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. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

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! +

The Gospel in Chairs…….

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Given that I haven’t posted all week….I thought I would share this with you! ๐Ÿ™‚

Ever wondered what all this talk about Jesus dying for our sins is all about??? There are two systems of thought….One being the juridical model of St. Anselm, and the other the Christus Victor (restorative) model, outlined most fully by the Cappadocian Fathers

This video outlines both systems in a very effective and accessible skit ๐Ÿ™‚

While I don’t think that the two theories of atonement are diametrically opposed to one another, this presentation helps to highlight the main difference between mainline Roman Catholic and Protestant thinking, and that of the Eastern Orthodox Church.

The first view places a strong emphasis on God’s sense of justice, the second on God’s undying, radical love for humanity.

As with anything, I think there is a balance between the two…..a valid concern to correct injustice…..but at the same time…… an open admission that our Lord’s grace and mercy overflows beyond our comprehension and there is never a place where God is not. ๐Ÿ™‚

Thanks be to God for the miracle of the Incarnation and the gift of resurrection and faith. Always confronting us, restoring us and making us new!+

Evening Prayer: Feast of St. Matthew the Evangelist (Sept. 21)-Combo Post


Psalms: 119:41-64, 19, 112
Old Testament: Isaiah 8:11-20, Job 28:12-28
New Testament: Romans 10:1-15 Matthew 13:44-52

โ€˜The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. (Matt 13:44)

For tonight’s reflection, I am totally going to steal from Bill Cliff who is the chaplain over at St. John the Evangelist @ Huron University College

While I was at the Common Ground conference back in June, I attended a workshop on teaching and preaching the parables. In the course of that discussion, Bill said that the stories of Jesus are meant to shock us….and not only that…but they speak to the character of God. They give us insight into the type of person that the Father is, and how he acts in the world.

Traditionally, the story of the hidden treasure is taken to mean that the disciple finds the saving news of the gospel, and follows it above all else. Yet…this seems to skip over one very important aspect…..the first sentence that our Lord speaks.

The simile which is set up at the beginning of tonight’s passage is not a disciple is like…Instead the emphasis is on God…Jesus says the kingdom of heaven is like….

This shift in focus means that our understanding has to change as well. The treasure in the field doesn’t refer to what we find and rejoice over….It’s about what God finds and rejoices over. ๐Ÿ™‚

Like the parable of the lost sheep or prodigal son in Luke….the shocking message here is that God believes we are invaluable. He rejoices over each and every one of his creations. Saints, sinners, tax-collectors, gay, straight, rich and poor…..the Trinity constantly invites us and seeks us out to join in their dance of celebration and redemption.

The apostle Matthew–whom we celebrate today–was someone who was classified as a traitor to his people…a person who turned his back on his religion and people….a person whom YHWH would never even deign to look upon.

Yet this is the same man who encounters emmanu el….God with us….and receives an invitation to follow in the way that leads to life. May we have that courage which leads to a resounding “yes” and helps us to remember that we are all gifts from God. +

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. ๐Ÿ˜›

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. +

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

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Psalm: 66
Old Testament: Ezekiel 2:1-7
New Testament: Acts 11:1-18

Man…..there’s such good content in today’s readings that I found it really difficult to pick just one focal point. I highly suggest reading through the lections yourself this morning….maybe even leave a comment on this post as to what stuck out the most for you. ๐Ÿ™‚

Speaking for myself, I was once again amazed by Peter’s retelling of his dream…..and his initial protest against God:

I also heard a voice saying to me, โ€œGet up, Peter; kill and eat.โ€ But I replied, โ€œBy no means, Lord; for nothing profane or unclean has ever entered my mouth.โ€ (Acts 11:7-8)

In both the case of St. Peter and St. Paul…..they were called to do things that–initially–they thought were repugnant. Peter…a devout Jew was asked to eat unclean food and to open the doors of the Jesus community to those who were on the outside.

Saul too was a Jew…..but was asked to show compassion on those whom he labelled heretics…..a people he didn’t feel had the right to even exist. ๐Ÿ˜›

Both conversions required a metanoia……a change of heart…..a fundamental shift in the way they thought….and a call to a radical way of living.

I wonder how many of us resist the call to Grace???? I pray that on this feast day…..we take courage from the witness of the Church that God is good and can change even the most unlikely people into saints. +

(As a short theological aside, I should add that some theologians say that Grace is irresistible……I am not one of those thinkers ;))

Evening Prayer: January 20th

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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, โ€˜What are you making?โ€™
or โ€˜Your work has no handlesโ€™?
Woe to anyone who says to a father, โ€˜What are you begetting?โ€™
or to a woman, โ€˜With what are you in labour?โ€™
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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 โค +

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