Evening Prayer: Eve of Pentecost

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Psalm:33
Old Testament: Exodus 19:3-8a, 16-20
New Testament: 1 Peter 2:4-10

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light. (1 Pet 2:9)

Sometimes I think Christians take their claim of holiness and priesthood a little too seriously….or rather not, seriously enough. In the zeal to evangelize, and to bring Christ to the masses, Western culture (Canadians included)…has found it tough to avoid an “us vs. them” mentality.

We are the ones who have the Gospel, right???? We are the smart ones…we know the Truth. We are the one’s saddled with responsibility and The White Man’s Burden laying heavy across our shoulders.

In taking such an approach, we have justified the destruction of First Nations people, sanctioned exclusivity on part of the Church, and condemned people to hellfire and damnation :P.

All because we didn’t pay attention to Peter’s next verse:

Once you were not a people,
but now you are God’s people;
once you had not received mercy,
but now you have received mercy. (1 Pet 2:10)

Read that verse, and the whole context changes. Now we cannot perceive ourselves as great….or as superior..but as a people who have been lifted up from the dust. Not as masters who can decide the fate of others, but of slaves given freedom and new life.

We are called not to judge each other……but to build one another up. Not to lament our brokenness, but celebrate in the collective joy we find in Christ Jesus…Not to look down on others, but encourage one another living in the Spirit.

I pray that on this birthday of the Church, we can not only celebrate the Spirit in our midst…but give Her the space to transform our hearts, our minds, and the way we each live in this world. 😀 +

Evening Prayer: March 15th

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Psalm: 37:19-42
Gospel: Luke 5:1-12
Patristic Reading: An excerpt from Against the Heresies by St. Iranaeus

…When Simon Peter saw [that the nets were full to bursting] , he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, ‘Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!’ (Mark 5:8)

Imagine that you have been up since the wee hours of the morning trying to catch fish. And there is absolutely nothin’ doing.

Keep in mind this is not the fishing we think of in Southern Ontario…..with sunshine, a beer and time to relax. These are men who must fish every day. They must get enough product to market to gain their livelihood. No fish means you don’t eat that week :(.

Dog tired, chilled by the open winds on the sea…and totally despondent…you have a strange looking dude come and ask you for passage so that he can escape the growing crowds.

Not caring very much, Simon agrees. A minute later he finds himself with literally boatloads of fish. The source of his worry is INSTANTLY taken away.

Wouldn’t that scare the crap out of you??? It’s no small wonder that Simon wants to distance himself from this person who has massive amounts of power. Powerful enough to punish him for any wrongdoing…..just as he was powerful enough to reward Simon for the sanctuary of the boat.

Jesus’ actions and words are interesting here. He doesn’t shy away from the sinner. Rather he invites him into a new ministry….to be a fisher of people. He doesn’t punish Simon’s wrong-doing but instead invites him into relationship.

Our Lord is a God who is concerned with sin yes….but we are also told that he will rejoice more over 1 sinner who repents than 1000 who enter the presence of God with a clear conscience.

More than that, Christ wants to transform us and invite us into relationship with him.

In doing so, Jesus makes it clear that the road is not easy……but he does promise that at the end we are given grace and abundance beyond our wildest dreams; fed in body, mind, and Spirit. Thanks be to God who welcomes sinners and does not shy away from those who are scared. Christus Victor! Alleluia! +

Morning Prayer: Jan. 24th

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Psalms: 41, 52
Old Testament Isaiah 48:1-11
New Testament: Galatians 1:1-17

Am I now seeking human approval, or God’s approval? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still pleasing people, I would not be a servant* of Christ (Galatians 1:10)

The rhetorical question put forward by Paul is an interesting one to contemplate. What is the motivation for our day-to-day activities….is it to please and impress others??? Or is it to follow the way where Christ leads us.

I think–if we are truly honest with ourselves–it is a little from column A and a little from column B. I think the important thing though is to take some time to step back……to really evaluate where our impetus for action comes from.

Like St. Paul, I think that we have to make a conscious decision…..a decision that spreading the gospel in word and deed is #1 on the priority list..a decision not to worry about what other people say….and to do the absolute best we can in living out the life of faith, and the call to holiness+

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