Evening Prayer: Good Friday

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Psalm: 40, 54
Gospel: John 19:38-42
Patristic Reading: An excerpt from the Catecheses of St. John Chrysostom

I have told the glad news of deliverance
in the great congregation;
see, I have not restrained my lips,
as you know, O Lord.
I have not hidden your saving help within my heart,
I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation;
I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness
from the great congregation. (Psalm 40:9-10)

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Morning Prayer: Good Friday

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Psalm: 22
Old Testament: Lamentations 3:1-9;19-33
New Testament: 1 Peter 1:10-20

For the Lord will not
reject for ever.
Although he causes grief, he will have compassion
according to the abundance of his steadfast love;
for he does not willingly afflict
or grieve anyone. (Lamentations 3:31-33)

The Lamentations of Jeremiah are words spoken from the very depths of pain. They reflect a people who feel abandoned, discouraged and defeated. Yet here…..even at the point of feeling utter desolation…..the writer holds on to hope…..that God will show up.

And indeed He does. In the greatest way possible……Instead of inflicting his wrath and justice on us….He instead turns it inward… He takes what should have been our death and nails it to a tree……Today is not Good because our Lord suffers…..but rather because by that act of love, he has set us free from pain…and reminds all who suffer that they are not alone. The One who formed us from the dust shows compassion and solidarity with us, so that even he is not above our experiences.

In dying for us, he restores our life……Lord Jesus…..come in glory! +

Ash Wednesday: Facing Our Mortality

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Evening Prayer: Good Friday

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Psalms: 40, 52
Gospel: John 19:38-42
Patristic Reading: An excerpt from the Catecheses of St. John Chrysostom

Nicodemus, who had at first come to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, weighing about a hundred pounds. They took the body of Jesus and wrapped it with the spices in linen cloths, according to the burial custom of the Jews. (John 19:39-40)

Tonight, Nietzsche is right. God is dead. Christ’s corpse is lifeless. The flesh has already begun to deteriorate and the true horror of the Cross hits home. You see…..the real scandal is not that Christ suffered and died. All men do that.

The impossible thing is that God, the Word through whom all things came to exist has abruptly fallen silent.

We cannot yet see past the great stone. We have not yet been greeted by angels bearing Good News. Tonight, we too are overwhelmed by fear, anguish, and pain…….Despairing at the fate of our Lord.

Tonight Death has claimed its prize, and we like sheep are lost and have scattered. +

Morning Prayer: Good Friday

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Psalm: 22
Old Testament: Wisdom 1:16 – 2:1, 12-22
New Testament: 1 Peter 1:10-20

You know that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your ancestors, not with perishable things like silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without defect or blemish. He was destined before the foundation of the world, but was revealed at the end of the ages for your sake. (1 Peter 1:18-19)

How deep the Father’s love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure

How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One,
Bring many sons to glory

Behold the Man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice,
Call out among the scoffers

It was my sin that helf Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom. +

Evening Prayer: Ash Wednesday (March 9th)

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Psalms: 102, 130
Gospel: Luke 18:9-14
Patristic Reading: An excerpt from a letter to the Corinthians by St. Clement

Le Penitente by Pietro Rotari

 

O Israel, hope in the Lord!
For with the Lord there is steadfast love,
and with him is great power to redeem.
It is he who will redeem Israel
from all its iniquities. (Psalm 130:7-8)

The whole point of observing fasting periods is not so much self-deprivation as it is about hope and re-orientation. As we journey towards the Cross, lost in the desert of sound, sight, smell, taste and touch…… we long for something that is real

That’s not to say that the five senses are bad…..after all, we are a Church that believes in the essential goodness of the body which has been redeemed through Christ.

At the same time, there is a temptation to become to reliant on the body…on instant gratification, and the raw rush of emotion.

Lent seeks to get past that….by subduing the flesh (or additionally, things which are causing us to be lazy, stressed, or spiteful) room is made to contemplate the Spirit….to let Christ take his throne in the hearts of each of us.

Take some time in these next weeks and months to listen to what the Spirit–our advocate and guide–is saying to the Church in and through us. After all, we are all members of the one body of the faithful.

May we all, in the name of the LORD observe a Holy Lent and wander hand-in-hand with our Saviour….trusting in his great mercy towards us. +

Morning Prayer: Ash Wednesday (March 9th)

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Psalms: 32, 143
Old Testament: Jonah 3:1-4:11
New Testament: Hebrews 12:1-14

I must admit….whenever the big Holy Days in the calendar arrive, I always feel myself pulled in a million different directions. Should I talk strictly about the readings appointed for the day? Should I explain the rationale behind the observance of Ash Wednesday and Lent? Should I talk about the major themes associated with the liturgical season??? Oi vay! So many decisions to make. :S

I suppose I want to start by saying that Lent is important. Beginning with Ash Wednesday……we are confronted by this basic fact: “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

Today, we are asked not only to contemplate our own mortality……and to face what is perhaps the even bigger question of “what do I do now???”

I wish that the Anglican Church would add the follow-up phrase to the imposition of ashes that I grew up with in the Roman Catholic church……”Remember, that you are dust, and to dust you shall return; Repent and believe in the Good News

Ash Wednesday is not just about turning away from the things that separate us from God, but to embrace the remedy for the defilement of our sins…to look to the Great Physician who binds up our wounds, soothes our pain, and heals our broken hearts. ❤

The first step in this process is repentance. To recognize and turn away those things which cause us to hurt others, and which lead us away from God; Those times when we live as though we are worthless sinners who cannot be redeemed; forgetting our true heritage as people who have been blessed, cleansed, and purified in the waters of baptism.

Ash Wednesday serves as the wake-up call for this awareness…… to begin the process of returning to the Father, and to remember our true calling: To worship God in Spirit and truth; to bring reconciliation and peace to all.

This is all very easy to write in a blog post…theologizing from a distance…..but this year, it is my hope that Lent could turn into something deeper. I want it to be more than simply an intellectual exercise.

May we all my have the courage to be intentional about getting to know Christ in these 40 days and together, observe a Holy Lent.

I confess to Almighty God
and to you my brothers and sisters
that I have sinned through my own fault.
In my thoughts and in my words;
in what I have done and what I have failed to do.
So I ask blessed Mary, ever Virgin, all the angels and saints,
and to you my brothers and sisters to pray for me to the LORD our God.

+