Lenten Meditations: Saturday 28 March

Mar 28, 2015 by

Psalm:   am: 137, 144 , pm: 42, 43 OT:  Jeremiah 31:27-34 Epistle: Hebrews 9:1-7 Gospel: Luke 1:39-49 FIFTH SATURDAY OF LENT – Saint Hilarion the New, Abbot , 8th Cent. LITURGICAL THEME FOR THE DAY: Saint Hilarion took up the monastic life from his youth and lived in seclusion. Later, as Abbot of the Monastery of Pelecete in Asia Minor (believed to be in Bithynia, not far from Triglia), he suffered much from the Iconoclasts, and reposed in the year 754 MEDITATION OF THE DAY: I am Hungry. I am Thirsty. How often do those words get said in the west when we are actually neither very often? But we also know that hunger and thirst are natural dimensions to being human. Typically when we are not feeling well we don’t have much of an appetite and of course we are not ourselves. What would happen to us if we lacked a spiritual thirst or hunger? Would we be fully the creatures that God made us to be? More and more books such as the God Gene suggest that to hunger and thirst for God is at the very core of being human. What do lives look like where there is no hunger for the presence of God? Is there evidence that there is something wrong spiritually? Well the image is to be deer like, to search out that water brook, to journey. As we prepare for Holy Week next week we should insure that we have that thirst and desire for Him? Typically we all take steps to make sure our hunger and thirst are met each day, what do we do to insure our spiritual taste buds are awakened and engaged?! ANCIENT WISDOM/PRESENT GRACE:  ““Those who make their journey on the road to seek God’s wisdom do not build permanent homes but mobile tents, for they are in constant movement covering new ground, and the further they go, the more the road that lies ahead of them opens up, presenting a horizon lost in immensity”.”. – Origen PRAYER OF THE DAY– “Lord Jesus, my soul aches at the mere mention of Your name. My heart leaps for every rumor of Your coming, and each possibility that You will manifest Your presence. I’m not satisfied with mere spiritual dainties. I’m ravenously hungry for You in Your fullness. I’m desperate to feast on the bread of Your presence and quench my thirst with the wine of Your Spirit.” May hungering and thirsting for God drive us to a passionate, relentless pursuit of Him. Lenten Discipline –Reach out to a person you know who has been hungering and thirsting for a faith experience and seek to go with them during Holy Week to a place of faith that they may feel comfortable . Each day encourage them to sip more from the...

read more

Lenten Meditations: Friday 27 March

Mar 27, 2015 by

Psalm:   am: 22, pm: 141, 143 OT:  Jeremiah 29:1, 4-13 Epistle: Romans 11:13-24 Gospel: John 11:1-27 or 12:1-10 FIFTH TUESDAY OF LENT – Charles Henry Brent, Bishop of Philippines, 20th Cent LITURGICAL THEME FOR THE DAY: In 1902, the Episcopal Church appointed Charles Brent was appointed to serve as Missionary Bishop of the Philippines in 1902 after the US acquired Guam and the Philippines. Brent could easily have confined himself to providing a kind of ecclesiastical “home away from home” for American officials and others stationed in the Islands. Equally, he could have devoted himself chiefly to efforts to convert the Roman Catholics, both of Spanish and of Filipino ancestry, whom the previous government had left behind. Instead, he directed his efforts toward the non-Christians of his diocese: the pagan Igorots of the mountains of Luzon, the Muslims of the southern islands, the Chinese settlements in Manila, all areas in which he made considerable inroads and established thriving Christian communities. He began a campaign against the opium traffic, and served on several international commissions devoted to stamping out international traffic in narcotics. During World War I, he was the Senior Chaplain for the American Armed Forces in Europe. He declined three elections to bishoprics in the United States in order to continue his work in the Philippines, but in 1918, he accepted the position of Bishop of Western New York. His experiences in the Philippines had aroused in him a strong concern for the cause of visible Christian unity. He helped to organize the first World Conference on Faith and Order held in Switzerland in 1927. He died there two years later. MEDITATION OF THE DAY: All of us can relate to Mary and Martha in this story. They had lost their brother Lazarus and were grieving deeply for him and all of us have been or will be in that place at some point. Does our grief mean we lack faith? Does it mean that we don’t hold these words of Jesus true to console us? No the reality is this life is what we know, the coming life we anticipate but don’t yet know of it and so it is only natural that the breath and scope of human emotions are felt in the event of a death That being said, these words that Jesus proclaims I AM …the Bread, The Way…The Truth…The Life….True Vine offer to us and to all the essence of our hope. We can face death with confidence because we know that it surely is not the end and that is the sin and death do not have the final say and that there is a hope for the future. Make no mistake these words are life changing promises. The question is , do we as people of faith embrace them ? Are we prepared to stake our lives on them? The Missionary Bishop we remember on this day Charles Brent did and perhaps that can inspire us to be a bit more proactive. PRAYER OF THE DAY:...

read more

Lenten Meditations: Thursday 26 March

Mar 26, 2015 by

Psalm:   am: 131, 132, 133, pm: 140, 142 OT:  Jeremiah 26:1-16 Epistle: Romans 11:1-12 Gospel: John 10:19-42 FIFTH THURSDAY OF LENT – St. Macartin of Clogher, Bishop, 505 LITURGICAL THEME FOR THE DAY:  Saint Macartin was an early disciple and companion of Saint Patrick during the latter’s missions into pagan territory. He is said to have been consecrated bishop of Clogher in Tyrone by Patrick in 454. It is said the Saint Brigid, Macartin’s niece, was present at the founding of the see. Tradition names Macartan as the “strong man” of Saint Patrick, who established the church in Clogher and spread the Gospel in Tyrone and Fermanagh. To date the ministry of the Bishop of Clogher which takes its name after the village of Clogher in County Tyrone, has parallel apostolic successions: one of the Church of Ireland and the other of the Roman Catholic Church with each Cathedral church under the patronage of the Saint. MEDITATION OF THE DAY: “Ecce quam bonum et quam jucundum habitare fratres in unum – Behold, how good and joyful a thing it is : brethren, to dwell together in unity. So begins Psalm 133 in the Prayer Book. When I was in seminary, we sang this Psalm at the evening meal on Maundy Thursday as a community in formation for the service of Christ and His Church. Every year, I found it stirring and deeply moving. What struck me about it then was the profundity of the vocation to be in community in the lord and companions on mission. This is what the first companions were and it is what led them to persevere as ‘Followers of the Way”. We in the church lay and ordained must regain that “Ecce Quam Bonum” . For me this Psalm always affirmed that community was and is essential dimension of the Church’s identity and mission. It speaks to our being a community of faith, the church deeply rooted in Baptismal promises that call us to give prophetic witness of true fellowship in Christ in a world that functions in so many pseudo-relationships. This Psalm is about oneness in the Lord and service to him and each other which is a message that needs to resound in our churches because we must be counter-cultural or our message becomes compromised and we betray our mission. As we make our way toward Holy Week what shall each of us do to have companions on the journey? How shall we share this gift of faith in Christ Jesus that all of our souls depend upon? How shall unity in Christ be the norm for being a community of faith? These are the challenging ECCE questions but they are critical. PRAYER OF THE DAY: “Lord Jesus Christ, at your Last Supper you prayed to the Father that all should be one. Send your Holy Spirit upon all who bear your name and seek to serve you. Strengthen our faith in you, and lead us to love one another in humility. May we who...

read more

Lenten Meditations: Wednesday 25 March

Mar 25, 2015 by

Psalm:   am: 45, pm: 40 OT:  Isaiah 10:7-14 Epistle: Hebrews 10:4-10 Gospel: Luke 1:26-38 FIFTH SUNDAY OF LENT – The Solemnity of the Feast of the Annunciation LITURGICAL THEME FOR THE DAY: This feast was established by the ancient church. St. Athanasius of Alexandria in his sermon on this feast names it first and specially honored in the order of feasts, as he recalls the beginning of the economy of the salvation of the people. In the 5th and 6th centuries because of heresies, which humiliate the person of the Mother of God and deform the teaching of the incarnation of Jesus Christ, presented separately, prompted the Church to magnify the celebration of the feast. Ancient Christians had various names for this feast: “Conception of Christ”, “Annunciation about Christ”, “Beginning of Redemption”, and “Annunciation of the Angel to Mary”. But by the 7th century the name as it stands today was universal. According to ancient custom, the tradition of the Church placing this feast on March 25, stands in natural agreement with December 25. MEDITATION OF THE DAY: This feast, which this year falls at the end of Lent, on one hand refers us to the beginnings of salvation, and on the other invites us to turn our thoughts toward the power of the paschal mystery. We look at Christ crucified who has redeemed humanity, fulfilling to the end the will of the Father. On Calvary, in his last moments of life, Jesus is left to his mother who brought him into the world. Instead of Joseph as happened at Bethlehem, Mary now has John. She is supported by one human and the God who promised her she would be blessed for all ages. The Annunciation, as offered in St Luke’s Gospel, is a humble, hidden event — no one saw it, no one except Mary knew of it –, but at the same time it was crucial to the history of salvation. When she said her “yes” to the Angel’s announcement, Jesus was conceived and with him began the new era of history that was to be ratified in Easter as the “new and eternal Covenant”. Mary, the  Mother of Our Lord received the greatest promise which can be received and her response was perfect surrender: Let it be unto me according to His will! She did not calculate the cost to her at the beginning nor at the end. Mary’s openness to God was life changing and world changing. So it would be for us if we truly submitted as she did. PRAYER OF THE DAY: God Our Father, Your Word became Man and was born of the Virgin Mary. May we become more like Jesus Christ, whom we acknowledge as our Redeemer, God and man. We ask this through Christ our Lord.  AMEN ANCIENT WISDOM/PRESENT GRACE- “Only one is the Son, only one the Lord Jesus Christ, both before the Incarnation and after the Incarnation. Indeed the Logos born of God the Father was not one Son and the one...

read more

Lenten Meditations: Tuesday 24 March

Mar 24, 2015 by

Psalm:   am: 102, pm: 68 OT:  Numbers 21.4–9 Epistle: Romans 1:16-25 Gospel: John 8: 21-30 FIFTH TUESDAY OF LENT – Walter Hilton of Thurgarton, Mystic, 13th Century LITURGICAL THEME FOR THE DAY:  Born in 1343, Walter Hilton studied Canon Law at Cambridge but after a period as a hermit, he joined the community of Augustinian Canons at Thurgarton in Nottinghamshire. Highly regarded in his lifetime as a spiritual guide, he wrote in both Latin and English and translated several Latin devotional works. Controversy with the Lollards gave a sharper definition to his exposition of the aims, methods and disciplines of traditional spirituality. Amongst his major works, Ladder of Perfection (Book Two) declares that contemplation, understood in a profoundly Trinitarian context as awareness of grace and sensitivity to the Spirit, may and should be sought by all serious Christians. (The Lollards followed from the teachings of John Wycliffe a prominent theologian at Oxford in the mid 14th Century. They wanted reform of the Church and taught that piety was a requirement for a priest to be a “true” priest and perform the sacraments. They also maintained that a pious layman had power to perform those same rites, believing that religious power and authority came through piety and not through the Church hierarchy). MEDITATION OF THE DAY: This Gospel passage is perplexing at first glance to the reader as Jesus begins his discourse in this section by telling his Jewish critics that “Where I am going, you cannot come” Not only that he tells his followers that they ‘will die in your sins unless you believe that I am he.’ When they ask, ‘who are you?’ Jesus answers in a way that doesn’t help them come to a depth of insight. The debate that ensues is quite telling about being righteous and self-righteousness. Jesus tells the Pharisees they are judging people, especially him, by outward appearances, by human standards which is a mistake because of the narrow application they used. They would try to categorize them as good or bad, clean or unclean, important or not important, worth knowing or not worth knowing. Many of us bristle at this when we read this story but the fact is perhaps we cannot be too indignant because many of us do this ourselves. We see people at the Mall and we assess people’s looks, wealth, classiness, cleanliness, friendliness or riskiness of threat; then we determine whether we would want to get to know them. Yet we say we follow Jesus, fail to grasp what he is saying, Jesus was not judging anyone but rather offering grace and truth to everyone making it clear all are welcome to come to him in faith. This is not perplexing at all. What is perplexing at second glance is our choice to mirror more the way of Pharisee than Jesus. PRAYER OF THE DAY: “ My Lord Jesus Christ, hear my prayer, even though it may be that I have by my deeds done nothing to deserve it, yet do it because you...

read more

Lenten Meditations: Monday 23 March

Mar 23, 2015 by

Psalm:   am: 31, pm: 35 OT:  Jeremiah 24:1-10 Epistle: Romans 9:19-33 Gospel: John 9:1-17 FIFTH MONDAY OF LENT – St. Gregory the Illuminator, Bishop and Missionary of Armenia, c.332 LITURGICAL THEME FOR THE DAY: On this day we remember the first Bishop of Armenia, Gregory. The ancient kingdom of Armenia was the first country to become Christian, and it recognizes Gregory as its apostle. Armenia was a buffer state between the powerful empires of Rome and Parthia (Persia), and both of them sought to control it. Gregory was born about 257. When he was still an infant, his father assassinated the King of Parthia, and friends of the family carried Gregory away for protection to Caesarea in Cappadocia, where he was reared as a Christian. About 280 he returned to Armenia, where he was at first treated severely, but eventually by his preaching and example brought both King Tiridates and a majority of his people to the Christian faith. MEDITATION OF THE DAY: None of us relish the feeling of abandonment and loneliness. For many it is crushing and debilitates our very spirits. This Psalm calls us to consider suffering through the eyes of faith. We are asked to pray the Psalm, confident of Grace that will bring is inner consolation. Consider 31:14-15 where the prayer is simple but powerful “I trust in you, O LORD, I say, ‘You are my God,’ my times are in my hand” (31:14-15). Jesus never stopped trusting God even when he felt abandoned. This Psalm calls us to a deep and lively faith which is always in God, always in His compassion, justice and mercy despite the contrary appearances of our lives by which the senses are darkened. If we allow that Primordial terror, to grip us, it will leave us with no resource of faith and light. We will be lost. Jesus and this Psalm seek to assure us that at the moments of our greatest suffering, when we need God the most, we can trust him to be present. No matter how bad it feels or how great our pain, God will “not hide his face” from those who are faithful. PRAYER OF THE DAY: Almighty and everlasting God, who, of thy tender love towards mankind, hast sent thy Son our Savior Jesus Christ, to take upon him our flesh, and to suffer death upon the cross, that all mankind should follow the example of his great humility: Mercifully grant, that we may both follow the example of his patience, and also be made partakers of his resurrection; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. ANCIENT WISDOM/PRESENT GRACE: “May others, Lord, ask You for all sorts of gifts, may they multiply their words and prayers; as for me, my God, I only ask one single gift, I have only one prayer to make – “give me a pure heart – Fr Jean-Pierre de Caussade, SJ Lenten Discipline-  To honor the ministry of the Armenian church as one of the oldest expressions of Christianity in...

read more