Evening Prayer: Feast of Pentecost

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Psalm: 145
Gospel: John 14:21-29
Patristic Reading: An excerpt from Against the Heresies by St. Irenaeus

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. (John 14:27a)

…..”look not on our sins but on the faith of your Church, and grant us the peace of that kingdom where you dwell now and forever, Amen.”

Ah! Flashback to my Roman days. 🙂

For those of you who don’t know, this quote from John serves as the invitation to the Peace in the Eucharistic liturgy of the RC church.

Incidentally, it’s also my go-to phrase whenever I have the opportunity to introduce the peace in Anglican churches. Hope I don’t get accused of Popery! I guess some old habits die hard ;).

In reality though, I think that the promise of Christ’s peace is an essential starting point for faith.

Yes…we might come to the faith filled with doubts and questions…..yes we may go through periods of isolation and even questioning if God’s promises are real. Yet…in all of that….it is only peace which can give clarity of thought. Peace which can help us to let go of the past…and peace allows us to recognize that we are all made in the image of God.

Any kind of peace….even the so called “inner calm” is never something we can really earn.

I don’t know about you……but any time I have experienced tranquility…… real tranquility…. it has been spontaneous, unexpected and sudden.

In the twinkling of an eye, old guilts don’t sting as sharply, scars from the past don’t ache quite as badly, and you realize life is OK. 🙂

In those moments…..I can only hear Jesus promise of peace as a gift ….a moment freely given to enjoy life….however fleeting that moment may be.

When Jesus promises his disciples peace, he is not only sending an Advocate and Guide for them….but setting the tone for a whole way of life. A way of life that is filled with praise, awe, and wonder. A life truly that is truly rooted in eucharista ….a life in a posture of thanks….rather than in the posture of a beggar.

That is what the Feast of Pentecost calls us to remember. That Christ came in the world to give wholeness to our hearts and minds…..and in that wholeness of self…..we then bring our peace….our shalom to everyone we meet.

May we take courage in our Lord’s words to not be afraid….and to go out boldly to proclaim the Good News that the blind shall see, the deaf shall hear, the captive will be set free…..and yes, even those who are dead will be raised to life again. Thanks be to God! Alleluia! Alleluia! ❤ +

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Morning Prayer: May 12th

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Psalm Psalm 37:1-18
Old Testament: Daniel 5:13-30
New Testament: 1 John 5:13-20

Florence Nightingale, whose witness the ACC remembers today

We know that those who are born of God do not sin, but the one who was born of God protects them, and the evil one does not touch them. We know that we are God’s children, and that the whole world lies under the power of the evil one. And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.

I don’t know about you…..but it seems to me that this HAS to be one of the most dangerous passages in Scripture. Is it really true that Christians do not sin? Can’t that be used as an excuse for any and all kinds of behaviour???

In order to get the full context of what is being said in this passage…..we need to back up a little to chapter 3:

Little children, let no one deceive you. Everyone who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. Everyone who commits sin is a child of the devil; for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The Son of God was revealed for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil. Those who have been born of God do not sin, because God’s seed abides in them; they cannot sin, because they have been born of God (3:8-9)

Much like the “faith without works” passage from James…..the outward actions and moral behaviour of a Christian serve as an outward sign of the sanctification that has already happened internally. A reflection of true repentance and of a genuine desire to love God with our whole being.

This is not to say that we will be completely free of missing the mark. For a letter which tries to uphold a call to a pure Christian life…1st John is well aware that we sometimes will fail and fall. He urges the congregation to discern between mortal sin and venial sin….to show compassion, understanding…..and to forgive one another as Christ has forgiven them.

None of us are perfect. We there are plenty of times when we hurt the world, and the people around us. We need to remember that we must forgive the debts of others as we will be forgiven ours…..and to place our hope in the promise that:

If anyone sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he is the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 2:1-2)

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