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A free floating commentary on culture, politics, economics, and religion based on a passionate commitment to the truth and a desire graciously to refute that which is contrary to it….
"He must hold firm to the sure word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to confute those who contradict it."
--Titus 1:9, Revised Standard Version
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This is a rather clever little carol. Like 'As I lay upon a night', which I posted the other day, it keeps to one rhyme throughout for the English lines, and it's properly macaronic; as I read it, the Latin refrain completes the meaning of each verse, so that for instance verse 1 presents a puzzle - 'how could a maiden conceive a king?' - and then asks for the solution: 'To show all us how this could be, come, Redeemer of the nations'. Such a strategy implies a certain comfort with the Latin and with this particular hymn, the ability to use the hymn as a starting point for a more general meditation. It begins by picking up on a line from the first verse of the hymn, miretur omne saeculum, which becomes (with a grammatical shift) this carol's first line: 'this world wonders above all things...' This carol is full of 'wonder', in both senses of the word: the wonder at which the world wonders is specifically the Virgin Birth, 'how a maid conceived a king', and where the hymn goes on to consider various other aspects and images of the Incarnation, this carol dwells, still wondering, on that one idea.
Read it all from Eleanor Parker.
O God, who didst give to thy servant Ambrose grace eloquently to declare thy righteousness in the great congregation, and fearlessly to bear reproach for the honor of thy Name: Mercifully grant to all bishops and pastors such excellency in preaching, and fidelity in ministering thy Word, that thy people may be partakers with them of the glory that shall be revealed; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.
"In some causes silence is dangerous" Saint Ambrose pic.twitter.com/M1p31VpNB5— Priorij Thabor (@PThabor) December 7, 2015
O Gracious God and most merciful Father, who has vouchsafed us the rich and precious jewel of thy holy Word: Assist us with thy Spirit that it may be written in our hearts to our everlasting comfort, to reform us, to renew us according to thine own image, to build us up into the perfect building of thy Christ, and to increase us in all heavenly virtues. Grant this, O heavenly Father, for the same Jesus Christ’s sake.
..To be a holy people we must realize that Christ who is our righteousness imparts our holiness. We fall short of being his holy priesthood every day and must confess that we cannot of ourselves even keep the basic two commandments of our Lord. We must confess that we have broken the two great commandments that sum all of the commandments. In Rite One we say, “Most merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against thee by thought word and deed, by what we have done, and what we have left undone. We have not loved thee with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We are truly sorry and we humbly repent.” (BCP p. 331)
This is both repentance and confession. Let us not look at the sin of our neighbor and look self-righteously to our self. May we repent of our sins, simply seek personal holiness and run the good race that our Lord and Savior has called us to run. May we not be a stumbling block in the lives of those who do not know Christ and may we never discredit the gospel message through scandalous lives ourselves. Take a look at yourself and then make a change Amen
Read it all
(Hat tip: Greg Kandra)
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Church Year / Liturgical Seasons Christmas * Culture-Watch Aging / the Elderly Children Marriage & Family Media * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
Nouwen's legacy as a writer includes scores of books and translations, and thousands of letters. He could be sentimental, cloying, and crushingly needy, as in his “letter” to journalist Fred Bratman, Life of the Beloved, where his penchant for labored expressions of affection is in abundant evidence (“Deep friendship is a calling forth of each other’s chosenness...our lives are unique stones in the mosaic of human existence”). But he could also be measured, penetratingly observant, and on occasion luminous, as in the epilogue to The Road to Daybreak: A Spiritual Journey, reflecting on the seeming capriciousness of God’s grace: “It is dark agony. It is following Jesus to a completely unknown place. It is being emptied out on the cross and having to wait for new life in naked faith.”
One struggles to place Nouwen. Theologians have difficulty situating him within one of the organic spiritual traditions. Catholic intellectuals see him as a cult figure, the darling of suburban matrons. Psychologists have reservations about his methodology and academic pedigree. And pedagogues find his inspirational teaching style problematic. But his readers—and there are legions of them, including Hillary Clinton, who cites him as a chief spiritual influence—love him unconditionally. Some of his books, The Return of the Prodigal Son principal among them, will have lasting power; and for those who met him, listened to him preach, or became his disciples, the effect of his life and ministry has proved ineradicable.
In this twentieth anniversary of his death, it is instructive to see him in a new light, as postconciliar prophet of a reformed presbyteral model. Nouwen was a universal pastor, uninterested in the squabbles of ambitious clerical careerists, detached from the more toxic of ecclesiastical controversies, and committed to prayer as the only antidote to priestly irrelevance. His frankness around issues of sexuality and his willingness to disclose emotional fragility make him important at a time when many bishops promote a discredited neo-Tridentine model of formation. Nouwen was a loyal, integrated, and doctrinally conservative priest. With his openness and undisguised vulnerability, the model of formation he exemplifies will set a mature standard for contemporary ministry.
Read it all.
St. Paul’s exhortation to pray “without ceasing” highlights the importance of regular prayer in the life of the Christian. Luther’s years of monastic life modeled a regulated daily life of prayer. The various monastic daily prayer offices seem to have influenced Luther’s teaching of prayer in the Small Catechism. Not only is a prayer for morning provided, but Luther places that prayer within a simple liturgy: first, the name of the Triune God is spoken and the sign of the holy cross is made, then the Creed and Lord’s Prayer (two of the Chief Parts!) are spoken. Finally, Luther suggests his little prayer may be said “if you choose.” Humbly, Luther considers his own contribution optional and the handed-down texts of the Faith essential.
Luther’s modeling of prayer seems deliberately designed to avoid the type of praying that Jesus warns against: “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words.” (Matthew 6:7) With many words comes much work; Luther aims at a simple liturgy of prayer that can be adopted in the daily lives of Christians both in his time and in our present day.
Read it all.
It was exactly 20 years ago that I experienced something as a believer and as a young father that changed the way I view and experience Christmas. It was our first Christmas in England and in the Anglican Church. Growing up in a different denomination and in America, I’d never experienced going to church on Christmas morning. We always attended Christmas Eve services. Once I became a believer, they were particularly powerful experiences. The only time after I was married that we attended church on Christmas day was the rarity of it falling on a Sunday. And to be honest, we only did so because I worked for the church and it was expected of me.
What we experienced in 1996 was nothing less than amazing. As a family we went to church together on Christmas morning, and it forever changed the way we want to experience Christmas. We got up that morning, had breakfast and allowed our three small children the luxury of opening their stockings before getting dressed for church. We headed to church that morning, opened the doors and were amazed at what we saw. The entire church family packed the place! By that I mean all the active members of the church were there and some had brought extended family or friends. There was hardly a spare seat in the place. The service was lively and full of a spirit of true celebration. We sang “Joy To The World” as if we had never sung it before. The service was all-ages-oriented, and the sermon proclaimed the good news in a way that every generation could appreciate. There was no question as to why Jesus came to the earth by the time we left the church. And leaving was no hasty matter either. People lingered after the service exchanging cards, gifts, and hugs. The joyful spirit in the air was nothing less than stunning. We probably stayed longer than we did most Sundays. I then took my wife and three small children back to our house to continue the celebration. We opened gifts and shared phone calls with grandparents and ate entirely too much food.
The focus of our day was simply Jesus. It was possibly the first truly Christ-centered Christmas we as a Christian family had experienced. Having taken the time to worship our Lord first set the stage for the entire day.
Read it all.
Almighty God, who in thy love didst give to thy servant Nicholas of Myra a perpetual name for deeds of kindness on land and sea: Grant, we pray thee, that thy Church may never cease to work for the happiness of children, the safety of sailors, the relief of the poor, and the help of those tossed by tempests of doubt or grief; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
O God, by whose command the order of time runs its course: Forgive, we pray thee, the impatience of our hearts; make perfect that which is lacking in our faith; and, while we tarry the fulfillment of thy promises, grant us to have a good hope because of thy word; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
A UK charity is selling a series of Christmas cards featuring images that combine traditional Biblical imagery with contemporary pictures from conflict zones across the Middle East.
Doctors of the World UK is selling the cards, with names including ‘Not So Silent Night’ and ‘The Star of Bedlam’, to raise funds for its mission to provide medical aid to people who’ve been forced from their homes by war.
The cards were designed by ad agency McCann London, incorporating Press Association photographs taken over the last year.
Read it all from the Telegraph.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Church Year / Liturgical Seasons Christmas * Culture-Watch Charities/Non-Profit Organizations Religion & Culture Violence * Economics, Politics Defense, National Security, Military * International News & Commentary England / UK Middle East
If you went to Sunday school, you heard the story of Jonah and chances are you remember that he was swallowed by a whale. But what often gets forgotten is the story’s larger theme. Jonah is given a divine message and is instructed to deliver it to a people on the verge of calamity but, for some specific reasons, he’s reluctant.
Minus hearing the voice of God, for the last couple of weeks, I’ve felt a little like Jonah.
The information I’m delivering relates to a study some colleagues and I conducted that explored mainline Protestant churches. Since the 1960s, churches in the Anglican, Lutheran, Presbyterian, and United denominations have been steadily losing members and we wanted to determine why.
Through statistical analysis of survey data from a near-even mix of growing and declining church attendees and their clergy, we found that conservative religious doctrine, known for emphasizing a more literal interpretation of scripture, is a key driver for church growth in mainline Protestant congregations. Liberal doctrine, which emphasizes a metaphorical interpretation, leads to decline.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Evangelism and Church Growth Ministry of the Laity Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture Sociology * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. Canada * Theology
British officials are encouraging the country to put Christ back in Christmas—even in their workplaces.
“There are a lot of myths out there when it comes to dealing with religion at work. I want to put the record straight: It is OK to hold a party and send Christmas cards,” said David Isaac, chairman of the national Equality and Human Rights Commission.
This week, Christians and politicians alike welcomed Isaac’s assurance following the growing prevalence of more generic terminology in public and office celebrations, such as “season’s greetings” and “Winterval.”
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Church Year / Liturgical Seasons Christmas * Culture-Watch Multiculturalism, pluralism Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Economy Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market Politics in General * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology
Enjoy it all and I especially encourage prayerful pondering of the lyrics....
Come thou Redeemer of the earth,
Come, testify thy wondrous birth:
All lands admire, all times applaud:
Such is the birth that fits our God.
Forth from His chamber goeth He,
That royal home of purity,
A giant in twofold substance one,
Rejoicing now His course to run.
From God the Father He proceeds,
To God the Father back He speeds;
Runs out his course to death and hell
Returning on God's high throne to dwell.
O equal to Thy Father, Thou!
Gird on Thy fleshly mantle now;
The weakness of our mortal state
With deathless might invigorate.
Thy cradle here shall glitter bright,
And darkness breathe a newer light,
Where endless faith shall shine serene,
And twilight never intervene.
All laud eternal Son, to Thee;
Whose advent sets thy people free
Whom with the Father we adore,
And Holy Ghost, for evermore.
O Lord, who didst call thy servant Clement of Alexandria from the errors of ancient philosophy that he might learn and teach the saving Gospel of Christ: Turn thy Church from the conceits of worldly wisdom and, by the Spirit of truth, guide it into all truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
O God, Father of mercies, who didst so love the world that thou didst give thine only begotten Son to take our nature upon him for us men and for our salvation: Grant to us who by his first coming have been called into thy kingdom of grace, that we may always abide in him, and be found watching and ready when he shall come again to call us to thy kingdom of glory; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.
+ Reach: Evangelism through the local church - Glen Scrivener [1 Thessalonians 1-3]
+ The bells of Exeter Cathedral
+ Choral Evensong from Portsmouth Cathedral
Listen live here at 10:15 am Eastern time [3:15 pm London time]
From November 27th, 2016
+ A Service for Advent with Carols from St John's College, Cambridge [Live from 10 am EST 3pm London Time]
+ Sermon series: The Saviour of the World - Vaughan Roberts and others [Luke 15-17]
+ Choral Evensong from Wakefield Cathedral
From November 20th, 2016
+ The Bells of All Saints, Worcester
+ What about war in the Bible? - Dr Vince Vitale [link now included]
+ Doing Missions Anglicanly - Archbishop Foley Beach at St Andrews Cathedral, Singapore
+ Choral Evensong from Bristol Cathedral
From November 13th, 2016
+ The Bells of Westminster Abbey
+ Remembrance Sunday Service from the Cathedral of Notre Dame, Paris for the Royal British Legion
+ Ceremony of Remembrance from the Cenotaph, London
+ Choral Evensong from Ely Cathedral
From November 6th, 2016
+ Defeat, Shame, and Remembrance – Dr William Witt
+ Holy Communion from St Columba's Church [CofI], Knock in Belfast
+ Archived Choral Service with Mozart's Requiem from New College, Oxford
+ Called to Witness - Dr Kendall Harmon
From October 23rd, 2016
+ Formed for God’s Purpose - Bishop Rennis Ponniah [Jeremiah 1:4-10]
+ We are Called to be Worshippers of God in Spirit+Truth - Dr Kendall Harmon [Psalm 148]
+ JC Ryle: A Faithful Anglican - Rev Lee Gatiss
+ More talks from the Church Society 2016 Conference
+ Choral Evensong from Birmingham Cathedral
From October 16th, 2016
+ Suffering: Loving the Lord in your circumstances - Venerable Godwin Makabi of Jos at St Andrew's Cathedral, Singapore [Job 1]
+ Choral Evensong from St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle
From October 2nd, 2016
+ All Things Working For Good - Revd Canon Rinji Kwashi at St Andrews Cathedral Singapore
+ We are Called to be Devoted Students of his Word - Dr Kendall Harmon (Acts 2:42-47)
+ Renewal in Exile - Rev Samuel Kennedy [Nehemiah 10] - next available part of the series on Nehemiah from the Cathedral Church of St Luke and St Paul, SC
+ Jesus' Prayer for His Disciples - Rev Vaughan Roberts [John 17:6-19]
+ Choral Evensong from Westminster Abbey on the 90th anniversary of the first broadcast of Choral Evensong
From September 18th, 2016
+ Repentance in Exile - Dean Peet Dickinson [Nehemiah 9] - next available part of the series on Nehemiah from the Cathedral Church of St Luke and St Paul, SC
+ Jesus' Prayer for Himself - Rev Vaughan Roberts [John17:1-5]
+ Choral Evensong from St Clement Danes Church, London sung by Genesis Sixteen
+ The End: Preaching Matters - Rev William Taylor
From September 11th, 2016
+ Sunday Sermon - Learning from the Potter and the Clay - Dr Kendall Harmon (Jeremiah 18:1-11)
+ Choral Evensong from the Charles Wood Summer School at St Patrick's Church of Ireland Cathedral, Armagh
From August 28th, 2016
+ Rejoicing in Exile - Dean Peet Dickinson [Nehemiah 6] - next available part of the series on Nehemiah from the Cathedral Church of St Luke and St Paul, SC
+ Death and the Life Heareafter - Dr Paul Williamson - Moore College lecture
+ Choral Evensong from Edington Priory, during the Edington Festival of Music within the Liturgy
From August 14th, 2016
+ Acts of Spiritual Power - Vaughan Roberts [Acts 19:1-22]
+ Rebuilding & Resistance in Exile - Jacob Graudin [Nehemiah 2:9-20, 3, 4] - part 2 of the new series from the Cathedral Church of St Luke and St Paul, SC
+ Choral Evening Prayer [RC] at Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral with the Royal School of Church Music Millennium Youth Choir
From August 7th, 2016
+ How do you think to Yourself? The Rich Fool - Dr Kendall Harmon [Luke 12:13-21]
+ 'Stormy Weather' - Rev Jeffrey Miller [Matthew 14:22-33]
+ Introducing a new sermon series on Nehemiah - Dean Peet Dickinson
+ Looking for Leaders: God's Voice is Heard - Vaughan Roberts [1 Samuel 3]
+ Sunday Worship from the Keswick Convention with Emma Scrivener
+ Choral Evensong from Chichester Cathedral during the Southern Cathedrals Festival
From July 31st, 2016
+ Looking for a Leader: Those who honor me - Vaughan Roberts [1 Samuel 2:12-36]
+ The Holy Spirit - Archbishop Foley Beach
+ Choral Evensong from the Three Choirs Festival of Gloucester, Hereford and Worcester Cathedrals
+ Preaching Matters: Preaching 2 Timothy - Andy Gemmill
From July 24th, 2016
+ The Power of Priorities & the Danger of Distraction - Dr Kendall Harmon (Luke 10:38-42)
+ Looking for Leaders: A son is born - Vaughan Roberts [1 Samuel 1:1-2:11]
+ Choral Evensong from Derby Cathedral
+ The Church and the State: The Christian's Responsibility in the Public Square - Anglican Way Institute Summer Conference 2016 with Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali
[More on the AWI 2016 Summer Conference]
From July 17th, 2016
+ The Shape of the Christian Life - Dr Kendall Harmon (Luke 10:25-37)
+ Called to Freedom - Dr Peter Moore [Galatians, John]
+ More than Conquerors - Vaughan Roberts [Romans 8:31-38]
+ Choral Evensong from the Chapel of Eton College with the first 2016 Eton Choral Course
From July 10th, 2016
+ Sermon given at the Memorial Service for Bishop Salmon - Dr Kendall Harmon [See more here]
+ The Magna Carta of Christian Freedom - Dr Kendall Harmon (Galatians 5:1;13-25)
+ Choral Evensong from Durham Cathedral
+ Preaching 2 Peter - Rev William Taylor
From June 26th, 2016
+ Now that Faith has come - Dr Peter Moore [Luke 8:19-21, 2 Samuel],
+ The Spirit Helps Us In Our Weakness - James Fletcher [Romans 8:18-27]
+ Choral Evensong from from the Chapel of St John's School, Leatherhead, with the Guildford Cathedral Choir
From June 19th, 2016
+ Anointment and Forgiveness - Bishop Mark Lawrence [Luke 7:39-50]
+ God's New Creation 1 - Vaughan Roberts [Revelation 21]
+ Choral Evensong from Lichfield Cathedral
From June 12th, 2016
+ It's Not Man's Gospel - Dr Peter Moore at St Philip's Charleston SC [Galatians 1:11]
+ Matins [Morning Prayer] from St Mary Magdalene, Sandringham
+ Friday's Thanksgiving Service from St Paul's Cathedral for the 90th Birthday of the Queen [starts 15 mins in]
Order of Service
From June 5th, 2016
+ A Man’s Faith that Amazed Jesus - Dr Kendall Harmon (Luke 7:1-10)
+ The Fall of Babylon - Vaughan Roberts [Revelation 17:1-19:10 ]
+ Choral Evensong from the St Davids Cathedral Festival
From May 29th, 2016
+ Building the Church - Dr Russ Parker at the Cathedral Church of St Luke and St Paul, Charleston
+ Town Hall Service - Vaughan Roberts
+ The Loud Absence: Where is God Amidst Suffering and Evil? - Professor John Lennox
From May 22nd, 2016
+ Pentecost: Power, Surprises and Understanding - Dr Kendall Harmon (Acts 2:1-11)
+ Talks from JI Packer on 1 Timothy at Laity Lodge, Texas [h/t Prydain]
+ Praying - Vaughan Roberts [Matthew 6:5-13]
+ Choral Evensong from Tewkesbury Abbey with Schola Cantorum
From May 15th, 2016
+ The Church is on Fire - Dr Russ Parker at St Michael's Charleston
+ Jesus the Ascended King (Acts 1:1-11) - Dr Kendall Harmon
+ Choral Evensong from St John's College, Cambridge
+ Choral Evensong from St Pancras Church during the London Festival of Contemporary Church Music
or there is an updated version from Rend Collective here
From May 8th, 2016
+ The Ascension of Jesus - Bishop Mark Lawrence
+ Choral Evensong from Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford
From May 1st, 2016
+ God's Building - Vaughan Roberts [1 Peter 2:4-8]
+ Choral Evensong from St John's College, Cambridge
From April 24th, 2016
+ The Good News - Rev Paul Wasswa Ssembiro at Christ St Pauls [Romans 1]
+ The Gospel in those Seasons when we have no fish - Bishop Mark Lawrence (John 21)
+ Choral Evensong from Holy Trinity Church, Stratford-upon-Avon, with the Choir and Orchestra of the Swan
From April 17th, 2016
Talks from New Wineskins
God at Work in South-East Asia - Bishop Rennis Ponniah [Luke 9:51 - 10:2 and Luke 24]
See: Mission Consultation South East Asia
From April 10th, 2016
+ A New Day for All Humanity - Bishop Rennis Ponniah
+The Bishop of London's Easter Day Address
From March 27th, 2016
+ Priestly Prayer: The Prayer of Jesus and Portrait of Prayer: Agony in the Garden - Dr Kendall Harmon [Parts 6 and 7 of a Lent series on Prayer from Christ St Pauls]
+ Easter Day Evensong live from Worcester Cathedral now
+ Good Friday Meditations from St Andrew's Cathedral Singapore
From March 20th, 2016
+ Palm Sunday Sermon - Rev Peter Cook at St Andrew's Singapore on Sunday [Philippians 2]
+ The Bridge Keeper - Rev C. Bradley Wilson at St Philip's Charleston on Sunday
+ The Slain Lamb - Rev Vaughan Roberts [Revelation 5] [MP3]
+ Strengthened by the Holy Spirit: The Prayer of St Paul - Rev Craige Borrett last week [Part 5 of a Lent series on Prayer from Christ St Pauls - Ephesians 3:14-21]
+ Sermon at SC Convention Eucharist - Bishop Thad Barnum
+ The Seven Last Plagues - Rev Vaughan Roberts [Revelation 15 & 16]
+ The Loud Absence: Where is God Amidst Suffering and Evil? - Professor John Lennox
+ Choral Evensong from Wells Cathedral
+ Open Thread: Lent Resources
Elgar: The Spirit of the Lord is upon me from the Choirs of the Cathedral Church of St Luke & St Paul, Charleston, SC [words from Isaiah 61:1-3,11]
"Recorded live at Choral Evensong on the Feast of St. Luke the Evangelist, October 18, 2015. The Cathedral Church of St. Luke & St. Paul, Charleston, SC. The Cathedral Choir (with members of the Compline Choir.) Paul Thomas, Organist and Choral Ministry Director"
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because He hath anointed me to preach the Gospel to the poor:
He hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted,
to preach deliv’rance to the captives
and recovering of sight to the blind,—
to preach the acceptable year of the Lord;
To give unto them that mourn a garland for ashes,
the oil of joy for mourning,
the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
That they might be called trees of righteousness,
the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified.
For as the earth bringeth forth her bud,
and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth;
So the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because He hath anointed me to preach the Gospel
From March 13th, 2016
+ The Freedom of Forgiveness - Bishop Rennis Ponniah [Genesis 45:3-15 and Mark 18:21-35]
+ Talking Jesus - Rev Rico Tice [more]
+ The Harvest - Rev Vaughan Roberts [Revelation 14]
+ The Bible: Quaint Relic or Bright Light - Dr Ken Bailey at Trinity School for Ministry
+ The Prayer of the Apostles - Let us speak boldly - Dr Kendall Harmon last week [Part 4 of a Lent series on Prayer from Christ St Pauls - Acts 4:1-31]
+ Choral Evensong from Westminster Abbey
[More from 'What is the Gospel?' - Rev William Taylor at St Helen's Training]
From March 6th, 2016
+ Feeding of the Five Thousand - Archbishop Stanley Ntagali at St Andrew's Cathedral, Singapore [John 6:1-15 and Mark 6:30-44]
+ What is Evangelicalism? - John Stott [from here where there is a summary]
+ I saw Heaven Open: the Two Beasts - Rev Vaughan Roberts [Revelation 13]
+ Choral Evensong from the Chapel of Magdalen College, Oxford
+ Hannah - Remember Me - Rev Craige Borrett last Sunday [Part 3 of a Lent series on Prayer from Christ St Pauls - 1 Samuel 1 to 2:10]
From February 28th, 2016
+ The Primacy of Religious Freedom - Bishop Mark Lawrence
+ Parting Thoughts - Rev. Jeffrey S. Miller [2 Timothy 3 & 4]
+ The Woman and the Dragon - Rev Vaughan Roberts [Revelation 12]
+ Solomon - Give me wisdom - Dr Kendall Harmon last week [Part 2 of a Lent series on Prayer from Christ St Pauls - 2 Chronicles 1:7-13 and 1 Kings 3]
+ Zechariah: When God Returns in Power - Bishop Rennis Ponniah Session 1, Session 2 and Session 3
+ Choral Evensong from King's College, Cambridge
From February 21st, 2016
+ God Knows - Kevin de Young at St Ebbes, Oxford [Exodus 2:11-25]
+ Preaching Christ in the Old Testament - Kevin de Young in Preaching Matters from St Helens, Bishopsgate, London [see below]
+ Following Jesus Wholeheartedly - Bishop John Tan at St Andrews Cathedral, Singapore [Philippians 3:17-4:1]
From February 14th, 2016
+ David: I have sinned - Rev Craige Borrett [Part 1 of a Lent series on Prayer from Christ St Pauls]
+ Renewed and Empowered by the Holy Spirit - Bishop Rennis Ponniah today [Ephesians 4:17-28]
+ The Transfiguration - Dr Kendall Harmon last week [Luke 9] - well recommended by The Elves
+ Big Issues: Transgender - Rev Vaughan Roberts
+ Choral Evensong for Ash Wednesday from the Temple Church in London
From February 7th, 2016
+ Who is 'God's Servant'? - Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali at St Helena's, Beaufort SC [John 12]
+ Rector's Forum with Bishop Nazir-Ali
+ Facing up to the Truth - Rev Justin Terry at St John's, John's Island SC [Luke 4:14-28]
+ What do you see? - Rev Chris Royer at St Michael's, Charleston SC [Ministry in the Middle East, John/Joel]
+ Pornography - Rev Vaughan Roberts [Matthew 5:27-30]
+ Sunday Worship from Down Cathedral in the Diocese of Down and Dromore [CofI]
+ Choral Evensong from Truro Cathedral
From January 31st, 2016
+ Do You Have Faith in Jesus? - Archbishop Mouneer Anis at Christ St Paul's Today [Luke 4]
+ Sunday Worship from Long Lartin Prison, Worcestershire
+ Assisted Suicide - Vaughan Roberts
From January 24th, 2016
+ Fix Your Eyes on Jesus - Bishop Jacob W. Kwashi at Christ St Paul's[Luke 4:14-21]
+ Finding Hope in the Baptism of Jesus - Dr Kendall Harmon
+ When the Evil Day Comes - Bishop Jacob W. Kwashi at St Philip's Charleston [Ephesians 6:10-20]
+ Something to Aim for - The Beauty of Total Commitment - Bishop Rennis Ponniah [Luke 2:21-40; Philippians 1:1-6]
Sunday Worship live from St Helena's Beaufort, SC
Listen here at 10:15 am Eastern time [3:15 pm London time]
Worship Bulletin [awaited]
The Cross at Camp St Christopher, SC
Previous posts are here
(Bp Tim Dakin: Diocese of Winchester photo)
The Right Reverend Tim Dakin, the Bishop of Winchester, has invited people across the Diocese of Winchester to write and follow a Rule of Life. He is asking all Christians in the Diocese to join the community of people who have embraced the principles of a Rule of Life and are using it to shape their daily lives.
To help individuals discern how a Rule of Life can be put into action in their own lives, the Diocese is announcing a series of workshops during Advent at Wolvesey and around the Diocese during Lent.
A Rule of Life is a series of personal commitments we choose to make that direct the way we live our daily lives. It is a flexible framework which individuals can use to shape the guiding principles by which they intend to live, helping them to grow more like Christ. It offers a practical way of responding to the love of God by committing ourselves to a number of specific actions that will help us grow in our love of God, love of one another and of God’s world.
Read it all.
It's 8 a.m. Sunday at St. Hilda's in Catonsville, and the priest in the pulpit wears a white robe and green chasuble to celebrate the Episcopal Mass — a formal liturgy with roots that date to the 16th century.
Two hours later, he has exchanged the alb and chasuble for a black Joe Flacco jersey to lead an evangelical service — his language now part Billy Graham, part Rodney Dangerfield.
Read it all from the Baltimore Sun.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Episcopal Church (TEC) * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Children Marriage & Family * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Evangelicals
We need to recover our confidence in the persuasive power of the Gospel. We are to present truth to the mind, “speaking true and rational words” (Acts 19:25 ESV), and trust the Holy Spirit to bring about conviction, faith and a change of heart in the hearer (Acts 19:28-29; Rom 1:16-17).
We are also to convey the Gospel message in its entirety. In particular, we cannot trim the Gospel message of its ethical component. Forgiveness of sin and a new, endless life with God is for all who repent and commit themselves to Jesus as Saviour and Lord (Acts 2:38). Hence, in proclaiming the good news of what God has done in Christ Jesus, Peter exhorts his hearers to “save (themselves) from this crooked generation” (Acts 2:40). In the same vein, Paul not only spoke to the Roman governor Felix about faith in Christ Jesus but also “reasoned about righteousness and self-control and the coming judgment” (Acts 24:24-25).
The Gospel of God’s grace towards humankind in Jesus Christ is an invitation to a changed heart and a changed lifestyle in conformity with God’s design. This power of transformation is made real to the person who turns to God in repentance and faith by the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit makes real the power of the Cross in our lives so that we can live in conformity with God’s patterns for man – which is to live truly and freely (John 10:10). This is the basis of sound teaching and is reflected for instance in the Joint Statement by Global South and GAFCON Primates on Same Sex Unions (Cairo, 2016). We must robustly contend for the truth out of true love for God and our fellow human being; and at the same time reach out to all who grapple with the brokenness of sin in their lives with the compassionate and life-transforming love of Jesus Christ.
It takes courage to proclaim the victory of the Cross in the face of the resilience of evil and its parasitic spread in the world. If Christ is already on the throne and the Kingdom of God has already come through Him, why are dark forces allowed to dominate in the world and cause so much pain and destruction?
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Make us, we beseech thee, O Lord our God, watchful and heedful in awaiting the coming of thy Son Christ our Lord; that when he shall come and knock, he shall find us not sleeping in sin, but awake and rejoicing in his praises; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.
[Birinus] made his way to the sea in order to cross to Britain. While he was packing his bits and pieces, the sailors were urging him to hurry as the wind was favourable, and so he forgot those cloths which are called ‘corporal cloths’. He was already out to sea, with the ship happily ploughing its furrow through the calm waters, when he remembered he had left them behind. He was at a loss what to do. If he asked the sailors to go back, they would certainly laugh at him as the voyage was going so well. But if he kept quiet, he would have to put up with his apostolic worship being imperfect. And so, brandishing the weapons of his faith, he summoned all his courage, climbed down the side into the sea and with all speed made for the shore he had just left. There he found the corporal cloths, picked them up, and for the second time his daring had a blessed and happy outcome, for he returned to his companions, brushing aside by the power of his faith the crests of the waves and the thousand ways to death he encountered. They for their part had been won over by this great miracle, had cast anchor and were holding the ship stationary. They took him back on board, all competing to do him honour, and he soon reached the coast in the region of the West Saxons.
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Loving God, who didst call Francis Xavier to lead many in India and Japan to know Jesus Christ as their Redeemer: Bring us to the new life of glory promised to all who follow in the Way; through the same Jesus Christ, who with thee and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Today we remember Francis Xavier, Missionary, Apostle of the Indies who died in 1552 https://t.co/ziyzMBtP63— Church of England (@c_of_e) December 3, 2016
Keep us, O Lord, while we tarry on this earth, in a serious seeking after thee, and in an affectionate walking with thee, every day of our lives; that when thou comest, we may be found not hiding our talent, nor serving the flesh, nor yet asleep with our lamp unfurnished, but waiting and longing for our Lord, our glorious God for ever and ever.
Irish priests' ever-increasing workload is threatening to turn this aging, demoralized and declining group into "sacrament-dispensing machines" who find pastoral work less and less satisfying, a co-founder of Ireland's Association of Catholic Priests has warned.
In his address to the association's annual general meeting in Athlone Nov. 16, Fr. Brendan Hoban highlighted how suicide is on the rise among Irish priests, a group he said was also increasingly prone to depression.
With the vast majority of Irish priests now age 70 or over, elderly diocesan priests are living increasingly isolated and lonely lives and are constantly "reminded that we no longer really matter, that at best we're now little more than a ceremonial presence on the sidelines of life," he said.
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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Health & Medicine Psychology Stress Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary England / UK --Ireland * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Roman Catholic
Almighty and everlasting God, we thank thee for thy Servant Channing, whom thou didst call to preach the Gospel to the peoples of Asia. Raise up, we beseech thee, in this and every land heralds and evangelists of thy kingdom, that thy Church may proclaim the unsearchable riches of our Saviour Jesus Christ; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.
We thank you today for the Rev. Channing Moore Williams (d. 1910), the servant you called to preach the Gospel in Asia. pic.twitter.com/fAfGwZb50w— St. Stephen's Church (@StStevieCG) December 2, 2016
O Lord Jesus Christ, who at thy first coming didst warn us to prepare for the day when thou shalt come to be our judge: Mercifully grant that being awake from the sleep of sin, we may always be watching and intent upon the work thou hast given us to do; who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end.
Is this not what Advent is about? God is coming to reside in the intimate particularity of our everyday lives.
Standing on the porch at home, my mind went to other settings: the bitter lot of Syrian refugees—they were under this moon. I thought of those at the homeless shelter in Cleveland where I work, having one last cigarette outside before lights off. Moonlight was touching their foreheads in a tender way. Beyond them were empty warehouses, the moon defining the scarred rooftops of the city before reaching the expanse of Lake Erie and shining brilliantly on waves.
My entire family went back for the 11 p.m. service. We were a tiny cluster leaving the church, walking to our car and driving home with moonlight enveloping us. After everyone had gone to bed, I stood out in the backyard. No wind, not a sound—except something like the sound of the ground absorbing moisture. This was not an empty silence but the quiet being of rocks, ferns, moss, the roots of trees.
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The Anglican church is celebrating 150 of worship in the Tawa area this year.
On November 27, a celebratory service was held at St Christopher's Church, on the corner of Main Rd and Lyndhurst Rd, with Bishop Justin Duckworth giving the sermon.
It was the second event held in Tawa this year to mark the occasion.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia * Christian Life / Church Life Church History * Culture-Watch History * International News & Commentary Australia / NZ
Over 27,000 services and events, ranging from the contemporary to traditional carols and nativity stories, have been added to a new website that enables the public to enter their postcode and find Christmas services and events happening near them.
Smartphone users will also be able to geo-locate the nearest services and add a reminder to their calendar. So far more than 2,300 congregations are providing mulled wine and 3,500 sharing mince pies after services.
In addition to the http://www.AChristmasNearYou.org website, there are four videos being released throughout December, each one sharing a moment of true Christmas joy. The short films star Gogglebox vicar Revd Kate Bottley, Chaplain to the Speaker of the House of Commons Revd Rose Hudson-Wilkin, Becoming Revered author Revd Matt Woodcock and comedian Paul Kerensa.
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In the last two chapters, he offers a couple of countermeasures:
What we give we gain
What we master brings us joy
These are what he calls the formulation of "divine economics", a kind of upside-down approach to wealth where giving does not result in depletion but blessing, and where overcoming our natural appetite for accumulating wealth is the challenge that brings genuine and deep-seated peace.
"Money buys capabilities," he says.
"It also buys security, but it risks taking us further and further away from being those who wash feet, who dethrone Mammon by subverting the power of wealth to give us a better life."
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ecognising progress in many countries, the Archbishop said: “The big challenge now is to eliminate HIV/AIDS where it strikes most fiercely and most remorselessly – which is amongst the poor and those in places of great difficulty.”
Acknowledging the key role of faith responses, he said: “The Anglican Communion has been involved for decades in enabling communities to face the threat of AIDS, to support the victims of AIDS, families and others affected directly and indirectly. The clinical evidence is that it is through community-based initiatives, and the churches are among the best to do it, that it is tackled most efficiently and effectively.”
Reflecting on the stigmatising of people living with HIV, Archbishop Justin Welby said: “Faith based communities challenge that ostracism when they see in every single person someone made in the image of God, someone loved by God, and therefore someone who should be loved by each one of us.”
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... I finally embarked on a book about my great-grandfather.
I knew that if I hoped to understand what drew him into ministry in Japan, I needed to learn more about Christianity. So, for the first time, I began to read the Bible in a meaningful way, under the guidance of two devout relatives. A long-suppressed inner flame burned brighter as I read and contemplated the Scriptures. Several verses in particular spoke to me.
In Luke 17:20–21, when Jesus is asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God is coming, he replies: “The coming of the kingdom of God is not something that can be observed; nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is in your midst.” And in John 14:9, Jesus says, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.”
For the first time, I felt I understood the true meaning of faith, as hope in things unseen. I understood, too, how Jesus taught us what it means to be God’s people, loving one another as we love ourselves. Only through love can we help bring God’s kingdom to life on earth as it is in heaven.
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Lord God, make us so reflect thy perfect love; that, with thy deacon Nicholas Ferrar and his household, we may rule ourselves according to thy Word, and serve thee with our whole heart; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
Today we remember Nicholas Ferrar founder of Little Gidding Community. Memorial of community by Ferrar's brother John pic.twitter.com/jBKd3Kmmtz— LambethPalaceLibrary (@lampallib) December 4, 2014
O Eternal God, who has taught us in thy holy Word that love is the fulfilling of the law: Pour into our hearts that best of all thy gifts, that loving our neighbour as ourselves we may live as children of the day and of the light; for the glory of thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
Estates in Old Street and Bethnal Green and their local church communities have been the first to benefit from missional workers living on-site, following the success of a pioneering bond. The Missional Housing Bond was developed by a partnership of churches and charities to allow church workers to live among the communities they serve, in spite of the rising rents in the capital.
Three years of work on the Missional Housing Bond have resulted in two successful rounds of crowdfunding raising close to £1 million of capital. This has enabled a partnership involving the Diocese of London to purchase two small flats near to Inspire London church in Old Street and St Peter’s church in Bethnal Green, both rapidly growing churches in an area of London where high levels of need and deprivation exist alongside some of the highest property values in the world.
The flats are made available at social rents to church missional workers who are not only on hand to help the life of their church, but also embed themselves in the life of the local area, helping the Church to fulfill its mission to local people.
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Second, we often hear that the Church is evolving on this issue, especially every time a Christian celebrity changes their minds. But the vast majority of evangelicals still hold to the traditional view, and they’re not changing their minds anytime soon. As my “BreakPoint This Week” cohost, Ed Stetzer, points out in Christianity Today, “Evangelical organizations across the spectrum are making clear where they stand on marriage.” Groups like the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, Christianity Today, and even more progressive social-justice-minded organizations like World Vision and Fuller Seminary, have all unambiguously committed to hold the line on this issue.
As have denominations. Virtually every evangelical communion has reaffirmed God’s design for sex and marriage. Even in the United Methodist Church, long considered a stronghold of liberal theology, and in the worldwide Anglican communion, the marriage debate has taken a conservative turn as traditional members in Africa and elsewhere exert their influence.
But, some will reply, “If Christians don’t all agree on what marriage is, you can’t say there’s such a thing as ‘the Christian position.’” But Christian truth isn’t made of what people who call themselves Christians say. It’s revealed truth, made known through creation, through Scripture, ultimately through Christ—each of which are quite clear about what makes us male and female, what marriage is, and about sexual morality.
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Cosmopolitan and Buzzfeed recently discovered that the church Chip and Joanna Gaines attend, Antioch Community Church, is led by a pastor who does not support same-sex marriage and who believes that homosexual practice is a sin. In other words, Chip and Joanna Gaines attend a historically Christian congregation on the matter of sexual ethics.
Now, not all Christians will agree with some of the statistics cited by the Gaines’ pastor, his linking homosexuality in most cases to abuse, or his portrayal of the “gay lifestyle.” But there is nothing newsworthy about a Christian church teaching that male-female marriage is God’s original design and that newly invented definitions fall short of God’s intention for human flourishing.
What is newsworthy is the religious undertone of the Cosmopolitan article. It reads like a heresy hunt. The magazine has “uncovered something many fans will likely want an explanation for—a startling revelation that has left many wondering where Chip and Jo stand.”
Buzzfeed is seeking clarification from HGTV, hoping (apparently) to hear the Gaines recant their pastor’s heretical beliefs. Until then “their silence speaks volumes.”
Read it all from TGC.
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Almighty God, who didst give such grace to thine apostle Andrew that he readily obeyed the call of thy Son Jesus Christ, and brought his brother with him: Give unto us, who are called by thy Word, grace to follow him without delay, and to bring those near to us into his gracious presence; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.
30 November— Kalina Boulter (@KalinaBoulter) November 30, 2016
Saint Andrew the Apostle pic.twitter.com/4D45MthFLI
Read it all from the CEN.
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The Church of England is finally acknowledging the significance of Fresh Expressions, a national conference of 600 participants heard on Saturday.
The event, Catching Sight, hosted by the diocese of Leicester, was designed to take stock of the movement, which dates back to 2004 and has registered 3400 different groups. It has a parallel in pioneer ministry.
Canon George Lings, director of the Church Army Research Unit, took a Screwtape approach to demonstrate the unwillingness of the inherited Church to accept the positive findings of reports such as The Day of Small Things and From Anecdote to Evidence.
This manifested itself, he suggested, in everything from ignoring the reports, to complacency — “Cathedrals now sing Graham Kendrick songs so we know we’re up to date” — and ridicule: “Five Christians meeting at a bus stop, so it must be a Fresh Expressions church.”
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You write that evangelism “trades in stories more than propositions.” What do you mean?
I’m not against truth propositions. But stories are important for a couple reasons. First, Christian faith is a story: the work of God through creation, the fall of humanity, and the establishing of a people, out of whom come the Messiah and redemption.
Second, this approach makes space for people to engage their own richly textured life stories. How do we acknowledge that, honor it, and reframe it in this larger narrative of who God is and how he operates?
Third, stories better prepare us for a life of discipleship, not least because they allow room for emphasis on joy. With propositions, it’s easy to get moralistic: “Here’s what we need to believe, so here’s how we need to act.” There’s certainly a moral life that flows out from following Jesus, but we need to guard against moralism, where morals become an idol.
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Former NFL player Jason Brown was earning millions of dollars on the gridiron but, at the height of his career, he left it all behind to pursue a wildly-different life on the farm focused on giving.
Watch it all from NBC. For those interested, there is more there.
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Grant, O Lord, that we who once again prepare for the commemoration of the coming of thy Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ, may so direct our hearts to the fulfillment of thy law, that he may now accept our hosannas, and in the life to come receive us in the heavenly Sion; where with thee and the Holy Ghost he liveth and reigneth, ever one God, world without end.
In August, Christianity Today partnered with Deidox Films to debut The Ordinance, a documentary exploring churches’ efforts to fight predatory payday lenders. Many church leaders recognize the shameful practices of these lenders and seek to meet the needs of their church members while also fighting for justice on a legislative level. On the other side of the same coin, however, are churches attempting to fight poverty and prevent the situations that lead people to accept these loans.
In recent years, several Christian organizations have developed programs providing microloans, savings groups, and economic education in international contexts. But how much do we know about empowering our own communities? With racial and economic tensions exacerbated in recent years, the local church has a key role to play in bringing about reconciliation. Organizations like The Chalmers Center, whose founders wrote the bestselling When Helping Hurts, have recognized the vast needs in the United States and are now working to equip churches to meet economic and spiritual needs in their communities.
“As Chalmers worked to empower grassroots churches in Africa, Asia, and Latin America to help the poor help themselves, we became acutely aware of the same need to address poverty holistically in our own nation,” said John Mark Bowers, the Curriculum Specialist at The Chalmers Center. “After publishing When Helping Hurts, we heard from even more churches that were hungry for tools to help them walk alongside people across economic lines right here in the United States. Thus, the birth of an IDAs [Individual Development Accounts] pilot—out of which came Faith & Finances, and later, Work Life.”
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The final phase of a two year grants programme to English cathedrals for urgent repairs is announced today. Grants totalling £5,423,000 have been awarded to 24 Church of England and Catholic cathedrals for repairs including to stained glass windows, stone pinnacles, and roofs as well as drainage and lighting.
Heritage Minister, Tracey Crouch said:
"The First World War Centenary Cathedral Repairs Fund has done fantastic work to help revive and restore stunning cathedrals across the country.
"Cathedrals are not only beautiful pieces of architecture, they hold centuries of our nation's history and are centrepieces in our communities. This important fund will help maintain and repair these historic buildings so they can be enjoyed for years to come by everyone."
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While we have thus far highlighted their impact on isolated families like mine, on my darkest days I cannot help wondering if Neoeugenicist attitudes are re-booting the whole ethos of Western medicine and an entire civilisation. Whichever way the cake is cut, the principle that one group of people can legally coerce another to destroy their offspring simply because their skeletons contain low levels of collagen or their eyeballs are a funny colour seems ineradicably totalitarian. Once established this tyranny can never remain quarantined within healthcare institutions - like a virulent pathogen such contempt for human dignity will surely propagate beyond hospital walls and inflict damage upon our society as a whole.
Some hints concerning the social consequences that accompanied medical totalitarianism in an earlier age emerge from the writings of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the former University of Berlin academic who opposed the dehumanisation of the Jews in eugenics-obsessed Nazi Germany. He explores the influence of the anti-democratic impulse within healthcare in his famous unfinished work, Ethics.
As he sensed his execution approaching, Bonhoeffer grasped that a commitment to the intrinsic value of every human life is basic to a humane civil order. In such a society, the strong vigilantly resist the temptation to lord themselves over the weak.
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Now it is the custom in God's congregation at this season that all the servants of God, in the divine services, both in holy readings and in melodious hymns continually recite the songs of the prophets. The prophets, through the Spirit of God, prophesied the coming of Christ in his incarnation, and wrote many books about it, which we now read in the services of God before the time of his birth, to honour him, because he so lovingly chose to come to us. Christ came to mankind visibly at that time, but he is always invisibly with his beloved servants, just as he himself promised, saying, "Lo, I am with you always, until the fulfilment of this world." With these words he showed that until the ending of the world there would always be people beloved by him, who will become worthy to share God's dwelling with him.
The holy prophets prophesied both the first coming in his birth, and also the second at the great judgement. We too, God's servants, strengthen our faith by the services of this season, because in our hymns we confess our redemption by his first coming, and we remind ourselves that we should be ready for his second coming, so that we may follow him from that judgement to the eternal life, as he promised us. The apostle Paul spoke about the celebration of this season in the Epistle to the Roman people and to all believers too, urging thus: "My brothers, you know that it is now time for us to arise from sleep: our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is passed, and the day approaches. Let us cast away the works of darkness, and be clothed with the weapons of light, so that we may walk honourably in the day; not in gluttony and drunkenness, not in fornication and impurity, not in strife and hatred; but be clothed in the Lord, Saviour Christ."
Read it all.
You can listen directly there and download the mp3 there.
(Christ/St. Paul's Church Yonges Island SC; photo by Jacob Borrett)
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal * By Kendall Sermons & Teachings * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained Preaching / Homiletics * South Carolina * Theology Christology Theology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology) Theology: Scripture
O Sovereign God, who raisedst up (King) Kamehameha (IV) and (Queen) Emma to be rulers in Hawaii, and didst inspire and enable them to be diligent in good works for the welfare of their people and the good of thy Church: Receive our thanks for their witness to the Gospel; and grant that we, with them, may attain to the crown of glory that fadeth not away; through Jesus Christ our Savior and Redeemer, who with thee and the Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth, one God, for ever and ever.
O Lord, raise up, we pray thee, thy power, and come among us, and with great might succour us; that whereas, through our sins and wickedness, we are sore let and hindered in running the race that is set before us, thy bountiful grace and mercy may speedily help and deliver us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with thee and the Holy Ghost, be honour and glory, world without end.
--The Pastor's Prayer Book
In the midst of Nazi-occupied Paris, an independent-minded Russian Orthodox nun lamented that Christians were not equipped to meet the challenges of the moment. “I look everywhere and nowhere do I find anything that would point to the possibility of a breakthrough from material life to eternity,” wrote Maria Skobtsova in an essay titled “Insight in Wartime.” She did not see around her any forms of Christian life that had the “right voice, the right pathos, the kind of wings” to stand against the terrors of the era.
Skobtsova herself was perhaps the exception. Born in 1891 under the czar, she had by the 1940s been a Bolshevik, a poet, and a refugee. She was almost killed by both White and Red armies during the Russian Revolution of 1917. She fled Russia after briefly serving as the deputy mayor of Anapa, a city near the Black Sea. In exile she returned to the Orthodox faith, and in 1932 she became a nun.
She refused, however, to take up residence in a convent or traditional religious community. Issuing a thoroughgoing critique of monasticism, she insisted that she would seek instead “to share the life of paupers and tramps.”
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As a Peace Corps volunteer, Ginny Fonner worked in a rural village in Zambia, a southern African country with a severe shortage of doctors. While there, a short-term mission group visited. Their goal: distribute medicines to fight intestinal worms.
“It’s a great goal. Worms are a big problem,” she said during a recent global health symposium at the Medical University of South Carolina. “So they spent day after day going to schools, distributing treatments, feeling really good about it."
Except for one thing.
"They had no idea that the previous week the local government had done the exact same thing with the exact same children."
Read it all.
Following a bruising presidential election, some Americans are afraid of the future. Others feel that the tumult of the campaign was necessary to disrupt business as usual. Multitudes feel that the country has lost its way, while just as many believe that the nation has finally found its footing. No doubt millions of people have witnessed these divisions at their own Thanksgiving feasts.
Many of us in the religious world wonder: How can we bridge this chasm and unify our body politic? How does the country close the fault line that divides the U.S. in half? Is it possible to stand for what we believe is right while still being civil toward the friends, family and neighbors who supported the “wrong” candidate? The way forward lies not in politics, but in something that binds us together as human beings: the simple act of giving to others.
Giving has long been invoked as a healing counterpoint to the darker sides of human nature. Tzedakah—the Jewish concept of donating at least 10% of one’s income to charity—comes from the Hebrew word for justice, or righteousness. Generosity is also at the heart of Christianity, and it is one of the five pillars of Islam.
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The Patriarch of Antioch was in London... [this past Thursday] for the consecration of Britain’s first Syriac Orthodox Cathedral. The Prince of Wales, Prince Charles, was the guest of honour at the service, which was attended by a number of senior Anglicans from the Church of England, including the Bishop of London, Richard Chartres; the Bishop at Lambeth, Nigel Stock; and the Bishop of Ebbsfleet, Jonathan Goodall, the former ecumenical secretary at Lambeth Palace.
The new cathedral of St Thomas is the former Saint Saviour’s Church in Acton, west London – formerly a chapel for deaf Christians operated by the Royal Association for the Deaf.
The joyous service was marked with sadness as the congregation and a succession of speakers reflected on life for Christians in the homelands of the Syriac Orthodox Church in Syria and Iraq.
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Almighty and everlasting God, who orderest all things in heaven and on earth: We give thee thanks and praise that thou didst make all ages a preparation for the coming of thy Son, our blessed Redeemer. Prepare us for the coming of him whom thou dost send, and grant that of his fullness we may all receive; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.
--Prayers for the Christian Year (SCM, 1964)
Today is the first Sunday of Advent. Advent from the Chicheley Breviary with a decorated initial showing the Annunciation. [MS69 f.4v.] pic.twitter.com/SEpj64U97u— LambethPalaceLibrary (@lampallib) November 27, 2016
In 1947, when Ronald Knox moved in to the Manor House at Mells to stay, it seemed as if St Jerome had taken up residence. “All that is needed,” wrote Daphne Pollen, a frequent visitor, “is a lion.”
For Ronald Knox had just completed his single-handed translation of the Bible, in idiomatic if poised English. His character, given to melancholy, had considerably less asperity than St Jerome’s. He was hypersensitive to causing trouble. “When would K least hate for me to arrive?” he asked of the head of his new household.
This was Katharine Asquith, the widow of the prime minister’s son Raymond, killed in the Great War. To her had come Mells, a medieval house set off by a lovely 16th-century church and ancient Somerset village. She had with some sacrifice embraced Catholicism, struck by the way faith had sustained her friend Hilaire Belloc after his wife’s death.
Read it all from the Telegraph (regiistration or subscription required).
During the six decades of the Castro brothers totalitarian rule, more than two million Cubans fled their beloved island, taking solace in the words of Cuba’s most famous exile, poet and independence hero José Martí: "sin patria, pero sin amo," without a homeland, but without a master.
Countless met their deaths in the attempt to cross the seas and now trekking through the jungles of some seven countries to reach the U.S. border. One of Castro’s most heinous crimes was the massacre of 41 men, women and children attempting to flee Cuba on a tugboat on July 13, 1994. Cuban authorities sprayed the vessel with water hoses, rammed and sank it. This is not something I read. I interviewed survivors at the Guantanamo Cuban refugee camps months later. The Cuban Coast Guard refused to rescue the drowning, they told me.
There were so many other crimes and human rights abuses, largely ignored or benignly viewed by a world that gave Castro the benefit of the doubt, and only slapped him on the wrist occasionally at some forums like the United Nations.
Read it all.
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God of truth and grace, who didst give Isaac Watts singular gifts to present thy praise in verse, that he might write psalms, hymns and spiritual songs for thy Church: Give us grace joyfully to sing thy praises now and in the life to come; through Jesus Christ our Savior, who livest and reignest with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
O God, from whose unfailing bounty we draw our life and all that we possess, forgive our pride and self-sufficiency. Teach us to reverence the earth, which thou hast made fruitful. Help us to remember our unity with those by whose work we are fed and clothed. Touch us with compassion for all who have not enough to eat. As thou hast given us the knowledge which can produce plenty, so give us also the wisdom to bring it within the reach of all; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
--Joseph Houldsworth Oldham (1874–1969)
Read it all.
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A search for somewhere convenient for Friday prayers has led to an unusual joining of two communities.
Every Friday, St Paul’s Anglican church in Beaconsfield, just outside Western Australia’s port city of Fremantle, hosts Muslim prayers in its community hall.
Fittingly, the hall was the original church.
Read it all (and there is a video also).
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A few years before Craig Sanders lost his father to suicide, a music pastor in their South Carolina town took his life.
“I remember the superficial and judgmental anger I had toward him,” Sanders said. “How could you do that to your daughters? What a selfish act.”
When his own father, Larry, a pastor plagued by depression and insecurity, died, Sanders was also angry at him. But it wasn’t the same; this time, he sought to understand the complexities of mental health and other issues behind his dad's decision to take his life. Sanders felt hurt at being left behind and frustrated with a pastorate that doesn’t make it easy to get help.
“I remember the last conversation with him on the phone. He said, ‘Craig, I’m a failure.’ And I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I said, ‘Dad, you’re my hero. Do you understand that all my life I’ve tried to measure up to you? I’m at seminary because I want to be like you.’”
Larry’s depression, which was in part biological, had likely worsened from diabetes medication, church conflicts, and unhealthy comparison with other ministers, Sanders said. “He really got stuck in the comparison game. . . . He was doing a doctor of ministry degree and reading books on church growth, looking at models of how to make your church grow. He was like, ‘If I’m doing these things and my church isn’t growing, what does that say about me?’”
Read it all.
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O loving God, by whose grace thy servant James Huntington gathered a community dedicated to love and discipline and devotion to the holy Cross of our Savior Jesus Christ: Send thy blessing upon all who proclaim Christ crucified, and move the hearts of many to look unto him and be saved; who with thee and the Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth, one God, for ever and ever.
O Almighty God, we pray thee, sow the seed of thy Word in our hearts, and send down upon us thy heavenly grace; that we may bring forth the fruits of the Spirit, and at the great day of harvest may be gathered by thy holy angels into thy garner; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Lyrics:Now thank we all our God,
with heart and hands and voices,
who wondrous things has done,
in whom this world rejoices;
who from our mothers' arms
has blessed us on our way
with countless gifts of love,
and still is ours today.
O may this bounteous God
through all our life be near us,
with ever joyful hearts
and blessed peace to cheer us;
and keep us still in grace,
and guide us when perplexed;
and free us from all ills,
in this world and the next.
All praise and thanks to God
the Father now be given;
the Son, and him who reigns
with them in highest heaven;
the one eternal God,
whom earth and heaven adore;
for thus it was, is now,
and shall be evermore.
At the beginning of 1637, the year of the Great Pestilence, there were four ministers in Eilenburg. But one abandoned his post for healthier areas and could not be persuaded to return. Pastor Rinkhart officiated at the funerals of the other two.
As the only pastor left, he often conducted services for as many as 40 to 50 persons a day–some 4,480 in all. In May of that year, his own wife died. By the end of the year, the refugees had to be buried in trenches without services.
I think of Martin Rinkart every thanksgiving; his gift of this hymn is simply stunning given the circumstances in which it was written. We sang it with our family around the dinner table today. Read it all--KSH.
Almighty and gracious Father, we give you thanks for the fruits of the earth in their season and for the labors of those who harvest them. Make us, we pray, faithful stewards of your great bounty, for the provision of our necessities and the relief of all who are in need, to the glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
About sunset, it happened every Friday evening on a lonely stretch along the eastern Florida seacoast. You could see an old man walking, white-haired, bushy eye-browed, slightly bent.--Paul Harvey's the Rest of the Story (Bantam Books, 1997 Mass paperback ed. of the 1977 Doubleday original), pp. 170-172
One gnarled hand would be gripping the handle of a pail, a large bucket filled with shrimp. There on a broken pier, reddened by the setting sun, the weekly ritual would be re-enacted.
At once, the silent twilight sky would become a mass of dancing dots...growing larger. In the distance, screeching calls would become louder.
They were seagulls, come from nowhere on the same pilgrimage… to meet an old man.
For half an hour or so, the gentleman would stand on the pier, surrounded by fluttering white, till his pail of shrimp was empty. But the gulls would linger for a while. Perhaps one would perch comfortably on the old man’s hat…and a certain day gone by would gently come to his mind.
Eventually, all the old man’s days were past. If the gulls still returned to that spot… perhaps on a Friday evening at sunset, it is not for food… but to pay homage to the secret they shared with a gentle stranger.
And that secret is THE REST OF THE STORY.
Anyone who remembers October of 1942 remembers the day it was reported that Captain Eddie Rickenbacker was lost at sea.
Captain Eddie’s mission had been to deliver a message of the utmost importance to General Douglas MacArthur.
But there was an unexpected detour which would hurl Captain Eddie into the most harrowing adventure of his life. . Somewhere over the South Pacific, the flying fortress became lost beyond the reach of radio. Fuel ran dangerously low, and the men ditched their plane in the ocean.
The B-17 stayed afloat just long enough for all aboard to get out. . Then, slowly, the tail of the flying fortress swung up and poised for a split second… and the ship went down leaving eight men and three rafts… and the horizon.
For nearly a month, Captain Eddie and his companions would fight the water, and the weather, and the scorching sun.
They spent many sleepless nights recoiling as giant sharks rammed their rafts. Their largest raft was nine by five… the biggest shark ten feet long.
But of all their enemies at sea, one proved most formidable: starvation. Eight days out, their rations were long gone or destroyed by the salt water. It would take a miracle to sustain them. And a miracle occurred.
In Captain Eddie’s own words, “Cherry,” that was B-17 pilot, Captain William Cherry, “read the service that afternoon, and we finished with a prayer for deliverance and a hymn of praise. There was some talk, but it tapered off in the oppressive heat. With my hat pulled down over my eyes to keep out some of the glare, I dozed off.”
Now this is still Captain Rickenbacker talking… Something landed on my head. I knew that it was a seagull. I don’t know how I knew; I just knew.
“Everyone else knew, too. No one said a word. But peering out from under my hat brim without moving my head, I could see the expression on their faces. They were staring at the gull. The gull meant food… if I could catch it.”
And the rest, as they say, is history.
Captain Eddie caught the gull. Its flesh was eaten; its intestines were used for bait to catch fish. The survivors were sustained and their hopes renewed because a lone sea gull, uncharacteristically hundreds of miles from land, offered itself as a sacrifice.
You know that Captain Eddie made it.
And now you also know...that he never forgot.
Because every Friday evening, about sunset...on a lonely stretch along the eastern Florida seacoast...you could see an old man walking...white-haired, bushy-eyebrowed, slightly bent.
His bucket filled with shrimp was to feed the gulls...to remember that one which, on a day long past, gave itself without a struggle...like manna in the wilderness.
There is a marvelous medicinal power in joy. Most medicines are distasteful; but this, which is the best of all medicines, is sweet to the taste, and comforting to the heart. We noticed, in our reading, that there had been a little tiff between two sisters in the church at Philippi;—I am glad that we do not know what the quarrel was about; I am usually thankful for ignorance on such subjects;—but, as a cure for disagreements, the apostle says, “Rejoice in the Lord alway.” People who are very happy, especially those who are very happy in the Lord, are not apt either to give offence or to take offence. Their minds are so sweetly occupied with higher things, that they are not easily distracted by the little troubles which naturally arise among such imperfect creatures as we are. Joy in the Lord is the cure for all discord. Should it not be so? What is this joy but the concord of the soul, the accord of the heart, with the joy of heaven? Joy in the Lord, then, drives away the discords of earth.
Further, brethren, notice that the apostle, after he had said, “Rejoice in the Lord alway,” commanded the Philippians to be careful for nothing, thus implying that joy in the Lord is one of the best preparations for the trials of this life. The cure for care is joy in the Lord. No, my brother, you will not be able to keep on with your fretfulness; no, my sister, you will not be able to weary yourself any longer with your anxieties, if the Lord will but fill you with his joy. Then, being satisfied with your God, yea, more than satisfied, overflowing with delight in him, you will say to yourself, “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? And why art thou disquieted in me? Hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.” What is there on earth that is worth fretting for even for five minutes? If one could gain an imperial crown by a day of care, it would be too great an expense for a thing which would bring more care with it. Therefore, let us be thankful, let us be joyful in the Lord. I count it one of the wisest things that, by rejoicing in the Lord, we commence our heaven here below. It is possible so to do, it is profitable so to do, and we are commanded so to do.
Now I come to the text itself, “Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.”
It will be our first business at this time to consider THE GRACE COMMANDED, this grace of joy; “Rejoice in the Lord,” says the apostle.In the first place, this is a very delightful thing. What a gracious God we serve, who makes delight to be a duty, and who commands us to rejoice! Should we not at once be obedient to such a command as this? It is intended that we should be happy. That is the meaning of the precept, that we should be cheerful; more than that, that we should be thankful; more than that, that we should rejoice. I think this word “rejoice” is almost a French word; it is not only joy, but it is joy over again, re-joice. You know re usually signifies the reduplication of a thing, the taking it over again. We are to joy, and then we are to re-joy. We are to chew the cud of delight; we are to roll the dainty morsel under our tongue till we get the very essence out of it. “Rejoice.” Joy is a delightful thing. You cannot be too happy, brother. Nay, do not suspect yourself of being wrong because you are full of delight. You know it is said of the divine wisdom, “Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.” Provided that it is joy in the Lord, you cannot have too much of it. The fly is drowned in the honey, or the sweet syrup into which he plunges himself; but this heavenly syrup of delight will not drown your soul, or intoxicate your heart. It will do you good, and not evil, all the days of your life. God never commanded us to do a thing that would really harm us; and when he bids us rejoice, we may be sure that this is a delightful as it is safe, and as safe as it is delightful. Come, brothers and sisters, I am inviting you now to no distasteful duty when, in the name of my Master, I say to you, as Paul said to the Philippians under the teaching of the Holy Spirit, “Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.”
--C.H. Spurgeon (1834--1892)
The singers are Quire Cleveland under the direction of Peter Bennett--KSH.
We give thee humble and hearty thanks, O most merciful Father, for all thy goodness and loving-kindness to us and to all men, for the blessings of this life and for the promise of everlasting happiness. And as we are bound, we especially thank thee for the mercies which we have received: for health and strength and the manifold enjoyments of our daily life; for the opportunities of learning, for the knowledge of thy will, for the means of serving thee in thy Church, and for the love thou hast revealed to us in thy Son, our Saviour; to whom with thee and the Holy Spirit be praise and glory for ever and ever.
--B. F. Westcott (1825-1901)
Glory be to God in the highest, the Creator and Lord of heaven and earth, the preserver of all things, the Father of mercies, who so loved mankind as to send his only begotten Son into the world, to redeem us from sin and misery, and to obtain for us everlasting life. Accept, O gracious God, our praise and thanksgiving for thine infinite mercies towards us; and teach us to love thee more and to serve thee better; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
“But thanks be to God.” (2 Corinthians 2:14). Praying for all a most blessed and grateful Thanksgiving. pic.twitter.com/rcs7hhNcbu— Albert Mohler (@albertmohler) November 24, 2016
Blessed Lord, the only living and true God,
the Creator and Preserver of all things,
We live by you;
and our whole dependence is upon you,
for all the good that we either have or hope for.
We now desire to bless your name for those mercies,
which in so large a measure
you have generously given us.
Worthy are you, O Lord our God,
to receive all honor and glory,
all thanks and praise,
and love and obedience,
as in the courts of heaven,
so in all the assemblies of your servants upon earth;
for you are great, and you do wondrous things;
you are God alone.
“Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name.”— Tony Dungy (@TonyDungy) November 24, 2016
Psalms 100:4 NLT pic.twitter.com/4L8XXJouPM
Almighty and everlasting God, who hast given to us the fruits of the earth in their season, and hast crowned the year with thy goodness: Give us grateful hearts, that we may unfeignedly thank thee for all thy loving-kindness, and worthily magnify thy holy name; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Happy Thanksgiving to all! pic.twitter.com/Uppn0YDboU— PEANUTS (@Snoopy) November 24, 2016
Blessing and honour, and thanksgiving and praise,
more than we can utter,
more than we can conceive,
be unto thee, O holy and glorious Trinity,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
by all angels, all men, all creatures,
for ever and ever.
Losing the Super Bowl four years in a row was tough, but it wasn’t even close to what was about to enfold. Life was about to take a much more difficult turn for Kelly, one that would put those football losses in perspective.
In 1997, Kelly’s son Hunter was born. Kelly had huge dreams for him; Hunter would be the next great athlete in the family. But “four months into his life, we realized he wasn’t reaching a lot of his milestones,” Kelly recalls. “The pediatrician told us ‘your son is showing signs of cerebral palsy.’ It was devastating. But my son continued to get worse.” Then came the tragic news. Hunter was diagnosed with globoid-cell leukodystrophy, or Krabbe disease, a deadly neurological disease. Average life expectancy is less than a year. “The doctors told us to take him home, make him comfortable and watch him pass away,” Kelly says. But Kelly and his wife fought and tried to give their son a real life.
Hunter lived long enough to see his father inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2002. Kelly dedicated his speech to his son. Hunter ultimately passed away on Aug. 5, 2005, at the age of 8. “This was the lowest point of my life,” Kelly says choking up.
Kelly acknowledges that he had problems with his marriage and wasn’t proud of his behavior. “I hit rock bottom. I was mad. I knew I had to change my life and in 2007 I finally did. I had to humble myself to admit I made mistakes,” he says.
Read it all.
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I have seen a paper entitled, "The Church of England and Lambeth 1:10", produced by GAFCON UK and dated 13 November, which is described as a briefing to GAFCON Primates. It purports to be an account of "the situation in the Church of England regarding attitudes and teaching on sexual ethics."
The paper paints a significantly misleading picture both of the teaching and practice of the Church of England, and of Resolution 1:10 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference. I am writing to correct some of the erroneous assertions.
Read it all.
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Almighty God, who didst choose thy servant Clement of Rome to recall the Church in Corinth to obedience and stability: Grant that thy Church may be grounded and settled in thy truth by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and may evermore be kept blameless in thy service; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.
May God, who seeth all things, and who is the Ruler of all spirits and the Lord of all flesh--who chose our Lord Jesus Christ and us through Him to be a peculiar people--grant to every soul that calleth upon His glorious and holy Name, faith, peace, patience, long-suffering,self-control, purity, and sobriety, to the well-pleasing of His Name, through our High Priest and Protector, Jesus Christ, by whom be to Him glory, and majesty, and power, and honour, both now and forevermore. Amen.
--James Manning,ed., Prayers of the Early Church (Nashville: The Upper Room, 1953)
I once found myself working closely, in a cathedral fundraising campaign, with a local millionaire. He was a self-made man. When I met him he was in his 60s, at the top of his game as a businessman, and was chairing our Board of Trustees. To me, coming from the academic world, he was a nightmare to work with.
He never thought in (what seemed to me) straight lines; he would leap from one conversation to another; he would suddenly break into a discussion and ask what seemed a totally unrelated question. But after a while I learned to say to myself: Well, it must work, or he wouldn’t be where he is. And that was right. We raised the money. We probably wouldn’t have done it if I’d been running the Trust my own way.
I have something of the same feeling on re-reading C. S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity. I owe Lewis a great debt. In my late teens and early twenties I read everything of his I could get my hands on, and read some of his paperbacks and essays several times over. There are sentences, and some whole passages, I know pretty much by heart.
Millions around the world have been introduced to, and nurtured within, the Christian faith through his work where their own preachers and teachers were not giving them what they needed. That was certainly true of me.
Read it all.
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A certain group of Catholic readers—let’s call them “Chesterton’s warrior children”—cannot imagine someone like Lewis writing the things he did and not converting to Catholicism at some point. And since they cannot grant the possibility that one can write like Lewis and be Protestant, they are forced to conjure up fanciful theories to explain Lewis’s Protestantism. The best example of this is the “Ulsterior motive” theory, which claims that Lewis never got over the deep-seated anti-Catholic sentiments of his youth. (These critics conveniently fail to note that his family never seemed to possess any strong anti-Catholic sentiments to begin with, given that their servants were Catholic and Lewis’s parents were not terribly committed to the more radical brands of Irish protestantism.) The warrior children manage to say this with a straight face, which is somewhat remarkable given that many of Lewis’s closest friends were, of course, Catholic.
Meanwhile, American evangelical readers tend to see Lewis as a proto-evangelical, a man utterly committed to classic creedal orthodoxy and utterly uninterested in delving any deeper than that. He is the mere Christian par excellance in their minds and represents a tacit endorsement of the evangelical tendency to avoid the thornier theological questions that usually prompt one to seek out a confessional identity of some sort.
Both readings, of course, miss the most basic fact of all about Lewis the Christian: CS Lewis was a conservative Anglican churchman. It’s perhaps fitting that amongst all the tributes, it the was the Anglican Alan Jacobs who made this point about Lewis’s identity while also drawing attention to its neglect amongst many of his readers.
Read it all.
After the Germans invaded Poland, the Lewis brothers opened up The Kilns to children forced to evacuate the big cities. The first group was four school girls, and throughout the war several other groups of children came in and out of their home. The highlight during this time was a delightful sixteen-year-old named June Flewett. She brought much fun and laughter to the household. The Lewises’ gift of hospitality was being reciprocated by the gift of joy that emanated from this young lady.
In his later years Lewis opened his home to a brash, gifted, divorced, Jewish American follower of Jesus, Joy Gresham Davidman, and her two sons. This relationship, retold in the movie Shadowlands, once again highlights Lewis’s hospitality. After spending time with Joy’s sons, David and Douglas, Lewis wrote humorously in a letter to his friend Ruth Pitter, “I never knew what we celibates are shielded from. I will never laugh at parents again. Not that the boys weren’t a delight: but a delight like surf-bathing which leaves one breathless and aching. The energy, the tempo, is what kills.”
Read it all.
James Houston knew C.S. Lewis well during their time at Oxford, and here he comments on the great impact of Lewis on Christian spiritual formation.
Listen to it all, conducted by Bruce Hindmarsh
Gresham had read the Narnia books that had been published by then, never dreaming that he might be adopted by their author. He had been captivated by Lewis's imagined world, which also fuelled a fantasy about the man who would be his father. "I was an eight-year-old American boy steeped in the medieval legends of King Arthur," he recalls. "England to me was a land where I expected everyone to ride chargers and joust whenever they met. So when I was taken to meet the man who was on speaking terms with the great lion Aslan, I subconsciously expected him to be wearing silver armour and carry a sword.
"But he was the antithesis of what I had imagined – a stooped, balding, professorial gentleman with unbelievably shabby clothes and nicotine-stained fingers. It was also clear, however, that he had an enormous personality and sense of fun. This immediately eroded any visual deficiencies. I lost an illusion and gained a great friend and, later, a father."
Read it all.
Hope is one of the Theological virtues. This means that a continual looking forward to the eternal world is not (as some modern people think) a form of escapism or wishful thinking, but one of the things a Christian is meant to do. It does not mean that we are to leave the present world as it is. If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next. The Apostles themselves, who set on foot the conversion of the Roman Empire, the great men who built up the Middle Ages, the English Evangelicals who abolished the Slave Trade, all left their mark on Earth, precisely because their minds were occupied with Heaven. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this. Aim at Heaven and you will get earth ‘thrown in’: aim at earth and you will get neither.--C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (San Francisco: Harper, 2001), p. 134
“For the wise men of old the cardinal problem had been how to conform the soul to reality, and the solution had been knowledge, self-discipline, and virtue. For magic and applied science alike the problem is how to subdue reality to the wishes of men: the solution is a technique: and both, in the practice of this technique, are ready to do things hitherto regarded as disgusting and impious.”
--C.S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man
‘There is a strange idea abroad that in every subject the ancient books should be read only by the professionals, and that the amateur should content himself with the modern books. Thus I have found as a tutor in English Literature that if the average student wants to find out something about Platonism, the very last thing he thinks of doing is to take a translation of Plato off the library shelf and read the Symposium. He would rather read some dreary modern book ten times as long, all about “isms” and influences and only once in twelve pages telling him what Plato actually said. The error is rather an amiable one, for it springs from humility. The student is half afraid to meet one of the great philosophers face to face. He feels himself inadequate and thinks he will not understand him. But if he only knew, the great man, just because of his greatness, is much more intelligible than his modern commentator. The simplest student will be able to understand, if not all, yet a very great deal of what Plato said; but hardly anyone can understand some modern books on Platonism. It has always therefore been one of my main endeavours as a teacher to persuade the young that firsthand knowledge is not only more worth acquiring than secondhand knowledge, but is usually much easier and more delightful to acquire.
This mistaken preference for the modern books and this shyness of the old ones is nowhere more rampant than in theology. Wherever you find a little study circle of Christian laity you can be almost certain that they are studying not St. Luke or St. Paul or St. Augustine or Thomas Aquinas or Hooker or Butler, but M. Berdyaev or M. Maritain or M. Niebuhr or Miss Sayers or even myself.
Now this seems to me topsy-turvy. Naturally, since I myself am a writer, I do not wish the ordinary reader to read no modern books. But if he must read only the new or only the old, I would advise him to read the old. And I would give him this advice precisely because he is an amateur and therefore much less protected than the expert against the dangers of an exclusive contemporary diet. A new book is still on its trial and the amateur is not in a position to judge it. It has to be tested against the great body of Christian thought down the ages, and all its hidden implications (often unsuspected by the author himself) have to be brought to light. Often it cannot be fully understood without the knowledge of a good many other modern books. If you join at eleven o’clock a conversation which began at eight you will often not see the real bearing of what is said. Remarks which seem to you very ordinary will produce laughter or irritation and you will not see why – the reason, of course, being that the earlier stages of the conversation have given them a special point. In the same way sentences in a modern book which look quite ordinary may be directed at some other book; in this way you may be led to accept what you would have indignantly rejected if you knew its real significance. The only safety is to have a standard of plain, central Christianity (“mere Christianity” as Baxter called it) which puts the controversies of the moment in their proper perspective. Such a standard can be acquired only from the old books. It is a good rule, after reading a new book, never to allow yourself another new one till you have read an old one in between. If that is too much for you, you should at least read one old one to every three new ones.
Every age has its own outlook. It is specially good at seeing certain truths and specially liable to make certain mistakes. We all, therefore, need the books that will correct the characteristic mistakes of our own period. And that means the old books. All contemporary writers share to some extent the contemporary outlook – even those, like myself, who seem most opposed to it. Nothing strikes me more when I read the controversies of past ages than the fact that both sides were usually assuming without question a good deal which we should now absolutely deny. They thought that they were as completely opposed as two sides could be, but in fact they were all the time secretly united – united with each other and against earlier and later ages – by a great mass of common assumptions. We may be sure that the characteristic blindness of the twentieth century – the blindness about which posterity will ask, “But how could they have thought that?” – lies where we have never suspected it, and concerns something about which there is untroubled agreement between Hitler and President Roosevelt or between Mr. H. G. Wells and Karl Barth. None of us can fully escape this blindness, but we shall certainly increase it, and weaken our guard against it, if we read only modern books. Where they are true they will give us truths which we half knew already. Where they are false they will aggravate the error with which we are already dangerously ill. The only palliative is to keep the clean sea breeze of the centuries blowing through our minds, and this can be done only by reading old books. Not, of course, that there is any magic about the past. People were no cleverer then than they are now; they made as many mistakes as we. But not the same mistakes. They will not flatter us in the errors we are already committing; and their own errors, being now open and palpable, will not endanger us. Two heads are better than one, not because either is infallible, but because they are unlikely to go wrong in the same direction. To be sure, the books of the future would be just as good a corrective as the books of the past, but unfortunately we cannot get at them.
I myself was first led into reading the Christian classics, almost accidentally, as a result of my English studies. Some, such as Hooker, Herbert, Traherne, Taylor and Bunyan, I read because they are themselves great English writers; others, such as Boethius, St. Augustine, Thomas Aquinas and Dante, because they were “influences.” George Macdonald I had found for myself at the age of sixteen and never wavered in my allegiance, though I tried for a long time to ignore his Christianity. They are, you will note, a mixed bag, representative of many Churches, climates and ages. And that brings me to yet another reason for reading them. The divisions of Christendom are undeniable and are by some of these writers most fiercely expressed. But if any man is tempted to think – as one might be tempted who read only con- temporaries – that “Christianity” is a word of so many meanings that it means nothing at all, he can learn beyond all doubt, by stepping out of his own century, that this is not so. Measured against the ages “mere Christianity” turns out to be no insipid interdenominational transparency, but something positive, self-consistent, and inexhaustible. I know it, indeed, to my cost. In the days when I still hated Christianity, I learned to recognise, like some all too familiar smell, that almost unvarying something which met me, now in Puritan Bunyan, now in Anglican Hooker, now in Thomist Dante. It was there (honeyed and floral) in Francois de Sales; it was there (grave and homely) in Spenser and Walton; it was there (grim but manful) in Pascal and Johnson; there again, with a mild, frightening, Paradisial flavour, in Vaughan and Boehme and Traherne. In the urban sobriety of the eighteenth century one was not safe – Law and Butler were two lions in the path. The supposed “Paganism” of the Elizabethans could not keep it out; it lay in wait where a man might have supposed himself safest, in the very centre of The Faerie Queene and the Arcadia. It was, of course, varied; and yet – after all – so unmistakably the same; recognisable, not to be evaded, the odour which is death to us until we allow it to become life: “An air that kills From yon far country blows.”
We are all rightly distressed, and ashamed also, at the divisions of Christendom. But those who have always lived within the Christian fold may be too easily dispirited by them. They are bad, but such people do not know what it looks like from without. Seen from there, what is left intact despite all the divisions, still appears (as it truly is) an immensely formidable unity. I know, for I saw it; and well our enemies know it. That unity any of us can find by going out of his own age. It is not enough, but it is more than you had thought till then. Once you are well soaked in it, if you then venture to speak, you will have an amusing experience. You will be thought a Papist when you are actually reproducing Bunyan, a Pantheist when you are quoting Aquinas, and so forth. For you have now got on to the great level viaduct which crosses the ages and which looks so high from the valleys, so low from the mountains, so narrow compared with the swamps, and so broad compared with the sheep-tracks …’.
C.S. Lewis, ‘Introduction’ in On the Incarnation: the treatise De incarnatione Verbi Dei (Crestwood: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1993), 3–7.
To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket - safe, dark, motionless, airless - it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is hell.--C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves (London: Geoffrey Bles, 1960), pp. 138-139
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You must picture me alone in that room in Magdalen, night after night, feeling, whenever my mind lifted even for a second from my work, the steady, unrelenting approach of Him whom I so earnestly desired not to meet. That which I greatly feared had at last come upon me. In the Trinity Term of 1929 I gave in, and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed: perhaps, that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England. I did not then see what is now the most shining and obvious thing; the Divine humility which will accept a convert even on such terms. The Prodigal Son at least walked home on his own feet. But who can duly adore that Love which will open the high gates to a prodigal who is brought in kicking, struggling, resentful, and darting his eyes in every direction for a chance of escape? The words “compelle intrare,” compel them to come in, have been so abused be wicked men that we shudder at them; but, properly understood, they plumb the depth of the Divine mercy. The hardness of God is kinder than the softness of men, and His compulsion is our liberation.--C.S. Lewis, Surprised by Joy (Harcourt Brace, 1956), p.228
O God of searing truth and surpassing beauty, we give thee thanks for Clive Staples Lewis whose sanctified imagination lighteth fires of faith in young and old alike; Surprise us also with thy joy and draw us into that new and abundant life which is ours in Christ Jesus, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
O God of love, who hast given us a new commandment through thine only begotten Son, that we should love one another even as thou didst love us, the unworthy and the wandering, and gavest him for our life and salvation: We pray thee to give to us thy servants, in all time of our life on earth, a mind forgetful of past ill-will, a pure conscience, and a heart to love our brethren; for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord.
Listen to it all.
I have never put my hope in any other
but in You, O God of Israel
11月23日は英国テューダー朝の音楽家トマス・タリスの命日（158年）— なおき Naoki (@GloriatibiTri) November 4, 2016
Thomas Tallis died on 23 November in 1585 pic.twitter.com/cF3MkPtHaB
O God most glorious, whose praises art sung night and day by thy saints and angels in heaven: We offer thanks for William Byrd, John Merbecke and Thomas Tallis, whose music hath enriched the praise that thy Church offers thee here on earth. Grant, we pray thee, to all who are touched by the power of music such glimpses of eternity that we may be made ready to join thy saints in heaven and behold thy glory unveiled for evermore; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who livest and reignest with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Almighty and everlasting God, in whom we live and move and have our being: Grant unto us such purity of heart and strength of purpose that no selfish passion may hinder us from knowing thy will, and no weakness from doing it; but in thy light may we see light, and in thy service find perfect freedom; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
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Love Your Neighbour is a movement, that anyone can be involved in, as an individual or as a group. #LoveYourNeighbour posters will be available to display in windows and noticeboards for community groups, schools, places of worship, charities or businesses. We hope that the message #LoveYourNeighbour will spread across the area, and look forward to seeing posters everywhere, with many stories of Acts of Kindness in the days and weeks ahead.
Middlesbrough welcomes large numbers of refugees and people seeking asylum into our communities. We want each person to feel that they belong and that we are all neighbours, but the beauty of ‘Love Your Neighbour’ is that it can include everybody. We aim to inspire everyone to care for others, whether that is an older person living in your street, someone who is going through a difficult time, or someone who has arrived fleeing from war. Simple acts of kindness can make a huge difference and build stronger, more caring communities.
People in Middlesbrough will be asked to pledge to an act of kindness as part of the launch of Love Your Neighbour, to help make our communities stronger, safer and happier places to live. Everyone will be encouraged to share stories of these acts of kindness on social media using #LoveYourNeighbour and #LYNboro. We want the town to be full of good news stories, showing how much we ‘Love our Neighbour.’
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Children as young as seven are being signed up to be frozen after their death by the organisation at the centre of the controversy over cryonics.
Cryonics UK, which prepares bodies for long-term frozen storage in the US, said it had about “four or five” children on its membership list. The youngest person it had been asked to freeze was seven, but the arrangements could not be made before the child died.
Tim Gibson, 45, a committee member of Cryonics UK, which operates as a charity, said there was no age limit for children to be frozen. The cost of the procedure is about £45,000 and is offered in the hope that those who have died might be resuscitated in the future.
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