World AIDS Day….

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Today (Dec. 1st is World AIDS Day…..and while I am not posting something on the Daily Office today..I feel that I should share some thoughts.

AIDS, like many other STI’s is a terrifying prospect for everyone. Most people hear the acronym and take it for an automatic and agonizing death sentence. The truth is, medicine has advanced a great deal since the 80s and while the virus is still terminal, it does not mean that the people who have it are any less human than we are.

People who get STI’s are just like you and me…..oftentimes they are in loving, committed, relationships…..but aren’t necessarily comfortable with talking about their sex-lives with their significant others….particularly if there is shame, emotional hurt or fear attached to it.

If you think you might be at risk, get tested……and if you are in the London area specifically….here’s a place in my own community that does an outstanding job.

For those who are unsure what to do in response to the AIDS epidemic, or are struggling with what a faithful Christian response might be…..I have a suggestion…and that is the ministry of presence.

If you know someone who is sick….be with them……if you know someone who might be afraid of what the future may hold because of a diagnosis…..hold their hand and offer an ear.

The Father says that we are to be still and know that he is God. Why not follow that example??? Silence isn’t always stoic….it can be attentive and loving too…and for those who are on the margins…..sometimes the strength and moments of stillness that a friend and confidant can provide is all that they need.

May God be with each of us as we continue the walk of faith….ready to kiss the leper clean and follow Christ by both word and example. +

To everything there is a season…….

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Today, Canada along with the rest of the Commonwealth marked Remembrance Day.

On November 11, 1918 at 11:00am, the Treaty of Versailles was signed, bringing an end to the hostilities of World War I, and peace to mainland Europe and its allies. The Great War was nothing like anyone had ever seen…there were industrialized weapons, large-scale trench battles……and most devastating of all….mustard gas. 😦

Ever since that day of armistice, Nov. 11th has become a day in which we recognize those who have gone off to war, and–more especially–those who have given their lives in the service to our nation.

I think it’s important to stress two things today. First and foremost, today is not a day which is meant to glorify war. Instead, we are confronted with the harsh reality that in military conflict people die and not just a few….but hundreds, upon thousands, upon millions.

Any form of aggression, and even attempts to keep the peace are costly. We must never forget the great tragedy that had to befall so many families and communities in order that we might be kept safe from harm.

Secondly, Remembrance Day is no longer a passive observance for this country. Since Canada entered Afghanistan in 2002, 158 officers have perished….most of whom are younger than I am now……

When I was younger, Nov. 11th was somewhat distant…….a bunch of old men in uniforms that I was grateful to, but didn’t really understand. Now….things hit home a little closer. While I don’t live under the perceived threat of invasion like in WW2 England, it’s strange to think that fellow classmates who came up as reserves find themselves on tours of duty…going into the military is no longer seen as an easy way to get physical exercise and get your education covered.

For those currently serving in the Armed Forces, thank-you! You are doing something that I would never have the courage to do. +

To those who have passed, you are not forgotten. +

Evening Prayer: Feast of All Hallows (Nov. 1st)

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Psalm(s): 148, 150
Old Testament: Wisdom 5:1-5, 14-16
New Testament: Revelation 21:1-5, 22:5

We believe in the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins
the resurrection of the body
and life everlasting. Amen.

If you grew up in a confessional church, there is a high probability that you have uttered this sentence (or some form of it) in your lifetime.

When I was at McMaster, I remember a Baptist friend askimg me what Catholics meant by the “communion of saints.” In response, I rattled off some answer about holy men and women who pray for us….which is true…but not altogether accurate.

For how the saints pray and intercede for us, take a look at my post on the Dormition,,,,,,but tonight I want to concentrate on who is in that circle.

It might come as a shock….but the answer is all of us. πŸ™‚ Whenever Paul mentions the “saints” he clearly refers to the whole body….the whole community that believes in Christ and place their hope in his cross.

Saints are not saints because of their conduct, but because they have been made righteous vicariously through Christ. When we are baptized….we take on that identity….ever noticed that baptismal gowns are always white ;)????

The purity we receive is a gift and we are welcomed into a family where all are brothers and sisters. We have our common identity in proclaiming the Gospel and gathering around the table with gifts of bread and wine.

Our baptism means that we are connected in a history that is larger than we are. We are woven into the tapestry of the faith…connected with the threads of the past.

What we confess in the Creed is not a special circle of uber virtuous people……but a community knit together in fellowship….trying to walk down the road together….trusting in the forgiveness of the Christ who came to save us. Alleluia! +

Evening Prayer: Feast of St. Luke (Oct. 18th)-Combo Post

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Psalms: 103, 67, 96
Old Testament: Ezekiel 47:1-12, Isaiah 52:7-10
New Testament: Luke 1:1-4, Acts 1:1-8

As with each of the four gospel accounts in the Bible, Luke has its own distinct style and message when it comes to telling the story of Jesus of Nazareth. The 3rd Evangelist’s account is the book where we find some of the best known stories of the New Testament….like the parable of the Prodigal Son, the parable of the Good Samaritan and the Annunciation to the Virgin Mary by Gabriel.

Throughout the entire book….there is special emphasis placed on healing, forgiveness, reconciliation, and inclusion of women and Gentiles into the covenant.

As a result of these trends, the tradition of the Church holds that Luke was a physician…..and today is typically a day when we pray for all medical personnel.

So here’s my question to you…..In what ways are you being Christ-like? How are you reaching out to the poor, the lame, and those who are wounded?

Wounds can take many forms……some are physical, some are emotional, and others are spiritual. If you saw my post earlier today, I think it’s important to recognize that sometimes wounds hit the trifecta, and drain away our very will to live. 😦

We are human. That means that we won’t be able to cure everything….we have to know our finite limits in terms of skill-set and talent….but each of us has the capacity to touch the life of another…. To reflect the light of the Holy Spirit and to help someone’s darkness to be a little less intimidating and scary.

Even if we think ourselves to be an insignificant flicker, for someone else we may be the beacon of hope through which they see the loving face of God.

I pray that as we move forward from this online place of prayer and reflection, we emerge with a sense and conviction that our light and warmth are worth sharing…and that we can live more each and every day in the glorious Light that Jesus provides for us, and gifts us with at our baptism. Amen. Alleluia! +

Evening Prayer: Feast of the Dormition of the Blessed Virgin Mary (August 15th)

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Psalm: 45
Old Testament: Jeremiah 31:1-14
Gospel: John 19:23-27

When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, β€˜Woman, here is your son.’ Then he said to the disciple, β€˜Here is your mother.’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home. (John 19:26-27)

You know what’s amazing??? I’ve spent more time and energy talking about Mary on this blog than in the whole 20 years I was Roman Catholic lol :P. Can you say irony???

Anyway…..tonight I want to talk about something that doesn’t get discussed in a whole lot of Anglican circles..and that’s the idea of intercession

In and of itself intercession describes the process of “intervening on behalf of another.” This process can pertain to many different activities, in a variety of different contexts. A lawyer may step in as a legal advocate for their client. A social worker serves on behalf of a child within a troubled home. A co-signer on a loan can act on behalf of the sponsored person to cover debts.

Although we might not use the word on a regular basis, interceding is an integral part of how any community functions. The Church–the community of the faithful–is no exception.

In our prayer life, we ask for God’s grace and mercy on behalf of people whom we don’t even know. We pray for parts of the world torn apart by war, famine, and disease….we pray for parts of the worldwide Church we will likely never visit….we pray for the poor of society whom we may or may not interact with regularly….but who intercedes for the Church????

The answer traditionally is the saints. The souls of the faithful departed who await the coming of Christ and the promise of God’s kingdom on Earth.

Mary–who is the first apostle to experience resurrection and the one who has a flesh and blood tie with the Son of God–is held up in Sacred Tradition as the primary intercessor for all Christian people; and indeed for the world.

As Jesus hangs upon the cross, he gave his mother Mary to the beloved disciple. In patristic writings, this was seen metaphorically as the Theotokos being given to the Church. In her we find someone who is dedicated, loving and faithful…..someone who is rooting for us even when we think we are horrible; an adoring parent whose care and tenderness for all the baptized will never fail.

Holy God,
Holy and Mighty
Holy Immortal One
have mercy upon us

At the prayers of the Most Holy Mother of God
O Saviour save us +

Evening Prayer: Eve of the Transfiguration of the Lord

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Psalm: 84
Old Testament: 1 Kings 19:1-12
New Testament: 2 Cor 3:1-9;18

The angel of the Lord came a second time, touched him, and said, β€˜Get up and eat, otherwise the journey will be too much for you.’ He got up, and ate and drank; then he went in the strength of that food for forty days and forty nights to Horeb the mount of God. (1 Kings 19:7-8)

When most people read this passage from Kings, the focus is usually on the fact that God is present in the silence. That is all well and good…and an important excerpt for understanding God…but I find myself drawn to the angel’s words.

If you have been reading this blog for a while, you know that I place a big emphasis on santification and theosis in my writing and preaching.

But where do we get the strength to be transformed? Who gives us the insights to change our lives inside out and upside down? The angel reminds us tonight that all of these things come from God Himself.

Nothing we ever do comes strictly from our own efforts….but with the help and love of the One who made us so that:

All of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another (2 Cor 3:18a)

As we prepare to celebrate the Feast on which we see Christ as He truly is….I pray that God will remove the scales from our eyes…..to lift the veils of our own bias and ignorance…of our laziness and apathy….so that we can travel up the mountain to be see God’s glory in all creation; and make our way back down to bring that vision and life to those who are in darkness and lost in despair.

Praise to the Holy Trinity who gives us everything we need :). Amen, Alleluia! +

Getting a reality check on the way home…….

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Copyright: Joey Lawerence

For those who know me personally….or have read some of my posts in the last few days you know that I have been (ever so gradually) freaking out about the Bishop’s visit to my parish placement.Β  Part of my apprehension tonight has to do with the fact that I don’t know how much this visit will impact my ordination status.

I know that the goal of attaining clerical office should be the furthest thing from my mind…..that the worship and ministry must come first……but what can I say??? I’m human and I want some things for myself damn it! πŸ˜‰

In the midst of my own worrying, I decided to go for a late coffee @ Timmie’s….caffiene and sugar (in the form of baked goods) usually provide a short relief from any and all stress in my life. πŸ™‚

On my way back to the apartment, I ran in to two people whom I know from my street ministry. Neither are homeless, but they are definitely in the lower income bracket, and usually have to bounce from place to place because rent is so high.

In the case of this particular couple, I know that they often cannot afford bus passes, and have to walk virtually everywhere. Based on where they live now, that means a solid 4 km hike to the East end…….that’s one way……

In conversing with them, I learned that yet again, there had been an income re-assessment performed and their benefits got cut by a substantial amount, forcing them to put their stuff in storage and (assuming things would fall into place the way they hoped) move into a new building at the end of this month.

Only problem is…..this building is SUPER sketch :P……with known prostitutes working there and drug deals happening on a regular basis….the case worker has tried to get them into a better setting but the wait list for the next available apartment is 8 months long. πŸ˜›

Needless to say……while I am still very nervous about tomorrow…..it doesn’t seem right that I should be bitching and complaining……I am in a good air-conditioned building, with food in my fridge and enough money to last me for the week.

Come liturgical or professional /FAIL tomorrow, I know that I am both lucky and loved…..and I need to constantly remember that whatever the Christian life is about…..it is most certainly not about me or my need for official status :P.

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