Posted by Kendall Harmon

Almighty and everlasting God, who for the well-being of our earthly life hast put into our hearts wholesome desires of body and spirit: Mercifully increase and establish in us, we beseech thee, the grace of holy discipline and healthy self-control; that we may fulfill our desires by the means which thou hast appointed, and for the ends thou ordainest; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

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Posted February 27, 2015 at 4:19 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Almighty and eternal God, who has so made us of body, soul and spirit, that we live not by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth from thee: Make us to hunger for the spiritual food of thy Word; and as we trust thee for our daily bread, may we also trust thee to give us day by day the inward nourishment of that living truth which thou hast revealed to us in thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

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Posted February 26, 2015 at 4:19 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O God, who willest not the death of a sinner: We beseech thee to aid and protect those who are exposed to grievous temptations; and grant that in obeying thy commandments they may be strengthened and supported by thy grace; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

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Posted February 25, 2015 at 4:22 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O Heavenly Father, subdue in us whatever is contrary to thy holy will, that we may know how to please thee. Grant, O God, that we may never run into those temptations which in our prayers we desire to avoid. Lord, never permit our trials to be above our strength; through Jesus Christ our Saviour.

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

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Posted February 24, 2015 at 4:22 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

What do all these words read this day and resonating in my ears have to do with my observance of holy Lent? This I believe:

• If grace-filled obedience not self-imposed deprivation is the pathway to God’s blessing shouldn’t one’s Lenten discipline focus on this?
• If God’s call, not the driven life, is for each of us our apostolic mission shouldn’t that be the place out of which we live our lives and do our work and ministry?
• If we are dust and to dust we shall return (as the words of the Ash Wednesday liturgy reminds us) why am I, and so many of us, in such a hurry?

Then there was this word that came like a lightning bolt across my mind illuminating my whole being: “… you think you have to be some place elsewhere or accomplish something more to find peace. But it is right here. God has yet to bless anyone except where they actually are.” Once again this was a word spoken years ago by Dr. Dallas Willard to John Ortberg’s striving and spiritually dry soul; I noted these words in my journal and then wrote this confession: I repent of this, Lord. I renounce the life tape that has played within me for years that makes peace something relegated to some place “where” or some time “when” and other than here and now in You.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsLentParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* TheologyAnthropologyChristologyPastoral TheologySoteriology

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Posted February 23, 2015 at 8:56 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O Lord our God, grant us, we beseech thee, patience in troubles, humility in comforts, constancy in temptations, and victory over all our spiritual foes. Grant us sorrow for our sins, thankfulness for thy benefits, fear of thy judgment, love of thy mercies, and mindfulness of thy presence; now and for evermore.

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

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Posted February 23, 2015 at 4:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

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



From February 15th 2015
+ Sunday Services, Talks and Resources for February 15th
+ God’s Plan for Human Relationship and Marriage – Bishop Tom Wright at Humanum 2014
+ Beautiful Feet - Bishop Ken Clark at St Philip's Charleston [Isaiah 52:7 and Romans 10:15]
+ Stephen at the Sanhedrin – Vaughan Roberts [Acts 6:8-8:1]
+ The John Stott London Lecture 2014: Double Listening – Alister McGrath
+ Choral Evensong from St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle

From February 8th 2015
[There will be no general links this week - please pray for the Diocese of South Carolina and for the Church of England]

From February 1st 2015
+ Sunday Services, Talks and Resources for February 1st
+ Epiphany Carol Service with the Choir of St John's College, Cambridge
+ Sunday Service from Lisburn Cathedral, Antrim in Northern Ireland
+ Peter at the Sanheddrin [Acts 4:8-12] - Vaughan Roberts
+ Serving God's Purpose in our Generation - Os Guinness
+ Living with Your Back to the Audience - Dean Justin Terry
+ In the Beginning - Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali
+ God knows us Better than We Know Ourselves (John 1:43-51) - Dr Kendall Harmon

From January 25th 2015
+ Sunday Services, Talks and Resources for January 25th
+ God knows us Better than We Know Ourselves (John 1:43-51) - Dr Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From July 20th
Sunday Services, Talks and Resources

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

7 Comments
Posted February 22, 2015 at 4:56 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Blessed Lord, who wast tempted in all things like as we are, have mercy upon our frailty. Out of weakness give us strength; grant to us thy fear, that we may fear thee only; support us in time of temptation; embolden us in time of danger; help us to do thy work with good courage, and to continue thy faithful soldiers and servants unto our life’s end.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Almighty God, spirit of peace and of grace, whose salvation is never far from penitent hearts: We confess the sins that have estranged us from thee, dimmed our vision of heavenly things, and brought upon us many troubles and sorrows. O merciful Father, grant unto us who humble ourselves before thee the remission of all our sins, and the assurance of thy pardon and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

--Prayers for the Christian Year

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

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Posted February 21, 2015 at 7:34 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Without any doubt, we have to admit that the traditions of the Church are becoming less and less relevant. As we pursue money and happiness, there is a demise in the place of God in our lives.

However, there is something about 
the idea of Lent that appeals to the human condition. Glossy magazines are full of tips on how to detox, to get the body back in shape by watching out what you put in. Getting healthy is promoted through giving up that which is bad for you.

Perhaps this mantra for the modern age should be the public relations tip needed by a Church that is failing to connect with the modern world. Mainstream religion is being quickly replaced by do-it-yourself spirituality. People are looking to other options for filling that God-shaped hole in their lives that cannot be satisfied by anything else.

The Church could tap in to this growth of new spirituality by rebranding Lent for a modern world. The current guidelines by the Catholic Church for Lent are that no meat is to be eaten on a Friday, and meals are to be restricted to one meal a day and snacks at breakfast and tea. This isn’t exactly the kind of thing that will get people queuing to join in.

Read it all.

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

1 Comments
Posted February 20, 2015 at 6:31 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O Lord our God, who art of purer eyes than to behold iniquity: Have mercy upon us, we beseech thee, for our sins accuse us, and we are troubled by them and put to shame. We have done wrong to ourselves in ignorance, and to our brethren in willfulness, and by our selfish and faithless ways have grieved thy Holy Spirit. Forgive us, we humbly pray thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

--Prayers for the Christian Year

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Two deacons, one Episcopal, one Catholic, were standing on a street in Beverly Hills, in front of Tiffany's, across from Louis Vuitton.

It could have been the set-up for a joke — and some passersby thought it might be. Or maybe somebody was filming something? They stood and stared at the men dressed in purple stoles, white surplices and long black cassocks.

"Are you real? For real?" one woman in oversized Chanel sunglasses asked Scott Taylor of All Saints Episcopal Church and Eric Stoltz of the Church of the Good Shepherd.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsLentParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic

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Posted February 19, 2015 at 5:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

For some fifteen or twenty years I have tried to read a sermon, or portion of a sermon, of Augustine every morning for spiritual reading. I had never read most of his sermons before, but now that I have, I have discovered a different Augustine from the one I had known and from the one known to people who are familiar only with his great works, the Confessions, the City of God, and the Trinity.

As I discovered the Augustine reflected in his preaching, I began to take notes of passages that particularly struck me either for personal reasons or because of their significance for my theological work, especially in ecclesiology. (It is an occupational hazard for theologians that almost anything they read, even for spiritual reading, can quickly become grist for the theological mill.) I have several files of such excerpts in my computer, and it was on them that I drew for the first series of Lenten excerpts. They did not follow any particular order, and neither will the ones presented this year. They are passages that interest me for their theological, spiritual, or psychological insights, or for the nice balance Augustine achieved between the objective and subjective dimensions of the Christian life, or for their vivid language, not least of all for the literary conceits that I learned to love when studying John Donne and other metaphysical poets (snap quiz: What are the two ways in which Christ may be compared to a camel?), or for reasons having to do with the unplumbed condition of my psyche, or simply because I was having fun.

Scholars estimate that Augustine preached some 8,000 times over his decades as bishop of Hippo, less than a tenth of which have survived. (That’s why there was such excitement when in 1989 thirty sermons, most of them completely unknown before, were discovered in a medieval manuscript.) Most of the sermons were preached at one or another type of gathering of the Church, mostly in Hippo, the others in Carthage and elsewhere in north Africa; a few of them were dictated by Augustine to complete his commentaries on the Psalms and on St. John’s Gospel. The sermons preached were taken down in shorthand by stenographers in his congregation and later written out in longhand and preserved in Augustine’s library. Augustine hoped to include his sermons and letters in the work of “reconsiderations” that he carried through for most of his published works, but controversy and death prevented him from doing so.

Read it all.

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

2 Comments
Posted February 19, 2015 at 3:10 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Nearly one in five Americans observed Lent last year, and more than half a million tweeted about their fast.

Each year, Stephen Smith of OpenBible.info tracks hundreds of thousands of Lenten tweets during the week of Ash Wednesday. “As I write this post, with about 4,000 tweets analyzed, perennial favorites ‘alcohol,’ ‘chocolate,’ and ‘social networking’ lead the list,” he wrote in his Monday debut of the 2015 list. “Given winter weather conditions in the eastern U.S., I expect that snow- and winter-related tweets will be popular this year.”
Food and technology were the most popular categories that roughly 646,000 tweeting Americans reported giving up in 2014. The top five choices: School, chocolate, Twitter, swearing, and alcohol—ideas consistently popular for Christians since Smith began using Twitter’s API to track Lent in 2009.

Read it all.

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

0 Comments
Posted February 19, 2015 at 7:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Cycling Bishop Edward Condry has swapped four wheels for two again this Lent in a bid to raise awareness of climate change.

The 61-year-old Bishop of Ramsbury will continue to work full-time, travelling to churches in rural parts of Wiltshire.

This is the second time Rt Rev Condry, who lives in Warminster, has given up his car for Lent, saving more than 2,000 miles of driving last year by cycling and using public transport.

He said:”I was surprised how much of a spiritual experience it was to give up the car, in a way that struggling to give up chocolate had never achieved, for me.

Read it all.

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

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Posted February 19, 2015 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O Almighty God, from whom every good prayer cometh, and who pourest out on all who desire it the spirit of grace and supplication: Deliver us, when we draw near to thee, from coldness of heart and wanderings of mind; that with steadfast thoughts and kindled affection we may worship thee in spirit and in truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

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Posted February 19, 2015 at 4:22 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Ash Wednesday liturgy offers us, first of all, the passage from the prophet Joel, sent by God to call the people to repentance and conversion, due to a calamity (an invasion of locusts) that devastates Judea. Only the Lord can save from the scourge, and so there is need of supplication, with prayer and fasting, each confessing his sin.

The prophet insists on inner conversion: “Return to me with all your heart” (2:12). To return to the Lord “with all [one’s] heart,” means taking the path of a conversion that is neither superficial nor transient, but is a spiritual journey that reaches the deepest place of our self. The heart, in fact, is the seat of our sentiments, the center in which our decisions and our attitudes mature.

That, “Return to me with all your heart,” does not involve only individuals, but extends to the community, is a summons addressed to all: “Gather the people. Sanctify the congregation; assemble the elders; gather the children, even nursing infants. Let the bridegroom leave his room, and the bride her chamber. (2:16)”

The prophet dwells particularly on the prayers of priests, noting that their prayer should be accompanied by tears. We will do well to ask, at the beginning of this Lent, for the gift of tears, so as to make our prayer and our journey of conversion ever more authentic and without hypocrisy.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsLentParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Francis

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Posted February 18, 2015 at 4:10 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Our subject this morning, then, will be, both in the condemnation and in the punishment of every sinner, God will be justified: and he will be made most openly clear, from the two facts of the sinner's own confession, and God himself having been an eye-witness of the deed. And as for the severity of it, there shall be no doubt upon the mind of any man who shall receive it, for God shall prove to him in his own soul, that damnation is nothing more nor less than the legitimate reward of sin.

There are two kinds of condemnation: the one is the condemnation of the elect, which takes place in their hearts and consciences, when they have the sentence of death in themselves, that they should not trust in themselves—a condemnation which is invariably followed by peace with God, because after that there is no further condemnation, for they are then in Christ Jesus, and they walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. The second condemnation is that of the finally impenitent, who, when they die, are most righteously and justly condemned by God for the sins they have committed—a condemnation not followed by pardon, as in the present case, but followed by inevitable damnation from the presence of God. On both these condemnations we will discourse this morning. God is clear when he speaks, and he is just when he condemns, whether it be the condemnation which he passes on Christian hearts, or the condemnation which he pronounces from his throne, when the wicked are dragged before him to receive their final doom.

Read it carefully and read it all.

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

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Posted February 18, 2015 at 3:21 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Q: I don’t remember reading about Ash Wednesday in the Bible. Where did the practice come from?

A: That’s true; there is no mention of Ash Wednesday in the Bible. But there is a tradition of donning ashes as a sign of penitence that predates Jesus. In the Old Testament, Job repents “in dust and ashes,” and there are other associations of ashes and repentance in Esther, Samuel, Isaiah and Jeremiah. By the 10th century, the monk Aelfric tied the practice, which dates to the eighth century, to the period before Easter, writing, “Now let us do this little at the beginning of our Lent that we strew ashes upon our heads to signify that we ought to repent of our sins during the Lenten fast.” By the 11th century, the practice was widespread throughout the church — until Martin Luther, the Protestant reformer, threw the practice out in the 16th century because it was not biblically based. There’s no Lent in the Bible, either, though many Christians see it as an imitation of the 40 days Jesus spent fasting and battling with Satan in the desert.

Read it all.

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

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Posted February 18, 2015 at 1:16 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Are human beings born good or born with a volcanic anti-God allergy in their hearts? Answering this theological question is one of THE great challenges for Christians as we stand on the brink of a new millennium.
On one side of the divide stands Jean Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778). Men and women “are born free,” he famously said in his Social Contract, yet “everywhere” they are “in chains.” Rousseau believed that we are born good. His explanation for the deep problems in the world? They came to us from outside us. Error and prejudice, murder and treason, were the products of corrupt environments: educational, familial, societal, political, and, yes, ecclesiastical.

Note carefully that the FUNDAMENTAL PROBLEM is located outside men and women, and the MEANS of evil developing comes from the outside in. The NATURE of the problem is one of environment and knowledge.
Augustine (354-430) saw things very differently. Describing the decision by Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, Augustine writes in The City of God: “Our parents fell into open disobedience because they were secretly corrupted; for the evil act had never been done had not an evil will preceded it.” The motive for this evil will was pride. “This is undue exaltation, when the soul abandons Him to whom it ought to cleave as its end, and becomes a kind of end to itself … By craving to be more” we “became less;” and “by aspiring to be self-sufficing,” we “fell away from him who truly suffices” us.

For Augustine, men and women as we find them today are creatures curved in on themselves. We are rebels who, rather than curving up and out in worship to God, instead curved in and down into what Malcolm Muggeridge once termed “the dark little dungeon of our own” egos.

In this view the FUNDAMENTAL PROBLEM is located inside men and women, and the means of evil developing comes from the inside out (note Jesus’ reasoning in Mark 7:18-23). The NATURE of the problem is one of the will.

The difference between Augustine and Rousseau could not be more stark. In a Western world permeated by Rousseau, we need the courage to return to the challenge and depth of Augustine’s insight.
To do so makes the good news of the gospel even better. Think of Easter. What is the image which Paul uses to describe what occurs when a man or woman turns to Christ? New Creation (2 Corinthians 5:17)! Jesus rose to transform the entire created order from the inside out, beginning with our evil wills which he replaces with “a new heart…and a new spirit” (Ezekiel 36:26).

Glory Hallelujah!

--Kendall S. Harmon from a piece in 2007

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

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Posted February 18, 2015 at 12:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O God, who by thy care and counsel for mankind hast moved thy Church to appoint this holy season wherein the hearts of those who seek thee may receive thy help and healing: We beseech thee so to purify us by thy discipline, that, abiding in thee and thou in us, we may grow in grace and in the faith and knowledge of thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

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Posted February 18, 2015 at 11:10 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

But in order to arrive at its full meaning, we must suppose that David felt an inward struggle and opposition, which he found it necessary to check. Satan had raised a tumult in his affections, and wrought a degree of impatience in his mind, which he now curbs; and he expresses his resolution to be silent. The word implies a meek and submissive endurance of the cross. It expresses the opposite of that heat of spirit which would put us into a posture of resistance to God. The silence intended is, in short, that composed submission of the believer, in the exercise of which he acquiesces in the promises of God, gives place to his word, bows to his sovereignty, and suppresses every inward murmur of dissatisfaction.

--From his commentary on the Psalms

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

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Posted February 18, 2015 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Ash Wednesday is the holy day on which you are asked to face the facts about yourself. Letting someone smear ashes on your forehead while telling you that you are dirt is a statement that you have seen and accepted the facts about yourself, and know they’re not in your favor. And, though this isn’t as obvious, it is also a declaration of the good news.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsLent* TheologyAnthropologySoteriology

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Posted February 18, 2015 at 6:35 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Much fodder for the soul here--check it out.

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

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Posted February 18, 2015 at 6:05 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Rt. Rev. Mark Lawrence--both a Trinity School for Ministry alumnus, and Board of Trustees member--led the faculty and residential student body in a day of meditation and quiet reflection, beginning with the Ash Wednesday service of Holy Communion and the imposition of ashes.

Principally focusing on John 12:32, "And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself" (ESV), Bp. Lawrence related how this verse addresses why suffering so often draws people in varying ways to the foot of the cross. He also shared his own personal experience of seeking the Truth as a young man.
Audio recordings may be listened to here (there are three).

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

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Posted February 18, 2015 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...We are all over stimulated. Blessed Lent, the sad springtime of the Church's year is the time when we support each other as believers in simplifying our lives; removing fuel from the fires of rage and fear; facing a little more of the shadow world within by laying aside some of our usual comforters...

Read it all.

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

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Posted February 18, 2015 at 5:36 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

"Confess your faults one to another" (Jas. 5:16). He who is alone with his sin is utterly alone. It may be that Christians, notwithstanding corporate worship, common prayer, and all their fellowship in service, may still be left to their loneliness. The final break-through to fellowship does not occur, because, though they have fellowship with one another as believers and devout people, they do not have fellowship as the undevout, as sinners. This pious fellowship permits no one to be a sinner. So everybody must conceal his sin from himself and the fellowship. We dare not be sinners. Many Christians are unthinkably horrified when a real sinner is suddenly discovered among the righteous. so we remain alone with our sin, living in lies and hypocrisy. The fact is that we are sinners!

But it is the grace of the Gospel, which is so hard for the pious to understand, that it confronts us with the truth and says: You are a sinner, a great, desperate sinner; now come as the sinner that you are, to God who loves you. He wants you as you are; He does not want anything from you, a sacrifice, a work; He wants you alone. "My son, give me thine heart" (Prov. 23:26). God has come to you to save the sinner. Be glad! This message is liberation through truth. You can hide nothing from God. The mask you wear before men will do you no good before Him. He wants to see you as you are, He wants to be gracious to you. You do not have to on lying to yourself and your brothers, as if you were without sin; you can dare to be a sinner. Thank God for that; He loves the sinner but He hates sin.

--Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together


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

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Posted February 18, 2015 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The idea of national repentance seems at first sight to provide such an edifying contrast to that national self-righteousness of which England is so often accused and with which she entered (or is said to have entered) the last war, that a Christian naturally turns to it with hope. Young Christians especially-last-year undergraduates and first-year curates- are turning to it in large numbers. They are ready to believe that England bears part of the guilt for the present war, and ready to admit their own share in the guilt of England. What that share is, I do not find it easy to determine. Most of these young men were children, and none of them had a vote or the experience which would enable them to use a vote wisely, when England made many of those decisions to which the present disorders could plausibly be traced. Are they, perhaps, repenting what they have in no sense done?

If they are, it might be supposed that their error is very harmless: men fail so often to repent their real sins that the occasional repentance of an imaginary sin might appear almost desirable. But what actually happens (I have watched it happening) to the youthful national penitent is a little more complicated than that. England is not a natural agent, but a civil society. When we speak of England's actions we mean the actions of the British government. The young man who is called upon to repent of England's foreign policy is really being called upon to repent the acts of his neighbor; for a foreign secretary or a cabinet minister is certainly a neighbor. And repentance presupposes condemnation. The first and fatal charm of national repentance is, therefore, the encouragement it gives us to turn from the bitter task of repenting our own sins to the congenial one of bewailing-but, first, of denouncing-the conduct of others.

--C.S. Lewis, "Dangers of national repentance"

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

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Posted February 18, 2015 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Our first parents fell into open disobedience because already they were secretly corrupted; for the evil act had never been done had not an evil will preceded it. And what is the origin of our evil will but pride? For "pride is the beginning of sin." And what is pride but the craving for undue exaltation? And this is undue exaltation, when the soul abandons Him to whom it ought to cleave as its end, and becomes a kind of end to itself. This happens when it becomes its own satisfaction....The devil, then, would not have ensnared man in the open and manifest sin of doing what God had forbidden, had man not already begun to live for himself....By craving to be more, man became less; and by aspiring to be self-sufficing, he fell away from him who truly suffices him.

--Augustine, The City of God 14.13

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsLent* TheologyAnthropology

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Posted February 18, 2015 at 4:41 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

O Heavenly Father, whose blessed Son hast taught us that whosoever will be his disciple must take up his cross and follow him: Help us with willing heart to mortify our sinful affections, and depart from every selfish indulgence by which we sin against thee. Strengthen us to resist temptation, and to walk in the narrow way that leadeth unto life; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

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Posted February 18, 2015 at 4:22 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Almighty God, we beseech thee of thy mercy to endue us with the spirit of meekness and patience; so that no evil we may suffer from others may move us to do evil to them, and that we may strive ever to live peaceably with all men; for the sake of Jesus Christ our Saviour.

----The Rev. James Mountain (1844-1933)

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

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Posted January 26, 2015 at 4:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

You can listen directly there and download the mp3 there.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

--Frederick Macnutt

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

--Scottish Prayer Book

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

--based on the Mozarabic Sacramentary

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

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

Posted by The_Elves

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

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

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

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

Read it all

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

--Robert Nelson

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

--Book of Common Order

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

--George Appleton

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

There are 31 in all--check them out.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

You can listen directly there and download the mp3 there.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

--Benedict XVI.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

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

Posted by The_Elves



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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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



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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon


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

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

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

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

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon



Great fun--watch it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon



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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

--Irish Prayer Book

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

--Scottish Prayer Book

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

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

Posted by The_Elves


[click cogwheel lower right for HD and higher quality]

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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


Enjoy it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

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

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by The_Elves

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

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

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

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

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

CHRISTMAS MESSAGES FROM AROUND THE COMMUNION

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

CHRISTMAS MESSAGES FROM THE UK AND IRELAND

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

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

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

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

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

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

Just oh so uplifting--KSH.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

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

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

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

--Lord Alfred Tennyson (1809-1892)

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon



Wonderful stuff!

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

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

Read it all (my emphasis).

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

Last month of the year…

Born of the virgin Mary.

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

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

What month?

Last month of the year…

Born of the Virgin Mary.



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

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon



Listen to it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

--Scottish Prayer Book

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

--Robert Southwell

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

Read it all.

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

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

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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