Evening Prayer: Wednesday in Holy Week

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Psalm: 74
Gospel: John 12:27-36
Patristic Reading:An excerpt from a treatise of St. Augustine

‘Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say—“Father, save me from this hour”? No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.’ Then a voice came from heaven, ‘I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.’ (John 12:27-29)

Tonight, I had the absolute pleasure of attending Evening Prayer @ the Cathedral using the Holden setting composed by Marty Haugen. There were about a dozen of us altogether and the music was superb.

I also got to hear a wonderful sermon preached by the Deacon. In her homily, she used the illustration to hammer home the significance of the crucifixion.

A bridge operator working the night shift decided to take his son into work with him one evening while working the night shift. As the midnight train came through, he got a call to lower the bridge so it could pass. Without thinking, the operator lowered the bridge.

To his absolute horror, he heard a blood-curdling scream. His son had wandered off onto the tracks when he was not looking and was caught in the mechanism that lowered the bridge.

The Father had a choice. Knowing that the train did not have enough time to stop and save the boy, he could either let his son live and have the train crash into the river, or save his son with the consequence that hundreds of passengers would die.

Faced with this agonizing decision, the father did the only thing he could do. He pressed the button to lower the bridge and let the train pass. Sacrificing his only Son while the people on the train ate, drank, and slept peacefully en route to their destination.

Such was the pain for God when Christ was put on the Cross.

Christ knew the pain and he laid on the tracks anyway. With a troubled spirit and a fearful heart, he faced death head on. Not so that he could be saved. But that we would be saved and God glorified.

I wonder how many of us realize how high the price of our salvation really was. Thanks be to Christ our Lord who valued us beyond all telling. +

Morning Prayer: Wednesday in Holy Week

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Psalm: 55
Old Testament: Jeremiah 17:5-10;14-17
New Testament: Philippians 4:1-13

My heart is in anguish within me,
the terrors of death have fallen upon me.
Fear and trembling come upon me,
and horror overwhelms me.
And I say, ‘O that I had wings like a dove!
I would fly away and be at rest (Psalm 55:4-6)

Following Bonhoeffer’s lead, I have been very intentional this week about reading the Psalm portions of the Office from Jesus’ point of view. When I came to these verses, I was immediately reminded of the Agony at Gethsemane.

I think it would be foolish to say that Jesus went stoically to his death. If that were the case, how could he be fully human? All of us fear pain and torture, and Christ was no exception. Throughout his entire Passion, the dark shadow of the Devil loomed…tempting him to abandon his mission.

And yet our Saviour chose not to fly away like a dove. Instead, he stayed in the company of sinners, bore the brunt of false accusations and died on a cruel Cross. Thanks be to God that our Lord is one who understands pain, fear, and doubt….and who overcame them so that we might be saved. +

Evening Prayer: Ash Wednesday (March 9th)

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Psalms: 102, 130
Gospel: Luke 18:9-14
Patristic Reading: An excerpt from a letter to the Corinthians by St. Clement

Le Penitente by Pietro Rotari

 

O Israel, hope in the Lord!
For with the Lord there is steadfast love,
and with him is great power to redeem.
It is he who will redeem Israel
from all its iniquities. (Psalm 130:7-8)

The whole point of observing fasting periods is not so much self-deprivation as it is about hope and re-orientation. As we journey towards the Cross, lost in the desert of sound, sight, smell, taste and touch…… we long for something that is real

That’s not to say that the five senses are bad…..after all, we are a Church that believes in the essential goodness of the body which has been redeemed through Christ.

At the same time, there is a temptation to become to reliant on the body…on instant gratification, and the raw rush of emotion.

Lent seeks to get past that….by subduing the flesh (or additionally, things which are causing us to be lazy, stressed, or spiteful) room is made to contemplate the Spirit….to let Christ take his throne in the hearts of each of us.

Take some time in these next weeks and months to listen to what the Spirit–our advocate and guide–is saying to the Church in and through us. After all, we are all members of the one body of the faithful.

May we all, in the name of the LORD observe a Holy Lent and wander hand-in-hand with our Saviour….trusting in his great mercy towards us. +

Morning Prayer: Ash Wednesday (March 9th)

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Psalms: 32, 143
Old Testament: Jonah 3:1-4:11
New Testament: Hebrews 12:1-14

I must admit….whenever the big Holy Days in the calendar arrive, I always feel myself pulled in a million different directions. Should I talk strictly about the readings appointed for the day? Should I explain the rationale behind the observance of Ash Wednesday and Lent? Should I talk about the major themes associated with the liturgical season??? Oi vay! So many decisions to make. :S

I suppose I want to start by saying that Lent is important. Beginning with Ash Wednesday……we are confronted by this basic fact: “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

Today, we are asked not only to contemplate our own mortality……and to face what is perhaps the even bigger question of “what do I do now???”

I wish that the Anglican Church would add the follow-up phrase to the imposition of ashes that I grew up with in the Roman Catholic church……”Remember, that you are dust, and to dust you shall return; Repent and believe in the Good News

Ash Wednesday is not just about turning away from the things that separate us from God, but to embrace the remedy for the defilement of our sins…to look to the Great Physician who binds up our wounds, soothes our pain, and heals our broken hearts. ❤

The first step in this process is repentance. To recognize and turn away those things which cause us to hurt others, and which lead us away from God; Those times when we live as though we are worthless sinners who cannot be redeemed; forgetting our true heritage as people who have been blessed, cleansed, and purified in the waters of baptism.

Ash Wednesday serves as the wake-up call for this awareness…… to begin the process of returning to the Father, and to remember our true calling: To worship God in Spirit and truth; to bring reconciliation and peace to all.

This is all very easy to write in a blog post…theologizing from a distance…..but this year, it is my hope that Lent could turn into something deeper. I want it to be more than simply an intellectual exercise.

May we all my have the courage to be intentional about getting to know Christ in these 40 days and together, observe a Holy Lent.

I confess to Almighty God
and to you my brothers and sisters
that I have sinned through my own fault.
In my thoughts and in my words;
in what I have done and what I have failed to do.
So I ask blessed Mary, ever Virgin, all the angels and saints,
and to you my brothers and sisters to pray for me to the LORD our God.

+

Morning Prayer: Feb. 16th

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Psalms: 101, 109
Old Testament: Isaiah 63:15-64:5
New Testament: 1 Tim 3

Yeah. Today I got nothin’ :P. No part of the readings stuck out for me, as has any insight from my prayers. One of those run of the mill days I guess lol ;).

What about you folks??? Anything stick out for you particularly?

Morning Prayer: Jan 12th

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Psalms: 98, 99
Old Testament: Isaiah 66:1,2 23-24
New Testament: Revelation 3:14-22

The LORD’s footstool


Thus says the Lord:
Heaven is my throne
and the earth is my footstool;
what is the house that you would build for me,
and what is my resting-place?
2 All these things my hand has made,
and so all these things are mine, *
says the Lord. (Isaiah 66: 1,2)

Random thought for the day: The earth is God’s footstool and yet we try and control it vehemently :P. Sometimes I think we take the gift of dominion a little too far.

Our planet is getting warmer, people are starving, and we have somehow deluded ourselves into thinking that the Earth is our own possession.

The fact of the matter is…..we “own” nothing! Every material good we have is a gift..a gift that–being in a first world nation–we can afford to buy and produce.

I think it’s important to reflect this morning, that we are not masters on Earth, but stewards. We have dominion yes….but we also have responsibilities that go along with that. +

Morning Prayer: 12th Day of Christmas

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Psalm(s): 2, 110
Old Testament: Joshua 1:1-9
New Testament: Hebrews 11:32-12:2

Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go (Joshua 1:9)

The command from YHWH to “be courageous” is repeated three times in today’s Old Testament reading.

Anyone who has studied ancient texts and scriptures knows that repetition is a key literary device. It provides a framework for the text, and serves as the central message or theme for the passage–and sometimes–the book as a whole.

The book of Joshua is all about being coraugeous. It is a scripture filled with battles, chaos and confusion. The Israelite people are faced with imposssible odds as they march to take posession of the land which God has promised them.

Having faith that God will prevail in our lives takes a lot of courage. I know for myself that there are many times when I doubt whether I will be ordained or not….whether my ODSP cheque will stretch far enough to cover bills and groceries.

It also takes a lot of strength and courage to deal with people and situations which overwhelm us. When there are tasks in front of us that just seem way too big to accomplish.

The Good News in all of this though…is that we are not alone in these endeavours. God continually promises Joshua (and us) that he is standing at our side….ready to defend us and lift us up. 🙂

Personally, I also take comfort not only in Divine support…but in the knowledge that I am not the only one who must make this leap of faith. Everyone who is on the path of faith is called to be strong and brave…..and we can suppport each other as we journey together….moving the mountains which stand in our way and taking hold of the promises that God has set before us. +

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