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A Prayer to Begin the Day from Frederick Macnutt

Lord Jesus Christ, the Way by which we travel: shew me Thyself, the Truth that we must walk in: and be in me the Life that lifts us up to God, our journey’s ending.

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A Prayer to Begin the Day from the Pastor’s Prayerbook

Grant to us, O Lord, the royalty of inward happiness, and the serenity which comes from living close to thee: Daily renew in us the sense of joy, and let the eternal spirit of the Father dwell in our souls and bodies, filling us with light and grace, so that, bearing about with us the infection of a good courage, we may be diffusers of life, and may meet all ills and cross accidents with gallant and high-hearted happiness, giving thee thanks always for all things.

–Robert W. Rodenmayer, ed., The Pastor’s Prayerbook: Selected and arranged for various occasions (New York: Oxford University Press, 1960)

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(Eleanor Parker) Some extracts from an Anglo-Saxon homily on St Swithun’s life and miracles

Today is St Swithun’s Day, when the weather-gods obey the saint of Winchester – ‘St Swithun’s day if thou dost rain / For forty days it will remain’, and all that. So let’s look at a few extracts from an Old English homily for St Swithun’s Day, written by Ælfric in the last decade of the tenth century.

Ælfric had a personal connection to Swithun’s story, and in this homily he adds in one or two comments to remind us of it. Swithun was an obscure ninth-century Bishop of Winchester whose fame is almost entirely the work of Æthelwold, his successor at Winchester more than a century later. Winchester was the royal city of Wessex but it was surprisingly short on saints, so Æthelwold did his best to elevate some of his predecessors to that status, including Swithun and St Birinus (a better-attested saint, though his popularity never caught on as Swithun’s did). On 15 July 971, Æthelwold had Swithun’s remains translated to a new shrine inside the Old Minster, Winchester. Ælfric, who was educated at Winchester under Æthelwold and had a great respect for his bishop, would have witnessed much of this, and by the time he wrote about it, around 25 years later, he had come to see Æthelwold’s time – his own youth – as a kind of golden age for the English church, when the king and holy bishops worked together and religion and peace flourished in the land. By the 990s, with the Vikings suddenly once more a pressing threat, this seemed to him like a bright but vanished world.

Read it all.

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(BBC4) Thy Kingdom Come Full Programme for Pentecost Featuring a Sermon by Archbishop Justin Welby

From the BBC description:

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, preaches at a service for Pentecost. This Pentecost Sunday afternoon, Trafalgar Square in Central London is set to host a large gathering of Christians celebrating the most joy filled festival marking when the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples and they were sent out across the known world to preach a gospel of repentance, faith and hope. The event will be the climax of this year’s ‘Thy kingdom come’ global prayer movement which invites Christians around the world to pray for the growth of the Church as more people come to faith in Jesus Christ.

Today’s service looks forward to the celebration and is led by the Bishop of London, Sarah Mullally, with contributions from leaders of other Christian denominations including Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, Archbishop Angaelos, General Bishop in the UK of the Coptic Orthodox Church and Michaela Youngson, President of the Methodist Conference. Christian singer-songwriter Matt Redman explores the power of the Holy Spirit through music.

In the ten days between Ascension Day and Pentecost Sunday, hundreds of thousands of Christians have united by pledging to pray in the most ambitious evangelism project in a generation. What started in 2016 as an invitation from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York to the Church of England has grown into an international and ecumenical call to prayer, involving over 65 denominations, in 114 countries around the world.

Listen to it all (just under 40 minutes and note the outline of the whole service in print is toward the bottom).

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A Prayer to Begin the Day from Frederick Macnutt

O Lord Jesus Christ, who didst say that in thee we may have peace, and hast bidden us to be of good cheer, since thou hast overcome the world: Give ears to hear and faith to receive thy word; that in all the confusions and tensions of this present time, with mind serene and steadfast purpose, we may continue to abide in thee, who livest and wast dead and art alive for evermore.

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A Prayer to Begin the Day from the Book of Cerne

God the Father bless me, Christ guard me, the Holy Spirit enlighten me, all the days of my life! The Lord be the defender and guardian of my soul and my body, now and ever, and world without end! Amen. The right hand of the Lord preserve me always to old age! The grace of Christ perpetually defend me from the enemy! Direct, Lord, my heart into the way of peace. Lord God, haste Thee to deliver me, make haste to help me, O Lord.

–Frederick B. Macnutt, The prayer manual for private devotions or public use on divers occasions: Compiled from all sources ancient, medieval, and modern (A.R. Mowbray, 1951)

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JRR Tolkien for Easter 2019–Is everything sad going to come untrue? What’s happened to the world?

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

“Well, Master Samwise, how do you feel?”

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

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

— J.R.R. Tolkien (1892-1973), The Return of the King

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A Prayer for Holy Saturday (III)

O Lord God, who didst send thy only begotten Son to redeem the world by his obedience unto death: Grant, we humbly beseech thee, that the continual remembrance of his bitter cross may teach us to crucify the flesh with the affections and lusts thereof; that in the union and merits of his death and passion we may die with him, and rest with him, and rise again with him, and live with him for ever, to whom with thee and the Holy Ghost be all honour and glory; world without end.

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(BBC) Good Friday marked around the world

Enjoy all the pictures.

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Music for a Saturday–It All Comes Down by Patti Casey

From the time that you set foot upon this earth to pass your days
You are walking on borrowed ground, and you may stake no claims
To the soil and to the water, to the creatures lying by
Even the breath you take is loaned from on high

(chorus)
(It all comes down)
In the end, all the works of your hand
Though built of stone and honesty no earthly house shall ever stand
(And it all comes down)

As you walk along those borders with the deed held in your hand
Just remember you don’t own this you are a steward of this land
So seek wisdom and show mercy leaving some for another day
For you will call upon yourself the same someday

(It all comes down)
In the end, all the works of your hand
Though built of stone and honesty no earthly house shall ever stand
(And it all comes down)
Down in the end like a hand full of sand
(And it all comes down)
(And it all comes down)
Down in the end

When you drift down like a leaf to find your final resting place
You will return what you have borrowed you will have to show your face
And did you help some troubled soul did you try to lend a hand
For only kindness in the end alone shall stand

Listen to it all.

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(National Archives) George Washington’s Birthday

Washington’s Birthday was celebrated on February 22nd until well into the 20th Century. However, in 1968 Congress passed the Monday Holiday Law to “provide uniform annual observances of certain legal public holidays on Mondays.” By creating more 3-day weekends, Congress hoped to “bring substantial benefits to both the spiritual and economic life of the Nation.”

One of the provisions of this act changed the observance of Washington’s Birthday from February 22nd to the third Monday in February. Ironically, this guaranteed that the holiday would never be celebrated on Washington’s actual birthday, as the third Monday in February cannot fall any later than February 21.

Contrary to popular belief, neither Congress nor the President has ever stipulated that the name of the holiday observed as Washington’s Birthday be changed to “President’s Day.”

Read it all.

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A Prayer for the Feast Day of Cornelius the Centurion

O God, who by thy Spirit didst call Cornelius the Centurion to be the first Christian among the Gentiles: Grant to thy Church, we beseech thee, such a ready will to go where thou dost send and to do what thou dost command, that under thy guidance it may welcome all who turn to thee in love and faith, and proclaim the Gospel to all nations; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

[Gerbrand van den Eeckhout]

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The Spectator Talks with The Archbishop of Canterbury on God, politics and Christian unity

‘The decline is flattening,’ he tells me. But to understand the modern Church of England, he says, you need to look at the far-larger ‘worshipping community’. ‘Churches across England are now involved in more than 33,000 social projects. Food banks, night shelters, debt counselling, family ministry — all kinds of other things.’ Since the crash, he says, the Church of England has launched into all kinds of social action helping those affected – food banks especially. He seems almost offended when I ask if it really counts as religious activity. ‘Feeding the poor? I think Jesus would have thought of it as a form of religious activity.’

The bright spot, for him, is vocations — which he says will soon be at a 40-year high. That is striking, given that church numbers are at an all-time low. I ask why this might be. ‘You will think me very naive and sort of naff about this, but I think it’s probably got something to do with God. We’ve made a real effort to pray for and encourage vocations and we’ve seen a very significant rise, getting on for well over 20 per cent over the past three years.’

He accepts that, overall, the numbers are challenging: vocations are rising but weekday and Sunday services decreasing and the number of marriages and baptisms declining sharply. Perhaps the most startling statistic is that just 2 per cent of under-25s regard themselves as Anglican. ‘If you’re over 70, you’re eight times more likely to go to church than if you’re under 30,’ he says. ‘And I think that’s a huge challenge.’ I ask if he thinks rising secularism is also a challenge: that young people who go to church are seen not just as weird but as potential bigots and homophobes. It’s not a story he recognises…

Read it all.

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Thorneloe University appoints the Rev. Canon Dr. John Gibaut as its Next President

A priest of the Diocese of Ottawa, Gibaut is well known in ecumenical circles, having served on national and international dialogues and commissions.

He has been a member of the Anglican-Roman Catholic Dialogue of Canada, the Faith and Witness Commission of the Canadian Council of Churches, the International Commission for Anglican-Orthodox Theological Dialogue, and the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Ecumenical Relations.

Gibaut earned a doctorate in theology from Trinity College, University of Toronto, and has honorary Doctor of Divinity degrees from the Montreal Diocesan Theological College and Trinity College, Toronto. He has served as canon theologian of the Diocese of Ottawa.

He has lectured in the Faculty of Divinity at Trinity College as well as academic institutions in Australia and the United States. He has an impressive list of publications and presentations to his credit, reflecting his deep and diverse perspectives on theology. He is a highly regarded scholar in the areas of ecumenism, liturgy, church history, historical theology and Anglican studies.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Canada, Ecumenical Relations, Education, Religion & Culture, Uncategorized

A Prayer for the Feast day of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Almighty God, who by the hand of Moses thy servant didst lead thy people out of slavery, and didst make them free at last: Grant that thy Church, following the example of thy prophet Martin Luther King, may resist oppression in the name of thy love, and may strive to secure for all thy children the blessed liberty of the Gospel of Jesus Christ; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

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A Prayer for Epiphany from the Gothic Missal

O Father everlasting, the light of faithful souls, Who didst bring the nations to Thy light and kings to the brightness of Thy rising: fill the world with Thy glory, we beseech Thee, and show Thyself unto all the nations; through Him Who is the true light and the bright and morning star, Jesus Christ, Thy Son our Lord.

–Frederick B. Macnutt, The prayer manual for private devotions or public use on divers occasions: Compiled from all sources ancient, medieval, and modern (A.R. Mowbray, 1951)

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A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Thomas

Almighty and everliving God, who didst strengthen thine apostle Thomas with sure and certain faith in thy Son’s resurrection: Grant us so perfectly and without doubt to believe in Jesus Christ, our Lord and our God, that our faith may never be found wanting in thy sight; through him who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

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A Prayer to Begin the Day from the Non-Jurors’ Prayer Book

O thou, who hast foretold that thou wilt return to judge in an hour that we are not aware of, grant us grace to watch and pray always, that whether thou shalt come at even, or at midnight, or in the morning, we may be found among the number of those servants who shall be blessed in watching for their Lord, to whom be all glory now and for evermore.

–Frederick B. Macnutt, The prayer manual for private devotions or public use on divers occasions: Compiled from all sources ancient, medieval, and modern (A.R. Mowbray, 1951)

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From the Morning Bible Readings

Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to him, “Are you he who is to come, or shall we look for another?” And Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is he who takes no offense at me.”

As they went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to behold? A reed shaken by the wind? Why then did you go out? To see a man clothed in soft raiment? Behold, those who wear soft raiment are in kings’ houses. Why then did you go out? To see a prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is he of whom it is written,

‘Behold, I send my messenger before thy face,
who shall prepare thy way before thee.’

Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has risen no one greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and men of violence take it by force. For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John; and if you are willing to accept it, he is Eli′jah who is to come. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.

–Matthew 11:2-15

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(Ch in Parliament) Bishop of Chichester calls for Christians to stand against hate speech, violence and prejudice against Muslims

As extremists attempt to divide our communities, and even seek to hijack Christian symbols to do so, it is important to state clearly and loudly that it is the duty of all Christians in this country to stand in solidarity with our Muslim brothers and sisters who suffer hate speech, violence or prejudice.

This duty falls particularly, but by no means exclusively, on the Church of England. Her Majesty the Queen, in a speech to faith leaders at Lambeth Palace in 2012, gave an eloquent reminder that the role of the established church is,

“not to defend Anglicanism to the exclusion of other religions. Instead, the Church has a duty to protect the free practice of all faiths in this country”.

We stand, therefore, resolutely for freedom of conscience and for a society in which the open and public practice of faith is rigorously protected.

The greatest impact of Islamophobia is of course felt within our Muslim communities, especially perhaps by Muslim women. We have heard moving accounts, especially from the noble Baronesses, Lady Warsi and Lady Burt, of the reality of the personal impact of bigotry on the lives of our fellow citizens. We should also remember that hatred which isolates us from one another impoverishes us all, socially, economically and culturally. As the noble Lord, Lord Sacks, has argued, a society that values integration without assimilation allows us all to bring our particular gifts as contributions to the common good,

“not to ourselves and our communities alone but to all of us and the life we share”.

Read it all.

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(RNS) Pakistani Christians face an uneasy Christmas in the wake of Asia Bibi’s release

For the first time in nine years, Asia Bibi will be with her husband on Christmas.

But many of her fellow Christians in Pakistan are afraid of a backlash this holiday season in the wake of Bibi’s October exoneration by the nation’s Supreme Court on blasphemy charges.

Recent cases of abductions, allegations of blasphemy and hate crimes against Christians, who make up 2 percent of the South Asian country’s population, have led churches to beef up security as parishioners sing carols around bonfires and watch Nativity dramas.

“This is the best time for us. We plan the Christmas play throughout the year and arrange several programs in the festive season,” said a 17-year-old college student in Lahore. “But it is a tense situation in the country. We hope that the government will facilitate us in marking our religious season.”

Read it all.

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(Gallup) Nurses Again Outpace Other Professions for Honesty, Ethics

More than four in five Americans (84%) again rate the honesty and ethical standards of nurses as “very high” or “high,” earning them the top spot among a diverse list of professions for the 17th consecutive year. At the same time, members of Congress are again held in the lowest esteem, as nearly 58% of Americans say they have “low” or “very low” ethical standards. Telemarketers join members of Congress as having a majority of low/very low ratings.

Gallup has measured the public’s views of the honesty and ethical standards of a variety of occupations since 1976. While the list changes from year to year, some professions have been included consistently over the past four decades.

With the exception of one year, 2001, when firefighters were on the list after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, nurses have far outpaced all other professions since they were added to the list two decades ago.

Take a guess as to where clergy fall on the list before you read it all.

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(NYT) After More Than Two Decades of Work by Robert Alter, a New Hebrew Bible to Rival the King James

No book has been retranslated as often as the Bible, because no book has been as widely republished. The Bible isn’t just the all-time best seller, it’s consistently so, especially in the United States, where in a typical year about half a billion dollars’ worth are sold. Legions of Bible readers hunger endlessly for new versions. One of these, which Alter finds endearing, is a loose, vernacular rendition titled “The Message,” by the Rev. Eugene H. Peterson, which describes the uncreated world at the beginning of Genesis as a “soup of nothingness” and has God command his new creation by exclaiming, “Earth, green up!”

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(CT) Flemng Rutledge–Why Apocalypse Is Essential to Advent

Read it all.

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A Prayer for the Feast Day of Katharina Von Bora

Almighty God, who didst call thy servant Katharina von Bora from a cloister to work for the reform of thy church, grant that all of us may go wherever thou dost call, and serve however thou dost will, for thy honor and glory and for the welfare of thy whole church. All this we ask through Jesus Christ, our only mediator and advocate. Amen.

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A Prayer to Begin the Day from Lancelot Andrewes

Thou who with thine own mouth hast avouched that at midnight, at an hour when we are not aware, the Bridegroom shall come: Grant that the cry, The Bridegroom cometh, may sound evermore in our ears, that so we be never unprepared to meet him, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

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From the Morning Scripture Readings

A Psalm of Asaph. The Mighty One, God the LORD, speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to its setting. Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God shines forth. Our God comes, he does not keep silence, before him is a devouring fire, round about him a mighty tempest.

–Psalm 50:1-3

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(Economist Erasmus Blog) In post-Soviet lands, theology and politics are hard to disentangle

IN MOST Western democracies, including those like Denmark and England which for historical reasons have a state church, the fortunes of this or that form of faith are mainly treated as a matter for the religion’s own adherents. In a context of religious freedom, rival creeds ebb and flow as they offer their spiritual wares and vie for souls. But the further east you travel in Europe, and the further you go into lands where state-sponsored atheism once prevailed, the more likely it becomes that religion will be treated as a matter of high politics.
Over the weekend, as a gathering of bishops in Kiev formally proclaimed an independent Ukrainian church, one striking feature of the proceedings was the omnipresence of President Petro Poroshenko (pictured, above left). He has tied his political fortunes to the successful establishment of a national Orthodox church, a body to which most Ukrainian citizens can comfortably adhere. And as the bishops chose one of their number, a 39-year-old prelate called Epifany Dumenko (pictured, above centre), as their primate, the Ukrainian head of state hailed the election as a landmark in national history: a moment at which Ukrainians stood up to Russia’s worldly leader Vladimir Putin and its spiritual leader Patriarch Kirill of Moscow.

He declared:“This is a church without Putin, this is a church without Kirill, a church without prayers for the Russian state or Russian forces, because Russian [state] power and Russian troops are killing killing Ukrainians. But it is a church with [the presence of] God….”

Read it all.

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A CEEC response to the C of E House of Bishops’ “Pastoral Guidance for use in conjunction with the Affirmation of Baptismal Faith in the context of gender transition”

The Church of England holds to the principle that our prayers express what we believe (lex orandi, lexcredendi). As this new guidance will be included in Common Worship, its support for services liturgically
recognising a person’s gender transition, and the theological views contained in the guidance for such services,are of both liturgical and doctrinal significance.

Although the bishops have declined the request to issue a new formal liturgy they have encouraged a newliturgical act. They seem to have proposed a hybrid liturgy for such services. They do so by commending a
properly approved rite which should express our baptismal unity to be used to do something else and something new liturgically. This innovative use is both highly divisive and theologically and pastorally
questionable. It also risks raising serious concerns both within the wider Anglican Communion and ecumenically.

Although the bishops have not issued a new formal teaching, they have issued pastoral guidance which makes theological judgments. They have done so through what appears to be a flawed process; a process which
lacked theological scrutiny and bypassed the existing structures for such theological discernment. These judgments develop and narrow previous teaching. They do so in ways that many Anglicans view as reversing that teaching to establish a position which is incompatible with biblical revelation and the Church’s traditional understanding of what it means to be human.

We recognise that some in the church will share our understanding of the nature and significance of this step and welcome it. Others may think our interpretation of the guidance flawed. We believe, however, that our
interpretation is widely and legitimately held. We, and we believe many others, are concerned as to the consequences of this development.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Salvation (Soteriology), Uncategorized

From the Morning Scripture Readings

But I trust in thee, O LORD, I say, “Thou art my God.” My times are in thy hand; deliver me from the hand of my enemies and persecutors! Let thy face shine on thy servant; save me in thy steadfast love!

–Psalm 31:15-16

Posted in Theology: Scripture, Uncategorized