Friday, December 31, 2010

Holy Name: January 1, 2011

Today is celebrated by the church as the Circumcision of Christ, or The Holy Name. Both names are important to us. This is eight days after Christmas. All good Jewish boys were circumcised eight days after their birth. This is the first time that Jesus, or Yeshua sacrifices his blood in order to complete the law. He spent the rest of his life obeying the Law perfectly, so that he could be a pure lamb without blemish, which could be sacrificed for our sins.

Secondly, the Holy Name. Yeshua (Jesus in Aramaic) from Hebrew, Yah Shua means, “God Saves.” It is very important that as Christians we understand the full significance of this name. Shua is much more than “save” as we understand the word. Wycliff in his translation of the Bible translated it as heal. Jesus the healer, Jesus died to heal us. Wycliff was not in error. The word means heal just as much as it means saved. The word implies that we are made completely whole, body, mind and spirit. We are saved from death, from hell and from sickness of body, mind or spirit. To be made whole, we are also saved or made whole for this life here on earth. When we have been saved or healed, we begin the process of sanctification, in which we become holy people. God peals us like an onion removing everything that is not of him. Usually this is a gradual process, although there are times when it can be all at once. AS we submit our selves to God, asking him to heal and purify us, we will usually find another problem waiting to be solved. True saints are always aware how sinful they are.

As we submit ourselves more and more to God, and he heals us, from infirmities, disease, addictions, bad attitudes, sin, we experience shalom. Shalom is like shua. It is not just peace as the world defines peace. Shalom is peace with nature, peace with God, peace with society, peace with ourselves. Peace in good times, peace in bad.

So every time we pronounce the name of Yeshua, let us truly think about the salvation he gives us.

Collect: : Emanuel, you who are with us, help us to remember that the name of Yeshua proclaims your salvation and healing, and through his finished work on the cross he completed his obedience to the law and the prophets began on this day, when he first shed blood in obedience. Help us so to contemplate his holy name that we would truly accept that salvation, healing, and wholeness and that our obedience to you would lead to salvation and healing of many. This we ask in the name of Yeshua haMoshiach who lives and governs with you and the Ruach haKodesh, one God in glory everlasting. Amen.

Exodus 34:1-8
Psalm 8
Romans 1:1-7
Luke 2:15-21

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Thomas Becket: 30 December 2010
Thomas Becket was born in Cheapside, about 1118, of parents who were property owners. One of his father’s wealthy friends taught him to ride a horse and other gentlemanly pursuits. He began his education at Merton Priory and overseas in France. He attracted the attention of Theobald, Archbishop of Canterbury, who made him Archdeacon of Canterbury as well as Provost of Beverley after demonstrating his abilities in several important missions. Upon Theobald’s recommendation, he was appointed Chancellor, and as such was truly the King’s man, upholding Henry II in all things.

In 1162, Theobald died, and Henry II, thinking to consolidate his power over the church and to remove ecclesiastical courts from the land appointed Becket as Archbishop of Canterbury. At this time, Thomas became an ascetic, and renounced the chancellorship, and a battle began between him and the king. The King tried to force Becket to sign the Constitutions of Clarendon reducing the church’s authority, but Becket refused, and facing trumped up charges on his behaviour as chancellor, fled to France. After several years of exile and negotiations with the Bishop of Rome and threat of excommunication and interdict, Becket was allowed to return. After a severe breaching of the prerogatives of the Archbishop of Canterbury (coronation of King Henry III) which resulted in the excommunication of the Archbishop of York, Bishop of London, and Bishop of Salisbury. The king is said to have said, “What miserable drones and traitors have I nourished and brought up in my household, who let their lord be treated with such shameful contempt by a low-born cleric?” (This is probably what he said, there are other versions, but this is the most likely) Four knights upon hearing this went off to Canterbury on December 29th of 1170 and after Becket refused to accompany them to Winchester, returned with their weapons and killed Becket during vespers at Canterbury Cathedral. As Becket was dying, he said, “For the name of Jesus and the protection of the Church, I am ready to embrace death.” In shorter terms, Becket died for the prerogatives of the church.

Thomas Becket’s death also affected culture in other ways. A popular pilgrimage to Canterbury lasted for more than 350 years, and in fact the Canterbury Tales were arranged around one such pilgrimage. We note in passing that King Henry VIII had Becket’s shrine and bones destroyed.

Emmanuel, you raised up Thomas Becket to protect the church against the authorities of this world. Help us to remember that the church must be in subjection to you and your word, and not to the authorities or whims of this world: this we ask in the name of Yeshua haMoshiach, who took our nature upon himself to redeem it. Amen. (white)
Psalm 125
2 Esdras 2:42-48
1 John 2:3-6, 15-17
Mark 11:24-33
Note: If there is no celebration of the Eucharist, the readings of the day may be used for Matins.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Childermas: 29 December 2010

Childermas is usually celebrated on the 28th of December and commemorates the murder of the children of Bethlehem, usually called the Holy Innocents. According to the Bible, these would have been all the children of Bethlehem of two years and under, probably two dozen or less children. . While there are no independent sources of this event, it is highly consistent with King Herod’s actions, who was quite prepared to kill anyone including relatives who were a threat to his sitting on the throne.

In this day, we remember not only those innocents who died after the first Christmas, but also all Holy Innocents killed for political expediency, especially today the children who died from AIDS in Rumania in the 1990’s and the street children murdered by police in Latin America.

In an English tradition, in many Cathedrals, a boy bishop was elected on St. Nicholas Day and continued in office until Childermas, conducting all the minor offices of the Cathedral, and often preaching.

Collect: Emmanuel, as we remember the lives and deaths of those who died when Herod was attempting to kill you, help us to resist tyrants, and to stand strong against those forces today which would destroy innocent lives, whether through neglect or intent: this we ask in the name of Yeshua haMoshiach, who took our nature upon himself to redeem it. Amen. (red)

Eucharistic Readings:
Psalm 124;
Jeremiah 31:15-17;
Revelation 21:1-7;
Matthew 2:13-18
Daily Office Readings:
AM Psalm 2, 26; Isaiah 49:13-23; Matthew 18:1-14
PM Psalm 19, 126; Isaiah 54:1-13; Mark 10:13-16
Note: If there is no celebration of the Eucharist, the Eucharistic reading of the Gospel is to be used for Matins. At the discretion of the celebrant other Eucharistic readings may be used for Matins.

St. John the Evangelist: 28 December 2010

Oops, I slipped up, this should have been posted this morning.

St. John the Evangelist is believed to be the beloved disciple mentioned in the Gospel of St. John. He and his brother were disciples of John the Baptist before becoming disciples of Jesus. He is believed to have been the author of the Gospel of St. John, The three Epistles of St. John, and the book of Revelations. It is almost certain that the Gospel was edited during his life or after his death in Ephesus, where he served as Bishop. John served in Judea and Galilee some twelve years before Herod Agrippa’s persecution drove him out. He ended up in Ephesus, where he served many years, dying at the age of ninety-eight. He suffered in various persecutions and was imprisoned for a while on the island of Patmos. There were several attempts on his life including poison and being boiled in oil which he survived.

Collect: Emanuel, you raised up John to proclaim the Gospel, to reveal that you are love, and to be Bishop of Ephesus. Help us to so love one another that the world would see you in us and our behaviour and come to know you as Lord, and Saviour: this we ask in the name of Yeshua haMoshiach, who took our nature upon himself to redeem it. Amen. (white)

Eucharistic Readings:
Psalm 92 or 92:1-4,11-14;
Exodus 33:18-23; 1 John 1:1-9; John 21:9b-24
Daily Office Readings:
AM: Psalm 97, 98; Proverbs 8:22-30; John 13:20-35
PM: Psalm 145; Isaiah 44:1-8; 1 John 5:1-12
Note: If there is no celebration of the Eucharist, the Eucharistic reading for the Gospel is to be used for Matins. At the discretion of the celebrant other Eucharistic readings may be used for Matins.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

St. Stephen: 27 December 2010

St. Stephan was the first of the martyrs to die for Christ. He was one of the first seven deacons of the church, and was a powerful witness, working many miracles, and convincing many through his preaching that Yeshuah (Jesus) was the Jewish messiah. We note in passing, that the word martyr, actually means witness, and Stephan was one of many through the ages who would witness to Jesus by dying for him. In Stephan’s sermons in the Bible, we see that he knew his scriptures when preaching, and that we who preach should share that knowledge. As we remember St. Stephan today, may we also be willing to witness to others that Jesus Christ is the Saviour of the world and may we like him be willing to forgive those who persecute us. His dying words, were, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.”.

Collect: Emanuel, you raised up your servant Stephan to a ministry of service and to preach the Gospel. Teach us like him to forgive those who persecute us, and to be faithful in service and proclaiming your kingdom, this we ask in the name of Yeshua haMoshiach, who took our nature upon himself to redeem it. Amen. (red)
Jeremiah 26:1-9,12-15 Acts 6:8--7:2a,51c-60; Matthew 23:34-39
Daily Office Readings:
AM: Psalm 28, 30; 2 Chronicles 24:17-22; Acts 6:1-7
PM: Psalm 118; Wisdom 4:7-15; Acts 7:59-8:8
Note: If there is no celebration of the Eucharist, the Eucharistic reading for the Epistle is to be used for Matins. At the discretion of the celebrant other Eucharistic readings may be used for Matins.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Nicholas Ferrar, Deacon: 1 December 2010

Nicholas Ferrar (1592-1637)

Many wonder when I leave out so many English Saints, why I remember the Deacon from Little Gidding.

After being ordained to the deaconate, Nicholas and his family and some friends retired to Little Gillddng, in Huntindonshire, England. Once there, they dedicated themselves to prayer, fasting and giving of alms. They restored the church there, and were responsible to see that it had services. They also taught the children, and saw to the health of the people in the surrounding district. They recited the daily offices and read through the entire Psaltery daily. They always kept at least one person before the alter kneeling in prayer, so as to pray without ceasing. They also wrote several books including a harmony of the Gospels.

Nicolas and his family were a fine example of how Christians can live, single and married together in community, serving the community around them. The finest of Anglican tradition, with daily Morning and Evening prayer and caring for the need of the people. This was a true case of the people being the church.
Psalm 15
Exodus 35:1-5a, 24-29
Galatians 6:7-10
Luke 10:38-42

El Shaddai, you gave your deacon, Nicholas Ferrar the ability to form a Christian community that was truly dedicated to you both in prayer and ministry to others. Grant that we, like the Ferrar family would worship you through prayer and fasting, but also in witnessing and taking care of the poor. This we ask through Yeshua, who prayed, forgave sins and preached to the sinner. Amen. (white)

Monday, November 22, 2010

C.S. Lewis: 22 November 2010

Clives Staples Lewis
29 November 1898-22 November 1963

Born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, C. S. Lewis was baptised into that church at a tender age. As many, he did not receive much nurture from that faith, he fell away from it and officially became an atheist. Like many of his time, Lewis was educated by private tutors and private schools. It was at Malvern College at the age of fifteen that he became an atheist, studying mythology and the occult. He attended Oxford and volunteered to fight in World War I. returning to Oxford afterwards. Influenced by the writings of George McDonald and by G.K. Chesterton, and by J.R.R. Tolkien, Lewis came back to Christ, kicking and struggling in his own words in 1931. Joining the Church of England, his works reflect orthodox Anglicanism of his time. Lewis is chiefly known for, The Pilgirms’s Regress, his Space Trilogy, the Chronicles of Narnia, ere Chrisitanity and the Screwtape Letters. He wrote several other books as well with Christian themes. Lewis is probably the most well know Christian apologist of the twentieth century.

Dear Lord, you gave your servant Clive S. Lewis wonderful ability to proclaim your kingdom, love of you, and spiritual truths through the written and spoken word. Raise up in this and every generation authors who truly love you and proclaim you through word and action. This we ask through Yeshuah haMoshiach who himself used parables to proclaim the truth of the kingdom. Amen. (white)

Sunday, October 31, 2010

All Saints Day: November 1, 2010

Today is All Saints day, a day when we remember all those who lived and died for the Lord Jesus Christ. Originally celebrated in May and celebrated by the Orthodox the Sunday after Pentecost, the purpose of it partially to remember those saints not remembered in the calender, and a day to remember that when we became Christians, we too became Saints.

The Roman Catholic Church moved the feast to November 1st to counteract the popular Druidic rites of Samhaim.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

St. Michael and All Angels: 29 September 2010

St. Michael and All Angels

Today we recognise the heavenly hosts. Our Greek brothers and sisters refer to them as the bodiless powers, recognising that angels are essentially spiritual beings. Now just, what are angels? The Greek word, Angel means messenger. Angels and Archangels basically then are messengers sent by God. It is reckoned by theologians that only Angels and Archangels have anything to do with men. The other classes are angels in ascending order are: Principalities, Powers, Virtues, Dominions, Thrones, Cherubim and Seraphim. It is not clear to us the purposes of these various classes of spiritual beings, but we know that they serve God, and the last two, cherubim and Seraphim are reckoned as angels of the presence, that is that they are in the highest heaven with the Lord.

Biblicaly, there are several manifestations of angels. First, we hear of the Angel of the Lord, which for the most part is not reckoned to be an angel, but to be the Lord YHWH himself. Next we run into St Michael, the Archangel who is described in Daniel and Revelations. He is counted as the special angel who is in charge of Israel, and who casts Satan out of heaven. He is again mentioned in Revelations. St. Raphael is mentioned in the book of Tobit and accompanies Tobias on his adventures. St. Gabriel is mentioned in the New Testament, and he is the Angel who announces the birth of Jesus. Uriel is mentioned in IV Esdras. Other angels are not mentioned by name. The Seraphim are described by Isaiah in his vision. The Cherubim are described by Ezequiel in his vision. Thrones are mentioned in Colossians, Dominions in Colossians, Virtues in I Peter, Powers in Colossians, and Principalities in Colossians. It should be mentioned that for most classes of angels, there are corresponding classes of demons. When Satan was cast out of heaven one third of the angels followed him. Therefore angles, spiritual thought they may be, are like us, capable of choosing between right and wrong.

This day we remember especially St. Michael and the other angels who minister to us, and to those in heaven who give us the example of constantly praising God!

Please go to the reference above and look at the 71 versions of St. Michael, truly fascinating.

Collect: Dear Lord, as you created a vast order of angelic hosts to worship you and do your will, grant that we too like your angels in heavens would worship you and do your will. This we ask in the name of our blessed Yeshuah who is higher than the angels. Amen.

Lessons: Isaiah 6:1-3
Hebrew 1:7-14
Mark 13:21-27
Psalm 14

Monday, September 20, 2010

Mathew the Evangelist, also known as Levi. He began as a tax collector and Jesus called him to repentance, and to follow him. Shortly after this, Jesus went to a supper at Mathew’s home where he was rebuked by the Pharisees for eating in the house of the sinner. One hope that Jesus’s reply of being sent to those who need healing may have brought some Pharisees to repentance, but on said subject the Bible is silent. Legends tell us that Mathew worked among the Hebrews for some 15 years before departing for other climes. Legends also claim that he evangelized (and died) just south of the Caspian Sea, as well as visiting Persia, Parthia, Macedonia and Syria.

It is stated that he left a copy of the Gospel to the Hebrews (and this may be the same one that was taken to India by St. Thomas. We believe that that first Gospel was written in Aramaic, but more than likely, our present Gospel of Mathew is not a direct translation, but a translation with some additional materials. The Gospel of Mathew has a clear emphasis on showing that Jesus completed the Law and the Prophets and that Jesus was the Jewish Messiah and Saviour of the world.

Collect: Dear Father, as you raised Mathew from being a tax collector to an ambassador for your kingdom, and caused him to write his Gospel for the Messianic Jews of his time; so transform us that our lives would lead to the conversion of many and help us to remember that our lives may be the only Bible unbelievers will read. This we ask through Yeshuah, who lives and reigns with you and the Ruach haKodesh, one God in glory everlasting. Amen. (red)

Mathew 9:9-13 (Eucharist)
Mathew 13:44-52 (Matins or Vespers if using above lesson for Matins)

Friday, September 17, 2010

Yom Kippur: 18 September 2010

Today is Yom Kippur, one of the Holiest of the High Holy Days of the Jews which we remember. Our Lesson from Leviticus explains the preparations which the high priest had to make in order to offer the offering for the sins of the people. First he had to wash, a symbol of purity. Then he had to put on the special clothes reserved to the high priest (clothing indicates our deeds). Afterwards, he had to have a sacrifice to pay for his own sins. Then and only then could he enter into the Holy of Holies and sacrifice for the sins of the peoples, which he did by sprinkling blood on the cover of the ark of the covenant. Note even then, he had a rope tied to his foot just in case. The hem of his robe had bells. If the bells stopped ringing, they knew the High Priest had been struck dead for his sins and was pulled out.

Jesus, by his death on the cross finished this sacrifice for ever. Jesus was without sin, so no need to wash, or even sacrifice. He was perfect man, without sin, so he needed no magnificent clothing to symbolize his good deeds, all his deeds were good. Through his goodness and perfection, he was able to enter into that Holy Place, of which the Holy of Holies was only the palest of shadows. Instead of offering the blood of a lamb, he offered his own blood to cover the mercy seat, once and for all, to cover our sins for ever. When Jesus died on the cross, we are told that the curtain ripped in two. This symbolizes that we all have access to the throne of grace through the blood of Jesus.

The Jews wore white on this day, to symbolize they were clean of sin. The same in days gone past, Christians would don a white garment after their baptism, and wear it for fifty days to remind them that Jesus had paid for their sins and they were cleansed indeed.

Today, and every Friday is good to remember that Jesus, through his life and his death on the cross, provided for us a way to enter into God’s presence. Join with me fasting on this day, so that we may join Jesus in his sufferings so as to remember the wonders he did for us.

Lessons: Leviticus 16:1-34 (Eve)
Jonah, Hebrews 9:23-28, Mathew 27:45-51 (morning)

Collect: Heavenly Father, as we remember the day of atonement which prefigured Messiah’s death on the cross. Separate our sins as far from us as the east is from the west, and grant that we may enter into the holy place where you now rein, one God, in glory everlasting. (Lenten array or violet)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

St. John Chrysotom: 14 September 2010

St. John Chrysostom (349-407) was born in Antioch to pagan parents. His father, a soldier died while John was of an early wage, and John was raised by his mother. He became a Christian, was baptised and became a reader in the church. At first due to his mother’s influence he studied under pagans and developed a gift for rhetoric. As he grew older he studied under Christians and later became a hermit, during which time he spend memorising the Bible. Too much fasting permanently damaged his kidneys and he had to return to Constantinople. Ordained a deacon in 381 and a presbyter in 386 he became well known because of his preaching. In preaching and writing he emphasised the spiritual and physical needs of the poor. His talks were very practical, leading people to a straightforward understanding of the Bible and of Christian duty in everyday life. While in Antioch, he preached 21 sermons leading to whole sale conversion to Christianity by pagans.

In 398 he became Archbishop of Constantinople. It is said that his sermons were so powerful, that people were so enthralled by them that pickpockets had easy targets, and it was suggested that people leave their purses at home. Refusing to have banquets for the rich he made himself unpopular with the upper classes. He also forced priests to go back to where they were supposed to be. Either threw fearlessness, or fault of tact, John found himself with enemies in high places, and the Empress Eudoxia became his enemy and organised a conspiracy against him. A synod was held against him in 403 and he was deposed and to be banished. At his arrest there was an earthquake and the people were rioting so the emperor called him back to his post He was banished once again to Armenia for criticising the empress. During this time he wrote several letters of great influence in Constantinople and was exiled to Georgia. He never made it to his final destination, and was buried in Georgia, where his tomb became a site of pilgrimage.

Considered to be the greatest preacher of the early church (Chrysostom means golden mouthed) he preached extensively from the whole Bible, and many of the congregants copied his sermons and passed them around. He criticised his audience for being too worldly, especially in pagan entertainments, but at the same time formed his sermons so they would be clear to all, especially emphasising care of the needy. He also revised the liturgy and has some connection with the liturgy of St. John Chrysostom.

Heavenly Father, as you raised John Chrysostom to preach the Gospel and suffer for the faith. Grant that all preachers would have the eloquence to proclaim your word so as to build us up in faith and knowledge and love of you. Through the Messiah we pray, Amen. (red)

Jeremaih 42:1-6
Psalm 49:1-8
I Corinthians 12:31-13:7
Luke 21:12-15

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Rosh Hoshana: 9 September 2010

Following the Jewish Calendar, today is Rosh Hoshana, the Jewish New Year. Last night we had a festive meal, and dipped our bread and apples in honey signifying that we would like God to give us a sweet year. The shofar will be blown today. The shofar is a ram's horn trumpet with a distinctive sound. Trumpets were used to announce the coming of the king. Our King of course is Yahweh Shabbaoth, the Lord the Lord of Hosts.

Following the lessons and collect is a short poem on my reflections celebrating Rosh Hoshanah in a Messianic Synagogue some years back.

Numbers 29:1-6
Jer. 31:1-19
Genesis 1:1-31

Father as on this day we commemorate the creation of human kind, help us to repent in truth from our many sins, and to learn to truly walk and talk with you as did Adam and Hava. Let the shofar truly call us to be with you, and may you grant us a sweet year to come. This we ask through Yeshua haMoshiach who lives and reins with you and Ruach haKodesh, one God in glory everlasting. (white)

What Does the Shofar Say

Listen to the sound of the Shofar, this Rosh Hashanah day,
What is it, what does the Shofar say?
Awake, sleepers arise!
Don’t be like sheep, so sound asleep,
Letting the wolf in the door, to destroy, corrupt and more.
He’s in the music, promoting drugs,
He’s on TV promoting sex and rebellion,
He’s in the school teaching one to be a hellion.
Parents, do you love your children,
Then teach them, teach them.
At their rising, at their sitting,
Going out, coming in, at their eating,
Jesus Christ is Lord, He died for you, and many more,
And expects to be your Lord.

Listen to the sound of the Shofar, this Rosh Hashanah day,
What is it, what does the Shofar say?
Awake, sleepers arise!
Don’t be like sheep, so sound asleep,
False shepherds abound misleading the sheep,
Saying science, psychology is King.
If it feels good do it, if it hurts no-one, ‘tis not a sin, or so they sing.
Jesus is not Lord, he’s just one way, of which there are many more.
Stand up O sheep, flee from such shepherds, For at that last day, they shall flee, or
Be astounded, upon finding resurrection is true,
But alas they are blue,
For never having known Jesus, they have condemned themselves,
And those who followed them to a future so bleak,
That to think upon makes me weak

Listen to the sound of the Shofar, this Rosh Hashanah day,
What is it, what does the Shofar say?
Ti ra! Ti ra! Arise, charge, ‘tis time to fight the good fight,
‘tis time to show the adversary our might.
Put on the Gospel Armour, refrain from retreating,
It is time to gain souls, it is time to gain kings,
It is time to show the world our Lord and King.
We have been asleep, allowing Satan his will
And we have had to pay the bill.
The time is over, Satin take cover,
For the church is called to be on the move.
Blow the shofar, blow the trumpet, Good Christians, ATTACK!
You are the mighty hosts of the Lord, armed with his Spirit and Word,
The battle is yours, the war is the Lord’s.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

5 September 2010

Torah: Numbers 29:1-6
Prophet: Jer. 31:1-19
Writing: Proverbs 20:1-30
Psalm: 119:161-168
For the Epistle: Rev. 15:1-
Gospel: Mark 6:45-56
Collect: Gracious Father, you have blessed us in many ways. Teach us to always use those blessings for the advancement of your kingdom. This we ask in the name of Yeshua haMoshiach who lives and reigns with you and the Ruach haKodesh, one God in glory everlasting.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Miriam: Theotokous: 16 August 2010 (transferred)

Actually we know little of Miriam aside from what is told in the Bible. Legend claims that she was born to her parents Joachim and Anna in their old age. She was devout and at a young age was betrothed to Yoseph, who became here husband. While still young, the angel announced to her that she would become the mother of God's child. She asks how this can happen since she is a virgin. The angel announces that God's spirit will take care of this, to which Miriam responds, "be it unto me according to your will, expressing great faith that not only will God do this, but that he will protect her from people assuming adultery, which was punishable by death.

Later at the wedding in Canna, she tells the servants, "To do whatever he tells you," a message which we need to regard as well. She is also present at the crucifixion, and is one of the 120 present at the first Christian Pentecost, where she and others receive the fullness of the Holy Spirit.

While we don't receive an in depth picture of her life, we do see her faith, and our need to imitate it. According to the Bible and legend, John the Evangelist took her into his home, and she travelled with him to Ephesus, where she died on the 15th of August.


Isaiah 61:10-11
Psalm 34 or 34:1-9
Galatians 4:4-7
Luke 1:46-55

Heavenly Father, you raised up Miriam to be the Theotokous, the mother of our Lord Yeshuah haMoshiach, grant that we like her may say, “be it unto me according to your word,” and to obey her instructions, “do whatever he tells you to do. In the name of her son, Yeshuah, we pray. Amen.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Jan Hus, reformer, martyr: 6 July 2010

Jan Hus, reformer, martyr (c. 1374-6 July 1415)

Jan was born to an humble family in the Kingdom of Bohemia. At a tender age he went to Prague and earned his way by singing and serving in churches. Because of his dedication he received his Bachelor of Arts in 1393 and his Master of Arts in 1396, both at St. Charles University, Prague. He was ordained to the presbyterate in 1400, became rector of the University in 1402 and was appointed preacher in the Bethlehem Cathedral about the same time.

Ann of Bohemia married King Richard II of England. During her time in England, through her influence and the influence of Jerome of Prague, many of John Wycliffe’s writings made their way to Prague and greatly influenced Jan Hus. Jan began his reforms in the early part of the 15th century. His thought was that the Eucharist and other prayers, as well as the lessons from the Bible should be in the language of the people, Czech in his case. (We note in passing that the haček (ˇ) was invented by Jan Hus, so as to make it easier to write in Czech.) He was also against the custom of only giving the communicants the host, as opposed to the host and chalice at communion. (This practice had developed from a fear of spilling the cup). As Martin Luther, he was also against indulgences, and the church charging for everything. As well he was opposed to clergy being involved in government, and declared that the Papacy was an invention of the church for convenience, and had no Biblical warrant. (note: he did not oppose the Papacy, he saw the need of the church of having a head here on earth).

It was this last teaching that aroused the ire of the church against him, as the church was just recovering from the Babylonian captivity and a time of having three popes simultaneously.

Although guaranteed protection, Hus was brought to trial and burned at the stake on 6 July 1415. As he died he sang in Latin, “Christ, Thou Son of the Living God, have mercy upon me. Sadly for him, the King of Bohemia, Vaclav IV was not as powerful (or as sneaky)as Martn Luther’s protector, the Prince Elector of Saxony. As often happens martyrdom gives power to the ideas of the martyrs. Jan Hus’s followers became known as the Moravian and Bohemian brethren and as Wycliffe’s ideas influenced Hus, so did Hus’s ideas influence Martin Luther. (Of course because of the printing press, Martin Luther’s ideas received much more attention and were more widespread) Due to pressure from the Brethren, the Roman Catholic clergy restored the chalice to the laity in the Kingdom of Bohemia. The Brethren still exist in the Czech Republic to this day, although many of them escaped to Saxony, where under the leadership of Bishop Ludwig Count Zinzendorf, they became a mighty missionary force.

Readings for Eucharist:
Psalm 119:113-120
Job 22:21-30
Revelation 3:1-6
Matthew 23:34-39

Collect: Heavenly Father, you raised up Jan Hus to translate the Bible and liturgy into the Czech language and to die for his faith. Remind us always that your word should always be accessible to your people, and that prayer should be in the common tongue. And help us to be always ready, as Jan was to live fully unto you, and to be ready to die for our faith. In the name of Yeshua we pray. Amen. (red)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Ephrem of Edessa: 10 June 2010

Ephrem of Edessa (306-10 June 379) Was born in Nissibus during a time of persecution. Ephrem was baptised as a youth, and made teacher soon after. He was ordained a deacon at a relatively young age. It is said he founded the school of Nissibus which became the center of learning for the Assyrian Church of the East.

Upon the death of Constantine, Nissibus was attacked by the Persians, but not conquered. One of Ephrem’s early hymns reflects this event. Eventually events lead to Nisibus being conquered, but the Christians were allowed to leave. Ephrem found himself with refugees who ended up in Edessa, where he settled to serve the church.

Edessa was full of heresies, and Ephrem composed at least 400 hymns set to folk melodies in Syriac to oppose these heresies. The hymns were sung by an all woman’s choir. In addition to his hymns, he wrote poetic sermons, and prose work based on the scriptures. IN addition he encouraged reading the scriptures for faith, as opposed to critical analysis.

His works inspired many and he was mourned after his death. He inspires us with a non-european form of Christianity. He also inspires us to use good (secular) music to promote Christian ideas.

Psalm 98:5-10
Proverbs 3:1-7
Ephesians 3:8-12
Matthew 13:4-52

Oh Lord, as you gave your deacon, Ephrem the ability to compose hymns to build up the church in faith and knowledge of you, raise up in this and every generation those who teach the true faith by song and charitable works, that we may every glorify your holy name. This we ask through Yeshuah haMoshiach, who lives and reins with you and Ruach haKodesh, one God in glory everlasting. Amen. (white)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Columcille: 9 June 2010

Columcille (7 December 521 – 9 June 597 AD)

Columcille was born into a family of Irish high kings in 521 in County Donegal, Ireland. He studied at Clonnard Abbey and was ordained Deacon, and then Presbyter . Because of his missionary zeal he was recognised as one of the 12 apostles of Ireland.

In 563,he travelled to Scotland with 12 companions with the intention of preaching the Gospel to the Picts. King Conall, a cousin of Columcille gave him the Isle of Iona, which was about half way between his home country and the Caledonian Picts. A rough monastic settlement was quickly built, with church, refectory, and cells made of wattle, and it became Columcille’s base for proclaiming the Gospel to the Picts, especially north of Strathclyde and as far as Aberdeenshire and the Hebrides as well. It is said that he left for Scotland in order to win as many souls for Christ, as those who died in a war that he may have inspired, over a disagreement which may have had to do with a book he copied.

His first missionary success was with King Bridei who was impressed by miracles wrought at Columcille’s hand.

As Iona was base for evangelising Scotland, it became a missionary school for the entire Island of Britain. We note in passing that King Oswold of Northumbria was educated in Northern Scotland and was therefore affected by teachings from Iona, and requested a Bishop from Iona to convert his people.

In addition to being a missionary outpost, Iona became a centre of learning and study, and Columcille, as a religious man became a diplomat between warring kings.

When at Iona, Columcille was no idle man. He occupied himself in writing hymns, copying books, study and prayer. It is said he died before the altar of the church of Iona.

Psalm 97:1-2,7-12
Isaiah 61:1-3
1 Corinthians 3:11-23
Luke 10:17-20

Heavenly Father, for penance, Columba was sent to gather members for the kingdom. Grant that as he proclaimed the gospel to Scotland, that we in shame for our sins should proclaim with the same fervour the Gospel to our neighbours and families. This we ask through Yeshua who lives and reins with you and Ruach haKodesh, one God in glory everlasting. Amen. (white)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Bede: 25 May 2010

St. Bede, monk of Jarrow (672 / 673 – May 26, 735)

Bede was a historian in the early English church and spent most of his time at Monkwearmouth and Jarrow, both in Northumbria . He became a monk at an early age, and is our chief source about the early English church, especially in his Eccelisatical History of the English.

He wrote some 59 other books, most of which we still have, and had a correspondence traversing England and was apparently well traveled as well. Bede continued writing even on his death bed, and is an example of the importance of scholarship on the church. Interestingly enough, Bede is the only source mentioning an Anglic goddes, Oster who has been used by some extreme Protestant circles to counteract the celebration of Easter or the name.

Dear Lord, you gave the venerable Bede great gifts in writing and preserving the life of the early English church. Raise up in this and every generation men and women who can show how His Story is the true history of the world. This we ask through Yeshua haMoshiach who lives and reigns with you and the Ruach haKodesh, one God in glory everlasting. Amen. (white)

Monday, May 10, 2010

Isaiah the propeht: 11 May (transferred from Sunday

Isaiah (Yeshayahu) the prophet was of royal lineage and lived about 700 years before Christ. He was raised to have awe for God and to know and obey the law. He was called by the Lord during the kingship of King Uzziah and continued on for some sixty years. The start of his service began with a remarkable vision (Isaiah 6) in which Isaiah sees the holiness of the Lord and the sinfulness of man.

Isaiah constantly condemns the nation of Israel for injustice, especially against the poor, and calls for Israel to repent. He has a strong image of man’s need to repent, and God’s mercy if we do repent.

Isaiah was also well know for the suffering servant passages, which are both a description of Israel, and of the Messiah. He also predicts the virgin birth, and sets the context for the life of the Messiah.

Isaiah was eventually condemned to death, and sawed in two.

Isaiah 6:1-10
Luke 4:16-20

Heavenly Father, you cleansed the lips of Isaiah and raised him up to be a witness to the suffering servant and to help us to recognise the suffering servant. Remind us daily, since we are called by your name, that we are yours, and that we should daily remind those around us of your mighty deeds. Send us Lord into the world to proclaim that Messiah has come to save sinners. This we ask through Yeshua haMoshiach who lives and reigns with you and the Ruach haKodesh, one God in glory everlasting. Amen (red)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

10 May: Bishop Nicholas Ludwig, Count Zinzendorf
Nikolaus Ludwig Graff von Zinzendorf und Pottendorf (26 May 1700 in Dresden- 9 May 1760 in Herrnhut) (Nicholas Count Zinzendorf)

Nicholas, Count Zinzendorf was born in Dresden in 1700. He was very much a product of his time. Nicholas found the Lutheran Church (Dresdener Landes Kirche) to be rather dry. Influenced by his pietist grandmother, he found a joy in Christianity that seemed to be lacking in the Lutheran church of the time. Even in childhood he had a deep faith, and in adolescence struggled with whether to follow the Gospel or to fulfill his responsibilities to the king of Dresden as Count. At this time he established the Order of the Grain of Mustard Seed, a group in which the young men involved promised to use their position to further the Gospel. He later reordered the group as an adult, and such men as the King of Denmark, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Archbishop of Paris joined.

During his grand tour, he saw the painting ecce homo by Domenico Fette. The legend below the painting stated: "This have I done for you - Now what will you do for me?"
Count Zinzendorf felt that Christ himself was speaking to him and dedicated himself to the cause of Christ.

He married Erdmuth Dorothea von Reuss and took upon his duties at the royal court of Dresden. During this period, a group of Moravian Christians asked for refuge which he granted, and they formed the village of Herrnhut (the Lord’s Watch) on his land. Count Zinzendorf read about the early Unity movement and was impressed. His Moravians went through some serious divisions, and in 1727 Count Zinzendorf retired from public service to reunite them. Through daily Bible readings, they developed the Brotherly Agreement in which all secular activities were subordinated to spreading the Gospel. His communities were unusual in promoting equality of women, and having nobles and peasants working side by side. August 27, 1727 also marked another mile stone. They committed to pray 24 hours per day, 7 days per week for mission. That prayer group continued for more than 100 years and probably is the reason Moravian missions were so successful.

Hernnhut, under the leaderhip of Bishop Zinzendorf sent out missionaries to slaves in the west Indies, to South America, to the US Amerindians, to the Inuit of Greenland and Labrador, to Suriname, South Africa, Lyvonia, and Egypts. Bishop Zinzendorf’s missions often had an interesting twist. For the most part they worked in areas with no Christian presence. Once having developed the mission, they would often hand it over to another church, such as the Baptists or Methodist. In fact, while John Carey is called the father of modern missions, that name really should go to Count Zinzendorf.

In addition to managing Herrnhut, Bishop Zinzendorf had a wide ranging ministry and infected many people with a true love of God, dedicated to helping others, and helping men of means to dedicate themselves to proclaiming the Gospel.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Gregory the Illumnator: Apostle to the Armenians: 23 March 2010

Gregory the Illuminator was born in about 257 in Armenia. After his father assassinated the King of Armenia, Gregory was taken to Caesarea to avoid being killed and was raises as a Christian. Gregory eventually returned to Armenia, where he was imprisoned by the King, Tiridates III for around fourteen years. He was called forth from the pit to pray for the King’s healing (the King had become insane). After Tiridates III was healed, he became a Christian in 301 and the nobles soon followed, followed by the peasants. The King also declared Armenia to be a Christian country in the year 301 making Armenia the first Christian nation. Gregory built his cathedral at Echmiadzin, which is still the principal church of the Armenian church.

Although several apostles had visited Armenia and converted some Armenians, it was under Gregory’s leadership that the country truly became Christian. Gregory set up a hereditary office of Catholicos, or chief Bishop (his son, Aristaces, became Bishop after his retirement.) In addition to preaching in Armenia, Gregory also baptised the Kings of Albania, Georgia, and Lazes.

Gregory retired to live in the wilderness with a small group of monks, where he remained until his death on the 23rd of March 331.

Job 42:10-12
Acts 17:22-31
Matthew 5:11-16

Heavenly Father, you raised up Gregory to proclaim the Gospel in Armenia and to light up central Asia. Grant us o Lord, people willing to go to the ends of the world for the sake of the Gospel. This we ask through Yeshuah haMoshiach our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Ruach haKodesh, one God in glory everlasting. Amen. (white)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Thoma Cramner: 22 March, tranferred from Sunday

I apologise that I have not had a chance to write about Thomas. You can read some about him at the following link:

My object here is to present the lives of Saints from the Bible, persons whose lives show Christian virtues, and most of all people who were important in the life and development of the Christian Church. Thomas Cranmer was such a person. It was he who helped Henry the VIII tale the church of England from beneath the jurisdiction of Rome. More importantly, he was a wonderful translator who took some of the best of the best in liturgical developments of his time and turned it into the 1549 and 1552 Books of Common Prayer. The 1662 Book of Common Prayer was little changed from the 1552 Book up until recently the prayer book used officially in the Church of England, and until recently the inspiration for the prayer books used by the various churches of the Anglican Communion up until today. Parts of this book can also be found in use by many other denominations to this day in English.

Interestingly enough, the 1662 Book of Common Prayer is not only important in its religious influence, but in its effect on the English language. An amazing number of expressions used in the English language even today go back to the King James Bible, the Book of Common Prayer, and Shakespeare.

Towards the end of his life, Cranmer had troubles making up his mind. He believe in the divine right of kings, and while King Henry VII and Edward VI ruled there was no problem. He tried to submit to Queen Mary, but tore up the documents several times. The last time he signed the document recanting the Protestant faith but he recanted just before being burned at the stake.

Friday, March 19, 2010

St. Cuthbert: 20 March 2010

Psalm 104: 32-35
Isaiah 55:6-12
Romans 12:6-13
John 10:25b-30

Collect: Father, you called Cuthbert from being a shepherd of sheep to being a shepherd of persons. Grant that as we was willing to spread the Gospel in remote and dangerous places, that we too may be willing to proclaim the Gospel in areas of which we might fear and to people of whom we may be afraid. This we ask through Yeshuah haMoshiach, who lives and reigns with you and the Ruach haKodesh, one God in glory everlasting. Amen. (white)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

St. Joseph: 19 Mardh 2010

We know little of the life of St. Joseph. We know, from the offering at the temple that he was a poor man, and we are told by the Bible that he was an honourable man, who did not wish to see his betrothed disgraced (The penalty would have been stoning for her). We do know that he was a man who obeyed the Lord. Each time God spoke to him in dreams, Joseph immediately followed through. As he is not mentioned much in the New Testament, it is believed that he died before Jesus began his public ministry. We do believe that he must have been a very special man to have been given the job of being Jesus’ step father. We pray that we would be like him, obeying the Lord.

Psalm 89:1-29 or 89:1-4,26-29;
2 Samuel 7:4,8-16;
Romans 4:13-18;
Luke 2:41-52

Collect: Heavenly Father, you raised up Yosef to be a step Father to our Lord Yeshuah haMoshiach. Grant that every father would be as faithful as Yosef in his sacred responsibility of modeling your fatherhood to us. This we ask through the same Yeshuah haMoshiach our Lord, who called Yosef, “father.” Amen. (white)

Cyril of Jerusalem, Bishop: 18 March 2010

Cyril was born in Jerusalem in about the year 315 and became bishop in about 349. He lived in tumultuous times, and was exiled three times, once by the Athanasians and twice by the Arians. He attended the Council of Constantinople in 381 and supported the Athanasian view of the Trinity.

Cyril is important to us chiefly for three things. It is believed that he was the author of the precursor to the Nicene Creed we use today. Secondly, he organized activities for pilgrims and much of what we do during Holy Week comes from what was done in Jerusalem during his Episcopate. (An account by a Spanish nun is available here: Thirdly, he is the author of a series of lectures (18 for Lent and five for Easter) given to candidates for baptism and the newly baptised. These probably do not exist in the original form, but he is the original author. (They can be ordered here: or viewed here:

Psalm 122
Ecclesiasticus 47:8-10
Hebrews 13:14-21
Luke 24:44-48
Collect: Heavenly Father, you raised up Cyril as Patriarch of Yerushalayim to guide Bishops and Presbyters in their calling to be teachers and ministers of the sacraments. Raise up in this and every generation Bishops and Presbyters who will faithfully instruct your people in practical Christian faith and living. This we ask through the author and perfecter of our faith, Yeshuah haMoshiach our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Ruach haKodesh, one God in glory everlasting. Amen. (white)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

St. Patrick, Bishop, Missionary: 17 March

St. Patrick is the most well known of the Irish saints, a true hero of the church. Sadly his day has become more known for revelry and green beer than truly celebrating what he did.

The exact time and place of his birth is unknown. Guesses range from Wales to Kilpatrick, Scotland. What is know is that his father was a deacon and his grandfather was a priest. They were according to various sources either Romans, or Romanised Celts.

At the age of 14, Patrick was kidnapped by Irish pirates (common at the time) and taken to Ireland where he herded sheep as a slave. During his captivity his prayer life grew, and at about the age of 20, guided by a dream, he found a ship willing to carry him and made his escape. (I find it appropriate that we celebrate another man guided by dreams ((St. Joseph)) in two days.

He studied to be a presbyter, and eventually was ordained as Bishop. Guided once again by dreams, these expressing the need of the Irish for his presence, he traveled back to Ireland to proclaim the Gospel. Patrick successfully preached the Gospel, aided by disciples he made in Ireland.

Of the legends attributed to him, he used the clover to preach the Gospel. When explaining the trinity he would pluck a clover and ask, is it one leaf or three (botanically speaking it is actually one leaf), and ask the Irish whether it was one or three. Easter at one point fell the same night as a Celtic festival, but Patrick beat them to the draw by lighting a bonfire first. Apparently the king’s men were unable to put it out. Several songs are attributed to Patrick, the most famous being his Lorica or the Deer Cry. It is said when one of the kings was out to capture Patrick, he and his disciples sang this song, and the king’s men only saw deer as they passed by them.

The true miracle behind Patrick’s life though is his great forgiveness. Anyone who can serve as a slave for some 6 years and return to the people who enslaved him to tell them about Jesus shows the true power of forgiveness. Would that we were all so eager to forgive those who sin against us, and to proclaim the Gospel.

Psalm 97:1-2,7-12
Ezekiel 36:33-38
1 Thessalonians 2:2b-12
Matthew 28:16-20

Collect: : Heavenly Father; who gave Patrick the strength to persevere and power to forgive his enemies, give us the strength and ability to forgive those who wrong us, and willingness of heart to tell them of the great love of Yeshuah. This we ask in his name, who lives and governs with you and the Ruach haKodesh, one God in glory everlasting. Amen. (white)

The Deer Cry

I bind unto myself today
The strong Name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same
The Three in One and One in Three.

I bind this today to me forever
By power of faith, Christ’s incarnation;
His baptism in Jordan river,
His death on Cross for my salvation;
His bursting from the spicèd tomb,
His riding up the heavenly way,
His coming at the day of doom
I bind unto myself today.

Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

I bind unto myself the Name,
The strong Name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same,
The Three in One and One in Three.
By Whom all nature hath creation,
Eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
Praise to the Lord of my salvation,
Salvation is of Christ the Lord.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Gregory the Great, Bishop of Rome, Apostle to the English: 12 March
St. Gregory, Bishop of Rome

Little is know of Gregory’s younger years, except that Italy was in turbulence from Goth invasions. He had three sisters who were nuns, and after the death of his parents converted the house into a monastery. He was ordained deacon, and later served as Papal delegate to Constantinople. He was elected Pope in 590, and immediately set down that he was not claiming St. Peter’s throne, and pr\ised the life of the monks (he was the first Monastic bishop of Rome).

Gregory is most know for sending missionaries to northern Europe in a time in which the Pope had little authority over Italy, Britain or Spain. Most famous of his missions was sending Augustine to England to proclaim the Gospel to the Anglo Saxon peoples, leading to some conflict with the Celtic church, but eventually leading to a missionary movement spreading form England to the north of Europe and extending as far east as Kiev.

Liturgically, plain song chant, or Gregorian chant is often attributed to him, and more factually the liturgy of the pre-sanctified which is used by the Eastern Orthodox church until this day for Lent and Holy Week. Private penance is also attributed to him.

Alms were important to him, but most of the money received by the church went immediately to the service of the poor.

Collect: Lord, you raised up Gregory of Rome to be a servant to the servants of God, and inspired him to send missionaries to England. Raise up in this and every generation Bishops who will truly serve their people in imitation of Messiah, and who are willing to proclaim the Gospel to the ends of the earth. This we ask through Yeshuah haMoshiach, who lives and reigns with you and Ruach haKodesh, one God in glory everlasting. Amen. (white)

Monday, March 8, 2010

Gregory of Nyssa:9 March 2010

Gregory, with his brother Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzus is considered to be on the Cappadocian fathers. He was born in Turkey and made Bishop by his brother Basil so as to have an ally in the area. He is known chiefly for helping develop the idea of the Trinity and the infinity of God.

He was deposed twoice by the Aryans, but continued to be a strong defender against their teaching.

Collect: : Heavenly Father, you raised up your servant Gregory of Nyssa to proclaim the Christian faith of one God in trinity of persons. Strengthen us, that like him we may continue steadfast in proclaiming the truth faith. This we ask through Yeshuah HaMoshiach, our Lord and Saviour who lives and reigns with you and the Ruach haKodesh, one God in glory everlasting. Amen. (white)

Sunday, March 7, 2010

St. Thomas Aquinas: 8 March 2010

Thomas was born in about 1225 in the Kingdom of Sicily. AS a younger son, his parents placed him in religious life, assuming because of family connections, that he would be abbot some day. He was placed in Monte Casino Monastery at the age of five, and later studied at the University of Naples after war caused problems for Monte Casino. After having spent all this time in a Benedictine house, Thomas resolved to become a Dominican. His parents were very much against this, and the Dominicans attempted to spirit him away to Paris, but he was kidnapped by his brothers, and held as a prisoner by his mother for two years. They even sent a prostitute to him to break his resolve, but he kept his resolve and his celibacy, being strengthened by God to resist. His mother, giving up, arranged to leave a window open so he could “escape” and she could save face.

He travelled to Naples, then to Rome to meet the head of the Order, and was sent to Paris to study. He followed his master, Albertus Magnus to Cologne (declining the abbacy of Monte Casino) where he continued his studies. Because of his quietness and size he was given the name of dumb ox. In 1525 he returned to Paris to finish his studies and began his writing. IN 1261 he was back in Naples to tutor those unable to attend the University, and was assigned to Rome in a teaching position. He continued his writing and wrote a new Liturgy for the new feast of Corpus Christi.

One thousand two hundred and sixty-eight found him once again as regent at the University of Paris, where he had a tumultuous time due to the rising of Averroism. In 1272 he left Rome and was given permission to found a new school where ever he pleased, which was Naples. During this time he worked on the third part of Summa Theologica. During Eucharist at the feast of St. Nicholas, he stopped everything, telling his companions that everything he had done was as straw.

He did recover somewhat and was called to the second council of Lyon in 1274. On the way he was injured and fell ill. He died on 7 March 1274 while giving commentary on the Song of Songs.His writings have continued to affect the church and guide her in the ensuing centuries. Thomas was also known for his hymns, “O Saving Victim” and “Now my tongue the Mystery Telling.” St. Thomas Aquinas was the greatest theologian of the High Middle ages, and is counted by some as the second greatest theologian in Western Christianity.

Because of the rediscovery of Aristotle’s works, Thomas asserted that reason and faith are in basic harmony. “Grace is not the denial of nature, but the perfection of it.” Thomas accomplished this synthesis in his greatest workd, Summa Theologia and Summa Contra Gentiles which continue to influence Christian thought and philosophy today. He was considered a radical in his time, and some of his thoughts were regarded as heretical by his contemporaries.

Thomas understood that when God revealed his name to Moshe, “I am who I am” to mean that God is being, the ultimate reality form which everything else derives its being. The difference between God and the universe, is that God’s essence is to exist, wherefore everything else derives its being from God. God is reflected in his creation, and therefore can be partially understood through the creation. Therefore human reason can demonstrate the existence of God. Distinctive truths about God, though must come through revelation. It is important to note that much of western philosophy today is based on reflection of his thought.

Collect: Lord, as you raised Thomas Aquinus as a theologian in your church, grant wisdom as grace that your church may always have teachers to expound the truth and guide us in faith and knowledge of you, that our faith would not be blind, but based on understanding. This we ask through our great teacher Yeshuah, who lives and reins with you and the Ruach haKodesh, one God in glory everlasting. Amen. (white)

Psalm 119:97-104
Wisdom 7:7-14
1 Corinthians 11:23-26
Matthew 13:47-52

Friday, March 5, 2010

Day of the discovery of the Holy Cross: 6 March

It is said that St. Helena, the mother of Constantine discovered a portion of the true cross in 326 on this day,. (St. Helena discovered the true sites of many events, guided by dream, a fiend of mine calls her the patron St. of Travel Agents), and while there might be questions about some of the sites, there is a certain amount of archaeological evidence showing that the location of the church of Holy Sepulchre is accurate. The church was dedicated on the 13th of September 335. The following day, the cross was taken out to the hill top believed to be Calvary and venerated.

This day, for us a day of fasting, we remember the cross as the instrument of our salvation. Red vestments are worn.

Dear Lord, as the church to venerate the true cross was dedicated this say, so may we dedicate our lives to you that we would be willing to take up our cross and follow, no matter where you lead. This we ask through our Lord and Saviour Yeshua haMoshiach, who lives and reins with you and the Ruach haKodesh, one God in glory everlasting. Amen. (red)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

John and Charles Wesley: 3 March 2010

John Wesley

Charles Wesley

John and Charles Wesley are counted to be founders of the Methodist church. Their father was a presbyter in the Church of England and they grew up with a Christian education. In October of 1735 they travelled to Georgia, and came into contact with the Moravians, and were inspired by the Moravian’s faith in God during a storm. Upon arriving in Georgia, the brother had hoped to be witnessing to the Amerindians, but were foiled in their attempts. In 1838, John had a conversion experience at a Moravian Church in Aldersgate, and went to study at Herrenhut, the center of the Moravian movement. John Wesley under George Whitfields’s influence began his open air preaching in 1739. He was unhappy about this as he wished no break with the Church of England, but the poor were not being reached and not going to church, and many of the clergy of the church of England closed their doors to him. As sinner were being saved, John began appointing lay preachers and began setting up rules for chapels and itinerant circuit preachers. Up until 1746, he would not baptize nor serve Holy Communion without approval of the Bishop. In 1748 his ideas on the Episcopate started changing, an by 1784 was ordaining presbyters and overseers for the church in the US, Scotland and England, though opposed by his brother Charles in this. After many years of preaching, he died March 2, 1791.

It was Charles that originally founded the Oxford Methodist group at Oxford, where his brother became leader. We note in passing, that part of the Method of the group was receiving the Holy Communion weekly and studying the Bible. Charles, while know mostly for his hymns (he wrote more than six thousand, was also a powerful preacher, and refused to break with the church of England.

The influence of John and Charles is tremendous. We still have many of Charles’s hymns and John’s sermons. Many believe that the Methodist revival helped change English society and helped prevent revolution. It is certain that their message not only transformed the lives of the poor, who were often forgotten by the Church of England, but also the rich, and led in various movements in which the rich began lending aid to the poor, including the construction of schools and orphanages.

The Methodist, Wesleyan, and many Pentecostal and Holiness churches trace their spiritual roots to Johns and Charles Wesley and the teaching of sanctification, somewhat similar to the Orthodox idea of theosis.

Readings: Psalm 103:1-4,13-18
Isaiah 49:5-6
Romans 12:11-17
Luke 9:2-6

Collect: Dear Lord, you gave John and Charles Wesley zeal and gifts of preaching and songwriting. Raise up today preachers who truly are worried for the lost, the poor and the helpless, that we once again would be a community of true faithful proclaiming your word to those whom the world despises. This we ask through Yeshuah haMoshiach, who livers and reigns with you and the Ruach haKodesh, one God in glory everlasting. Amen. (white)

Monday, March 1, 2010

St. Chad: 2 March 2010

Chad and his brother Cedd were students of St. Aiden at Lindisfarne, where he became acquainted with Celtic Spirituality. Two other brothers were also active in the Anglo-Saxon church. Before being ordained as a priest, he traveled to Ireland with St. Egbert to study there. Apparently the custom was not to ordain to the priesthood until about thirty years old, being the age at which Christ began his ministry.

Chad and his brothers were very influenced by Celtic Spirituality which emphasized austerity, Biblical exegesis, and led to a consciousness and focus on the end times.

We find Chad taking his brother Cedd’s place as abbot at Lastingham after Cedd died in the plague, in 663.

Whenever a gale would spring up, Chad would call on god to have pity on humanity. IF it intensified he would prostrate himself in prayer, and if it grew worse go to the chapel and sing psalms till the storm abated. When asked by his companions, he explained that storms were sent by God to remind humans of the day of judgement and to humble their pride.

Chad was selected Bishop of York (and Northumbria) by king Oswiu. He had to travel to Wessex where he was ordained by the Bishop of Wessex and two Welsh bishops (as the plague had decimated the number of Bishops, and three Bishops were required for ordination.

Chad was faithful in his call traveling to all the towns and villages, baptizing and confirming, following the Celtic role of Bishop as prophet and missionary. As the king had appointed two bishops for York, and the first one had finally returned, Theodore, Archbishop of Canterbury asked Chad to step down, which he did. Surprised by Chad’s humility, Archbishop Theodore had Chad consecrated as Bishop of the Mercia. Land was donated for the monastery of Lichtfield, and Chad took up residence, and began his work as Bishop in similar vein to before, confirming baptizing, and guiding the people. Chad refused to ride horseback, as Jesus had not done so. He has a dispute with Archbishop Theodore over this who manually lifted him into the saddle. Chad died March 2, 672 after encouraging his monks to persevere.

For more information:

Collect: : Dear Lord who raised up Chad to be Bishop of Lichtfield, and gave him humility to cheerfully to relinquish his honours. Grant in this and every generation that we would seek only your honour and glory. This we ask through Yeshuah haMoshiach, who livers and reigns with you and the Ruach haKodesh, one God in glory everlasting. Amen.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

St. Maththias: 24 February 2010

St. Matthias

Little is known of his actual life. We know from the Book of Acts that he was one of the 120 followers of Jesus who were in the upper room. He was selected by lot to take the place of Judas Iscariot as on of the twelve apostles. He preached the Gospel in Judah, and is said to have preached the Gospel in Ethiopia (remembering that when the Christians scattered from Jerusalem because of persecution, they usually sought out Jewish colonies of which there was an ancient one in Ethiopia.), and also preached the Gospel in Colchis (modern Georgia) where he was crucified for his faith. We not in passing, that Georgia, together with Armenia is home of one of the more ancient churches which existed outside the Roman Empire.

Daily Office Readings:
AM: Psalm 80; 1 Samuel 16:1-13; 1 John 2:18-25
PM: Psalm 33; 1 Samuel 12:1-5; Acts 20:17-35
Eucharistic Readings:
Psalm 15
Acts 1:15-26
John 15:1,6-16

Collect: Dear Lord, you raised up Matthias to take the place of Judas Iscariot as a witness to your name amongst the twelve. Grant that your church would not follow false teachers, but in this and every generation their would be faithful men to lead us in your ways; This we ask through Yeshuah haMoshiach, who livers and reigns with you and the Ruach haKodesh, one God in glory everlasting. Amen.

Monday, February 22, 2010

St. Polycarp, Bishop, Martyr: 23 February 2010

Polycarp was bishop of Smyrna in the 2nd Century. Little is know about him, except that he was a disciple of St. John, and that he suffered martyrdom for refusing to recant the Christian faith. When asked to recant his faith, he replied, “Eighty-six years have I served him, and he never did me any wrong. How can I blaspheme my king who saved me.” Before being led to the stake he praised God for the privilege to be a martyr. After the pile of wood was lit he remained unharmed, surrounded by flames, yet unburned, and finally was stabbed to death. He is chiefly known for his Letter to the Philippians in which he describes apostolic faith. The Martyrdom of Polycarp, is considered to be authentic, and together with his letter to the Philippians are part of the writings of the Apostolic Fathers.

Numbers 23:5-12
1 Corinthians 2:1-5
Matthew 20:20-23

Collect: Heavenly Father, who gave Polycarp courage and boldness to confess Yeshuah as Messiah, Saviour and Lord and to die for that faith, grant us courage, boldness and faith to imitate him that we may be willing to live and die for you. This we ask through Yeshuah haMoshiach, who livers and reigns with you and the Ruach haKodesh, one God in glory everlasting. Amen.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Moshe: Tranfered from Sunday

As we approach Peshach or Passover and Easter, it is a good thing to consider Moshe Rabeinu (1393?-1273? BC), more well known to us westerners as Moses. There is still speculation about the exact years in which he lived. According to the Rabbis, Moses was born and died on the 7th of Adar. Moses lived in Egypt for 40 years, towards the end of which, he killed an Egyptian who was mistreating one of the Habiru (Hebrew) people. Moshe then spent the next forty years taking care of sheep in the desert. The end of this period he has his encounter with the burning bush. His last forty years he spent combating Pharaoh and leading the Hebrews to freedom.

We can look at this in a different way. During Moshe’s first forty years he attempted to save his people through his own efforts. His second forty years were spent learning to depend on God. His last forty years were spent in allowing God to use him to save his people.

Forty is an important number in the Bible. Forty is a number which symbolises trials, temptations and preparations. Moses spends forty years getting to know God in the desert. The children of Israel spend forty years in the desert to prepare to enter the promised land. Yeshua (Jesus) spent forty days in the desert to prepare for his ministry, and of course we have forty days of Lent.

Moses, when he encounters the burning bush approaches to see this strange sight. God instructs him to remove his sandals and come no closer because he is standing on holy ground. Today, the Cohen (Jewish priest) removes his shoes before giving the Aaronic blessing. In both the Coptic and Assyrian churches, the congregation remove their shoes in memory of this verse, and that their church is holy ground. I myself usually remove my shoes before entering the church, or at the least before approaching the alter, in memory of this verse.

Moses does not jump at the opportunity to save his people. Perhaps the memory of the slain Egyptian gives him doubts. Perhaps he did not want to confront the Pharaoh, of whom the Midrash and Talmud suggest grew up with Moses, perhaps he has finally realised that he is not worthy. But God is not concerned with our worthiness. He is concerned with our brokenness and our willingness to be used by him. Moses was a murderer, yet God used him. Samson was a philanderer, yet God used him. You and I are sinners (or were before we accepted Jesus, but now we are saints, we’ll save that for another day). Moses was broken when he fled Egypt, Sampson when his eyes were removed. Are we broken? Have we come to the point that we realise that we are not worthy, nor will we ever be ready for God’s gift of eternal life to us? Do we really appreciate what a wonderful gift this is?

When we are truly broken, and realise that we have no power to help ourselves, nor do those things that God wants us to do, then we are ready to be used by God. “Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord and he will lift you up.” (James 3:16) His strength and power are truly manifest in our weakness.

But Moshe hesitates. He tells Adonai YHWH that he is slow of speech. (An aside on this, according to the Talmud, Moshe was a very intelligent child, so intelligent in fact that the Pharaoh became worried that Moshe would supplant his son. Pharaoh’s counsellors suggested that they test Moshe by putting a piece of gold and a burning ember in the crib. If Moshe took the gold, they would know there was danger. Moshe began to reach for the gold, but an angel of YHWH (blessed be the name) pushed Moshe’s hand to the ember which he took and put in his mouth burning his tongue). Anyway, the Lord reminds Moshe that it was the Lord YHWH who created Moshe and gave him his mouth, and of course arranges for Aaron to speak for Moshe. The point that we need to take is that if YHWH calls us to do something, he will give us the power to do it. The Lord sent me to Honduras. It took me a year to learn Spanish, but I was preaching in my first week of travel in Mexico. I was sent to the Miskito Coast. In six months the language was learned. Brothers and sisters, this was not me, it was the Lord. When he gives us a job, he gives us the ability to complete it. This is not just a job in missions or ministry. This is in holiness as well. God calls us to be holy as he is holy.

Friends, I am deeply disappointed by seeing all the smokers rush to the door of their church (close by our house) so they can get that cigarette. I am appalled by gluttony that I see in Christian brothers (and myself, but I am in battle, 22 pounds down and 42 to go). I am disgusted that George Barna’s statistics show that Christian youth are more likely to be involved in sex than non-church attendees. Oh Lord, forgive us, have we done such a sorry job teaching our children.

There are two problems. One, we have lost the power of self-discipline. When I was in high school, contraception methods were pretty primitive. The birth control pill had not yet been invented, yet one girl in four years in a class of 900 plus got pregnant. Times they have changed. My first year in a regular public high school, fourteen of about 200 students that I had were pregnant. People tell me times are changed we cannot go back. My response is balderdash. First we need to remember that sex is a gift for use in marriage only. Secondly we need to know that God will give us the power to overcome any sin in our life. Any sin. Sexual sin, addiction, any sin.

When I gave up my snuff, I had been using it fourteen years. The good Lord showed me that it was messing up my witness with the youth group with which I worked. I was reminded on Christian radio that God was bigger than my tobacco habit. I laid my can of tobacco on the altar, asked the Lord to take away my desire and have been free ever since (twenty-three years now).

Brothers and sisters, God is calling you to personal holiness. You know where if you are listening to him. He will give you the power to conquer sin in your life. God is also calling you to work for him. I do not know where, but you do. Have no doubts. God will give you the power. Twenty-two years ago I left Conroe, Texas on my motorcycle with $90.00 in my pocket. About 10 weeks later I arrived in Honduras still with money in my pocket. God had cleared a way for me miraculously to make it all the way to Honduras. A week after I showed up at the Episcopal School in Tela, the teacher had to leave on an emergency trip because her father was dying. It is amazing how God moves.

Don’t be afraid. Don’t argue with God. Don’t tell him you cannot do it. Be like Samuel and tell him, “Speak Lord, your servant is listening.” Tell him, “I cannot do it on my own, but with you at my side all things are possible.

Moshe Rabeinu, (once he got going) displayed faith. Note, before each of those miracles, except the food ones, Moshe had to obey God, and trust God to do the rest. Let us all go out and do the same.

Readings: Exodus 3:1-14

Collect: Yahweh Shabbaoth, you raised up your prophet Moshe to free the Hebrew people and to talk to you face to face. Grant that we freed from our sins by the blood of Yeshuah would know the liberty of truly being your friends and children as Moshe was. This we ask through Yeshua haMoshiach, who lives and reins with you and Ruach haKodesh, one God in glory everlasting. Amen. (white)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

18 February: Martin Luther

Martin Luther was born November of 1483. Educated by his father to be a lawyer, instead he became a monk. Luther, as many saints had a great knowledge of his sinfulness and unworthiness before God. He challenged the Roman Catholic Church on the sale of indulgences, and promoted the view of justification by faith, and the priesthood of all believers. Condemned and excommunicated by the Roman Catholic Church, he refused to recant unless proved wrong by scriptures.

Luther, a great scholar encouraged the German Catholic custom of choral singing and wrote many hymns in German, the most well known being, “A Mighty Fortress is our God,” based on Psalm 91. In addition to hymns, Luther (influenced by the ideas of Hus) translated much of the Old and New Testaments into German, and also translated the church services into German. As well he provided two catechisms to guide people in faith. Participating in the dissolution of Monasteries, he took as a wife an ex nun, whom he loved dearly. As many in the church, he made mistakes, but his main focus was on God, and his ideas continue to affect the church even today. He is not only the lead man in the reformation, but the main cause of the counter-reformation as well.

Psalm 46
Isaiah 55: 6-11
Romans 3:21-28
John 15:1-11

Collect: Dear Lord, you raised up Martin Luther to challenge the church in its errors to reform its ways. Guide the church today that she may always be ready to correct errors and seek you in your word and sacraments. This we ask in the name of our Lord Yeshuah haMoshiach, who lives and reigns with you and the Ruach haKodesh, one God in glory everlasting. Amen.