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.