Monday, December 31, 2012

John Wycliff: 31 December 2012

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. 

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)

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Thomas Beckett, Archbishop of Canterbury, Martyr

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.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Childermas (Holy Innocents) 28 December 2012

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, and the millions of children killed through abortion.  . 

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. 

Yesterday we did remember St. John the Evangelist:

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. 


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

St. Stephan, Protomartyr, Deacon: 26 December 2012

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. 

Sunday, December 9, 2012


Today was the first day of Hanukah, which means we lit the menorah for the first time last night.  Each night we add a candle, until the feast is over.
Here are lessons for each day.

Old Testament Lessons for Chanukah

25 Chislev: I Maccabees 1:41-64
26 Chislev:  II Maccabees 8:1-7
27 Chislev:  II Maccabees 8:8-29
28 Chislev: II Maccabees 8:30-33
29 Chislev: II Maccabees 8:34-36
30 Chislev: II Maccabees 9:1-17
1 Tevet: II Maccabees 9:18-29
2 Tevet: II Maccabees 10:1-8

While it is tempting to turn Hanukkah into kind of a Jewish Christmas, that is not the point.  The word Hanukah is Hebrew for dedication, and the word in this case refers to the re dedication of the Jewish temple after it was desecrated by the Greeks under Antiochus Epiphanies and the Hellenist Jews.  While we often think that the main point of the celebration is that one day's worth  of oil lasted for 8 days, it totally misses the point of the celebration.  Antiochus Epiphanies was out to destroy the Jewish religion from the world.  He forbade circumcision,   and made illegal sacrifices and forced the Jews to eat pork.  Many were killed resisting him, and the four books of Macabees describe some of this. 

But the real story of Hanukkah is that a small band of Jewish warriors fought for their right to worship according to Torah, and that this small band overcame the Greek Empire.  The story is one we should all read, and I suspect one that the founding fathers of the United States were familiar with.  As government and world come out more and more against the church, we need to look at the Maccabees and remember that we too need to fight for our freedom to worship.  We need to remember that when Yeshua entered into the world, that it was morally bankrupt as it is today, and the church made a difference.  We can do so again today, if we are willing to work together and fight for what we believe in. 

Friday, December 7, 2012

Ambrose of Milan: 7 December 2012

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)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

St. Nicholas of Myra: 6 December 3012

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 to 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)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

St. Clement of Alexandria: 5 December 2012

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.

 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)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

St. John of Damascus: 4 December 2012

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.

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)

Monday, December 3, 2012

Frances Xavier, Missionary, 3 December 2012

Francis Xavier (7 April 1506-3 December 1552) was a Basque born in the Kingdom of Navarre.  After his education, in Paris, he was greatly influenced by Ignatius of Loyola, and was one of the cofounders of the Society of Jesus, being one of the first seven members of the order. 

Francis was ordained in 1537 and served a short stint in a hospital and as St. Innatius’s secretary before leaving for India.  He was instated by King Johns III as papal nuncio and sent to Goa, primarily to restore the faith of the Portuguese in Goa  (which was the capitol of  Portuguese India. )  Francis spent more time with the natives of India, having built some forty churches by 1544.  He also planned to visit Indonesia.  It is said, when he had troubles witnessing to the Hindus, that he would teach the children to pray for the sick.  When the sick got well after the children’s prayers, the adults came to see what was going on.   Originally he worked with the poor, but changed this tactic later, hoping to have more influence.  He began work in Portuguese Molucca (Indonesia today) in about 1546, resulting in some ten thousand Catholics in the area by the 1560s.  He also had a habit of setting Bible verses to short catchy tunes in native languages, which helped the word to be spread.

July 1549 saw him in Japan, where at first he had trouble being admitted to any ports.  He finally was admitted and had moderate success, partly for the sake of the language, and the lack of Japanese speaking clergy.  The Japanese were able to establish indigenous churches which lasted some time, considering that they had been cut off from the main church. 

In 1552 he reached the islands of Chin.  He was seeking passage to the mainland, when he died of fever on 3 December 1552.  He should go down with William Carrey and Count Zinzendorf as one of the great missionaries, spreading the news of salvation. 

El Shadai:  You raised up Francis Xavier to proclaim the Gospel in diverse lands of Asia.  Raise up in this and every generation men and women who are ready to proclaim the Gospel to all the world, no matter what the cost.  This we ask in the name of Yeshua haMoshiach who lives and reins with you and the Rucah haKodesh, on God in Shekina glory everlasting.    Amen.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Nicholas Ferrar: 1 December 2012

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 Giddng, 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 several harmonies 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 and any Christian family can follow their example..
Psalm 15
Exodus 35:1-5a, 24-29
Galatians 6:7-10
Luke 10:38-42

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

Thursday, November 29, 2012

St. Andrew: 30 November 2012

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 Andrew 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. Andrew is considered the patron saint of Scotland.

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)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

C.S. Lewis: 22 November 2012

Clives Staples Lewis
29 November 1898-22 November 1963

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

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

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

St. Hilda of Whitby, Abbess (20 November, transferred from Sunday

Hilda, Abbess of Whitby (614-17 November 680)  was born to the royal family of Deira, being the daughter of Prince Hereric and his wife the Lady Bregswith.  She grew up in exile until her uncle King Edwin regained Northumbria.  She and her sister were baptised by St. Paulinus, but were more influenced by the Celtic rather than Roman Christianity. 

Little is heard of her until she is on her way to France to join a convent there.  Instead, Bishop Aidan of Lindisfarne, called her back to Northumbria, where she was given land, and developed a monastery.  This did so well, that she was made abbess of the double monastery of Hartlepool, using the Irish Rule, and especially the rule of Coumbanus.  In 657 she went on to found the double monastery at Whitby.  In a double monastery the monks and nuns lived apart (in small houses with 2-3 per house) and came together for worship.  All property and goods were held in common.  Peace and charity were encouraged, and everyone had to study the Bible and do good works.  She remained at Whitby until her death.  She is famous as a centre of learning because at least five bishops and two saints came from Whitby. 

Hilda was known for her good judgment and learning, and had gifts of encouragement as well.  C├Ždmon, the famous poet started out as a herder, but was encouraged by Hilda to develop his poetic gifts.  Hilda is probably most well know for her role during and after the synod of Whitby, where it was decided that the churches would follow the Roman rather than Celtic customs.  Even though Hilda preferred the Celtic ways, she encourage her Abbey as well as the surrounding peoples to follow the Roman ways (these mostly had to do with the date of Easter, and forms of tonsure.)  Many of the monks of Lindisfarne refused to follow and eventually returned to Iona and Ireland. 

Hilda was very kind and referred to as mother by many.  Many came to her for advise.  In art, she is often showed with a crozier, which is the sign of an abbess’s authority. 

Psalm 114
Proverbs 6:20-23
Ephesians 4: 1-6
Matthew 19:27-29

Dear Lord, you gave your abbess Hilda of Whitby gifts on prudence, good sense and encouragement, help us like her to encourage others in the faith and to submit to the authority of the church, even it does not follow our will.  This we ask in the name of our saviour, Yeshuah, who prayed, not my will but your will be done.  Amen.  (white)

Monday, November 19, 2012

Elizabeth of Hungary

Today we remember Elizabeth, Princess of Hungary.  Her life reminds us of the reason God established the Levirite laws in Israel, for the protection of the women.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Richard Hooker: November 3, 2012

Richard Hooker (April 1554-2November 1600)

Hooker, born near Exeter was an apologist for the Church of England.  Little is known of his childhood, and sources there of are held in question.  His father, Roger was largely absent due to work, but his uncle, John Hooker was a strong influence in his life. 

After grammar school in Exeter, he entered Corpus Christi College, Oxford in or about 1569, where he earned his Bachelor’s degree in January, 1574.  He went on to receive his M.A, in 1577.  Corpus Christi college emphasized, Greek, Rhetoric and the early fathers, and it is apparent from his writings that Hooker mastered these as well.  At this time, he also became familiar with the works of Calvin and other continental reformers.

He was ordained deacon in 1579, and became assistant professor of Hebrew as well.  In 1585 he was appointed as master of the Temple Church.  His most important work, Of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity, which was intended to be a defense of the Elizabethan settlement.  This book is also important for its theology. 

Hooker is best known, especially in Anglican Circles for his three legged stool.  Often this is misquoted so as to state that scripture, tradition and reason are all equal.  Actually what Hooker said was,
“What Scripture doth plainly deliver, to that the first place both of credit and obedience are due; the next whereunto, is what any man can necessarily conclude by force of Reason; after this, the voice of the church succeedeth.”  In other words, no three legged stool.  Scriptures according to Hooker come first, then reason, then the traditions of the church.  This statement was to dispute both the Catholics, who said the Bible did not contain everything necessary for salvation, and the Calvinists who said everything is contained in scriptures and there was no need for human reason.  So Anglicans take heed.  Scripture does come first.  We cannot decide that our reason overrides it.  

He is also said to have inspired some of John Locke’s ideas.

Collect:  O God of truth and peace, who raised up your servant Richard Hooker in a day of bitter controversy to defend with sound reasoning and great charity the catholic and reformed religion: Grant that we may maintain that middle way, not as a compromise for the sake of peace, but as a comprehension for the sake of truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.