Evening Prayer: Feast of St. Michael and All Angels (Michaelmas)

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Psalm: 34, 150
Old Testament:Daniel 12:1-3
New Testament: Mark 13:21-27

Hallelujah!
Praise God in his holy temple; *
praise him in the firmament of his power.
Praise him for his mighty acts; *
praise him for his excellent greatness. (Psalm 150:1-2)

In Biblical literature, angels typically have two roles. As I alluded to this morning, they bring God’s messages to humanity…but they also have a special role in that they praise YHWH continually.

The heavenly host reminds us that we too are called not only to love God and neighbour…..but to give thanks and praise for the blessing of creation. As human beings, we are made in the image of the Trinity and given the gift of life….We are indeed marvelously made and surrounded by beauty beyond all telling.

Tonight….I invite you to join your voice and heart to the song of angels so that from north to south, east to west, from heaven to earth, we may proclaim that the LORD is King and his dominion rules over all. +

Morning Prayer: June 27th

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Psalm: 106:1-18
Old Testament: 1 Samuel 10:17-27
New Testament: Acts 7:44-8:1a

Praise the Lord!
O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
for his steadfast love endures for ever.
Who can utter the mighty doings of the Lord,
or declare all his praise? (Ps. 106:1-2)

As I was thinking about what to post this morning……I am literally at a loss for words. As some of you may have noticed, my blog posts have been sporadic at best…but that’s not because of anything bad…..quite the opposite actually. 🙂

For the first time in a very long while……things have been falling into place…and I have no idea why. Half of my brain expects the bubble to burst any second……but for right now…..right this minute….life is good. 🙂

On a knee-jerk reaction……I could say that it’s the result of a new relationship I am exploring…..but as a whole, that piece (although wonderful :D) is far too new to be the root cause.

It’s more than that. My “jobs” such as they are….are taking off…..I find myself in faith communities that both stretch my abilities and embrace me as a whole person :P.

Granted, the roles in ministry I have right now still cause worry…but worry in a different way. I don’t worry about whether I can bring the Gospel message…..

Instead, I find myself worrying about what is the best way to do it??? What is the way that will most effectively speak to those I serve???

Anxiety is present…..but it’s anxiety mixed with excitement….it’s very hard to describe…..

Today I am reminded…..God is good <3….and we need to praise him in the happy times, along with those times we feel like Jonah in the belly of despair. 🙂 +

Morning Prayer: Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary to Elizabeth

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Psalm: 72
Old Testament: 1 Sam 1:1-20
New Testament: Hebrews 3:1-6

So I know I have been away for a looooong while…..but I figured this feast day is as good a time to reclaim my place in the blogosphere as any :). Today the Church celebrates one of its most joyous occasions.

Cousins unite to celebrate their respective miracles and greet one another with a kiss of peace. One of the most important aspects of this day for me…is that God never leaves us alone.

Mary is faced with the prospect of being a first-time mom, she has also been told that her Son will redeem the world. No pressure right? 😛

And yet, in this incredible time of anxiety and stress, Mary can rely on her cousin Elizabeth; who is going through an equally surreal experience…..carrying a baby well into old age, who has been told that her son will herald the coming of the Messiah.

Together these two women will help to transform the world…taking responsibility for raising John the Baptist and the Christ-child. To instruct both of them in the Law of Moses and to make sure they grow up knowing the difference between right and wrong.

Today’s feast is a way of acknowledging not just the incredible challenge these women faced…..but the joy with which they embraced God’s plan for them. Elizabeth hails Mary as the most blessed of all women, and the child in her belly leaps for joy. Mary responds with the Magnificat, which is first and foremost a song of praise.

In all trials, tribulations and uncertainty…..their example teaches us that we must have joy in our hearts….if not for what God is doing in our lives….then as a way of thanking Him for the family, friends and strangers he brings into our lives to hold us up when we feel like we are falling. Alleluia! Alleluia!

Morning Prayer: May 10th

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Psalms 26, 28
Old Testament: Daniel 4:28-37
New Testament: 1 John 4:7-21

While I absolutely ❤ the passage from 1 John this morning….it is the Old Testament lesson that caught my eye….mainly because it is so off-kilter compared to the rest of the Biblical narrative.

Here we have Nebuchadnezzer…..the great king of Babylon….going insane and–through that experience–comes to know YHWH as the Lord of all Creation.

The event in and of itself is not unique. Throughout the Old Testament there are examples of kings, prophets, and court officials doing some rather eccentric things. People who temporarily lose their minds as a punishment for blasphemy or pride.

In the end, they are always restored to wholeness and peace of mind…..but the twist here is that Nebuchadnezzer is a Gentile.

In the natural flow of the Jewish tradition….this isn’t supposed to happen. The oppressor of God’s chosen one cannot possibly be given an experience of the divine, can he???

It would be absurd to think that mental illness is a punishment from God. He doesn’t work like that. The crux of the story lies in the fact that this foreigner, this stranger……even he is not outside the Grace of God.

The good news which shines through in this passage is that even the worst of us might be able to see God. Even those of us who feel so lost….who feel as though we have lost all semblance of “normal” and “healthy” might one day join our voices with the Babylonian king; in declaring God’s wonder and glory in our lives:

I blessed the Most High,
and praised and honored the one who lives forever.
For his sovereignty is an everlasting sovereignty,
and his kingdom endures from generation to generation.

All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing,
and he does what he wills with the host of heaven
and the inhabitants of the earth.
There is no one who can stay his hand
or say to him, “What are you doing?”

At that time my reason returned to me; and my majesty and splendor were restored to me for the glory of my kingdom. My counselors and my lords sought me out, I was re-established over my kingdom, and still more greatness was added to me. Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven. (Dan 4:34b-37)

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Morning Prayer: 6th Sunday of Epiphany

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Psalms: 66-67
Old Testament: Isaiah 62:6-12
New Testament: 1 John 2:3-11

I will come into your house with burnt-offerings;
I will pay you my vows,
those that my lips uttered
and my mouth promised when I was in trouble.
I will offer to you burnt-offerings of fatlings,
with the smoke of the sacrifice of rams;
I will make an offering of bulls and goats. (Psalm 66: 13-15)

I want to tie a few things together today. I am posting this post-Eucharist and so I have the Gospel reading for today on my mind too. In his Sermon on the Mount (Matt chaps. 5-7) Jesus says that if we are at odds with a brother or sister we are to leave our sacrifice at the altar and reconcile to them first.

But how does this apply to the Church??? We have no temple…..we have no animal sacrifices….so what does this mean for Christians?

While we might not have animal sacrifice, there is what the Church calls the “sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving.” This can range anywhere from the Perpetual Sacrifice of medieval theology, to the worship and praise music of the Baptist and Pentecostal traditions.

We also have some sense that the Christian life itself is a sacrifice to others and ultimately to God; as is demonstrated by one of my favourite prayers from the BCP:

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. (pg 86)

Sacrifices take place in other forms too. The whole idea of financial offerings and tithing is not simply a way to support the congregation and the Church at large…but is a voluntary sacrifice of income out of thanks for our wealth (however great or meager it may be).

In offering our ministry and talents to the world, we often have to sacrifice time, energy, and relaxation time to build up the Kingdom around us.

So no……we don’t bring bulls and goats before God. But we do sacrifice ourselves in all sorts of different ways. To paraphrase a versicle from the RC Mass:

Versicle: Pray my brothers and sisters that this our sacrifice may be acceptable to God the Almighty Father
Response: May the LORD accept the sacrifice at your hands, for the praise and glory of His Name; for our good and the good of all his Church

Blessed be. + 🙂

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