Monday, January 25, 2010

Sts. Timothy and Titus: 26 January 2010

Sts. Timothy and Titus

Timothy was from Lystra in Asia minor, son of a Greek father and a Jewish mother, who was a believer in the Lord Yeshua. His name means honouring God. The church in Lystra and Iconium thought well of him, and because of the Jews and his Jewish mother, Paul had him circumcised. Timothy was a devoted companion of St. Paul and was entrusted by him to represent him to the Corinthians,to strengthen the faith of the converts, and the Thessalonicans to encourage them in persecution. He also was Paul’s representative to Ephesus, and is counted by Eusebius to be the first Bishop of Ephesus. He apparently died at about the age of eighty, stoned to death, at about the age of 80 in the year 97, when preaching the Gospel during a pagan procession

Titus, like Timothy was a constant companion of Paul. Titus was a Greek who accompanied Paul to Jerusalem at the time of the Ecumenical Council. Titus, like Timothy went to Corinth to represent St. Paul. Later St. Paul sent him to Crete to organize the churches there, and is counted as the first Bishop of Crete by Eusebius. The last we hear of Titus is a visit to Dalmatia. He died at the age of 95 in about the year 107.

Though both young, St. Paul commends them with great responsibility in administration and in proclaiming the Gospel. Both are commemorated the day after the Conversion of St. Paul since their ministry intertwined with theirs, and because he was their mentro.

Collect: Blessed Lord, you raised up Timothy and Titus to be Bishops in your church. So raise up in this and every generation Bishops who will follow the pure teachings of your blessed word that the church would grow in faith and knowledge and love of you. This we ask in the name of Yeshua haMoshiach who lives and reigns with you and the Ruach haKodesh, one God in glory everlasting. Amen.

Psalm 112:1-9
Isaiah 42:5-9
Acts 15:22-26, 30-33, 16:1-5
John 10:1-10
(If the Eucharist is not celebrated today, used the lesson from Acts at Matins)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Conversion of St. Paul, 25 January 2010

25 January 2010

Acts 26:9-21

The account of the Conversion of St. Paul is repeated several times in the Book of Acts. Paul was a citizen of Rome, from Tarsus. He was also a Pharisee, of the tribe of Benjamin and studies under Gamaliel, the most famous Rabbi of his time.

Paul was a true Pharisee, he loved God, but saw that salvation was earned by obeying the 613 Mitzvot (commandments) found in the Tanakh or Old Testament. Paul had it reversed, that we are saved because we obey, and he did his best to obey, to the point of witnessing the martyrdom of Stephan, and by getting warrants to throw Christians in prison, and even have them killed.

On his way to Damascus, he has an experience to transform his life forever. He comes face to face with the risen Lord, who even suggests that Saul might be sympathetic to Christians (why are you kicking against the goads? Says Jesus to Paul). He who was spiritually blind comes face to face with Yeshua and is struck blind literally. We who are spiritually blind need to be careful when we say we see, for our sin will be greater. Paul realizes something is going on, and he fasts for three days. On the third day, Ananias, a follower of the way is directed by the Lord to go heal Saul. Ananias has some misgivings, but obeys the Lord. Saul recovers his sight and is immediately baptized. He has come from trying to be saved through obedience to obeying because he is saved. Would that all Christians would learn to thank the Lord through his obedience.

Paul goes form persecuting the church, to proclaiming Yeshua as Messiah, a Messiah not only for Jews, but for Goyim (gentiles) as well, the true saviour of the world. Paul was a prolific writer and evangelist. Thirteen Epistles were written by Paul. He also traveled extensively in what is now Syria, Turkey, Greece, Crete, and Malta. We know he planned on visiting Spain, and probably did. There is also some evidence he may have made it to Britain as well. Only St. Thomas made it further than Paul amongst the Apostles.

Paul talked about a thorn in his flesh, which God would not cure, telling Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in your weakness.” I suggest that the thorn in the flesh (it has been identified with everything from poor eyesight to homosexuality) was deliberately not identified, so that we could each say, God’s strength is made perfect in my weakness in that area.

Whether we write, or preach, or go telling others about Yeshua, we need to have Paul’s enthusiasm, and his thankfulness, and great desire to spread the Good News to all nations.

Collect of the Day: Lord, as we remember your appearance to St. Paul and his marvelous conversion on this day, so move in our hearts that we would share his passion to proclaim the Gospel. This we ask in the name of Yeshua haMoshiach who lives and reigns with you and the Ruach haKodesh, one God in glory everlasting. Amen. (white)

Psalm 67
Acts 26:9-21
Galatians 1:11-24
Matthew 10:16-22
If there is no celebration of the Eucharist today, use the lesson from Acts with matins

Saturday, January 23, 2010

St. Anthony: 23 January (transferred from 17th)

St. Anthony the Great (251-356)

Anthony was born to wealthy Christian parents in Coma and lower Egypt. One day on his way to church, he was meditating on Jesus saying, “sell of you have, follow me and you will have riches in heaven (Mathew 19:21), At church, the same scripture was used, and as a result, Anthony at the age of 34 looked to the needs of his sister and sold the rest. The land he owned was given to the tenants who worked it. The money he made was given to the poor and he left to live in the desert.

He stayed in the desert for thirteen years, during which time he was faced with temptations by boredom, laziness and images of women. He then moved into a tomb and sealed it. Beaten in the body by the devil, he was found unconscious and taken to a church. After recovering there, he went out to the desert again but to an even more isolated place. Visions of various animals appeared to him to scare him, but he just laughed at them and told them they had no power over Christ. During this time he was locked in an abandoned fort and his only communication was through a crack in the wall. Eventually he emerged, peaceful and enlightened. He went to Alexandria to seek martyrdom and witnessed to many, but was not martyred. He returned to his fort for a while, but so many people came to see him that it interfered with his prayer life, so he moved yet again, deeper into the desert. He found a pool and palm trees and settled there. There he grew a garden and wove mats made of reeds. Many would come to visit him, but actually conversed with members of the community which gathered around him. A vision of an angel ispired his form of dress from here on, and he was never bored again. He prophesied the persecution of the church at this time. In 338 he was called by Athanasius to help him refute Aryanism.

Knowing his time was near, he divided his few possessions and charged the monks to bury him secretly so that his body would not be divided up. They obeyed and to this day the site of his burial is unknown. While not the founder of monastism, or anchorites, his life was an inspiration to both. He was well known for establishing monasteries in Egypt.

Collect: Dear Lord, you raised up Anthony to be a shining light in the desert, encouraging those suffering persecution, and strengthening those tempted by Aryanism, so raise up in this and every generation encouragers to strengthen us in true doctrine. This we ask in the name of Yeshua haMoshiach, who lives and reigns with you and Ruach haKodesh, one God in glory everlasting. Amen. (white)

Lessons: (omitted if no celebration of the Eucharist)
Psalm 91:9-16 or 1
1 Peter 5:6-10
Mark 10:17-21

Thursday, January 21, 2010

St. Vincent of Zaragoza, Deacon, Martyr: 22 January 2010

St. Vincent of Zaragoza (died 304)

St. Vincent was born in Huesca. He lived in Zaragoza and served as Deacon to the Bishop Valerius. According to legend, when he and Valerius were brought to trial, that Valerius could not respond due to a speech impediment. Receiving the Bishops permission to speak, Vincent launched into a fervent defence of the faith. Even his gaoler was converted. Vincent suffered many severe torments, before dying without renouncing his Lord.

Collect: Heavenly Father, as you raised Vincent to be deacon in Saragossa, and gave him eloquence to proclaim and strength to die for his faith, so fill us with your spirit that we would always be ready to proclaim the Gospel and to live and die for Yeshua. In the name of Yeshua we pray, Amen. (red)

Psalm 116:10-17
Jeremiah 26:12-15
Revelation 7:13-17
Luke 12:4-12

Agnes, Martyr: 21 January 2010

St. Agnes (c. 291-21 January 304)

Agnes was born to a noble family in Rome in about the year 291. She was raised as a Christian and was martyred at the tender age of 12. A Roman Prefect had decided that she was to marry his son. When Agnes refused, the prefect ordered that she be put to death. As it was forbidden to kill virgins, she was dragged to the brothel, but the men who attempted to rape her were struck blind. When they took her to the stake to burn her, the wood would not burn. She was finally beheaded by the sword, cheerfully dying for her Lord.

It is said that her martyrdom helped end martyrdoms in Rome, as people were disgusted that paganism had to be preserved by the death of one so young.

Collect:Lord Yeshua, who gave even children the strength to stand up for the true faith in face of persecution. Give us Agnes’s child like faith that we may always witness as to what you have done for us. This we ask through Yeshua haMoshiach, who lives and reins with you and the Ruach haKodesh, one God in glory everlasting. Amen. (white)

Psalm 45:11-16
Song of Solomon 2:10-13
2 Corinthians 6:16-18
Matthew 18:1-6
(readings may be omitted if no celebration of the Eucharist. )


Monday, January 18, 2010

Miles Coverdale (c1488-20 Jan 1569) was a Bible translator during the time of the reformation. He was born in Yorkshire, studied at Cambridge and was a priest at Norwich. Later he joined the Austin Fryers and left after defending Robert Barnes in a heresy trial. From 1525 through 1538 he stayed on the continent working on his translation. Part of this time was spent working with William Tyndale, whose translation of the New Testament was used in Coverdale’s translation. This Bible was smuggled into England and was very popular. After Cramer convince Henry VIII that an English Bible would be a good thing, he put Coverdale to work on editing. It. Coverdale’s first work was weak, in part because it was translated from Latin, not from the original translation. Coverdale’s work on the Psalms in the Great Bible was very good, and these became the Psalms used in the Anglican Book of Common prayer, making these versions very well known even to today. After Cromwell was executed, Coverdale went back into exile, and did not return until 1548. He was made Chaplain to King Edward, and made Bishop of Exeter, which role he fulfilled well. After the succession of Queen Mary, he was deposed and again went into exile. After Queen Mary’s death, he returned to England in 1559, and server as rector of St. Magnus’s, but was not returned to his Bishopric, probably because of conflicts with Puritans regarding vestments. He was a popular preacher and introduced German theological ideas to England. He died in London and is buried there.

His chief contribution was the translation of the Psalter used in the Book of Common Prayer.

Collect: Dear Lord, you raised up Miles Coverdale to work on presenting the Bible to the people of England in a language which they could understand. As he suffered much in this work, yet was faithful to you and your word, raise up in this and every generation men who are good and holy with a mission to help Christians understand your word. This we ask in the name of Yeshuah who revealed the Tanakh to the Jews. Amen.

Today let us remember all Christians of the Reformed tradition, and those people translating the Bible.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Confession of St. Peter: 18 January 2010

Confession of St. Peter

On this day, we remember not so much St. Peter, but his confession recognizing Jesus as Messiah. All the disciples and many others recongnised that Jesus was a holy man or a prophet, but it was Peter who specifically made the jump to recognise Jesus as the Messiah who was sent by God. Jesus’ answer tells us something about our relationship to God. It is not through brains or intelligence that we recognise, but by the Holy Spirit that we come to know him as Messiah.

Heavenly Father, as we remember Peter’s recognition of Yeshua as the Messiah, help us to truly recognize him as well in heart and mind that we may follow Peter, walking on water, healing, raising the dead, and proclaiming the Gospel. 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. (white)

Psalm 23;
Acts 4:8-13;
1 Peter 5:1-4;
Matthew 16:13-19

Today pray for the unity of all Christians

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Hillary of Poitiers: 13 January 2010
Hillary of Poitiers (c.315-368)

Hillary was born to well off pagan parents in the city of Poitiers. Unusual for his time, in addition to having a good education in Latin, he also studied Greek. Because of knowing Greek he was exposed to the scriptures, and came to know Jesus, and to know who he was, a son of the living God.

Married and the father of one daughter, Hillary was elected by the Christians of Poitiers as Bishop in 353 (Celibacy was not a requirement for many more years). Embroiled in arguments about Arians and removing Arian Bishops, Hillary was exiled to Phrygia. Not one to waste his time, he visited the churches in the area and studied scriptures and put his time to good use. After four years he was sent back to Poitiers because the emperor (an Arian) because “he was a troublemaker and sower of discord, and disturber of the orient.” (In other words, Hillary was gaining ground against the Arians through his preaching.) Hillary took a leisurely trip through Greece and Italy preaching against the Arians as he went.

Hillary wrote several works against the Arians, and several works on the Trinity and on the two natures of Christ. He also brought back hymns from the east, translating them and wrote some of his own compositions. He is regarded as the father of Western hymnody, and also known as the Athanasius of the west. One of his disciples was St. Martin of Tours. Hillary died peacefully in 368, possibly on the 13th of January.

(In passing: Arians did not believe that Jesus was God. They believed he was a higher creation than man, but beneath God. Today the Jehovah’s Witnesses are an example of Arianism)

Colect: Dear Lord, as Hillary of Poitiers stood against heresy, and defended the true faith, help us also to stand against heresy that we may always stand for truth. This we ask through Yeshua haMoshiach who lives and reins with you and Ruach haKodesh, one God in glory everlasting. Amen. (white)

Readings for the Eucharist If no celebration of the Eucharist, follow the normal readings for Matins and Vespers.

Psalm 37:3-6, 32-33
Zechariah 6:9-15
1 John 2:18-25
Luke 12:8-12

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Epiphany: 6 January 2010

The Epiphany, also known as the theophany is an ancient celebration of the church. Epiphany means manifestation, and theophany means manifestation of God. As celebrated originally, Epiphany had a four fold theme, the birth of Christ, the visit of the Magi, the Baptism of Christ, and the first miracle of Christ. Epiphany was celebrated before Christmas, but when the church began celebrating Christmas, this theme was removed from Epiphany except in Armenia, which still does not celebrate Christmas.

With the removal of Christmas, the main theme came to be the visit of the Magi, which occurred when Jesus was about two years old. In fact the gold presented by the magi probably financed the trip. The theme of the magi is important to us, because it is when the gentiles (goyim) first come to worship Christ. Many people believe that the Magi were from Persia, and recognised the coming presence of the Messiah from the book and other writings of Daniel.

The theme of the Baptism of Christ is kept for the Sunday following Epiphany and is a highly appropriate day for baptisms. In our church, in year D we observe the Wedding of Cana on the following Sunday.

The season of Epiphany concentrates on manifestations of Jesus, particularly in healing. It is also a time in which we emphasise the need and importance of evangelism. We may also reflect that the wise men spent two years in their journey to see the Baby Jesus. If they could travel two years by horse or camel, what could we do to share the Gospel?

Collect: Lord God almighty, by the light of a star you guided the Magi into the presence of Yeshua to give him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. So let the light of Yeshua shine out through our hearts, that those around us would be drawn to your presence to render you homage and accept you as Lord and Saviour. This we ask in the blessed name of Yeshua haMoshiach. Amen. (gold)

Psalm 72:1-7,10-14;
Isaiah 60:1-6
Ephesians 3:1-12
Matthew 2:1-12

Friday, January 1, 2010

1 January 2010: The Holy Name

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