O Clavis David (Key of David)

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O Clavis David, et sceptrum domus Israel;
qui aperis, et nemo claudit;
claudis, et nemo aperit:
veni, et educ vinctum de domo carceris,
sedentem in tenebris, et umbra mortis.

O Key of David and sceptre of the House of Israel;
you open and no one can shut;
you shut and no one can open:
Come and lead the prisoners from the prison house,
those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.

Whenever I hear this language of doors being irrevocably shut….I always think of the Royal Doors which are used in Eastern Orthodox liturgy.

After the Liturgy of the Word is celebrated and the Nicene Creed is recited, the Deacon shouts “the doors! The doors!” at which point all the entrances and exits to the Church were locked and the cathecumenate (ie. those who were unbaptized) were escorted out of the worship space for instruction. Only the baptized can receive the Body and Blood of Christ, and the locking of the doors suggests that those who are outside have missed their chance to come in and experience Christ.

We shouldn’t necessarily be surprised by this.

As much as we conceptualize Jesus as all-loving and all-accepting, the language of exclusion is not foreign to the Gospel accounts…..remember the parable of the wedding feast??? that guy is subject to weeping and gnashing of teeth. Similarly, plants that do not bear good fruit gets tossed into the fire… . Eek! :S

But there is good news! The doors are not always shut….but rather, they are thrust open week after week, month after month, day after day, inviting people in. We are given the power of our own voice and testimony as we serve those outside the church walls….ensuring that they have an invitation to the banquet of Eternal Life…..and offering them the wedding robe of baptism to ensure that they are not left in sadness or despair.

While God is all-powerful and just, he is also merciful….always willing to extend Grace to the world, and opening the door to all who knock. Lord Jesus, come soon! Come and be born in our hearts!

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Morning Prayer: August 5th

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Psalm: 88
Old Testament: 2 Sam 12:1-14
New Testament:Acts 19:21-41

Picking up from yesterday, David seems to have literally gotten away with murder. In response, the prophet Nathan presents the king with a juridical parable.

In this story, the prophet presents a rich man who decides that he is going to steal the single beloved ewe of a poor man rather than use one of his own livestock.

David is OUTRAGED and declares:

‘As the Lord lives, the man who has done this deserves to die; he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.’ (2 Sam 12:6)

He recognizes that such injustice cannot stand…and that the culprit deserves nothing less than death.

When Nathan makes the dramatic reveal that David himself is the perpetrator, the king is distraught…..he has pronounced judgement on himself! He recognizes that he deserves to die. Out of shame and guilt, he makes a heartfelt confession before God:

‘I have sinned against the Lord. (2 Sam 12:13)

As a prophet and arbiter of God’s justice, Nathan has every right to insist that David be stoned…or at the very least, step down from the throne…..but that’s not what he does. Instead he proclaims God’s forgiveness, and pronounces absolution:

’ Nathan said to David, ‘Now the Lord has put away your sin; you shall not die. (2 Sam 12:13b)

In an amazing act of Grace, mercy trumps justice. <3….

It is true that David cannot escape some of the natural consequences of his sins…..the child may not survive, and his kingdom will forever be divided and fragmented between his heirs…….but he is forgiven for both murder and adultery….two sins that ware considered especially heinous in the Old Testament.

In this incredible display, we see God's true character at work. YHWH has no reason to forgive the son of Jesse for his transgressions…. but he does. Not only that, but he keeps his promise to David that the Messiah…the Saviour of all creation…..will come from his ancestral line.

Sin is a pervasive force in our lives. It has the power to enslave us, trap us, and destroy our lives…but God's mercy is greater than all our sins combined.

His love can cover even our greatest of sins….and even though we may have to live with the consequences of our actions, we have a chance to live our lives anew…

We are assured that all sins are blotted away and we shall be made white as snow….if only we have the courage to ask for forgiveness…..and the courage to live out our lives to be a reflection of the love and mercy that was shown to us in our own lives.

St. David, king of Israel and example for all who truly repent…… pray for us. ❤ +

Morning Prayer: August 4th

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Psalm: 145
Old Testament: 2 Samuel 11:1-27
New Testament: Acts 19:11-20

Oh man…..am I ever glad I went to the Cathedral for MP today! 🙂

I know it may sound odd……but I love the reading from the OT this morning. It’s got everything that makes for a great drama….war, sex, deception, betrayal, injustice and murder.

On the one hand, you have David….who is the righteous king anointed to lead the chosen people of God. He can have any concubine or foreign wife he wishes without incurring God’s anger…..and yet he cannot resist the beauty he sees from his rooftop

In a desperate attempt to make things right and cover up Bathsheeba’s pregnancy, David tries to arrange for Uriah to sleep with his wife….thus leading him to think that the child she would bear in 9 months time was his and not the king’s.

On the other hand, you have Uriah….the faithful servant. Instead of a respite filled with sex and leisure, he chooses to show solidarity with his fellow soldiers in the field…he doesn’t want any special treatment.

In typical Biblical fashion, things are turned on their head. The lowly subject proves himself to be more upright than his monarch….he goes to the front lines with no question asked. The innocent husband is sent to die in order to cover up scandal and sin of another (supposedly greater) man.

David, the chosen shepherd-boy of the LORD falls from Grace. He–like the rest of us–is weak in both will and flesh…..can he be redeemed? We find that out tomorrow….and incidentally you will also find out why i chose David as my Confirmation name back in gr. 8. Stay tuned! +

Morning Prayer: July 23rd

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Psalm: 55
Old Testament: 2 Samuel 1:1-16
New Testament: Acts 15:22-35

After the death of Saul, when David had returned from defeating the Amalekites, David remained two days in Ziklag….Then David took hold of his clothes and tore them; and all the men who were with him did the same. They mourned and wept, and fasted until evening for Saul and for his son Jonathan, and for the army of the Lord and for the house of Israel, because they had fallen by the sword. (2 Sam 1:1;11-12)

I know it’s wrong to read New Testament values into Old Testament writings (I can almost see Gord Hamilton’s head exploding now)….but as I was going through this reading with milady…all I could think about was the idea of loving your enemy.

Despite having a good start to their relationship…..by the end, Saul and David were rivals aspiring to a single throne. Only one could win….and worst of all, someone (Jonathan) was caught right smack dab in the middle.

If I were in David’s position, I don’t know that I would be weeping, and fasting and tearing my shirt. On the contrary, I think my instinct would be to celebrate…..and possibly dance on Saul’s grave 😛

Even in a harsh world of royal politics, David mourns the loss of life…..any life……and that is something truly amazing indeed. +

Morning Prayer: July 15th

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Psalm: 31
Old Testament: 1 Sam 21
New Testament: Acts 13:13-25

So the priest gave him the holy bread; for there was no bread there except the bread of the Presence, which is removed from before the Lord to be replaced by hot bread on the day it is taken away. (1 Sam 21:6)

Ever notice how the Old Testament is filled with people doing things that they aren’t supposed to do? Adam and Eve eat of the forbidden Tree…Cain kills his brother out of jealousy…Abraham deceives Pharaoh which leads to disease and famine for the king’s household….Jacob steals the birthright of his twin…and now we have a priest giving the Bread of the Presence to someone outside the Levitical family.

And yet….what do we find as God’s response to these events. God allows Adam to live, Cain is protected, Abraham is given a son, and Jacob becomes the namesake and patriarch of a nation.

God takes the things that we might perceive as unholy and transforms them into something…..not only good…..but great. 🙂 Definitely gives us food for thought when we get stuck in liturgical ruts….or feel that certain individuals should be restricted from the Lord’s Table because of their “bad” behaviour, non? +

Evening Prayer: June 22nd

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Psalm: 119:121-144
Gospel: Luke 22:14-23
Patristic Reading: An excerpt from a Treatise on Friendship by St. Aelred

Here is a true and perfect friendship, solid and eternal: a friendship that envy does not corrupt, suspicion does not diminish or ambition wipe out. It does not cease even under such a trial; even under such a battering it does not collapse. Assailed with abuse, it stands firm; beaten with insults, it does not bend. Go thou, and do likewise.

While I could talk about the institution of the Lord’s Supper tonight, I’ve already done that in Holy Week…and given my Roman Catholic background it stands to reason that I will return to it eventually lol ;).

Take a look at the quote from St. Aelred…..it certainly gives me some food for thought. Who has been a Jonathan in your life? Who has stuck by you in times of trouble, rebellion, and fear??? I leave you with those simple questions…..and thank God for those who are my best friends 🙂 <3.

Evening Prayer: 4th Sunday in Lent

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Psalms: 66, 67, 19, 46
Old Testament: Jeremiah 14:1-9;17-22
New Testament: Galatians 4:21-5:1
Gospel: Mark 8:11-21
Patristic Reading: An excerpt from the works of St. Augustine

Now you,* my friends,* are children of the promise, like Isaac. But just as at that time the child who was born according to the flesh persecuted the child who was born according to the Spirit, so it is now also. (Galatians 4:28-29)

Ever notice how a lot of the Biblical narrative hinges on the impossible??? A hundred year old woman bearing a son, a Hebrew outlaw leading the Jewish people into freedom, a shepherd boy becoming a great king, and of God Himself taking on flesh.

Imagine the immense pressure Sarah, Moses, David and Jesus found themselves under. Against all odds, they had to hold on to the conviction that God would be true to his word, and make the right things fall into place.

Just like in times past, the world continues to be hostile to dreamers, and people who hold out for the impossible. The focus now tends to be on productivity and profit, rather than on fulfillment and true happiness.

As we draw ever closer to the mystery of Holy Week….let us hold on to our audacity in believing the Truth proclaimed to us in the gospels; that God will save us and give us life….even when we think it impossible. +

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