Morning Prayer: Feb. 1st

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Psalms: 61, 62
Old Testament: Isaiah 52:1-12
New Testament: Galatians 4:12-20

St. Bridget


My little children, for whom I am again in the pain of childbirth until Christ is formed in you…. (Galatians 4:19)

I’m going to take a moment to jump to the defence of clergy this morning. Often clergy, teachers, and people in other positions of authority get a bad rap for trying to impose their will on others. Sometimes this can be true and there can be abuses of power…but mostly clergy are insistent because they want to see a positive change in the lives of all they serve.

This reflection is brought on in part by a series I read over at the Episcopal Cafe in which the author argued against open table communion.

For those of you who don’t know…open table Eucharist refers not to inter-denominational communicats…but giving the Body and Blood of Christ to those who are not baptized.

Many in the Church today are for this practice….believing that it spreads a message of Grace and inclusivity. While that is true to some extent……where does that leave the Sacrament of Baptism???

The point being made in this article is not so much that the Church wishes to exclude people……but to get people to take the message of Christ seriously. We are called not only to follow him but to die with him….which is a scary prospect and one hell of a commitment to be making! :S

Sometimes when clergy and teachers stick to their guns, it’s not in an effort to be authoritarian, but a genuine desire to see Christ grow within the congregation…..with a solid theological background.

Ministers and those in authority care for their church like they do their own families. Sometimes they are called to make hard decisions….and to insist on some very ancient practices…..but it is all in the hope that the Good News is planted….and a new and free person is born in the Light of Christ. +

Evening Prayer: Baptism of the Lord (transferred)

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Psalms: 111,112,113
Gospel: John 1:1-7;19-20, 29-34
Patristic Reading:An excerpt from a sermon of St. Gregory Nazianzus

In the Gospel accounts, there seems to be an embarassment on behalf of the four respective authors. How can the Lord of all creation be baptized? What is the point? Surely he did not need to be cleansed of sin! 😛

The early Church wrestled with this question and basically came up with this answer. Christ consented to be baptized so that all water would be made holy. So that we would have a tangible way of marking our commitment to the LORD and a physical sign that all of our sins….past, present, and future have been washed clean 😀

I highly encourage you to take a look at the reading from St. Gregory (linked above)…..it really is fantastic theology! + 😀

Morning Prayer: Feast of the Baptism of the Lord (transferred)

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Psalms: 146, 147
Old Testament: Genesis 1:1-2:3
New Testament: Ephesians 1:3-14

So….I’ve prayed the Office……but don’t have time to write anything…….gotta catch the bus to church. Will post when I get back…….*Sigh* I love the LORD but man I hate the morning :(……

OK back…..so in the Genesis reading for today…there is mention of “the great deep”. When compared to other cultures (ie. Indian, Babylonian, Egyptian and Assyrian) of the Ancient world……it’s no big surprise that water ends up being a central focus for the authors of Genesis 1.

Water comprises about 2/3 of our planet and can be used for many things: drinking, washing, generating clean energy just to name a few. It also accounts for some 57% of our physical makeup.

As human beings we need water to survive and can’t last beyond a few days without a drink…and thirst acts as a big metaphor in the English language. Thirst in terms of desire, physical need, or outright desperation……Simply put: Water is an essential part of who we are.

Likewise…. the waters of Baptism are crucial. We cannot attain salvation without it….and Jesus refers to Himself as the living water which quenches all thirst.

As I reflect today on my own vows…….I am struck that I didn’t really have a voice in the decision. As an infant, baptism just kind of happened. It is only as I grew into baptism that I truly have begun to understand what it all means.

So here’s my question for the day. What does Baptism mean for you? Is it a rite of passage, is is a spiritual experience? Is it an archane and empty ritual of the Church? Let me know what you think :)+

Evening Prayer: Eve of the Lord’s Baptism (transferred)

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Psalm: 104
Old Testament: Isaiah 61:1-9
New Testament: Gal 3:23-29; 4:4-7

My sister Steph with my nephew Liam at his baptism

 

My home parish here in London celebrated Epiphany last week (Jan. 9th) while the rest of Churchland celebrated the Baptism of Jesus. So it may be a week late…..but I love celebrating this feast. 😉

While I could offer some reflections of my own tonight….I want to share a sermon given by Steve Hopkins (rector of St. Christopher’s church in Burlington)…it is really awesome stuff and certainly gives us a lot to think about…..especially those of us–like myself–who were baptized as infants 🙂

Have a listen and let me know your thoughts :)…..and if you’re in the Burlington, ON area…..why not visit the fantastic community at St. Christopher’s???? 😀 +

Morning Prayer: Feast of the Epiphany (Jan. 6th)

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Psalms: 46, 97
Old Testament: Isaiah 52:7-10
New Testament: Revelation 21:22-27

In the Eastern Orthodox tradition, the Feast of the Epiphany has a different image associated with it. Instead of three foreign astrologers bearing gold frankincense and myrr….the focus on this day is the Baptism of Jesus.

So why the Baptism??? Well for one it is a public acknowledgement of the Son. In front of Jews and Gentiles alike, the Father speaks from heaven paraphrasing a verse from Psalm 2:

This is my Son, with whom I am well pleased (Matt 3:17).

In this moment, there is recognition that there is something special about Jesus. In consenting to be baptized, the Creator of the World and author of our Salvation announces that he is one of us….he shows solidarity with fallen humanity and invites us to be part of a new creation.

This invitation is a universal one….for all people in all times. As the reading from Revelation suggests….the ultimate Goal is to have Heaven and Earth united….to be a living example of the Incarnation which we seek to emulate….where there is no seperation between God and humankind.

As we move forward today, let us think of our own baptism….and what it means to be called from darkness to Light…..in what ways are we called as Christians to make God manifest to the world??? +

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