Evening Prayer: July 12th (Combo Post)

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Psalms: 26, 28, 36, 39
Old Testament: 1 Sam 19:1-18
New Testament: Acts 12:1-17
Gospel: Mark 2:1-12
Patristic Reading: An excerpt from a Treatise on the Mysteries by St. Ambrose

While Peter was kept in prison, the church prayed fervently to God for him. (Acts 12:5)

Over and over, the Acts of the Apostles stresses that the Church always did things together ; most especially at times of crisis.

In the Anglican church, as tensions and frustrations mount…..and some parishes find themselves in a congregationalist mindset, I think it’s sometimes forgotten that we are one, holy, catholic and apostolic church. Anything we do….any prayer we utter…..any worship we offer to God we do together.

Tonight I pray that the Church remembers its true nature as a family….complete with close loved ones and black sheep alike….we are called to act as one..and to always be in the business of building up rather than tearing down. ❤ +

Evening Prayer: May 13th (Combo Post)

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Psalm: 105
Old Testament: Daniel 6:1-15
New Testament 2 John
Gospel: Luke 5:12-26
Patristic Reading: An excerpt from a sermon of St. Ephrem the Deacon

And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment just as you have heard it from the beginning—you must walk in it. Many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh; any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist! (2 John 1:6-7)

Uh oh! There it is……the dreaded word: anti-Christ…..any images coming to your mind???

This:

Or this:

Or maybe if the traditional Reformers had their way….. it’s this guy:

The fact of the matter is that the concept of the anti-christ has been so far removed from its original meaning in fiction and popular conception that we have forgotten its true meaning.

Anti-christ is simply anything or anyone who runs contrary to upholding two basic principles:

a) That Jesus Christ came truly in the flesh and
b) that we are called to love one another, as he has loved us.

It is for these reasons and these reasons alone that someone is considered anti-christ….or in opposition to Christ’s commands. Far from a malevolent demon-child who will initiate Armageddon….the author of 2 John is teaching us to avoid false teachers who would draw us away from the fundamental truths that Jesus came to save us as fully human and that we are to emulate his love.

If we start straying from those basics….. that’s when we get into trouble. In forgetting who Jesus is and what He did for us…we forget that we are a redeemed people in need of Grace. If we forget his command to love others….than our experience of Grace becomes self-centred, self-contained, and self-driven….which is the very opposite of the Gospel message.

In reality, we do nothing by ourselves…..we only prosper through the power of God. The power of a God who loved us so much that he took our flesh to show his solidarity with us……and died so that we might have life again.

May we never become anti-christs and always seek to live out our lives declaring the power of our Lord Jesus and sharing his love for us with the world. Amen. +

Evening Prayer: Maundy Thursday

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Psalms: 142, 143
Gospel: John 13:1-27
Patristic Reading: An excerpt from an Easter sermon of St. Melito of Sardis

When I first came to the Anglican Church I was a little baffled as to why it today was called “Maundy” Thursday. Maundy comes from the Latin word “mandatum” meaning “commandment”. And what is this new commandment????

[Jesus said to his disciples] “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Coming from a Roman Catholic background, this shift in emphasis was a new thing for me. In the RC tradition, Holy Thursday is used as a day to give thanks for the Last Supper and an opportunity to venerate the Holy Sacrament. There was no talk of commands.

Yet in the Anglican faith, much more emphasis is placed on the directive of our Lord to love, and of His great humiilty washing the disciples feet. Not only that..but the readings always include Jesus’ prayer that his disciples may always be one:

‘I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. Father, I desire that those also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am…. (John 17:20-24a)

No matter what lines divide us in denomination, doctrinal dispute, or personal greivances, we are called to love beyond all else. Not only that….we are strengthened through Jesus’ prayer to know that whatever divides us can never be as important proclaiming the Good News that Jesus Christ is Lord and that he has come to save us:

He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed (Isaiah 53:5)

As we enter into the Triddium this year may we always be mindful of the great price paid for our salvation, the Sacrament which feeds us in body, mind and soul, and of the fundamental message to all Christians that the aim of this life is not to be served, but to wash the feet of others. +

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