Posted by Kendall Harmon



(Hat tip: Greg Kandra)

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmas* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyChildrenMarriage & FamilyMedia* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted December 6, 2016 at 8:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsAdventChristmas* Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & Family* South Carolina* TheologyChristology

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Posted December 6, 2016 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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.


Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsAdventSpirituality/Prayer

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Posted December 6, 2016 at 5:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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 LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmas* Culture-WatchCharities/Non-Profit OrganizationsReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, Military* International News & CommentaryEngland / UKMiddle East

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Posted December 5, 2016 at 6:34 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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 LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmas* Culture-WatchMulticulturalism, pluralismReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted December 5, 2016 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon



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.

Amen.



Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsAdventLiturgy, Music, Worship

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Posted December 5, 2016 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsAdventSpirituality/Prayer

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Posted December 5, 2016 at 5:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsAdventSpirituality/Prayer

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Posted December 4, 2016 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsAdventSpirituality/Prayer

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Posted December 3, 2016 at 7:22 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsAdventSpirituality/Prayer

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Posted December 2, 2016 at 5:21 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon




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.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsAdvent* Theology

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Posted December 1, 2016 at 5:34 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsAdventChristmas* Culture-WatchMediaReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

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Posted December 1, 2016 at 3:20 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsAdventSpirituality/Prayer

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Posted December 1, 2016 at 5:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsAdventSpirituality/Prayer

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Posted November 29, 2016 at 5:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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.


Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsAdventParish MinistryPreaching / Homiletics

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Posted November 28, 2016 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsAdventSpirituality/Prayer

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Posted November 28, 2016 at 5:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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)




Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsAdventSpirituality/Prayer

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Posted November 27, 2016 at 5:25 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Feast of Christ the King, along with the encyclical letter Quas Primas, is a modern form of an ancient Christian assertion that there is “another King” than the myriad lesser kings seated on thrones or behind government desks. The early Christians were accused of acting against the official laws of the land, “against the decrees of Caesar, saying there is another king, Jesus” (Acts 17.7). And though ancient Christians were certainly the target of large amounts of unjust slander, in this instance the accusation was absolutely true. After all, the Apostle Paul preached the Kingdom of God and the Lordship of Jesus from within Caesar’s household. Explicit in such an activity is the uniquely Christian notion that there is a greater empire than that of the Romans, with a mightier king than that of Caesar. The secular powers of this world cannot long stand such assertions, which is most certainly one of the reasons the Apostle Paul’s head was removed from his neck.

In his magnificent New Testament and the People of God, N.T. Wright notes that one group feeling existentially threatened by another is often the precursor to persecution. In the case of early Christianity, he wrote:
Mere belief—acceptance of certain propositional statements­—is not enough to elicit such violence. People believe all sorts of odd things and are tolerated. When, however, belief is regarded as an index of subversion, everything changes. The fact of widespread persecution, regarded by both pagans and Christians as the normal state of affairs within a century of the beginnings of Christianity, is powerful evidence of the sort of thing that Christianity was, and was perceived to be. It was a new family, a ‘third race’, neither Jew nor Gentile but ‘in Christ’. Its very existence threatened the foundational assumptions of pagan society.
Wright’s point is that the early Christian confession of the Lordship of Christ, along with the beliefs and ethics entailed therein, appeared so threatening to the ancient world’s foundational convictions, that the only option was to wipe Christianity out. In light of this it’s worth asking: are modern confessions of the Lordship of Christ as threatening to this secular age as the early church was to the ancient world? I wonder.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical Seasons* TheologyChristologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted November 20, 2016 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Parishes are being invited to visit AChristmasNearYou.org/upload from the 1st November and complete a simple form no later than 1st December to register their Christmas church services.

On the 1st of December http://www.AChristmasNearYou.org will be live for anyone to be able to find the nearest Christmas services to them (or search for services in a particular location). It will be able to filter by date, whether there will be carols and accessibility such as wheelchair access, sign language and parking and more. They'll also be able to find which Christmas services are serving mince pies or mulled wine! For smartphones, the website will be able to use geolocation to find where the person is and show which Christmas services are happening nearest to them.

To promote the website and accompanying Christmas social media campaign, there will be four videos on the theme of Christmas Joy. The videos star Gogglebox vicar Kate Bottley, comedian Paul Kerensa, Matt Woodcock and Chaplain to the Speaker of the House of Commons Rose Hudson Wilkin - each talking about a moment of Christmas Joy in their lives.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmasParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* Culture-WatchBlogging & the InternetReligion & CultureScience & Technology* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

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Posted November 2, 2016 at 5:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O God, the Maker and Redeemer of all believers: Grant to the faithful departed the unsearchable benefits of the passion of thy Son; that on the day of his appearing they may be manifested as thy children; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and ever. Amen


Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsSpirituality/Prayer

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Posted November 2, 2016 at 5:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon



Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsLiturgy, Music, Worship

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Posted November 1, 2016 at 3:34 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Almighty and Everlasting God,
who dost enkindle the flame of Thy love in the hearts of the saints,
grant unto us the same faith and power of love;
that, as we rejoice in their triumphs
we may profit by their examples, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsSpirituality/Prayer

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Posted November 1, 2016 at 11:16 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Almighty God,
who hast knit together thine elect
in one communion and fellowship
in the mystical body of Your Son, Christ our Lord:
Give us grace so to follow Your blessed saints
in all virtuous and godly living,
that we may come
to those ineffable joys
that thou hast prepared for those
who unfeignedly love thee;
through the same Jesus Christ our Lord,
who with thee and the Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth,
one God, in glory everlasting. Amen

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsSpirituality/Prayer

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Posted November 1, 2016 at 6:14 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

"Holy teachers have instructed that the faithful church should celebrate and worthily keep this day to the honour of All Saints, because they could not appoint a feast for each of them separately, nor are all their names known to any man in this life; as John the Evangelist wrote in his divine vision, saying, "I saw so great a multitude as no man may number, of all nations and of every tribe, standing before the throne of God, all dressed in white garments, holding palm-branches in their hands, and they sang with a loud voice, Salvation be to our God who sits upon his throne. And all the angels stood around his throne, and bowed down to God, saying, To our God be blessing and brightness, wisdom and thanksgiving, honour and strength, for ever and ever. Amen."

This is the opening of a sermon for All Saints' Day, written in the tenth century by the Anglo-Saxon homilist Ælfric.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted November 1, 2016 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

We thank thee, O God, for the saints of all ages; for those who in times of darkness kept the lamp of faith burning; for the great souls who saw visions of larger truths and dared to declare them; for the multitude of quiet and gracious souls whose presence has purified and sanctified the world; and for those known and loved by us, who have passed from this earthly fellowship into the fuller life with thee. Accept this our thanksgiving through Jesus Christ, our Mediator and Redeemer, to whom be praise and dominion for ever.

--Fellowship Litanies


Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsSpirituality/Prayer

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Posted November 1, 2016 at 5:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

An Anglican bishop in Wales has designed the Royal Mint's first official UK Christmas coin.

Bishop of St Asaph Gregory Cameron, besides being a keen artist and coin collector, is also one of the Anglican Communion's leading experts on Eastern Christianity.

The Christmas coin depicts the three Magi, or wise men from the East, bearing their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

Cameron is already renowned worldwide in the esoteric field of numismatics, or the study and collection of coins.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmas* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomy* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

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Posted October 26, 2016 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Lo, we honour widely throughout the earth
the high-angel's tide in harvest,
Michael, as the multitude know,
five nights after the equinox day.

St Michael, dragon-slayer, guardian of humanity and weigher of souls, was immensely popular in the medieval period, and in this post are four pieces about St Michael by medieval English writers: a Latin sequence by the eighth-century Northumbrian scholar Alcuin; an English homily from c.990 by Ælfric; a prayer in verse by John Lydgate (c.1370–c.1451); and a homily by John Mirk (fl. c.1382–c.1414). Illustrations are from English manuscripts in the British Library and from some churches I've recently visited.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryChurch Year / Liturgical Seasons

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Posted September 29, 2016 at 4:59 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O everlasting God, who hast ordained and constituted the ministries of angels and men in a wonderful order: Mercifully grant that, as thy holy angels always serve and worship thee in heaven, so by thy appointment they may help and defend us on earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.


Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsSpirituality/Prayer

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Posted September 29, 2016 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

We thank thee, heavenly Father, for the witness of thine apostle and evangelist Matthew to the Gospel of thy Son our Savior; and we pray that, after his example, we may with ready wills and hearts obey the calling of our Lord to follow him; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.


Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsSpirituality/Prayer* TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted September 21, 2016 at 5:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O God, who by the passion of thy blessed Son didst make an instrument of shameful death to be unto us the means of life and peace: Grant us so to glory in the cross of Christ, that we may gladly suffer shame and loss for the sake of thy Son our Savior Jesus Christ; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.


Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsSpirituality/Prayer

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Posted September 14, 2016 at 5:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O God, who on the holy mount didst reveal to chosen witnesses thy well-beloved Son, wonderfully transfigured, in raiment white and glistening: Mercifully grant that we, being delivered from the disquietude of this world, may by faith behold the King in his beauty; who with thee, O Father, and thee, O Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth, one God, world without end.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsSpirituality/Prayer* TheologyChristology

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Posted August 6, 2016 at 7:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Almighty God, by whose providence thy servant John the Baptist was wonderfully born, and sent to prepare the way of thy Son our Savior by preaching repentance: Make us so to follow his doctrine and holy life, that we may truly repent according to his preaching; and after his example constantly speak the truth, boldly rebuke vice, and patiently suffer for the truth's sake; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.


Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsSpirituality/Prayer* TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted June 24, 2016 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Father in heaven, by whose grace the virgin mother of thine incarnate Son was blessed in bearing him, but still more blessed in keeping thy word: Grant us who honor the exaltation of her lowliness to follow the example of her devotion to thy will; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.


Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsSpirituality/Prayer

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Posted May 31, 2016 at 5:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In the course of time almost all the states and territories which at first had constituted a great missionary district under Bishop Kemper’s oversight became separate dioceses which for a time continued under his care but finally selected their own bishops. In this way, after a period of only a few years, Indiana, Missouri, Iowa, and Wisconsin--where, at the time I began my studies at Nashotah, there were only a few scattered churches and mission stations--and finally Minnesota, Nebraska, and Kansas--territories which at that time were hardly known even by name--have now churches and ministers enough to be organized into separate dioceses. In Wisconsin alone there are more than fifty ministers, and an equal number of churches without ministers, belonging to the Episcopal church. All of this, under the grace of God, may be ascribed to the tireless labors if Bishop Kemper and the excellent mission school at Nashotah.
Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryChurch Year / Liturgical Seasons

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Posted May 24, 2016 at 6:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[At Pentecost Peter] intendeth to prove...that the Church can be repaired by no other means, saving only by the giving of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, forasmuch as they did all hope that the restoring drew near, he accuseth them of sluggishness, because they do not once think upon the way and means thereof. And when the prophet saith, “I will pour out,” it is, without all question, that he meant by this word to note the great abundance of the Spirit....when God will briefly promise salvation to his people, he affirmeth that he will give them his Spirit. Hereupon it followeth that we can obtain no good things until we have the Spirit given us.

--Commentary on the Acts of the Apostles

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsPentecost* TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted May 21, 2016 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O Spirit of the living God, who dwellest in us; who art holy, who art good: Come thou, and fill the hearts of thy faithful people, and kindle within them the fire of thy love; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsPentecostSpirituality/Prayer

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Posted May 20, 2016 at 5:22 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O Almighty God, who hast fulfilled thy word of promise, and from thy heavenly throne hast poured out upon thy Church the gift of the Holy Spirit: Open our hearts, we pray thee, to receive the fullness of his grace and power; that our lives may be strengthened for the service of thy kingdom, and our souls be conformed more and more to the image of thy Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsPentecostSpirituality/Prayer

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Posted May 19, 2016 at 5:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O God, who according to thy promise hast given thy Holy Spirit to us thy people, that we might know the freedom of thy children and taste on earth our heavenly inheritance: Grant that we may ever hold fast the unity which he gives, and, living in his power, may be thy witnesses to all men; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsPentecostSpirituality/Prayer

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Posted May 18, 2016 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Almighty God, who fillest all things with thy boundless presence, yet makest thy chosen dwelling-place in the soul of man: Come thou, a gracious and willing Guest, and take thine abode in our hearts; that all unholy thoughts and desires within us be cast out, and thy holy presence be to us comfort, light and love; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsPentecostSpirituality/Prayer

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Posted May 17, 2016 at 5:18 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

You can listen directly there and download the mp3 there.

Here are the questions to ponder after listening.

1) Power - Are you in need of God's power? Are you aware of how weak you actually are?

2) Surprise - Are you a Holy Spirit led person that can be open to surprises? Are there surprises God can do in your life, which you will actually notice if he does them?

3) Understanding - Who are the people in your life who don't have an understanding of the Gospel? Can you pray for them? Can you be a message bearer to them so that they might have understanding?

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsPentecostParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* South Carolina* TheologyEcclesiologyTheology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology)Theology: Scripture

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Posted May 16, 2016 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O God, who in the exaltation of thy Son Jesus Christ dost sanctify thy universal Church: Shed abroad in every race and nation the gift of the Holy Spirit; that the work wrought by his power at the first preaching of the gospel may now be extended throughout the whole world; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsPentecostSpirituality/Prayer

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Posted May 16, 2016 at 5:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Our attitude to our fallen nature should be one of ruthless repudiation. For ‘those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires’ (Gal. 5:24). That is, we have taken this evil, slimy, slippery thing called ‘the flesh’ and nailed it to the cross. This was our initial repentance. Crucifixion is dramatic imagery for our uncompromising rejection of all known evil. Crucifixion does not lead to a quick or easy death; it is an execution of lingering pain. Yet it is decisive; there is no possibility of escaping from it.

Our attitude to the Holy Spirit, on the other hand, is to be one of unconditional surrender. Paul uses several expressions for this. We are to ‘live by the Spirit’ (Gal. 5:16, 18. 25). That is, we are to allow him his rightful sovereignty over us, and follow his righteous promptings.

Thus both our repudiation of the flesh and our surrender to the Spirit need to be repeated daily, however decisive our original repudiation and surrender may have been. In Jesus’ words, we are to ‘take up (our) cross daily’ and follow him (Lk 9:23). We are also to go on being filled with the Spirit (Eph. 5:18), as we open our personality to him daily. Both our repudiation and our surrender are also to be worked out in disciplined habits of life. It is those who ‘sow to the Spirit’ (Gal. 6:8) who reap the fruit of the Spirit. And to ‘sow to the Spirit’ means to cultivate the things of the Spirit, for example, by our wise use of the Lord’s Day, the discipline of our daily prayer and Bible reading, our regular worship and attendance at the Lord’s Supper, our Christian friendships and our involvement in Christian service. An inflexible principle of all God’s dealings, both in the material and in the moral realm, is that we reap what we sow. The rule is invariable. It cannot be changed, for ‘God cannot be mocked’ (Gal. 6:7). We must not therefore be surprised if we do not reap the fruit of the Spirit when all the time we are sowing to the flesh. Did we think we could cheat or fool God?

--Authentic Christianity (Nottingham, IVP, 1995)

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsPentecost* TheologyTheology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology)

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Posted May 15, 2016 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O Holy Spirit of God, who didst descend upon our Lord Christ at the river Jordan, and upon the disciples at the feast of Pentecost: Have mercy upon us, we beseech thee, and by thy divine fire enlighten our minds and purify our hearts; for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord.

--Saint Nerses of Clajes (4th century Persian Bishop and Martyr)


Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsPentecostSpirituality/Prayer

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Posted May 15, 2016 at 6:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

From there:
Today we feel the wind beneath our wings
Today the hidden fountain flows and plays
Today the church draws breath at last and sings
As every flame becomes a Tongue of praise.
This is the feast of fire,air, and water
Poured out and breathed and kindled into earth.
The earth herself awakens to her maker
And is translated out of death to birth.
The right words come today in their right order
And every word spells freedom and release
Today the gospel crosses every border
All tongues are loosened by the Prince of Peace
Today the lost are found in His translation.
Whose mother-tongue is Love, in every nation.


Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsPentecost* Culture-WatchPoetry & Literature* TheologyTheology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology)

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Posted May 15, 2016 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O Jesus Christ, who art the same yesterday, today and forever: Pour thy Spirit upon the Church that it may preach thee anew to each succeeding generation. Grant that it may interpret the eternal gospel in terms relevant to the life of each new age, and as the fulfillment of the highest hopes and the deepest needs of every nation; so that at all times and in all places men may see in thee their Lord and Saviour.


Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsPentecostSpirituality/Prayer

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Posted May 15, 2016 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

You can listen directly there and download the mp3 there.

Here are the questions to ponder after listening.

1) What are the ways you are not allowing yourself to be sent?

2) Jesus is alive by the power of his Holy Spirit. That same holy spirit lives with us and abides in us each and every day. Do we live like that? Love Like that? Are we guided by that? Does that describe your life right now, a life led by and abiding with the spirit of the living God?

3) Jesus is sovereign Lord in a world where it doesn't much look like he's in charge. Do you embrace that Jesus is King now even in the mess and unpredictability of life, even if you can't sense or see it?

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsAscensionParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* TheologyChristologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted May 9, 2016 at 7:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

By his ascension to the right hand of the Father, Jesus becomes the head of his body the Church. For the Holy Spirit, who animates the Church, is the gift of the ascended Christ. Ascension makes Pentecost possible.

Moreover, this gift of the Spirit is not a one-time occurrence, whether at Pentecost or at an individual’s baptism or confirmation. The ascended Lord is the ongoing source of spiritual gifts that enliven and build up his body.

As chapter four of the Letter to the Ephesians teaches: “when he ascended on high … he gave gifts.” The ascension bespeaks the ongoing agency of Jesus “who always lives and makes intercession for us.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsAscension* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic* TheologyChristology

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Posted May 5, 2016 at 4:25 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

If the Ascension means the departure of the Lord Jesus, why celebrate it? Who rejoices over the loss of a loved one? Clearly this is not a day to remember what was lost. We celebrate what was gained.

For the first time, our humanity, the nature assumed by Christ, has been taken into the Godhead. This is a coming of age for the human race, something akin to the removal of training wheels.

Here, the sainted scholars of the Church diverge a bit. It’s not clear whether we were created to enjoy the very life of God, or if this is the gladsome result of the Incarnation. Put another way, we don’t know whether the Incarnation, and the resultant glorification of our humanity, happened because of sin, or despite it. Either way, as it did happen, Christ took on our humanity so that we might share his divinity. Today, in him, our humanity is first raised to that height.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsAscension* TheologyChristology

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Posted May 5, 2016 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Jesus hasn’t just gone away. He has gone deeper into the heart of reality – our reality and God’s. He has become far more than a visible friend and companion; he has shown himself to be the very centre of our life, the source of our loving energy in the world and the source of our prayerful, trustful waiting on God. He has made us able to be a new kind of human being, silently and patiently trusting God as a loving parent, actively and hopefully at work to make a difference in the world, to make the kind of difference love makes.

So if the world looks and feels like a world without God, the Christian doesn’t try to say, ‘It’s not as bad as all that’, or seek to point to clear signs of God’s presence that make everything all right. The Christian will acknowledge that the situation is harsh, even apparently unhopeful – but will dare to say that they are willing to bring hope by what they offer in terms of compassion and service. And their own willingness and capacity for this is nourished by the prayer that the Spirit of Jesus has made possible for them.

The friends of Jesus are called, in other words, to offer themselves as signs of God in the world – to live in such a way that the underlying all-pervading energy of God begins to come through them and make a difference.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Rowan Williams* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsAscensionParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* TheologyChristology

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Posted May 5, 2016 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The readers may learn out of our Institutions what profit we reap by the ascension of Christ. Notwithstanding, because it is one of the chiefest points of our faith, therefore doth Luke endeavor more diligently to prove the same; yea, rather, the Lord himself meant to put the same out of all doubt, when as he hath ascended so manifestly, and hath confirmed the certainty of the same by other circumstances. For, if so be it he had vanished away secretly, then might the disciples have doubted what was become of him; but now, sith that they, being in so plain a place, saw him taken up with whom they had been conversant, whom also they heard speak even now, whom they beheld with their eyes, whom also they see taken out of their sight by a cloud, there is no cause why they should doubt whither he was gone. Furthermore, the angels are there also to bear witness of the same. And it was needful that the history should have been set down so diligently for our cause, that we may know assuredly, that although the Son of God appear nowhere upon earth, yet doth he live in the heavens. And this seemeth to be the reason why the cloud did overshadow him, before such time as he did enter into his celestial glory; that his disciples being content with their measure might cease to inquire any further. And we are taught by them that our mind is not able to ascend so high as to take a full view of the glory of Christ; therefore, let this cloud be a mean to restrain our boldness, as was the smoke which was continually before the door of the tabernacle in the time of the law.


Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsAscension* TheologyChristologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted May 5, 2016 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O Lord Jesus Christ, who after thy resurrection didst manifestly appear to thine apostles, and in their sight didst ascend into heaven to prepare a place for us: Grant that, being risen with thee, we may lift up our hearts continually to seek thee where thou art, and never cease to serve thee faithfully here on earth; until at last, when thou comest again, thou shalt receive us unto thyself; who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end.

--Frederick B. Macnutt

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsAscensionSpirituality/Prayer

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Posted May 5, 2016 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Listen to it all (It begins with the reading of the gospel by the Rev. Fred Berkaw) [It is an MP3 file]. It occurred on the occasion of the Bishop's confirmation visit to Saint Paul's in Summerville, South Carolina in times past.

He speaks of a memory from 1960 and later there comes this quote to whet your appetite:

"What is astonishing to me I suppose is that we in the church make so little of the Ascension of our Lord."

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsAscensionParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* South Carolina* TheologyChristology

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Posted May 5, 2016 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Ascension theology turns at this point to the Eucharist, for in celebrating the eucharist the church professes to know how the divine presents itself in our time, and how the question of faithfulness is posed. Eucharistically, the church acknowledges that Jesus has heard and has answered the upward call; that, like Moses, he has ascended into that impenetrable cloud overhanging the mountain. Down below, rumours of glory emanate from the elders, but the master himself is nowhere to be seen. He is no longer with his people in the same way he used to be. Yet he is with them, in the Spirit.
--Douglas Farrow, Ascension Theology (New York: T and T Clark, 2011), p. 64

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsAscension* TheologyChristology

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Posted May 5, 2016 at 5:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O Thou merciful and loving High Priest, who hast passed within the veil and art in the presence of the Father: Help us with thy mighty intercession, that, our unworthiness being clothed upon with thy perfect righteousness, we may stand accepted in the day of thy coming; who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end.

--Henry Alford


Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsAscensionSpirituality/Prayer

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Posted May 5, 2016 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsPentecostSpirituality/Prayer* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical Relations

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Posted May 4, 2016 at 12:11 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O God our Father, whose law is a law of liberty: Grant us wisdom to use aright the freedom which thou hast given us, by surrendering ourselves to thy service; knowing that, when we are thy willing bondsmen, then only are we truly free; for Jesus Christ’s sake.

--New Every Morning (The Prayer Book Of The Daily Broadcast Service) [BBC, 1900]

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsEasterSpirituality/Prayer

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Posted April 25, 2016 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O Lord Jesus Christ, who hast gone to the Father to prepare a place for us: Grant us so to live in communion with thee here on earth, that hereafter we may enjoy the fullness of thy presence; who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsEasterSpirituality/Prayer

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Posted April 24, 2016 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

You can listen directly there and and download the mp3 there. The sermon proper starts about 10 seconds in.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsEasterParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* TheologyChristologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted April 18, 2016 at 11:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O Heavenly Father, by whose gracious will we have been born again by the Word of truth: Make us ever swift to hear that Word and responsive to its saving message, that henceforth we may live as those who are partakers of thy new creation; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsEasterSpirituality/Prayer

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Posted April 17, 2016 at 5:46 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O God, who for our redemption didst give thine only begotten Son to the death of the cross, and by his glorious resurrection hast delivered us from the power of the enemy: Grant us to die daily to sin, that we may evermore live with him in the joy of his resurrection; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsEasterSpirituality/Prayer

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Posted April 12, 2016 at 5:55 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O Blessed Lord, who didst promise thy disciples that through thy Easter victory their sorrow should be turned to joy, and their joy no man should take from them: Grant us, we pray thee, so to know thee in the power of thy resurrection, that we may be partakers of that joy which is unspeakable and full of glory; for thy holy name’s sake.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsEasterSpirituality/Prayer

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Posted April 11, 2016 at 8:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O God, whose blessed Son came into the world to do thy will and went about doing good: Grant that we may ever have the pattern of his holy life before our eyes, and that it may be our meat to do thy will and to finish thy work; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsEasterSpirituality/Prayer

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Posted April 10, 2016 at 6:25 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

When everything was dark
and it seemed that the sun would never shine again,
your love broke through.

Your love was too strong,
too wide,
too deep
for death to hold.

The sparks cast by your love
dance and spread
and burst forth
with resurrection light.

Gracious God,
We praise you for the light of new life
made possible through Jesus.
We praise you for the light of new life
that shone on the first witnesses of resurrection.
We praise you for the light of new life
that continues to shine in our hearts today.

We pray that the Easter light of life, hope and joy,
will live in us each day;
and that we will be bearers of that light
into the lives of others.
Amen.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsEasterSpirituality/Prayer

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Posted April 8, 2016 at 4:59 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O God, who by the lowliness of thy Son hast raised a fallen world: Grant to thy faithful people perpetual gladness; and as thou hast delivered them from eternal death, so do thou make them partakers of everlasting joys; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsEasterSpirituality/Prayer

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Posted April 7, 2016 at 4:50 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O God, the living God, who hast given unto us a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead: Grant that we, being risen with him, may seek the things which are above, and be made partakers of the life eternal; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsEasterSpirituality/Prayer

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Posted April 6, 2016 at 4:22 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The angel has already said, Be not afraid.
He’s said, The power of the Most High
will darken you. Her eyes are downcast and half closed.
And there’s a long pause — a pause here of forever —
as the angel crowds her. She backs away,
her left side pressed against the picture frame....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical Seasons* Culture-WatchPoetry & Literature* TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted April 4, 2016 at 5:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

We beseech thee, O Lord, pour thy grace into our hearts; that we who have known the incarnation of thy Son Jesus Christ, announced by an angel to the Virgin Mary, may by his cross and passion be brought unto the glory of his resurrection; who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.


Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsSpirituality/Prayer

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Posted April 4, 2016 at 5:25 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O Risen Christ, who has said, Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed: Mercifully grant that this benediction may be ours; so that, walking by faith and not by sight, we may evermore rejoice in thee, and confess thee as our Saviour, our Lord, and our God.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsEasterSpirituality/Prayer

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Posted April 4, 2016 at 4:55 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Christian claim from the beginning was that the question of Jesus's resurrection was a question, not of the internal mental and spiritual states of his followers a few days after his crucifixion, but about something that had happened in the real, public world.

This "something" left, not just an empty tomb, but a broken loaf at Emmaus and footprints in the sand by the lake among its physical mementoes. It also left his followers with a lot of explaining to do, but with a transformed worldview which is only explicable on the assumption that something really did happen, even though it stretched their existing worldviews to breaking point.

What I want to do here is to examine this early Christian claim, to ask what can be said about it historically, and to enquire, more particularly, what sort of "believing" we are talking about when we ask whether we - whether "we" be scientists or historians or mathematicians or theologians - can "believe" that which "the resurrection" actually refers to.

Read it all from ABC Australia.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsEaster* TheologyChristologyEschatologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted April 3, 2016 at 3:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Tomb, thou shalt not hold Him longer;
Death is strong, but Life is stronger;
Stronger than the dark, the light;
Stronger than the wrong, the right.
Faith and Hope triumphant say,
Christ will rise on Easter-Day.

While the patient earth lies waking,
Till the morning shall be breaking,
Shuddering 'neath the burden dread
Of her Master, cold and dead,
Hark! she hears the angels say,
Christ will rise on Easter-Day.

And when sunrise smites the mountains,
Pouring light from heavenly fountains,
Then the earth blooms out to greet
Once again the blessed feet;
And her countless voices say,
Christ has risen on Easter-Day.

Up and down our lives obedient
Walk, dear Christ, with footsteps radiant,
Till those garden lives shall be
Fair with duties done for Thee;
And our thankful spirits say,
Christ arose on Easter-Day.

--Phillips Brooks (1835-1893)

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsEaster* Culture-WatchHistoryPoetry & Literature

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Posted April 3, 2016 at 11:06 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I believe the story. With my head, looking at the evidence and thinking logically as a person who was a research physicist for twenty-five years, I believe it. And after listening to the testimony of people – from beggars to kings -- through all the ages who had concluded that the story is true, I believe it. And at the innermost levels of my heart, where the deepest truths reside but are not easily put into words, I believe it is true.

And that is why I know that I will see my mother again someday. It’s not just wishful thinking, some little tale I’ve fooled myself with because I can’t face the cold hard facts of life. Yes, I will see Della Mae, and I am convinced that it will be a day of great victory and joy. St. Paul says that it will be like putting on a crown, and St. John says that it will be a time when every tear will be wiped away from my eyes. That’s what will happen someday to me. But what Jesus did affects me right here today also -- I know that this Jesus who overcame death and the grave has promised not to leave me here twisting in the wind. He is with me every day, through his Spirit, to guide me, comfort me, embolden me, and use me for his glory and to serve his people, right here, right now.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsEaster* TheologyChristologyEschatology

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Posted April 3, 2016 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...particularly when we look at the disciples, the watered-down resurrection doesn’t seem credible at all. Remember that the Gospel of John (whose author had little to gain by making the disciples, future leaders of the early church, look bad) notes that the disciples were so frightened that they barricaded themselves behind locked doors after Jesus’s death. They had good reason to be. “If the authorities dealt that way with Jesus, who had so many people supporting him,” they must have thought, “what will they do to us?” Even before the crucifixion Peter shrank in fear from being identified as a follower of Jesus. Imagine how their fear would have intensified after witnessing the Romans’ brutal execution of their master.

With one exception, all of Jesus’s male followers were so terrified that they shrank from standing at the foot of the cross, unable to accompany Jesus during his final hours. Their reluctance may have stemmed from an inability to watch the agonizing death of their friend, but much was out of fear of being identified as a follower of an enemy of Rome. (The women, showed no such fear, though the situation may have posed less danger for them.)

The disciples were terrified. So does it seem credible that something as simple as sitting around and remembering Jesus would snap them out of their abject fear? Not to me. Something incontrovertible, something undeniable, something visible, something tangible, was necessary to transform them from fearful to fearless.

This is one of the most compelling “proofs” of the Resurrection.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsEaster* TheologyApologeticsChristologyEschatology

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Posted April 3, 2016 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Almighty God, who broughtest again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the glorious Prince of Salvation, with everlasting victory over sin and the grave: Grant us power, we beseech thee, to rise with him to newness of life, that we may overcome the world with the victory of faith, and have part at last in the resurrection of the just; through the merits of the same risen Saviour, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsEasterSpirituality/Prayer

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Posted April 3, 2016 at 4:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

What difference does it make that Christ is risen? I’m not asking what difference we would like it to make: I guess we want resurrection to be the answer to our questions, the happy ending to all our doubts and fears. I’ve spoken about ‘before’ and ‘after’, but I don’t mean that Easter is closure. Far from it: it pulls us into new journeys whose end we can never predict. So how does Easter change everything?

What it doesn’t do is to wind back the clock, as if this wilting daffodil could somehow regain its freshness and vitality. It’s the opposite. Easter winds the clock forward to the time where there will be a new heaven and a new earth, where everything we know is transformed. The Easter garden where Jesus comes to Mary and calls her by name – this is the paradise that an ageing, hurting world has looked forward to since time began. She thinks he is the gardener, and of course he is, exactly that, the divine Gardener who by rising on the first day of the week has begun to re-make creation and bring beauty out of ashes. And this new Eden is our destiny as human beings caught up in the renewal of creation that is Easter. Our first reading said: ‘when Christ who is your life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory’. It is coming, yet it has already begun: with Mary in the garden, with the disciples Jesus greets, with those who have not seen yet believed, with all who worship and love and follow him on this Easter Day.

For Easter takes our fear away, and gives us back our lives.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsEasterParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained

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Posted April 2, 2016 at 11:19 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O God, who through the mighty resurrection of thy Son Jesus Christ hast delivered us from the power of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of thy love: Grant that as he was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we also may walk in newness of life and seek those things that are above, where with thee, O Father, and the Holy Spirit, he liveth and reigneth for ever and ever.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsEasterSpirituality/Prayer

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Posted April 2, 2016 at 6:26 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

As the disciples preached in the earliest Christian sermons, “This Jesus God has raised up, of whom we are all witnesses . . . . Therefore, let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ” [Acts 2:32,36].

The Resurrection was not a dawning awareness of Christ’s continuing presence among the disciples, it was the literal, physical raising of Jesus’ body from the dead. The Church is founded upon the resurrected Lord, who appeared among His disciples and was seen by hundreds of others.

The Church does not have mere permission to celebrate the Resurrection, it has a mandate to proclaim the truth that God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. The resurrected Lord gave the Church a sacred commission to take the gospel throughout the world. As Paul made clear, the resurrection of Christ also comes as a comfort to the believer, for His defeat of death is a foretaste and promise of our own resurrection by His power. “For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality” [1 Corinthians 15:53].

So, as the Church gathers to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, we should look backward in thankfulness to that empty tomb and forward to the fulfillment of Christ’s promises in us. For Resurrection Day is not merely a celebration–it is truly preparation as well. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the promise of our resurrection from the dead, and of Christ’s total victory over sin and death. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is at the very center of the Christian gospel. The empty tomb is full of power.

Read it all

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Posted April 1, 2016 at 11:04 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O God, who for our sakes didst give up thy well-beloved Son to endure the shameful death of the cross, that we might be delivered from the power of the devil and be cleansed from all unrighteousness: Grant unto thy servants, we beseech thee, that through his passion the body of sin may be destroyed in us, and through the power of his resurrection we may henceforth walk in newness of life; for the merits of the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsEasterSpirituality/Prayer

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Posted April 1, 2016 at 4:59 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon



Liten to it all and you can read more about it, including finding the lyrics, at Lent and Beyond.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsEasterLiturgy, Music, Worship

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Posted March 31, 2016 at 2:59 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In this tomb, also, you may see, A pledge to us...Yes, verily, it is a pledge,

Of Christ's power to raise us to a spiritual life — The resurrection of Christ is set forth in the Scriptures as a pattern of that which is to be accomplished in all his followers; and by the very same power too, that effected that. In the Epistle to the Ephesians, St. Paul draws the parallel with a minuteness and accuracy that are truly astonishing. He prays for them, that they may know what is the exceeding greatness of God's power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power which he wrought in Christ when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places." And then he says, concerning them, "God, who is rich in mercy, of his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, and hath raised us usi together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus^" Here, I say, you see Christ dead, quickened, raised, and seated in glory; and his believing people quickened from their death in sins, and raised with him, and seated too with him in the highest heavens. The same thing is stated also, and the same parallel is drawn in the Epistle to the Romans ; where it is said, "We are buried with Christ by baptism into death; that, like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life." But can this be effected in us ? I answer, Behold the tomb ! Who raised the Lord Jesus? He himself said, " I have power to lay down my life, and power to take it up again...."

--"Horae homileticae, Sermon 1414

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsEasterParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyChristologyEschatology

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Posted March 31, 2016 at 1:04 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

We give thee thanks, O heavenly Father, who hast delivered us from the power of darkness and translated us into the kingdom of thy Son; grant, we pray thee, that as by his death he has recalled us to life, so by his presence abiding in us he may raise us to joys eternal; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsEasterSpirituality/Prayer

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Posted March 31, 2016 at 4:48 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

Carl Nielsen - Overture Helios - Danish National Symphony Orchestra


Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsEaster

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Posted March 30, 2016 at 10:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In the earliest days of Christianity an ‘apostle’ was first and foremost a man who claimed to be an eyewitness of the Resurrection. Only a few days after the Crucifixion when two candidates were nominated for the vacancy created by the treachery of Judas, their qualification was that they had known Jesus personally both before and after His death and could offer first-hand evidence of the Resurrection in addressing the outer world (Acts 1:22). A few days later St Peter, preaching the first Christian sermon, makes the same claim—‘God raised Jesus, of which we all (we Christians) are witnesses’ (Acts 2:32). In the first Letter to the Corinthians, St Paul bases his claim to apostleship on the same ground—‘Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen the Lord Jesus?’ (1:9).

As this qualification suggests, to preach Christianity meant primarily to preach the Resurrection. . . . . The Resurrection is the central theme in every Christian sermon reported in the Acts. The Resurrection, and its consequences, were the ‘gospel’ or good news which the Christians brought: what we call the ‘gospels’, the narratives of Our Lord’s life and death, were composed later for the benefit of those who had already accepted the gospel. They were in no sense the basis of Christianity: they were written for those already converted. The miracle of the Resurrection, and the theology of that miracle, comes first: the biography comes later as a comment on it. . . . . The first fact in the history of Christendom is a number of people who say they have seen the Resurrection. If they had died without making anyone else believe this ‘gospel’ no gospels would ever have been written.

--C.S. Lewis, Miracles, Chapter 15, Miracles of the New Creation

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsEaster* TheologyChristologyEschatologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted March 30, 2016 at 6:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

And this is where the oddity of today’s celebration touches our lives in challenging ways. If I may speak personally, I find it increasingly difficult to resist the onslaught of information that is directed at me or required from me. My life feels as though it is regulated to the point of near extinction, by Government, by economic responsibility, by social and cultural suspicion, by commercial bureaucracy. And this is before I start on the day job! My space as a human being sometimes feels so thoroughly invaded and occupied that I just want to switch off, cut the wifi, abandon the mobile, stop the emails, and regain some quality of human and spiritual equilibrium.

It is no wonder that so high a percentage of young people in Britain today register anxiety as a dominant emotion. The tank of our potential for human flourishing is cluttered up with too much stuff. It’s as though we’ve filled the empty tomb so full with an unhappy blend of debt, regulation, kitsch memorabilia, and a craving for novelty, that there is no longer any expectation of room for glory, space for mystery, allowance for the confounding of limited expectation.

This is a situation that was recently described by Jonathan Sacks, in his masterly book, Not in God’s name, where he observes that we have attained “unprecedented achievements in knowledge, freedom, life expectancy and affluence….[and] the result is that the twenty-first century has left us with a maximum of choice and a minimum of meaning”.

Which is why the symbol of the empty tomb is so powerful and haunting. Here is the sign of our mortality and death. One day the frame of this body will come to resemble that tomb, when the breath stops and the agency of control and demand is lifted from us. Then, as now when we celebrate the dawn of Easter glory and the glory of life, the very breath of God will be able to fill the space within us, to satisfy our deepest longing, to give freedom to our best and greatest loves, to perfect our every thought and deed that has already expanded the meaning of goodness, truth and justice.

As Easter celebrations begin, those of you who gave up alcohol, sweets, cakes and biscuits, can look forward to your Easter gin and tonic, the glass of remarkable claret, and unbridled pleasure as you accept the offer of a chocolate after lunch. This is your enactment of the reception of divine love in the glory of resurrection; you have made an empty space in your appetites and desires, in order to rehearse what it will be like to receive, all over again, a perfect and eternal gift in the new creation that evokes something you have already known so well. The full to overflowing font is the symbol of that perfect gift and what resurrection means. It is the recovery of our total capacity to expand into the divine life of God, as in baptism we are united with Jesus Christ: “In him the whole fullness of divinity dwells in bodily form, and you have come to fullness in him” – is how St Paul describes it (Col. 2.9) So, happy Easter. Savour the gin, raise a toast to the CofE with the claret, enjoy the chocolate, and expand into the freedom of a bank holiday. But more than these transient celebrations, attend to the eternal fulfilment they betoken. Don’t run away from the empty tomb; it is your destiny. Let its haunting beauty inspire you. Make space for the glory of God to begin its transformative effect in your life now.

Read it all (emphasis mine).

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsEasterParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* TheologyChristologyEschatology

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Posted March 30, 2016 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Thomas the Twin became Thomas the Witness, and that required an integrated intelligence of what had happened, seeing and touching and hearing to establish faith. But Thomas the Witness became Thomas the Apostle and Martyr, and no one can be an apostle and martyr without venturing beyond what is understood through sight and touch and hearing. And so the blessing Jesus pronounces on those who believe without seeing, will apply later on to Thomas, too.

"Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe." What we are to do, what we are to suffer, is not shown to us in advance when we are sent out on our mission. If it were, it would not be a mission. There is none of us, however assured and convinced of the truth of the resurrection faith, who will not at some point have to live without knowing.

The blessing is for all of us, for we are all sent to engage with a world of which we have no foreknowledge. Neither the risks nor the possible achievements have been explained to us in advance.

Faith may look for a well-grounded confidence, but when it has won its confidence, it ventures upon it. That is why faith is active and potent, a force for the condemnation of sin and the liberation of bound souls. It is for that that the Holy Spirit is given.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsEaster* TheologyAnthropologyChristologyTheology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology)Theology: Scripture

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Posted March 30, 2016 at 5:19 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O risen and victorious Christ, whose power and love destroyed the darkness and death of sin; Ascend, we pray thee, the throne of our hearts, and so rule our wills by the might of that immortality wherewith thou hast set us free, that we may evermore be alive unto God, through the power of thy glorious resurrection; world without end.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsEasterSpirituality/Prayer

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Posted March 30, 2016 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Today that question, that debate—Did Jesus really rise from the dead historically, bodily?—is not as prominent or as intense because, at one level, people feel that it doesn’t matter to them, because different people believe in different things, and maybe it happened, maybe it didn’t; and if it did, or didn’t, and that helps you get along in life, fine; but it doesn’t make much difference to me. I may or may not call myself a Christian, and if the resurrection seems helpful to me, I may believe it; and if it doesn’t, then I won’t, and I don’t think any body should tell me that I have to.

Behind those two different kinds of unbelief—the kind from 40 years ago and the kind from the present day—is a different set of assumptions. For example, in my college days the assumption pretty much still held sway, though it was starting to give way with the rise of existentialism, that there are fixed, closed natural laws, that make the world understandable and scientifically manageable, and these laws do not allow the truth of the claim that someone has risen from the dead to live forever. That was a commonly held assumption: The modern world with its scientific understanding of natural laws does not allow for resurrections. So unbelief was often rooted in that kind of assumption.

But today, that’s not the most common working assumption. Today the assumption is not that there are natural laws outside of me forbidding the resurrection of Jesus, but there is a personal law inside of me that says: I don’t have to adapt my life to anything I don’t find helpful. Or you could state it another way: Truth for me is what I find acceptable and helpful.

Read it all.

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Posted March 29, 2016 at 7:18 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Christ himself pointed out the benefit of his sufferings and resurrection when he said to the women in Mt 28, 10 - "Fear not: go tell my brethren that they depart into Galilee, and there shall they see me." These are the very first words they heard from Christ after his resurrection from the dead, by which he confirmed all the former utterances and loving deeds he showed them, namely, that his resurrection avails in our behalf who believe, so that he therefore anticipates and calls Christians his brethren, who believe it, and yet they do not, like the apostles, witness his resurrection.

The risen Christ waits not until we ask or call on him to become his brethren. Do we here speak of merit, by which we deserve anything? What did the apostles merit? Peter denied his Lord three times; the other disciples all fled from him; they tarried with him like a rabbit does with its young. He should have called them deserters, yea, betrayers, reprobates, anything but brethren. Therefore this word is sent to them through the women out of pure grace and mercy, as the apostles at the time keenly experienced, and we experience also, when we are mired fast in our sins, temptations and condemnation.

These are words full of all comfort that Christ receives desperate villains as you and I are and calls us his brethren. Is Christ really our brother, then I would like to know what we can be in need of? Just as it is among natural brothers, so is it also here. Brothers according to the flesh enjoy the same possessions, have the same father, the one inheritance, otherwise they would not be brothers: so we enjoy with Christ the same possessions, and have in common with him one Father and one inheritance, which never decreases by being distributed, as other inheritances do; but it ever grows larger and larger; for it is a spiritual inheritance. But an earthly inheritance decreases when distributed among many persons. He who has a part of this spiritual inheritance, has it all.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsEasterParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* TheologyChristology

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Posted March 29, 2016 at 6:55 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[Easter]...is the proclamation of a war already won. The war is at an end – even though here and there troops are still shooting, because they have not heard anything yet about the capitulation. The game is won, even though the player can still play a few further moves. Actually he is already mated. The clock has run down, even though the pendulum still swings a few times this way and that. It is in this interim space that we are living: the old is past, behold it has all become new. The Easter message tells us that our enemies, sin, the curse and death, are beaten. Ultimately they can no longer start mischief. They still behave as though the game were not decided, the battle not fought; we must still reckon with them, but fundamentally we must cease to fear them anymore. If you have heard the Easter message, you can no longer run around with a tragic face and lead the humourless existence of a man who has no hope. One thing still holds, and only this one thing is really serious, that Jesus is the Victor. A seriousness that would look back past this, like Lot’s wife, is not Christian seriousness. It may be burning behind – and truly it is burning – but we have to look, not at it, but at the other fact, that we are invited and summoned to take seriously the victory of God’s glory in this man Jesus and to be joyful in Him. Then we may live in thankfulness and not in fear.
--Karl Barth Dogmatics in Outline (New York: Harper and Row, 1959), p. 123

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsEaster* TheologyChristology

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Posted March 29, 2016 at 6:29 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“If to be warmed,” T.S. Eliot reminds us in Four Quartets, “then I must freeze / And quake in frigid purgatorial fires / Of which the flame is roses, and the smoke is briars.”

In short, it is only by our willingness to pass through the dark night of a cross that cannot be circumvented that we may find ourselves looking without shame upon the face of God. “For love to be real,” Blessed Mother Teresa warns, “it must cost, it must hurt, it must empty us of self.” And it is never too soon to get started. Nor, come to think of it, too late—unless one is already dead. (“It is too late!” cries Longfellow, the poet, lamenting the swift passage of time. But then adds: “Ah, nothing is too late / Till the tired heart shall cease to palpitate.”) And since, as Leon Bloy reminds us, “Christ will remain in agony until the end of time,” there may yet be time.

And so, as always, it will require the mindset of a servant; one who in looking to be first must search out the last. That at least is how Jesus sets about explaining the hidden peripeties of the gospel, showing us by his life and death how “the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for the many” (Mt 20:28).

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsEaster* TheologyAnthropologyChristology

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Posted March 29, 2016 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Make our hearts to burn within us, O Christ, as we walk with thee in the way and listen to thy words; that we may go in the strength of thy presence and thy truth all our journey through, and at its end behold thee, in the glory of the eternal Trinity, God for ever and ever.

--Eric Milner-White (1884-1963)

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsEasterSpirituality/Prayer

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Posted March 29, 2016 at 4:50 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

But reality is more powerful, deep and penetrating.

How much Jesus loves me is a better story than how much I'm trying to love myself.
The greatness of the creator is a better story than the reflected greatness of the creation.
Grace is a better story than success.
The cross is a better story than recovery.
The resurrection is a better story than anything.

And – one more thing – it's true.

Read it all.



Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsEasterParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* TheologyChristologyEschatology

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Posted March 28, 2016 at 5:08 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“The compelling evidence for me is the unanimous testimony of all the apostles and even a former persecutor like St. Paul,” said Brant Pitre, assistant professor of theology at Our Lady of Holy Cross College in New Orleans. “There was no debate in the first century over whether Jesus was resurrected or not.”

Scholars say that the witnesses to Christ’s resurrection are compelling for a variety of reasons.

“People will seldom die even for what they know to be true. Twelve men don’t give up their lives for a lie,” said Ray, who recently returned from France, where he was filming his “Footprints of God” series at the amphitheater in Lyon, the site of a persecution in A.D. 177. “The martyrs of Lyon underwent two days of torture and all they would say is, ‘I am a Christian.’ They knew the resurrection was true and didn’t question it.”

Barber also highlighted the diversity of sources and how they include different details as well as passages that do not paint the disciples in the best light.

“In the Road to Emmaus story, they write that they didn’t recognize him,” said Barber. “Our Biblical accounts are our best evidence.”

Several of the scholars pointed to 1 Corinthians, where Paul states that Christ appeared to 500 people.

“Some want to shy away from the Gospels because they say they were written later,” explained Barber. “If you want to believe that they were written later, then why wouldn’t the Gospels have made use of this piece of evidence from 1 Corinthians?” asked Barber.

Read it all.

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Posted March 28, 2016 at 1:20 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Without a doubt, at the center of the New Testament there stands the Cross, which receives its interpretation from the Resurrection.

The Passion narratives are the first pieces of the Gospels that were composed as a unity. In his preaching at Corinth, Paul initially wants to know nothing but the Cross, which "destroys the wisdom of the wise and wrecks the understanding of those who understand", which "is a scandal to the Jews and foolishness to the gentiles". But "the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men" (I Cor 1:19, 23, 25).

Whoever removes the Cross and its interpretation by the New Testament from the center, in order to replace it, for example, with the social commitment of Jesus to the oppressed as a new center, no longer stands in continuity with the apostolic faith.

–Hans Urs von Balthasar (1905-1988), A Short Primer For Unsettled Laymen

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsEasterHoly Week* TheologyChristologyEschatology

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Posted March 28, 2016 at 12:09 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Tomb, thou shalt not hold Him longer;
Death is strong, but Life is stronger;
Stronger than the dark, the light;
Stronger than the wrong, the right.
Faith and Hope triumphant say,
Christ will rise on Easter-Day.

While the patient earth lies waking,
Till the morning shall be breaking,
Shuddering 'neath the burden dread
Of her Master, cold and dead,
Hark! she hears the angels say,
Christ will rise on Easter-Day.

And when sunrise smites the mountains,
Pouring light from heavenly fountains,
Then the earth blooms out to greet
Once again the blessed feet;
And her countless voices say,
Christ has risen on Easter-Day.

Up and down our lives obedient
Walk, dear Christ, with footsteps radiant,
Till those garden lives shall be
Fair with duties done for Thee;
And our thankful spirits say,
Christ arose on Easter-Day.

--Phillips Brooks (1835-1893)

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsEaster* Theology

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Posted March 28, 2016 at 11:11 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

..the Christmas story is largely nonthreatening to nonbelievers: Jesus in the manger, surrounded by Mary and Joseph and the adoring shepherds, is easy to take. As the Gospels of Matthew and Luke recount, there was no little danger involved for Mary and Joseph. But for the most part, it can be accepted as a charming story. Even nonbelievers might appreciate the birth of a great teacher.

By contrast, the Easter story is both appalling and astonishing: the craven betrayal of Jesus by one of his closest followers, the triple denial by his best friend, the gruesome crucifixion and the brutal end to his earthly life. Then, of course, there is the stunning turnaround three days later.

Easter is not as easy to digest as Christmas. It is harder to tame. Anyone can be born, but not everyone can rise from the dead.

Yet the Easter story, essential as it is for Christian belief, can be a confusing one, even for believers. To begin with, the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ appearances after the Resurrection can seem confounding, even contradictory. They are mysterious in the extreme.

Read it all from the WSJ.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsEaster* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* TheologyApologeticsChristologyEschatologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted March 28, 2016 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“Who is this for?” The primary witnesses of Easter are those who are marginal in the culture, on the very edges of society of that day - women, the poor. Given the importance that we in society give to celebrity endorsements this is a little disconcerting. The resurrection of Jesus is for all people everywhere, most of all for the poor, the despairing, the forgotten and abandoned.

Resurrection life is springing up all over this world. In Burundi three weeks ago Caroline and I arrived at a smallish, fairly makeshift church in a poor area, packed to the doors. Inside we heard testimony of the suffering of the local people in the violence that had prevailed there - one who’d been shot, another beaten, many threatened. Each morning bodies were found in ditches.

I did what I have learned is the best thing to do when among followers of Jesus Christ, however bad their circumstances, whether in that church or in a refugee camp the next day, and spoke about Jesus Christ, alive.

Because it was Jesus Christ that was being spoken about and it was being translated. Quiet fell, broken later by rifle fire and grenades. At the end, we sang again, and the place lifted in worship, drums playing, people dancing. This was Christianity, living out Easter hope in the face of darkness, unquenched, unquenchable.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsEasterParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics

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Posted March 28, 2016 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O Almighty God, hear thy people who are met this day to celebrate the glorious resurrection of thy Son our Lord; and lead them on from this festival to eternal gladness, to the joys that have no end; through the same our Saviour Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsEasterSpirituality/Prayer

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Posted March 28, 2016 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Look through all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsEaster* Culture-WatchGlobalizationReligion & Culture* General InterestPhotos/Photography

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Posted March 27, 2016 at 6:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Jesus of Nazareth was certainly dead by the Friday evening; Roman soldiers were professional killers and wouldn't have allowed a not-quite-dead rebel leader to stay that way for long. When the first Christians told the story of what happened next, they were not saying: “I think he's still with us in a spiritual sense” or “I think he's gone to heaven”. All these have been suggested by people who have lost their historical and theological nerve.

The historian must explain why Christianity got going in the first place, why it hailed Jesus as Messiah despite His execution (He hadn't defeated the pagans, or rebuilt the Temple, or brought justice and peace to the world, all of which a Messiah should have done), and why the early Christian movement took the shape that it did. The only explanation that will fit the evidence is the one the early Christians insisted upon - He really had been raised from the dead. His body was not just reanimated. It was transformed, so that it was no longer subject to sickness and death.

Let's be clear: the stories are not about someone coming back into the present mode of life. They are about someone going on into a new sort of existence, still emphatically bodily, if anything, more so. When St Paul speaks of a “spiritual” resurrection body, he doesn't mean “non-material”, like a ghost. “Spiritual” is the sort of Greek word that tells you,not what something is made of, but what is animating it. The risen Jesus had a physical body animated by God's life-giving Spirit. Yes, says St Paul, that same Spirit is at work in us, and will have the same effect - and in the whole world.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsEaster* TheologyChristologyEschatologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted March 27, 2016 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I have desired to go
Where springs not fail,
To fields where flies no sharp and sided hail
And a few lilies blow.

And I have asked to be
Where no storms come,
Where the green swell is in the havens dumb,
And out of the swing of the sea.

--Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844–89), "Heaven-Haven"

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsEaster* Culture-WatchPoetry & Literature

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Posted March 27, 2016 at 3:14 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]




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