Friday, May 10, 2013

Nicholas, Count Zinzendorf, Bishop

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.

Confirming the call through such luminaries as the Archbishop of Canterbury, The King of Denmark and the Elector of Brandenburg, Zinzendorf was consecrated bishop by Bishops Daavid Nitschmann and Daniel Ernst Joblanski in Berlin in 1737.

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. 


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 Moshiach.  Amen. 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Ascention: 9 May 2013

Today we celebrate the Ascension of Messiah.  We are told in the Gospels and the Book of Acts that for 40 days after his resurrection that he was with the disciples and that many saw him.  Forty days after his resurrection, he ascended into heaven, witnessed by his disciples.  We see the Ascension as Messiah bringing our human nature to heaven, and that he is now interceding for us at the right hand of God the Father..

Eucharistic Readings
Daniel 7:9-14

Psalm 47
Ephesians 1:15-23
Luke 24: 38-53

Psalm 8, 47
 Ezek. 1:14, 24-28b
Acts 1:1-11

Psalm 24, 96
Hebrews 2:5-18


Lord Yeshua, you ascended to heaven to sit at the right hand of God the Father to intercede for us.  Please pray for us that we would truly seek your will for us, that we keeping our eyes firmly fixed on you would learn to obey you as your angels in heaven obey you.  This we ask in you name, you who live and reign with the Father and the Ruach haKodesh, one God in glory everlasting. Amen (gold)

Isaiah the prophet: 9 May 2013

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 8, 2013

Dame Julian of Norwich: Anchoress: 8 May 2013

Dame Julian of Norwich was an anchoress who lived from about 1343 to 1442. 

An anchoress basically lived in a cell attached to a church.  There would be windows into the church and sometimes on the outside for communication.  When Julian was about 30 years old she received revelations from God, during or just after some sickness.  She reflected on these visions for some twenty years and wrote a book based on these reflections.  One important thing that Julian gives us is that to know God, we must know ourselves. 

We are told that Julian desired three things in life, to have in mind the passion of Christ, to have bodily sickness at the age of 30, and to receive wounds of sincere contrition.  This happened when she had a severe illness at the age of thirty. 

Julian offers a counter thought to the times in which she lived.  In popular thought, society was suffering because of its great sin.  Julian though, saw the black plague as a device used by God to bring us back to him.  In Julian’s visions and interpretations, we see more of God’s love for us and a reflection of his father like (and mother like attributes).  In fact Julian sees sin as something necessary to bring us to God, and that God’s desire is for all to be saved. 

In her last vision she is told: …All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well,”   

Julian tells us in her own words:  “And from the time that [the vision] was shown, I desired often to know what our Lord's meaning was. And fifteen years and more afterward I was answered in my spiritual understanding, thus: 'Would you know your Lord's meaning in this thing? Know it well, love was his meaning. Who showed it to you? Love. What did he show you? Love. Why did he show it? For love. Keep yourself therein and you shall know and understand more in the same. But you shall never know nor understand any other thing, forever.' 
    Thus I was taught that love was our Lord's meaning. And I saw quite clearly in this and in all, that before God made us, he loved us, which love was never slaked nor ever shall be. And in this love he has done all his work, and in this love he has made all things profitable to us. And in this love our life is everlasting. In our creation we had a beginning. But the love wherein he made us was in him with no beginning. And all this shall be seen in God without end ...” 

Her book is believed to be the first book written by a woman in English. 

Psalm 27:5-11
Isaiah 46:3-5
Hebrews 10:19-24
John 4:23-26

Dear Lord, you granted to Dame Juilian visions of unspeakable things and gave her a grace to guide others in their spiritual lives.  Raise up in this and every generation people who are willing to share their gifts and build up others in the spiritual life.  This we ask through Yeshuah haMoshiach, who lives and reigns with you and the Ruach haKodesh, one God in glory everlasting.  Amen.  (white)