Evening Prayer: Feast of Saints Peter & Paul (June 29th)

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Psalm: 97, 138
Old Testament: Isaiah 49:1-6
New Testament: Galatians 2:1-8

National Cathedral of SS Peter & Paul (Washington, DC)

Y’know…….one of the things that comes to mind on this feast day is the fact that Peter and Paul did not really like each other. In the course of their ministiry, they had several spats……the most famous of which we read about tonight

What stikes me though…..is that even though there was tension…..that didn’t automatically mean there was division. Although there was disagreement, they never broke communion with one another.

Is part of my reflection blurred by putting a special glaze on the Apostolic era? Probably. 😛

Yet, at the same time, there can not be any denial that both of these men brought thousands to Christ. Despite their differences….they were able to say emphatically Jesus Christ is Lord!

I wonder what the Anglican Church can learn from their example today. With all of our squabbles…….are we sending the right message? In our pre-occupation with minutiae, are we remembering the message of the Cross and empty Tomb???

Tonight forces us to take a good hard look at ourselves……and to realize that Christian unity is not about unanimous opinion…..but rather in the single message that God has come to save all of us….and that no one is beyond the reach of Grace. +

Evening Prayer: Feb. 23rd (Combo post)

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Psalms: 119:145-176, 128, 129, 130
Old Testament: Ruth 2:1-13
New Testament: 2 Corinthians 1:23-2:17
Gospel: Matthew 5:21-26
Patristic reading: An excerpt from a letter about the martyrdom of St. Polycarp.

Since this is a combo post….I want to cover two things…..both of which I think are super important for understanding the Gospel message as a whole.

First off, I want to continue our journey with Ruth…..

Here in Chapter 2, Ruth is now settled in Judea with her mother-in-law Naomi…Ruth sets to work the wheat fields as a poor peasant. This imagery is not to suggest that she is working for wages….but rather that she is destitute and poor…having to hope that Boaz (the owner of the field) has heeded the words of the Torah not to reap the fields completely, but to leave some for the widow, the orphan and the resident alien.

The very fact that Ruth is able to find food speaks volumes about Boaz’s character, and his commitment that all should have access to food and drink…

This goodwill is augmented when Boaz extends the invitation for Ruth to gather wheat with his entourage rather than by herself. That way, she is able to feed herself and have access to water all day long; as well as to gather some food for Naomi.

I wonder what would happen if we were all so generous???

And the second thing I wanted to highlight tonight comes from the Gospel.

Ever wonder why we share/give the kiss of peace at Eucharist??? Sure it’s nice to shake the hands of friends, family and fellow parishoners……but it’s not just about being polite and cordial:

So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister* has something against you, 24leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister,* and then come and offer your gift. (Matt 5:23-24)

If anything, the peace is something which forces us to make contact with those people we would much rather avoid. The peace is not so much about maintaining the status quo as it is encouraging reconciliation between those who might not be getting along. This happens right before the Eucharist so that both parties can go to the table of the LORD in love and a clear conscience toward God and their neighbour.

May we all strive to be at peace with one another and to provide our brothers and sisters with food, water, and spiritual healing as the situation calls for :D. Amen +

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