Evening Prayer: Feast of All Hallows (Nov. 1st)

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Psalm(s): 148, 150
Old Testament: Wisdom 5:1-5, 14-16
New Testament: Revelation 21:1-5, 22:5

We believe in the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins
the resurrection of the body
and life everlasting. Amen.

If you grew up in a confessional church, there is a high probability that you have uttered this sentence (or some form of it) in your lifetime.

When I was at McMaster, I remember a Baptist friend askimg me what Catholics meant by the “communion of saints.” In response, I rattled off some answer about holy men and women who pray for us….which is true…but not altogether accurate.

For how the saints pray and intercede for us, take a look at my post on the Dormition,,,,,,but tonight I want to concentrate on who is in that circle.

It might come as a shock….but the answer is all of us. 🙂 Whenever Paul mentions the “saints” he clearly refers to the whole body….the whole community that believes in Christ and place their hope in his cross.

Saints are not saints because of their conduct, but because they have been made righteous vicariously through Christ. When we are baptized….we take on that identity….ever noticed that baptismal gowns are always white ;)????

The purity we receive is a gift and we are welcomed into a family where all are brothers and sisters. We have our common identity in proclaiming the Gospel and gathering around the table with gifts of bread and wine.

Our baptism means that we are connected in a history that is larger than we are. We are woven into the tapestry of the faith…connected with the threads of the past.

What we confess in the Creed is not a special circle of uber virtuous people……but a community knit together in fellowship….trying to walk down the road together….trusting in the forgiveness of the Christ who came to save us. Alleluia! +

Evening Prayer: Feast of Saints Peter & Paul (June 29th)

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Psalm: 97, 138
Old Testament: Isaiah 49:1-6
New Testament: Galatians 2:1-8

National Cathedral of SS Peter & Paul (Washington, DC)

Y’know…….one of the things that comes to mind on this feast day is the fact that Peter and Paul did not really like each other. In the course of their ministiry, they had several spats……the most famous of which we read about tonight

What stikes me though…..is that even though there was tension…..that didn’t automatically mean there was division. Although there was disagreement, they never broke communion with one another.

Is part of my reflection blurred by putting a special glaze on the Apostolic era? Probably. 😛

Yet, at the same time, there can not be any denial that both of these men brought thousands to Christ. Despite their differences….they were able to say emphatically Jesus Christ is Lord!

I wonder what the Anglican Church can learn from their example today. With all of our squabbles…….are we sending the right message? In our pre-occupation with minutiae, are we remembering the message of the Cross and empty Tomb???

Tonight forces us to take a good hard look at ourselves……and to realize that Christian unity is not about unanimous opinion…..but rather in the single message that God has come to save all of us….and that no one is beyond the reach of Grace. +

Morning Prayer: Feast of St. Barnabas (June 11th)

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Psalm: 15, 67
Old Testament: Sirach 31:3-11
New Testament: Acts 4:32-37

Apologies for the lateness of this post. I had prayed this morning without realizing it was St. Barnabas Day and had to go back and do the readings lol 😛

One who loves gold will not be justified;
one who pursues money will be led astray by it.
Many have come to ruin because of gold,
and their destruction has met them face to face.
It is a stumbling-block to those who are avid for it,
and every fool will be taken captive by it. (Sirach 31:5-7)

In one of its more practical moments, the Apocrphya offers some solid advice when it comes to every day living: Don’t let money rule your life.

This is something that is echoed in this morning’s selection from Acts in which we are told that Barnabas and the other apostles held everything in common. The early church, it seems, wanted to do everything it could to avoid the pitfalls of wealth.

In the modern context of 2011….I wonder what that would look like. Could we really live without a sense of private property??? Could we really distribute wealth according to the community’s needs instead of making a profit???

It seems so counter-intuitive and radical to the way in which we live….and it was just as crazy in the first century CE.

While it is true that smaller communities in the Roman Empire stuck together and supported one another…those in the cities wanted to emulate Rome. Each urban centre wanted to reflect the Great City with all its of citizenship privileges, wealth and pomp. To share with others was considered lower class. A step down from perfection.

The Holy Spirit often turns things on their head…of prompting us to do something which seems absolutely insane. To realize that the status-quo is not enough…..that power is not all it’s cracked up to be…and that our belongings are meant to be shared.

As we move forward to the season of Pentecost and the long stretch of Ordinary Time that follows….let us never forget that the Gospel message is meant to shock and amaze…to jolt us out of complacency…..and might even ask us to give up something of ourselves…..and give it up completely. +

Evening Prayer: Feast of St. Matthias (May 14th)

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Psalm: 33
Old Testament: 1 Sam 12:1-5
New Testament: Acts 20:17-35

Keep watch over yourselves and over all the flock, of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God that he obtained with the blood of his own Son. (Acts 20:28)

If there is one thing I’ve noticed from the readings selected for today…it’s that the Christian community must take care of itself and be committed to living out the Gospel and good governance for each other. Kind of appropriate as we are heading into Diocesan Synod.

My inner cynic sometimes gets the better of me….but I am always interested in the idea of what would happen if the Church actually read Acts before heading into decision making and policy….Hmmm…..+

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