Evening Prayer: May 10th

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Psalms: 36, 39
Gospel: Luke 4:31-37
Patristic Reading: An excerpt from a sermon of St. Augustine

Oh happy circumstance! 😀 I skipped over the “God is love” quote this morning, only to have St. Augustine bring it back to me this evening. Funny how life works out sometimes. 😉

Check it out:

Which of us would dare to pronounce the words of Scripture: God is love? He alone could say it who knew what it was to have God dwelling within him. God offers us a short route to the possession of himself. He cries out: Love me and you will have me for you would be unable to love me if you did not possess me already.

In many other world religions, God is often depicted in the form of a lover. For some reason, Christianity–especially in its Western form–has tended to shy away from such language.

Part of that reason is due–I think–to the influence of Greek philosophy….where the material world, and eros are conceived of as dangerous to the soul. Granted, they are not detrimental to the soul…..but rather they get in the way of the soul realizing its true potential.

What John’s letter teaches us in saying that God is love….is that the duality so popular for the Greeks is boulderdash for Christians. We are only given the ability to love because we have felt love ourselves….We only feel the yearning to be in community because God himself initiated it in the mutual love of the Holy Trinity.

Our whole being…..our whole raison d’etre is not to seperate ourselves from love and desire……but to love and desire the right thing namely God and our neighbour.

The idea that God is love is not so much a mushy admission that YHWH is a hippy in disguise, as it is a candid reminder of where we come from.

God spoke the Word in the beginning and the world was created out of nothing….purely for His pleasure and so that he could share his love and Spirit with other beings. To do anything other than love is to deny who we truly are. To borrow one of Mark Twain’s famous phrases:

“Dance like nobody’s watching; love like you’ve never been hurt. Sing like nobody’s listening; live like it’s heaven on earth.”

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Morning Prayer: March 31st

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Psalms: 42, 43
Old Testament: Jeremiah 10:11-24
New Testament: Romans 5:12-21

For just as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. But law came in, with the result that the trespass multiplied; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, just as sin exercised dominion in death, so grace might also exercise dominion through justification leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 5:18-21)

I was sorely tempted to put up the icon of the resurrection this morning but I resisted the urge…..it is Lent after all ;)…..Another 25 days and then we can put up the really fun and beautiful art of new life. 🙂

In this morning’s reading from Romans we have an important analogy made by Paul and proclaimed loudly by the Early Church. Christ not only gained atonement for our sins…..but he has begun something new; a new creation has been born.

I suppose that’s why I am frequently frustrated by salvation as taught by the “evangelical” denominations.

In their quest to save and baptize everyone, I sometimes wonder if enough catechesis is going on….whether people are getting a true grasp in what happens at Baptism.

Entering into the Christian faith not only means adhering to doctrines, and sharing those ideas with others; it means being made new.

I think that if we were to get back to the basics of Baptism, we might be able to get away from the idea that the sacrament is only about citizenship in the Kingdom. Maybe, just maybe……we might be able to reclaim our identity as a people who are not only saved by abundant Grace, but transformed by it. +

Morning Prayer: Feb. 18th

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Psalm: 102
Old Testament: Isaiah 65:17-25
New Testament: 1 Tim 5:17-22

for I am about to create Jerusalem as a joy,
and its people as a delight.
I will rejoice in Jerusalem,
and delight in my people;
no more shall the sound of weeping be heard in it,
or the cry of distress.
No more shall there be in it
an infant that lives but a few days,
or an old person who does not live out a lifetime;
for one who dies at a hundred years will be considered a youth,
and one who falls short of a hundred will be considered accursed. (Isaiah 65:18b-20)

This text is the source material for one of my favourite passages in the Bible. Here we have an incredible vision of the future where time and space have no restraints or meaning. That’s because we are looking at God’s conception of time.

As Psalm 90 says:

For a thousand years in Your sight are but yesterday. (Ps. 90:4)

More than that, the glory that is anticipated by Isaiah is about humanity returning to its natural state. Originally we were made to reflect the image, immortality and Glory of God. This true self was lost to us in the Fall, and restored to us by the coming of Christ into the world.

By inaugurating the Kingdom and teaching us the Good News….we live in the hope and faith that this world is not all there is. That it will be transformed into something far greater than we could ever ask or imagine.

It is by nothing that we do…….but by what God does through us. Slowly but surely God is perfecting us and making us whole so that we in turn can bring that peace, that wholeness, and that well being to all that we meet.

In reflecting the love of Christ that is within each of us….we become the hands that wipe away the tears, who embrace the lost, and let God’s compassion be shown to the world, so that we might glorify Him and He may delight in us. 😀

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