Evening Prayer: Nov. 6th (Combo Post)

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Psalms: 26, 28, 36, 39
Old Testament: Amos 7:10-17
New Testament: Rev 1:9-16
Gospel: Matthew 22:34-46
Reading from the Magisterum of the Church: An excerpt from the Dogmatic Constitution of Vatican II

Must……post…….to…….blog……..UGH! Busy busy times here at A Year in the Office (read: “Busy times in the life of its author”)……but here I am…..

Happy Sinterklaass Day. I hope St. Nicholas came and put some goodies in your wooden shoe…Speaking of which, I got a pretty awesome gift left for me….but it arrived a little earlier in the week.

On Sunday, the Bishop announced his intention to ordain me as a (transitional) Deacon in the Anglican Church of Canada!!! :D.

I’m super excited as this is part of a dream I have had since I was a kid……but more than that I hope I can continue to do good ministry…..the collar is useless if you’re no earthly good.

Like the Gospel reading for tonight, we all need to remember that the act of loving God and neighbour is about what we do not just by what we believe and confess with our mouth.

The love that we have for God can only be felt and shown by manifesting it physically….after all, Jesus came in the flesh….to the world of sense…..and was surrounded by the sick, the weak, and the diseased. Our inheritance is not based on a promise to David (although we can place our hope in it)…but in having the Word of God inscribed in our hearts…..which is the perpetual neon sign of the Old Testament that the people always seem to ignore.

As we travel in a spirit of preparing the way for the Messiah……we might ask how we can remove the roadblocks that restrict his entry. +

Evening Prayer: Feast of St. Andrew (Nov. 30th)

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Psalms: 96, 100
Old Testament: Isaiah 55:1-5
New Testament: John 1:35-40

One of the two who heard John speak and followed him was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his brother Simon and said to him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ (which is translated Anointed). He brought Simon to Jesus, who looked at him and said, ‘You are Simon son of John. You are to be called Cephas’ (which is translated Peter). (John 1:40-42)

As it was a feast day today, and a Wednesday, I went to the regular Eucharist offered at the Cathedral. During his sermon, the Dean of the Cathedral reflected on his relationship with his older sister….with whom he shares a 12 year age gap.

The reading from this afternoon was from Matthew’s Gospel where Peter gets called first along with Andrew……and here in John’s account, Andrew is the one who tells his older sibling about this new-found Messiah.

Despite the difference in order, I think the central part of his homily remains true. When we are brought to faith…..we need the guidance and tacit approval of people whom we love, trust and respect.

Whether it is an older brother, or younger one (or sister for that matter)……I encourage you to reflect this evening on who your mentors have been. Who in your life has helped you discern who you are and what you are uniquely gifted to do????

Along with this question, I think it’s also important to consider the other side of the coin: In what ways are we motivators and mentors for others??? Are our lives reflecting the Light that never fades??? Are we living the example of hope and expectation that is part of this pre-Christmas season??? What are you inviting people to come and see? +

P.S. Don’t forget to vote on my poll in the sidebar for charity! Thanks & pax Christi!

Morning Prayer: Feast of St. Andrew (Nov. 30th)

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Psalm: 34
Old Testament: Isaiah 49:1-6
New Testament: 1 Cor 4:1-16

We are fools for the sake of Christ, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are held in honour, but we in disrepute. To the present hour we are hungry and thirsty, we are poorly clothed and beaten and homeless, 12and we grow weary from the work of our own hands. (1 Cor 4:10-11)

I freaking love this passage of Scripture! 🙂 Why, you ask? Not because of the poetic language…..though it surely has that quality….but I love this quote because it reminds me that it’s OK to be sarcastic/tongue and cheek and Christian at the same time.

I have yet to find a commentator who agrees with me on this…..but I’m fairly certain that St. Paul is throwing a light jab to the Corinthian community under the guise of advice.

My evidence for this is based back in chapter one where he says that God’s weakness is greater than human strength and that:

God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are, so that no one might boast in the presence of God. (1 Cor 1:27-28)

So when Paul calls the leaders of the church strong, and he himself weak….he is mocking them slightly and kind of saying Hahaha! I am better than you! 🙂

Now….do I think Paul’s intention is mean-spirited??? No. It is meant as a comment that the people can latch on to…..to recognize where they are going wrong…..and as a message to the people of Corinth to exercise more humility.

It’s passages like these that remind me that Paul, Andrew, and the other saints were human beings. They had their own style of preaching, their own foibles, and even their own sense of humour.

As we move further into Advent, let us strive to be weak, despised, and lower than anyone else. As a Christian people this is a calling of service…..in stark contrast to the culture of individualism we come across every day in North America. +

Evening Prayer: Feast of St. Luke (Oct. 18th)-Combo Post

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Psalms: 103, 67, 96
Old Testament: Ezekiel 47:1-12, Isaiah 52:7-10
New Testament: Luke 1:1-4, Acts 1:1-8

As with each of the four gospel accounts in the Bible, Luke has its own distinct style and message when it comes to telling the story of Jesus of Nazareth. The 3rd Evangelist’s account is the book where we find some of the best known stories of the New Testament….like the parable of the Prodigal Son, the parable of the Good Samaritan and the Annunciation to the Virgin Mary by Gabriel.

Throughout the entire book….there is special emphasis placed on healing, forgiveness, reconciliation, and inclusion of women and Gentiles into the covenant.

As a result of these trends, the tradition of the Church holds that Luke was a physician…..and today is typically a day when we pray for all medical personnel.

So here’s my question to you…..In what ways are you being Christ-like? How are you reaching out to the poor, the lame, and those who are wounded?

Wounds can take many forms……some are physical, some are emotional, and others are spiritual. If you saw my post earlier today, I think it’s important to recognize that sometimes wounds hit the trifecta, and drain away our very will to live. 😦

We are human. That means that we won’t be able to cure everything….we have to know our finite limits in terms of skill-set and talent….but each of us has the capacity to touch the life of another…. To reflect the light of the Holy Spirit and to help someone’s darkness to be a little less intimidating and scary.

Even if we think ourselves to be an insignificant flicker, for someone else we may be the beacon of hope through which they see the loving face of God.

I pray that as we move forward from this online place of prayer and reflection, we emerge with a sense and conviction that our light and warmth are worth sharing…and that we can live more each and every day in the glorious Light that Jesus provides for us, and gifts us with at our baptism. Amen. Alleluia! +

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. +

Evening Prayer: Feast of St. Matthew the Evangelist (Sept. 21)-Combo Post

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Psalms: 119:41-64, 19, 112
Old Testament: Isaiah 8:11-20, Job 28:12-28
New Testament: Romans 10:1-15 Matthew 13:44-52

‘The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. (Matt 13:44)

For tonight’s reflection, I am totally going to steal from Bill Cliff who is the chaplain over at St. John the Evangelist @ Huron University College

While I was at the Common Ground conference back in June, I attended a workshop on teaching and preaching the parables. In the course of that discussion, Bill said that the stories of Jesus are meant to shock us….and not only that…but they speak to the character of God. They give us insight into the type of person that the Father is, and how he acts in the world.

Traditionally, the story of the hidden treasure is taken to mean that the disciple finds the saving news of the gospel, and follows it above all else. Yet…this seems to skip over one very important aspect…..the first sentence that our Lord speaks.

The simile which is set up at the beginning of tonight’s passage is not a disciple is like…Instead the emphasis is on God…Jesus says the kingdom of heaven is like….

This shift in focus means that our understanding has to change as well. The treasure in the field doesn’t refer to what we find and rejoice over….It’s about what God finds and rejoices over. 🙂

Like the parable of the lost sheep or prodigal son in Luke….the shocking message here is that God believes we are invaluable. He rejoices over each and every one of his creations. Saints, sinners, tax-collectors, gay, straight, rich and poor…..the Trinity constantly invites us and seeks us out to join in their dance of celebration and redemption.

The apostle Matthew–whom we celebrate today–was someone who was classified as a traitor to his people…a person who turned his back on his religion and people….a person whom YHWH would never even deign to look upon.

Yet this is the same man who encounters emmanu el….God with us….and receives an invitation to follow in the way that leads to life. May we have that courage which leads to a resounding “yes” and helps us to remember that we are all gifts from God. +

Evening Prayer: Feast of the Beheading of St. Jean-Baptiste (Aug 29th Combo Post)

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Psalm: 102, 86
Old Testament: Jeremiah 38:1-6, Judges 16:28-30
New Testament: Revelation 7:13-17, 1 Peter 3:13-18

But even if you do suffer for doing what is right, you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear, and do not be intimidated, but in your hearts sanctify Christ as Lord. Always be ready to make your defence to anyone who demands from you an account of the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and reverence. Keep your conscience clear, so that, when you are maligned, those who abuse you for your good conduct in Christ may be put to shame. (1 Pet 3:14-16)

While it doesn’t surprise me to be celebrating a martyr today, I’ve often wondered why St. Jean-Baptiste gets not just one day but two .

I have a sense that we do it for a few reasons.

One being that Jesus said that John was a pretty important dude. My guess is that the Church–upon hearing these words…..felt that it couldn’t be an all-together bad thing to celebrate the Forerunner twice.

More to the point though….I think that the community of the early church was very much aware of its surroundings. In a Roman pagan world, followers of the Way found themselves being persecuted, hunted and killed. So much so that Tertullian was prompted to remark that:

the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church

In remembering John’s beheading, Christ-followers found a saint who they could relate to. A saint who stood up for morality even at the cost of his own life. A saint whose life was taken away through the scheming and deceit of others.

If you were to look to the life of the saints…..which do you think speak most to the current generation??? What about in your own life????

Leave a comment on this post and let me hear what you think. +

Spread the word…..

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Been away for a few days….but I saw a video on a friend’s FB page and thought it definitely worth sharing. 🙂

I missed posting yesterday for the Feast of St. Bartholomew……but I imagine his approach to discipleship might look something like this:

Musical interlude for the weekend :)

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Hello folks:

I’m headed out to Strathroy to milady’s church to preach on the Gospel reading for Sunday.

This means I won’t have a consistent connection to the interwebz until I get back Sunday afternoon…..so I leave you tonight with an inspirational piece from Loreena McKennit…..

May God walk with you this night and always. ❤ +

Morning Prayer: Feast of the Dormition of the Blessed Virgin Mary (August 15th)

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Psalm: 113, 115
Old Testament: 1 Samuel 2:1-11
Gospel: John 2:1-12

I admit it…..I was in a funk last week….partly because I was surrounded by death :(. Responding to pastoral situations over the physical death of a loved one……. and the “little deaths” of addiction and depression took an unexpected toll on my own sense of well-being.

Seems kind of appropriate that as I stumble back to this blog, I am confronted with a Feast that deals with death.

Being of the ol’ school…I celebrate this Feast as the “Dormition” or the Falling Asleep of the Virgin Mary….This is in contrast to both my current practice as an Anglican and my roots as a good Catholic boy.

Having a Protestant heritage, the Anglican Church tends to shy away from elevating the Mother of God in any way, shape or form. So August 15th is simply referred to as the “Feast of St. Mary the Virgin” in the BAS calendar.

On the flip side, Catholics believe in the doctrine of the Assumption in which Mary is assumed bodily into heaven without tasting death.

As with so many things, I straddle the line between both traditions and embrace Eastern Orthodox teaching. In the tradition of Byzantium, the teaching was that Mary died a physical death but that her body was resurrected and assumed into Heaven some three days later.

Now you may be asking the question of why I split these theological hairs…and my answer is really quite simple. The Feast of the Dormition serves a dual purpose. On the one hand….it reminds us that we will all experience physical death, regardless of how holy we are. It is a day on which we–as Christians–acknowledge and accept that there will be a time when we are called to depart this life and await the next.

But the commemoration of the Church does not stop there….it goes a step further. In recognizing Mary’s assumption, she becomes the first of all Christian followers to experience bodily resurrection.

Death is revealed not to be the final victor…..but rather eternal life triumphing over the limits of sin and human nature.

Mary holds for us the hope that we too will be gathered into the great cloud of witnesses; to anticipate the day when the dead shall be raised, and no tear will be shed. To long for the day when the world will finally know what it means to live in the Kingdom of God..a place where justice, peace, and love overflow in abundance forever.

Through the Mother of God, we live in continual hope for the dawning of a new day. Alleluia! Alleluia! +

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