Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Annunciation: 25 March 2014

The Annunciation

The Annunciation was  the premier feast of the incarnation in the early history of the church.  Because of it, the modern premier feast of the incarnation, Christmas received its date.    More than likely, the feast of the Annunciation came to be celebrated on this date because Yeshua died on this date, and Messiah must have been conceived on the same day as his death, as Moshe died on the same day he was born. 

This is the day when we celebrate Yeshua’s coming into the world.  He humbled himself to be born for our salvation.  As C.S. Lewis puts it so well, Messiah is like a pearl diver descending to the bottom of the sea, where all is colourless, and dank, and wrests the pearl from the oyster, to bring it into the light where it gleams.  He stooped down beneath us, to lift up us and all creation,

Christmas is nine months from today.

Psalm 40:1-11
or 40:5-10 or Canticle 3 or 15;
Isaiah 7:10-14;
Hebrews 10:5-10
Luke 1:26-3

AM: Psalm 85, 87
Isaiah 52:7-12
Hebrews 2:5-10
PM: Psalm 110:1-5(6-7), 132
Wisdom 9:1-12
John 1:9-14
Collect:  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)

Monday, March 24, 2014

Oscar Romero: Bishop, Martyr

Oscar Romero (15 August 1917 – 24 March 1980) was born in San Miguel, El Salvador.  His public school education at a government school only lasted three years.  He continued his education with a private tutor, while serving as an apprentice carpenter until he was thirteen, when he entered the minor seminary in San Miguel.  From there he went to the National Seminary in San Salvador and then to the Gregorian University in Rome, where he received his licentienate, and was ordained as presbyter.  He remained in Rome to receive a doctorate, but was recalled to El Salvador before receiving it.   He ended up in prison in Cuba on the way back because of complications relating to Fascist Italy and World War II.
He started his work in Anonoros, and then went to San Miguel, where he promotd apostolic groups and started an Alcoholics Anonymous group.  Later he became secretary to the bishop’s conference and was later named auxiliary Bishop to the Archbishop of El Salvador.  In December 1975 he was named as Bishop of Santa Maria, and then 23 February 1977 was named as Archbishop of El Salvador, a move which dismayed the more “progressive” elements of the Salvadoran Roman Catholic church, who saw him as conservative. 
Life changed for the Archbishop, when his friend Fr. Rutilio Grande was assassinated.  Traditionally here to fore, the church had been seen as an ally and accomplice in the government’s workings, but no longer.  Romero demanded an investigation, and who said, “"When I looked at Rutilio lying there dead I thought, 'If they have killed him for doing what he did, then I too have to walk the same path'"
Human rites abuses continued, and Romero even wrote Jimmy Carter asking him not to support the government of El Salvador, advice that Carter ignored, fearful of provoking another Nicaragua.  Because of him humanitarian efforts, he became known on the international stage, and received an honorary doctorate in Belgium.  In his speech he denounced the Salvadoran junta for its persecution of those presbyters who worked for the benefit of the poor.  Eventually he proclaimed on radio and television the name of those presbyters, nuns and lay workers who were persecuted, tortured and even murdered for helping the poor. 
            In addition to helping the poor, and defending the church, Romero made holiness a personal goal.  He apparently hit a soft spot when he called for soldiers who were Christians to stop carrying out government oppression, persecution, and violations of human rights.  Romero was assassinated while elevating the chalice at a mass at the Divina Providencia hospital on 24 March 1980. 
Psalm 31:15-24
Isaiah 2:5-7
Revelation 7:13-17
John 12:23-32

Abba, father, as you called Oscar Romero to help the poor and resist the powerful, raise up in this and every generation prophets to challenge the powerful and to defend those who are defenseless.  This we ask in the name of Yeshua who died to set us free.  Amen. 

Friday, March 21, 2014

Thomas Cramner, Bishop, Liturgist


Thomas Cranmer (2 July 1489 – 21 March 1556)

Born 1489 in Nottinghamshire, 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 from 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 English, 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, Christian Church, Synod of St. Timothy).  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. 

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, you 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)

Thursday, March 20, 2014

St. Cuthbert, Bishop: 20 March 2014

Cuthbert (c. 634 – 20 March 687)

Cuthbert was probably from Dunbar at the mouth of the Firth of Forth in what today would be Scotland, but in Northumbria when he was born.  As a youth he was a shepherd, but having had a vision of a soul borne to heaven by angels on the night of St. Aiden’s death, he resolved to be a monk and joined the monastery of Melrose in Northumbria.  He became a soldier for a short period (he was a cousin of the king of Northumbria) before returning to Melrose.  He became famous for his piety, diligence and obedience and as a consequence was assigned to the new monastery at Ripon.  He returned to Melrose, and became prior.  During this time he was faithful in visiting the people, serving their spiritual need, going on missionary trips (sometimes gone for a month), and performing miracles. 

After the Synod of Whitby, he adopted the Roman ways and was asked to introduce them to Lindisfarne, which he did. He continued his missionary journeys from Berwick to Galloway, leading many to Christ, and diligently working with the poor.  In 676, he moved into a cave on one of the Farne islands.  In 684 he was elected Bishop of Lindisfarne.  Reluctantly he went to be consecrated by Archbishop Theodore of York in 685, and was bishop for two years before his death in 687. 

Collect:  Father, you called Cuthbert from being a shepherd of sheep to being a shepherd of persons.  Grant that as he was willing to spread the Gospel in remote and dangerous places, that we too may be willing to proclaim the Gospel in areas of which we might fear and to people of whom we may be afraid.  This we ask through Yeshuah haMoshiach, who lives and reigns with you and the Ruach haKodesh, one God in glory everlasting.  Amen.  (white)

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

St. Jospeh: 19 March 2014

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. 

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)

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Bishop

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: http://www.ccel.org/m/mcclure/etheria/etheria.htm)  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:  http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ISBN=0913836397/bookofcommonprayA/  or viewed here: http://www.crossroadsinitiative.com/library_author/4/St._Cyril_of_Jerusalem.html)

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)

Monday, March 17, 2014

St, Parick, missionary, Bishop: 17 March 2014

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.  He was also the first bishop of the Catholic church to denounce slavery, and it is probably through his efforts that slavery disappeared from 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. 
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)

The Deer Cry

I bind unto myself today
The strong Name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same
The Three in One and One in Three.
I bind this today to me forever
By power of faith, Christ’s incarnation;
His baptism in Jordan river,
His death on Cross for my salvation;
His bursting from the spicèd tomb,
His riding up the heavenly way,
His coming at the day of doom
I bind unto myself today.
Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.
I bind unto myself the Name,
The strong Name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same,
The Three in One and One in Three.
By Whom all nature hath creation,
Eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
Praise to the Lord of my salvation,
Salvation is of Christ the Lord.  http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/s/t/stpatric.htm

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Gregory the Great, Bishop, Apostle to the English: 12 March 2014

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. 

Psalm 57:6-11
1 Chronicles 25:1a,6-8
Colossians 1:28–2:3
Mark 10:42-45

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)

Monday, March 10, 2014

Gregory of Nyssa, Bishop, transferred from Sunday

Gregory, with his brother Basil the  Great and Gregory Nazianzus is considered to be on the Cappadocian fathers.  He was born in Turkey and made Bishop by his brother  Basil so as to have an ally in the area.  He is known chiefly for helping develop the idea of the Trinity and the infinity of God. 

He was deposed twice by the Aryans, but continued to be a strong defender against their teaching. 


Heavenly Father, you raised up your servant Gregory of Nyssa to proclaim the Christian faith of one God in trinity of persons.  Strengthen us, that like him we may continue steadfast in proclaiming the truth faith.  This we ask through Yeshuah HaMoshiach, our Lord and Saviour who lives and reigns with you and the Ruach haKodesh, one God in glory everlasting.  Amen. (white)

Saturday, March 8, 2014

St. Thomas Aquinas: 8 March 2014

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 traveled 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)

Friday, March 7, 2014

St. Perpetua and Companions: 7 March 2014http://www.corvalliscommunitypages.com/Europe/iberianonislam/perpetua.htm 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. Psalm 124 Daniel 6:10-16 Hebrews 10:32-39 Matthew 24:9-14 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

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

Thursday, March 6, 2014

The Holy Cross

It is said that St. Helena, the mother of Constantine discovered a portion of the true cross in 326 on this day,.  (St. Helena discovered the true sites of many events, guided by dream, a fiend of mine calls her the patron St. of Travel Agents), and while there might be questions about some of the sites, there is a certain amount of archaeological evidence showing that the location of the church of Holy Sepulchre is accurate.  The church was dedicated on the 13th of September 335.  The following day, the cross was taken out to the hill top believed to be Calvary and venerated. 

This day, for us a day of fasting, we remember the cross as the instrument of our salvation.  Red vestments are worn. 

Psalm 98 or 98:1-4;
Isaiah 45:21-25
Philippians 2:5-11 or Galatians 6:14-18
John 12:31-36a
Daily Office:
AM Psalm 66;
Numbers 21:4-9
John 3:11-17

PM Psalm 118;
Genesis 3:1-15
1 Peter 3:17-22

Collect:  Dear Lord, as you on this day miraculously helped Helena to discover your cross and nails, daily remind us that each day we must take up our own cross and follow you.  Help us to remember that when we sin, we help nail you to the cross and grant us grace to turn away from our sins and to turn to you.  This we ask in the name of our Lord Yeshua, who lives and rains with you and the Ruach haKodesh, one God in glory everlasting.  Amen. 

Note:  Other traditions celebrate the Holy Cross on 14 September and others on 3 May and  1 Ocober.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Ash Wednesday

My apologies, I thought I published this this morning:

Ash Wednesday

            Ash Wednesday is one of two official days of fasting, the other being Good Friday.  We do not celebrate the Eucharist this day, as that is a sign of celebration.  Where as Shrove Tuesday touches on themes of individual penitence, Ash Wednesday touches on the theme of corporate sin and penitence, that is sins as a church, a family, a society. 
            Ash Wednesday marks the first full day of Lent (which started yesterday at sundown).  Lent marks three events in the life of Christians.  First, Lent was the period in which people prepared for Baptism on the Great Vigil of Easter.  By the third century, this was a three year process, with the last 40 days being marked off by more severe penitence and prayer.  Secondly, Lent marked a time of special preparation for those  who had been excommunicated.  Like those preparing for baptism, it marked a special time of preparation, leading up to the point of being restored to communion, again, at the Great Vigil of Easter.  Lastly, and more recently, Lent is a time of special disciplines for those who desire to grow closer to the Lord.  In it we abstain from certain foods (traditionally meat), and we have special times of prayer and fasting to prepare for Easter.

During the service, ashes are blessed, and used to mark the sign of a cross on the foreheads of the penitents.  The ashes usually come from burning the palms used in the previous years Palm Sunday procession.   

Old Testament    Isaiah 58:1‑12
Psalm    103,  or 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 Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, now and forever.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Shrove Tuesday & Chad of Lichfield

Shrove Tuesday

Today is Shrove Tuesday.  Shrove is the past tense of “shrive” which is to be absolved from sin.  Traditionally on this day, people went to the priest to confess their sins and would be given a penitence which they would keep for Lent.  Also on this day it was traditional in England to consume pancakes in order to use up the lard (the last of the meat) in the house as well as the last of the eggs and milk so as to fast from milk and dairy products during Lent.  The same idea is held in the term Mardi Gras (fat Tuesday) reflecting that all the fat (lard) was to be finished off this day.  Carnival in Portugues and Spanish reflects the same idea, as “carne” is meat, and Carnival was the time to finish off the meat.

Unfortunately, in many times and cultures Mardi Gras or Carnival instead of reflecting the religious nature has become a time of doing everything that one would not do in Lent, and has often become a time of drunken revelry.

Tonight we will have our Shrove Tuesday Service, in which we all confess our sins to one another, and is a time we concentrate on our individual responsibility.  Tomorrow at the 6:00 AM Ash Wednesday Service, we will be confessing our corporate sins as a community and church. 

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.

Colossians 3:12-17

Mathew 6:7-15



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. 

Psalm 95:1-7
Proverbs 16:1-3
Philippians 4:10-13
Luke 14:1,7-14
Use Lessons at Matins and Vespers

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.