Morning Prayer: September 2nd

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Psalm: 31
Old Testament: 1 Kings 11:26-43
New Testament: James 4:13-5:6

Anyone, then, who knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, commits sin. (James 4:17)

While hearing this Scripture read at the Cathedral this morning I was immediately reminded of the 2nd Murder’s speech from Shakespeare’s Richard III:

Skip ahead to 6:35 ff. to hear the speech and subsequent dialogue

When debating whether to kill the Duke of Clarence and collect their fee from Richard, the assassin proclaims that he won’t meddle with conscience because it only leads to guilt, trouble and inability to do what we wish.

If only turning off that still small voice was so easy.  Our conscience is what helps us to determine the will of God and the road of sin.  Without it, there can be no living in holiness…nor is there anything  to keep us from living in chaos.

I would love to be able to be fun and fancy free…..and yet….I am entirely too human…and conscience indeed comes into play…especially if I do something bad.

The warning from James–although directed to the rich who squander wealth–speaks to us all.  As much as a guilty conscience can convict us, a clear conscience can enable us to live with joy and peace.

I pray that this day we find peace in our souls…..and if we are restless….that the Spirit will move us to repent and be healed by the Great Physician which heals all malady and makes hearts of cold stone into beating hearts of flesh with the power to love +

Morning Prayer: Sat. of Advent 3 (December 18th)

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Psalm(s):24, 29
Old Testament: Isaiah 42:1-12
New Testament: Ephesians 6:10-20

The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars;
the Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon.
He makes Lebanon skip like a calf,
and Sirion like a young wild ox.

The voice of the Lord flashes forth flames of fire.
The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness;
the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.

The voice of the Lord causes the oaks to whirl,*
and strips the forest bare;
and in his temple all say, ‘Glory!’ (Psalm 29: 5-9)

I don’t know about you….. but this is what God’s voice sounds like to me 😉

OK….so maybe YHWH doesn’t sound exactly like that :)…..but Psalm 29 does put a lot of emphasis on God’s voice…more specifically the power behind it.

The voice of the LORD can break cedar trees, turn water into dry land and causes the very foundations of the world to quake. If any of us were to witness these things in our lifetime, I’m sure we would be scared out of our wits!

I think that this aspect of fear and surprise is often missed in modern interpretations of the Bible.

For the writers of Scripture God’s appearance is always sudden and overpowering. His voice and presence are so overwhelming that Moses must hide his face as the LORD passes by……

His manifestation in the heavenly host causes shepherds to tremble, and all mortal flesh keeps silence as the Word descends from heaven.

Hearing the voice of God is not always meant to bring comfort and solace. At times, it is meant to make us a little afraid, a little apprehensive about our own future….to blur the line of what is vs. what God will do in the future.

It is in that creative and spiritual tension that we as disciples are forced to grow beyond our own borders. It is in that discomfort that we uncover what makes us tick, and it is in that fear and apprehensiveness that we realize there is more to this world then simply our own needs and desires. +

Evening Prayer: Thurs. of Advent 3

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Psalm: 33
Gospel: Matthew 3:1-12
Reading from the Church: an excerpt from The Dogmatic Constitution of Vatican II (scroll down to the second reading).

Christ the  Architect


 

For the word of the Lord is upright,
and all his work is done in faithfulness.
He loves righteousness and justice;
the earth is full of the steadfast love of the Lord.

By the word of the Lord the heavens were made,
and all their host by the breath of his mouth.
He gathered the waters of the sea as in a bottle;
he put the deeps in storehouses. (Psalm 33:4-7)

There’s a lot of talk tonight about God’s word. What is God’s word? Is it the Bible? Is it the stirring of the Holy Spirit we hear in the silence of our hearts? Is it the Word made flesh in the person of Jesus? Or is it something else entirely?

I would like to suggest that it might be a combinaiton of all three :D. As inheritors of the Christian tradition some 2000 years after its beginning, we are reliant on the Word of Scripture to know God’s plan of salvation for us. That being said, I am not a huge fan of arguing for Biblical inerrancy or reading passages out of context to justify our own biases :P.

I think the Word of God dwells in us. In our hearts and minds as he promised through the prophet Ezekiel (Ezek. 36:24-26, 28b) and also reminds us that God’s living word is continually spoken and interpreted in the here and the now :D.

Ultimately though, our source for the Word must come from Jesus Himself. As the Word who became flesh for us…his life, death, and resurrection becomes the lens through which we must view all of Scripture.

Earlier this year, I struggled with reading a particularly violent passage in Exodus. It seemed that God was relentless in his punishment of sin and iniquity…leaving no room for forgiveness.

As the conversation thread unfolded on Facebook…..a fellow classmate and friend of mine (who is now rector of Trinity Parish in Lucan and St. James, Clandeboye) responded with the following comment:

This is the word of the LORD”, but it is merely a partial revelation of the complete Word. And for that reason, I don’t have problems with the response, ‘Thanks be to God’, because I am truly thankful that God reveals himself to us in multiple, surprising ways. This is much different from saying that God reveals his purposes in condoning the slaughter of thousands of people. But it keeps us engaged with scripture, even when all we can say is “how can this be?”

This constant act of questioning, discovering and interpreting the Bible through the WHOLE revelation of God rather than just snippets of the Lectionary was really thought-provoking for me and changed the whole way I approached reading the Bible….especially those parts I find difficult or downright incomprehensible.

Let us remember that God speaks to us in a variety of ways…..and that–especially during this season of Advent–that we remember to leave the doors of communication opened. Chances are we will be challenged, astonished, disturbed, and moved by what we hear. 😀 +

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