Evening Prayer: September 26th (Combo Post)

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Psalm: 89
Old Testament: 2 Kings 17:24-41
New Testament: 1 Cor 7:25-31
Gospel: Matthew 6:25-34
Patristic Reading: An excerpt from a letter to the Phillipians by St. Polycarp

‘So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today. (Matt 7:34)

OK…..I know I’m not the only one who thought this……so sing it along with me 😉

Seriously though, as someone who struggles with anxiety……some of which has manifested itself on this blog, tonight’s gospel makes a very simple point….a point which I think is lost to modern readers.

For the early church, the followers of Jesus were in a culture that was extremely hostile to their way of living. There was no guarantee that they would make it to the next day….

In our context (at least mine in SW Ontario), we don't have to worry about prosecution or martyrdom….but (thanks be to God) the words are no less true for us. In our quest to gain success and fulfillment we can often get side-tracked into reaching milestones, meeting deadlines, or accomplishing goals for ourselves.

If that becomes our focus, we run the risk of forgetting where God is in the mix. We need to take it one day at a time, one hour at a time, one minute at a time….because each moment we have is precious….and the worrying is totally not worth it. 😛 +

Evening Prayer: June 13th

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Psalm: 77
Gospel: Luke 9:9-20
Patristic Reading: N/A couldn’t find a copy online 😦

You keep my eyelids from closing;
I am so troubled that I cannot speak.
I consider the days of old,
and remember the years of long ago.
I commune with my heart in the night;
I meditate and search my spirit:
‘Will the Lord spurn for ever,
and never again be favourable? (Psalm 77:4-7)

Huh. Maybe one of the Psalmists was an insomniac after all :P.

This particular passage of Scripture pretty much sums up my life. Not in terms of outright pessimism…..but definitely in terms of worrying and being heart-sick.

By nature, I’m an over-thinker….I’m one of those people who at 2 and 3am think about life, the universe and everything.

During the time when sane people are sleeping, I lie awake and wonder what will happen next. If the things I have done during the day were good, bad or indifferent.

This is one of the points in the Bible for me that doesn’t so much talk about the nature of God….but of the nature of human beings….or put differently, a time when–instead of us reading Scripture….Scripture reads us.

Our relationship with God is not meant to be static, and it’s not all going to be rose petals. It is in verses like these that I take comfort in the knowledge that people have struggled in the same way that I have…..and that they too have come out on the other side into God’s marvelous Light. +

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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