Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Holy Name: 1 Januarary 2012

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.

Psalm 8;
Exodus 34:1-8; Romans1:1-7; Luke 2:15-21

Friday, December 30, 2011

John Wycliffe, reformer, translator: 31 December 2011

John Wycliffe (1320-31 December 1384)

John Wycliffe, often referred to as the morning star of the reformation was born in 1320 at Hipswell, Yorkshire in England. He is known to have been in Oxford by 1345 and was influenced by William of Occam, Roger Bacon and Robert Grosseste. He studied theology, ecclesiastical law and philosophy. He became unhappy with the scholastics and the state of the church, especially the clergy in his day. He supported the king’s power over the church in temporal affairs (and of course we must realise that the King was supposed to be Christian.) He argued that the scriptures should be the centre of authority for the church, that the claims of the papacy had no basis in history, that monasticism was beyond repair and that the unworthiness of many priests invalidated the sacraments.

Since he regarded scriptures as being so important, he began translating the scriptures into English, he himself probably translated the Gospels, and it is possible that he translated Acts, the Epistles and Revelations. The Old Testament was translated by his friend, Nicholas of Hereford. This translation had a great influence on the English language of the time.

Wycliffe desired to see the church return to the simplicity of the first three centuries. He desired to see an end to the hierarchy and replace it with poor priests, bound by no vows, but who would preach the gospel to the people. He created an order of lolard preachers, who went out, two by two, bare foot, dressed in dark red robes, armed with a staff, who taught his doctrines. Wycliffe saw the church as Christ’s body, but not necessarily being the same as the Roman Catholic Church.

Struck with apoplexy, he died rather suddenly on December 31st, 1384 after having written many treatises. After Richard II’s wife, Anne of Bohemia died, her servants brought many of these tracts to Bohemia, where they were to have a great affect on Jan Huss, whose writings in turn affected Martin Luther. Wycliffe’s greatest contribution was the English bible. Wycliffe translators, who translate the Bible into many languages is named in his honour.

Psalm 33:4-11
Sirach 43:26-33
Hebrews 4:12-16
Mark 4:13-20

Emanuel, as you raised up John Wycliff to challenge the church to follow Yeshua and to translate scriptures into the language of the common man, raise up for us clergy who will call us to follow you, and who will make scripture clear to all, that we may truly follow Yeshua. This we ask in the name of Yeshua, whose birth we celebrate. Amen. (White)

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Thomas Becket: Archibishop, Martyr: 29 December 2011

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 27, 2011

Childermas: 28 December 2011

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.

Monday, December 26, 2011

St. John the Evangelist:, Apostle, Bishop: 27 December 2011

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. There are also several stories of the lengths he would go to in order to bring lapsed Christians back to the faith.

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.

St. Stephan, deacon, protomartyr: 26 December 2011

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.”.

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

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)
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 14, 2011

St. John of the Cross: 14 December 2011

St. John of the Cross was born 24 June 1542 as Juan de Yepes Alvarez. His parents were Spanish Jews who had converted to the Roman Catholic faith. Because of his father’s death when he was young, the family struggled. He studied at a Jesuit school while working at a hospital in Medina del Campo. He entered the Carmelite Order in 1563. He professed the following year, and studied theology at the University of Salamanca, and at the college of San Andres. He was ordained a presbyter in 1567 and was intending to join the Carthusians because of their strict rule of silence and isolation. Before this could happen, he met St. Theresa of Avila, who convinced him instead to work on the reformation of the Carmelites.

This he started in November of 1568 in Duruelo, which became a religious centre. John continued to help Theresa until 1577. These reforms were regarded by many as being too strict, and there was much resistance to the reformers(called discalced, or barefoot). In December of 1577 for refusing to obey his superior’s orders to relocate (and allegedly for working for reform), John was imprisoned and whipped weekly. He managed to escape in August. During this imprisonment he composed much of his first poem, “Spiritual Canticle.” After returning to normal life, he and St. Theresa formally founded the Order of Reformed Carmelites (discalced). He died in 1591.

While being known for being St. Theresa’s confessor and helping her with founding the Reformed Carmelites, St. John is best known for his poems which are considered classics in Spanish. Spiritual Canticle and Dark Night of the Soul are considered two of the greatest poems ever written in Spanish. Other works by John were: “Ascent of Mt. Carmel” and sayings of light and love. John expresses the true joys and sufferings of spiritual union in Christ, St. Johns’ works have influenced many Christians through today (Edith Stein, Thomas Merton among others) and are still important today.

From John we learn about the yearning to truly be with God, to follow him and to be willing to sacrifice all for Christ.

Psalm 121
Song of Solomon 3:1-4
Colossians 4:2-6
John 16:12-15, 25-28

Collect: El Shadai, you gave your servant John of the Cross wonderful gifts of spiritual direction, understanding, and the ability to translate the Christian struggle into marvelous poetry. Give us all great love for you and reforming zeal, that we may reform the church so that all are seeking the giver, and not the gift. This we ask through Yeshua haMoshiach who lives and reigns with you and the Ruach haKodesh, one God in Shekina glory everlasting. Amen. (white)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

St. John of Damascus: 8 December 2011 (transferred from Sunday

John of Damascus (676-4 December 749) came from a Christian family which served the Caliph of Damascus. His father found a Christian tutor for him, and John received a well rounded education, and served the Caliph in a high position as well from a young age. His name was forged to a document implicating him in an invasion of Damascus. As a result he lost his post, and had his right hand severed. The hand was miraculously restored after a night in prayer.

He retired to Mar Saba Monastery near Jerusalem after this. He was ordained presbyter and wrote several hymns still used in the west, and many hymns still used in the east. He was a defender of icons in the iconoclast controversy, and his writings addressed many of the theological controversies of his time including on the Jakobites, Nestorians, the Monathelites and the Manicheans and of course the Iconoclast controversy.

Psalm 29
Ecclesiastes 3:9-14
1 Corinthians 15:12-20
John 5:24-27

Collect: El Shadai, you raised up your presbyter, John of Damascus to defend the faith, and write hymns. So raise up in this and every generations men and women who will defend the church against heresy and who will stand up for the faith. This we ask in the name of Yeshua haMoshiach, who stood against the false teaching of his time, and who lives and reigns with you and Ruach haKodesh, one God in shekina glory everlasting. Amen. (white)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Ambrose of Milan: 7 December 2011
Ambrose of Milan
Ambrose was the governor of northern Italy, when the Bishop of Milan died. Fearing that there would be rioting between the Arian and Catholic factions, he attended the meeting to help maintain calm between the warring factions. He appealed for order and good will on both sides, and someone cried out, “Ambrose, bishop.” He resisted this calling as he was not even baptised, though a catholic. When a letter appeared suggesting that Rome should appoint the bishop of Milan, he yielded and was baptised, confirmed, and ordained deacon, presbyter, and bishop on successive days.
Ambrose was often in dispute with the emperor and many of the imperial family, of whom many (and the majority of the soldiers as well) were Arians (Arians believe that Jesus was part of the creation, that he is superior to us, but not God., the Jehovah’s Witnesses are one Arian group today.) His political acumen lead to the Catholics triumph and to the deposition of Arian clergy. When soldiers were ordered to take a church in Milan, Ambrose filled it with Christians singing hymns. The soldiers, unwilling to attack a church filled with singing Christians backed down. Ambrose also led the Emperor to public penance after slaying a large group of people who resisted him. More important, a law was passed, allowing for a cooling off period of 40 days between such death penalty decisions and execution. At the same time he encouraged the emperor to forgive his enemies.
Ambrose, while composing many hymns, and translating others from Greek to Latin, is best known for the Ambrosian chant, which he probably did not write, but encouraged. It is said that he wrote the Te Deum, and some of his iambic pentameter hymns are with us today (tune to Praise God from whom all Blessings Flow).
Perhaps he is best known for helping to bring Augustine of Hippo to Christ and baptizing him. But he is also famous for promoting the cause of local liturgy (especially of interest to those of us in the Synod of St. Timothy.) His saying, “When I am in Rome, I fast on Saturday, when I am Milan, I do not…” became shortened in English to, “when in Rome, do as the Romans do,” a far cry from strict liturgical uniformity practiced by many of his time and later.
Ambrose was also well known of being a help to the poor. Of course, he was not perfect and to some extent represented the values of his day. He was hard on Jews and pagans in a way that we are not today, and promoted relics as well. It is also probable that he wrote the Athanasian Creed. In general, as well as defeating the Arians politically, his knowledge of Greek and Hebrew allowed him to defeat them theologically as well, and his death found the Catholics in a much better position in the western Empire. He healed the sick, raised the dead and proclaimed the kingdom. He died April 4, 397, and is entombed in Milan, where his body still may be seen.
Psalm 27:5-11
Ecclesiasticus 2:7-11,16-18
Acts 4:23-31
Luke 12:35-37,42-44
Collect: El Shaddai, you raised up Ambrose to keep the peace, to teach the faith and to enrich our worship of you. Be for us Lord, medicine when we are sick, our strength when we need help, the way when we long for heaven, our light when all is dark, and our food when we need nourishment. Send your Ruach haKodesh upon us that we would serve you as Ambrose did. This we ask in the name of Yeshua haMoshiach, who lives and governs with you in Shekina glory everlasting. Amen. (white)

Monday, December 5, 2011

St. Nicholas of Myra: 6 December 2011

St. Nicholas (270-December 6, 346) is one of the most beloved of saints, and many tails surround him.

What is known is that Nicholas was from Lycia (in Turkey today) and made pilgrimage to Palestine and Egypt, supposedly t study with the desert fathers. Returning some years later, he went to Myra (now Demre, Turkey) where he was quickly ordained Bishop. He was imprisoned during the Diocletian persecution, but was released when Constantine made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire. He also attended the council of Nicaea.

Nicholas was known for his generosity. It is said that a poor man had three daughters and that just before each came of age, he would throw a bag of gold through the window, so that she would have a dowry so as not be need to be sold into slavery. The third time the poor man caught him in the act, and Nicholas told him not to thank Nicholas but the thank God.

Many other fantastic tails surround Nicholas, and while they al probably are based on true stories, the form in which they come to us is more like a fairy tale. Nicholas as a result of his kind actions came to be known as a Patron of children and sailors among others.

Many Orthodox countries, as well as the Netherlands and countries in Eastern Europe celebrate St. Nicholas day. Nicholas is always vested as a Bishop and comes on a white horse, rewarding good children with candy (in Holland with chocolate coins) and bad children with lumps of coal. Shoes are left out to receive these gifts. In Dutch, St. Nicholas is Sinter Klas, and in New York with its mix of Dutch and English came to be known as Santa Claus.
Psalm 145:8-13
Proverbs 19:17, 20-23
1 John 4:7-14
Mark 10:13-16
Collect: El Shaddai, as you raised up Nicholas of Myra to be generous to the poor, children and sailors, bless us that we may be blessings to all who are in need, and teach us to protect the poor, children, sailors, and others whom this world has forgotten, and let your blessing be upon them as well. This we ask in the name of Yeshua haMoshiach, who lives and governs with you in Shekina glory everlasting. Amen. (red)

St. Clement of Alexandria: 5 December 2011

St. Clement of Alexandria was from Athens and followed many teachers until he came to the true teacher, Jesus. Athens was a trade and culture center at the time, and it was natural that the catechetical school would develop there. Clement was one of the early teachers, beginning teaching there in about 190. Clements main contribution to theology is in what he taught Origen. Also during the persecution in about 212, he flees Alexandria, and going to Cappadocia to help his former pupil Bishop Alexander during the persecution. The events of his death are unknown, but he died between 212 and 215.

Psalm 34:9-14
1 Samuel 12:20-24
Colossians 1:11-20
John 6:57-63

Collect: El Shaddai, your presbyter Clement of Alexandria came to you after much seeking and dedicated himself to teaching the faith to Christians and Pagans. Grant in this and every place men and women who are dedicated to teaching your holy word to those who know and do not know you, and grant that we would truly teach Christians what is truly meant to walk with you. This we ask through our Saviour, Yeshuah haMoshiach who taught his disciples the truth. Amen. (red)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

St. Andrew: 30 November 2011

St. Andrew, originally a disciple of John the Baptist, was the first disciple to follow Jesus. Andrew seems to have the gift of bringing people to Jesus. He starts with his brother Peter, and it is he who brings the lad with the loaves and fishes to Jesus. When some Greeks wanted to know Jesus, it was Andrew they went to.

Reportedly he preached the Gospel in Byzantium, Thrace, on the Danube, Kiev, the Black Sea, and finally Patra in Peloponesia. Reportedly he met his death there by crucifixion on an X shaped cross for bringing the governor’s brother and the brother’s wife to saving knowledge in Jesus. It is said that Andrew preached to the Christians from the cross.

Psalm 19 or 19:1-6
Deuteronomy 30:11-14
Romans 10:8b-18
Matthew 4:18-22

El Shaddai, you gave your apostle Andrew that special gift of bringing people to Yeshuah, starting with his own brother, Peter. Take away our fear and help us to love you so much that we would always bring people to you. This we ask through Yeshuah, who died that many may enter the kingdom. Amen. (red)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

All Saints Day: 1 November 2011

All Saints Day was originally celebrated in May by the church, and is still celebrated in the Sunday after Pentecost by Eastern Orthodox. In the west it was transferred to November the 1st in order to specifically stand against certain Celtic religious holidays. Originally it was to remember martyrs, but was extended to include all who witnessed to Messiah not only by their deaths, but by their lives.

On this day we remember the entire communion of saints, with whom we share communion through our Saviour Yeshua. It is a special day for remembering all of those saints whose names are not remembered each year in the calendar, and it is a special day to remember that we are called to be saints as well. A saint was not a holy person, but a person who believes in Messiah. A saint becomes holy, by taking up his or her cross daily and following Messiah.

All Saints (or the following Sunday) is considered an excellent day for baptism, for when we are baptised, we become saints as well.

Collect: Blessed God, you have raised up saints in every generation to be lights for us to show us that we too can imitate Messiah. So govern our hearts, that as we remember the heroes of the church, that we follow their example and live for you. This we ask in the name of Yeshuah who lives and reins with you and the Ruach haKodesh, one God, surrounded by saints and all the company of heaven. Amen. (white)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Reformation Day: 31 October 2011

October 31, 1517, Martin Luther nailed his ninety-five theses to the castle church door of Wittenberg. This was a common way of making announcements at the time, and since November 1st is All Saints day, a day of special observance, crowds were guaranteed to see the announcements.

At the heart of the 95 theses was a custom of the day, selling indulgences in order to raise money for the church. The general idea was that one could buy more rapid exit from purgatory for one’s self or a relative. In the famous words of Johann Tetzel, “Sobald der Gülden im Becken klingt, im huy die Seel im Himmel springt,“ (as soon as the guilder in the box clings, hurriedly the soul into heaven springs.“)

The Pope was rebuilding St. Peter’s Cathedral in Rome, and needed money to work on it. He sent Tetzel and others to raise money through the sale of indulgences. Martin Luther found this reprehensible, and nailed his objections to the church door. (The 95 Theses can be found at:

Several points made by Luther:

If the pope had this power than he should let all people out of purgatory.

Money spent on charity would do us more good than money spent on indulgences.

Repentance is necessary.

The Pope had enough money to repair St. Peter’s, and should have used his own money.

Martin Luther’s theses were extremely important to the church and to Europe and eventually the world. They lead to challenging the Roman Catholic Church in other areas (such as holding church services in languages which the people understood, the marriage of clergy and many other factors. Most of the Protestant Churches we have today are a direct or indirect result of this challenge to the Roman Catholic Church. The Roman Catholic Church indeed reformed itself to some extent, to win back people lost to protestant churches. Europe itself, became divided between the Protestant North (Great Britain, Scandinavia, Prussia, Holland, Latvia and Estonia), and the Catholic South. Among the Protestants was a great desire to know God’s word in one’s one language and to apply it to one’s life. Europe was transformed, not only religiously by the reformation, but economically as well. Religious wars changed the face of Europe, and indeed had a great affect on those who wrote the constitution of the USA. George Washington feared sectarian wars, and for this reason the USA did not recognise any one form of Christianity.

Tonight is also Halloween, from All Hallows Even, meaning the evening before the feast of All Hallows (i.e. All Saints Day). This feast was originally held in May but was moved to counteract the Pagan Holliday of Samain. It was believed that the dead walked the Earth, and that it was necessary to scare them away with Jack O’ Lanterns (made of turnips and apples originally. Needless to say, we encourage our churches to have a Saints Day party this evening with everyone coming as a saint or personage from the Bible.

Collect: Heavenly Father, on this day Martin Luther nailed his theses to the door of the Wittenberg Cathedral, not to challenge the church, but to transform it into a true body for mission. Grant us zeal in reforming the church and translating scripture and liturgy so all may understand your word, and be enabled for mission to the entire world. This we ask in the name of our Lord Yeshuah. Amen. (white)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Sts. Simon and Jude: 28 October 2011

Sts. Simon and Jude, Apostles

Very little is known of St. Simon, aside from his nickname the zealot. Traditions say that he went from Jerusalem, to North Africa and Carthage. From there he went to Spain, and then Britain. It is said he was crucified on May 10th, in Lincolnshire, Britain.

Another legend says he traveled with St. Jude to Syria, Mesopotamia, and on to Persia, where Simon was sawn in two and Jude martyred with a halberd.

Of Jude we know little as well. He allegedly preached the Gospel in Judaea, Samaria, Idumea, Syria, Mesopotamia, and Libya. It is also said he visited Beirut. He, together with Jude are believed to have preached the gospel in Armenia as well. According to the Armenians, Jude died in the year 65 AD in Beirut. The Epistle of Jude is attributed to him.

Psalm 119:89-96
Deuteronomy 32:1-4
Ephesians 2:13-22
John 15:17-27

Daily Office:
AM: Psalm 66; Isaiah 28:9-16; Ephesians 4:1-16
PM: Psalm 116, 117; Isaiah 4:2-6; John 14:15-31

Collect: Heavenly Father, we thank you for the example of Simon and Jude who were zealots for the faith, and who gave their lives for you. Grant us strength and courage to live and die for you as well. 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, October 25, 2011

King Alfred the Great: 26 October 2011

Born in 849 at Berkshire, Alfred wished to become a monk. Instead he became king at the death of his father and four older brothers in 871. At this time the Danes controlled the north-east coast of what we call England today, which was called the Danelaw. Alfred was able to defeat the Danes, and as part of the terms of that defeat, the Danish King, Guthrum became a vassal to Jesus Christ, and therefore so did his nobles. Obviously the baptisms that resulted from this conversion may not have been heartfelt, but, because of this conversion, priests and missionaries were allowed in the Danelaw and in Denmark (which at this time included a portion of Sweden), which in time resulted in legitimate heartfelt conversions.
After defeating Guthrum, Alfred devoted his time to rebuilding the kingdom of Wessex, fortifying it against attack, building schools (including Oxford) and libraries. Enamoured of the Torah’s treatment of the poor, Alfred sought to put such protections in his laws as well. He also translated books and fifty of the Psalms into Anglo Saxon.
The laws which Alfred promulgated are based very much on the Old Testament. In addition to his other talents, Alfred also designed the ships used to defeat King Guthrum.
There are many reason for calling Alfred the Great. Among those not listed above was the protection of England from the Vikings and restoring the peace, allowing British and English Christianity to carry on unmolested. Once King Guthrum had converted he received respect from his Christian subjects in the Danelaw, leading to peace there as well. King Alfred was a man who knew the Bible well, and sought to use it in his life, in the laws and in all he did. Would that our politicians would do likewise.

Collect: Heavenly Father, as Alfred rebuilt England and restored the church, he also witnessed to his enemy Guthrum and persuaded him to receive Messiah. Grant that we too, would pray and witness to all the world, whether they be our friends or our enemies. This we ask through Yeshuah who lives and reins with you and Ruach haKodesh, one God in glory everlasting. Amen. (white)

For more information see:

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Ignatius of Antioch: Bishop

Ignatius is one of the Apostolic fathers (early leaders in the church who knew the apostles). He is said to have been one of the children that Jesus blessed. He was born around the year 35 and died between 98 and 117. He is counted to be the third Bishop of Antioch (after St. Peter and St. Evodius who died in the year 67. It is said that he knew St. Peter and may have known St. John the Apostle, and it is said that St. Peter appointed him to the see of Antioch. Ignatius is most known to us for the letters he wrote on the way to Rome, where he was martyred by being partially consumed by lions. His remains are in Rome to this day, buried under St. Peter’s Basilica.
Ignatius wrote six letters to churches and one to a bishop. His letters emphasise loyalty to one Bishop per city, who is aided by his presbyters and deacons, the earliest letter to emphasise this. He called the Eucharist the medicine of immortality and looked forward to his martyrdom to be with Jesus face to face. St. Ignatius also is the first to emphasise celebrating the Lord’s day (although Acts 20:7-11 suggests the practice first) saying, “We fashion our lives after the Lord’s day.”
These letters are very important, because we have very little written information about this time in the churches history, guiding us in how we should imitate the primitive church.

For more see: (note the first seven are those alleged to be genuine.)

Collect: Heavenly Father, as you raised up your servant Ignatius to be Bishop of Antioch and to suffer and die for his faith. Grant that we may gather more frequently to celebrate the Eucharist, sharing the medicine of immortality, and that we would follow the bishop, as Jesus followed the Father, follow the presbytery as we would follow the apostles, and respect the deacons as we respect God’s law. 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)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Theodore of Tarsus, Archbisop of Canturebury: 19 September

St. Theodore of Tarsus was sent by Pope Vitalian of Rome to take the place of the Anglo Saxon candidate for Bishop, Wighard died in Rome. Theodore, already 65, a monk, but not yet presbyter turned out to be an excellent man for the job. He worked out differences between Roman and Celtic traditions, filled vacant Bishoprics and organized the very first council of the Church of England. He was, according to Bede the first Archibishop whom all the English obeyed. He organized dioceses, set boundaries and basically organized the English church. One of his organizational details is still used by our church. Twenty five percent of the offering to the poor, twenty five percent to maintaining the church, twenty five per cent to the clergy for maintenance of the altar and clergy and twenty five per cent to the bishop for his expenses and misson.

He also founded a school which was attended by Celts and English, helping to unify the traditions, and which taught Greek, Latin, poetry, astronomy and calendar calculation.

When Theodore arrived, things were a mess. When he died twenty three years later at the age of 88 on 19 September, 690, the church was organized and ready for mission.

Collect: Heavenly Father, you sent Theodore to organize and put right the church of England and to reconcile the church of the English with the Church of the Celts. Raise up among us, clergy and laity, who will help organise the church today so that it would be an effective means of evangelising the world in which we live. This we ask in the name of Yeshua, who lives and reigns with you and Ruach ha Kodesh, one God in Glory everlasting. Amen. (white)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Columcille: 9 June 2011

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)

Monday, May 9, 2011

Nicholas, Count Zinzendorf, Bishop: 10 May 2011
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 Egypt. 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.

Psalm 101:1-4
Nehemiah 12:27-31a, 43
2 Thessalonians 2:13–3:5
John 16:16-22

Heavenly Father, you raised up Ludwig Count Zinzendorf to build up your church and to send out missionaries. Grant that, like Ludwig, we would love you not just with our minds, but with our hearts as well, seeking to build your kingdom with the tools and position you have given each of us. Remind us daily that we live not for ourselves, but for you. This we ask in the name of our Lord and Saviour, Yeshuah ha Moshiah. Amen.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Isaiah: 9 May 2011

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 known 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)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

St. Monica: 5 May 2011 (transferred from 4 May)

St. Monica (333-387)

Monica, probably a Berber, was born to Christian parents in Tagaste, North Africa. Married at an early age to Patritius, a pagan, she suffered much. He was annoyed at her prayers and alms giving. She was matron to the women and mothers of Tagaste to whom she witnessed and was listened to, because they knew her suffering.

Monica had three children, Augustine, Navigius, and her only daughter, Perpetua. Patritius refused to let her have the children baptised, which caused her sadness as well. After Augustine passed through a period of sickness, she concentrated her efforts on him. He was wayward and by his own admission, lazy. He went to school and fell into grievous sin. His father died soon after becoming a Christian, and Monica’s patient witness resulted in her mother-in-law becoming a Christian as well. Augustine joined the Manicheans, while his siblings became Christians. Uttering heresies at the table, Monica drove him away, but guided by a vision she recalled him. Guided by a bishop, she continued fervent prayer and fasting for her son and followed him to Rome and then to Milan. At Milan, she met St. Ambrose, and after 17 years of prayer for her resisting son, had the joy of seeing him convert to Christianity and be baptised in Milan. She lived in joy with her son in Cassicum, where after six months they decided to return to Africa. On the return trip, Monica died at Ostia, where she was buried.

Readings: Psalm 115:12-18
Judges 13:2-8
Galatians 4:1-12a
Luke 7:11-17* or John 16:20-42*

Father, you gave Monica the spiritual gifts to persevere in prayer for the conversion of her husband and son. Grant that we may so persevere in our prayers as to draw nearer to you each day. This we ask through Yeshua haMoshiach who lives and reigns with you and Ruach haKodesh, one God in glory everlasting. Amen. (white)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Jeremiah: 4 May 2011 (transferred from 3 May)

Jeremiah or Yirmeyahu was a prophet who lived in the 7th Century, B.C. The books of Jeremiah, III and IV Kings, and Lamentations are attributed to him and his secretary, Baruch. He is known as one of the major prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel because their books were longer than the “minor prophets”) While being happy when he was younger, Yirmeyahu was know a the weeping prophet. Yirmeyahu resisted God’s call, but still went out, condemning idolatry, greed among the priests and false prophets. He was commanded to stay away from celebrations and feasting, and to call the people to repentance. His basic message was that the temple, king, and the priesthood were good for nothing as long as human hearts were idolatrous and full of deception. His basic message was that the people needed to return to full worship, and that God would give a new covenant, one that would include the whole world, not just the Hebrews.

Naturally, his message was not popular and his own people threatened his life (Yahweh warned him) and he suffered persecution. Like Isaiah, Yirmeyahu often had to act out his prophesies. As he predicted, Babylone (Bavel) conquered Judah, and many Jews were carried into captivity. The new governor allowed Yirmeyahu to select his dwelling place, but after Yohanan came into power, he forced Yirmeyahu and Baruch to go into Egypt, where he was probably murdered. Very little of what is attributed to Yirmeyahu was written by him. Most of it was written by his friend and disciple, Baruch. The so called letter of Jeremiah is probably not his work.

Jeremiah had a tumultuous relationship with his God. While proclaiming God’s faithfulness, and telling the people that if they repent they can still be saved, he denounces them at the same time, being told not even to pray for them because of their sins. He tells the people that their worship is nothing in God’s sight as long as people did not practice social justice and did not truly turn to God.

Heavenly Father, you raised up Jeremiah to warn of your judgement and to challenge people to repent and follow you. Raise up men and women to challenge us when we are in sin and to help us return to you. This we ask in the name of Yeshua who lives and reigns with you and the Ruach ha Kodesh, one God in glory everlasting. Amen.

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Annuncition: March 25, 2011

One of the oldest Feasts of the church, the Annunciation celebrates Gabriel the Archangel's appearance to Miriam (Mary. When reckoning the date for Christmas in the 4th Century, the early church based the date of Christmas as being nine months form this date. Miriam's response to the Angel, "be it unto me according to your word" marks Yeshua's entry into the world, and should be our answer to the Lord, when he calls upon us. It is also a reflection of the Lord's Prayer, "your will be done on Earth as it is in heaven." May we always answer the Lord, "be it unto me according to your word."

We beseech you o Lord, so fill our hearts with your grace that as we have known the incarnation of your son our Lord Yeshua HaMoshiach by the message of an angel, that so by his cross and passion we may be brought unto the glory of his resurrection. And what we ask for ourselves, we ask for all those for whom Messiah died, that those who sin against you would come to love you, and that those who love you would be drawn nearer to you. To the glory of God the Father, Amen. (Blue)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Gregory the Illuminator, Bishop, Apostle

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)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Thomas Cranmer, Bishop, Martyr, Liturgist: 21 March 2011

Thomas Cranmer (2 July 1489 – 21 March 1556)

Born 1489 in Notinghamshire, Cranmer followed a typical career of younger brother. Since his brother John inherited the family estate, Cranmer and his younger brother were prepared for lives as clerics. Fourteen years old, he came to Jesus College, Cambridge, where he took some eight years to earn his Bachelor of Arts. In 1515 he received his MA and became a fellow of Jesus College. He lost his fellowship after marrying, but regained it after his wife died. He received his Doctorate in Divinity in 1526, having gained Holy Orders in 1520. In June 1527 he met the king, whom he described as the kindest of princes.

From 1527 he became involved with the King’s divorce. During these proceedings, he met some of the continental reformers in 1531. In 1532 he was appointed ambassador to the Holy Roman Empire, and in travelling with the Emperor f rom area to area was able to see the reformation in action. In addition to meeting several reformers, he ended up marrying Ossiander’s niece. Sadly for him, he was unable to convince the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles to support King Henry’s annulment from Catherine (Catherine was Charles’ aunt).

In 1532, he was notified that he would be the next Archbishop of Canterbury and was so consecrated on the 30th of March of 1532. He continued to work on the king’s divorce, with the affair becoming more complicate due to Anne Bolyn’s pregnancy and her secret marriage to Henry VIII. Cranmer declared Henry’s marriage void, and the Pope excommunicated Henry and his advisors. Life was difficult for Cranmer as many of his bishops did not support him in this new role. His life also continued to be made difficult because of the King’s urgent desire for a male heir. He was also not particularly astute in dealing with the bishops.

Fifteen thirty six saw the publishing of the 10 Articles of religion which pleased and annoyed both sides of the debate. The Institution of a Christian Man was printed in response, but the king insisted on changes. Cranmer was the most vigorous in fighting against the King’s changes, especially relating to faith alone and predestination. From 1536 to 1544 there were many ups and downs involving Cranmer which he survived. In 1544 he printed the first legal services in Enlgish, being the Exhortation and the Great Litany, which is still found in many Anglican prayer books today (and indeed in the liturgy used by the diocese of La Porte). Fifteen forty-seven saw the introduction of the Book of Homilies to all parishes (4 written by Cranmer). As many of the reformers were suffering persecution, Cranmer invited them to England and put them to work training clergy. (Reina and Valera who composed the first Bible in Spanish were among these).

It is unknown just how much Cranmer actually wrote in the Book of Common Prayer of 1549. His sources include the Sarum Rite, Hermann von Wied, Ossiander, Justus Jonas (and several other Lutherans), and Quiñones. What we do know is that he was the final editor of this and the 1552 Book of Common Prayer (not used because of Mary accession to the throne. In 1550 he printed an Ordinal, and in the same year: Defence of the True and Catholic Doctrine of the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ , the only book actually printed in his own name. In 1552 he came out with the Articles of Religion.

After Mary took power, Cranmer was imprisoned and during the course of his imprisonment, recanted his Protestant faith. On the day of his death however, he recanted his recantations, and was burned at the stake, placing his right hand in the centre of the fire as a sign of repentance regarding the written recantations.

Cranmer’s greatest influence on the church was the Book of Common Prayer, which was the basis of all Anglican Books of Common Prayer into the 1960’s. His Eucharist also found its way into the Methodist liturgy, and his marriage and burial services are the base services of many denominations. The English used in his BCP has affected the English language as much as the language of the King James Bible and Shakespeare. His second work of genius was transforming morning prayer and evening prayer into something that could be used by any family or by individuals. His third act of genius was slow transformation, which produced a book which has lasted over 450 years.

Psalm 142 or 124
1 Corinthians 3:9-14
John 15:20--16:1

Collect: Heavenly Father, you granted to your Bishop Thomas Cranmer great gifts in ordering the worship and prayer life of the English people, and though he slipped led him to repent of his recantations. Grant that we would truly seek to worship you in the spirit of holiness, and be ready to give up our lives for you. This we ask through Yeshuah, who lives and reins and is worshipped with you and the Ruach haKodesh, one God in glory everlasting. Amen. (red)

Friday, March 18, 2011

St. Joseph: March 19, 2011

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)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

St. Cyril of Jerusalem: 18 March 2011

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)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

St. Patrick, Evangelist to Ireland: 17 March 2011

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)

Friday, March 11, 2011

St. Gregory, Bishop of Rome: 12 March 2011
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 praised the life of the monks (he was the first Monastic bishop of Rome).

Gregory is most well known 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)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Ash Wednesday: 9 March 2011

Ash Wednesday marks the first day of Lent in the Western tradition. Whereas Shrove Tuesday marks a day of individuals repenting of their sins, Ash Wednesday marks the corporate community confessing its corporate sins. Being marked with the sign of the cross in ashes reminds of Adam who was made from Adamah (dust), and that we are all made from the earth. The sign of the cross is also a sign that we stand together in repentance both for our individual and corporate sins, and is a sign that we are fasting together. Aside from reminding us of our beginnings, ashes are a sign of repentance in both the old and new testaments. Those of you visiting our church during Lent will not that our altar and my vestments are burlap (sackcloth) which is another sign of repentance. (The vestments are trimmed with purple, which stands for penitence, prayer and preparation.)

Old Testament: Joel 2:1-2, 12-17
Psalm: 103:8 14
Epistle: 2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:10
Gospel: Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21

Collect: Almighty and everlasting God, you hate nothing that you have made, and you forgive the sins of all those who are penitent. Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may receive from you, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness of our sins. We make our prayer through Yeshuah haMoshiach, your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Please feel free to join us at 6:00 A.M. for Ash Wednesday services.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Thomas Aquinas & Shrove Tuesday: 8 March 2011

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

Shrove Tuesday was the traditional day to confess before the priest and receive one's penance for Lent. The word shrive indicates the process of confessing and receiving absolution. Traditionally fried foods are eaten today as the lard was the last of the meat left in the house.

Collect: Lord, grant that we should make such a true confession, that we would truly walk in love and peace with one another that the light of Yeshua would truly shine through us. This we ask through Yeshua haMoshiach who lives and reins with you and the Ruach haKodesh, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen. (purple before sunset, Lenten array after sunset)

Please join us for the Great Forgiveness Service at: 9:00 PM Tuesday night.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

St. Perpetua and Companions: Martyrs

Perpetua and her companions were martyrs in the third century. The group consisted of Perpetua, a noble woman, Felicitas a slave, Revocatus, another slave, and two freemen, Saturninus and Secundulas. They were catechumens and were later joined by their catechist, Saturis.

Though implored to abandon the faith, the small group was baptized before being imprisoned. Encouraged by dreams and visions the group was offered up to wild animals to be tortured by a boar, a bear and a leopard for the men, and a wild cow for the women. They were severely wounded by the animals, and gave each other the kiss of peace before being killed by the sword. The swordsman assigned to Perpetua was inept and at first only caused her pain. She had to guide the sword to the proper place, and it is said in the Martyrlogy regarding her, that “perchance so great a woman could not else have been slain had she not herself willed it.

Collect: Dear Lord, you gave Perpetua and her companions boldness to confess your name before the rulers of this world, and courage to encourage one another. Grant us boldness to proclaim your name, and help us to always build up one another in the true faith and perseverance in that faith. This we ask through the author of our faith, Yeshuah haMoshiach who lives and reigns with you and the Ruach haKodesh, one God in glory everlasting. Amen

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

John & Charles Wesley, Presbyters

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.


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)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

St. Chad: 2 March 2011 (Also Texas Independence Day)

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 judgment 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:
Psalm 95:1-7
Proverbs 16:1-3
Philippians 4:10-13
Luke 14:1,7-14

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.