Evening Prayer: June 11th (Combo Post)

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Psalms: 25, 9, 15
Old Testament: 1 Samuel 18:5-16, 27b-30
New Testament: Acts 11:19-30
Gospel: Mark 1:29-45
Patristic Reading: An excerpt from the Rule of St. Benedict

That evening, at sunset, they brought to him all who were sick or possessed with demons………. [The next day]in the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed. (Mark 1:32;35)

It strikes me as funny that Mark would go out of his way to mention that Jesus both healed the sick and prayed while it was evening/when it was still dark .

Night and darkness implies a hidden-ness…..something that is unseen. As I read this tonight, I think about those things we do behind the scenes…..or those people that quietly observe us and help us along the way without being obtrusive….

Maybe this passage speaks to the fact that we need the introverts and the silence as much as we need the extroverts and the labour for the kingdom…or as St. Benedict might suggest: Obedience, prayer and work. +

Evening Prayer: May 13th (Combo Post)

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Psalm: 105
Old Testament: Daniel 6:1-15
New Testament 2 John
Gospel: Luke 5:12-26
Patristic Reading: An excerpt from a sermon of St. Ephrem the Deacon

And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment just as you have heard it from the beginning—you must walk in it. Many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh; any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist! (2 John 1:6-7)

Uh oh! There it is……the dreaded word: anti-Christ…..any images coming to your mind???

This:

Or this:

Or maybe if the traditional Reformers had their way….. it’s this guy:

The fact of the matter is that the concept of the anti-christ has been so far removed from its original meaning in fiction and popular conception that we have forgotten its true meaning.

Anti-christ is simply anything or anyone who runs contrary to upholding two basic principles:

a) That Jesus Christ came truly in the flesh and
b) that we are called to love one another, as he has loved us.

It is for these reasons and these reasons alone that someone is considered anti-christ….or in opposition to Christ’s commands. Far from a malevolent demon-child who will initiate Armageddon….the author of 2 John is teaching us to avoid false teachers who would draw us away from the fundamental truths that Jesus came to save us as fully human and that we are to emulate his love.

If we start straying from those basics….. that’s when we get into trouble. In forgetting who Jesus is and what He did for us…we forget that we are a redeemed people in need of Grace. If we forget his command to love others….than our experience of Grace becomes self-centred, self-contained, and self-driven….which is the very opposite of the Gospel message.

In reality, we do nothing by ourselves…..we only prosper through the power of God. The power of a God who loved us so much that he took our flesh to show his solidarity with us……and died so that we might have life again.

May we never become anti-christs and always seek to live out our lives declaring the power of our Lord Jesus and sharing his love for us with the world. Amen. +

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