The Gospel in Chairs…….

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Given that I haven’t posted all week….I thought I would share this with you! πŸ™‚

Ever wondered what all this talk about Jesus dying for our sins is all about??? There are two systems of thought….One being the juridical model of St. Anselm, and the other the Christus Victor (restorative) model, outlined most fully by the Cappadocian Fathers

This video outlines both systems in a very effective and accessible skit πŸ™‚

While I don’t think that the two theories of atonement are diametrically opposed to one another, this presentation helps to highlight the main difference between mainline Roman Catholic and Protestant thinking, and that of the Eastern Orthodox Church.

The first view places a strong emphasis on God’s sense of justice, the second on God’s undying, radical love for humanity.

As with anything, I think there is a balance between the two…..a valid concern to correct injustice…..but at the same time…… an open admission that our Lord’s grace and mercy overflows beyond our comprehension and there is never a place where God is not. πŸ™‚

Thanks be to God for the miracle of the Incarnation and the gift of resurrection and faith. Always confronting us, restoring us and making us new!+

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: March 30th (Combo Post)

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Psalms: 119:97-120, 81, 82
Old Testament: Jeremiah 8:18-9:6
New Testament: Romans 5:1-11
Gospel: John 8:12-28
Patristic Reading: An excerpt from the writings of St. Theophilus of Antioch

I take my cue for reflection from the Patristic reading again tonight:

A person’s soul should be clean, like a mirror reflecting light. If there is rust on the mirror his face cannot be seen in it. In the same way, no one who has sin within him can see God.
But if you will you can be healed. Hand yourself over to the doctor, and he will open the eyes of your mind and heart. Who is to be the doctor? It is God, who heals and gives life through his Word and wisdom.

In one of the companion readers to Eastern Orthodox theology on my shelf, I read an essay written by Nonna Verna Harrison which focused on Creation and the Fall of Man.

It forever changed the way I thought about the Incarnation and the Atonement and is certainly not a very Protestant view; but the beauty about being Anglican is that I can tread a middle road :)….so hopefully what I m about to say next makes at least a little bit of sense and doesn’t offend too many readers πŸ™‚

The essay is entitled “The Human Person as the Likeness and Image of God.” In it, Harrison says that the Likeness and Image of God are actually two distinct characteristics. The Likeness of God refers to the way in which we resemble God…in our free choice, in our dominion over creation, in our capacity to create, the ability to act justly.

The Image of God is simply our identity as a created being….given the breathe of life from our Creator, and of our need to live in community and mutual love.

Unlike the Western model of total depravity, in which the human being can do no good at all, Harrison points out that the Orthodox understood the transgression of Adam differently.

The disobedience of Man caused forgetfulness…..a kind of amnesia……in which we forgot our true origins as “good” and reflecting the glory of the Father. Both our image and likeness to God were covered up by the dirt and grime of sin.

With the Incarnation, Crucifixion, and Resurrection….all of that changed! πŸ˜€

In winning the victory for us over sin…..Jesus removed the veil from our eyes, and the dirt from our souls. We were able to see–as if for the first time–who we really are: Sons and Daughters of the Most High God.

In promoting a time of fasting, cleansing, and repentance, Lent seeks to remove all of the filth that resides in us. To purge those things which keep us out of touch of our true selves.

Perhaps even more importantly, this process of healing and purification allows us to see God’s holiness reflected not only in ourselves…..but in everything and everyone all over the world.

I pray that as we continue our journey to the Passion of our Lord, our hearts might be touched and given a clean slate to see Christ in all his glory, and to truly rejoice as we remember the One who made us, and invites us to new life through his Body and Blood. Amen. +

Morning Prayer: Feb. 14th

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Psalm: 89:1-19
Old Testament: Isaiah 63:1-6
New Testament 1 Timothy 1:1-17

β€˜I have trodden the wine press alone,
and from the peoples no one was with me;
I trod them in my anger
and trampled them in my wrath;
their juice spattered on my garments,
and stained all my robes. (Isaiah 63: 3)

Well today is Valentine’s Day and the traditional colour is red…..but I certainly wasn’t expecting this kind of Scriptural vividness first thing in the morning :P. Humanity’s “juices” sprayed on God’s robe…….eeeew!

Though it must be said that today’s readings fit with the minor feast of St. Valentine….he was after all a martyr :P.

But seriously……what do we make of this text? Clearly this is a vengeful image of God and his power. He even sounds downright bloodthirsty :S

Well let’s face it…….our God is a wrathful one……something theologians tend to shy away from. The difference though is that his violence was turned away from us and placed upon His own shoulders. God’s justice demanded that the debt of our sins be paid by someone..Graciously and by His mercy….it was not asked of those who deserved it. ❀

Instead, Christ drank the cup of suffering and misery so we wouldn't have to. It was Jesus whose blood was spilt and whose robe was stained…..and by it…we are washed clean.

I am reminded of a verse from the hymn "O Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing"

O that day when freed from sinning,
I shall see Thy lovely face
Cloth'd then in Blood-washed linen, How I'll sing thy Sovereign Grace
Come my Lord, no longer tarry, take my ransomed soul away
Send thine angels now to carry me to realms of endless Day.

May we give thanks every day for the redemption we gained through the love of the Lamb πŸ™‚ +

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