Evening Prayer: Feast of All Souls (Nov. 2nd)

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Psalm: 119:73-96
Gospel: Matthew 13:53-58
Patristic Reading: An excerpt from a book by St. Ambrose on the death of his brother (scroll down to Reading II)

Tonight I’m going to post what is called a litany….in this case one directed to the saints.

This is a very ancient practice and is one that is popular for All Saints and All Souls, two feast days which are very closely connected. In this form of prayer….the whole church dead and living ask for intercession, mercy, and forgiveness.

If you’ll notice, the way that litanies are structured are designed to again bring us to the contemplation of Christ , The saints who are listed are arranged according to their proximity to our Lord.

We start with Mary, the Theotokos (who is above the cherubim and seraphim), then angels, then apostles, then martyrs, then virgins, then theologians.

After recognizing those who have gone before, the whole church then adds petitions for themselves and for the world. Again asking that the whole world come to know Jesus

These litanies to God are not empty rituals….but an act of remembering the community we are a part of. A family that stretches across all times and places for the glory of God.

I hope you are able to get something out of this exercise, and–on this Feast of All Souls–may you with confidence find a place for yourself in the company of the blessed.

Lord have mercy
Christ have mercy
Lord have mercy

Holy Mary Mother of God.
Pray for us
St. Michael (Archangel)
Pray for us
Holy angels of God
Pray for us
St. John Baptist
Pray for us
St. Joseph (stepfather of Jesus)
Pray for us
SS Peter & Paul
Pray for us
St. Andrew
Pray for us
St. John
Pray for us
Mary Magdalene
Pray for us
St. Stephen
Pray for us
St. Ignatius
Pray for us
St. Lawerence
Pray for us
St. Perpetua and Felicity
Pray for us
St. Agnes
Pray for us
St.Gregory
Pray for us
St. Augustine
Pray for us
St. Cecila
Pray for us
Holy men and women
Pray for us

Lord be merciful
Lord Save your people
From all evil
Lord save your people
From every sin
Lord save your people
From everlasting death
Lord save your people
By your coming as man
Lord save your people
By your death and rising to new life
Lord save your people
By the gift of your Holy Spirt
Lord save your people

Be merciful to us sinners
Lord hear our prayer.
Grant to all the souls of the departed eternal rest.
Lord hear our prayer.

Jesus son of the living God
Lord hear our prayer

Christ hear us
Christ hear us
Lord Jesus hear our prayer
Lord Jesus hear our prayer +

Will You Come (back) to Church the Vineyard with me on September 25th???

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Normally I don’t use this blog to post any of my sermon thoughts/material….but I guess my vanity wins out today :P. There have been a few things that occurred to me this week that I figured might be of some use to those who are reading this blog. 🙂

This morning I was blessed with a chance to preach on the Parable of the Vineyard Workers. This is a story where we are given a glimpse into the type of person God is and what God is doing in the world.

Like all parables, the story is not to be taken literally, but as a metaphor for the kingdom of God; a narrative reflection of our longing for God’s peace and love and justice…and what that reality will look like when it finally reaches fruition at the end of the age.

In Jesus’ story of the Vineyard workers….each of the workers is valued and loved. It doesn’t matter who they are, or how long they have worked, they are all given an equal share of God’s abundant love and grace.

I’ve been thinking a lot about what this means in light of Back to Church Sunday which is being adapted from the UK for Huron, as well as several other Dioceses in Canada.

Are we preaching and teaching a message that invites all people to join us??? Are we creating an environment where they feel welcomed, loved, and that any work they do or walk of life they are from has value??? What kind of community are we welcoming them back to???

I am totally aware that of course, we can never measure up to the level of God’s generosity….and that we will indeed fall short.

There might even be some level of hostility and resentment that we–who have been faithful attendees at Sunday worship for decades–should be considered equal to those who are just entering the sanctuary for the first time….or finding their way back after a long journey away from home.

And yet….I think there is a tendency to forget that we too at one time were new members of the Church. Whether baptized as infant or as an adult…there were people who helped to build us up in spiritual strength and confidence. We all at one time or another are unsure of our call to discipleship….and hesitant to offer our gifts and talents to the wider community, for fear that we might be rejected.

But here’s the Good News: God says that he will not reject you…..he won’t bother taking into account the crappy things you have done in your life….he won’t reject our attempts to live morally in this world…..he won’t reject you even if there is anger, fear, or doubts that lingers in the back of your mind. All of that has been left at the foot of the Cross.

Regardless of what you have done….. you are worth it! You are made in the image and likeness of God…and God loves you so much that there is nothing he won’t do to reclaim you as his very own child…even if it costs him pain suffering and death.

You are beautiful, irreplaceable, and vital to the world around you….and no one can take that knowledge away from you. ❤

If you have been thinking about surrounding yourself in a community of the faithful…don't hesitate! :D….Come….not because I told you to….but because it is Christ who invites you here….All are welcome, all are accepted, and all are loved. 😀

If any have toiled from the first hour,
let them receive their reward.

If any have come after the third hour,
let them with gratitude join in the feast!

Those who arrived after the sixth hour,
let them not doubt; for they shall not be short-changed.

Those who have tarried until the ninth hour,
let them not hesitate; but let them come too.

And those who arrived only at the eleventh hour,
let them not be afraid by reason of their delay.

For the Lord is gracious and receives the last even as the first.
The Lord gives rest to those who come at the eleventh hour,
even as to those who toiled from the beginning.

To one and all the Lord gives generously.
The Lord accepts the offering of every work.
The Lord honours every deed and commends their intention.

Let us all enter into the joy of the Lord!

**Excerpt from the Paschal (Easter) Homily of St. John Chrysostom**

Evening Prayer: Feast of the Beheading of St. Jean-Baptiste (Aug 29th Combo Post)

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Psalm: 102, 86
Old Testament: Jeremiah 38:1-6, Judges 16:28-30
New Testament: Revelation 7:13-17, 1 Peter 3:13-18

But even if you do suffer for doing what is right, you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear, and do not be intimidated, but in your hearts sanctify Christ as Lord. Always be ready to make your defence to anyone who demands from you an account of the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and reverence. Keep your conscience clear, so that, when you are maligned, those who abuse you for your good conduct in Christ may be put to shame. (1 Pet 3:14-16)

While it doesn’t surprise me to be celebrating a martyr today, I’ve often wondered why St. Jean-Baptiste gets not just one day but two .

I have a sense that we do it for a few reasons.

One being that Jesus said that John was a pretty important dude. My guess is that the Church–upon hearing these words…..felt that it couldn’t be an all-together bad thing to celebrate the Forerunner twice.

More to the point though….I think that the community of the early church was very much aware of its surroundings. In a Roman pagan world, followers of the Way found themselves being persecuted, hunted and killed. So much so that Tertullian was prompted to remark that:

the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church

In remembering John’s beheading, Christ-followers found a saint who they could relate to. A saint who stood up for morality even at the cost of his own life. A saint whose life was taken away through the scheming and deceit of others.

If you were to look to the life of the saints…..which do you think speak most to the current generation??? What about in your own life????

Leave a comment on this post and let me hear what you think. +

Evening Prayer: July 12th (Combo Post)

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Psalms: 26, 28, 36, 39
Old Testament: 1 Sam 19:1-18
New Testament: Acts 12:1-17
Gospel: Mark 2:1-12
Patristic Reading: An excerpt from a Treatise on the Mysteries by St. Ambrose

While Peter was kept in prison, the church prayed fervently to God for him. (Acts 12:5)

Over and over, the Acts of the Apostles stresses that the Church always did things together ; most especially at times of crisis.

In the Anglican church, as tensions and frustrations mount…..and some parishes find themselves in a congregationalist mindset, I think it’s sometimes forgotten that we are one, holy, catholic and apostolic church. Anything we do….any prayer we utter…..any worship we offer to God we do together.

Tonight I pray that the Church remembers its true nature as a family….complete with close loved ones and black sheep alike….we are called to act as one..and to always be in the business of building up rather than tearing down. ❤ +

Morning Prayer: Feast of Pentecost

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Psalm: 118
Old Testament: Isaiah 11:1-9
New Testament:1 Cor 2:1-13

For those of you who are on my FB friends list…..this video will be a little bit of a repeat……but I think it does a great job of capturing both the importance and practical application of our festal celebrations today. 😀

Lord, send out your spirit and renew the face of the Earth (Ps. 104:30)

Happy Pentecost! +

Evening Prayer: March 22nd

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Psalm: 68
Gospel: John 4:43-54
Patristic Reading: An excerpt from the Confessions of St. Augustine

For those of you who don’t know, the Evening Prayer service begins with this versicle and response:

V: O Lord, I call to you, come to me quickly
R: Hear my voice when I cry to you
V: Let my prayer be set forth in your sight as incense
R: and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.

In tonight’s Patristic reading, Augustine examines the implications of this imagery for the Christian understanding of who Jesus is:

The evening sacrifice is then the passion of the Lord, the cross of the Lord, the oblation of the victim that brings salvation, the holocaust acceptable to God. In his resurrection he made this evening sacrifice a morning sacrifice. Prayer offered in holiness from a faithful heart rises like incense from a holy altar. Nothing is more fragrant than the fragrance of the Lord. May all who believe share in this fragrance.

Aside from the sheer aesthetic beauty of this metaphor, it stands as a perfect example of why I read the Church Fathers.

There is no way in a million years that I would make that kind of mental leap as an academic theologian….but that doesn’t mean that the comparison offered by Augustine is useless. The early centuries of Christian thought allow us to see the Bible in a completely different light. For the early Church, the Scriptures were always a whole unit, as the complete revelation of God to the world.

It stands in stark contrast to the logical and often streamlined approach of the historical-critical method. It points to a fundamental difference in mindset…..When you approach the Bible….what hat do you wear? Does it make a difference? I think it does.

When we read the lections in a context and attitude of prayer….does that also make a difference??? Let me know what you think by leaving a comment below + 🙂

Evening Prayer: 3rd Sunday of Epiphany

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Psalm: 103
Gospel: John 5:2-10
Patristic Reading: An excerpt from Vatican II’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy

Given that I preached on Jesus’ call to discipleship…I’m definitely in a certain mode of thinking today.

As I went through the readings tonight, I was struck that–in John’s gospel–the people who are healed don’t second-guess Jesus…….they just get up and go on their way :).

I wonder how many of us would have the same response…..or whether we would be tempted to tell Jesus that he was full of crap :P.

In John’s Gospel, Jesus’ words have a definite authority…he speaks and things happen. So why is it that we sometimes doubt the power of God to revive the Church and the world????

I don’t have an answer, but I thought it an interesting question to leave with you to reflect on together. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. 🙂 +

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