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.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

All Souls Day: November 2, 2012

All Souls Day

At Benim Avraham, we primarily remember All Souls on its eve . We light a candle* for our loved ones whom we wish to remember with the words, "I light a candle in the memory of N.N. in remembrance that they showed me the light of Christ by...." After the service is over, each person is encouraged to share something of the loved one's life. It is a time of remembrance, and a time to make sure families truly know something of their family history.

Traditionally, All Souls Day is an extension of All Saints to remember those who were close to us in life.

Eve: Psalm: 116:10-17
Isaiah 25:6-9
I Thessalonians 4:13-18

All Souls Day:
Psalm: 130
Wisdom 3:1-9
John 5:24-27

Collect: Blessed Father, you are the Lord of the Living, and all the faithful are alive to you. Bless us with the memories of our loved ones who have gone on before us, that we following their examples may find a mansion prepared for us by our Lord Yeshua. This we ask in his most precious name. Amen. (white)

*We use the Jewish Kosher Yahrzeit candles.  They burn about 24 hours, are in glass and safe, but don't put on a wooden table. Put them on a ceramic plate.  

All Saints Day (All Hallows Day) 1 November 2012

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. 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.   

Micah 6:6-8
The Wisdom of Solomon 2:1-11
Psalm 37
Ephesians 1:11-23
Luke 6: 20-37

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)