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. +

Morning Prayer: Monday of Holy Week

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Psalm: 51
Old Testament: Jeremiah 12:1-6
New Testament: Philippians 3:1-14

I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death, if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. (Phil 3:10-12)

Today, we find ourselves one day closer to the Cross of Calvary. Today Paul reminds us that we are called to enjoin our sufferings to Christ…not in the hopes that we might accomplish anything on our own….but in the hope that God will indeed heal us and make us whole.

This past week I heard a hymn composed by one of the parishoners at Bishop Cronyn church that speaks of that kind of struggle and hope. It is called “In Your Footsteps Lord” composed by Pat Sealy and put to music by Benjamin Dyck (also a member of the parish 🙂 )….

Pat was inspired to write this hymn after her battle with breast cancer. Through incredible strength, perseverance and Grace she was able to see the Gospel in a whole new way…..and it is in that Spirit that I share this hymn with you now.

In your footsteps Lord, Guide me through the wilderness
Temptation beckons me astray, and fears devour my rest

Chorus: I hear you my beloved child, come take me by the hand. We’ll be together hearts entwined, I’ll lead you to the promised land. I’ll lead you to the promised land.

In your footsteps Lord, Sustain me with your bread and wine.
O help me never to betray, to face my trials in time. Chorus

In your footsteps Lord, Support me while I take my cross,
The sword that pierces through my side, shows me my life is lost. Chorus

In your footsteps Lord, I feel the darkness of the tomb.
O heal the brokenness within, reborn within your womb. Chorus

In your footsteps Lord, move the limbs beneath the shroud,
and fill me with your living breath, to speak your name aloud. Chorus

In your footsteps Lord, move away the heavy stone.
And let the hope of Easter say, through grace we’re not alone. Chorus

In your footsteps Lord, give me strength to live each day.
And let me be a shepherd now, to show your Gracious way.

May this hymn inspire you and may the Spirit help you to know that we never walk alone. God bless all of you in this most holy week of the year. 🙂 +

Evening Prayer: April 7th

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Psalm: 73
Gospel: John 6:41-51
Patristic Reading: An excerpt from a sermon by St. Leo the Great

No one, however weak, is denied a share in the victory of the cross. No one is beyond the help of the prayer of Christ. His prayer brought benefit to the multitude that raged against him. How much more does it bring to those who turn to him in repentance

I haven’t even come close to reflecting on it yet….but I am down to preach on Palm Sunday this year. As part of my prep., I plan to watch the Passion of the Christ.

Yes, it’s gory, yes it’s over the top…but there are also some profoundly human moments in the film. As I reflect on St. Leo’s words tonight, I am reminded of one of the fundamental questions that was raised for me while I was sitting in the theatre. Which of those cuts, scrapes, and wounds represent me???

I have always been perplexed, fascinated, and altogether horrified by the very fact that Christ came to suffer and die. On the one hand, it is a very provocative doctrine, and very easy to apply to friends, families, and enemies. Thinking about how salvation is bestowed on others is easier….it’s more abstract. But what about when it becomes personal???

It was in watching Mel Gibson’s movie that I realized the Crucifixion was more than an abstract event. It was real. Disciples were disillusioned and disappointed. Mary must witness the torture and death of her Son..something that no mother should have to go through 😦 and ordinary people are generally confused by what is going on.

Am I really worth all of that pain and disappointment???? What have I done to deserve any kind of consideration??? Why couldn’t he die without torture and without pain???? At least that would make it easier to accept.

But the astounding thing is, the miraculous thing is…..God says we are that important. Any mistakes you have made….Jesus tells you you are forgiven. All the times you have hurt others…..Jesus tells you that you are forgiven…..For all the times that you wish you could do things differently….Jesus tells you that you will inherit Paradise with him, and that he is with you until the end of the age. May you always rest in that Eternal presence. +

Morning Prayer: March 5th

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Psalms: 20, 21
Old Testament: Deut 5:21-32
New Testament: 2 Cor 13

Some take pride in chariots, and some in horses,
but our pride is in the name of the Lord our God.
They will collapse and fall,
but we shall rise and stand upright. (Psalm 20:7-8)

When I went to go visit my family last weekend, I attended Mass at our home parish and heard this hymn:

    Lyrics

Refrain:

All that we have and all that we offer
Comes from our hearts both frightened and free
Take what we bring now and give what we need
All done in His name

Some men rely on their power
Others put trust in their gold
Some men have only their Saviour
Whose faithfulness never grow old

(Repeat Refrain)

Sometimes the road may be lonesome
Often we may lose our way
Take courage and always remember
Love isn’t just for a day

(Repeat Refrain)

Sometimes when troubles are many
Life can seem empty it’s true
But look at the life of the Master
Who lovingly suffered for you

Trust is a crucial component to every relationship, whether human or Divine.  Make no mistake……there will be times that we feel that trust has been breeched between the Creator and ourselves….When we feel abandoned and betrayed.

But here’s the thing: So did Jesus.

On the Cross we don’t have a confident Saviour…..but one who cries out “My God, my God why have you abandoned me?”  In Christ’s death we have an apparent breaking of covenant and law.  The righteous man is not supposed to die, nor the innocent man condemned…..God is supposed to protect the innocent……..and yet we find the Son of God suffering, dead, and laid in a tomb.

3 days later…….the story takes a dramatic turn.  Jesus is raised, and trust is restored.  What felt like abandonment only a few short hours ago is now the joy of reunion……and what seemed like a gross injustice is now revealed as the most loving justice for all that could ever be dreamed of. 🙂

The next time you feel your trust waining…..know that a) it is completely normal and b) that our Heavenly Father will restore it so that we can live more fully into His presence.+

Evening Prayer: March 2nd

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Psalms: 12, 13, 14
Gospel: Matt 6:24-34
Patristic Reading: An excerpt from The Confessions of St. Augustine

Do not worry about tomorrow. Today’s trouble is enough for today. (Matt 6:34)

When I first joined the Anglican church, I used to attend a mid-week Eucharist with a lovely bunch of elderly ladies :D. One of my lasting memories of that place is hearing the priest reading this passage, smiling brightly and chuckling to himself before proceeding to preach.

At the time, I was amused and very surprised to see the minister have an almost comical reaction to Scripture. Now that I have a few more years experience under my belt, I can definitely understand where he was coming from.

Seminarians and priests alike have a special perchant for worrying and stressing. For some reason, in proclaiming the very Word we say leads to life…..those who work in Churchland sometimes forget that food, shelter, clothing, vestries, financial reports–and everything in between–ultimately rest in the hands of the Creator, and not with us mere mortals.

There is a saying from AA that says the trip to sobriety involves taking it “one day at a time” and not to look too far ahead and become overwhelmed. That too is what God wants for us.

Notice that God does not promise that our lives will be trouble free….but rather, that he will provide for our needs. Notice that Jesus doesn’t say we will be relieved of the need to bitch and complain about the crappy things in our lives, he merely asks us to consider the lilies of the field, and the birds of the air.

God knows the troubles we face daily–and indeed–He has experienced them on his own when he came to the Earth. The key is to remember that we are not alone in our struggles……we are not alone in our disappointments……we are not alone in our doubts and uncertainty for the future…We are joined hand in hand with the Son and with the rest of Christ’s living body–the Church to support each other, and to figure out what it means to be the heart, hands, and feet of God’s coming Kingdom.

May we always journey together in hope, anticipation, and wonder. +

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