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.
Wednesday, December 29, 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)
2 Esdras 2:42-48
1 John 2:3-6, 15-17
Note: If there is no celebration of the Eucharist, the readings of the day may be used for Matins.
Tuesday, December 28, 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)
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.
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)
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. 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 (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.
Exodus 35:1-5a, 24-29
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)