Evening Prayer: July 15th

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Psalm: 35
Gospel: Mark 3:7-19
Patristic Reading: An excerpt from a treatise on the Mysteries by St. Ambrose

Random fun fact: When I was in seminary, we often would joke around about being posted to “St. Swithin’s by the Swamp” for first ministry assignments (to refer to parishes out in the boonies)…..At first I thought it was just a euphemism my profs. and colleagues used…..turns out he’s an actual saint who is venerated in England….Today (July 15th) is his feast day. πŸ™‚

Light is preferable to its shadow, reality to its symbol, the body of the Giver to the manna he gave from heaven.

At the risk of getting a little too po-mo in my reflection……I kinda like what Ambrose says here.

In the Christian conception, the Sacraments are what allow us to see God as He truly is…a person who gives us life and fulfillment for the body, the mind and the soul.

Our God is not one who hides behind the veil of heaven…..but discarded the veil and came down to meet us face to face. One of the unspoken extensions of this is that the Sacraments change us too.

By placing our faith in a God who reveals himself fully, we are also making a choice to show our full selves to the world….to be a reflection of the one who created us and reshaped us in baptism. St. Ambrose’s call to recognize the bread and wine as Body and Blood also act as a subtle reminder that our lives are to be sacraments…our actions are to be outward and visible signs of the inward and invisible Grace we have received.

We don’t have the time or energy to waste in presenting false personas to the world……After all….what does that accomplish…..except to hide behind the comfortable veil of sin and self-will once more????

The key–I think–is to remember that we have been adopted as children of the Most High. Once we claim that identity for our own…..the true Light which dispels all darkness becomes a part of us……so that when we encounter one another 1:1, the other person sees not only our personalities…..but the love of Jesus radiating through us……as we are truly meant to shine in this world. ❀ +

Morning Prayer: April 6th

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Psalms: 101, 109
Old Testament: Jeremiah 18:1-11
New Testament: Romans 8:1-11

Look, I am a potter shaping evil against you and devising a plan against you. Turn now, all of you from your evil way, and amend your ways and your doings (Jeremiah 18:11)

Translation???

This is most definitely a judgment oracle, but it also comes with a possible solution….to repent and turn from our ways.

One of the great things about the clay and potter analogy is that it recognizes how fragile our life really is. Our choices and life experiences mold and shape us into something that is either beautiful or warped….

I pray that as we move through these last days of Lent, we take care to examine our conscience and to ask God to help us correct the ways in which we are straying from him.

Instead of seeking to break the mold and do our own thing…..let us ask to be fashioned in the likeness of the Son of God, and to be living icons of Christ Jesus for the world. + πŸ™‚

Evening Prayer: March 30th (Combo Post)

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Psalms: 119:97-120, 81, 82
Old Testament: Jeremiah 8:18-9:6
New Testament: Romans 5:1-11
Gospel: John 8:12-28
Patristic Reading: An excerpt from the writings of St. Theophilus of Antioch

I take my cue for reflection from the Patristic reading again tonight:

A person’s soul should be clean, like a mirror reflecting light. If there is rust on the mirror his face cannot be seen in it. In the same way, no one who has sin within him can see God.
But if you will you can be healed. Hand yourself over to the doctor, and he will open the eyes of your mind and heart. Who is to be the doctor? It is God, who heals and gives life through his Word and wisdom.

In one of the companion readers to Eastern Orthodox theology on my shelf, I read an essay written by Nonna Verna Harrison which focused on Creation and the Fall of Man.

It forever changed the way I thought about the Incarnation and the Atonement and is certainly not a very Protestant view; but the beauty about being Anglican is that I can tread a middle road :)….so hopefully what I m about to say next makes at least a little bit of sense and doesn’t offend too many readers πŸ™‚

The essay is entitled “The Human Person as the Likeness and Image of God.” In it, Harrison says that the Likeness and Image of God are actually two distinct characteristics. The Likeness of God refers to the way in which we resemble God…in our free choice, in our dominion over creation, in our capacity to create, the ability to act justly.

The Image of God is simply our identity as a created being….given the breathe of life from our Creator, and of our need to live in community and mutual love.

Unlike the Western model of total depravity, in which the human being can do no good at all, Harrison points out that the Orthodox understood the transgression of Adam differently.

The disobedience of Man caused forgetfulness…..a kind of amnesia……in which we forgot our true origins as “good” and reflecting the glory of the Father. Both our image and likeness to God were covered up by the dirt and grime of sin.

With the Incarnation, Crucifixion, and Resurrection….all of that changed! πŸ˜€

In winning the victory for us over sin…..Jesus removed the veil from our eyes, and the dirt from our souls. We were able to see–as if for the first time–who we really are: Sons and Daughters of the Most High God.

In promoting a time of fasting, cleansing, and repentance, Lent seeks to remove all of the filth that resides in us. To purge those things which keep us out of touch of our true selves.

Perhaps even more importantly, this process of healing and purification allows us to see God’s holiness reflected not only in ourselves…..but in everything and everyone all over the world.

I pray that as we continue our journey to the Passion of our Lord, our hearts might be touched and given a clean slate to see Christ in all his glory, and to truly rejoice as we remember the One who made us, and invites us to new life through his Body and Blood. Amen. +

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