Evening Prayer: July 29th (Combo Post)

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Psalms: 69, 73
Old Testament: 2 Sam 5:1-12
New Testament: Acts 17:1-15
Gospel: Mark 7:24-37
Patristic Reading: An excerpt from the Letter of St. Ignatius to Polycarp (Chapters I-IV)

Do not let those who hope in you be put to shame because of me,
O Lord God of hosts;
do not let those who seek you be dishonoured because of me,
O God of Israel. (Psalm 69:6)

This blog has been very ego-centric lately…..although I suppose that’s somewhat to be expected with a personal blog :P.

However, I just wanted to make a short comment on the above quote from the Psalms….

For those of you who don’t know me very well, I have no problem in telling you I am one lazy pup. :S

Because I know of my own propensity to procrastinate, to rush through projects, and sometimes get frustrated with people who are more organized than me….I am always worried that some people will be attracted to or turned off of the Church by my bad habits rather than to God…..

Whether the people I serve know it or not, I am definitely one of those people that has to hope like hell that the Holy Spirit will do its thing even in spite of my own personality traits lol 🙂 +

Evening Prayer: March 15th

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Psalm: 37:19-42
Gospel: Luke 5:1-12
Patristic Reading: An excerpt from Against the Heresies by St. Iranaeus

…When Simon Peter saw [that the nets were full to bursting] , he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, ‘Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!’ (Mark 5:8)

Imagine that you have been up since the wee hours of the morning trying to catch fish. And there is absolutely nothin’ doing.

Keep in mind this is not the fishing we think of in Southern Ontario…..with sunshine, a beer and time to relax. These are men who must fish every day. They must get enough product to market to gain their livelihood. No fish means you don’t eat that week :(.

Dog tired, chilled by the open winds on the sea…and totally despondent…you have a strange looking dude come and ask you for passage so that he can escape the growing crowds.

Not caring very much, Simon agrees. A minute later he finds himself with literally boatloads of fish. The source of his worry is INSTANTLY taken away.

Wouldn’t that scare the crap out of you??? It’s no small wonder that Simon wants to distance himself from this person who has massive amounts of power. Powerful enough to punish him for any wrongdoing…..just as he was powerful enough to reward Simon for the sanctuary of the boat.

Jesus’ actions and words are interesting here. He doesn’t shy away from the sinner. Rather he invites him into a new ministry….to be a fisher of people. He doesn’t punish Simon’s wrong-doing but instead invites him into relationship.

Our Lord is a God who is concerned with sin yes….but we are also told that he will rejoice more over 1 sinner who repents than 1000 who enter the presence of God with a clear conscience.

More than that, Christ wants to transform us and invite us into relationship with him.

In doing so, Jesus makes it clear that the road is not easy……but he does promise that at the end we are given grace and abundance beyond our wildest dreams; fed in body, mind, and Spirit. Thanks be to God who welcomes sinners and does not shy away from those who are scared. Christus Victor! Alleluia! +

Morning Prayer: Feb. 19th

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Psalms: 107:33-43, 108
Old Testament: Isaiah 66:1-6
New Testament: 1 Tim 6:6-21

I actually got up earlier to do Morning Prayer but didn’t really have time to sit down and write on anything until now 😛

Whoever slaughters an ox is like one who kills a human being;
whoever sacrifices a lamb, like one who breaks a dog’s neck;
whoever presents a grain-offering, like one who offers swine’s blood;*
whoever makes a memorial offering of frankincense, like one who blesses an idol.
These have chosen their own ways,
and in their abominations they take delight (Isaiah 66:3)

After nearly 5 months of reading Isaiah, we are finally reaching its conclusion. Here…God is speaking to people who think they have it right. Who genuinely believed that by offering sacrifice, and giving tithes to the Temple they were living faithfully to the Abrahamic Covenant.

Today’s reading challenges that assumption and that comfort. I sit here wondering whether what we offer is rooted in assuring our own salvation….or whether they come from a dep desire to thank God???

I suspect that–if we are honest with oursevles–the answer is probably a little from column A and a little from column B. Personally, I don’t think we ever start with trying to manipulate God…or to gain favours from him. Human beings may be shallow, but they aren’t that shallow.

Human beings are made to worship their Creator….it’s something we do naturally….some would say it’s even what we are made to do.

Since the Fall however, our worship has the potential to be twisted to meet our own needs. Our sinfulness can mislead us that worship is something which is made to make us feel warm and fuzzy……to feel safe.

While the Father never wants us to be afraid, the worship of the Church is meant to challenge us, to make us feel distinctly uncomfortable. As the bread of the Word is read, heard and broken open, and the homily is preached we are called to hear with the ears of our heart. We are then invited to a feast and Sacred meal to be sustained in body mind and spirit.

I pray that we–as a faith community–keep a close eye to those times when our worship is reshaped to meet our own needs and to put butts in the pews, rather than giving glory to the Holy One of Israel. +

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