Posted by The_Elves

+ Prayers for the Ebola Crisis - Lent and Beyond
+ Prayers for Iraq - Lent and Beyond



From January 18th 2015
+ Sunday Services, Talks and Resources for January 18th
+ Listening to God [Luke 10:38-42] - William Taylor
+ Epiphany: Where are you Going? (Matthew 2:1-12) - Dr Kendall Harmon

From January 11th 2015
+ Sunday Services, Talks and Resources for January 11th
+ Epiphany: Where are you Going? (Matthew 2:1-12) - Dr Kendall Harmon
+ What about the stars? [Matthew 2:1-12] – Bishop Rennis Ponniah

From January 4th 2015
+ Sunday Services, Talks and Resources for January 4th
+ Jeffrey Miller’s Sermon for Christmas 2014—Will You Miss Christmas This Year?
+ Peter Moore—Did Jesus have to be born of a Virgin? Rethinking the Virgin Birth
+ Christmas and New Year Messages
+ Christmas on T19
+ Blog Open Thread: How, Where and With Whom are You Spending Christmas 2014?
+ London Fireworks 2015

From December 28th
+ Sunday Services, Talks and Resources for December 28th
+ Christmas Eve Sermon - Bishop Mark Lawrence [Luke 2:1-20]
+ Jesus, God’s Indescribable Gift of Love – Bishop Rennis Ponniah [Matthew 1]

From December 21st
+ Sunday Services, Talks and Resources for December 21st
+ Sermon from a Service of Hope and Prayer - Archbishop Glenn Davies
+ How God Restores His Purpose - Bishop Raphael Samuel of Bolivia at Holy Comforter, Sumter, SC
+ St John the Baptist and the danger of cheap grace - Dr Kendall Harmon
+ Advent Links from Lent and Beyond
+ More Advent Links
+ Advent Carol Service from St John's College, Cambridge
+ Advent Carol Service from Trinity College, Cambridge

From December 14th
+ Sunday Services, Talks and Resources for December 14th
+ St John the Baptist and the danger of cheap grace - Dr Kendall Harmon
+ The Theology of Joy: N. T. Wright with Miroslav Volf – Yale Video
+ 4 Talks from Professor John Lennox on Discipleship in Daniel: Standing Strong for God in a Secular Society
+ Identity and Integrity [Daniel 1-2]
+ Revelation and Reason [Daniel 3-5]
+ Power and Truth [Daniel 6-12]

From December 7th
+ Sunday Services, Talks and Resources for December 7th
+ Sermons from Christ St Pauls on Advent Conspiracy and James
+ Children of the Light – Vaughan Roberts
+ Approved by God – Richard Bewes
+ Alister McGrath interviewed by J John
+ Choral Evensong from Westminster Abbey

From November 30th
+ Sunday Services, Talks and Resources for November 30th
+ Advent Carol Service from St John's College, Cambridge
+ Advent Carol Service from Trinity College, Cambridge

From November 23rd
+ Sunday Services, Talks and Resources for November 23rd
+ Dr Kendall Harmon - Money Talks, what does our use of God’s money say?
+ Choral Matins from the Chapel Royal, St James's Palace with the Bishop of London

From November 16th
+ Sunday Services, Talks and Resources for November 16th
+ Bishop Mouneer Anis - How shall we wait for the Lord to come? [1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 and Matthew 25:1-13]
+ Choral Evensong from Durham Cathedral

From November 9th
+ Sunday Services, Talks and Resources for November 9th
+ Dr Kendall Harmon - Sermon for All Saints Sunday and Study Guide
Talks from the South Carolina Clergy Conference with Bishop Ken Clarke:
+ The Double Vision of Jesus with an introduction from Bishop Mark Lawrence
+ Failure is not Final
+ Do you love me?
+ Sermon from Rev Mike Lumpkin

From November 2nd
+ Sunday Services, Talks and Resources for November 2nd
+ Bishop Mark Lawrence’s sermon at the dedication of Chr/St. Paul’s new Building, All Saints Day 2008

From October 26th
+ Sunday Services, Talks and Resources for October 26th
+ Canon Kendall Harmon - Wrestling with the problem of Prejudice [James 2]
+ Bishop Rennis Ponniah - Let Jesus heal the way we see [Luke 10:25-37]
+ Professor Alister McGrath preaches using Tolkein from Merton College Oxford

From October 19th
+ Sunday Services, Talks and Resources for October 19th
+ J John - What it means to be a Christian
+ Choral Evensong from Truro Cathedral

From October 12th
+ Sunday Services, Talks and Resources for October 12th
+ Professor Christopher Seitz: The Wedding Banquet
+ Rev Prebendary Charles Marnham: The Power of the Gospel [2 Corinthians 4:1-9 and 5:11-21]
+ Marks of a Christian - 6 Summer talks from the Cathedral of St Luke and St Paul
+ Choral Evensong from Winchester College Chapel

From October 5th
Sunday Services, Talks and Resources for October 5th
+ Dr Peter Moore - Finding God in our transitions and text
+ Vaughan Roberts - Belief and unbelief
+ Sept 29 – Oct 5: A week of prayer for the Ebola Crisis - Lent and Beyond

From September 28th
Sunday Services, Talks and Resources for September 28th
+ St Michael's Charleston 250th Clock and Bells Celebration from here
+ Choral Evensong from Derby Cathedral

From September 21st
Sunday Services, Talks and Resources
+ Dr Kendall Harmon - The Book of James: Trials [James 1]
+ Bishop Rennis Ponniah - What counts with God

From September 14th
Sunday Services, Talks and Resources
Bishop Rennis Ponniah - Let the Children Come [Matthew 19 and Proverbs 2]
+ Bishop Mark Lawrence Calls for Fasting+Praying for the Persecuted Church September 14-15

From September 7th
Dr Kendall Harmon - Thinking about work from a Christian perspective - a Labor Day Sermon
Sunday Services, Talks and Resources

From August 31st
Sunday Services, Talks and Resources
+ Lecture 4 on the Sons of Zebedee: Called to Fish for People - Richard Bauckham - Video [mp4] and Audio [mp3]
+ Lecture 5: Sons of Thunder - Video [mp4] and Audio [mp3]
+ Lecture 6: Jerusalem - Video [mp4] and Audio [mp3] - h/t Peter Carrell

From August 24th
+ Service from this year's Keswick Convention with Ravi Zacharias and Stuart Townend
+ Father Terry Tee: Homily on Matthew 16.13-20
+ The Shepherd - Mark Meynell [Psalm 23 & 1Sam16-17]
+ More of Mark Meynell's talks on the Psalms of David
+ Lecture 2 on the Sons of Zebedee: The Fishing Industry - Richard Bauckham - Video [mp4] and Audio [mp3]
+ Lecture 3: Zebedee and Sons - Video [mp4] and Audio [mp3] - h/t Peter Carrell
+ Call to Prayer and Prayer Resource for those Suffering in the Middle East - Sunday August 24
Sunday Services, Talks and Resources

From August 17th
+ St Paul in Athens - Michael Green [Acts 17:16-34]
+ The Sons of Zebedee: Two Galilean Fishermen - Richard Bauckham - Video [mp4] or Audio [mp3] h/t Peter Carrell
+ The Uniqueness of Christ in a Multi-Faith World - Ravi Zacharias
+ My Journey to Christ - Nabeel Qureshi
+ What is the Hope for Humanity? - NT Wright and Ross Douthat
Sunday Services, Talks and Resources

From August 10th
Charlie Hughes - How Christianity Came to the Maori people
William Taylor - Human Wickedness and the Grace of God [Genesis 34:1-31]
Jonathan Redfearn - How to pray effectively [James 5]
text
Canon Andrew White speaks to BBC Newsnight
Sunday Services, Talks and Resources

From August 3rd
Bishop Rennis Ponniah - Do not drift, Do not withdraw - Finish the Race [Hebrews 12:1-3]
Dr Kendall Harmon - The Kingdom of God, Power to Grow, and Change [Matthew 13]
Prayers for South Carolina - Lent and Beyond
Sunday Services, Talks and Resources

From July 27th
What is the future for Iraq's Christians? - Canon Andrew White Interview
Mosul Christian: Thanks for Changing Your #WeAreN Photo - Christianity Today
Sunday Service from the Buxton Festival with Mozart’s Missa Brevis in B flat
Prayer for South Carolina
Sunday Services, Talks and Resources

From July 20th
Sunday Services, Talks and Resources

From July 13th
A night of worship and testimony with Archbishop Benjamin & Gloria Kwashi at Christ St Pauls SC
More Sunday Services, Talks and Resources

From July 6th
A New Prayer for South Carolina - Lent and Beyond
Archbishop Ben Kwashi - Jesus Calls us to Discipleship [Matthew 10]
Archbishop Peter Jensen - The Final Authority [2 Peter 1]
Vaughan Roberts - Called to change the world [Matthew 5:13-16]
Videos of talks from the ACNA Assembly
The bells of York Minster
More Sunday Services, Talks and Resources

From June 29th
Archbishop Ben and Gloria Kwashi at the ACNA Assembly
Will this world see Jesus Christ again? – Professor John Lennox [2 Peter 1:16-21] MP3
More Sunday Services, Talks and Resources

From June 22nd
Dr. Kendall Harmon - Trinity Sunday: Who is Jesus to You? [Luke 3]
Bishop Grant LeMarquand - Making Biblical Anglicans for a Global Age: Relationally [Acts 16:11-15] speaking at Church of Our Saviour, John’s Island
Dr John Yates II – Trinity School for Ministry Commencement Address [1 Peter 5]
More Sunday Services, Talks and Resources

From June 15th
And he said, put out into the deep water..." - Bishop Mark Lawrence preaching at Trinity School for Ministry [Luke 5:1-5]
Pentecost Sunday Sermon - Bishop Mouneer Anis in Singapore [Acts 2, Psalm 104]
More Sunday Services, Talks and Resources

From June 8th
Ascension Sunday Sermon - Dr Kendall Harmon
Father Nigel Mumford talks about his call to healing ministry
More Sunday Services, Talks and Resources

From June 1st
Why do the innocent suffer? – Vaughan Roberts [Job 1-3]
The Historical Reliability of the Gospel of St Luke – Dr Peter Williams of Tyndale House [Luke 1:1-24:53]
Sunday Services, Talks and Resources

From May 25th
Never Forget - Dr Peter Walker
A Convergent Dichotomy: the Axioms and Implications of Science - Professor John Lennox
Sunday Services, Talks and Resources

From May 18th
Take Courage, I AM, Fear Not - Dr Kendall Harmon - Matthew 14
The God who cares – why should we bother? – Rev Hugh Palmer – All Souls, Langham Place - Psalm 73
Sunday Services, Talks and Resources

From May 11th
The Road Home - Bishop Ferran Glenfield of Kilmore, Elphin and Ardaugh (Ireland) visiting Church of the Cross, Bluffton
Zacchaeus met Jesus [Luke 19:10] – Bishop Mike Hill at St Andrew’s Cathedral, Singapore
Sharing in Christ’s Suffering and Glory – Canon Andrew White – Wheaton College Chapel - Video MP4
or audio MP3 download
Holy Communion from Down Cathedral, Downpatrick - Preacher: Bishop Harold Millar
Choral Evensong from Tewkesbury Abbey
More Sunday Services, Talks and Resources

From May 4th
A Sermon on the Resurrection by Dr Kendall Harmon
Sunday Services, Talks and Resources

From April 27th
Jesus is Risen – The New Creation has begun – Bishop Rennis Ponniah – St Andrews Singapore [John 20]
Easter Day Sermon – Bishop Paul Barnett – St Helena's Beaufort
More Sunday Services, Talks and Resources

From April 6th
Do the Work of an Evangelist - Bishop Mark Lawrence
More Sunday Services, Talks and Resources

From March 30th
God upholds human dignity - Bishop Henry Orombi - St Andrew's Cathedral Singapore [Psalms 8:1-9 John 8:1-11 and John 3:16-17]
The Woman at the Well - Bishop Mark Lawrence [John 4]
The Astounding Authority of Jesus - Dr Kendall Harmon (Luke 4:31-44)
More Sunday Services, Talks and Resources

From March 9th
Go Up The Mountain Of Transfiguration – Bishop Rennis Ponniah
The prophets speak God's truth and declare a coming savior - Craig N. Borrett
Three excellent talks by Roger Carswell, evangelist, at All Souls, Langham Place:
Real Lives 1 [Luke 24:36-53]
Real Lives 2 [Luke 15:11-32]
The Death of Jesus Christ [Matthew 27:45-56]
More Sunday Services, Talks and Resources

From March 2nd:
Bishop FitzSimons Allison: The god within versus the God of our fathers
Dr Kendall Harmon's Sermon: Psalms of the Savior [Ps 69]
Dr Peter C. Moore: “They Changed Their World – Thomas Cranmer”
More Sunday Services, Talks and Resources

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* AdminFeatured (Sticky)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsAdventLiturgy, Music, Worship

7 Comments
Posted January 25, 2015 at 4:56 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Lift up our souls, O Lord, to the pure, serene light of thy presence; that there we may breathe freely, there repose in thy love, there may be at rest from ourselves, and from thence return, arrayed in thy peace, to do and bear what shall please thee; for thy holy name’s sake.

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

0 Comments
Posted January 21, 2015 at 4:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

You can listen directly there and download the mp3 there.

Filed under: * By KendallSermons & Teachings* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsEpiphanyParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* TheologyAnthropologySoteriologyTheology: Scripture

1 Comments
Posted January 20, 2015 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Almighty God, the giver of strength and joy: Change, we beseech thee, our bondage into liberty, and the poverty of our nature into the riches of thy grace; that by the transformation of our lives thy glory may be revealed; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

0 Comments
Posted January 20, 2015 at 4:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Almighty God, who hast set in thy Church some with gifts to teach and help and administer, in diversity of operation but of the same Spirit: Grant to all such, we beseech thee, grace to wait on the ministry which they have received in the body of Christ with simplicity, diligence, and cheerfulness; that none may think of himself more highly than he ought to think, and none may seek another man’s calling, but rather to be found faithful in his own work; to the glory of thy name in Christ Jesus our Lord.

--H. J. Wotherspoon [1850-1930], Kyrie eleison ("Lord, have mercy"): A Manual of Private Prayers (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1905), p.118

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

0 Comments
Posted January 19, 2015 at 6:22 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Almighty God, who hast set in thy Church some with gifts to teach and help and administer, in diversity of operation but of the same Spirit: Grant to all such, we beseech thee, grace to wait on the ministry which they have received in the body of Christ with simplicity, diligence, and cheerfulness; that none may think of himself more highly than he ought to think, and none may seek another man’s calling, but rather to be found faithful in his own work; to the glory of thy name in Christ Jesus our Lord.

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

0 Comments
Posted January 18, 2015 at 4:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Almighty and everlasting God, whose blessed Son took upon him our manhood and increased in wisdom and stature: Grant that all Christian children may learn that fear of the Lord which is the beginning of wisdom, and as they grow in stature may also grow in love to thee; through the same Christ our Lord.

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

0 Comments
Posted January 17, 2015 at 7:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O Blessed Jesus, who by the shining of a star didst manifest thyself to them that sought thee: Show thy heavenly light to us, and give us grace to follow until we find thee; finding, to rejoice in thee; and rejoicing, to present to thee ourselves, our souls and bodies, for thy service for evermore: for thine honour and glory.

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

0 Comments
Posted January 16, 2015 at 4:18 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O Blessed Lord, who in the days of thy earthly childhood didst earnestly desire to be about thy Father’s business: Give us the grace of thy Holy Spirit early to seek thee and evermore to follow thee; that being continuously aided by thy grace, we may be exercised in thy service; who livest and reignest with the Holy Spirit, world without end.

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

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Posted January 15, 2015 at 4:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Lord Jesus Christ, who didst humble thyself to take the baptism of sinful men, and wast forthwith declared to be the Son of God: Grant that we who have been baptized into thee may rejoice to be the sons of God, and servants of all; for thy name’s sake, who with the Father and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest ever one God, world without end.

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

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Posted January 14, 2015 at 4:19 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O Almighty God, who by thy holy Apostle hast taught us to present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto thee, as our reasonable service: Hear us, we beseech thee, as we now come to thee in the name of Jesus Christ; and give us grace that we may dedicate ourselves wholly to thy service, and henceforth live only to thy glory; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

0 Comments
Posted January 13, 2015 at 4:19 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Almighty God, who to wise men who sought him didst manifest the Incarnation of thy Son by the bright shining of a star: Grant that, as they presented unto him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh, so we also out of our treasures may offer to him ourselves, a living sacrifice acceptable in thy sight; through him who for our sakes was born on earth as a little child, Jesus Christ our Lord.

--Frederick Macnutt

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

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Posted January 12, 2015 at 4:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Almighty God, who at the baptism of thy blessed Son Jesus Christ in the river Jordan didst manifest his glorious Godhead: Grant, we beseech thee, that the brightness of his presence may shine in our hearts, and his glory be set forth in our lives; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

--Scottish Prayer Book

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

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Posted January 11, 2015 at 4:28 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Lord Jesus, our Master, go with us while we travel to the heavenly country; that, following thy star, we may not wander in the darkness of this world’s night, while thou, who art our Way, and Truth, and Life dost shine within us to our journey’s end; for thy mercy’s sake.

--based on the Mozarabic Sacramentary

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

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Posted January 10, 2015 at 7:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

On January 6, as Egypt’s Coptic Christian community celebrated Christmas Eve at St. Mark Cathedral in Cairo, and while the Pope and other clergy were chanting the liturgy, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi arrived to congratulate the community. This was a very joyful surprise to me and the thousands of Christians who had gathered in the cathedral. The crowds responded to the surprise visit with joyful cheers. They had never expected the president to attend the Christmas celebration. In fact, this was the first visit in history of an Egyptian president to the cathedral during a service.

President Sisi, who had returned from Kuwait just two hours earlier, had decided to greet Christians as they were celebrating Christmas Eve. By this surprise visit, he also sent a message to all Egyptians, Christians and Muslims, that he is determined to achieve equality between all religious communities in Egypt. The gesture demonstrated brilliantly that President Sisi acts on his word without hesitation or fear of criticism from extremists, and set a new precedent for Muslim leaders in the Middle East of respect and care for all religious communities. The visit brought new hope and encouragement to Christians after decades of marginalization.

During the visit, President Sisi gave Christmas wishes to the Pope and the crowds. He also said that Egyptians must love one another with sincere hearts. “In the past,” he added, “we made a great civilization, and together we are capable of resuming that role. We can teach the world about the spirit of love and tolerance.” The crowds responded with loud shouts: “we are one hand. We love you, Sisi.”

The visit lasted for a few minutes; however, I think it will have a much longer and greater impact on the national unity of the people of Egypt...

Read it all

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

3 Comments
Posted January 9, 2015 at 8:54 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O God, who didst manifest thy only begotten Son to the Gentiles, and hast commanded thy Church to preach the gospel to every creature: Bless all thy servants who are labouring for thee in distant lands. Have compassion upon the heathen and upon all who know thee not, and lead them by thy Holy Spirit to him who is the light of the world, even the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

--Robert Nelson

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

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Posted January 9, 2015 at 4:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The feast of Epiphany is one of my favorites, and I am sure that is true for many of you who read these posts as well. The historic readings and prayers for this season all give thanks for the coming of the gospel of Jesus Christ to the non-Jewish peoples of the earth. The glorious news that the promises given to Abraham and ancient Israel have now been extended to all people is shared for many weeks. Our gracious God has formed a new Israel, and it includes all who will respond to His offer of life in the Son. It includes us. All who believe are children of Abraham and Sarah by faith. Thanks be to God.

The lessons and prayers of Epiphany also remind us that the church is called to continue the task of sharing this good news with those who have not heard. The mission and ministry first given to the apostles continues to be the responsibility of the true apostolic church. It could be argued, and indeed should be, that a church that begins to neglect this task soon forfeits all right to claim it is in continuity with the “apostle’s teaching and fellowship.” How can we claim to be followers of the Lord Jesus if we willfully neglect and disobey His clear commandments?

Sadly for years I did, until the Lord Jesus opened my eyes. I loved Epiphany before I understood it.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsEpiphanyMissions

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Posted January 8, 2015 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O God, who by the guidance of a star didst manifest to the Gentiles the glory of thine only begotten Son: Grant us grace that, being led by the light of thy Holy Spirit, we may, in adoring love and lowliest reverence, yield ourselves to thy service; that thy kingdom of righteousness and peace may be advanced among all nations, to the glory of thy name; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

--Book of Common Order

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

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Posted January 8, 2015 at 4:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Lord Jesus Christ, who in the offerings of the wise men didst receive an earnest of the worship of the nations: Grant that thy Church may never cease to proclaim the good news of thy love, that all men may come to worship thee as their Saviour and King, who livest and reignest world without end.

--George Appleton

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

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Posted January 7, 2015 at 4:22 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

There are 31 in all--check them out.

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

1 Comments
Posted January 6, 2015 at 11:14 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

You can listen directly there and download the mp3 there.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmasEpiphanyParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* TheologyAnthropologyChristologySoteriology

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Posted January 6, 2015 at 5:59 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Dear friends, this is the question that the Church wishes to awaken in the hearts of all men: who is Jesus? This is the spiritual longing that drives the mission of the Church: to make Jesus known, his Gospel, so that every man can discover in his human face the face of God, and be illumined by his mystery of love. Epiphany pre-announces the universal opening of the Church, her call to evangelize all peoples. But Epiphany also tells us in what way the Church carries out this mission: reflecting the light of Christ and proclaiming his Word. Christians are called to imitate the service that the star gave the Magi. We must shine as children of the light, to attract all to the beauty of the Kingdom of god. And to all those who seek truth, we must offer the Word of God, which leads to recognizing in Jesus "the true God and eternal life" (1 John 5:20).

--Benedict XVI.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsEpiphany* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI* TheologyChristology

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Posted January 6, 2015 at 5:41 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

How could they have known not to come
On what amounted to pretense? Everything
Their learning held, all their beliefs
Said regal gifts were needful for a king.

The things they brought were left behind,
Doubtless; or maybe traded for bread:
Impecunious Joseph with a family
To feed, a roof to put over his head.

Read it all.

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

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Posted January 6, 2015 at 5:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...that this star was not of the common sort, or rather not a star at all, as it seems at least to me, but some invisible power transformed into this appearance, is in the first place evident from its very course. For there is not, there is not any star that moves by this way, but whether it be the sun you mention, or the moon, or all the other stars, we see them going from east to west; but this was wafted from north to south; for so is Palestine situated with respect to Persia.

In the second place, one may see this from the time also. For it appears not in the night, but in mid-day, while the sun is shining; and this is not within the power of a star, nay not of the moon; for the moon that so much surpasses all, when the beams of the sun appear, straightway hides herself, and vanishes away. But this by the excess of its own splendor overcame even the beams of the sun, appearing brighter than they, and in so much light shining out more illustriously.

...[Later in the narrative] it did not, remaining on high, point out the place; it not being possible for them so to ascertain it, but it came down and performed this office. For ye know that a spot of so small dimensions, being only as much as a shed would occupy, or rather as much as the body of a little infant would take up, could not possibly be marked out by a star. For by reason of its immense height, it could not sufficiently distinguish so confined a spot, and discover it to them that were desiring to see it. And this any one may see by the moon, which being so far superior to the stars, seems to all that dwell in the world, and are scattered over so great an extent of earth,—seems, I say, near to them every one. How then, tell me, did the star point out a spot so confined, just the space of a manger and shed, unless it left that height and came down, and stood over the very head of the young child? And at this the evangelist was hinting when he said, “Lo, the star went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was.”

Read it all.

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

0 Comments
Posted January 6, 2015 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Almighty God, who hast manifested thy Son Jesus Christ to be a light to mankind: Grant that we thy people, being nourished by thy word and sacraments, may be strengthened to show forth to all men the unsearchable riches of Christ, so that he may be known, adored and obeyed, to the ends of the earth; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end.

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

0 Comments
Posted January 6, 2015 at 4:39 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O God, who by the shining of a star didst guide the wise men to behold thy Son, our Lord: Show us thy heavenly light, and give us grace to follow until we find him, and, finding him, rejoice. And grant that as they presented gold, frankincense, and myrrh, we now may bring him the offering of a loving heart, an adoring spirit, and an obedient will; for his honour, and for thy glory, O God most high.

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

0 Comments
Posted January 6, 2015 at 4:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Merciful and most loving God, by whose will and bountiful gift thine eternal Son humbled himself that he might exalt mankind, and became flesh that he might renew in us the divine image: Perfect us in thy likeness, and bring us at last to rejoice in beholding thy beauty, and, with all thy saints, to glorify thy grace; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

----Prayers for the Christian Year (SCM, 1964)

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

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Posted January 5, 2015 at 4:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves



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

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Posted January 4, 2015 at 2:05 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The stained glass Nativity that graces the front page of The State’s Christmas Day edition was made by Chapin resident Ruthanne Nicholson.

Her artistic story – and her love of the sacred Bethlehem manger scene – is rooted in the life of her late mother, an Easley resident who was the first of the family’s stained glass artists.

“My story is my mother’s story,” Nicholson said. Her mother, Ruth Gettys, was a member of Easley Presbyterian Church when it burned in 1983, reducing the church to rubble and mounds of broken stained glass.

Read it all and see what you make of her rendition.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmas* Culture-WatchArt* South Carolina

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Posted January 4, 2015 at 1:44 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Most merciful God, for whose chosen handmaid and her Holy Babe there was no room in the inn at Bethlehem: Help us all by thy Spirit to make room for the Christ in our common days, that his peace and joy may fill our hearts, and his love flow through our lives to the blessing of others; for his name’s sake.



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

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Posted January 4, 2015 at 4:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Listen to it all (and note there is a downloadable option).

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

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Posted January 3, 2015 at 10:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Almighty God, as we keep the festival of the divine humility of thy Son Jesus Christ, we beseech thee to bestow upon us such love and charity as were his, to whom it was more blessed to give than to receive, and who came not to be ministered unto but to minister; that in his name we may consecrate ourselves to the service of all who are in need; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

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Posted January 3, 2015 at 7:46 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O Heavenly Father, whose blessed Son, that he might keep the law which he came to fulfill, received in this seaon the outward circumcision: Cleanse our minds by the inward circumcision from all incentives to sin, that we may worship thee in spirit and glory in the same Christ Jesus, now and for evermore.

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

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Posted January 2, 2015 at 5:18 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In CS Lewis’s story, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, which..[was] on our movie screens...[in 2005] the land of Narnia is under a curse that means that it is always winter but never Christmas. Of course, it is never winter at Christmas time in Australia, but we can nevertheless understand what a terrible curse this is! Narnia is stuck in hard times, with no cause for celebration. Its creatures are suffering, with no highlight to look forward to.

Like the Narnians, many Australians will be doing it tough this Christmas. For some, it is a time when relationships are strained to the limit, when the cracks in our marriages, our families and our friendships seem to widen. For others, the strain is financial, as we see what the neighbours have and we don’t. Yet others find it difficult to join in the festivities because the world just doesn’t seem like somewhere worth celebrating. Wars, hurricanes and child poverty press in on our hearts and minds, refusing to be pushed aside, even for a day.

My challenge to you this Christmas is to lift your eyes from your daily struggles and see what lies around the corner. To the great surprise of the children in CS Lewis’s story, Father Christmas turns up in Narnia to hand out gifts. His appearance is a sign that the curse on the land is breaking, and a better world is on its way.

Of course, this is just a story, but it points to an event in history that we must understand in order to have any hope at Christmas time. The birth of Jesus around 2000 years ago was the beginning of a new hope for the people of the world. It was like the first spring flower pushing through the winter snow—the first sign that things were looking up.
Christians believe that Jesus was a gift to the world from God himself, to give us hope.
When Father Christmas handed out gifts in Narnia, he didn’t indulge the children with toys they didn’t need or appreciate. Rather, his gifts prepared them for the battle ahead with the dark forces they would confront.
In the same way, the Bible tells us that in Jesus God gave us a gift we desperately need. The Gospel of Luke records for us the words of one man called Simeon, who saw the young Jesus, took him in his arms and said “My eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared for all people”.
Jesus was sent to rescue us from sin and judgement (that’s what salvation means), to make God known to us, and to assure us that God is not off in his heaven ignoring us, but is closely involved with our world and our troubles.
But the gift must be acknowledged—if you ignore God’s gift, you do so at your peril, for without Jesus there is no clear hope to see you through the wintry days.
Christmas should focus our thoughts on where we are headed. I urge you to take time this Christmas to acknowledge God’s gift of Jesus, to read about him in the New Testament, and to understand how he has broken the curse of sin and guaranteed those who trust him a better future.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church of Australia* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmasParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* TheologyChristologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted January 1, 2015 at 5:02 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon


Since God was in the business of re-starting creation in the sending of his Son, might we not expect him to create “out of nothing” the second time, just as he did the first? Karl Barth, the greatest theologian of the 20th Century, thought so. Just as the Spirit brooded over creation the first time, so again in the birth of Jesus the Spirit “brooded” over the virgin Mary. Also, just as creation was totally initiated by God the first time, so creation (the second time, in Jesus) gets to be totally initiated by God. The Virgin Birth tells us that Jesus was not born “of the will of man”, but wholly of the Father’s initiative. God chose to by-pass the normal male role in the work of redemption, in part, so the logic goes, to signal his own headship. “Man as a creating, controlling, self-assertive, self-glorifying being was set aside in favor of a woman who listened, received, and served.” (From, A Step Further, by the author)

We honor the Virgin Birth, of course, because Scripture teaches it. But we can also see the logic behind it. God’s sovereign action is a challenge to the human psychological need to contribute to our own salvation, to be co-creators with God. Mary is a witness against the drive, push, and self-assertion that men especially (though not exclusively) associate with a healthy self-image and by which men often mask their own impotence.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmas* South Carolina* TheologyAnthropologyChristologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted January 1, 2015 at 4:40 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Carl F. H. Henry, the dean of evangelical theologians, argues that the Virgin Birth is the “essential, historical indication of the Incarnation, bearing not only an analogy to the divine and human natures of the Incarnate, but also bringing out the nature, purpose, and bearing of this work of God to salvation.” Well said, and well believed.

Nicholas Kristof and his secularist friends may find belief in the Virgin Birth to be evidence of intellectual backwardness among American Christians. But this is the faith of the Church, established in God’s perfect Word, and cherished by the true Church throughout the ages. Kristof’s grandfather, we are told, believed that the Virgin Birth is a “pious legend.” The fact that he could hold such beliefs and serve as an elder in his church is evidence of that church’s doctrinal and spiritual laxity — or worse. Those who deny the Virgin Birth affirm other doctrines only by force of whim, for they have already surrendered the authority of Scripture. They have undermined Christ’s nature and nullified the incarnation.

This much we know: All those who find salvation will be saved by the atoning work of Jesus the Christ — the virgin-born Savior. Anything less than this is just not Christianity, whatever it may call itself. A true Christian will not deny the Virgin Birth.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmas* TheologyAnthropologyChristologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted January 1, 2015 at 4:20 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It’s easy to forget the purpose of Christmas. This time of year we have so many things that can get in the way: commercialism, traditions, even family and church commitments.

To find the real purpose of Christmas, you have to fast forward from the shepherds, the wise men, and the dirty stable. We have to go to a statement Jesus made during his adult years about why he came: “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10 NIV).

The reason we celebrate Christmas is because Jesus came to Earth to seek and save the lost.

Jesus uses three stories in the gospel of Luke to demonstrate what it means to be lost: the parables of the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son. They teach us that when we’re disconnected from God, we lose....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmas* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyChristologySoteriology

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Posted January 1, 2015 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon



Great fun--watch it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmasLiturgy, Music, Worship* Culture-WatchTeens / Youth* General InterestHumor / Trivia

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Posted January 1, 2015 at 3:28 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon



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

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Posted January 1, 2015 at 2:29 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It's Christmas, that joyous time of year when the Mainstream Media (MSM) goes in search of apostate scholars to re-assure them that the gospel is all a bunch of hooey. Here's a recent piece that appeared on MSNBC.com called "What is the Real Christmas Story?" It's a roundtable discussion featuring a number of biblical scholars that looks at the tale of the Nativity as told by Matthew and Luke....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmas* Culture-WatchMediaReligion & Culture* TheologyChristologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted January 1, 2015 at 2:16 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Out of the thousand things which follow directly from this reading of John, I choose three as particularly urgent.

First, John’s view of the incarnation, of the Word becoming flesh, strikes at the very root of that liberal denial which characterised mainstream theology thirty years ago and whose long-term effects are with us still. I grew up hearing lectures and sermons which declared that the idea of God becoming human was a category mistake. No human being could actually be divine; Jesus must therefore have been simply a human being, albeit no doubt (the wonderful patronizing pat on the head of the headmaster to the little boy) a very brilliant one. Phew; that’s all right then; he points to God but he isn’t actually God. And a generation later, but growing straight out of that school of thought, I have had a clergyman writing to me this week to say that the church doesn’t know anything for certain, so what’s all the fuss about? Remove the enfleshed and speaking Word from the centre of your theology, and gradually the whole thing will unravel until all you’re left with is the theological equivalent of the grin on the Cheshire Cat, a relativism whose only moral principle is that there are no moral principles; no words of judgment because nothing is really wrong except saying that things are wrong, no words of mercy because, if you’re all right as you are, you don’t need mercy, merely ‘affirmation’....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmasParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* TheologyChristologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted January 1, 2015 at 2:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O Saviour of the world, who as on this day wast called Jesus, according to the word of the angel: Fulfill unto us, we beseech thee, the gracious promise of that holy name, and, of thy great mercy, save thy people from their sins; who, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, livest and reignest one God world without end.

--Irish Prayer Book

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

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Posted January 1, 2015 at 10:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O Almighty God, who hast given unto thy Son Jesus Christ the name which is above every name, and hast taught us that there is none other whereby we may be saved: Mercifully grant that as thy faithful people have comfort and peace in his name, so they may ever labour to publish it unto all nations; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

--Scottish Prayer Book

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

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Posted January 1, 2015 at 8:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O God of new beginnings and wonderful surprises, thank you for the gift of a new year. May it be a time of grace for me, a time to grow in faith and love, a time to renew my commitment to following Your Son, Jesus. May it be a year of blessing for me, a time to cherish my family and friends, a time to renew my efforts at work, a time to embrace my faith more fully. Walk with me, please, in every day and every hour of this new year, that the light of Christ might shine through me, in spite of my weaknesses and failings. Above all, may I remember this year that I am a pilgrim on the sacred path to You. Amen.

--Courtesy of Saint Agnes Cathedral, Rockville Centre, New York

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

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Posted January 1, 2015 at 8:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves


[click cogwheel lower right for HD and higher quality]

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

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Posted December 31, 2014 at 8:44 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

(A new carol written for the Choir of King's College, Cambridge in 2012)


Enjoy it all.

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

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Posted December 31, 2014 at 4:38 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Dickens and Disney’s Tiny Tims both hope that those who feel pity for a poor crippled boy in church “… will think of Him who made lame men walk” at Christmas time.

This was a lesson that Dickens meant for adults, as well as children.

There is no separating the generosity we owe to others from the generosity God has shown to us by sending his son to give us new hearts. Christmas shouldn’t just bring out the best in us once a year; it should transform our lives—as it did for Scrooge. Dickens knew where he wanted to end his story, and finished it accordingly:

“Some laughed to see the alteration in [Scrooge] but he let them laugh ... he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed that knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God bless us, every one!”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church of Australia* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmas* Culture-WatchBooksHistoryReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

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Posted December 31, 2014 at 4:14 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

There is only one God, brethren, and we learn about him only from sacred Scripture. It is therefore our duty to become acquainted with what Scripture proclaims and to investigate its teachings thoroughly. We should believe them in the sense that the Father wills, thinking of the Son in the way the Father wills, and accepting the teaching he wills to give us with regard to the Holy Spirit. Sacred Scripture is God's gift to us and it should be understood in the way that he intends: we should not do violence to it by interpreting it according to our own preconceived ideas.

God was all alone and nothing existed but himself when he determined to create the world. He thought of it, willed it, spoke the word and so made it. It came into being instantaneously, exactly as he had willed. It is enough then for us to be aware of a single fact: nothing is coeternal with God. Apart from God there was simply nothing else. Yet although he was alone, he was manifold because he lacked neither reason, wisdom, power, nor counsel. All things were in him and he himself was all. At a moment of his own choosing and in a manner determined by himself, God manifested his Word, and through him he made the whole universe.

When the Word was hidden within God himself he was invisible to the created world, but God made him visible. First God gave utterance to his voice, engendering light from light, and then he sent his own mind into the world as its Lord. Visible before to God alone and not to the world, God made him visible so that the world could be saved by seeing him. This mind that entered our world was made known as the Son of God. All things came into being through him; but he alone is begotten by the Father.

The Son gave us the law and the prophets, and he filled the prophets with the Holy Spirit to compel them to speak out. Inspired by the Father's power, they were to proclaim the Father's purpose and his will.

So the Word was made manifest, as Saint John declares when, summing up all the sayings of the prophets, he announces that this is the Word through whom the whole universe was made. He says: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. Through him all things came into being; not one thing was created without him. And further on he adds: The world was made through him, and yet the world did not know him. He entered his own creation, and his own did not receive him.

--from St. Hippolytus’ treatise against the heresy of Noetus

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

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Posted December 31, 2014 at 3:41 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

Some of the messages from around the Communion and the British Isles. Please leave other links you come across in the comments below. This post will be updated [in bold] as links are notified.

Other Seasonal posts:
Christmas on T19
Blog Open Thread: How, Where and With Whom are You Spending Christmas 2014?
London Fireworks 2015
NEW YEAR MESSAGES
Belize: Bishop Philip Wright
Canterbury: Archbishop Justin Welby
Kenya: Archbishop Eliud Wabukala report from NTV
Egypt: Archbishop Mouneer Anis and A Christmas Eve Surprise
Lagos: Bishop Adebola Ademowu
San Joaquin: Bishop Eric Menees
Singapore: Bishop Rennis Ponniah
West Malaysia: Bishop Moon Hing

Bishop of Blackburn
Bishop of Chichester
Bishop of Huntingdon
Bishop of Lichfield
Bishop of St Albans
Down and Dromore: Bishop Harold Miller

Ecumenical - New Year
Coptic Orthodox Church in the UK: General Bishop Angaelos
Roman Catholic: HH Pope Francis
Russian Orthodox Church: HH Patriarch Kirill
Metropolitan Hillarion

Ecumenical - Christmas
Coptic Orthodox Church: HH Pope Tawadros II
Ecumenical Patriarchate: H A-H Patriarch Bartholomew and Epiphany report
Russian Orthodox Church: HH Patriarch Kirill

CHRISTMAS MESSAGES FROM AROUND THE COMMUNION

Australia: Archbishop Glenn Davies of Sydney
text
Australian Bishops
Tazmania: Bishop John Harrower
Belize: Bishop Philip Wright
Canada: Bishop Charlie Masters, Moderator of ANiC
Archbishop Hiltz of ACoC
and video with National Bishop of ELC [no carol singing from them this year]
England: Archbishop Welby
Ghana: Archbishop Sarfo
Hong Kong: Archbishop Paul Kwong
Kenya: Archbishop Eliud Wabukala
Myanmar: Archbishop Stephen Than
South America: Archbishop Hector 'Tito' Zavala
South East Asia: Kuching: Archbishop Bolly Lapok
West Malaysia: Bishop Moon Hing
Southern Africa: Archbishop Thabo Makgoba
New Zealand: Archbishop Richardson at Oihi
Uganda: Archbishop Ntagali
and Advent video
US: Bishop Mark Lawrence of South Carolina - Christmas Eve Sermon
Mabel's Story
Archbishop Foley Beach of ACNA
Bishop Julian Dobbs of CANA
Bishop of Central Florida: Greg Brewer
Acting Bishop of Dallas - Bishop Paul Lambert
West Indies: Archbishop John Holder

CHRISTMAS MESSAGES FROM THE UK AND IRELAND

Archbishop of York
The Bishop of London
Bishop of Bath and Wells
Bishop of Birkenhead
Bishop of Bristol
Bishop of Blackburn
text
What #ChristmasMeans
Bishop of Carlisle
Bishop of Chester
Bishop of Chichester
Bishop of Coventry
Bishop of Durham
Bishop of Exeter
Christmas Sermon
Bishop of Leicester
Bishop of Lichfield:
Bishop of Liverpool and Daily Express Message
Bishop of Peterborough
Bishop of Sheffield
Bishop of Sherborne
Bishop of Truro
Bishop of Winchester
Diocese of Gibraltar in Europe - Bishop Robert Innis
text
Bishop of Beverley
Bishop of Ebbsfleet

Ireland: Archbishops [Anglican and Roman Catholic] of Armagh
Bishop of Down and Dromore
Archbishop of Dublin
Church in Wales bishops
Scotland: Primus

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

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Posted December 31, 2014 at 9:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Two high-profile TV adverts this season seem to point back to the sentiment of Dickens’ tale. Sainsbury’s sign off with the strap line ‘Christmas is for sharing’, whilst John Lewis prefer ‘Give someone the Christmas they’ve been dreaming of’. Behind the marketing strategy seems to be a genuine search for a more profound message to accompany the call to consume. Both are centred on sharing and people, not objects or wealth.

Margaret Oliphant, Scottish novelist and historical writer, wrote that A Christmas Carol ‘moved us all those days ago as if it had been a new gospel’. And its popularity and pertinence remain undimmed. But shining even brighter is the old Gospel – the ultimate story of second chances and redemption that is ready to move us again this Christmas and lead us to sharing it with others.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmas* Culture-WatchBooksHistoryReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

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Posted December 31, 2014 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Everything is turned upside down. Much to everyone’s astonishment it’s not Augustus who is the real son of God, the saviour who bring good news of peace – no, it’s Jesus. And the proclamation is made not in the public forum in front of the Roman citizens but to the shepherds on the hill sides, who were the social outcasts. And as the narrative unfolds Simeon and Anna proclaim that this child, Jesus, is the one who will become the saviour of God’s people, not Augustus or for that matter, any earthly ruler, especially those who govern by the sword and with violence.

Now so much of our celebration of Christmas has sanitized these insights. Take popular carols, such as ‘While shepherds watched their flocks by night’ or ‘O little town of Bethlehem’ which give us a romaticised, privatised interpretation of Christmas, which, though I love them too, have no little bearing on the world in all its pain and suffering. These carols give us a piety which is only about feeling an inner sense of peace. Now there is nothing wrong with feeling inner peace. It’s just that here in Luke chapter 2 the events are profoundly political. This is the Christ who is born into a country which has been occupied by foreign forces, where its people are oppressed and where he comes to bring peace founded in justice.

And so let’s return to where we started: that cold Christmas day in 1914 where peace broke for a few hours. It did not come from the politicians who were safely back in Blightly tucked up with their families in the warm with their turkey lunch. Peace did not come from the generals – they certainly didn’t order a cease fire. No, it came because ordinary soldiers, recalling the events of Christmas, put down their weapons and dared to venture out into no man’s land.

If we are going to find true peace in our world today, it will not come primarily through the politicians and certainly not through the soldiers who may keep the peace, but cannot alone establish it.

Peace will come when ordinary men and women like you and me, dare to climb out the trenches that we have dug to protect ourselves, the trenches of fear, of greed, of hatred. Can we show similar courage to that of the First World War soldiers who stuck their heads above the parapets?

Read it all.

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

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Posted December 31, 2014 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Sunnarborg, Fanfare Intro, Hark the herald angels sing by Arlan Sunnarborg

Just oh so uplifting--KSH.

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

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Posted December 31, 2014 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light;
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.
Ring out the grief that saps the mind,
For those that here we see no more,
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.
Ring out a slowly dying cause,
And ancient forms of party strife;
Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.

Ring out the want, the care the sin,
The faithless coldness of the times;
Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes,
But ring the fuller minstrel in.

Ring out false pride in place and blood,
The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease,
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring in the valiant man and free,
The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.

--Lord Alfred Tennyson (1809-1892)

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

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Posted December 31, 2014 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon



Wonderful stuff!

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmas* Culture-WatchMusic* General InterestHumor / Trivia

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Posted December 31, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O Almighty God, who by the birth of thy holy Child Jesus hast given us a great light to dawn upon our darkness: Grant, we pray thee, that in his light we may see light to the end of our days; and bestow upon us, we beseech thee, that most excellent Christmas gift of charity to all men, that so the likeness of thy Son may be formed in us, and that we may have the ever brightening hope of everlasting life; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

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Posted December 31, 2014 at 4:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It’s a story so strange we could not have dreamed it up by ourselves, this story of how God was incarnate in Jesus the Christ. An embarrassing pregnancy, a poor peasant couple forced to become undocumented immigrants in Egypt soon after the birth of their baby, King Herod’s slaughter of the Jewish boy babies in a vain attempt to put an end to this new “King,” From the beginning the story of Jesus is the strangest story of all. A Messiah who avoids the powerful and the prestigious and goes to the poor and dispossessed? A Savior who is rejected by many of those whom he sought to save? A King who reigns from a bloody cross? Can this one with us be God?

And yet Christians believe that this story, for all its strangeness, is true. Here we have a truthful account of how our God read us back into the story of God. This is a truthful depiction not only of who God really is but also of how we who were lost got found, redeemed, restored, and saved by a God who refused to let our rejection and rebellion (our notorious “God problem”) be the final word in the story.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmasParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesMethodist* TheologyChristology

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Posted December 31, 2014 at 3:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

This Gospel is so clear that it requires very little explanation, but it should be well considered and taken deeply to heart; and no one will receive more benefit from it than those who, with a calm, quiet heart, banish everything else from their mind, and diligently look into it. It is just as the sun which is reflected in calm water and gives out vigorous warmth, but which cannot be so readily seen nor can it give out such warmth in water that is in roaring and rapid motion.

Therefore, if you would be enlightened and warmed, if you would see the wonders of divine grace and have your heart aglow and enlightened, devout and joyful, go where you can silently meditate and lay hold of this picture deep in your heart, and you will see miracle upon miracle. But to give the common person a start and a motive to contemplate it, we will illustrate it in part, and afterwards enter into it more deeply.

First, behold how very ordinary and common things are to us that transpire on earth, and yet how high they are regarded in heaven. On earth it occurs in this wise: Here is a poor young woman, Mary of Nazareth, not highly esteemed, but of the humblest citizens of the village. No one is conscious of the great wonder she bears, she is silent, keeps her own counsel, and regards herself as the lowliest in the town. Shestarts out with her husband Joseph; very likely they had no servant, and he had to do the work of master and servant, and she that of mistress and maid, They were therefore obliged to leave their home unoccupied, or commend it to the care of others.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmasParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* TheologyChristologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted December 30, 2014 at 5:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Anti-Christian violence in 2014 saw a transformation from under-told news coverage, to routine reports of radical Islamists seeking to obliterate Christianity’s presence.

Religious freedom experts captured the dire situation of Middle Eastern Christians in comments on Friday to The Jerusalem Post.

"Persecution no longer adequately describes the treatment of Christians in a growing number of Muslim areas.

Religious cleansing, a type of cultural genocide, which is a crime against humanity, is the more accurate description.

Read it all (my emphasis).

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmas* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryMiddle East* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted December 30, 2014 at 4:20 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Till ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime,
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound
The carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
And made forlorn
The households born
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And in despair I bowed my head;
"There is no peace on earth," I said;
"For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!"

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men."

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmas* Culture-WatchHistoryPoetry & Literature* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

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Posted December 30, 2014 at 11:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

On the radio one time I heard a breathtaking African-American spiritual that I had never heard before. It had a question-and-answer format, or, rather, call-and-response:
What month was my Jesus born in? Last month of the year.

What month? January? No...February? No... March? No…

Last month of the year…

Born of the virgin Mary.

What does this suggest to you? I think it means that the tide of human possibility was running out. Month after month, we thought that we could fix whatever was wrong. New resolutions, new products, new leaders, new technology, new strategies, new medicines, new regimes—surely we can fix it. Month after month the statistics tell the story: better lives for rich Arab sheiks, worse lives for Chinese peasants. Better lives for Scandinavian welfare recipients, worse lives for Congolese children. Better conditions for Baghdad, worse for Kabul and Islamabad. Put your finger in the dike here, a leak springs over there. We look to the stars, we look to the earth, but for this word which we speak there is no dawn. Human potential has been explored to the nth power and it is a dead end.

What month was my Jesus born in? Last month of the year.

What month?

Last month of the year…

Born of the Virgin Mary.



What does this suggest? When the tide of human possibility has run out, divine intervention take its place....

Read it all.

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

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Posted December 30, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Listen to it all (about 17 1/2 minutes).

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

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Posted December 30, 2014 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Saint John has described the character of Jesus in just two words, grace and truth. He said Jesus was "full of grace and truth...."

How would someone describe you? Are you strong on truth but weak on grace- quick to judge and slow to forgive? A whole lot of people are. Or are you strong on grace and weak on truth? A whole lot of people are. But grace without truth is not grace, it’s denial.

It’s easy to fall off the slippery slop in one direction or another. In our marriages, parenting, our work places, and even in ministries there is often a lot of one but not much of the other.

Look at our churches. Some churches are deeply immersed in truth, but awfully thin on grace. One of the greatest novels ever written, in my humble opinion, is The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Talk about a story of truth with no grace. Mistress Hester Prynne was sentenced to wear the scarlet letter, (an A for adultery), as a mark of shame upon her breast all the days of her life until the letter be engraved upon her tombstone. If she entered a church, trusting to share a comforting word from God, it was often her mishap to find herself the text of the sermon.

How sad that accurately describes many churches today- a lot of law, a lot of truth, but thin on grace. There is a story of a clergyman who had an argument with a vestryman about whether a young man who had a bad reputation should be made welcome in the church. Finally the minister said, "Well, didn’t the Lord forgive the woman taken in adultery?" "Yes," replied the old gentleman, "but I don’t think any more of him for having done it." And so it is with many churches- strong on truth, but weak on grace.

And on the flip side, there are many churches that cheat people out of truth, churches that vow never to offend, to make everybody feel good and comfortable. It may feel good and comfortable, it may sound like sacred tolerance, but there is no abiding peace there. There is no new life, no liberation, no transformation.

I knew a man who once asked a much younger woman to marry him, but with a pre-nuptial agreement. In the pre-nuptial it was stated that she was not suppose to nag him about his drinking. She agreed, and little by little, instead of speaking the truth in love she sat by and watched him die of alcohol. Now it could be argued that she stuck nobly to the agreement, but it could also be argued that she lived a marriage of no truth.

Read it all.

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

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Posted December 30, 2014 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Moonless darkness stands between.
Past, the Past, no more be seen!
But the Bethlehem-star may lead me
To the sight of Him Who freed me
From the self that I have been.
Make me pure, Lord: Thou art holy;
Make me meek, Lord: Thou wert lowly;
Now beginning, and alway:
Now begin, on Christmas day.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmas* Culture-WatchHistoryPoetry & Literature

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Posted December 30, 2014 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon



Listen to it all.

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

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Posted December 30, 2014 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“The purpose of religious language…is to evoke an attitude...”

You may need to enlarge the page to see it better; I sure did; KSH.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmas* Culture-WatchBooks* TheologyApologeticsChristology

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Posted December 30, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O God, who hast given us grace at this time to celebrate the birth of our Saviour Jesus Christ: We laud and magnify thy glorious name for the countless blessings which he hath brought unto us; and we beseech thee to grant that we may ever set forth thy praise in joyful obedience to thy will; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

--Scottish Prayer Book

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

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Posted December 30, 2014 at 4:22 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Come to your heaven, you heavenly quires!
Earth hath the heaven of your desires;
Remove your dwelling to your God,
A stall is now His best abode;
Sith men their homage do deny,
Come, angels, all their faults supply.

His chilling cold doth heat require,
Come, seraphim, in lieu of fire;
This little ark no cover hath,
Let cherubs' wings his body swathe;
Come, Raphael, this babe must eat,
Provide our little Toby meat.

Let Gabriel be now His groom,
That first took up His earthly room;
Let Michael stand in His defence,
Whom love hath link'd to feeble sense;
Let graces rock when He doth cry,
And angels sing this lullaby.

The same you saw in heavenly seat,
Is He that now sucks Mary's teat;
Agnize your King a mortal wight,
His borrow'd weed lets not your sight;
Come, kiss the manger where He lies;
That is your bliss above the skies.

This little babe so few days old,
Is come to rifle Satan's fold;
All hell doth at His presence quake,
Though He Himself for cold do shake;
For in this weak unarmèd wise
The gates of hell He will surprise.

With tears He fights and wins the field,
His naked breast stands for a shield,
His battering shot are babish cries,
His arrows, looks of weeping eyes,
His martial ensigns, cold and need,
And feeble flesh His warrior's steed.

His camp is pitchèd in a stall,
His bulwark but a broken wall,
The crib His trench, hay-stalks His stakes,
Of shepherds He His muster makes;
And thus, as sure His foe to wound,
The angels' trumps alarum sound.

My soul, with Christ join thou in fight;
Stick to the tents that He hath pight;
Within His crib is surest ward,
This little babe will be thy guard;
If thou wilt foil thy foes with joy,
Then flit not from this heavenly boy.

--Robert Southwell

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

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Posted December 29, 2014 at 5:02 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

When rightly understood, the imaginatively compelling story of the birth of Jesus of Nazareth was about God entering the world, in order to redeem it.

Lewis explored this theme in a remarkable sermon that he preached in a London church during the Second World War. He had learnt how to dive in 1930. Although he initially saw this simply as an enjoyable, exhilarating experience, Lewis began to realise its potential as an analogy for what he was coming to see as a core theme of the Christian faith — the incarnation.

Lewis invited his audience to imagine a diver plunging into the water to retrieve a precious object. As he goes deeper, the water changes from “warm and sunlit” to “pitch black” and “freezing”. Then, his “lungs almost bursting”, he goes down into the “mud and slime”, before finally heading back up to the surface, triumphantly bearing the lost object. God “descended into his own universe, and rose again, bringing human nature up with him”.

Read it all (subscription required) [this is quoted in the sermon in the previous post].

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmas* Culture-WatchBooksHistory* TheologyChristology

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Posted December 29, 2014 at 4:31 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The picture of the Bethlehem mother distraught over the slaughter of her infant son will be mirrored as Mary observes her son die upon a cross. And here at last the sorrows of Bethlehem’s mothers —and of David for his dead sons—and of Job for his dead children—are finally answered. For here death itself is overcome. “And indeed, how could Rachel be answered otherwise?” Persson writes. “What mother would be satisfied with anything less than the unworking of her child’s death? Rachel refuses to be comforted, because comfort is not what she wants. She does not want comfort; she wants her children.”

It’s the story of Bethlehem’s mothers. It’s the story of David, grieving his dead sons. It’s the story of Job, mourning the death of his children. And it’s our story too—the story of all of us who grieve and weep and mourn.“We, with Job, wait—still with the tears of Rachel—for the time at the end of the eschaton when every tear will be wiped away,” Persson writes. “That time is not yet, and so there are still tears. There are tears, and it is Christmas. But this—this hope—is why we can sing. Not because there is no suffering, not because there is no Rachel, not because there are no slaughtered innocents, whose blood indeed cries out in their feast during the season of Christmas. No, it is not because these things are not, but because He—Christ—is.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmasParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchChildren* TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted December 29, 2014 at 3:34 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I believe the hardest job in America today is that of being a Roman Catholic parish priest.

Perhaps the most challenging single job this year is that of Archbishop Alfred C. Hughes of New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The spiritual leader of 500,000 people in one of the most heavily Roman Catholic regions in the United States, Hughes, according to the New York Times, had to put together a diocese "in exile." The task was to reorganize the Archdiocese, including a charitable network and 104 parochial schools, inBaton Rouge. Can you imagine?

"I never thought the Lord was going to ask me to take this on at 72," said the Archbishop. Indeed.
And here is where faith in the child in the manger comes in. Looking out at all the flooding, devastation, looting and loss, the reporter asked Alfred Hughes whether he still had hope.

He declared: "Absolutely. Absolutely. That is the root of our faith."

"The most important thing is to not doubt God's presence and God's saving and transforming grace," he continued. "I'm convinced that God is going to purify us through this."

What a bracing affirmation in the midst of so many who are tempted to soften Christmas into a Hallmark Card these days. "In the bleak midwinter," Christine Rosetti reminds us, "frosty wind made moan, earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone."

Talk about bleak — how about New Orleans after Katrina? Yet the good Archbishop says "I am convinced." If there can be light in the bleakness of Bethlehem, in the miry initial despair of New Orleans after such a fury of nature, there can ALWAYS be hope. For the light shines in the darkness at Christmas, and the darkness has not and never will overcome it.

--The Rev. Canon Dr. Kendall S. Harmon from 2005

Filed under: * By Kendall* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmas

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Posted December 29, 2014 at 11:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I don’t know what peo­ple do who cel­e­brate Christ­mas with­out the Lord Jesus. They must feel ter­ri­bly empty when they wake up the next day with presents unwrapped, the food eaten and life back to nor­mal. No won­der the doc­tors say so many folk get depressed dur­ing the hol­i­days. I think peo­ple have for­got­ten that Love came down at Christ­mas. God’s Love! God’s Son—our Sav­ior! He did not grow up out of this ancient world of ours as if he was the best we had to offer. No, dear friends, He came down from heaven—God looked down and saw our need and so He sent His Son. That is why we call him, Immanuel, “God with us”. It is odd how you learn new things about that. Twelve years ago when my hus­band died it was my first Christ­mas in 54 years with­out my dar­ling Hank. I was all alone in my liv­ing room and I said, “Lord, I don’t think I can go on. I’m so alone.” Then the room seemed to grow unusu­ally quiet and the Lord seemed to say to me, “Mabel—you are not alone—always there will be two of us. Oth­ers may leave but I will stay.” That’s what Christ­mas means to me. God is with us—God is with me.

So go ahead. Dec­o­rate your trees and houses. I sup­pose it puts us all in a more cheer­ful mood. Give the chil­dren their gifts. Fill your stom­achs with all the deli­cious foods. But lis­ten to an old lady, if only for a moment. Sooner or later a per­son has to real­ize he is not going to live for­ever. No mat­ter how hard we try to live upstand­ing lives there is a lot we do in this life for which we need to be for­given. When we stand before God’s judg­ment every­one needs a Sav­ior. Besides there is more than once in a man’s or woman’s life she stands before a cross­road and doesn’t know what path to take. If you don’t have a Sav­ior and Lord at these times you’re rud­der­less. You’re like a boat adrift on the open sea. You’re like that boy, Daniel, out in a boat in the wild ocean waves look­ing for his dead father. Look—I’m swim­ming out to the lamp post to hold out this ram­bling let­ter to you like some ragged and torn umbrella for some poor soul to grab hold of ‘less he miss Christ­mas alto­gether. It is the least I can do for my Lord who is with me even when Christ­mas is over. I know I’ve ram­bled on but I do want to wish you and yours a Merry Christ­mas and a God-filled New Year!

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmasParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* TheologyChristologySoteriology

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Posted December 29, 2014 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon



Watch and listen to it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmasLiturgy, Music, Worship* Culture-WatchEducationReligion & CultureYoung Adults* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

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Posted December 29, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A little girl is singing for the faithful to come ye
Joyful and triumphant, a song she loves,
And also the partridge in a pear tree
And the golden rings and the turtle doves.....

Read it all.

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

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Posted December 29, 2014 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I'm always so glad every year for the 12 days of the Christmas Season- we need time to ponder the mystery and the glory of the incarnation--KSH.

Filed under: * By Kendall* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmas

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Posted December 29, 2014 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...I have chosen this text with some fear and trembling that I would do an injustice to it by treating it with one sermon. But I choose it for two reasons. One is that it is a great Christmas passage. The key verse that shows this Christmas orientation is verse 14: "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us." This is the meaning of Christmas. God has come into the world, born of virgin, in the person of Jesus Christ. The second reason I have chosen this text is because it is so full of particular truths about Jesus Christ that we desperately need to know and embrace.

This is especially important today because, as I said last week during my welcome, even the major non-Christian religions of the world are speaking these days as though they esteem and honor and, in some sense, believe in Jesus. You hear this especially, these days, from Muslim leaders who want to draw the fact that they even honor Jesus more than we do because they do not think God would allow him to suffer the ignominious death of a criminal on the cross. So it is crucial that Christians know Jesus Christ very well, and can tell the difference between the Christ of the Bible and the Christ which other religions claim to honor.

So what I would like to do with this great paragraph about Jesus Christ, written by the one who knew him on earth more intimately than anyone else, the apostle John, is to point out and explain and exult over five truths concerning the Word made flesh, and then contrast two starkly different responses that you might give to him this morning. My aim is that you might see him for who he is and be moved to receive Him as your Lord and your God and your all-surpassing Treasure. And if you have already received Him, I pray that you will embrace him, and treasure him and delight in him and follow him and display Him more than you ever have.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmasParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* TheologyChristologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted December 29, 2014 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Listen to it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmas* Culture-WatchMusic

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Posted December 29, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O Holy Jesus, who to deliver us from the power of darkness didst deign to be born as a child and laid in a manger: Let the light of thy love shine evermore in our hearts, and make us an offering meet for thine honour; who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end.

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

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Posted December 29, 2014 at 4:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Sickness relieved is a beautiful thing. A heart attack treated takes the elephant off the chest and leaves a smile. A child made well, a broken bone splinted, a wound closed, a tooth numbed, an abscess opened are among the reasons that physicians, at least at first, decide to walk among the sick.

However, we poor doctors, with our paltry degrees and bags of tricks, can only do a little. We merely treat the symptoms. He treated the disease. He brought an end to it all with his birth, death and resurrection. No more sin, no more death. He offered every patient the cure, free of charge, with no need for insurance or cash.

How it must feel to be him! Not to cure the broken bones, but to offer healing to the broken hearts. Not to excise the tumor, but to remove the guilt. Not to bypass the heart, but to replace it with a new one.

At Christmas, we celebrate the child. How blessed we are that he walked among us, knew our every disease, then grew up to become the only physician qualified to heal us.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmas* Culture-WatchHealth & Medicine* TheologyChristology

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Posted December 28, 2014 at 4:45 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Martin Luther (in his Larger Catechism, 1529) said he felt sad for those who follow faiths other than Christianity. Even though they might worship the one, true God, they had no way of knowing God’s attitude toward them. “They cannot be confident of his love and blessing,…” because they do not know God Incarnate. The Incarnation not only tells us who God is but also God’s intentions for us.

I asked a distinguished new church planter what virtue he most admired in a potential new church planter.

A robust theology of the Incarnation,” he replied. “Only someone who believes that God is relentlessly reaching out to save the world has the drive to birth a new church.

Read it all (emphasis mine).

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

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Posted December 28, 2014 at 4:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

But the object of divine action in the Incarnation is man. God’s free decision is and remains a gracious decision; God becomes man, the Word becomes flesh. The Incarnation means no apparent reserved, but a real and complete descent of God. God actually became what we are, in order actually to exist with us, actually to exist for us, in thus becoming and being human, not to do what we do-sin; and to do what we fail to do–God’s, His own, will; and so actually, in our place, in our situation and position to be the new man. It is not in His eternal majesty–in which He is and remains hidden from us–but as this new man and therefore the Word in the flesh, that God’s Son is God’s revelation to us and our reconciliation with God. Just for that reason faith cannot look past His humanity, the cradle of Bethlelhem and the cross of Golgotha in order to see Him in His divinity, Faith in the eternal Word of the Father is faith in Jesus of Nazereth or it is not the Christian faith.

--Karl Barth (1886-1968)

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

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Posted December 28, 2014 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

For those who think the idea of the Crusade is one that spoils the idea of the Cross, we can only say that for them the idea of the Cross is spoiled; the idea of the cross is spoiled quite literally in the cradle. It is not here to the purpose to argue with them on the abstract ethics of fighting; the purpose in this place is merely to sum up the combination of ideas that make up the Christian and Catholic idea, and to note that all of them are already crystallised in the first Christmas story. They are three distinct and commonly contrasted things which are nevertheless one thing; but this is the only thing which can make them one.

The first is the human instinct for a heaven that shall be as literal and almost as local as a home. It is the idea pursued by all poets and pagans making myths; that a particular place must be the shrine of the god or the abode of the blest; that fairyland is a land; or that the return of the ghost must be the resurrection of the body. I do not here reason about the refusal of rationalism to satisfy this need. I only say that if the rationalists refuse to satisfy it, the pagans will not be satisfied. This is present in the story of Bethlehem and Jerusalem as it is present in the story of Delos and Delphi; and as it is not present in the whole universe of Lucretius or the whole universe of Herbert Spencer.

The second element is a philosophy larger than other philosophies; larger than that of Lucretius and infinitely larger than that of Herbert Spencer. It looks at the world through a hundred windows where the ancient stoic or the modern agnostic only looks through one. It sees life with thousands of eyes belonging to thousands of different sorts of people, where the other is only the individual standpoint of a stoic or an agnostic. It has something for all moods of man, it finds work for all kinds of men, it understands secrets of psychology, it is aware of depths of evil, it is able to distinguish between ideal and unreal marvels and miraculous exceptions, it trains itself in tact about hard cases, all with a multiplicity and subtlety and imagination about the varieties of life which is far beyond the bald or breezy platitudes of most ancient or modern moral philosophy. In a word, there is more in it; it finds more in existence to think about; it gets more out of life. Masses of this material about our many-sided life have been added since the time of St. Thomas Aquinas. But St. Thomas Aquinas alone would have found himself limited in the world of Confucius or of Comte.

And the third point is this; that while it is local enough for poetry and larger than any other philosophy, it is also a challenge and a fight. While it is deliberately broadened to embrace every aspect of truth, it is still stiffly embattled against every mode of error. It gets every kind of man to fight for it, it gets every kind of weapon to fight with, it widens its knowledge of the things that are fought for and against with every art of curiosity or sympathy; but it never forgets that it is fighting. It proclaims peace on earth and never forgets why there was war in heaven.

This is the trinity of truths symbolised here by the three types in the old Christmas story; the shepherds and the kings and that other king who warred upon the children. It is simply not true to say that other religions and philosophies are in this respect its rivals. It is not true to say that any one of them combines these characters; it is not true to say that any one of them pretends to combine them. Buddhism may profess to be equally mystical; it does not even profess to be equally military. Islam may profess to be equally military; it does not even profess to be equally metaphysical and subtle. Confucianism may profess to satisfy the need of the philosophers for order and reason; it does not even profess to satisfy the need of the mystics for miracle and sacrament and the consecration of concrete things.

There are many evidences of this presence of a spirit at once universal and unique. One will serve here which is the symbol of the subject of this chapter; that no other story, no pagan legend or philosophical anecdote or historical event, does in fact affect any of us with that peculiar and even poignant impression produced on us by the word Bethlehem. No other birth of a god or childhood of a sage seems to us to be Christmas or anything like Christmas. It is either too cold or too frivolous, or too formal and classical, or too simple and savage, or too occult and complicated. Not one of us, whatever his opinions, would ever go to such a scene with the sense that he was going home. He might admire it because it was poetical, or because it was philosophical, or any number of other things in separation; but not because it was itself. The truth is that there is a quite peculiar and individual character about the hold of this story on human nature; it is not in its psychological substance at all like a mere legend or the life of a great man. It does not exactly in the ordinary sense turn our minds to greatness; to those extensions and exaggerations of humanity which are turned into gods and heroes, even by the healthiest sort of hero-worship. It does not exactly work outwards, adventurously, to the wonders to be found at the ends of the earth. It is rather something that surprises us from behind, from the hidden and personal part of our being; like that which can some times take us off our guard in the pathos of small objects or the blind pieties of the poor. It is rather as if a man had found an inner room in the very heart of his own house, which he had never suspected; and seen a light from within. It is as if he found something at the back of his own heart that betrayed him into good. It is not made of what the world would call strong materials; or rather it is made of materials whose strength is in that winged levity with which they brush us and pass. It is all that is in us but a brief tenderness that is there made eternal; all that means no more than a momentary softening that is in some strange fashion become a strengthening and a repose; it is the broken speech and the lost word that are made positive and suspended unbroken; as the strange kings fade into a far country and the mountains resound no more with the feet of the shepherds; and only the night and the cavern lie in fold upon fold over something more human than humanity.

--–The Everlasting Man (Radford, Virginia: Wilder Publications, 2008 paperback ed. of the 1925 original), pp. 114-116

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

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Posted December 28, 2014 at 3:35 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Therefore, brethren, may this be the result of my admonition, that you understand that in raising your hearts to the Scriptures (when the gospel was sounding forth, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God,” and the rest that was read), you were lifting your eyes to the mountains. For unless the mountains said these things, you would not find out how to think of them at all. Therefore from the mountains came your help, that you even heard of these things; but you cannot yet understand what you have heard. Call for help from the Lord, who made heaven and earth; for the mountains were enabled only so to speak as not of themselves to illuminate, because they themselves are also illuminated by hearing. Thence John, who said these things, received them—he who lay on the Lord’s breast, and from the Lord’s breast drank in what he might give us to drink. But he gave us words to drink. Thou oughtest then to receive understanding from the source from which he drank who gave thee to drink; so that thou mayest lift up thine eyes to the mountains from whence shall come thine aid, so that from thence thou mayest receive, as it were, the cup, that is, the word, given thee to drink; and yet, since thy help is from the Lord, who made heaven and earth, thou mayest fill thy breast from the source from which he filled his; whence thou saidst, “My help is from the Lord, who made heaven and earth:” let him, then, fill who can. Brethren, this is what I have said: Let each one lift up his heart in the manner that seems fitting, and receive what is spoken. But perhaps you will say that I am more present to you than God. Far be such a thought from you! He is much more present to you; for I appear to your eyes, He presides over your consciences. Give me then your ears, Him your hearts, that you may fill both. Behold, your eyes, and those your bodily senses, you lift up to us; and yet not to us, for we are not of those mountains, but to the gospel itself, to the evangelist himself: your hearts, however, to the Lord to be filled. Moreover, let each one so lift up as to see what he lifts up, and whither. What do I mean by saying, “what he lifts up, and whither?” Let him see to it what sort of a heart he lifts up, because it is to the Lord he lifts it up, lest, encumbered by a load of fleshly pleasure, it fall ere ever it is raised. But does each one see that he bears a burden of flesh? Let him strive by continence to purify that which he may lift up to God. For “Blessed are the pure in heart, because they shall see God.”

Read it all.

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Posted December 28, 2014 at 3:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

This mediator must represent God to humankind, and humankind to God. He must have points of contact with both God and humanity, and yet be distinguishable from them both….the central Christian idea of the incarnation, which expresses the belief that Jesus is both God and man, divine and human, portrays Jesus as the perfect mediator between God and human beings. He, and he alone, is able to redeem us and reconcile us to God.

--"I Believe": Exploring the Apostles' Creed ( Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1998), p.48

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Posted December 28, 2014 at 3:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O NIGHT DIVINE from Eliot Rausch + Phos Pictures on Vimeo.



Another Vimeo resource to like; watch and listen to it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmas* Culture-WatchBlogging & the InternetMusicTheatre/Drama/Plays

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Posted December 28, 2014 at 2:42 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon



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Posted December 28, 2014 at 2:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon



Filed under: * By KendallHarmon Family* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmas* Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & Family* General InterestPhotos/Photography

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Posted December 28, 2014 at 1:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Gospel is not that Jesus Christ comes to earth, tells us how to live, we live a good life and then God owes us blessing. The Gospel is that Jesus Christ came to earth, lived the life we should have lived and died the death we should have died—so when we believe in Him, we live a life of grateful joy for Him. If these things didn’t happen, if they’re just parables, what you are saying is that if you try hard enough, God will accept you.

If Jesus didn’t come, the story of Christmas is one more moral paradigm to crush you. If Jesus didn’t come, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere around these Christmas stories that say we need to be sacrificing, we need to be humble, we need to be loving. All that will do is crush you into the ground. Because if it isn’t true that John saw Him, heard Him, felt Him, that Jesus really came to do these things, then Christmas is depressing.

First John 1:3 says, “Our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son.” “Fellowship” means that if Jesus Christ has come, if Christmas is true, then we’ve got a basis for a personal relationship with God. God is no longer a remote idea or a force we cower before, but we can know Him personally. He’s become graspable.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmas* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyChristologySoteriology

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Posted December 28, 2014 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Behold the father is his daughter’s son,
The bird that built the nest is hatched therein,
The old of years an hour hath not outrun,
Eternal life to live doth now begin,
The Word is dumb, the mirth of heaven doth weep,
Might feeble is, and force doth faintly creep.

O dying souls, behold your living spring;
O dazzled eyes, behold your sun of grace;
Dull ears, attend what word this Word doth bring;
Up, heavy hearts, with joy your joy embrace.
From death, from dark, from deafness, from despairs
This life, this light, this Word, this joy repairs.
Gift better than himself God doth not know;
Gift better than his God no man can see.
This gift doth here the giver given bestow;
Gift to this gift let each receiver be.
God is my gift, himself he freely gave me;
God’s gift am I, and none but God shall have me.

Man altered was by sin from man to beast;
Beast’s food is hay, hay is all mortal flesh.
Now God is flesh and lies in manger pressed
As hay, the brutest sinner to refresh.
O happy field wherein that fodder grew,
Whose taste doth us from beasts to men renew.

----Robert Southwell (1561-1595)

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Posted December 28, 2014 at 6:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

From here:
Whatever the coming of the kingdom means, it cannot mean that the healing, reconciling, non-combative Christ we know was an imposter, just biding his time until he could beat down his enemies under his feet. From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence. If we seek the kingdom by violence, then the violent will bear it away.

I don’t know why we would be disappointed to discover that Christ comes again as he came the first time—working through small things, not big things, among little people, not powerful people, with local effect, not cosmic effect—except that we find great armies on thundering horses a more adequate display of power. I don’t know why we would be disappointed to discover that the kingdom of heaven operates under the sign of the cross just as the Coming One did, except that we have always been disappointed by God’s reluctance to give us the kind of world, the kind of life, the kind of savior we want.

“And blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me,” he said, knowing better than anyone the disappointing, redemptive ways in which God works--sending a human child into the world instead of a mighty king, sending servants instead of troops--sending people like you and me instead of real disciples to do the work of the Coming One until he comes, for in just this way the kingdom of heaven draws very, very near.


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

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Posted December 28, 2014 at 6:14 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Out of the thousand things which follow directly from this reading of John, I choose three as particularly urgent.

First, John’s view of the incarnation, of the Word becoming flesh, strikes at the very root of that liberal denial which characterised mainstream theology thirty years ago and whose long-term effects are with us still. I grew up hearing lectures and sermons which declared that the idea of God becoming human was a category mistake. No human being could actually be divine; Jesus must therefore have been simply a human being, albeit no doubt (the wonderful patronizing pat on the head of the headmaster to the little boy) a very brilliant one. Phew; that’s all right then; he points to God but he isn’t actually God. And a generation later, but growing straight out of that school of thought, I have had a clergyman writing to me this week to say that the church doesn’t know anything for certain, so what’s all the fuss about? Remove the enfleshed and speaking Word from the centre of your theology, and gradually the whole thing will unravel until all you’re left with is the theological equivalent of the grin on the Cheshire Cat, a relativism whose only moral principle is that there are no moral principles; no words of judgment because nothing is really wrong except saying that things are wrong, no words of mercy because, if you’re all right as you are, you don’t need mercy, merely ‘affirmation’.

That’s where we are right now; and John’s Christmas message issues a sharp and timely reminder to re-learn the difference between mercy and affirmation, between a Jesus who both embodies and speaks God’s word of judgment and grace and a home-made Jesus (a Da Vinci Code Jesus, if you like) who gives us good advice about discovering who we really are. No wonder John’s gospel has been so unfashionable in many circles. There is a fashion in some quarters for speaking about a ‘theology of incarnation’ and meaning that our task is to discern what God is doing in the world and do it with him. But that is only half the truth, and the wrong half to start with. John’s theology of the incarnation is about God’s word coming as light into darkness, as a hammer that breaks the rock into pieces, as the fresh word of judgment and mercy. You might as well say that an incarnational missiology is all about discovering what God is saying No to today, and finding out how to say it with him. That was the lesson Barth and Bonhoeffer had to teach in Germany in the 1930s, and it’s all too relevant as today’s world becomes simultaneously, and at the same points, more liberal and more totalitarian. This Christmas, let’s get real, let’s get Johannine, and let’s listen again to the strange words spoken by the Word made flesh.

Read it all.

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

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Posted December 28, 2014 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It may seem strange to suggest that part of leading well is helping people see the connection between Christmas and Easter. But it is. For without this connection, Christians have no reason for their joy. Our commercialization of Christmas tries to isolate Christmas, to make it stand on its own apart from Easter. This is a recipe only for sadness.

Of course, practically speaking, it is hard to lead when morose, and it may be even harder to follow a morose leader. More deeply, however, joy is the final response Christians can have to the world in which we live, and especially during Advent and Christmas, leaders need to understand why we can rejoice and why our institutions can be places of joy.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmasEaster* TheologyChristologySoteriology

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Posted December 28, 2014 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O Holy Jesus, who to deliver us from the power of darkness didst deign to be born as a child and laid in a manger: Let the light of thy love shine evermore in our hearts, and make us an offering meet for thine honour; who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end.

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

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Posted December 28, 2014 at 5:29 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

From here:
Jesus Christ. Offices.—He alone had to create a great people, elect, holy, and chosen; to lead, nourish, and bring it into the place of rest and holiness; to make it holy to God; to make it the temple of God; to reconcile it to, and save it from the wrath of God; to free it from the slavery of sin, which visibly reigns in man; to give laws to this people, and engrave these laws on their heart; to offer Himself to God for them, and sacrifice Himself for them; to be a victim without blemish, and Himself the sacrificer, having to offer Himself, His body, and His blood, and yet to offer bread and wine to God…


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

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Posted December 27, 2014 at 4:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A crucial event for the church’s confession of the doctrine of the Incarnation came at the Council of Chalcedon (A.D.451), when the church countered both the Nestorian idea that Jesus was two personalities—the Son of God and a man—under one skin, and the Eutychian idea that Jesus’ divinity had swallowed up his humanity. Rejecting both, the council affirmed that Jesus is one divine-human person in two natures (i.e., with two sets of capacities for experience, expression, reaction, and action); and that the two natures are united in his personal being without mixture, confusion, separation, or division; and that each nature retained its own attributes. In other words, all the qualities and powers that are in us, as well as all the qualities and powers that are in God, were, are, and ever will be really and distinguishably present in the one person of the man from Galilee. Thus the Chalcedonian formula affirms the full humanity of the Lord from heaven in categorical terms.

The Incarnation, this mysterious miracle at the heart of historic Christianity, is central in the New Testament witness. That Jews should ever have come to such a belief is amazing. Eight of the nine New Testament writers, like Jesus’ original disciples, were Jews, drilled in the Jewish axiom that there is only one God and that no human is divine. They all teach, however, that Jesus is God’s Messiah, the Spirit-anointed son of David promised in the Old Testament (e.g., Isa. 11:1-5; Christos, “Christ,” is Greek for Messiah). They all present him in a threefold role as teacher, sin-bearer, and ruler—prophet, priest, and king. And in other words, they all insist that Jesus the Messiah should be personally worshiped and trusted—which is to say that he is God no less than he is man. Observe how the four most masterful New Testament theologians (John, Paul, the writer of Hebrews, and Peter) speak to this.

John’s Gospel frames its eyewitness narratives (John 1:14; 19:35; 21:24) with the declarations of its prologue (1:1-18): that Jesus is the eternal divine Logos (Word), agent of Creation and source of all life and light (vv. 1-5, 9), who through becoming “flesh” was revealed as Son of God and source of grace and truth, indeed as “God the only begotten” (vv. 14, 18; NIV text notes). The Gospel is punctuated with “I am” statements that have special significance because I am (Greek: ego eimi) was used to render God’s name in the Greek translation of Exodus 3:14; whenever John reports Jesus as saying ego eimi, a claim to deity is implicit. Examples of this are John 8:28, 58, and the seven declarations of his grace as (a) the Bread of Life, giving spiritual food (6:35, 48, 51); (b) the Light of the World, banishing darkness (8:12; 9:5); (c) the gate for the sheep, giving access to God (10:7, 9); (d) the Good Shepherd, protecting from peril (10:11, 14); (e) the Resurrection and Life, overcoming our death (11:25); (f) the Way, Truth, and Life, guiding to fellowship with the Father (14:6); (g) the true Vine, nurturing for fruitfulness (15:1, 5). Climactically, Thomas worships Jesus as “my Lord and my God” (20:28). Jesus then pronounces a blessing on all who share Thomas’s faith and John urges his readers to join their number (20:29-31).

--Concise Theology: A Guide To Historic Christian Beliefs (Tyndale House, 2011), pp. 105-106

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

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Posted December 27, 2014 at 3:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Listen to it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmasLiturgy, Music, Worship* Culture-WatchHistoryMusic

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Posted December 27, 2014 at 3:02 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all beginning here on page 7.

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

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Posted December 27, 2014 at 12:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I behold a new and wondrous mystery! My ears resound to the Shepherd's song, piping no soft melody, but chanting full forth a heavenly hymn.

The Angels sing!

The Archangels blend their voices in harmony!

The Cherubim hymn their joyful praise!

The Seraphim exalt His glory!

All join to praise this holy feast, beholding the Godhead here on earth, and man in heaven. He who is above, now for our redemption dwells here below; and he that was lowly is by divine mercy raised.

Bethlehem this day resembles heaven; hearing from the stars the singing of angelic voices; and in place of the sun, enfolds within itself on every side the Sun of Justice.

And ask not how: for where God wills, the order of nature yields. For He willed, he had the power, He descended, He redeemed; all things move in obedience to God.

This day He Who Is, is Born; and He Who Is becomes what He was not. For when He was God, He became man; yet not departing from the Godhead that is His. Nor yet by any loss of divinity became He man, nor through increase became he God from man; but being the Word He became flesh, His nature, because of impassibility, remaining unchanged.

And so the kings have come, and they have seen the heavenly King that has come upon the earth, not bringing with Him Angels, nor Archangels, nor Thrones, nor Dominations, nor Powers, nor Principalities, but, treading a new and solitary path, He has come forth from a spotless womb.

Yet He has not forsaken His angels, nor left them deprived of His care, nor because of His Incarnation has he departed from the Godhead.

And behold,

Kings have come, that they might adore the heavenly King of glory;
Soldiers, that they might serve the Leader of the Hosts of Heaven;
Women, that they might adore Him Who was born of a woman so that He might change the pains of child-birth into joy;
Virgins, to the Son of the Virgin, beholding with joy, that He Who is the Giver of milk, Who has decreed that the fountains of the breast pour forth in ready streams, receives from a Virgin Mother the food of infancy;
Infants, that they may adore Him Who became a little child, so that out of the mouth of infants and sucklings, He might perfect praise;
Children, to the Child Who raised up martyrs through the rage of Herod;
Men, to Him Who became man, that He might heal the miseries of His servants;
Shepherds, to the Good Shepherd Who has laid down His life for His sheep;
Priests, to Him Who has become a High Priest according to the order of Melchisedech;
Servants, to Him Who took upon Himself the form of a servant that He might bless our servitude with the reward of freedom;
Fishermen, to Him Who from amongst fishermen chose catchers of men;
Publicans, to Him Who from amongst them named a chosen Evangelist;
Sinful women, to Him Who exposed His feet to the tears of the repentant;


And that I may embrace them all together, all sinners have come, that they may look upon the Lamb of God Who taketh away the sins of the world.

Since therefore all rejoice, I too desire to rejoice. I too wish to share the choral dance, to celebrate the festival. But I take my part, not plucking the harp, not shaking the Thyrsian staff, not with the music of pipes, nor holding a torch, but holding in my arms the cradle of Christ.

For this is all my hope, this my life, this my salvation, this my pipe, my harp. And bearing it I come, and having from its power received the gift of speech, I too, with the angels, sing:

Glory to God in the Highest; and with the shepherds:
and on earth peace to men of good will


--From Antioch in 386 A.D.

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

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Posted December 27, 2014 at 12:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Come, ye sinners, poor and wretched,
Weak and wounded, sick and sore;
Jesus ready stands to save you,
Full of pity join’d with power:
He is able, he is able, he is able;
He is willing; doubt no more.

Ho! ye needy, come and welcome;
God’s free bounty glorify:
True belief and true repentance,
Every grace that brings you nigh,
Without money, without money,
without money,
Come to Jesus Christ and buy!

Come, ye weary, heavy-laden,
Bruis’d and mangled by the Fall;
If you tarry till you’re better,
You will never come at all:
Not the righteous, not the righteous,
not the righteous;
Sinners, Jesus came to call.

View Him prostrate in the garden,
Lo! your Maker prostrate lies!
On the bloody tree behold Him,
Hear Him cry before He dies,
It is finished! It is finished! It is finished!
Sinner, will not this suffice?

Lo! the incarnate God, ascended,
Pleads the merit of His blood;
Venture on Him, venture wholly,
Let no other trust intrude:
None but Jesus, none but Jesus,
none but Jesus,
Can do helpless sinners good.

–Joseph Hart (1712-1768)

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmasLiturgy, Music, Worship* Culture-WatchPoetry & Literature

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Posted December 27, 2014 at 11:35 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The holly and the mistletoe must be taken down and burnt,
And the children got ready for school. There are enough
Left-overs to do, warmed-up, for the rest of the week --
Not that we have much appetite, having drunk such a lot,
Stayed up so late, attempted -- quite unsuccessfully --
To love all of our relatives, and in general
Grossly overestimated our powers. Once again
As in previous years we have seen the actual Vision and failed
To do more than entertain it as an agreeable
Possibility, once again we have sent Him away,
Begging though to remain His disobedient servant,
The promising child who cannot keep His word for long.

The Christmas Feast is already a fading memory,
And already the mind begins to be vaguely aware
Of an unpleasant whiff of apprehension at the thought
Of Lent and Good Friday which cannot, after all, now
Be very far off.
Read it all (my emphasis).

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmas* Culture-WatchHistoryPoetry & Literature

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Posted December 27, 2014 at 11:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

in thus being laid in a manger, he did, as it were, give an invitation to the most humble to come to him. We might tremble to approach a throne, but we cannot fear to approach a manger. Had we seen the Master at first riding in state through the streets of Jerusalem with garments laid in the way, and the palm-branches strewed, and the people crying, "Hosanna!" we might have thought, though even the thought would have been wrong, that he was not approachable. Even there, riding upon a colt the foal of an ass, he was so meek and lowly, that the young children clustered about him with their boyish "Hosanna!" Never could there be a being more approachable than Christ. No rough guards pushed poor petitioners away; no array of officious friends were allowed to keep off the importunate widow or the man who clamored that his son might be made whole; the hem of his garment was always trailing where sick folk could reach it, and he himself had a hand always ready to touch the disease, an ear to catch the faintest accents of misery, a soul going forth everywhere in rays of mercy, even as the light of the sun streams on every side beyond that orb itself. By being laid in a manger he proved himself a priest taken from among men, one who has suffered like his brethren, and therefore can be touched with a feeling of our infirmities. Of him it was said "He doth eat and drink with publicans and sinners;" "this man receiveth sinners and eateth with them." Even as an infant, by being laid in a manger, he was set forth as the sinner's friend. Come to him, ye that are weary and heavy-laden! Come to him, ye that are broken in spirit, ye who are bowed down in soul! Come to him, ye that despise yourselves and are despised of others! Come to him, publican and harlot! Come to him, thief and drunkard! In the manger there he lies, unguarded from your touch and unshielded from your gaze. Bow the knee, and kiss the Son of God; accept him as your Savior, for he puts himself into that manger that you may approach him. The throne of Solomon might awe you, but the manger of the Son of David must invite you.

...Methinks there was yet another mystery. You remember, brethren, that this place was free to all...

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmasParish MinistryAdult EducationMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* TheologyChristologySoteriologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted December 27, 2014 at 10:24 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]




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