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! +

National Aboriginal Day

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On Tuesday mornings, I am usually at the Coffee House at one of my churches and rarely get up early enough to say the Office before I leave. In lieu of that missing post I thought I would say a few words about National Aboriginal Day.

I confess…….I am utterly and completely the beneficiary of First Nations subjugation. Just like this song from Dave Matthews states…..I drink the water even though it is filled greed, jealousy, and blood.

I didn’t even know it was Aboriginal Day today (June 21st) until someone pointed it out via their FB posting. Sadly, I think that my ignorance of this commemoration and of the experiences of First Nations people generally is the norm. 😦

I freely admit that as a white, middle-class Canadian, I have no experience of life on the reserves. I have no idea what kind of injustices and inequalities that exist outside of my urban setting.

But even here in the city, time and time again….I find First Nations people are on the lower-side of the income scale. This isn’t because they want to be…..but because they’re forced to be….whether through stereotypes passed on about Aboriginal persons…..or through a lack of transferable job skills because our government doesn’t take the time or resources to help those on the bottom rung.

The abuse and humiliation you have suffered is something which I cannot even begin to imagine :(.

I’m not going to sit here and pretend that I’m going to become an activist for Aboriginal rights, or equal opportunity. To say so would be self-righteous and make me look like a pompus ass.

Rather I will say this. Today I pray for the Aboriginal community. I give thanks for everything they bring to this country.

I give thanks for their presence to us….constantly holding up a mirror to injustice. Today I join with my non-Aboriginal brothers to say I am sorry…..and to pray for true healing, peace and reconciliation. +

Evening Prayer: March 23rd

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Psalm: 119:73-96
Gospel: John 5:1-18
Patristic Reading: An excerpt from Against the Heresies by St. Iranaeus

So apologies on such a late post. I totally admit to getting sucked into a Grapefruit League matchup on TV. Regular season starts in 7 days. Whoo hoo! πŸ˜€

But anyways onto the readings……one line stuck out for me tonight that was somewhat troubling. Once the lame man sees Jesus in the Temple, Christ says to him:

Do not sin any more, so that nothing worse happens to you. (John 5:14)

What does Jesus mean here??? Does he mean that there is a logical connection between sin and physical ailments?

As a disabled individual, I will say that I clearly reject this idea. When I was writing my term paper for Church History last year, I looked at various Biblical frameworks for the theology surrounding disability….Suffice it to say none of them are good. 😦

Biblically speaking, there are two basic options which are presented for understanding why people have disabilities:

1) It is a physical manifestation of sin, and of God’s punishment on the community/family for their wrongdoing (Old Testament) or
2) People are born with disability, it is so that God’s glory might be displayed through them.

Both worldviews suck :P…..mostly because they depict disability itself as a type of righteous suffering . Boo! 😦

I think it would be absurd for me to say that Jesus meant something different than the righteous suffering model. It makes sense…and it is the framework He himself would’ve been familiar with. I don’t want to betray the text too badly.

I will say that there are other ways to understand the concept of disability without seeing it as a punishment, and I might do a later post on my own theology of disability at some later date…but I want to take this reflection in a slightly different direction.

I think Jesus’ words in this Fourth Gospel play a dual purpose. On the one hand, he is addressing the natural consequences of sin that I wrote about this morning. Jesus doesn’t want the lame man to sin because he doesn’t want anyone to sin. The exhortation to turn aside from our old ways is a constant theme of the Gospel…directed to the disabled community and able-bodied communities alike.

Also…..the author of John was acutely aware of persecution within the synagogue on the followers of the Christian movement. His advice to his newly-healed follower is to behave righteously so that the man does not get in trouble with the authorities, and find himself ostracized from the people. It is a piece of practical advice as much as it is a moral imperative that is being given here.

Conscious sinning (that is, with full knowledge that it is wrong) alienates us from the world, from God, and even from ourselves. During this Lent, may we be given clear minds to see where we have missed the mark nand to have a firm resolve to take steps back on the Way that leads to wholeness and life. +

Evening Prayer: Jan. 22nd

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Psalms: 42, 43
Gospel: Mark 5:1-20
Patristic Reading: An excerpt from Against the Heresies by St. Iraneaus

Just a short reflection tonight. I was wondering…when do we make time for God? The thing with Psalm 42 and 43 is that even though the writer is clearly discouraged…he makes a commitment again and again to search for the LORD.

Like the deer pictured above, he constantly returns to the stream…..even if he can’t find a place to drink.

For myself, praying the Office every day is a way of keeping the lines of communication open. It doesn’t always work, and there are days when I hate doing it….but I know that if I don’t keep that commitment, the voice of God is likely to get drowned out by the world.

So how about you, my dear readers? How do you manage to create a space for yourself and for God in this busy, busy world???? +

Evening Prayer: 1st Sun. after Epiphany

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I couldn’t find an online copy of tonight’s patristic reading since virtually all the regular sites are observing the feast of the Baptism today…Sorry! 😦 Speaking of which, I will be observing Jesus’ baptism on Jan. 16th :))

Psalms: 131, 132
Gospel: John 5:1-15

[The Pharisees] asked [the man who had been healed], β€˜Who is the man who said to you, β€œTake it up and walk”?’ Now the man who had been healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had disappeared in* the crowd that was there (John 5:12-13)

The theme of the healed not knowing the identity of Jesus is a recurring motif in John’s Gospel…..the steward does not know who changes the water into wine at the wedding in Cana….the Samaritan woman does not know whom she meets at the well in chapter 4…..this man is unsure of the man who told him to get up and walk…..the woman caught in adultery (chapter eight) and the man born blind (chapter 9) finds himself saved by a complete stranger.

In fact, the Gospel is predicated on the reader (and the characters in the narrative) coming to understand who Jesus really is. He is not simply another prophet…but the eternal logos who is one with the Father.

I find this an interesting point of contemplation during the Epiphany season…..when we–as the liturgical name suggests– consciously look for the ways that God is made manifest in our lives.

I wonder…..how many times does God stand in our midst, and we are left totally clueless????

It doesn’t take away from the fact that the LORD heals us and makes us whole…..but there may be times when we don’t recognize it fully…….I’m reminded of a quote I once heard used by the Chaplain at the college….

Coincidence is simply God’s way of remaining anonymous :D+

Evening Prayer: Sat. of Epiphany 1

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Psalms: 112, 113
Gospel: John 4:46-54
Patristic Reading: An excerpt from a sermon by Faustus of Riez

Blessed be the name of the Lord
from this time on and for evermore.
From the rising of the sun to its setting
the name of the Lord is to be praised.
The Lord is high above all nations,
and his glory above the heavens. (Psalm 113:2-4)

Today I had a really interesting chat with one of my good friends from school. We talked–among other things–about the North American church…..particularly the Anglican context.

There has been a lot of apprehension right now about shrinking numbers in the congregation and a gradual decline of the community aspect of Church.

The thing is, this concern is very much a North American phenomenon. Around the world–particularly in Africa and Asia–Christianity has been experiencing steady growth. The Church universal is growing….we just don’t pay attention to that fact in our Canadian bubble.

All around the world, at all times of the day, people are praising God and encountering Christ. Instead of focusing in on the negative…why not take stock and rejoice in those parts of the world in which the Light of Christ is shining brightly???

I have a sense that it is in those places we can learn much about how to spread the Gospel and to develop a real sense of community, if only we take the time to stop moping. πŸ˜€ +

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