Friday, November 22, 2013

C.S. Lewis, apologist, author

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)

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Hugh of Lincoln, Bishop

Hugh of Lincoln was born about 1135 in Avalon to noble parents.  After his mothers death when he was eight, his father took him to  the priory of Villard Benoît at Pontcharra, where Hugh did quite well.  He was made deacon at age 19 and was sent to become prior at another monastery, and then entered the Gran Chartreuse, the mother house for the Carthusians.  There he remained until 1179, when he was sent to England to become prior of the first Carthusian house of England.  Arriving, he found very little, and that the lands had not even been paid for, forcing a meeting with the King who had promised the funds in relation to his penance relating to the death of Archbishop Thomas of Canterbury  Once financing was secured the house grew rapidly and Hugh’s wisdom brought many to the English house. 

Hugh was not afraid to address problems in the Kingdom and criticised the King for leaving Diocesan Sees open in order that the king could receive the revenues.  Lincoln itself had been vacant for some eighteen years. The chapter elected Hugh to be their Bishop and he was consecrated on 21 September 1186.  Hugh was still not afraid of the King, nor those with royal authority, and excommunicated those who needed it regardless of royal prerogative, and protected the downtrodden, especially the Jews.  He traveled constantly through the diocese, was constant in charity and raised the educational level of the cathedral school.  He was often attended by a pet swan which followed him everywhere.  He refused to raise money for King Richard the Lion Heart’s crusades, and was not popular with Prince John, who was not interested in hearing of the Christian duty of Kings.  Through all, he managed to continue through his diplomatic skills. He died November 16, 1200 of an unknown illness, loved by many. 

Collect:  Heavenly Father, as you imbued your Bishop Hugh of Lincoln with true grace and agape for all, help your church to love and serve the poor, oppressed, and outcasts, that they may come to know you through our witness, which we ask in the name of your beloved son, who loved us even unto death on the cross.  Amen.  (white)

Monday, November 18, 2013

HIlda, Abess of Whitby, nun

Hilda, Abbess of Whitby (614-17 November 680) (Transferred from Sunday) 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.  Cædmon, 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)

Friday, November 1, 2013

All Soul's Day

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)

All Saints Day

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)