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-Feast of St. Andrew (Nov. 30th)

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Psalm(s): 96, 100
Old Testament: Isaiah 55:1-5
Gospel: John 1:35-42

The readings for tonight offer so much material for reflection that it almost borderlines on the ridiculous.

I sit here poised to attend the ordination of 4 of my classmates to the priesthood, and remembering another all the way out in Halifax, NS. :D. Ordinations are a special place to be……a place that one day–with God’s grace and blessing–I hope to be myself.

Exactly one year ago, Fred Hiltz the Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada was invited to give a sermon at the ordinations that were taking place right here in the Diocese of Huron. Anyone who was there will tell you that it was a LONG sermon, and I don’t really remember all of it. The part that I do remember however, is simply this: St. Andrew was a leader who worked behind the scenes.

His job was not to take centre stage, he simply tells his brother:

Come and see…..We have found the Messiah

As the Lamb of God enters the scene all the lands indeed have a reason to be joyful (to paraphrase the opening of Psalm 100). The job of the disciple and apostle is not to draw attention to him/her self but to the Christ who gives us life.

Priests are expected to do many things, but above all they are called to lead the Church in giving its witness of salvation and and love of Jesus Christ to the whole world, and above all encouraging others to come and see it for themselves.

Sing to the Lord, bless his name;
tell of his salvation from day to day.
Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvellous works among all the peoples.

Each of my classmates has had a profound impact on the way I view faith, ministry, and leadership. The Church is truly enriched by your gifts and talents.

The best part is…is that each of you is passionate about not only leading; but empowering others to nuture, develop, and use their gifts and talents to shape the world around them and bring Good News to all that they meet.

Your faith, your personalities, and your leadership is an extraordinary gift to the Church. Tonight, we celebrate!!!!!!! +

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

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*Just to let folks know, my reflections for Morning Prayer will be routinely posted by 10:30am and Evening Prayer by no later than 8pm*

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

The preamble to this Psalm mentions that King David composed it after feigning madness in order to escape the foreign King Abimelech. Like all people in a jam, David probably offered up frantic prayers to the LORD that he might be saved…and lo and behold he is! It is no wonder that we get read such enthusiastic prayers this morning:

The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
and his ears are open to their cry.
16 The face of the Lord is against evildoers,
to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.
17 When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears,
and rescues them from all their troubles.
18 The Lord is near to the broken-hearted,
and saves the crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34: 15-18)

Oftentimes it is easy to read this Psalm when we are in a good mood. The words make sense. But there are times when this particular Psalm comes up in the Lectionary and I am disturbed by it….or at least I doubt whether those words are really true.
The whole question of who is righteous vs. who is not, and whose prayers get heard is a difficult one. None of us are righteous on our own, we are only made righteous by the blood of the Cross. While there is assurance that God is near to the broken-hearted, I see brokenness all around me…..both in the world and in my own personal life.

At the risk of sounding heretical, there are some days where the promises of God seem faint and far off. It’s not that I doubt their existence, or that I feel God is not watching over me…but to use the words from “O Come, O Come Emmanuel”….what about those times when we mourn in lonely exile???

The Jewish people were waiting and hoping for the Messiah to come…..A Roman government squeezed Judea for all it was worth, and many of the lower class were left in substantial poverty. St. Andrew was one such person.

He was a fisherman who struggled to catch fish each and every day. There was no guarantee that enough fish would be caught to provide all that was needed for the week. It must have been a pretty miserable existence.

I am sure that Andrew would have considered himself a “pretty good guy”. He went to Temple, he paid his tithe, he gave his tax, he followed the Law….and yet he had to wait.

It’s never easy to wait when we feel burdened by work, stressed out over money, or feel heartbroken. So what is it that keeps us going? What is it that keeps us strong?

I think part of it comes in the knowledge that in coming to us, Our Saviour will arrive in a creche, with nothing more than swaddling clothes, and eeking out a living as a carpenter with his foster-father. Jesus Himself was born into the dregs of society and constantly reminded us that the poor and the destitute must come first.

He is able to hold on to our fragile hope even when we cannot. While we feel empty now, we will be filled. While we wail in mourning now, we will be comforted. While we hunger and thirst now, we will be satisfied. It is with this hope, that I wait during Advent+

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