Morning Prayer: April 8th

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Psalm: 102
Old Testament: Jeremiah 23:1-8
New Testament: Romans 8:28-39

Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! says the Lord. Therefore, thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, concerning the shepherds who shepherd my people: It is you who have scattered my flock, and have driven them away, and you have not attended to them. So I will attend to you for your evil doings, says the Lord. (Jeremiah 23:1-2)

A little bit of personal indulgence here. I have to say–as someone who feels called to ordained ministry–this passage scares the crap out of me. 😦

I feel like I make mistakes all the time. I flub liturgy, give people bad advice….I have days where I don’t care about what I do and don’t have the patience to deal with human weakness.

Don’t get me wrong…..I believe that (through pure Grace) there are other points in which I have actually led liturgy in a way that allows people to see God, not me. I believe there are times when I have pointed people in the right direction. I believe that there have been times when I am there for people who are suffering…..but i always wonder…..is it enough????

I don’t mean this in terms of “works vs. grace” deal…..Rather a question of whether what I am doing is leading others to life or sending them over a cliff that leaves them confused and with God nowhere to be found. If I am totally honest with myself, as a potential leader in the Church, I feel responsible towards those I serve.

I suspect that this is true for all who feel called to ordained ministry…..or anyone who feels called to their particular vocation whether as a parent, a spouse, or career.

As a result of our nature as stewards and agents of creation, the world is affected by our actions. What happens if those effects are for the evil instead of the good? Does that mean we are screwed???

Yet……in all of these doubts, I find myself confronted with Paul’s words:

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)

Whatever my doubts and fears…..whatever your doubts and fears……whatever our doubts and fears as a community together….we are never totally lost….we are never irredeemable, we are never beyond the pale…..and God loves us just as we are. +

Evening Prayer: Christmas Day

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Psalm(s):110, 132
Gospel: John 3:31-36
Patristic Reading: An excerpt from a sermon by Leo the Great

‘I will not enter my house
or get into my bed;
I will not give sleep to my eyes
or slumber to my eyelids,
until I find a place for the Lord,
a dwelling-place for the Mighty One of Jacob (Psalm 132:3-5)

It occured to me while reading this verse that both the shepherds and the wise-men would have had to travel some distance to see Christ in the manger. Just as David desired to build a temple and be in the LORD’s presence, so too the shepherds wanted to see the place where God had chosen to dwell; a small stable in Bethlehem.

This is our “dignity” and heritage pointed out by St. Leo….the Incarnation was not just for God’s own sake and glory; it had a definite purpose. Jesus came into the world so that we too could share in God’s divine nature.

This is what we give thanks for on Christmas day. Let us join together as the holy people of God to give our thanks and praise! 😀

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