Evening Prayer: Even of All Hallows (Hallowe’en)

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Psalm: 34
Old Testament: Wisdom 3:1-9
New Testament: Revelation 19:1,4-10

Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, ‘You must not do that! I am a fellow-servant with you and your comrades who hold the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.’ (Rev 19:10)

Growing up, I was definitely one of those Roman Catholic kids that didn’t understand the whole saint thing. To me, they were the people enshrined in the stain-glass……their stories often seemed unbelievable……their lives of virtue and inner peace entirely too convenient.

Even stranger to me was the whole idea of praying to the saints….asking them to talk to God on our behalf…..why wouldn’t I just pray to the Father or Jesus directly???

I’ll touch on the theology of intercession tomorrow…but for right now, I want to concentrate on what we hear from Revelation. In his vision, John is so overwhelmed that he feels moved to spontaneous worship.

Not knowing the proper outlet for that praise, he starts to bow down before the saint (holy one) that is unveiling the message of what the apostle sees.

Startled, the saint stops him….and–in my head at least–I can picture that exchange being very awkward for both parties. Wanting to dissuade any false illusions, the white-robed companion immediately directs the writer’s attention back to Jesus.

Contrary to the way the cult of the saints was taught to me in RC circles, the saints are not the object of worship. Rather, looking at their lives is SUPPOSED to lead us to Christ, and the virtues that he teaches in the Gospel……a point which is not always explicitly made.

Tonight, on the eve of All Saints, we are also made aware that the Church–the community of the faithful is an eternal reality. Made not only of the people living in the world today…..but of all who came before us, and those who will follow in the future.

The seemingly endless tales of Christian men and women are a call to be holy as God is holy….and in the next few days we celebrate the fact that progress in a faithful life is not only possible, but that it has the power to shape the world…..and shape it for the better. A transformation that began and was made possible by the One who clothes us in righteousness with His blood. Alleluia! +

Morning Prayer: June 13th

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Psalm: 80
Old Testament: 1 Samuel 1:1-20
New Testament: Acts 1:1-14

Lectionary FTW! Since I didn’t get a chance to talk about Ascension on the actual Feast Day…today presents a perfect chance 🙂

The Ascension of Jesus–just like the Baptism of our Lord–caused some significant hesitation and open questioning by the Church. Why didn’t Jesus just stick around??? Couldn’t he just chill out here on Earth until the Final Judgement???? Why did he have to leave at all???

In the effort to understand salvation history, the Church Fathers concluded (based on John’s gospel) that Christ had to ascend in order to send down the Holy Spirit to his disciples.

It’s not that he had to ascend, but that he wanted to. *Holds up flame-shield against the heresy police* 😛

Just like the Baptism was accomplished in order to bless all water for our salvation, so the Ascension is what blesses us with the gifts of the Holy Spirit. It is not so much about Jesus leaving us behind, but his leaving in order to return to us…and for the King of Glory to reign in our hearts forever. +

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