My Easter ikon this year comes from Egypt, in commemoration of the Coptic martyrs who died there at the hand of religious fanatics on Palm Sunday. May the Lord bless them and rest them with the saints!
Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark . . . —John 20:1a
Nobody knew how long Saturday would last. Nobody knew if Saturday would ever end. So it is now as well. Nobody knows how long Saturday will last or if it will ever end. Saturday is that in-between day of stillness and doubt and despair when time stands still in lethal flatness. The old Saturday was about abandonment and disappointment at the far edge of the crucifixion. And then came all the Saturdays of fear and abusiveness, of the Crusades and the ovens and genocides in too many places. And then came our particular Saturdays of Katrina and 9/11 and economic collapse, Saturdays of overwhelming failure with no adequate resources.Read More »
Dr. McKnight continues his efforts of explaining why has he joined Anglicanism. As many friends are asking me the same question, I have decided to share here Professor McKnight’s responses. I will not be able to do it better than him, anyway. So, here is a new epidoee in this series. Today, about the Collects.
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The collects of the church reveal the church’s practices and beliefs about prayer; a collect is a set prayer for a set time in the church calendar.
In them we see the church’s theology of prayer come to expression. I posted about the collects here and included a reference to a fine book “collecting” the collects: C. Frederick Barbee and Paul F.M. Zahl,The Collects of Thomas Cranmer.
There are five basic elements of a collect, and each of these expresses the Christian theology of prayer:
1. Address to God
2. Naming a context in which God has been active and therefore why God can be addressed now.
3. The petition.
4. Hoped for outcome.
5. Shaping the prayer in a Trinitarian context.Read More »
I am doing a series on the blog about why I became Anglican, and thefirst week I looked at the church calendar and last week at worship, and this week I want to dip into “worship,” by which I mean Sunday morning worship service. (I do not equate worship with Sunday morning worship, but Sunday morning worship is worship.) This week I look at the Lectionary.
I’m not a historian of the lectionary, and it is common property to a wide range of churches and that is why today it is called “The Revised Common Lectionary” and it is available online here.
In essence, the RCL is a 3-year cycle of Bible readings for Sunday worship (and daily readings as well). The lectionary is built on the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, with John weaved in over the three years. The Bible readings in a lectionary-based worship service are ordered into an Old Testament lesson, a reading from the Psalms, a reading from an Epistle, and then “The Gospel.” As the church calendar is rooted in the life of Jesus (see the image above), so the lectionary readings from the Bible aim at the Gospel reading and prepare for it and enhance it. This squares the church on the Gospels as the gospel.
Read HERE the rest of this text
I am doing a series on the blog about why I became Anglican, and last week I looked at the church calendar, and this week I want to dip into “worship,” by which I mean Sunday morning worship service. (I do not equate worship with Sunday morning worship, but Sunday morning worship is worship.)
If the church calendar shapes the church themes, the church liturgy for Holy Eucharist is shaped by a customary set of elements of the worship service. Each of these is needed, each is integrated into the other, and each is formative for Christian discipleship. To repeat from last week’s blog post, I don’t idealize or idolize Anglican worship, but I believe it is a mature, wise, and deeply theological tradition at work.
I have taken for my text this morning last week’s worship guide, or bulletin. Here are the elements of our worship and eucharist celebration: processional hymn, a call to worship, the Word of God, the proclamation of the Word of God, the Nicene Creed, prayers of the people, confession of sin, passing the peace, and then we move into Eucharist beginning with an offering, doxology, the great thanksgiving, breaking of bread, a prayer of thanksgiving and we close with a blessing.Read More »
I begin a series that will seek to shed some light on why I am Anglican. Image used with permission. More than twice a month I am asked “Why did you become Anglican?” The answer to […]
Source: Why Be Anglican?
I get this question too, a lot. So, here is some answer, even if here and there my enphases would be slightly diffeerent than those of Scot McKnight.
Almighty God, you have given your only-begotten Son to take our nature upon him, and to be born [this day] of a pure virgin: Grant that we, who have been born again and made your children by adoption and grace, may daily be renewed by your Holy Spirit; through our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom with you and the same Spirit be honor and glory, now and for ever. Amen.
Today we relight the first three candles of the Advent Wreath — the candles of HOPE, PEACE and JOY.
Now we light the fourth candle of Advent. This is the candle of LOVE.
Jesus demonstrated self-giving love in his ministry as the Good Shepherd. Advent is a time for kindness, thinking of others, and sharing with others. It is a time to love as God loved us by giving us his most precious gift. As God is love, let us be love also.
In the Book of Deuteronomy we find these words:
“For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who is not partial and takes no bribe, who executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and who loves the strangers, providing them food and clothing. You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.
— Deuteronomy 10:17-19a
From the Gospel of John we hear:
“I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
— John 13:34-35
Let us pray:
Teach us to love, O Lord. May we always remember to put you first as we follow Christ’s footsteps, that we may know your love and show it in our lives. As we prepare for our celebration of Jesus’ birth, also fill our hearts with love for the world, that all may know your love and the one whom you have sent, your son, our Savior. Amen.
Today we relight the first two candles of the Advent wreath. The candle of HOPE and the candle of PEACE.
Now we light the third candle of Advent.
This is the candle of JOY. As the coming of Jesus, our Savior, draws nearer, our joy builds with our anticipation of his birth.
From the Book of Isaiah we read the words of our Lord:
“But be glad and rejoice forever in what I am creating; for I am about to create Jerusalem as a joy, and its people as a delight.”
— Isaiah 65:18
From the New Testament, the words of Paul to the people of the church at Galatia:
“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit.”
— Galatians 5:22-25
Let us pray:
We joyfully praise you, O Lord, for the fulfillment of your promise of a Savior and what that means in our lives. Thank you for the gift of salvation through the birth of your son, Jesus. Create us anew as we wait, and help us to see your glory as you fill our lives with your living Spirit. Amen.
Today we relight the candle of HOPE.
Now we light the candle for the second Sunday in Advent. This is the candle of PEACE.
As we prepare for the coming of Jesus, we remember that Jesus is our hope and our peace.
* * *
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)
The Christmas season is full of light – sparkling lights on the Christmas tree; houses in the neighborhood decorated with lights for the coming holiday; candles flickering on the mantle; a fire in the fireplace representing warmth, comfort, and hope. These are the images of light we will hold onto this Advent season.
And we hold these images as hope not only for our own lives; but for the lives of those suffering in Palestine, Israel, the Middle East, and around the world. We remember in our prayers this week:
- The men, women, and children who are living in Gaza; often with only a few hours of electricity per day.
- The 60,000 internally displaced persons in Gaza still waiting for a durable housing solution since the destruction of their homes during the 2014 Gaza War.
- The families affected by the 155 demolitions or confiscations of Palestinian owned structures in East Jerusalem and the West Bank during September and October 2016.
- Those affected by the terrible fires throughout Israel and the West Bank that destroyed hundreds of homes, displacing tens of thousands.
We close with a prayer from The Reverend Said Ailabouni, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Chicago, Illinois:
God of mercy and compassion,
of grace and reconciliation,
pour your power upon all your children in the Middle East:
Jews, Muslims and Christians,
Palestinians and Israelis.
Let hatred be turned into love, fear to trust, despair to hope,
oppression to freedom, occupation to liberation,
that violent encounters may be replaced by loving embraces,
and peace and justice could be experienced by all.
(Source, Churches for Middle East Peace.)
Note: I have received this birthday meditation from my friend Levente Horvath, addressed, again, to ‘a son of Advent’, and I have decided to share it with you.
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As a Christian I shouldn’t try to think my way into a different way of living, but to live my way into a different way of thinking (paraphrasing Rohr). And of what does this different/new way of thinking consist? It is not just thinking that I am sharing the same confession of faith with the brethren, not that we agree with each other in our brains, but something far more beyond that. It is receiving others as I was received by Christ. As Jean-Louis Chrétien put it, “The first hospitality is nothing other than listening.” By listening, I pave the way toward living a “receiving-others-into-my-life, into-my-own personality”- lifestyle instead of living a life of pure thinking. In the New Testament Greek the word person (PERSONA in Latin) comes from PROSOPON, meaning “face-to-face.” This word in modernism was substituted with the word individual, INDIVIDUUM, the unit which cannot be further divided. But persona means turning to the other person, being open to listen to, receive, and let the person become part of me. This lets me be(come) a GENUINE PERSON. That is the secret of a Christian fellowship, of Christian living in, and as a member of, His Body. Rational abstraction is misleading, an illusion of living. Read More »
In him was life,
and that life was the light of the people.
The light shines in darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it.
Advent is a season of waiting. The anticipation of things to come. The desperate hope that the darkness of the world is not the end of the story; but one day light will prevail.
For those invested and paying attention to the political realities of the Middle East, often darkness seems to rule the day. There is much darkness to lament.
The darkness of the Syrian conflict that has raged for more than half a decade and has
resulted in the displacement and death of millions… Read More »
From the album called ‘Brother’, available on iTunes Global – http://bit.ly/tbbglo.
The Epiphany is, in the Western Christian tradition, the celebtration of the visit of the Mago to the baby Jesus. (In the East, it celebrates the baptism of Jesus).
Here is a short meditation on this important Christian festive day. In the season of Epiphany, the Light that shone at Christmas is revealed to Israel and the nations. A Lectionary reflection on Isaiah 60, Matthew 2 and Ephesians 3.
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Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the LORD rises upon you and his glory appears over you.
Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn. Lift up your eyes and look about you: All assemble and come to you; your sons come from afar, and your daughters are carried on the hip.
Then you will look and be radiant, your heart will throb and swell with joy; the wealth on the seas will be brought to you, to you the riches of the nations will come. Herds of camels will cover your land, young camels of Midian and Ephah. And all from Sheba will come, bearing gold and incense and proclaiming the praise of the LORD. (Isaiah 60:1-6)Read More »
This is, for me, one of the most beautiful Advents songs ever. It dates from the 16th century in Geneva.
Music: Louis Bourgeois. Text: Johannes G Olearius. Translation: Catherine Winkworth
Here are the words of the hymn:Read More »
Under the impression of the recent conference in Paris, on climate change, the Rt. Rev. Steven Croft, Anglican Bishop of Sheffield, wrote inspired new words, in Advent mood, for the well known hymn The King of Love My Shepherd Is, which you can listen above.
Here are the words of the new Carol:
Creator of our common home
And maker of such wonder
You crafted fire and sky and stone
Dividing seas asunder.
In love you set the earth in space~
In joy ordained its pathway
Filled earth and sea and sky with grace
That we might praise you always.
We turned away your gift of life
Polluted all you gave us
The land was spoiled, we favoured strife
Lives turned away from goodness.
In Bethlehem you gave your Son
Creator in creation
To win us back and call us home
Revealing your salvation.
The Word of God took human form
Eternity in person
Reason and love came to transform
God’s gift for our conversion.
Creator of our common home
Redeemer of such mercy
Sustainer of all life on earth
To you always be glory.
In case you were wondering.
Here are the lyrics, written by Bishop Robert Willis, for this magnificent Advent hymn, composed by Richard Shephard.Read More »
Thursday 14th May 2015
Sermon preached by Archbishop Justin Welby at the Ascension Day Eucharist at St Martin-in-the-Fields, Trafalgar Square, London.
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Acts 1:1-11, Luke 24:44-53
Ascension is about power and victory, but not as we know it.
If you’re a fan of Star Trek you’ll hear the allusion: “It’s life, Jim, but not as we know it.” Though I’m told no one ever actually said that, any more than Sherlock Holmes said, “Elementary, my dear Watson”. But even though I am not a Trekkie it’s a good line.
Ascension is about power or victory, but not as we know it. The accounts include words like ‘power’, ‘Kingdom’, ‘witness’, ‘proofs’, and ‘promise of the Father’ – such that the disciples, who weren’t any quicker on the uptake after the resurrection than before, ask about the restoration of the Kingdom of Israel.Read More »
I would say, these suggestions work also for some more traditional evangelical churches that started losing the young people.
Unlike Catholics and Orthodox, or Anglicans for that matter, usually Baptists baptise adults, or at least teenagers. It is, for most of them, a mere external sign, kind of a a semiotic devise pointing to the much more important spiritual reality of conversion and new birth.
Because of this conviction, for Baptists, the proper ordo salutis is first new birth, then baptism. That is why most baptists re-baptise as adults people who have been baptised as infants, even if this was done in the name of the Holy Trinity. At the same time, it is true that many Orthodox priests, for instance, re-baptise Baptists and other evangelicals, if they convert to Orthodoxy, although, according to the principles established from Patristic times, baptism performed in the name of the Trinity should be considered as perfectly valid. But, of course, that is not sufficient enough for fundamentalists.
Being a former Baptist, turned Anglican, I am fully comfortable with the covenantal, and sacramental, theology of infant baptism, although I am aware of its limitations, which made, for instance, one of the greatest theologians of the 2oth century, Karl Barth, to prefer adult baptism, in spite of him being a member of the Reformed Church, which practices paedobaptism. At the same time, adult baptism has its own problems, both theologically and practically. No form, however perfect that might be, is safe when touched by human hands.
For many theological and hermeneutic reasons, and in spite of the strong convictions of Baptists, and others, the issue of the proper age for baptism cannot be decided by quoting Bible verses. Nor could such quotations decide the proper form of baptism: by immersion – a simbol of death to sin, and rebirth for new life in God (strongly advocated by many evangelicals and by the Orthodox), by pouring – symbol of the coming of the Spirit over the disciples at Pentecost, or by sprinkling – symbol of the later rain of the same Spirit over believers.
The Bible simply does not prescribe explicitly a certain age or form of baptism. There are biblical differences even concerning the liturgical formula used for baptism: ‘in the name of Jesus’ (the earlier practice) or ‘in the name of the Trinity’ (as the established later formula in virtually all fully Christian traditions).
These may have been the reasons why, in spite of his own established denominational practice, a Baptist pastor in Ohio decided to respond positively to the request of a family to baptise their infant.
Music by Misha Mdinaradze
Choir: “Mdzlevari ”
Vocalists: Mariam Roinishvili / Mikheil Javakhishvili .
The International Festival From “Easter to Ascension” “KYRIE ELEISON”(Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia ILIA II) for Viola,Symphony Orchestra and Choir / Viola:Giorgi Tsagareli /http://www.myspace.com/georgetsagarelli Conductor:Zviad Bolqvadze/ The National Symphony Orchestra of Georgia/Trinity Choir /26 APRIL 2009
Today, Western Christianity commemorates Good Friday, the day when our Saviour was crucified. There are not many people more qualified to talk about the excruciating pain of loosing one’s child as theologian Ben Witherington. Here is the Good Friday meditation ha has shared on his blog on Patheos.
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On Good Friday the skies wept,
They just opened up and torrential rains came down.
Flooding the creeks, the brooks, the streams.
The rivulets became rivers, the rivers became swollen,
The lands disappeared, surrendered their hold to the rivers.
The ground under our feet, which once we took as forever firm and reliable and a place to stand, washed away.Read More »
Almighty and everliving God,
In your tender love for the human race
you sent your Son our Savior Jesus Christ
to take upon him our nature,
and to suffer death upon the cross,
giving us the example of his great humility:
Mercifully grant that we may walk in the way of his suffering,
and also share in his resurrection;
Through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
One God, for ever and ever.
Friday 20th February 2015
In this talk given at St Paul’s Cathedral last night, the Archbishop of Canterbury reflected on what makes a good Lent for individuals, communities and society as a whole.
Some things stick in the memory. In 2004, when I wasworking at Coventry Cathedral, I was in a part of Africa which was in the midst of some very serious fighting. A group of black-clad militias was moving across the area, killing, looting, burning.
With a colleague I drove into the area where the fighting was going on to a small town that was under siege, or had been. On the way there, after a long period in the car on very bad roads, we stopped for a few moment break. There was a series of burnt huts to our right, and I walked a few metres towards them.
Around me rose ash. It was this time of year; in fact it was the Monday before Ash Wednesday. The ash rose in clouds, settling on me, from the burnt houses and, as I walked, I realised the ash from those who had been burned.
That was ash without hope, ash without change, ash rising in clouds to call all who saw it to acknowledge human evil but not to promise anything better.Read More »
Here is, again, Rachel’s yearly collection of ideas for Lent. Enjoy!