Evening Prayer: Eve of Trinity Sunday

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Psalm: 104
Old Testament: Sirach 42:15-25
New Testament: Ephesians 3:14-21

I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:19-20)

Man after reading words like that, St. Paul is a tough act to follow. :P.

Apologies for not posting this morning……I was even tempted to skip tonight……but ’tis a Feast day and I think a pretty important one to cover…At least when I neglected an Ascension Day, I had a relatively good excuse with the conference going on…but no such loophole exists for me tonight lol 😛

In the Western Church, Trinity Sunday is a moveable feast that always falls on the first Sunday of Pentecost. It celebrates the doctrine of the Most Holy Trinity. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

More specifically we celebrate the doctrines of uniqueness of the Three Persons, the One substance whereof they are made…..and a handful of other statements from the Ecumenical Councils of the Early Church

For those who came to the blog hoping for a succinct definition of the Trinity….I’m afraid to say that you will be disappointed. I try and not get bogged down with the specifics of God. I will put on record though the way that I understand the Trinity at this particular point and time.

For me, it’s helpful to think of the Three Persons in light of the role that they fulfill. Just as I–a lowly mortal–can be a student, a middle-class worker, a significant other, &c. without my “Matthew Arguin-ness” being diminished in any sense; I think that’s how it works with God.

In the first instance you have:

God the Father who is the primary mover and shaker. The one whose will is both emulated and enacted by the other two Persons. It is in God the Father we have our initial identity as created beings

Then we have:

God the Son Who finds his identity as God’s eternal Word…through which all things are made. In a great act of love, that Word became incarnate of the Virgin Mary…and it is through Jesus’ death and resurrection, humanity finds its new identity as a redeemed and new creation

And finally:

God the Spirit-who is our Advocate and Guide. Who allows our hearts and minds to be illuminated by God our Creator and his Eternal Word. It is in this communion with the Spirit that we embrace our identity not only as redeemed and new creatures…..but creatures who are a work in progress. Slowly moving towards Holiness and Love.

Each of these three cannot exist without the other, and they all proceed from one Source while having various characteristics and functions.

It is not only static doctrines we rejoice over tonight……but the dynamic way that God has chosen to reveal himself to the world. 🙂 +

Morning Prayer: June 9th

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Psalm: 105:1-22
Old Testament: Ezekiel 18:1-4;19-32
New Testament: Hebrews 7:18-28

‘Why should not the son suffer for the iniquity of the father?’ When the son has done what is lawful and right, and has been careful to observe all my statutes, he shall surely live. The person who sins shall die. A child shall not suffer for the iniquity of a parent, nor a parent suffer for the iniquity of a child; the righteousness of the righteous shall be his own, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be his own. (Ezekiel 18:19-20)

It may not seem like it on first read….but this prophetic shift in Ezekiel is HUGE . When the law of YHWH was revealed at Sinai, it was made explicitly clear that sin is a generational burden.. Of course the opposite was true as well……righteousness also extended to children…but the idea was that everyone was responsible for the whole well-being of the community.

Now…God declares through Ezekiel that the old ways are gone. God has now decided that each individual is only responsible for him or herself.

In an amazing declaration, God declares that the wicked who repent will no longer have their sins remembered….that they will be washed clean indeed. Through the power of Grace and Love, there is no point where we are beyond redemption. Alleluia! Alleluia!

If you get a chance in the next little bit, why not gather with a priest and celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation? It gives us a chance to confess to God our sins…those times when we have missed the mark, and to gain encouragement from a fellow brother or sister in Christ to continue striving to live fully in the Lord.

More than that, we are given absolution. reminded that Jesus came to save us, and rejoices over one sinner who returns than 100 righteous ones. I for one, place hope in that promise. 🙂

Each day, we are given the chance to embrace our hearts of flesh…..and to remember that through Christ….all sins are forgiven, and we are loved beyond all telling.

My dear readers…..my brothers and sisters…go in peace and pray for me, a sinner + ❤

Morning Prayer: April 7th

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Psalm: 69
Old Testament: Jeremiah 22:13-22
New Testament: Romans 8:12-27

For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, “Abba! Father!” it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ – if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him to receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, “Abba! Father!” it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ – if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him. (Romans 8:15-17)

One thing that’s often missed in interpreting this passage is that the term “Abba” is not simply a word which means father. It is a slang word and a term of endearment much like “Daddy” in English.

Paul’s reflection on adoption shows us that the process itself is not one which is strictly legal, but is one of affection and genuine desire both on our part, and on the part of the One who came to save us.

In Christ, God has begun a new covenant. A contract and promise that assures us that we are loved…and that everything God has is also ours for the asking. 🙂

Through faith in the Son, we are offered not only eternal life, but a protector, a Saviour, someone to wipe our tears, someone to correct us when we go wrong, and someone to encourage us building up our talents and pursue our many vocations in this life….leading us in the end to the Father who will give us his signet ring, put the best cloak on us and pull out all the stops in order to rejoice at the presence of his precious children. 🙂 +

Morning Prayer: Feast of St. Jospeh of Nazareth (March 19th)

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Psalm: 132
Old Testament: Isaiah 65:7-13
Gospel: Matthew 1:18-25

The step-father of the Lord is one of those people in the Bible who is easy to miss. He is only mentioned 3 times in the New Testament (here in Matt 1, again in Matt 3 where he is warned to flee to Egypt and in Luke 2 where he and Mary find Christ preaching and teaching in the Temple.)

Other than that, Joseph is relegated to a largely uncredited role. What amazes me about St. Joseph though is his persistence in the collective memory of the Church. He is often recognized as the patron saint of many nations (including Canada) and the foundations, religious orders, and institutions which bear his name are most often associated with ministries of healing, reconciliation and prayer.

Despite his severe lack of screen-time in the Gospel narrative, Joseph was no doubt a central figure in Jesus’ life. He taught Christ carpentry as a way to make a living before beginning his public ministry, and would have led his foster son through all the Jewish rites of passage as he aged. It would be a grave mistake for us to think that Joseph is inconsequential to the Good News of God.

I think part of the reason why the Church is so insistent on remembering Joseph is that there is a recognition that not everyone needs to be front and centre to be important. There are many people who quietly work in the background, subtly shaping us in our social, emotional, and spiritual lives.

Today, on St. Joseph’s feast day……I would encourage you to reflect on those people in your lives who helped to build you up in the small ways. Who gave you encouragement and support simply by being there. Together, let us rejoice in their presence to us, and give thanks to God for the lessons they teach. +

Evening Prayer: March 15th

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Psalms: 47, 48
Gospel: John 2:13-22
Patristic Reading: An excerpt from a commentary on the Lord’s Prayer by St. Cyprian

Let [God] hear the prayer of Christ ringing in his ears, is to make our prayer one of friendship, a family prayer. Let the Father recognize the words of his Son. Let the Son who lives in our hearts be also on our lips.

I think one of the reasons why this quote from St. Cyprian stuck out for me tonight is because of a really awesome compliment I received this morning after celebrating the Office at the Cathedral. I love getting the opportunity to lead worship, and (although I was a little groggy this morning)… a visitor came up to me and told me that he admired that I had become invisible. 😀

I know I know……this sounds like an odd thing for me to be happy about….so let me explain. I think if you ask any priest, deacon, seminarian, or someone who is just passionate about liturgy in general….one of the fundamental principles of worship is not to let yourself get in the way….to always be conducting yourself in a way that points the congregation towards God.

By this, I don’t mean that individual personalities of celebrants are lost, or that their style of leading worship is not important. Rather, it’s important that those individual habits are not the focus…..to make Christ–not the celebrant–the centre of attention. Not an easy feat when a lot of attention gets focused on my physical disability and challenges.

And that’s what Cyprian is getting at……in gathering all our prayers and praises into one in the Lord’s prayer……..the Father not only hears our needs and wants, but is reminded of the love he bears for his Son……a love which we share in by adoption.

I give great thanks to the Lord tonight for giving us words which bring us closer to Him, but also keep us mindful of the things we need, and the hope and Kingdom to which we aspire through God’s abundant grace. +

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