The Gospel in Chairs…….

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Given that I haven’t posted all week….I thought I would share this with you! ๐Ÿ™‚

Ever wondered what all this talk about Jesus dying for our sins is all about??? There are two systems of thought….One being the juridical model of St. Anselm, and the other the Christus Victor (restorative) model, outlined most fully by the Cappadocian Fathers

This video outlines both systems in a very effective and accessible skit ๐Ÿ™‚

While I don’t think that the two theories of atonement are diametrically opposed to one another, this presentation helps to highlight the main difference between mainline Roman Catholic and Protestant thinking, and that of the Eastern Orthodox Church.

The first view places a strong emphasis on God’s sense of justice, the second on God’s undying, radical love for humanity.

As with anything, I think there is a balance between the two…..a valid concern to correct injustice…..but at the same time…… an open admission that our Lord’s grace and mercy overflows beyond our comprehension and there is never a place where God is not. ๐Ÿ™‚

Thanks be to God for the miracle of the Incarnation and the gift of resurrection and faith. Always confronting us, restoring us and making us new!+

Morning Prayer: Feast of the Lord’s Presentation in the Temple (Candlemas)

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Psalms: 42, 43
Old Testament: 1 Samuel 2:1-10
Gospel: John 8:31-36

This morning we have the continuation of Hannah’s story as she offers up a song of thanks to God for the birth of her son:

โ€˜My heart exults in the Lord;
my strength is exalted in my God.*
My mouth derides my enemies,
because I rejoice in my* victory.

โ€˜There is no Holy One like the Lord,
no one besides you;
there is no Rock like our God.
Talk no more so very proudly,
let not arrogance come from your mouth;
for the Lord is a God of knowledge,
and by him actions are weighed.
The bows of the mighty are broken,
but the feeble gird on strength.
Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread,
but those who were hungry are fat with spoil.
The barren has borne seven,
but she who has many children is forlorn.
The Lord kills and brings to life;
he brings down to Sheol and raises up.
The Lord makes poor and makes rich;
he brings low, he also exalts.
He raises up the poor from the dust;
he lifts the needy from the ash heap,
to make them sit with princes
and inherit a seat of honour.*
For the pillars of the earth are the Lordโ€™s,
and on them he has set the world.

He will guard the feet of his faithful ones,
but the wicked shall be cut off in darkness;
for not by might does one prevail.
The Lord! His adversaries shall be shattered;
the Most High* will thunder in heaven.
The Lord will judge the ends of the earth;
he will give strength to his king,
and exalt the power of his anointed. (1 Sam 2:1-10)

While I haven’t written anything on the subject, I have always thought that this passage and the Song of Mary we find in Luke are linked. Both songs are about marginalized women who arise victorious over taunts and impossible situations to glorify God. They also follow a similar pattern in terms of literary form.

In Hannah’s words we have assurance that the Light of the LORD will always triumph over sin and death….and that ultimately God is king of the whole universe. The “little guy” will triumph over the powers that be….and in the end justice will be served.

The next time you feel overwhelmed….may you remember the songs of these remarkable women and be filled with hope that springs from the Light of our Saviour Jesus Christ. ๐Ÿ™‚ +

Evening Prayer: Eve of the Lord’s Presentation


Psalms: 113, 122
Old Testament: 1 Sam 1:20-28
New Testament: Romans 8:14-21

Ever wonder why John the Baptist, the Prophets and Jesus are all depicted with shoulder-length hair and a beard in Christian art????

Part of the reason for that is a conscious effort on the part of artists to highlight the connection of these individuals to God.

The order of Nazirites are first introduced here in the book of Samuel. Nazirites are essentially first-born (male) children who are dedicated exclusively to the service of God. This is an echo of Torah law which requires that the first (healthy male) animal of any flock or herd is dedicated in sacrifice to the LORD.

According to tradition and custom, they could not shave, cut their hair or drink intoxicants.

Hannah has brought her son to the Temple not strictly out of duty….but out of a sincere thanks to the LORD. Prior to this point she had been barren, and desired more than anything to have a child with her husband.

In her prayer earlier in this chapter, she promises that if this wish is granted, she will dedicate the baby as a nazarite in the Temple.

Samuel goes on to do great things. He protects the nation of Israel from invasion, and anoints Saul (and then David) as the first monarchs of the United Israelite kingdom.

As we enter into this feast of the Dedication of Jesus, we are called to remember our own seal of baptism. To remember that we have been sealed with the sign of the cross, the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and that we have been marked as Christ’s own forever.

Both our redemption and our call to ministry is no doubt challenging….but it is also filled with joy. For as St. Paul says:

I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. (Romans 8: 18-21)

May you be filled with all the joy and peace that comes from believing and be strengthened in your own ministries each and every day โค +

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