these readings.



Genesis 21:8-21
Proper 7 (12), Fourth Sunday after Pentecost, (Year A)



21:8 The child grew, and was weaned; and Abraham made a great feast on the day that Isaac was weaned. 21:9 But Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, playing with her son Isaac. 21:10 So she said to Abraham, "Cast out this slave woman with her son; for the son of this slave woman shall not inherit along with my son Isaac." 21:11 The matter was very distressing to Abraham on account of his son. 21:12 But God said to Abraham, "Do not be distressed because of the boy and because of your slave woman; whatever Sarah says to you, do as she tells you, for it is through Isaac that offspring shall be named for you. 21:13 As for the son of the slave woman, I will make a nation of him also, because he is your offspring." 21:14 So Abraham rose early in the morning, and took bread and a skin of water, and gave it to Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, along with the child, and sent her away. And she departed, and wandered about in the wilderness of Beer-sheba. 21:15 When the water in the skin was gone, she cast the child under one of the bushes. 21:16 Then she went and sat down opposite him a good way off, about the distance of a bowshot; for she said, "Do not let me look on the death of the child." And as she sat opposite him, she lifted up her voice and wept. 21:17 And God heard the voice of the boy; and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven, and said to her, "What troubles you, Hagar? Do not be afraid; for God has heard the voice of the boy where he is. 21:18 Come, lift up the boy and hold him fast with your hand, for I will make a great nation of him." 21:19 Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water. She went, and filled the skin with water, and gave the boy a drink. 21:20 God was with the boy, and he grew up; he lived in the wilderness, and became an expert with the bow. 21:21 He lived in the wilderness of Paran; and his mother got a wife for him from the land of Egypt. This is the Word Of The Lord; Thanks Be To God.

This is the Word Of The Lord; Thanks Be To God.

Psalm 86:1-10, 16-17

Proper 7 (12), (Year A)

86:1 Incline your ear, O LORD, and answer me, for I am poor and needy. 86:2 Preserve my life, for I am devoted to you; save your servant who trusts in you. You are my God; 86:3 be gracious to me, O Lord, for to you do I cry all day long. 86:4 Gladden the soul of your servant, for to you, O Lord, I lift up my soul. 86:5 For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call on you. 86:6 Give ear, O LORD, to my prayer; listen to my cry of supplication. 86:7 In the day of my trouble I call on you, for you will answer me. 86:8 There is none like you among the gods, O Lord, nor are there any works like yours. 86:9 All the nations you have made shall come and bow down before you, O Lord, and shall glorify your name. 86:10 For you are great and do wondrous things; you alone are God.

Romans 6:1b-11
Proper 7 (12), (Fourth Sunday after Pentecost), (Year A)

6:1b Should we continue in sin in order that grace may abound? 6:2 By no means! How can we who died to sin go on living in it? 6:3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 6:4 Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised form the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in the newness of life. 6:5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6:6 We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. 6:7 For whoever has died is freed from sin. 6:8 But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 6:9 We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 6:10 The death he died, he died to sin, once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. 6:11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.   .

This is the Word Of The Lord; Thanks Be To God.

Matthew 10:24-39
Proper 7 (12), Pentecost 4 (Year A)



10:24 "A disciple is not above the teacher, nor a slave above the master; 10:25 it is enough for the disciple to be like the teacher, and the slave like the master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household! 10:26 "So have no fear of them; for nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known. 10:27 What I say to you in the dark, tell in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim from the housetops. 10:28 Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 10:29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 10:30 And even the hairs of your head are all counted. 10:31 So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows. 10:32 "Everyone therefore who acknowledges me before others, I also will acknowledge before my Father in heaven; 10:33 but whoever denies me before others, I also will deny before my Father in heaven. 10:34 "Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. 10:35 For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; 10:36 and one's foes will be members of one's own household. 10:37 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 10:38 and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 10:39 Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. )



Reader: This is the Gospel of the Lord; Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.




Brother Benedict, Sermon 180

Pentecost 4A, 1999



Genesis 21:8-21
Psalm 86
Romans 6:1-11
Matthew 10:24-39

This has been a very busy week for all of us with the extra worship services and the parade celebrating Pride Month. Additionally, today is Fatherís Day and like Motherís Day it is a painful day for some people. However, we should also celebrate the growing number of men and women in our community who are in fact becoming parents and seem to be having a great success rate with their children. I also want to call our attention to the fact that God, our Heavenly Father has truly reached into our circumstances and has helped us.

Our movement is thirty years old this month. When we consider our progress over this very short time, there are many remarkable accomplishments to celebrate. One thing that truly stands out to me is how God loves and assists everyone in our community, even those persons who boldly proclaim they do not or cannot believe in God. It is clear to me that God is showing great compassion on our people. In spite of all the rhetoric that comes at us from both the Church and the State, God gives us security and steady progress in the development of our spiritual lives.

In Romans 6 we have this promise of security restated; "Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his." (Romans 6:3-5)

Resurrection is absolutely guaranteed to every one of us in spite of what we are hearing from the larger churches. The security factor in this is Godís word supersedes the opinions of the professing church. The problems that some in the professing church are having with us amount to issues that must be taken up with God, not us. We are living and trusting in Godís promises, not the denominational dogmatics of so many professing churchmen. The arguments we hear claiming our condemnation are all based on denominational dogmatics, not on Scriptural Doctrine. We are readily able to show our security in Christ from the Holy Bible. The words of Jesus guarantee our salvation. This is good enough for me. I get frustrated with the number of people who continually claim they are speaking in the "authority" of Christ as they condemn us. What give them away as liars is they have no conscience that they are using the Lordís name in vain. The Scriptures clearly say lying is a serious sin, and I am sure that lying in the name of Jesus and in his so-called "authority" is very severe.

Todayís Gospel is also appropriate. Jesus assures us that our faith will cause many to persecute us. Many people are challenged by the fact we have a living Christian faith in spite of our sexual orientations. For us to exist here and be doing our ministry is to deeply challenge those who desperately want to prove we are hated by God, we are an abomination to God.

At least twice a week the 800 line rings with a clergyperson yelling with scathing words about how God will send us all to Hell. I used to really get upset and sometimes shout back. I am trying not do that anymore. What matters now is our faithfulness to Christ. The Gospel today says; "Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both body and soul in Hell. We may be persecuted for peopleís lack of tolerance disguised as the "authority of Christ," and some have even been killed in our movement, but for me securing my relationship with God is far more important.

Jesus said: "Everyone therefore who acknowledges me before others, I also will acknowledge before my Father; but whoever denies me before others, I also will deny before my Father in heaven." (Matt. 10:32-33) Could this be more clear? It is therefore essential that we continue our witness for Christ to the world. We must never ever allow our testimony to be silenced by anyone. Many people do not want to hear our testimony or our song... but our obligation is to faithfully proclaim Christ in all places and all people. It is a joy to know we have such a wonderful mission and purpose. Isnít it a joy that we are able to follow Christ in our own day and in such marvelous way? We are called to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth: Jesus is Lord, Halleluia.

The Lord empowers us to do His work. We should be standing in awe that our God, the very One God of the Universe is personally involved in our lives individually and corporately. So, we invite you to marvel and to praise God this weekend as Central New York is celebrating the gift of our sexual orientations. Pray for each other that we will have the courage and the blessings we need to boldly carry out the work of Jesus Christ.

TOTUS TUUS! Totally Yours, Lord Jesus Christ.


May Almighty God bless all of us, in the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen.

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