Morning Prayer: Feast of St. Barnabas (June 11th)

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Psalm: 15, 67
Old Testament: Sirach 31:3-11
New Testament: Acts 4:32-37

Apologies for the lateness of this post. I had prayed this morning without realizing it was St. Barnabas Day and had to go back and do the readings lol 😛

One who loves gold will not be justified;
one who pursues money will be led astray by it.
Many have come to ruin because of gold,
and their destruction has met them face to face.
It is a stumbling-block to those who are avid for it,
and every fool will be taken captive by it. (Sirach 31:5-7)

In one of its more practical moments, the Apocrphya offers some solid advice when it comes to every day living: Don’t let money rule your life.

This is something that is echoed in this morning’s selection from Acts in which we are told that Barnabas and the other apostles held everything in common. The early church, it seems, wanted to do everything it could to avoid the pitfalls of wealth.

In the modern context of 2011….I wonder what that would look like. Could we really live without a sense of private property??? Could we really distribute wealth according to the community’s needs instead of making a profit???

It seems so counter-intuitive and radical to the way in which we live….and it was just as crazy in the first century CE.

While it is true that smaller communities in the Roman Empire stuck together and supported one another…those in the cities wanted to emulate Rome. Each urban centre wanted to reflect the Great City with all its of citizenship privileges, wealth and pomp. To share with others was considered lower class. A step down from perfection.

The Holy Spirit often turns things on their head…of prompting us to do something which seems absolutely insane. To realize that the status-quo is not enough…..that power is not all it’s cracked up to be…and that our belongings are meant to be shared.

As we move forward to the season of Pentecost and the long stretch of Ordinary Time that follows….let us never forget that the Gospel message is meant to shock and amaze…to jolt us out of complacency…..and might even ask us to give up something of ourselves…..and give it up completely. +

Evening Prayer: 2nd Sunday of Lent

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Psalms: 8, 84
Gospel: Mark 3:31-4:9
Patristic Reading: An excerpt from a sermon of St. Leo the Great

Here are my mother and my brothers! 35Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.’ (Mark 3:35)

Y’know……I’m pretty lucky. I never was at odds with my parents when it came to my religion of choice. Even when I jumped the Roman ship to become Anglican, there was no real fuss.

Part of that easy transition I’m sure was having an awesome family 🙂 <3…..but I think the other part is that it is generally accepted now (at least in "Western" culture) that matters of faith are the result of personal decision and conviction.

The ancient world however was constructed in a completely different manner. The family unit was also the social unit. If the head of your family was wealthy, and had a job… did his kin. 99% of the time, religion was the common denominator between families and tribes. It determined who you could marry, how far you could advance up the social ladder, and helped each person to know what their role was in society and in the family unit.

For Jesus to say that his blood kin are not actually his brothers and sisters, father or mother is an incredibly controversial stance.

I sit here wondering……have their ever been times where you have felt forced to choose between those you love, and the faith that is in your heart??? If so, what are some of the deciding factors in determining which side wins out???

If–like me–you have never been in that position…..perhaps we are challenged to think of the things we are called to walk away from when we are called to the Christian way of living. What do you guys/gals think??? Leave a comment on this post and maybe we can get some discussion going. 🙂 +

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