Evening Prayer: March 5th

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Psalms: 110, 116, 117
Gospel: Matt 7:22-29
Patristic Reading: An excerpt from a sermon of St. Zeno of Verona

I remember this Gospel passage as the one used for my sister’s wedding; kind of appropriate given the stuff that I’ve been reflecting on about trust and relationship in the last few posts.

Rocks are an important image in the Bible. In the Psalms, God is often referred to as the rock and refuge of Israel and the oppressed. In the Exodus story, God makes water to flow from a rock in the desert, so that his people to not die of thirst. Jesus calls Peter the rock on which he will build his Church.

Rocks are solid and intractable. Yet they also come in a variety of shapes, colours, compositions, weight, etc.

No two rocks are the same….each has been uniquely formed by tectonic force……bearing the stamp of the stress and pressure they have been under.

We are kind of like that too. Each experience in our life….whether it be stressful, joyful, or otherwise exerts certain pressures on us. They change the way we are shaped.

Sometimes it’s for the worse, but sometimes for the better…but we are nonetheless different from how we were before. I hope that as we move forward in our lives…..we continue to be shaped by our experiences. With any luck, the end result will be that the people around us will encounter someone who is changed by their joy and delight, rather than twisted and warped by frustration, hate, and disappointment. +

Morning Prayer: Feast of St. Peter’s Confession

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Psalms: 66, 67
Old Testament: Ezekiel 3:4-11
New Testament: Acts 10:34-44

Today the Church remembers the Confession of St. Peter that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of the living God. Upon hearing this Jesus declares that Simon Peter is the rock on which his church will be built.

I want to step away from the Scripture readings for a brief moment this morning and talk a little more about this Simon Peter…..this founder of our faith.

Most of my reflection material is actually borrowed from Fr. Rae Fletcher (who is my Spiritual Director and rector of Bishop Cronyn Memorial Church here in London.)

Growing up as a Roman Catholic, I had always been taught that this particular Feast Day and event in Scripture was the foundation for Papal infallibility and it wasn’t until Rae preached a sermon on Matt 14:28-33 that my view of Peter was changed.

In the course of that sermon, Fr. Rae said something that will always stick with me……I’m paraphrasing here but he essentially said…..”I love Peter…..he is the rock on which our Church is built. But rocks sink…”

Far from being the pillar of faith that Catholicism has made him out to be…..Peter is a fallen man. He is often portrayed in the Gospels as especially dense. Peter is the disciple who wishes to build tents on Mount Tabor. He is the one who refuses to have his feet washed by Jesus. He is the disciple who tries to dissuade Jesus from Jerusalem and the cross. is the one who outwardly rejects knowing Christ.

And yet……despite all his faults……this is the man whom Jesus chooses to lead the community of the faithful. 😀

In many ways Peter serves as an example for us. We too are fallen……we too are not perfect. There are times when we deny Christ…..and try to rationalize and discount his teachings to something that is easier to process and accept.

Through the power of the Holy Spirit, this stumbling Apostle is able to give witness to Christ in his life and preaching. He is able to bring thousands of people to faith, and is living proof that even those who sin can be restored to Grace…..and do more things than he could ever ask or imagine. 😀 +

P.S. If you are in the London, ON area……you should definitely check out Bishop Cronyn. It is a special place with incredible music, and lots of different activities happening throughout the year. 😀

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