December 18th: O Adonai (Lord)

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O Adonai, et Dux domus Israel,
qui Moysi in igne flammae rubi apparuisti,
et ei in Sina legem dedisti:
veni ad redimendum nos in brachio extento.

O Lord, and leader of the House of Israel,
who appeared to Moses in the fire of the burning bush
and gave him the law on Sinai:
Come and redeem us with an outstretched arm

In addition to giving us Wisdom and the Law YHWH adopts for himself a covenant people. In his choosing of Israel as the great nation, the Lord of heaven and earth declared one simple fact: He is unequivocally on the side of the oppressed.

When push literally comes to shove, the strong hand of Pharaoh is useless against plagues and famine. When it seems as though Babylon will contain the Hebrew people for good, thier Lord raises up a foreign king to free them. Just as it seems that the corruption of Rome has rotted holiness to its core, a little baby shows up in a manger.

The promise of Christ is not one that promises meek and mild….but strong and transformative power that will fundamentally change the way we live, and move and have our being.

Lord Jesus come soon! Come and be born in our hearts! +

Evening Prayer: August 18th (Combo Post)

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Psalms:131, 132, 134, 135
Old Testament: 2 Sam 19:1-23
New Testament: Acts 24:1-23
Gospel: Mark 12:28-34
Patristic Reading: An excerpt from a treatise on the Hail Mary by Bishop Baldwin of Canterbury

Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.โ€ The second is this, โ€œYou shall love your neighbour as yourself.โ€ There is no other commandment greater than these (Mark 12:30-31)

Say it with me…..all together now ๐Ÿ˜‰

Lord have mercy upon us, and write both these thy laws in our hearts we beseech thee.

Unlike some of my contemporaries, I was first introduced to the Anglican Church using ye olde Book of Common Prayer

For those who don’t know…the Shema (“Hear O Israel”) and the response I quoted above serves as one of the opening prayers of the Eucharistic liturgy.

What I find interesting is that this prayer frames the whole point of the worship that follows.

Everything from the readings, the General Confession, General Intercession, the Offertory Prayer, the Prayer of Humble Access, and sharing in the Sacred Meal itself….. all of these acts are meant not only to serve as a reminder of God’s promises….but to literally change us and to inscribe God’s law and love into our own hearts.

Another important thing to remember is that God would never ask us to do something that he Himself would avoid.

As we bear witness to the priests words and manual acts over the gifts.. we are reminded about how God Himself, the Word made Flesh lived out the two greatest commandments… withholding nothing so that the whole world might be saved….. and that all would come to know the infinite love the Trinity has for all creation.

It is no coincidence that after sharing in the Body and Blood, the BCP then offers a second responsory prayer:

And here we offer and present unto thee, O Lord, ourselves, our souls and bodies, to be a reasonable, holy, and living sacrifice unto thee. And although we are unworthy, yet we beseech thee to accept this our bounden duty and service, not weighing our merits, but pardoning our offences; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with thee and the Holy Ghost, be all honour and glory, world without end. Amen.

Just as we respond to the prayer of the Shema asking God to move us and shape us, we respond to the Eucharist–the Sacred time in which we are not far from God–with an earnest plea that our new hearts and cleansed bodies can be used for God’s glory….that we too, like our Father will withhold nothing in proclaiming the gospel to all nations and to reconcile everyone we meet to the LORD.

May we always be strengthened by word and Sacrament to bear the image of Christ everywhere we go….and to live out the commandments. +

Morning Prayer: Feast of Pentecost

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Psalm: 118
Old Testament: Isaiah 11:1-9
New Testament:1 Cor 2:1-13

For those of you who are on my FB friends list…..this video will be a little bit of a repeat……but I think it does a great job of capturing both the importance and practical application of our festal celebrations today. ๐Ÿ˜€

Lord, send out your spirit and renew the face of the Earth (Ps. 104:30)

Happy Pentecost! +

Morning Prayer: June 8th

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Psalms: 101,109:1-4, 20-30
Old Testament: Ezekiel 11:14-25
New Testament: Hebrews 7:1-17

I will give them one* heart, and put a new spirit within them; I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, 20so that they may follow my statutes and keep my ordinances and obey them. Then they shall be my people, and I will be their God. (Ezekiel 11:19-20)

Whenever I hear about hearts of stone being removed and replaced with new hearts…I am instantly taken back to elementary school :). When I was younger, hymns written by Don Schutte were super popular and this song was on repeat for almost every Mass I attended as a child:

God has already begun the work of transforming us, and making us new :). But the question remains…..what will our response be?

It’s all well and good to be given a new heart…a new perspective on love and life. But are we going to keep it to ourselves??? or exercise that new heart in the world around us??? I hope and pray that our response to Grace will be: “Here I am LORD, send me” +

Morning Prayer: Monday of Holy Week

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Psalm: 51
Old Testament: Jeremiah 12:1-6
New Testament: Philippians 3:1-14

I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death, if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. (Phil 3:10-12)

Today, we find ourselves one day closer to the Cross of Calvary. Today Paul reminds us that we are called to enjoin our sufferings to Christ…not in the hopes that we might accomplish anything on our own….but in the hope that God will indeed heal us and make us whole.

This past week I heard a hymn composed by one of the parishoners at Bishop Cronyn church that speaks of that kind of struggle and hope. It is called “In Your Footsteps Lord” composed by Pat Sealy and put to music by Benjamin Dyck (also a member of the parish ๐Ÿ™‚ )….

Pat was inspired to write this hymn after her battle with breast cancer. Through incredible strength, perseverance and Grace she was able to see the Gospel in a whole new way…..and it is in that Spirit that I share this hymn with you now.

In your footsteps Lord, Guide me through the wilderness
Temptation beckons me astray, and fears devour my rest

Chorus: I hear you my beloved child, come take me by the hand. We’ll be together hearts entwined, I’ll lead you to the promised land. I’ll lead you to the promised land.

In your footsteps Lord, Sustain me with your bread and wine.
O help me never to betray, to face my trials in time. Chorus

In your footsteps Lord, Support me while I take my cross,
The sword that pierces through my side, shows me my life is lost. Chorus

In your footsteps Lord, I feel the darkness of the tomb.
O heal the brokenness within, reborn within your womb. Chorus

In your footsteps Lord, move the limbs beneath the shroud,
and fill me with your living breath, to speak your name aloud. Chorus

In your footsteps Lord, move away the heavy stone.
And let the hope of Easter say, through grace we’re not alone. Chorus

In your footsteps Lord, give me strength to live each day.
And let me be a shepherd now, to show your Gracious way.

May this hymn inspire you and may the Spirit help you to know that we never walk alone. God bless all of you in this most holy week of the year. ๐Ÿ™‚ +

Evening Prayer: March 17th

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Psalms: 19, 46
Gospel: John 3:16-21
Patristic Reading: An excerpt from the Confessions of St. Patrick

โ€˜For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. (John 3:16)

Well there it is…..the infamous John 3:16 has finally made an appearance in the Office this year. :)….

No doubt you have seen signs at protests, football games, and rallies that bear this verse……and yet….what does it mean?

Over the years, John 3:16 has been used for so many different purposes by the “evangelical” community. (Not to mention being a significant marketing tool for a WWE superstar)

I put evangelical in quotation marks not because I want to mock conservative right-wingers, but rather because all Christians are called to evangelize and spread the Good News of Christ.

That effort to spread the Gospel is part of the reason you see this bible verse prominently displayed at many big events. It cuts right to the heart of the message. Above all else, we are to believe that Jesus came to save us….nothing else matters.

I don’t mean that our outward physical behaviour doesn’t matter… it does…..a great deal :)…..but without faith in Christ, there is no reason to act…….there is no reason to be moral…..there is no reason to suspect that we are actually sinners in desperate need of redemption.

Without belief in Christ, all we are left with are the limits of human intelligence and benevolence. Forgive my cynicism here……but from what I have seen human intelligence and sense of compassion…..they don’t extend too far. Many times we are caught up in our needs and wants…..out of our pursuit of profit….and by a drive towards success.

John 3:16 has been used by many Christians to demonize those whom they consider unconverted heathen….oftentimes forgetting the follow-up line that Christ came into the world not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.

While our God is a God of judgment, he also wills that all creation should be saved……or at least, that we should be given a choice. Our job is not to force that choice down people’s throats….but rather to invite them into relationship with the One who died and rose for all of us…..and did so out of love. +

Evening Prayer: March 4th (Combo Post)

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Psalms: 16, 17, 22
Old Testament: Deut 5:1-12
New Testament: 2 Cor 12:11-21
Gospel: Matthew 7:13-21
Patrstic Reading: An excerpt from the Moral Reflections on Job by St. Gregory the Great

So today we have the Ten commandments coupled with this line from the Gospel:

โ€˜Not everyone who says to me, โ€œLord, Lordโ€, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only one who does the will of my Father in heaven. (Matt 7:21)

Eek! :S……It’s sometimes uncomfortable to think about, the connection between word and deed is important for us to think about; especially given the Protestant heritage of the Anglican Church.

As the Reformation evolved from Luther, a special emphasis was put on choosing Jesus Christ as your own personal Saviour. While the idea of a personal relationship and profession of faith is good in and of itself…..it can sometimes be twisted.

A classic example is the “sinner’s prayer” and altar calls in the more “Evangelical” traditions. While I don’t agree with every theological stance that he takes….one preacher who tackles this issue brilliantly is Paul Washer:

The key for the life of faith is that words and actions meet so that our faith is not proven to be dead.

It is easy to get sucked into the idea that all we need to do is believe. I know I’ve fallen in the trap before….and I think we all do at some point :P….Just because the Reformation put so much emphasis on the fact that we are totally depraved, doesn’t mean we should act that way. +

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