Thursday, April 24, 2014

Artful Animation

I've been a huge fan of Jeff Lynne and the Electric Light Orchestra for most of my life, sometimes to the chagrin of friends when we were growing up.  The band certainly is a acquired taste with it's aural lushness and depth; it's the musical equivalent of walking on  a thick, green lawn barefoot in the summer. So, when I came across this bit of Animation, I knew it would have to be shared.  Enjoy

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Wednesday in Easter

From this morning's Gospel...
Now on that same day, the first day of the week, two of the disciples were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, but their eyes were kept from recognizing him. And he said to them, "What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?" They stood still, looking sad. Then one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answered him, "Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?" He asked them, "What things?" They replied, "The things about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things took place. Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning, and when they did not find his body there, they came back and told us that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but they did not see him." Then he said to them, "Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?" Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures. 
As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on. But they urged him strongly, saying, "Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over." So he went in to stay with them. When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, "Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?" That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. They were saying, "The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!" Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.
There was a radio program which became a television program entitled "You Are There".  The program ended before I was born though I know it through reruns.  Its goal was to place the viewer in the middle of historic events or epic periods in our history.  When I consider today's Gospel reading, I often imagine it in that setting of "You are there".

It must have been almost jaw-dropping for Cleopas and his companion when Jesus asked them about their discussion.  Clearly, Friday's crucifixion must have been the buzz for them to respond the way they did.  Yet Jesus just gently listened as the two gave their account.  He heard mourning and bewilderment in their voices as they recounted the crucifixion, death and burial from the standpoint of a follower.  Now, they were perplexed over the empty tomb.  And though they'd yet to recognize Jesus, he endeared himself to the pair as they asked Jesus to spend the evening.  At the table, Jesus takes bread, just as he did a few days earlier, blessed it, then shared it with the pair.  It was at this moment that they recognized the fact that the Lord was there in their presence.

I have to think that this was the first Eucharistic celebration of the New Testament era, and Christ was physically present.  This imagery is close to my heart whenever we celebrate the Eucharist as Anglicans.  In a sense, It is as if Jesus himself is there, saying "Take and Eat".

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Reverie, Plus One...


Scott and Christine Dente colored our lives in the 90's.  It's hard to find their tunes today, but here's a favorite...

Holy Saturday

From this morning's Gospel Reading:
When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who was also a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus; then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. So Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn in the rock. He then rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb and went away. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the tomb. 
The next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate and said, "Sir, we remember what that impostor said while he was still alive, `After three days I will rise again.' Therefore command the tomb to be made secure until the third day; otherwise his disciples may go and steal him away, and tell the people, `He has been raised from the dead,' and the last deception would be worse than the first." Pilate said to them, "You have a guard of soldiers; go, make it as secure as you can." So they went with the guard and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone.
Yesterday was a day like none other.  Outside the city walls of Jerusalem, a cosmic collision of the temporal and eternal took place, affixed to a cruel Roman cross. In the eyes of some, it may have appeared as the death of a desperate hope of throwing off the yoke of Imperial Rome. To others, it represented the messy death of a wide-eyed Sophist. Still to others, it appeared as the timely demise of a troublesome meddler who was bent on usurping a culture and religious system. Irrespective a body, now still and lifeless, hung between heaven and earth. The eyes that stare in from outside of our timeline saw something completely apart. To these eyes, there on Golgotha's hill hung the only propitiatory offering that could satisfy a Holy and Just God. Just moments prior, this God-man suspended above the earth cried out "Tetelestai"! The debt for sins ancient and future were paid. The God-man then stepped out of our timeline and willingly yielding his life back into the hands of the Father. 

Those who were devoted to the decedent now had approximately three hours to see to the matter and in doing so, would render themselves ceremonially unclean for the coming feast Yet in their devotion, they sought the body of Jesus who might have otherwise been cast into the burning garbage dump outside of the city walls, gehenna. Instead of becoming food for carrion, the remains of the Christ were lovingly laid in a rich man's tomb.

A day later, the Jewish priestly aristocracy was nervous. They knew that in spite of the Christ's resounding declaration, that this was far from over. With the Roman governor's approval, the tomb was sealed with the signet of Imperial Rome. This seal was a dire warning to would be hoaxers that should they attempt to steal Christ's remains, they would suffer the same fate as the one lying on the other side of the stone.

From the standpoint of the Apostolic band, this had to be a crushing day. One of their own had handed Jesus over to the authorities and was now dead by his own hands. Their "class president" made a profanity-laced denial of their Master and was now living with the disgrace. The rest were hiding somewhere in the city, for fear that perhaps after the feast, they would be next.

Yet, we soon learn just how one day changes everything.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Good Friday, at the ninth hour...

It is finished...

Good Friday, on the sixth hour...

From St. John's Gospel:
So they took Jesus; and carrying the cross by himself, he went out to what is called The Place of the Skull, which in Hebrew is called Golgotha. There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, with Jesus between them. Pilate also had an inscription written and put on the cross. It read, "Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews." Many of the Jews read this inscription, because the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, in Latin, and in Greek. Then the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, "Do not write, 'The King of the Jews,' but, 'This man said, I am King of the Jews.'" Pilate answered, "What I have written I have written." When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his clothes and divided them into four parts, one for each soldier. They also took his tunic; now the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from the top. So they said to one another, "Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see who will get it." This was to fulfill what the scripture says, "They divided my clothes among themselves, and for my clothing they cast lots." And that is what the soldiers did. Meanwhile, standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, "Woman, here is your son." Then he said to the disciple, "Here is your mother." And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home. After this, when Jesus knew that all was now finished, he said (in order to fulfill the scripture), "I am thirsty." A jar full of sour wine was standing there. So they put a sponge full of the wine on a branch of hyssop and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the wine, he said, "It is finished." Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
As violent as our modern culture has become, I doubt that many readers of this blog have
witnessed a violent death, or have been called upon to serve as witness to a judicial execution.  

The U.S. is one of the few free societies which still administers the Death Penalty to the worst of offenders.  This said, our American method of Execution is sterile and detached, almost seeming like a medical procedure rather than an administration of death.  Those carrying out the execution have been medically trained and the act takes place in a room  resembling an operating theater.  Executions are carried out behind prison walls and witnessed by just a handful of individuals.  Every effort is made on the part of the state to carry out the procedure in a way that is quick, humane, and sparing the condemned from any unnecessary suffering.  Compared to other nation's who've retained capital punishment, these executions are relatively rare and get scant coverage.  This was hardly the case with the execution of the Christ.

Rome ruled with a hob-nailed boot and an iron fist, and her execution of justice was intentionally brutal.  The Roman crucifixion epitomized this fact.  Those unfortunates who experienced crucifixion died in the most prolonged, miserable way imaginable.  They would, over a period of hours to days, succumb to dehydration, physical exhaustion, and ultimately die by suffocation as breathing became ever more difficult.  Though this execution process could last days in the case of a strong individual, the process was artificially accelerated by the Roman's in order to satisfy the desire of the Jewish religious establishment who wanted the executions completed prior to sundown and the start of the Passover feast.

When comparing the most barbaric executions in our modern world to the death of Jesus, they would even be seen as relatively humane.  The execution of Jesus was slow, excruciating, and inhumane in the most extreme ways imaginable.

Jesus knew exactly what he'd be experiencing and I think that why he asked the Father if there was another way.  He was not merely going to die this afternoon.  He would be first offered up as a propitiation, poured out as the only offering fit to satisfy the justice and righteous wrath of the Almighty.  The weight of sin's debt demanded nothing less.  It was only upon it's satisfaction could Jesus cry out "TETELESTAI!", bow his head, and release his live to the Father.

Good Friday -- I

From the Book of Common Prayer, the Collect for Good Friday:
Almighty God, we pray you graciously to behold this your family, for whom our Lord Jesus Christ was willing to be betrayed, and given into the hands of sinners, and to suffer death upon the cross; who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
By modern measurements, the sun would have rose in Jerusalem this morning at 6:07 AM.  On that first Good Friday as the city was waking up, Jesus' ordeal had been under way for several hours.  Its easy to overlook sometimes, but by now, he had likely been up for over 24 hours.  And, for the past few hours, he had already undergone two sham trials before Annas and Caiaphas where he was exposed to both physical and verbal abuse.  Now, we was being led to stand before the Roman governor, bound and beaten.  In an act of expediency Pontius Pilate would dismiss Jesus, referring him to Herod.  Herod, in-turn, would send him back to the Roman Governor who's legionnaire's will have beaten him within the limits of his life (a beating capable of killing most), before finally nailing him to the cross.  In the next nine hours, Jesus will have experienced an ordeal that's beyond our comprehension.

The cast of actors on this day were a broad and diverse bunch.  There were the members of the Jewish religious establishment who for quite some time, looked for an opportunity to rid themselves of this troublesome Galilean.  There was the Roman Governor who wanted no more trouble than he already had.  There were guards and soldiers.  There were followers, Apostles, and others who by providence were celebrating the Passover, "This year in Jerusalem".  Central to it all though, was the second person of the Trinity.  Jesus, Son of the living God.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Thursday in Holy Week (Maundy Thursday)

The Gospel reading for Holy Thursday:
Before the festival of the Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. The devil had already put it into the heart of Judas son of Simon Iscariot to betray him. And during supper Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, "Lord, are you going to wash my feet?" Jesus answered, "You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand." Peter said to him, "You will never wash my feet." Jesus answered, "Unless I wash you, you have no share with me." Simon Peter said to him, "Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!" Jesus said to him, "One who has bathed does not need to wash, except for the feet, but is entirely clean. And you are clean, though not all of you." For he knew who was to betray him; for this reason he said, "Not all of you are clean." 
After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, "Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord--and you are right, for that is what I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them."
 I'm thoroughly arrested by this unfolding moment. The Christ is mere hours away from enduring the most hellish ordeal ever endured by one clothed in human flesh. The spotless Passover lamb would soon have the sins of the vilest offenders laid upon his shoulders.  It's weight may have felt like the shattering blow from a pile driver. It's at moments of reflection, such as now, my careless sins and betrayals become a foul, wretched stench in my own nostrils.

The unfolding picture is truly stunning.  Christ, in demonstrating this love that loves someone to the end, strips down to his inner garments and girds himself with a towel in preparation to wash the feet of his disciples.  Try to imagine a dinner where the host suddenly strips down to his boxers and tee-shirt; it would be an awkward moment at the very least.  The Christ of God is now seen as the servant of all; transformed from High King of Heaven to lowly house slave. All were shocked, but Peter seems to have been scandalized as seen in his reaction.  Jesus doesn't mince words; without this "washing" St. Peter would have no share in the Kingdom.  Peter suddenly gets it, and all but asks for a bath.

For a visual learner, this moment in the Gospel packs a powerful punch.  It teaches volumes about the Kingdom and how it will unfold.  It shows us that the Kingdom looks far more like a tiny sun-baked Albanian nun cradling the dying than a slick, polished preacher trying to sell you your best life now.  Its self-emptying rather than self-agrandizing. Our Lord has no need or use for strutting popinjays who seem to pervade the vast spiritual and cultural wasteland. The "No Fear" Crowd does little more than stir His holy wrath. He saw all of these traits in His onetime anointed cherub, and threw both him and his company of fallen angels down from Heaven. No, He seeks something quite to the contrary. 

Consider on this Maundy Thursday... Our Lord seeks those who've grasped the concept that in the greater scheme of things, they're truly of no account. They've got nothing to bring to the table. These are the ones whom the Master can fill with His power, and may well use them mightily in proclaiming the good news of the kingdom in both word and action.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Wednesday in Holy Week

We read in this morning's appointed Gospel:
At supper with his friends, Jesus was troubled in spirit, and declared, "Very truly, I tell you, one of you will betray me." The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he was speaking. One of his disciples-- the one whom Jesus loved-- was reclining next to him; Simon Peter therefore motioned to him to ask Jesus of whom he was speaking. So while reclining next to Jesus, he asked him, "Lord, who is it?" Jesus answered, "It is the one to whom I give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish." So when he had dipped the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas son of Simon Iscariot. After he received the piece of bread, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, "Do quickly what you are going to do." Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him. Some thought that, because Judas had the common purse, Jesus was telling him, "Buy what we need for the festival"; or, that he should give something to the poor. So, after receiving the piece of bread, he immediately went out. And it was night.

Another Passover was upon Jews and like so many of our holiday dinners, things may have become a little mechanical for some of those gathered in that upper room.  The wine, the unleavened bread, the bitter herbs; all part and parcel of a meal recalling an event that took place beyond anyone's memory.This passover would be like none other since that first one celebrated in Goshen.

St. John paints an interesting picture of the unfolding betrayal. Of the eleven faithful disciples, only St. Peter and the evangelist are initially aware of that Judas, son of Simon Iscariot, is about to betray the Master. In fact, the remaining nine seem to thing that the Teacher has sent their brother out to provide for those in need on this feast night. No, this was hardly the case.

Judas, according to Matthew's account, had in fact already agreed to throw the master to his enemies and was paid well for the deed. Now, he simply had to work out the logistics of making sure that Caiaphas's temple guard would make it to the garden in time to apprehend the Christ.

There are volumes of apologetics in print, giving an explanation for WHY Judas betrayed The Christ.  These range anywhere from pious conjecture to pure puffery.  The WHY will be revealed on that great and terrible day when all will stand before the Father and all things will be made known (A day that each of us, if we're honest with ourselves, fear to some degree or other).  

Judas should be a cautionary tale for us all.  Though he was one of the twelve who proclaimed the good news, drove out demons, and healed the sick, he was also known to be a thief.  This "power evangelist" was now twisted in to the traitor of all time.  The enemy of our soul is highly adept at leveraging "character flaws" (what was once commonly called sin) in our lives, and enticing us to do deeds beyond darkness.  

We've come to a societal point where betrayal is so common place that it seems to have lost its shock with many.  This morning, my mind goes to a lyric by Don Henley from his iconic "Sunset Grill":
"Respectable little murder's pay, they get more respectable everyday..."
We are all capable of becoming that "Man from Kerioth".  May each of our heart's be guarded, today and always.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Tuesday in Holy Week

From this morning's Gospel reading:
"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." The crowd standing there heard it and said that it was thunder. Others said, "An angel has spoken to him." Jesus answered, "This voice has come for your sake, not for mine. Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself."

So much had happened in a few dozen hours; a man dead four days was walking among the living, the words of Zechariah 9:9 had been fulfilled and now the voice of God the Father was rolling like thunder. Doubtless, many of those gathered in Jerusalem for the passover may have sensed in their hearts that they were on the cusp of something epic, something that was paradigm-shifting. Yet for all of this, the Christ is standing center stage, with a heart that grows heavier with each beat.

A heavy heart is not an enviable possession and I have to confess that I have known those seasons of heavy heartedness in my life, but this thought isn't about me and I digress.  Our heaviest of hearts could never even approximate what Jesus was experiencing.

What weighed on Christ's heart? Was it the knowledge that in less than 72 hours, he would become the recipient of 15 hours of hell on earth? Was it knowing that the city where he stood would be leveled and her residents the recipients of imperial genocide? I suspect that what was occurring at present was certainly a cause for sorrow. At this point, the city was swelling and surging as pilgrims filled Jerusalem in preparation for the Passover. The lion's share of those coming for the Lamb of Passover would ultimately reject the Lamb of God.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Monday in Holy Week

From the Book of Common Prayer...
Almighty God, whose most dear Son went not up to joy but first he suffered pain, and entered not into glory before he was crucified: Mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross, may find it none other than the way of life and peace; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Omniscience is not one of our strong suits as people.  Often times, we're far closer to being bricks than approaching anything close to omniscient, not being able to see the impending consequences of our own shortsightedness. This I suppose is a divine gift, given our fallen natures.  Omniscience would probably drive us insane or make us suicidal.  For instance, consider what it would be like after receiving a welcome fit for a king just yesterday, you knew that in four days you'd be betrayed, tortured to the point of death, and finally dying on a Roman cross in abject humiliation?  

Consider further the omniscience of the Almighty in light of today's Gospel reading.  In the passage we see Jesus at the home of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus along with the apostolic band.  We could infer that this may have been a feast, celebrating the return of their brother to the living, or not.  What is fact is the fact that there was a deep friendship between Jesus and the three siblings.  It was here that Mary, in an act of devotion broke open an alabaster jar of the finest perfume and anointed the feet of the Master.  I'm confident that many in the room were stunned by  Mary's action, knowing that the perfume flowing out and filling the room was in fact her old age pension.  Judas became indignant and copped the Super-Saint pose, rebuking Mary for her waste.

Had it been you or I there, being the only omniscient person in the room, we'd have torn into Judas like a hot knife through butter.  We'd have called him out for his hypocrisy and the fact that he was an embezzler.  Or worse, we may have confronted him over what he would do in the next few days.  But not Jesus.  In his love, he only gently rebuked Judas and turned the attention to Mary's act of worship.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Palm Sunday Reverie

From this morning's Palm Sunday Eucharist:
When Jesus and his disciples had come near Jerusalem and had reached Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, "Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, just say this, `The Lord needs them.' And he will send them immediately." This took place to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet, saying, "Tell the daughter of Zion, Look, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey." The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them; they brought the donkey and the colt, and put their cloaks on them, and he sat on them. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting,"Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!" When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil, asking, "Who is this?" The crowds were saying, "This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee." Matt 21:1-11

Re-imagining "Three Streams" -- Part II

Part One

I don't know how it is on your end of the screen, but this Lent 2014 has been flying by.  It seems only yesterday that ashes were being imposed at All Saint's.  Now, Passion week is here and Easter will be upon us in only a few more days.

I'd like to continue the thoughts centered around reconsidering what many in the Anglican world refer to as the "Three Streams" which have influenced our Church and its expression of Christian worship.  Specifically, I want to now begin to consider the "Charismatic Stream".  This stream is the one, in my estimation, which has generated more controversy and agita than the other two streams combined.  But perhaps a re-imagination may take us a long distance in not only understanding, but also in gaining a new appreciation of this stream.

Let me make two bold statements.  If a church is to be healthy, vibrant and in compliance with the mandate of the Great Commission, the charismatic stream will be present.  The term "Charismatic" has been misappropriated and misused.  I'll defend the latter first.

To be charismatic simply infers that one is operating in and under the power and gifting of the Holy Spirit. 

Today, there exists a subset of churches which are marked by exuberant worship, ecstatic prophetic utterances, a rigorous legalism and a hyper-arminian theology.  The personal relationship with the divine is emphasized over the corporate to the point that Christianity has become almost an "individual sport".  Many of these bodies would proudly self-identify as Pentecostal or Charismatic.  These churches have silted up the meaning of "charismatic" through extra-biblical excesses and errors to the point that many believers (let alone Anglican believers) bristle at the thought of the term having any application with their church.  So, let's take them out of our discussion and look at the term in and of itself.

As Anglicans today, we have been influenced and move within the waters of the charismatic stream.  We are recipients of that "Other Comforter" promised by Christ to his disciples on his last night before the cross.  We have "received the power" promised by Christ before his ascension to the heavenly realm.  These gifts have empowered us to carry out the Gospel mandates of taking the good news to the ends of earth (and beyond).  These charisms are in operation on any given sunday where Bishop's, Priest's or Deacon's are proclaiming God's word faithfully and authoritatively.  

The evidence exists elsewhere too in parishes.  Vestries and finance committees whose members are gifted with gifts of administration are faithfully and effectively hearing from heaven and leading their parishes.  Others who've been granted the gifts of intercession are tirelessly battering the gates of hell on their knees.  And we overlook the "Gift of Helps" at our own peril.  This is the quiet gift; you'll see it in the the folk who always seem to be there to stack chairs, dust pews, serve on Altar Gilds or as Acolytes, and change dirty diapers in the nursery. 

For the one who would dismiss the idea of a charismatic stream within the Anglican expression, I'd invite you to try to consider the church without out the aforementioned gifts be extant in your parish?  Clearly, this stream is flowing within your parish.  

Part Three -- The Evangelical Stream

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Some Thoughts on the Book of Common Prayer

These words would be more typically spoken on June 13th, but are here this morning in the spirit of these thoughts.  From the BCP:
Almighty and everliving God, whose servant Thomas Cranmer, with others, restored the language of the people in the prayers of your Church: Make us always thankful for this heritage; and help us so to pray in the Spirit and with the understanding, that we may worthily magnify your holy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen
Anyone acquainted with the Anglican Tradition is acquainted with the Book of Common Prayer.  Across the Anglican universe it resides in pews or under seats, alongside the Bible and the Hymnal.  I've heard it disparaged and panned by some outside of the tradition as being a dead, dry book that contains little more than dead words.  I'd venture too that those who would say these things, likely have never read the words or let alone seen the book.

Christianity Today's Jordan Hylden did an interview with Alan Jacobs, who shares his thoughts on the Book of Common Prayer here.  

He shares on why the Book of Common Prayer (or BCP) is still a "big deal".

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Bono, sharing his faith

One for Reflection

Facebook can be chocked full of kitsch, distractions, annoyances and even mind-blowing ignorance from time to time.  It also has some interesting gems.

This essay, appearing on the Blog Cogito, Credo, Petam has generated a fair amount of discussion.  It can be seen here.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

U2 For Your Humpday


I've not rushed out to see Noah.  I chafe at the thought of plunking down twenty-five dollars to sit in a mold infested, poorly ventilated multiplex movie house while eating way to much popcorn.  No, I'm one of the reasons that netflix was created; I'm happy to eat way too much popcorn in the comfort of my own living room.  But I digress...

One thing that immediately struck me was the polarity if the reviews of Noah.  It's been either praised or panned be folks across the spectrum.  Barbara Nicolosi from Patheos provides her review here.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

A Compline Prayer

From the Book of Common Prayer...

Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or
weep this night, and give your angels charge over those who
sleep. Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless
the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the
joyous; and all for your love's sake. Amen.

Songs that "Get you"

Admit it, there's a song that gets you and sticks with you.  Being someone who seems to be touched by music, I can say that there are several songs that touch me on many levels.

I'm going to throw something out on my Facebook page about Evocative songs, asking people to share the songs that have touched them the most.  For the sake of the discussion, here are my two most evocative songs.  One is a contemporary worship song and the other is a hymn.

Insight from Father Matt Kennedy

Father Matt Kennedy, who've I've shared on this site before posted a thought tthis morning that struck me as being especially profound.
In six hours, Jesus endures damnation for everyone who believes. My hell. Your hell. Notice that the two thieves live on longer than he does. Is there any significance to six hours? Mark is careful to record it. There can be no dogmatism here, but let us merely observe: God, through his Word, creates all things in six days. And then he rests. Sin enters, followed by Death, hatred, misery, ruin. But here, outside the walls of the camp, in six hours God, through his Word, makes all things new. New Creation. And then he rests.
True to Facebook form, there were those on Facebook who tried to start a pie fight by nitpicking.  Father Matt gently stated that this was an observation, not a doctrinal proposition.  

There were two things that struck me in this thought.  The first was the symmetry between the six days of creation and the six hours of the redemption.  The second was the six hours that it took the Romans to execute the Christ.

Prior to its abolition in Britain, a judicial execution was accomplished in about 30 seconds.  John Bull's hangmen were swift and lethal.  An american execution, whether by Electrocution or Lethal Injection in accomplished in under ten minutes.  Once nailed to the cross, our Christ languished a full 360 minutes suspended between Heaven and Earth as the propitiation for our sins.

Tuesday Afternoon

Off on leave on a sunny Tuesday...

Tuesday Morning