Morning Prayer: Sunday of Advent 3

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Psalm: 63, 98
Old Testament: Amos 9:1-15
New Testament: 2 Thes. 2:1-3, 13-17

Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and through grace gave us eternal comfort and good hope, comfort your hearts and strengthen them in every good work and word. (2 Thes 2:16-17)

Gaudete! Gaudete! Rejoice my friends….we are halfway towards Christmas 😀

It’s good to be back on the blog…..and to be honest, I have missed it…..Amazing how prayer and interacting with people about Scripture can become such a routine that it seems there’s something wrong when it can’t be done on a regular basis.

In his correspondence with the church in Thessolonica (and indeed through all the readings appointed for this third Sunday of Advent), Paul takes great to bless those whom he ministers to….and encourages them to go about their lives not only with a sense of direction and grace….but with a sense of gladness…..so that leads me to a question for you to contemplate today.

Where do you find your spiritual joy??? Is it through your work? Family? Friends? Pet? What makes your soul sing? I would love to hear your responses if you care to leave a comment….Be blessed as we wait for the coming of the Lord my dear readers! 🙂 +

Evening Prayer: Nov. 6th (Combo Post)

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Psalms: 26, 28, 36, 39
Old Testament: Amos 7:10-17
New Testament: Rev 1:9-16
Gospel: Matthew 22:34-46
Reading from the Magisterum of the Church: An excerpt from the Dogmatic Constitution of Vatican II

Must……post…….to…….blog……..UGH! Busy busy times here at A Year in the Office (read: “Busy times in the life of its author”)……but here I am…..

Happy Sinterklaass Day. I hope St. Nicholas came and put some goodies in your wooden shoe…Speaking of which, I got a pretty awesome gift left for me….but it arrived a little earlier in the week.

On Sunday, the Bishop announced his intention to ordain me as a (transitional) Deacon in the Anglican Church of Canada!!! :D.

I’m super excited as this is part of a dream I have had since I was a kid……but more than that I hope I can continue to do good ministry…..the collar is useless if you’re no earthly good.

Like the Gospel reading for tonight, we all need to remember that the act of loving God and neighbour is about what we do not just by what we believe and confess with our mouth.

The love that we have for God can only be felt and shown by manifesting it physically….after all, Jesus came in the flesh….to the world of sense…..and was surrounded by the sick, the weak, and the diseased. Our inheritance is not based on a promise to David (although we can place our hope in it)…but in having the Word of God inscribed in our hearts…..which is the perpetual neon sign of the Old Testament that the people always seem to ignore.

As we travel in a spirit of preparing the way for the Messiah……we might ask how we can remove the roadblocks that restrict his entry. +

Evening Prayer: Feast of St. Andrew (Nov. 30th)

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Psalms: 96, 100
Old Testament: Isaiah 55:1-5
New Testament: John 1:35-40

One of the two who heard John speak and followed him was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his brother Simon and said to him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ (which is translated Anointed). He brought Simon to Jesus, who looked at him and said, ‘You are Simon son of John. You are to be called Cephas’ (which is translated Peter). (John 1:40-42)

As it was a feast day today, and a Wednesday, I went to the regular Eucharist offered at the Cathedral. During his sermon, the Dean of the Cathedral reflected on his relationship with his older sister….with whom he shares a 12 year age gap.

The reading from this afternoon was from Matthew’s Gospel where Peter gets called first along with Andrew……and here in John’s account, Andrew is the one who tells his older sibling about this new-found Messiah.

Despite the difference in order, I think the central part of his homily remains true. When we are brought to faith…..we need the guidance and tacit approval of people whom we love, trust and respect.

Whether it is an older brother, or younger one (or sister for that matter)……I encourage you to reflect this evening on who your mentors have been. Who in your life has helped you discern who you are and what you are uniquely gifted to do????

Along with this question, I think it’s also important to consider the other side of the coin: In what ways are we motivators and mentors for others??? Are our lives reflecting the Light that never fades??? Are we living the example of hope and expectation that is part of this pre-Christmas season??? What are you inviting people to come and see? +

P.S. Don’t forget to vote on my poll in the sidebar for charity! Thanks & pax Christi!

Morning Prayer: Feast of St. Andrew (Nov. 30th)

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Psalm: 34
Old Testament: Isaiah 49:1-6
New Testament: 1 Cor 4:1-16

We are fools for the sake of Christ, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are held in honour, but we in disrepute. To the present hour we are hungry and thirsty, we are poorly clothed and beaten and homeless, 12and we grow weary from the work of our own hands. (1 Cor 4:10-11)

I freaking love this passage of Scripture! 🙂 Why, you ask? Not because of the poetic language…..though it surely has that quality….but I love this quote because it reminds me that it’s OK to be sarcastic/tongue and cheek and Christian at the same time.

I have yet to find a commentator who agrees with me on this…..but I’m fairly certain that St. Paul is throwing a light jab to the Corinthian community under the guise of advice.

My evidence for this is based back in chapter one where he says that God’s weakness is greater than human strength and that:

God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are, so that no one might boast in the presence of God. (1 Cor 1:27-28)

So when Paul calls the leaders of the church strong, and he himself weak….he is mocking them slightly and kind of saying Hahaha! I am better than you! 🙂

Now….do I think Paul’s intention is mean-spirited??? No. It is meant as a comment that the people can latch on to…..to recognize where they are going wrong…..and as a message to the people of Corinth to exercise more humility.

It’s passages like these that remind me that Paul, Andrew, and the other saints were human beings. They had their own style of preaching, their own foibles, and even their own sense of humour.

As we move further into Advent, let us strive to be weak, despised, and lower than anyone else. As a Christian people this is a calling of service…..in stark contrast to the culture of individualism we come across every day in North America. +

Evening Prayer: First Sunday of Advent (New Year’s Day)

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Psalm(s): 146, 147 111, 112, 113
Old Testament: Amos 1:1-5, 13-2:8
New Testament: 1 Thes 5:1-11
Gospel: Luke 21:15-29
Patristic Reading: An excerpt from a treatise of St. Cyril of Jerusalem

for you are all children of light and children of the day; we are not of the night or of darkness (1 Thes 5:4)

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE! 🙂

Here we are again…..a new beginning…….the advent wreath is alight once more to ward off the darkness and to remind us that the doom and gloom of night is not everlasting.

The Advent wreath–like many other customs of the Christian church–finds its origin in pagan ritual. As the winter solstice drew near, and people approached the darkest night of the year, a ritual began of lighting candles to mark the occasion and to prepare for the return of the dawn.

The Church who had long understood Jesus as the Light that never fades, found it appropriate to adopt the pagan custom and to put its own spin on the tradition. Each of the four candles represents something: hope, expectation, joy and peace….concentrating on the coming of God’s kingdom and of readiness.

O Lord Jesus….in this new year….be our hope…come and be born in our hearts. +

Evening Prayer: Saturday before Advent I (New Year’s Eve)

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Psalms: 137, 144, 107
Old Testament: Micah 7:11-20
New Testament: 1 Peter 4:7-19
Gospel: Matthew 20:29-34
Patristic Reading: An excerpt from a sermon of St. Augustine

May the glory of the Lord endure for ever;
may the Lord rejoice in his works (Ps. 104:31)

Holy crap! I don’t know about you, but the year has flown by for me…. and I’m feeling particularly nostalgic and reflective….

The more I turn it over in my head, I am struck how much has changed, and yet how much has stayed the same.

At the beginning of last year (liturgically) I started A Year in the Office mostly out of boredom and to instill some discipline for reading the Psalms….It has been an amazing and challenging experience…..and the discipline hasn’t always been there….but it has definitely given me a clearer picture both of what I believe and what I feel God is calling me to do.

I began the year with no job, no clear sense of direction…..and also kind of lonely. Now I find myself as a pastor of sorts not in one church but two …each of which has been filled with equal parts /WIN and /FAIL…..but I think that ratio could change as I gain more experience.

I am surrounded by people who love me, and supported by a woman who gives me strength to love boldly and who pushes me to stretch myself in ministry. I am so grateful and blessed!

Even better than my own spiritual growth–indeed, an integral part of it–has been being able to interact with people who have a similar passion and curiosity about prayer, theology, and our common Risen life together in community. 🙂

For those who have contributed to the 22,000+ hits during the year….. THANK YOU!!!!!!! 😀 …..Without you this blog would be a mere blip on the Interwebz…..Same goes to those who have left comments….. YOU GUYS & GALS ARE ALL KINDS OF AWESOME!!! . Meaningful discussion makes growth together that much healthier and engaging. 🙂

For all the change that has come, one thing remains constant….the lifeline that prayer, reflection, and community that the Trinity has blessed us with….a lifeline which is given strength and substance by the Daily Office…….though hopefully if done right…not constrained or tied in knots by the ritual of it all 😉

I plan on continuing this blog into Year 2 of the cycle and look forward with some anxiety, anticipation, and most of all excitement as to what might come our way.

May God indeed bless and keep us…..to reveal himself, to show his face, and bid us hail the dawn of grace. Alleluia! Alleluia! +

Morning Prayer: Christmas Eve

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Psalm(s): 45 , 46
Old Testament: Isaiah 35:1-10
New Testsament: Revelation 22: 12-17, 21
Gospel: Luke 1:67-80

It is I, Jesus, who sent my angel to you with this testimony for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.’
The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come.’
And let everyone who hears say, ‘Come.’
And let everyone who is thirsty come.
Let anyone who wishes take the water of life as a gift.
The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all the saints. Amen.* (Rev 22: 17, 21)

Well here we are on the home-stretch of our Advent journey. I find it fascinating that the end of the Bible takes the form of an invitation. An invitation to know and believe in Jesus Christ.

Even the book of Revelation–which is arguably the harshest text in all of Scripture when it comes to sin and punishment, urges its readers to drink from the waters of life.

Over the last four weeks, we have been joining our voices with those who cry: “Come, Lord Jesus”. As we approach the feast of Christmas, let us remember with love and joy the Christ-child who came to save us. May we remember to always look forward to his coming…not out of fear of judgement and apocalypse, but out of sheer excitment to see our God face-to-face once more. +

Morning Prayer: Thurs. of Advent 4 (Dec. 23rd)

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Psalm(s): 93, 96
Old Testament: Isaiah 33:17-22
New Testament: Revelation 22: 6-11, 18-20

I’m sick with a cold right now so no new posts will be going up until I feel better :(….Pax Christi everyone+

Evening Prayer: Wednesday of Advent 4 (Dec. 21st)

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Psalm: 146 147
Gospel: Luke 1:39-56
Patristic Reading: An excerpt from a Commentary on Luke by St. Bede

The Lord sets the prisoners free;
the Lord opens the eyes of the blind.
The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down;
the Lord loves the righteous.
The Lord watches over the strangers;
he upholds the orphan and the widow,
but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin (Psalm 146:6-9)

Tonight we read the Scripture which frames one of the staples for the Daily Office; the Magnificat.

This canticle is recited every night during Evening Prayer and has always had liturgical significance.

Just like Psalm 146, Mary’s song looks forward to what God is doing in the here and now.

He has shown the strength of his arm
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones and lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things, while the rich he has sent away empty.

When God reveals to Mary that she is about to give birth to the Son of God, everything about the world changed. With the miracle of the Incarnation, God is turning the world upside down. Those who are lost in darkness are given light; those who are considered poor and destitute are proclaimed to be first in the kingdom of God; the untouchables of society are the ones who receive healing…while those who are considered righteous by the rest of society are left in the dust.

Mary’s song of rejoicing is one that we are called to echo night, after night, after night. To remind ourselves that a) there is more to this world than meets the eye, and b) that when God shows up, everything that we thought to be true of the world is cast into a totally different light. Alleluia! + 😀

Morning Prayer: Wed. of Advent 4

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Psalm: 80
Old Testament: Isaiah 29:13-24
New Testament: Revelation 21:22-22:5

You brought a vine out of Egypt;
you drove out the nations and planted it.
You cleared the ground for it;
it took deep root and filled the land.
The mountains were covered with its shade,
the mighty cedars with its branches;
it sent out its branches to the sea,
and its shoots to the River (Psalm 80:8-11)

In both passages today we have talk about trees taking root and growing. In order for a tree to grow (or any other plant to grrow for that matter) there needs to be water and sunlight. Without these two things, photosynthesis is impossible.

Spiritually though…..what does it mean to take root??? What grounds us and enables us to grow? Our light comes from the LORD whom the Psalmist entreats to shine the light of his countenance on the people that they might be saved.

We can do nothing without God’s help or guidance……but we can’t live without water either. That water of life is Jesus. Just like the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4)….the words and example of Jesus are what help us to mature and grow strong.

As we close off this Advent season, what are some of the things we can do to draw in more light? Are we going to the well often enough for our thirst to be satisfied in prayer???

In order for something to take root and thrive, the environment needs to be right. So too in spiritual life and discipline, we need to form habits, and create an environment where God can take root and the fruits of the Holy Spirit can blossom.+

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