Read it all.
Not surprising in the utter lack of discussion of the cross or repentance. Everything is about how you just need to imagine how much God loves you and then somehow you will have power to keep going.
What is surprising (and in all the recent E.C. bulletins) is the strong sense that the leaders of TEC are deeply affected by the crumbling of the institution around them. They were so sure they were doing the right thing and now their dreams have betrayed them. They have lost hope, and sermons such as this are trying to drum up positive feeling. Maybe it will work.
I had a much longer message fisking Restoration of Creation, and explaining why the application makes it sound so much like denial and escape from the problem. But here was the central verse used, as you would find it following on from the Sunday Acts lesson:
“19 Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, 20 and that he may send the Messiah, who has been appointed for youâ€”even Jesus. 21 Heaven must receive him until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets. 22 For Moses said, â€˜The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you must listen to everything he tells you. 23 Anyone who does not listen to him will be completely cut off from their people.”
Having taught a homiletics class on a diocesan level a few times, this is how I would have responded if this person had been in my class:
1. I find it interesting that God the Father is never referenced directly. The Holy Spirit is alluded to indirectly. You open with “In the Name of God. Amen.” Well, what is the name of God?
2. Swan River is not in the lectionary. David Whyte is not in the Lectionary. Neither are theologians or referencing anything about your suggested Gospel text(s). When you are preaching, you need to preach with your own voice, not quote a bunch of other people who are not even talking about what you are trying to convey.
3. The gospel for Transfiguration is either in August or the Last Sunday of the Epiphany. The Confession of St. Peter is also in January Why have you chosen to use these Gospels on April 20th? (See next comment.)
4. You failed to answer the primary of “So What?” What is the take home message here? Being Transfigured? Confessing Jesus? What does that mean exactly in this context or in general? Why is that important, and why should anyone care? What can anyone do about it? How are lives changed?
5. What’s with the laundry list of names at the end of the sermon? Do you think your audience has any idea who any of these people are?
6. Since when can you speak for God and say that all these people are doing things to please Him? The condition of people’s souls are not for us to judge, good or bad.
7. If you think the Episcopal church should be “transfigured” into something else, you need to just say so. And, likewise, you need to tell people how that will be accomplished. Scriptural references will be helpful here.