Posted by Kendall Harmon

O Christ, the King of Glory, who through the everlasting gates didst ascend to thy Father’s throne, and open the Kingdom of heaven to all believers: Grant that, whilst thou dost reign in heaven, we may not be bowed down to the things of earth, but that our hearts may be lifted up whither thou, our redemption, art gone before; 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 SeasonsAscensionPentecostSpirituality/Prayer

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Almighty and merciful God, into whose gracious presence we ascend, not by the frailty of the flesh but by the activity of the soul: Make us ever by thy inspiration to seek after the courts of the heavenly city, whither our Saviour Christ hath ascended, and by thy mercy confidently to enter them, both now and hereafter; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

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Posted May 19, 2015 at 4:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O God, whose dearly beloved Son was, by thy mighty power, exalted that he might prepare a place in thy kingdom of glory for them that love thee: So lead and uphold us, O merciful Lord, that we may both follow the holy steps of his life here upon earth, and may enter with him hereafter into thy everlasting rest; that where he is, we may also be; through the merits of the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

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Posted May 18, 2015 at 4:21 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

This day in the church year—the Sunday in-between the Ascension and Pentecost—is given to us as a reminder of what it means to be a Spirit-filled disciple of Jesus: our life as Spirit-filled disciples is a life of (1) clinging to the Spirit’s testimony about what Christ has accomplished, (2) a life of suffering in the world, and (3) a life of doing good to our neighbors.

First, we cling to the Spirit’s testimony. Today’s prayer anticipates Pentecost, the giving of the Holy Spirit: “Leave us not without consolation but send us the Spirit of truth.” The Holy Spirit’s consolation is precisely in testifying about Jesus.

What are the specifics of the Holy Spirit’s comfort (or, consolation)? The devil and your own conscience will frighten you because of your sins; the world will hate your confession of the faith, your morals and your piety. That you must expect. But the Holy Spirit comforts us by pointing us to Christ. He won’t make your wallet fat, but He will enable you to say, “When I have lost everything—spouse, children, house, car, possessions, reputation, even my own life—yes, when all that is gone, still Jesus Christ for my sake was made man, died and rose again, and ascended into heaven. He is coming at the last day for me. If God’s Son suffered for me, He will certainly not be my enemy. Since He loves me and has given me such great promises, then I have everything” [Adapted from Luther].

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsAscensionPentecostParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* TheologyEcclesiologyTheology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology)Theology: Scripture

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Posted May 17, 2015 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O God, whose blessed Son, our great High Priest, has entered once for all into the holy place, and ever liveth to intercede on our behalf: Grant that we, sanctified by the offering of his body, may draw near with full assurance of faith by the way which he has dedicated for us, and evermore serve thee, the living God; through the same thy Son our Lord Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee, O Father, and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end.

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

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Posted May 17, 2015 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Believing that Jesus was raised from the dead is fundamental to Christian faith. Writing to the Corinthians, Paul stated his conviction starkly: “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile.” There are plenty of people today who would agree with him, but give his logic a reverse twist. They dismiss the idea of resurrection as wishful thinking. Jesus has not been raised. Those who believe it are deluded and their faith is indeed futile. Yet many believe it still. These seven weeks between Easter and Pentecost are given over to celebrating it. What is being celebrated?

First of all, it may help to realise that Jesus’s resurrection is not simply the next thing that happened to him. It is not as though he died on the Friday, lay in the tomb on the Saturday, and rose on the Sunday. James Alison has expressed the point effectively by supposing that Holy Saturday was Jesus’s birthday. And so he imagines that Jesus was 33 when he was killed on Good Friday. But, he goes on, “he was not 34 when he rose on Easter Sunday. He was not any age at all. He was his whole human life and death given back to God.” In his resurrection, the whole of who Jesus is taken up and brought to its fulfilment. His resurrection takes hold even of his death and transforms it. The one who was raised has not been cured of being slaughtered. When, according to the Fourth Gospel, Thomas placed his hand into the wound in Jesus’s side in the upper room eight days after Jesus had been raised, he did not find a scab forming. The risen Lord is the crucified Jesus.

A second outstanding feature in all the Gospel accounts is the lack of any immediate appearance of the risen Jesus....

Read it all.

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

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Posted May 16, 2015 at 11:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In an effort not just to “play” church, but to “be” church, we began Maundy Thursday by having dinner with the homeless on upper Meeting Street. That dinner made the whole night “real: and set the tone for worship...

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsHoly WeekParish Ministry* Theology

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Posted May 16, 2015 at 10:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The power that comes is to be given away not hung onto; Jesus was no Mugabe clinging to power. There would be no public glory or acclaim, merely hard work and sacrifice, like most of those who serve the church round the world today. I spoke to someone yesterday working for reconciliation in a civil war, whose name will never be known outside the circles of his own friends – yet he carries a cross of suffering for Christ.

Put like that it makes the worst of any recent party manifesto looks like words of gold, to which people would flock by contrast. Few would be elected on the manifesto of Jesus, surely?

Yet the church grew at such a rate, despite opposition and suffering, that 300 years later the Empire that had casually swiped away the life of Jesus with the sort of attention we might give to a mosquito, found itself honouring and converting to the faith. The same disciples who beforehand seem foolish and act only in their own interests, were willing to lay down their lives, confident in the promises of God, the Kingdom of God and the triumph of Christ.

Read it all.

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

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Posted May 15, 2015 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O Glorious Christ, who in thy ascension didst enter into thy kingdom: Remember, we pray thee, the countless millions who have not heard of the redemption which thou hast won for them. Grant that they may learn, through thy Church, of the new and living way which thou hast opened for them. Let them draw near in fullness of faith, to enter with thee into the holy place of the Father’s presence, and receive forgiveness and peace. So may they worship, with the innumerable company of angels and with the spirits of just men made perfect, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, one God, blessed for evermore.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsAscensionMissionsParish MinistryEvangelism and Church GrowthSpirituality/Prayer

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

Read it all.

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

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Posted May 14, 2015 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Glory to our ascended Lord, that he is with us always.
Glory to the Word of God, going forth with his armies, conquering and to conquer.
Glory to him who has led captivity captive, and given gifts for the perfecting of his saints.
Glory to him who has gone before to prepare a place in his Father’s home for us.
Glory to the author and finisher of our faith; that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory and dominion now and for evermore.

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

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Posted May 14, 2015 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As you can imagine, there's no shortage of fine choral music to celebrate the feast of Our Lord's Ascension says music historian Monsignor Philip Whitmore. He suggests we listen is a piece of 20th century organ music written as an extended meditation and an uplifting motet for double choir by English composer Sir Charles Villiers Stanford.

Read and listen to it all.

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

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Posted May 14, 2015 at 6:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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


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

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Posted May 14, 2015 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

Read it all.

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

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Posted May 14, 2015 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Additionally, early Christians were not, as is commonly assumed, bound to a three-tier vision of the universe, i.e., heaven, hell, and earth.
[W]hen the Bible speaks of heaven and earth it is not talking about two localities related to each other within the same space-time continuum or about a nonphysical world contrasted with a physical one but about two different kinds of what we call space, two different kinds of what we call matter, and also quite possibly (though this does not necessarily follow from the other two) two different kinds of what we call time.
So heaven and earth, understood in this way, are two dimensions of the same reality. They “interlock and intersect in a whole variety of ways even while they retain, for the moment at least, their separate identities and roles.” Combine this with the doctrine of the ascension and we do not have a Jesus who floats up into a heaven “up there” but disappears into a reality we cannot yet see. Because heaven and earth are not yet joined Jesus is physically absent from us. At the same time he is present with us through the Holy Spirit and the sacraments, linkages where the two realities meet in the present age.

Read it all.

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

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Posted May 14, 2015 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

This day was Christs perfect triumph over the Devil, Leading captivity captive, Ephes. 4. 8. This day He opened the kingdom of Heaven to all believers, as we say daily in the Te Deum. See S. John 3. 13. Acts 2. 24. Heb. 10. 23. His flesh opened that passage, in that he deserved to enter there first: For when he was taken up on high, then he opened the Gates of Heaven Chrysost. upon that place of the Hebrews. Therefore the Church appoints for this day the 24. Psalm. Lift up your heads O ye gates, and be ye lift up ye everlasting doors, and the King of glory shall come in. This day gives us hopes of Heaven, in that our flesh in the first-fruits is thither ascended. For if God had not intended some great good to our nature, he would not have received the first-fruits up on high: Christ taking the first-fruits of our nature, this day carried it up to God, and by those first-fruits, hath made the whole stock to be sanctified. And the Father highly esteemed the gift, both for the worthiness of him that offered it up, and for the purity of the offering, so as to receive it with his own hands, and to set it at his right hand. To what Nature was it that God said, Sit thou on my right hand? To the same, to which formerly he had said, dust thou art, and to dust thou shalt return. This gift went far beyond the loss; Paradise was the place from which we fell; but we were this day carried up to heaven, and mansions are there provided for us, Chrys. in diem. Christ ascended up into heaven in the sight of his Disciples, that they and we might assuredly believe, that we should follow, and not deem it impossible for us body and soul, to be translated thither; Cypr. in diem.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsAscensionLiturgy, Music, Worship--Book of Common Prayer* Theology

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Posted May 14, 2015 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In the Wakefield mystery play for the Feast of the Ascension, the apostle Philip calls out to Christ: “Lord, if it be thi will, / shew vs thi fader we the pray; / we have bene with the in good and ill, / and sagh hym neuer nyght ne day.” To which Jesus points out that whoever sees him sees the Father—but a moment later Jesus is gone, and Mary keens, “All myghty god, how may this be? / a clowde has borne my childe to blys; / Now bot that I wote [know] wheder is he, / my hart wold breke, well wote I this.”

If it is fitting for the disciples and Mary, it is fitting for us to be puzzled by the ascension. As John Henry Newman puts it in an Ascension Day sermon, “This, indeed, is our state at present; we have lost Christ and we have found Him; we see Him not, yet we discern Him.” There are no footprints in the sky, but, as Newman says, the ascension of Christ “is a sure token that heaven is a certain fixed place, and not a mere state.” By the same token, the ascension means that embodied human nature—Christ’s donkey—has a place in heaven. However strange a picture, however stupidly it causes us to stare at the sky, Christ’s promise to prepare a place for his members means nothing less than this: a future life in which, as Dylan Thomas puts it, we “shall have stars at elbow and foot”—and the whole universe (or multiverse, if you prefer) will reveal its secrets, confess its lord, and give us welcome. Hard to believe? The idea was no more probable for ancient science than it is for modern; yet with a robust view of the Creator’s authority over creation, it is just barely conceivable.

Read it all.

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

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Posted May 14, 2015 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

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

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Posted May 14, 2015 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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Posted May 14, 2015 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

--Frederick B. Macnutt

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

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Posted May 14, 2015 at 4:42 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

--Henry Alford

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

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Posted May 14, 2015 at 4:21 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O Lord, who hast called us to fight under the banner of thy cross against the evil of the world, the flesh and the devil: Grant us thy grace, that clothed in purity and equipped with thy heavenly armour, we may follow thee as thou goest forth conquering and to conquer, and steadfast to the last we may share in thy final triumph; who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end.

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

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Posted May 7, 2015 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsEasterSpirituality/Prayer* International News & CommentaryAsiaIndia

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Posted May 5, 2015 at 4:21 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O Lord, we most humbly beseech thee to give us grace not only to be hearers of the Word, but also doers of the same; not only to love, but also to live thy gospel; not only to profess, but also to practise thy blessed commandments, unto the honour of thy holy name.

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

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Posted May 3, 2015 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O Lord Jesus Christ, who hast promised in thy holy gospel that thy disciples shall know the truth, and the truth shall make them free: Give us, we pray thee, the Spirit of truth, sent by thee and leading to thee, that we may find the truth in finding thee, who art the Way, the Truth, and the Life, for ever and ever.

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

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Posted April 28, 2015 at 4:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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Posted April 27, 2015 at 4:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O Father of lights, with whom there is no variableness, nor shadow of turning; who abidest steadfast as the stars of heaven: Give us grace to rest upon thy eternal changelessness, and in thy faithfulness find peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

--Daily Prayer

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

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Posted April 26, 2015 at 7:28 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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Posted April 24, 2015 at 4:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Almighty God, who art worshipped by the heavenly host with hymns that are never silent and thanksgivings that never cease: Fill our mouths with thy praise that we may worthily magnify thy holy name for all the wonderful blessings of thy love, and chiefly in this season for the resurrection of thy Son; and grant us, with all those that fear thee and keep thy commandments, to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom with thee and the Holy Ghost may praise from all the world be given, now and for evermore.

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

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Posted April 22, 2015 at 4:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Listen to it all (MP3).

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

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Posted April 20, 2015 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O God our Father, who hast taught us that our citizenship is in heaven, and hast called us to tread a pilgrim’s path here on earth: Guide us, we pray thee, on our journey through this world to the Celestial City; defend us from the perils that await us in the way; give us grace to endure faithfully to the end; and at the last bring us to thy eternal joy; through the mercy of thy Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

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

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Posted April 20, 2015 at 4:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

With all of these resources to scour for good hymns, I devoted a fair bit of time (and a bit of money) in recent weeks to significantly increase my Easter hymn and classical music collection and creating a great Easter hymns & classical anthems playlist.

So, in case it’s a blessing and encouragement and helpful resource, here is a current list of 70 favorite Easter hymns. For each hymn I provide details for the version that’s in my playlist (artist, album, purchase link). I have not included details on composers, tune or lyrics. In most cases you will find that information at Hymnary.org or the Cyber Hymnal.

For some hymns, I’ve included links to some alternate versions, including alternate tunes, instrumental versions, or contemporary renditions. There are a few modern hymns included – such as In Christ Alone. The majority of these hymns are from the Anglican tradition, but I’ve thrown in a few Evangelical / Gospel type hymns as well.

Read it all.

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

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Posted April 19, 2015 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Look, we beseech thee, O Lord, upon the people of this land who are called after thy holy name, that they may ever walk worthy of their Christian profession. Grant unto us all that, laying aside our divisions, we may be united in heart and mind to bear the burdens which are laid upon us, and be enabled by patient continuance in well-doing to glorify thy name; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

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Posted April 19, 2015 at 5:28 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

So why did the early Christians use the word resurrection to describe what they believed had happened to Jesus? The large package of heaven-sent renewal expected by many Jews, including the general resurrection, had not occurred. Pilate, Caiphas, and Herod were still ruling. Injustice, misery, oppression, and death were still features of life for Jews and everyone else. Nor were Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David, and the prophets alive again. From that point of view, “the resurrection” expected by Jesus’ contemporaries had obviously not occurred.

And yet they said that it had—and proceeded to built a new worldview, a significant variation from within contemporary Judaism, on this belief. “The resurrection,” as something that has already happened that must now determine life, faith, prayer, and thought, dominates a good deal of the New Testament: the early Christians really did believe that they were living in the “age to come” for which Israel had longed, the time of forgiveness of sins, the gift of the Spirit, when the Gentiles would be brought in to worship the one God of Israel. The “present age” was still continuing, but the “age to come” had been inaugurated.

We see the same pattern if we ask the vital question: why did the early church believe and declare that Jesus was the messiah? Other would-be messiahs executed by the authorities were thereby forever discredited: a messiah was supposed to lead Israel to liberation from the pagans and to rebuild the temple, not die in pagan hands, leaving the temple still in the grip of Israel’s oppressive pseudoaristocrats. Other groups whose messiah was killed faced a choice: either find a new messiah, or give up the revolution. We have evidence of both patterns. Declaring that God had raised one’s messiah from the dead was not an option. First-century Jews do not seem to have had time or mental energy to indulge in that peculiar twentieth-century phenomenon, cognitive dissonance, believing that something is still true when events have in fact disproved it. Life was too short and hard for fantasy.

Read it all.

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

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Posted April 18, 2015 at 11:28 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O gracious and holy Father, give us wisdom to perceive thee, diligence to seek thee, patience to wait for thee, eyes to behold thee, a heart to meditate upon thee, and a life to proclaim thee; through the power of the Spirit of Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

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Posted April 18, 2015 at 7:28 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Saint Mary Magdalene had a reason for undying gratitude. So had Saint Peter. So had the other disciples. The life with Him before the Crucifixion had given them new selves and a new world. Then came the dismay and the darkness. Then came the joy and the light. He was the joy and the light. He had come back. They were glad when they saw Him. This is the whole story of the first Easter.

After Easter they literally walked in newness of life. They were manifestly new persons. They left their former lives on one side of the Cross. They took up new lives on the other side of the Cross. The former things had passed away. All things had become new. The former sins dropped away. Our Lord never mentioned them. Their former weaknesses were not remembered. They were transformed by the power of the Resurrection. Our Lord trusted them with responsibilities and duties in His Kingdom. They never doubted nor hesitated. They believed in their forgiveness. They accepted their transformation. They were frankly happy. They were wonderfully peaceful. They belonged to Our Lord and they knew it. The power of His resurrection made spiritual giants of them all. So they went from strength to strength through the Great Forty Days of Eastertide. So they were prepared for Ascensiontide. When the day of Pentecost came, they were ready for it.

Our Lord expects us to do what they did. We can do it. We are His disciples. We have our share in the power of His resurrection. We need have no fear of being presumptious in this matter, because we are trusting Him, not ourselves. We trust in the power of His resurrection to make us new creatures. “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Read it all and before you do see if you can guess the author.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsEasterParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* TheologyChristologyEschatologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted April 17, 2015 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O gracious Lord, Who as at this time, didst raise Thy Son Jesus Christ with power from the grave, raise us up, we beseech Thee, from the death of sin to the life of righteousness; Revive our faith, and make us followers of Him Who hath taken away the “sin of the world; Who by His death hath destroyed death, and by His rising to life again hath restored to us everlasting life.” Hear us, O merciful Father, we pray Thee, for the sake of our risen Saviour, to Whom, with Thee and the Holy Ghost, be all honour and glory, world without end.

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

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Posted April 17, 2015 at 4:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O Thou, who didst manifest thyself in the breaking of bread to thy disciples at Emmaus: Grant us ever through the same blessed sacrament of thy presence to know thee, and to love thee more and more with all our hearts. Abide with us, O Lord, that we may ever abide in thee; for thy tender mercy’s sake.

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

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Posted April 16, 2015 at 4:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Love is a very powerful motivator. Their love had made them brave, but now it seemed there was nothing left to love. Even Jesus’ body was gone and the manifestation of love they’d intended was redundant. Love had brought these remarkable women back to the tomb that first Easter morning, but now, in the midst of their confusion, they ran and said nothing.

Except, of course, at some point they must have stopped running and told their story because it is their story we’ve heard this morning, their story that is recorded and honoured in Scripture, their story that gives account of the greatest demonstration of love ever known. ‘This is what love really is’, we heard in the letter of John, ‘not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his son … to atone for our sin’. And the story of that first Easter morning from Mary of Magdala, Mary the mother of James, and Salome, shows us the dumbfounding extent of God’s love.

‘He has been raised’ the women are told. And eventually it is that good news that filters through to them, and renews their courage. Jesus was not where they expected because he is alive, victor over death and sin, and he’s gone ahead to where he promised, to be with us always. God’s love, made flesh in Jesus of Nazareth, experienced the fear we all know and overcame it.

These women, the first to witness the empty tomb are not listed among the disciples nor named as apostles, but, in their faithful following of Jesus to the bitter end and in the fulfilment of their commission to go and tell, they are both.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsEasterParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyChristologyEschatologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted April 15, 2015 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Resurrection is the 2nd chance event that separates Christianity from all other religions. No one in Islam believes Jesus died on a cross. Such a fate would be unthinkable for a deity. Hindu’s and Buddhists think the death and resurrection of Jesus is unbecoming to an enlightened sage. But Jesus dies to give us a second chance in this life and the next life.

Read it all.

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

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Posted April 14, 2015 at 4:20 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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Posted April 14, 2015 at 4:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The western church typically criticises the eastern view for having a “free lunch” view of salvation. No pain, no gain, insists Anselm. The eastern church says that the west fetishises suffering and is more committed to some iron logic of cosmic necessity than to God for whom all things are possible.

Atheists such as Alexis Tsipras, the Greek leader, may think both of these are fantasies. But for present purposes that’s beside the point. It’s worth recognising that these two completely different stories support two contrasting moral worldviews and different attitudes towards economics in general and capitalism in particular. Tsipras – like me – is very much more in the Greek Orthodox camp when it comes to salvation. And the Lutheran minister’s daughter Angela Merkel is very much in the western one. He wants to leap free from death-dealing debt. She believes it must be paid back, no matter how much blood and pain is involved.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsEaster* Economics, PoliticsEconomyEuroEuropean Central BankThe Banking System/SectorForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEuropeGermanyGreece* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesOrthodox ChurchRoman Catholic* TheologyChristologyEschatologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted April 13, 2015 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O Lord God, who hast revealed in holy Scripture what conquests faith has made both in doing, and in suffering: Grant us no smaller faith than that which overcometh the whole world, that Jesus thy Son is God, very God from the beginning, the First and the Last, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, world without end.

--Daily Prayer

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

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Posted April 13, 2015 at 4:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Preaching and worshipping on Easter Sunday is more fun and exciting than preaching and worshipping on the so-called “Low-Sunday” just a week later. We, some of us, like Thomas, have trouble believing that which we can’t see. We hear that Jesus brought abundant life through the cross, and on Easter Sunday that is so apparent, but what we see all too quickly is the wilting reality of a fallen world in the midst of groaning. Jesus is the firstfruits of the Resurrection, but we who are waiting in anticipation of the redemption of our bodies, must believe even when we can’t see.

This week, when I read about and saw the video of the tragic shooting of Walter Scott in North Charleston, I felt myself, almost literally, groaning. This reminder of that which is still bent and unredeemed in this world takes a toll. And what is most troubling is that it reminds me that it’s not just a problem out there, but there are so many aspects of my own heart, mind, and body that are, as yet, still bent and unredeemed. I believe in the resurrection, but I still see that something is wrong, and need help with my occasional unbelief. We still struggle in fear. We still live with distrust. We still seek our own gain above the needs of others. We still see death.

We grieve. We groan. We wait, BUT we also hope. Jesus is in fact the firstfruits of the Resurrection. Our adoption as sons and daughters will be made complete, and we will see the redemption of our bodies. It is a now, but not yet, reality on which we can and must stand even when we can’t see clearly, and as believers in the resurrection, our calling is to act in ways that defy what’s visible, but that give glimpses of the Kingdom the risen Lord has established. I saw this very unreasonable kind of behavior on my TV screen the other night as I watched, in awe and wonder, the powerful Christian witness of Mr. Scott’s family as they declared their forgiveness and sang songs of hope and praise to the Lord in their living room even as the grief was still etched in their eyes. They grieved as those who have hope. I pray that we all will join them in grieving, groaning, waiting, and also hoping.

Risen Lord Jesus, bring peace, justice, and full redemption to our community, and let it begin with us. Amen.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsEasterParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* South Carolina* TheologyChristologyEschatology

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Posted April 12, 2015 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

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

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

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Posted April 12, 2015 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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Posted April 12, 2015 at 4:50 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I cannot find words adequate to admire the gift offered to Thomas there in the upper room, nor to emphasise how important it is to claim it. Faith cannot bypass the world's realities. We are creatures of the world, constituted by our worldly senses and understanding. True faith can only be a faith in the world's destiny, a faith that encounters the world's horrors, its hatred, despair and cruelty, and sees beyond them to a risen life. God has entered this world, has owned it, has suffered it, and has reconciled it to himself.

And if it is always important that faith should repose on its evidences, it is all the more so for us in our day. Our lines are cast in a social world unique in human history for ruling out the transcendent, a world that conceives itself as unlocked in laboratories and described in statistics. This is the world that has taught us how to think, and if we think at all, we shall ask candidly of our Christian faith, "Can we square it with reality as we experience it?"

If we try to run away from the question, it will chase us. The only way of dealing with it is to confront it. But if we ask ourselves carefully and persistently what is given to experience - in history, tradition, culture, science, affection, responsibility, duty - we shall find that all that confirms it.

Read it all.

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

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Posted April 11, 2015 at 3:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

You can listen directly here or download the MP3 there.

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

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Posted April 11, 2015 at 9:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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Posted April 11, 2015 at 7:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Jesus sends Mary Magdalen to find the disciples because together they can create the interaction that is needed for making the music of Christian faith. Worship, singing the Easter alleluia, praising God, demands the formation of a community. Ultimately of its very nature, demands the inclusion of others. As a faith statement in sound it expresses what we do in holy communion, sharing in the one bread and the common cup, tasting the food of heaven in a context that is never private, though always personal, for it unites us with all other participants on earth.

As long ago as the 4th century St Gregory Nazianzus observed that “God has made humanity the singer of his radiance” – that’s an amazing claim about the capacity to convey the glory of God through music – ‘singers of his radiance’. And although worship will always be the context in which this capacity becomes most fully evidence, as it gives praise to God – the very meaning of Alleluia – let’s not limit the outpouring of humanity’s potential. The Orthodox writer Paul Evdokimov outlines the greater scope of bringing all our gifts, knowledge and imagination into the activity of worship:
“In the eternal liturgy of the future age, human beings will sing the glory of the Lord through all the cultural elements that have passed through the fire of the final purifications. But already here and now, people in community, scientists, artists, etc,...celebrate their own liturgy where Christ’s presence is manifested…Like talented iconographers they sketch a completely new reality by using the material of this world…and in this new reality the mysterious face of the Kingdom [of God] slowly begins to shine through.”
Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsEasterLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* TheologyChristologyEschatologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted April 10, 2015 at 7:28 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O Lord God of our fathers, who didst of old deliver thy people from the prison-house of Egypt through the paschal sacrifice: Mercifully grant that we thy new Israel, redeemed by the precious blood of Christ, may be set free from the bondage of evil and serve thee henceforth in the joy and power of the resurrection; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ, who ever liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end.

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

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Posted April 10, 2015 at 4:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsEaster* Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & Family* TheologyChristologyEcclesiologyEschatologyPastoral Theology

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Posted April 9, 2015 at 4:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“He became what we are so that we can be what he is.”
St Athanasius (296-373 AD)

“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
2 Corinthians 5. 21

Two images dominate western art. You can see them in every art gallery in Europe and in the stained glass windows of every church. One depicts a child in his mother’s arms. The other shows a young man dying on a cross.

The Christian faith says this child and this man are the same person. They say that he is God come down to earth.

Read it all.

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

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Posted April 9, 2015 at 3:10 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In the eyes of most young people, the status quo has been tried and found wanting. Something far more worthwhile and exciting is needed.

The Prime Minister tried to offer a grander vision with the notion of the Big Society. It sounded promising, but seems to have petered out.

Gordon Brown, when he was Chancellor of the Exchequer, bravely attempted to define British values, but little came of it.

Worthwhile values are not vague aspirations, but hard won and enduring moral and ethical principles which shape national policies and personal behaviour.

The truth which needs to be told, and of which politicians of all hues fight shy, is that the origin of the United Kingdom’s moral direction is grounded in the Bible.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of York John Sentamu* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsEaster

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Posted April 9, 2015 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon



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

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

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Posted April 9, 2015 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Easter Spoken Word from Grace Chapel Teaching Team on Vimeo.

Watch and listen to it all carefully from Grace Church, Lexington, Massachusetts

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsEasterLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish Ministry* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyChristologyEschatologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted April 9, 2015 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Someone once asked me if I thought the resurrection was necessary. He meant it in the most sincere way, as a person of both faith and doubt who wondered if we needed to be bound by so unreasonable a proposition that Jesus’ tomb was, in fact, empty on that first Easter morning.

I hesitated in answering, because there seemed to be layers of argument behind the question. My answer was yes, resurrection is the foundation of Christian faith, but probably not in the way he meant it.

To say that resurrection is essential doesn’t mean that if someone were to discover a tomb with Jesus’ remains in it that the entire enterprise would come crashing down. The truth is that we don’t know what happened to Jesus after his death, anymore than we can know what will happen to us. What we do know from the stories handed down is how Jesus’ followers experienced his resurrection. What we know is how we experience resurrection ourselves.

Read it all from 2013.

I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

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


Posted April 8, 2015 at 3:50 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As I am in the US for the first time in many years, I find myself longing for the simplicity of Maua, Kenya, during Easter time. There Easter has none of the commercial trappings we find here. As I enter grocery stores, discount stores, and department stores I am shocked at the amount of space taken by the Easter candy, bunnies and stuffed animals, baskets, decorations, and new spring clothing. These items take more space than any grocery store has for all their goods in Maua.

I recently read that an estimated $2 billion will be spent on Easter candy this year in the US. Two billion dollars to celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, who asked us to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, give water to the thirsty, house the homeless, care for the sick and imprisoned, and welcome the stranger.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsEaster* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spending* International News & CommentaryAfricaKenyaAmerica/U.S.A.

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Posted April 8, 2015 at 3:11 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Watch and listen to it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsEasterLiturgy, Music, Worship* Culture-WatchHistory* TheologyChristologyEschatology

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Posted April 8, 2015 at 2:02 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Listen to it all (starts about 1 minute in).

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

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Posted April 8, 2015 at 12:58 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsEaster

3 Comments
Posted April 8, 2015 at 11:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Living Spirit Ministry in Swissvale chose to inaugurate its newest worship space today, when most churches celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

“It was natural we would start a new endeavor on Easter Sunday,” said its pastor, the Rev. Dai Morgan.

To be sure, it’s a modest space — a new rented storefront in place of its previous one — and the small congregation’s finances are still as marginal as that of many members.

But the church has weathered many changes, so Rev. Morgan plans to preach on new beginnings. “I’m also going to go back to the basic theological point of view that our whole faith is based on the resurrection,” he said.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsEasterParish Ministry* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted April 8, 2015 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O Lord God Almighty, whose blessed Son our Saviour Jesus Christ did on the third day rise triumphant over death: Raise us, we beseech thee, from the death of sin unto the life of righteousness, that we may seek those things which are above, where he sitteth on thy right hand in glory; and this we beg for the sake of the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Most of the Psalms were born in difficulty. Most of the Epistles were written in prisons. Most of the greatest thoughts of the greatest thinkers of all time had to pass through the fire. Bunyan wrote Pilgrim's Progress from jail. Florence Nightingale, too ill to move from her bed, reorganized the hospitals of England. Semiparalyzed and under the constant menace of apoplexy, Pasteur was tireless in his attack on disease. During the greater part of his life, American historian Francis Parkman suffered so acutely that he could not work for more than five minutes as a time. His eyesight was so wretched that he could scrawl only a few gigantic words on a manuscript, yet he contrived to write twenty magnificent volumes of history.

Sometimes it seems that when God is about to make preeminent use of a man, he puts him through the fire.
--Tim Hansel, You Gotta Keep Dancin' (Colorado Springs: David Cook, 1998 ed. of 1985 original) p. 87, and quoted by yours truly in a recent sermon

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsHoly Week* TheologyAnthropologyChristologyTheology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology)

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Posted April 7, 2015 at 3:52 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Love is a very powerful motivator. Their love had made them brave, but now it seemed there was nothing left to love. Even Jesus’s body was gone and the manifestation of love they’d intended was redundant. Love had brought these remarkable women back to the tomb that first Easter morning, but now, in the midst of their confusion, they ran and said nothing.

Except, of course, at some point they must have stopped running and told their story. “He has been raised,” the women were told. And eventually it is that good news that filters through to them, and renews their courage. Jesus was not where they expected because he is alive, victor over death and sin, and he’s gone ahead to where he promised, to be with us always. The women did tell their story, and so we know that the risen Jesus is the completion of God’s love and that “perfect love casts out fear”.

Today the courage of these women is replicated around the world by those continuing to face persecution and violence in the peaceful practice of their faith. This Easter, in honour of these women and those who follow their example, let us be loving and courageous in telling our stories of God’s love at work in our lives, especially perhaps when we too have known grief or pain, anxiety or guilt, anger, disappointment or fear; and then let us, after the example of these women, embody that love in action.

Read it all.

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

1 Comments
Posted April 7, 2015 at 3:05 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

--"Horae homileticae, Sermon 1414

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

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Posted April 7, 2015 at 11:28 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Above all the gospel accounts of Easter compel our attention. “Why do you seek the living among the dead?” One version of this wonderful day begins with a voice of negation, a crucial question which many people never answer. Are we looking for love in all the wrong places? Are we clinging to earthly things and forgetting those things which do not pass away?

Then we hear “come and see.” To see with the full eyes of one’s heart is a rare thing indeed. So many times in life we look but do not see, do not perceive as God perceives. The power of the post-resurrection narratives is that each person is met on his or her terms. What wondrous love is that, as the Holy Spirit by his power opens our eyes.

The dynamic does not stop with the question and the call to see, however. If we really see who God is and his power to change lives and transform them into the likeness of his glory, we cannot keep it to ourselves.

Where I served my curacy in South Carolina, we had many Clemson football fans; they root for the Tigers whose color is orange. One day I visited a family devoted to Clemson and, I kid you not, even their toilet seat cover was orange. Bless them, they loved to tell the story of a particular University. One wonders whether an Easter people have a similar passion to share Jesus’ love for the world.

He is risen. Why? Come. See. Go. Tell. Alleluia.

–The Rev. Canon Dr. Kendall S. Harmon is the host of this blog

Filed under: * By Kendall* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsEasterParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* TheologyChristologyEschatologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted April 7, 2015 at 10:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O Lord, who by triumphing over the power of darkness, didst Prepare our place in the New Jerusalem: Grant us, who have this day given thanks for thy resurrection, to praise thee in that city whereof thou art the light; where with the Father and the Holy Spirit thou livest and reignest, world without end.

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

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Posted April 7, 2015 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Jesus's disciples had their lives turned upside down. At the moment of his death, they were fearful, living under occupation and behind locked doors. The news that the women in their group had seen him alive astounded them and completely changed the way they lived. Their fear was transformed into courage, their anxiety turned into confidence, and they were able to speak publicly about what they believed to be true.

It is often said that Jesus Christ never wrote any books or held public office, hardly travelled from the place where he was born, or produced any plans for the ordering of society. Yet all the armies that ever marched or kings that ever ruled have not had so profound an effect on the world as that travelling preacher and healer. That is because of the resurrection message that was transmitted across the known world by excited men and women who had found something extraordinary.

Jesus's disciples thought they had lost the teacher who had taught them that the kingdom of God belongs to children, that human life should be characterised by compassion and dignity, whatever your status, and that life is lived not for the maximising of one's own comfort but for the common good.

Read it all.

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

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Posted April 7, 2015 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It is easy for us to forget that that is where the first disciples were on Easter morning—in the cul de sac. They had no place to go. Peter and Andrew, James and John, Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary, the mother of James and the other women. The enterprise was based on Jesus of Nazareth. This movement which they had given themselves to—this God thing—it was all dependent upon him. The healing of the sick, delivering people from dark drives and obsessions, loosening the grip of loss, the teaching about how God works in peoples’ lives, (not just religious practices), but having the ability to bring people into God’s presence, into an experience with the living God by his words and presence. When Jesus was around, God came to them; forgiveness flowed; broken lives were mended. All this seemed to happen around him. You can see the problem I suppose—Jesus was the franchise. There was no way to posture or pretend about these things. Without him it would be futile to carry on. The disciples could dress in robes; learn certain chants, liturgies, rites and ceremonies; they might even build an impressive temple but if the franchise is all about people encountering the living God through Jesus of Nazareth and he’s dead then what have you got?

To further illustrate my point, remember the disciples didn’t have any of these. The Pharisees and the scribes had the Hebrew scriptures; the priests in the temple had the altar of sacrifice, the altar of incense, the candelabra, the shew bread, the robes, the Holy of Holies—all that the disciples had was Jesus. Frankly, if he had not been raised we would never have heard of him. And just to have heard of him is hardly enough anyway. Without Jesus they were clearly in the cul de sac of death, which Karl Barth once called “the hopeless cul de sac.” That’s what those who stumble over Jesus’ seemingly exclusive statement that he is “the way, the truth and the life” too often forget. The Easter message is quite clear here—there’s one way out of the cul de sac and Jesus pioneered it.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsEasterParish Ministry* South Carolina* TheologyChristologyEschatology

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Posted April 7, 2015 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

From the risen Lord we ask the grace not to succumb to the pride which fuels violence and war, but to have the humble courage of pardon and peace. We ask Jesus, the Victor over death, to lighten the sufferings of our many brothers and sisters who are persecuted for his name, and of all those who suffer injustice as a result of ongoing conflicts and violence. There are many!

We ask for peace, above all, for Syria and Iraq, that the roar of arms may cease and that peaceful coexistence may be restored among the various groups which make up those beloved countries. May the international community not stand by before the immense humanitarian tragedy unfolding in these countries and the tragedy of the numerous refugees.

We pray for peace for all the peoples of the Holy Land. May the culture of encounter grow between Israelis and Palestinians and the peace process be resumed, in order to end years of suffering and division.

We implore peace for Libya, that the present absurd bloodshed and all barbarous acts of violence may cease, and that all concerned for the future of the country may work to favour reconciliation and to build a fraternal society respectful of the dignity of the person. For Yemen too we express our hope for the growth of a common desire for peace, for the good of the entire people.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsEaster* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Francis

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Posted April 7, 2015 at 5:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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



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

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Posted April 7, 2015 at 4:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Easter message, which is the core of the Christian story, must be applicable to humanity in its deepest distress. I was told of a recently bereaved widower who looked out on his garden ablaze with hundreds of daffodils, his eyes full of tears. “How she loved this view each Spring”, he said. Grief at the death of his wife had eclipsed the beauty of the moment. What for others would have been a glorious scene was a painful reminder to him of his loss.

Christians are not excused suffering. Indeed, in many parts of the world right now, Christians are actually at greater risk because of their followership of Jesus Christ. It is in the midst of all this that the virtue of Christian hope, grounded in the Resurrection of Jesus, comes from the contagious conviction that death, grim as it may be, is actually the prelude to something else. A comma, not a full stop, a pause, not the end.

If you take a glance at the New Testament, in the Bible, you will see that it all stems from encountering Jesus of Nazareth alive again from the dead. His followers would have all abandoned his mission of God’s love if he was not Risen from the dead. They would not have endangered their lives to preserve the memory of a dead man who had been condemned for treason! He had invited everyone to trust him from here to eternity. A number did.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)Archbishop of York John Sentamu* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsEasterParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* TheologyChristologyEschatology

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Posted April 6, 2015 at 11:05 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

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

Read it all.

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

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Posted April 6, 2015 at 9:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

This is the real meaning of Easter...

No tabloid will ever print the startling news that the mummified body of Jesus of Nazareth has been discovered in old Jerusalem. Christians have no carefully embalmed body enclosed in a glass case to worship. Thank God, we have an empty tomb.

The glorious fact that the empty tomb proclaims to us is that life for us does not stop when death comes. Death is not a wall, but a door. And eternal life which may be ours now, by faith in Christ, is not interrupted when the soul leaves the body, for we live on...and on.

There is no death to those who have entered into fellowship with him who emerged from the tomb. Because the resurrection is true it is the most significant thing in our world today. Bringing the resurrected Christ into our lives, individual and national, is the only hope we have for making a better world.

"Because I live ye shall live also."

That is the real meaning of Easter.

--Peter Marshall (1902-1949), The First Easter

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

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Posted April 6, 2015 at 8:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Resurrection is the eucatastrophe of the story of the Incarnation — This story begins and ends in joy.

-- J.R.R. Tolkien (1892-1973)


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

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Posted April 6, 2015 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As a parish priest I remember telling parishioners, on more than one occasion, "When death comes into your home he brings a lot of unwanted relatives with him." I do not mean relatives or in-laws who may come from out of town for the funeral. The relatives of death to which I refer are grief, fear, loneliness, guilt, shame, anger, depression, even anxiety. Once these come under the roof of your house it is difficult to show them the door. They tend to take up residence, over staying their welcome. Just this morning I read the story of Clint Hill, the secret service agent assigned to Jackie Kennedy during the days some refer to as Camelot. With poignant grief he recalled her words that day almost fifty years ago as the President's wounded head lay in her lap like a modern Pieta, "They shot his head off. Oh Jack, what have they done?"

I've been listening to Dr. Billy Graham's recent book Nearing Home: Life, Faith, and Finishing Well. He is no stranger to moments of national grief, like the one Clint Hill witnessed so painfully. At age 93 he has seen firsthand more than a little of our country's sorrow. Yet grief when it is personal strikes even deeper. In recounting the death of his beloved wife and best friend for almost sixty-four years, Ruth Bell Graham, he writes, "Although I rejoice that her struggles with weakness and pain have all come to an end, I still feel as if a part of me has been ripped out, and I miss her far more than I ever could have imagined." "Death", he goes on to say, quite accurately, "is always an intruder even when it is expected." Frankly, if there is no answer to death there is no answer to our most abiding enemy and all those blood relatives he brings with him. This, as you might imagine, brings me to Easter. I am happy to recall it. The apostle affirms, "Our Saviour Jesus Christ has broken the power of death and brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel." (2 Timothy 1:10 NEB)

Easter unflinchingly confronts our enemies, death and sin that would lock us in a self-justifying bondage, and plague our lives from start to finish. Christ's death, however, is God's No to sin. In the cross God reveals his hatred of sin as Christ dies to destroy it; and shows his love for sinners as he dies to free us of it. In Christ's resurrection God speaks his Yes to life and human freedom, breaking the power of death. Donald Coggan, a former Archbishop of Canterbury put it well: "You may not like it. You may ignore it. You may deny it. But this is it. Take away the Cross and Resurrection from Christianity and you have a poor lifeless and maimed thing left..." And we must also say a dead religion dreadfully inadequate for our needs. Archbishop Coggan was right. We need to keep the Cross and Resurrection central. They tell us of God's No, to death, and the fear that is death's power; No, to sin and its tyranny of our lives; No, to fear that cripples us from living the dance of life freely; No, to the shame we don't deserve and grace for the shame we do; No, to the loneliness that dogs our steps for the Risen One is with us always. Let me say again. The Resurrection of Jesus Christ is the Great Yes of God. It has left us an empty tomb and an open door. It will in God's good time and grace sweep our lives clean of death and the unwanted relatives it brings into our homes. Even this Sunday as we say the words, "Alleluia. Christ is risen. The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia." the joy of Easter may escort some these out the door. We can then live our lives in Christ, with Christ and for Christ freely, and for his sake for a hurting and broken world.

May the Peace of the Risen Christ be always with you,

--(The Rt Rev.) Mark Lawrence is Bishop of South Carolina

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsEaster* South Carolina* TheologyChristologyEschatology

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Posted April 6, 2015 at 7:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Watch and listen to it all--live from 1987 from the original writers of the song.


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

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Posted April 6, 2015 at 7:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In recent days we have heard claims that a belief central to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—that we are created male and female, and that marriage unites these two basic expressions of humanity in a unique covenant—amounts to a form of bigotry. Such arguments only increase public confusion on a vitally important issue. When basic moral convictions and historic religious wisdom rooted in experience are deemed “discrimination,” our ability to achieve civic harmony, or even to reason clearly, is impossible.

America was founded on the idea that religious liberty matters because religious belief matters in a uniquely life-giving and powerful way. We need to take that birthright seriously, or we become a people alien to our own founding principles. Religious liberty is precisely what allows a pluralistic society to live together in peace.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsEasterHoly Week* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicalsRoman Catholic* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted April 6, 2015 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The resurrected Christ is the crucified Christ. Only such a Christ, moreover, can save us. For Jesus is the Christ, being for us this particular man making possible a particular way of life that is an alternative to the world's fear of one like Jesus.

Christians have no fantasy that we may get out of life alive. Instead we have a saviour who was in every way like us, yet also fully God. Jesus is not 50% God and 50% man. He is 100% God and 100% man - he is the incarnation making possible a way to live that constitutes an alternative to all politics that are little less than conspiracies to deny death.

Such a saviour does not promise that by being his follower we will be made safe. Rather, this saviour offers to free us from our self-inflicted fears and anxieties. Jesus does so not by making our lives "more meaningful" - though we may discover our lives have renewed purpose - but by making us members of his body and blood so that we can share in the goods of a community that is an alternative to the world.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsHoly Week* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* TheologyChristologyEthics / Moral TheologySoteriology

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Posted April 6, 2015 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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Posted April 6, 2015 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Lord Jesus, risen from the dead and alive for evermore: Stand in our midst tonight as in the upper room; show us thy hands and thy side; speak thy peace to our hearts and minds; and send us forth into the world as thy witnesses; for the glory of thy name.

--The Rev. John R. W. Stott

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

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Posted April 5, 2015 at 5:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In every town and village in this country, in almost every country round the world churches stand as mute confession of the resurrection. They stand, but like the stone at the tomb they cannot speak. Only witnesses can speak, and in God's values no witness more or less important than any other. Mary Magdalene became a witness of what she had experienced: "I have seen the Lord".

Cathedrals and churches make great statements, but without words. Witnesses are those people who know Christ; lay or ordained, old or young, gender, politics, sexuality or whatever irrelevant - all are equally witnesses. The resurrection happened, and it changes our view of the universe. Once we have seen the reality of the risen Jesus nothing else should be seen in the same way as before.

To witness is to be a martyr. I am told by the Coptic Bishop in England that the Coptic Christians murdered in Libya last month died proclaiming that Jesus Christ is Lord. They are martyrs, a word that means both one that dies for their faith and one that witnesses to faith. There have been so many martyrs in the last year. On Maundy Thursday, three days ago around 150 Kenyans were killed because of being Christian. They are witnesses, unwilling, unjustly, wickedly, and they are martyrs in both senses of the word.

Christians must resist without violence the persecution they suffer and support persecuted communities, with love and goodness and generosity.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsEasterParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* International News & CommentaryAfricaKenyaEngland / UK* TheologyChristologyEschatology

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Posted April 5, 2015 at 2:10 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Question 45: What does the "resurrection" of Christ profit us?

Answer: First, by his resurrection he has overcome death, that he might make us partakers of that righteousness which he had purchased for us by his death; secondly, we are also by his power raised up to a new life; and lastly, the resurrection of Christ is a sure pledge of our blessed resurrection.

Footnotes: [For "first"] 1 Cor.15:16 For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: Rom.4:25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. 1 Pet.1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, [for "secondly'] Rom.6:4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. Col.3:1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Col.3:3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. Eph.2:5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) Eph.2:6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: [for "lastly"] 1 Cor.15:12 Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? 1 Cor.15:20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. 1 Cor.15:21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. Rom.8:11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsEaster* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesReformed* TheologyChristologyEschatology

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Posted April 5, 2015 at 1:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

If I had a Son in Court, or married a daughter into a plentifull Fortune, I were satisfied for that son or that daughter. Shall I not be so, when the King of Heaven hath taken that sone to himselfe, and married himselfe to that daughter, for ever? I spend none of my Faith, I exercise none of my Hope, in this, that I shall have my dead raised to life againe. This is the faith that sustains me, when I lose by the death of others, and we, are now all in one Church, and at the resurrection, shall be all in one Quire.

–John Donne (1572-1631) [my emphasis]

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

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Posted April 5, 2015 at 10:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves


O Radiant Dawn - James MacMillan

Available now:
'It is Finished' - Dr Kendall Harmon

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

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Posted April 5, 2015 at 9:10 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

We are interested in your theological as well as personal reflections.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsEaster* Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet

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Posted April 5, 2015 at 9:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The more specific you can be the better.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsEaster* Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet

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Posted April 5, 2015 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

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

--Phillips Brooks (1835-1893)


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

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Posted April 5, 2015 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

On Easter, the holiest of holy days for Christians, a historic downtown Lutheran congregation will be worshiping not in a church but in a synagogue.

At 8 a.m. and again at 11 a.m., members of St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church will gather in Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim’s historic synagogue during Passover to celebrate what Christians believe is the resurrection of the long-promised Jewish Messiah, Jesus Christ.

It’s not the first time the members of KKBE have loaned their sanctuary at 90 Hasell St. to Christians. And it probably won’t be the last.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsEasterParish Ministry* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther FaithsJudaism* South Carolina

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Posted April 5, 2015 at 6:25 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

“Entering the tomb”. It is good for us, on this Vigil night, to reflect on the experience of the women, which also speaks to us. For that is why we are here: to enter, to enter into the Mystery which God has accomplished with his vigil of love.

We cannot live Easter without entering into the mystery. It is not something intellectual, something we only know or read about… It is more, much more!

“To enter into the mystery” means the ability to wonder, to contemplate; the ability to listen to the silence and to hear the tiny whisper amid great silence by which God speaks to us (cf 1 Kings 19:12).

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsEaster* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Francis * TheologyChristologyEschatology

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Posted April 5, 2015 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The resurrection was as inconceivable for the first disciples, as impossible for them to believe, as it is for many of us today. Granted, their reasons would have been different from ours. The Greeks did not believe in resurrection; in the Greek worldview, the afterlife was liberation of the soul from the body. For them, resurrection would never be part of life after death. As for the Jews, some of them believed in a future general resurrection when the entire world would be renewed, but they had no concept of an individual rising from the dead. The people of Jesus’ day were not predisposed to believe in resurrection any more than we are.

Celsus, a Greek philosopher who lived in the second century A.D., was highly antagonistic to Christianity and wrote a number of works listing arguments against it. One of the arguments he believed most telling went like this: Christianity can’t be true, because the written accounts of the resurrection are based on the testimony of women—and we all know women are hysterical. And many of Celsus’ readers agreed: For them, that was a major problem. In ancient societies, as you know, women were marginalized, and the testimony of women was never given much credence.

Do you see what that means? If Mark and the Christians were making up these stories to get their movement off the ground, they would never have written women into the story as the first eyewitnesses to Jesus’ empty tomb. The only possible reason for the presence of women in these accounts is that they really were present and reported what they saw. The stone has been rolled away, the tomb is empty and an angel declares that Jesus is risen.

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

Read it all.

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

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Posted April 5, 2015 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Almighty God, who art worshipped by the heavenly host with hymns that are never silent and thanksgivings that never cease: Fill our mouths with thy praise that we may worthily magnify thy holy name for all the wonderful blessings of thy love, and chiefly on this day for the resurrection of thy Son; and grant us, with all those that fear thee and keep thy commandments, to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom with thee and the Holy Ghost may praise from all the world be given, now and for evermore.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Make no mistake: if He rose at all
it was as His body;
if the cells' dissolution did not reverse, the molecules
reknit, the amino acids rekindle,
the Church will fall.

It was not as the flowers,
each soft Spring recurrent;
it was not as His Spirit in the mouths and fuddled
eyes of the eleven apostles;
it was as His Flesh: ours.

The same hinged thumbs and toes,
the same valved heart
that — pierced — died, withered, paused, and then
regathered out of enduring Might
new strength to enclose.
Let us not mock God with metaphor,
analogy, sidestepping transcendence;
making of the event a parable, a sign painted in the
faded credulity of earlier ages:
let us walk through the door.

The stone is rolled back, not papier-mache,
not a stone in a story,
but the vast rock of materiality that in the slow
grinding of time will eclipse for each of us
the wide light of day.

And if we will have an angel at the tomb,
make it a real angel,
weighty with Max Planck's quanta, vivid with hair,
opaque in the dawn light, robed in real linen
spun on a definite loom.

Let us not seek to make it less monstrous,
for our own convenience, our own sense of beauty,
lest, awakened in one unthinkable hour, we are
embarrassed by the miracle,
and crushed by remonstrance.

--John Updike (1932-2009)

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Sam believes that Gandalph has fallen a catastrophic distance and has died. But in the end of the story, with Sam having been asleep for a long while and then beginning to regain consciousness, Gandalf stands before Sam, robed in white, his face glistening in the sunlight, and says:
"Well, Master Samwise, how do you feel?"

But Sam lay back, and stared with open mouth, and for a moment, between bewilderment and great joy, he could not answer. At last he gasped: "Gandalf! I thought you were dead! But then I thought I was dead myself. Is everything sad going to come untrue? What's happened to the world?"

"A great shadow has departed," said Gandalf, and then he laughed, and the sound was like music, or like water in a parched land; and as he listened the thought came to Sam that he had not heard laughter, the pure sound of merriment, for days without count. It fell upon his ears like the echo of all the joys he had ever known. But he himself burst into tears. Then as a sweet rain will pass down a wind of spring and the sun will shine out the clearer, his tears ceased, and his laughter welled up, and laughing he sprang from bed... "How do I feel?" he cried." Well, I don't know how to say it. I feel, I feel" --he waved his arms in the air-- "I feel like spring after winter, and sun on the leaves; and like trumpets and harps and all the songs I have ever heard!"
-- J.R.R. Tolkien (1892-1973), The Return of the King

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

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Posted April 5, 2015 at 4:55 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Thanks be unto thee, O Christ, because thou hast broken for us the bonds of sin and brought us into fellowship with the Father.

Thanks be unto thee, O Christ, because thou hast overcome death and opened to us the gates of eternal life.

Thanks be unto thee, O Christ, because where two or three are gathered together in thy Name there art thou in the midst of them.

Thanks be unto thee, O Christ, because thou ever livest to make intercession for us.

For these and all other benefits of thy mighty resurrection, thanks be unto thee O Christ.

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

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Posted April 5, 2015 at 3:06 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

The Wintershall Players in Trafalgar Square, London on Good Friday


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

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Posted April 5, 2015 at 12:18 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]




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