Morning Prayer: August 5th

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Psalm: 88
Old Testament: 2 Sam 12:1-14
New Testament:Acts 19:21-41

Picking up from yesterday, David seems to have literally gotten away with murder. In response, the prophet Nathan presents the king with a juridical parable.

In this story, the prophet presents a rich man who decides that he is going to steal the single beloved ewe of a poor man rather than use one of his own livestock.

David is OUTRAGED and declares:

‘As the Lord lives, the man who has done this deserves to die; he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.’ (2 Sam 12:6)

He recognizes that such injustice cannot stand…and that the culprit deserves nothing less than death.

When Nathan makes the dramatic reveal that David himself is the perpetrator, the king is distraught…..he has pronounced judgement on himself! He recognizes that he deserves to die. Out of shame and guilt, he makes a heartfelt confession before God:

‘I have sinned against the Lord. (2 Sam 12:13)

As a prophet and arbiter of God’s justice, Nathan has every right to insist that David be stoned…or at the very least, step down from the throne…..but that’s not what he does. Instead he proclaims God’s forgiveness, and pronounces absolution:

’ Nathan said to David, ‘Now the Lord has put away your sin; you shall not die. (2 Sam 12:13b)

In an amazing act of Grace, mercy trumps justice. <3….

It is true that David cannot escape some of the natural consequences of his sins…..the child may not survive, and his kingdom will forever be divided and fragmented between his heirs…….but he is forgiven for both murder and adultery….two sins that ware considered especially heinous in the Old Testament.

In this incredible display, we see God's true character at work. YHWH has no reason to forgive the son of Jesse for his transgressions…. but he does. Not only that, but he keeps his promise to David that the Messiah…the Saviour of all creation…..will come from his ancestral line.

Sin is a pervasive force in our lives. It has the power to enslave us, trap us, and destroy our lives…but God's mercy is greater than all our sins combined.

His love can cover even our greatest of sins….and even though we may have to live with the consequences of our actions, we have a chance to live our lives anew…

We are assured that all sins are blotted away and we shall be made white as snow….if only we have the courage to ask for forgiveness…..and the courage to live out our lives to be a reflection of the love and mercy that was shown to us in our own lives.

St. David, king of Israel and example for all who truly repent…… pray for us. ❤ +

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Evening Prayer: July 23rd

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Psalm: 138, 139
Gospel: Mark 6:1-13
Patristic Reading: An excerpt from the 2nd Letter to the Corinthians by St. John Chrysostom

[The disciples] went out and preached that people should repent. They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them (Mark 6:12-13)

I always find it interesting that the commissioning of the disciples is so simple. 🙂

Notice that Jesus doesn’t ask the 12 to go around asking people if they had accepted Christ as their own personal Lord and Saviour. In fact, that approach to evangelism is nowhere to be found.

Instead, the instructions are to travel light and to accept hospitality. The content of the disciples preaching was not on doctrine, but on a call to repentance and a conversion of the heart.

I wonder if churches today–for all their focus on social justice and communicating the love that God has for all creation– are as eager to preach this message of radical change as the early followers of Jesus.

You see….repentance is not a popular message…..we like absolution, Grace, and forgiveness….but repentance not so much.

I suspect that part of the reason for this is that when we confront all our sins and wrong-doing, we are faced with the reality that we are not living our lives the way we ought.

Although it might not seem like it….this attitude is extremely counter-cultural. We live in a world that emphasizes over and over that our short-comings are due to a lack of self-confidence, that we are all good moral beings, with no need for God and simply in need of embracing our own system of ethics.

Tomorrow morning, I have the joy of leading the Liturgy of the Word at our regular Eucharist. As part of that ministry, I have the privilege of inviting people to confess their sins……inviting them to confront the ugliness of their lives…..and to earnestly seek God’s guidance and assurance that even though we are not perfect, God will use us to reflect his glory and be living icons to the world.

The apostles call to repentance is not to make us feel bad about ourselves…but so that we can claim Grace and forgiveness as our own. A chance to make the abstract personal…and that the Perfect Physician will heal us completely in body, mind and spirit. +

Morning Prayer: June 9th

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Psalm: 105:1-22
Old Testament: Ezekiel 18:1-4;19-32
New Testament: Hebrews 7:18-28

‘Why should not the son suffer for the iniquity of the father?’ When the son has done what is lawful and right, and has been careful to observe all my statutes, he shall surely live. The person who sins shall die. A child shall not suffer for the iniquity of a parent, nor a parent suffer for the iniquity of a child; the righteousness of the righteous shall be his own, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be his own. (Ezekiel 18:19-20)

It may not seem like it on first read….but this prophetic shift in Ezekiel is HUGE . When the law of YHWH was revealed at Sinai, it was made explicitly clear that sin is a generational burden.. Of course the opposite was true as well……righteousness also extended to children…but the idea was that everyone was responsible for the whole well-being of the community.

Now…God declares through Ezekiel that the old ways are gone. God has now decided that each individual is only responsible for him or herself.

In an amazing declaration, God declares that the wicked who repent will no longer have their sins remembered….that they will be washed clean indeed. Through the power of Grace and Love, there is no point where we are beyond redemption. Alleluia! Alleluia!

If you get a chance in the next little bit, why not gather with a priest and celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation? It gives us a chance to confess to God our sins…those times when we have missed the mark, and to gain encouragement from a fellow brother or sister in Christ to continue striving to live fully in the Lord.

More than that, we are given absolution. reminded that Jesus came to save us, and rejoices over one sinner who returns than 100 righteous ones. I for one, place hope in that promise. 🙂

Each day, we are given the chance to embrace our hearts of flesh…..and to remember that through Christ….all sins are forgiven, and we are loved beyond all telling.

My dear readers…..my brothers and sisters…go in peace and pray for me, a sinner + ❤

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