Sermon Archives

Sunday, June 11, 2017
Trinity Sunday (Year A)
Katie Trost, Lizzie Trost & Max Stallings
2017 Senior Sermons

May the words of our mouths and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable in your sight, Oh Lord, our strength and our redeemer. Amen.

Katie Trost

Good Morning! I’m Katie Trost, daughter of Mary and Richard Trost, twin sister to Lizzie Trost. Yes, we are twins. She is only older than me by two minutes.

I’m just going to pause a minute and point out I’m used to sitting at the altar so this is very strange to me. I feel taller.

In today’s Gospel, there is quite a bit of second guessing from the disciples on the topic of Jesus and if he’s really back. The disciples take a long journey to Galilee to a mountain because Christ told them to do so, yet some doubted when they got there that Jesus would be waiting for them. The prophecy of Christ’s return seemed too good to be true even when Christ was right there before them. Everyone second guesses themselves, their decisions, their faith, and like you and the disciples I second guess a lot of things.

While growing up I found Christ Church to be a welcome and safe place to make mistakes as well as try new things. My earliest memories of Christ Church consist of running through the building and exploring passages. Sneaking my way down the dungeon stairs to the basement, discovering the secret bathrooms. There are two of them, kids go find them. And of course, finding the best hiding spots for the game Sardines.

My mother and father wanted me to be more involved in church activities so I participated in Noah’s Ark as a mouse. I was the only mouse and I was the last animal on the ark so I had to walk down the aisle alone. It was terrifying. During the performance, I would listen James Gray as he played the part of Noah, but I was confused and thought he was God. Sorry James, I now know you’re not God.

I was nervous throughout the entire performance and hid behind the lector. I learned later Richard Thomas, Mr. Richard to me, kept an eye on me.

Once I reached fifth grade I joined the acolyte program. I learned a great many things including: fire isn’t always bad and that the bread and wine are called elements not condiments. I also learned that the “candle lighty sticks” are actually called “tapers”.

When I reached middle school like the many others my age I began to tune out what my parents told me and some of the lessons in church, but no matter how hard I tried not to listen the teachings stuck with me.

One night in sixth grade I decided not to do my math homework. You all can imagine how well that went over in the Trost household. I had to write an apology letter to my math teacher Mr. Brock. It went a little like this…

“Dear Mr. Brock,

I’m sorry I didn’t do my math homework. I am truly sorry and I humbly repent…”

My mother got an email not long after from my teacher saying “I guess when we think they aren’t listening they are.”

As middle school continued I became more involved in acolyting and started participating in outreach as well as reading lessons. I became Mr. Hagan’s “go to girl” whenever an acolyte sub was needed. The Sunday school group known as the “Donut Holes” would plan days to go help at Crossroads and sell breakfast sandwiches in order to raise money for mission trips. I learned many a lesson regarding helping those in need and why the rule for eating donuts during Sunday meeting was “eat one less than will make you sick”.

Reading lessons has made me more comfortable with public speaking and helped with my anxiety.

By the time I reached high school I was serving as an acolyte a lot and participating in a great deal of outreach and service. Christ Church was a great place to try new things and a lot of my firsts were here. My first public speaking experience was here, my first kiss was in the church parking lot…, my first act as a coordinator for a volunteer group was here, and my first very own fundraiser was held here. My junior year I created a fundraiser for Grosse Pointe Animal adoption and the Morris Animal Foundation with awareness ribbons. I coordinated a blood drive last summer.

I continue to serve outside the church. I have helped with and now coordinate therapeutic riding at the hunt club for kids with special needs by directing and recruiting volunteers from school.

This year I was given the honor of serving as head acolyte.

Christ Church is a community where people look out for each other and care for one another. I already mentioned Mr. Richard looking out for me during Noah’s Ark, but now I want to dive into a tougher topic.

Almost 2 months ago, a good friend of mine from school took his own life. I learned of his death the day of his passing at the end of school.

Every day after school for the last four years I walk over to Christ Church to be picked up. That day I walked in a fog from school across the parking lot and into the church. My mind didn’t know what it was doing, but my feet were on autopilot. When I reached the church, I broke down. Vicki found me crying in the doorway and stood with me while I waited. She didn’t tell me everything was going to be okay she just stood with me and listened and that’s really what I needed. When I told her I worried because Ethan was atheist she told me calmly “God loves Ethan.”

A lot of people reached out to me that week. Many from church. I got a letter from Mr. and Mrs. Redfield, a phone call from Areeta, and a phone call from Father Drew. Even though I wasn’t ready to talk I found comfort in the fact that people were and are there for me.

Christ Church has helped me so much on my journey of becoming an adult in my community, but my journey does not end here. I will be attending Hope College this upcoming August to study Biology and Animal Sciences in order to pursue Veterinary Medicine. I have many more mountains to climb, but I know when I look back I can always trace my footsteps back here.

Lizzie Trost

Good Morning, I’m Lizzie Trost, twin to Katie who you just heard speak this morning. Today is Trinity Sunday, so it seems that at least one of the three of us must talk about the Trinity.

Author Ralph Ellison said “…the end is in the beginning and lies far ahead.” And though this phrase is taken out of context, I feel that it captures the Holy Trinity’s infinite nature and its cyclical place in peoples’ lives.

I’ll be upfront with all of you, I have a difficult time wrapping my head around the concept of the Holy Trinity. The whole three in one, one in three thing is more than a little confusing.

But, after talking to Areeta, Max, and Katie about the concept, one idea stood out the most, the idea of the Holy Trinity as a community, three parts working as a whole.  These three beings, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, are infinitely inter-looping, and this Trinity invites the Christian people to join in its community of love.

You all, the congregation of Christ Church exemplify this community of love that is referenced the Gospel of Matthew read today, when the apostles are sent to baptize others “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit...”

When my family moved to Grosse Pointe, and began church shopping, there were only two Episcopal churches in the area.

My mom looked at Christ Church first, and luckily ran into the communications director in the lobby. My mom was immediately offered a tour of the building. When she heard of Mothers’ Day Out her decision was made, because as I'm sure you can imagine, it’s quite difficult to keep 2 two-year olds under control. Christ Church welcomed my family and its chaos with open arms, and continued to do so inviting us to Sunday school, and Tuesdays together, where I learned to set the table. Thank you for modeling the loving community of the Trinity by embracing us with your warmth.

 In fifth grade, I didn’t ask, but was rather told that I would be joining the Choir of Men and Girls. In truth, I was terrified to join the choir, my best friend had left the program, and I was worried that the older girls wouldn’t want to talk to a little fifth grader like me. I couldn’t have been more wrong. The girls truly embodied the Holy Trinity as they fostered our loving community.

They asked how my day was, they set up events like the Lock-in to make the little ones feel included, Cecily Tennyson even took to affectionately using my head as an armrest… it meant the world to me.

I experienced a similar phenomenon when I started Schola, often times being the only chorister in the room. Despite my being only 14 and inexperienced I was welcomed by the professionals as well. They offered me their music marks, conversation, and smiles. I learned each of their names and offered my smiles in return. By accepting me into their midst, the choir taught me to foster that same community of love.

As a senior chorister, I went out of my way to welcome junior choristers, inquiring them about their day, just as I had been asked few years before. As Head Chorister, I had even more opportunities to envelope choristers into our loving community, carrying on traditions like paper plates and Lock-ins in an effort to make our family even more tight knit.

Now, a new community welcomes me. And, having been taught to love in the name of the Holy Trinity by all of you, the faithful and warm community of Christ Church Grosse Pointe, I will be able to welcome them into my heart when I arrive.

One of the most reassuring things I know is that when I return from Dickinson, Christ Church will still act in the name of the Holy Trinity and welcome me home again.

Max Stallings

Hi, my name is Max Stallings.

Having a positive community that one can trust and grow from is extremely important.

Matthew 28 verses 16-20 discusses this. The disciples themselves are a community, and on top of this mountain Jesus has commanded them to make sure they expand the community he started. He tells them to “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations” demonstrating the importance of community and promoting its growth.

Christ Church has been a positive community in my life growing up. It has taught me many things, allowing me to grow, and strengthening my connection with God and with others. A major way it has done this has been through the mission trips I was lucky enough to go on for three summers in a row to help communities in-need.

The first mission trip I went on was to Louisville. Mr. Hagan took four of us there to help out in their community. I spent time at a Boys and Girls Club and a soup kitchen. At the Boys and Girls Club I met a young girl named Italia. Every day we showed up there she’d run out to me smiling. It was touching to see how from just one day there I made an impact in her life.

At the soup kitchen we made meals for the homeless. I had never been to one before, and when people started pouring in and thanking us, I was speechless because I didn’t realize the effect our work had on them. And our group was only there for one day.

I still think about the people that work at the soup kitchen every day, and the true difference they make. Without them there would be so many people starving out on the streets with no one to go to. It was an experience I still appreciate.

The next summer we went to Cincinnati. I remember spending time with our youth group and bonding with them. We spent most of the time at a YMCA, working in the lunchroom and playing with kids on the playground. This trip reminded me a lot of the first in that it showed how our work directly helps communities in need.

The last mission trip I went on was to Pittsburgh. This mission trip was different from the other two, in that we went to the same site the whole week to work and form stronger bonds with the same people. I was assigned to a religious missionary center. This was the headquarters of a group of people, who go out to spread God’s message, very similar in fact to how Jesus told the disciples to go out from the mountain. The building these people went out from was extremely worn down, however. The whole week we spent cleaning the place up for the wonderful people that work out of it. We pulled weeds all around the building, painted railings, and scraped off rusting metal. It was a great way to give back to people who give so much for others.

The people who work out of that center obviously put others before themselves, which is evident in the condition of their headquarters, so it was a rewarding experience to help them out. We were able to see our progress right before our eyes, which kept us motivated to do more.

All these mission trips have allowed me to apply what I have learned in the Christ Church community and spread it to other communities much like the disciples did.

I would strongly suggest to any kid that has the opportunity to go on a mission trip of any kind to do it. They are truly life changing experiences, as they open your eyes to the struggles people deal with every day.

Christ Church is a wonderful community that has prepared me for the world. As I go off to Calvin College this fall I know I will take the lessons I’ve learned and share them and continue to grow and learn from them.

Having a strong community that you build on with other experiences is so vital to being able to live life the way God intended it to be lived.