Morning Prayer: June 23rd

Leave a comment

Psalm: 105:1-22
Old Testament: 1 Sam 8:1-22
New Testament: Acts 6:15-7:15

‘Listen to the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them. Just as they have done to me, from the day I brought them up out of Egypt to this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so also they are doing to you (1 Sam 8:7b-8)

Disaster. In many ways here we have the beginning of the end for Israel. Despite Samuel’s warning that a king will cause the people to become vassals and slaves, they are insistent in getting their own way.

Initially, Saul is picked…which leads to civil war. Then David is chosen…….which goes well for a while, but eventually crumbles. While David’s son Solomon shows early signs of promise, he becomes corrupt and turns Israel away from YHWH and straight into the arms of Baal.

But what do we do with this story in 2011??? Other than saying “HAHAHA! silly Israelites”???

One place to start is to look at the deeper context. Israel is not just asking for a leader…..they are asking for a leader other than YHWH and his chosen prophets.

Their request for new leadership is not so much a “reasonable request” by poor nomads who are surrounded by monarchies… is an echo of their complaining in the desert..

Instead of complaining about miserable manna, they are now complaining about the way God chooses to govern them.

“What kind of God would give us a measly judge??? Don’t we deserve a king???? What has YHWH done for us lately anyhoo???”

Call me crazy…but I don’t think that sentiment is completely foreign to our own time. Even in my own experience, I question the way God works all the time….and a lot of time, I wish things could be different.

What causes those kinds of emotions, though? I think that more often than not, it stems from the fact that we forget God is our King. That he is the one in charge of our lives.

We forget the promises of Christ that we–like the birds of the air and the lilies of the field–will be provided for, loved, and protected. We want to be masters of our own destiny.

As we pray each day, let us remember that our God is indeed a great God and king above all others. O come let us worship +

Evening Prayer: Shrove Tuesday (March 8th)

Leave a comment

Psalms: 36, 39
Gospel: John 1:18-29
Patristic Reading: N/A

For I am but a sojourner with you;
a wayfarer just as my forbears were (Psalm 39:12b)

Since the early days of the Church, the season of Lent has been paralleled with the Israelites 40 years in the desert. As a result of the sin of idolatry with the Golden Calf (along with some other major offences) God declares that the 12 tribes must take the long way around, and wait for the entire corrupt generation to die off.

In this 40 year period, the emerging Jewish people are beset by temptations, infighting, jealousy, abuses of power…every trial under the sun.

Likewise in Lent, we read about how Jesus was tempted by the devil before starting his public ministry….of his internal struggle and frustration of trying to explain to the disciples that yes….he must actually die in order for God’s plan to of salvation is carried out. He even faces outright rebellion from his own disciples… intense that he must declare “Get behind me Satan!”

In these 40 days and 40 nights…..we too will be stretched. We will read difficult passages, and contemplate difficult teachings. We too will be tempted to cave on our fast. To go back to our old ways because it is comfortable and convenient. We may even be tempted to walk away from God completely :(.

Whatever the case may be…..we are called to make the journey….to see where the road leads…….and what awaits us at the end. May we have the courage not to look backwards; walk forward with confidence, curiosity, and hope.

I will set my eyes on your hill
Jerusalem, my destiny!
Though I cannot see the end for me
I cannot turn away.
We have set our hearts for the way,
this journey is my destiny!
Let no one walk alone,
the journey makes us one.+

Evening Prayer: January 20th

1 Comment

Psalm: 37
Old Testament: Isaiah 45:5-17
New Testament: Ephesians 5:15-33
Gospel: Mark 4:21-34
Patristic Reading: A reflection of St. Fulegentius of Ruspe

Christ the High Priest

So I’m sufficiently more awake now and prayed the Evening Office with four readings instead of the two lol :P….The one that caught my eye the most was v, 9-11 of the Isaiah reading:

Woe to you who strive with your Maker,
earthen vessels with the potter!*
Does the clay say to the one who fashions it, ‘What are you making?’
or ‘Your work has no handles’?
Woe to anyone who says to a father, ‘What are you begetting?’
or to a woman, ‘With what are you in labour?’
Thus says the Lord,
the Holy One of Israel, and its Maker:
Will you question me* about my children,
or command me concerning the work of my hands?

As I sit here poised to preach a sermon on discipleship this Sunday (a week before vestry) I find myself wondering how often we try to fashion God into something he is not. How often parish churches try to forge their own destinies, forgetting that they are supposed to be molded and shaped by the Holy Spirit….

The Anglican Church (in Canada at least) seems to have a widespread pessimism about it. Church attendance is shrinking, buildings are being de-consecrated, and parish councils are scrambling to pay their apportionments to the Diocese.

My question is: Where are we letting God into the conversation????

When Jesus spoke in parables to the disciples, he wasn’t giving them marketing techniques…. He wasn’t telling them that the church had to be full every single Sunday. Instead, he said that faith is the important thing. Faith is the thing that continues to grow….the church building isn’t required to be full….but only to have two or three gathered in his Name 🙂

When did we–as an institution–hit the panic button???? When did we start worrying about finances more than growing in our own spiritual communities? When did survival become more important than inviting others to the foot of the Cross and the wonder of the empty tomb???

The words heard from Isaiah tonight hit home for me personally as well. I still have not heard from the Diocese as to what they want to do….and it irks me to no end. There are some days when I just want to rant and rave at the office and demand an answer….to take control of the situation.

But the reality is….God is the one who is in control…..and as much as we don’t want to admit it…..the plans which we envision for ourselves don’t amount to much. God’s plans aren’t about making sure an institution is viable…..or that a seminarian can be secured a position in the future….God is concerned with reshaping our hearts and minds to conform to the image of his Son.

God wants us not only to survive….but to thrive :D. More than that, he wants us to spread that joy and that love…and to speak of how Christ is present in our lives. To make disciples of all nations….not out of a sense of duty or of ensuring congregational health….but as an invitation to a way of life that leads to forgiveness, wholeness, and reconciliation for all of creation ❤ +

%d bloggers like this: