The Gospel in Chairs…….

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

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 πŸ™‚

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. πŸ™‚

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: Good Friday

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Psalm: 22
Old Testament: Wisdom 1:16 – 2:1, 12-22
New Testament: 1 Peter 1:10-20

You know that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your ancestors, not with perishable things like silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without defect or blemish. He was destined before the foundation of the world, but was revealed at the end of the ages for your sake. (1 Peter 1:18-19)

How deep the Father’s love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure

How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One,
Bring many sons to glory

Behold the Man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice,
Call out among the scoffers

It was my sin that helf Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom. +

Evening Prayer: Wednesday in Holy Week

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Psalm: 74
Gospel: John 12:27-36
Patristic Reading:An excerpt from a treatise of St. Augustine

β€˜Now my soul is troubled. And what should I sayβ€”β€œFather, save me from this hour”? No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.’ Then a voice came from heaven, β€˜I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.’ (John 12:27-29)

Tonight, I had the absolute pleasure of attending Evening Prayer @ the Cathedral using the Holden setting composed by Marty Haugen. There were about a dozen of us altogether and the music was superb.

I also got to hear a wonderful sermon preached by the Deacon. In her homily, she used the illustration to hammer home the significance of the crucifixion.

A bridge operator working the night shift decided to take his son into work with him one evening while working the night shift. As the midnight train came through, he got a call to lower the bridge so it could pass. Without thinking, the operator lowered the bridge.

To his absolute horror, he heard a blood-curdling scream. His son had wandered off onto the tracks when he was not looking and was caught in the mechanism that lowered the bridge.

The Father had a choice. Knowing that the train did not have enough time to stop and save the boy, he could either let his son live and have the train crash into the river, or save his son with the consequence that hundreds of passengers would die.

Faced with this agonizing decision, the father did the only thing he could do. He pressed the button to lower the bridge and let the train pass. Sacrificing his only Son while the people on the train ate, drank, and slept peacefully en route to their destination.

Such was the pain for God when Christ was put on the Cross.

Christ knew the pain and he laid on the tracks anyway. With a troubled spirit and a fearful heart, he faced death head on. Not so that he could be saved. But that we would be saved and God glorified.

I wonder how many of us realize how high the price of our salvation really was. Thanks be to Christ our Lord who valued us beyond all telling. +

Morning Prayer: April 13th

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Psalm: 119:145-176
Old Testament: Jeremiah 25:30-38
New Testament: Romans 10:14-21

Again I ask, did Israel not understand? First Moses says,
β€˜I will make you jealous of those who are not a nation;
with a foolish nation I will make you angry.’
Then Isaiah is so bold as to say,
β€˜I have been found by those who did not seek me;
I have shown myself to those who did not ask for me.’ (Isaiah 10:19-20)

In a strange narrative twist, Paul starts to re-imagine the story of Israel. Instead of painting Israel’s disobedience as a willful act of sin, the Apostle believes that Israel’s rejection of Jesus was predestined. Their rejection opened the door for God to reveal his salvation to someone other than the Jewish people.

By this, the Apostle believes that Israel has not been abandoned, but rather they will be led to Christ by the faith of others. In seeing that Gentiles are embracing YHWH, the chosen people would realize their errors and embrace Jesus as the Saviour of the world.

I think this points to something deeper than just God’s choice affiliation. It’s that God takes the unlikely and makes it an instrument to change the world and a way to reveal his glory. Taking those who are perceived as unworthy and unclean and stating unequivocally that they are special and loved, and are just as redeemable as the Jews.

I wonder what would happen if we were to recognize that the outsiders in Churchland….the disabled, the LGBT community, the denominations that are diametrically opposed to our own. While I’m not sure that “love wins” in the same way that Rob Bell does….I am fairly confident that God likes to turn things on their head, and surprise us by the movement of the Holy Spirit. +

Morning Prayer: March 31st

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Psalms: 42, 43
Old Testament: Jeremiah 10:11-24
New Testament: Romans 5:12-21

For just as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. But law came in, with the result that the trespass multiplied; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, just as sin exercised dominion in death, so grace might also exercise dominion through justification leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 5:18-21)

I was sorely tempted to put up the icon of the resurrection this morning but I resisted the urge…..it is Lent after all ;)…..Another 25 days and then we can put up the really fun and beautiful art of new life. πŸ™‚

In this morning’s reading from Romans we have an important analogy made by Paul and proclaimed loudly by the Early Church. Christ not only gained atonement for our sins…..but he has begun something new; a new creation has been born.

I suppose that’s why I am frequently frustrated by salvation as taught by the “evangelical” denominations.

In their quest to save and baptize everyone, I sometimes wonder if enough catechesis is going on….whether people are getting a true grasp in what happens at Baptism.

Entering into the Christian faith not only means adhering to doctrines, and sharing those ideas with others; it means being made new.

I think that if we were to get back to the basics of Baptism, we might be able to get away from the idea that the sacrament is only about citizenship in the Kingdom. Maybe, just maybe……we might be able to reclaim our identity as a people who are not only saved by abundant Grace, but transformed by it. +

Morning Prayer: 7th Sunday after Epiphany

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Psalm: 118
Old Testament: Isaiah 66:7-14
New Testament: 1 John 3:4-10

The Lord is my strength and my might;
he has become my salvation. (Psalm 118:14)

I might be getting bogged down in semantics here……but I find myself struck by the wording here. For the Psalmist, it is not simply that God is the author of his salvation, but rather the LORD has become his salvation.

In many ways, I think this wording is significant. In order for something to become anything new….there has to be a growth, or a change of some sort; a change in relationship and form.

That’s kind of the way faith works, non? At one level, we learn the Gospel story and Christian doctrines as ideas, and as explanations for how we are supposed to interact with the world.

There is always the potential that one could remain at this stage indefinitely. Where Christian principles can simply be a way of life, a moral teaching, but nothing unique.

Yet there is also the potential that it could become something more. It could blossom not only as a way of life and philosophy..but something that truly touches our hearts and our emotions. Something happens when we enter into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and come to know him as someone who saves us daily, and accepts us for who we are.

These conversion experiences can vary in intensity, form, and individual meaning. The transition from intellectual assent to heartfelt repentance and faith is something which the Psalmist tries to express this morning.

Of that moment when salvation becomes not only a possibility, but a concrete reality. πŸ˜€ I pray that each of us may come to know Christ more deeply and that God becomes something new and wonderful for us as we draw nearer to Him.

Morning Prayer: Feb. 8th

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Psalm: 78:1-39
Old Testament: Isaiah 59:1-15
New Testament: 2 Timothy 1:1-14

Eek! The readings for this morning are a little rough not gonna lie. First we get the Israelites in Psalm 78 totally totally forgetting about God, then Isaiah reminding us that we are sinful and straying from God’s will and then St. Paul saying we have to suffer for the Gospel. Awesome!!! :S

It’s true there are some days where the lectionary texts are rather blunt. But that’s the beauty of sequential reading of the Bible. It forces us to read the whole narrative (or at least 80% of it) and wrestle with the parts that are dark, judgmental and harsh.

Whether we like it or not, the Bible tries to form a cohesive canon with a distinct message. The Scriptures and passages included were kept for a reason…..and they deserve to be dealt with on their own terms….as we contemplate what they mean for us….and what role they play in our journey towards santification. +

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