Evening Prayer: Last Sunday of Epiphany (Transfiguration Sunday)

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Psalms: 114, 115
Gospel: John 12:24-32
Patristic Reading: An excerpt from the Confessions of St. Augustine

Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. (John 12:24-25)

The whole idea of dying to ourselves is a scary idea; especially in a culture that puts so much emphasis on the individual self. Note though, that Jesus’ words here don’t advocate dying just for the sake of dying, but so that we can grow and gain true and abundant life.

It’s also somewhat appropriate that we are reading this *just* as we head in towards Lent; a time when traditionally we let something go or give something up.

The Lenten discipline is not so much about self-induced torture as it is recognizing something as an excess……as something which is potentially holding us back from our getting to know Christ fully.

For me this year it’s coffee…I rely way too much on stimulants to keep me going rather than a regular cycle of prayer, eating healthy, and exercise.

On the surface this may seem like a simple self-help technique…..but it’s really not. Christian living is one that is Incarnational; a lifestyle which celebrates body and soul being interconnected and whole. Something which I have not attended to in a very long time.

So what about you? What are you willing to give up this Lent???? What might help you to grow spiritually, emotionally, or physically this year and bring you closer into line with God??? +

Morning Prayer: Last Sunday of Epiphany (Transfiguration Sunday)

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Psalms: 148, 149, 150
Old Testament: Deut 6:1-9
New Testament: Hebrews 12:18-29

So why is this commandment set above all others??? What is its significance?

At first glance it seems obvious……of course we love God…..don’t we???? It makes sense that we have an affection for the one who created us from the dust. But do we love him to the exclusion of all else???

It is no surprise that the Shema is always coupled with the commandment not to have other gods before YHWH.

You may remember last month, I mentioned Tim Keller In his book Counterfeit Gods he argues that these Gods refer not only to foreign deities but to ideas and roles as well.

Do we love God more than wealth? Do we love God more than we love our independence? Do we love God more than being a parent? A spouse? A student? A priest?

These questions are difficult as they cut to the very heart of our identity :P…..That said, I do wonder what the answer to these questions would be if we were to answer honestly. +

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