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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

(C of E) Report from the December House of Bishops

On the third day the Bishops participated in exploratory work related to the Living in Love and Faith project.

The House of Bishops prayed for the nation and all our politicians at this challenging time.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Uncategorized

(PS’ The Thread) Cambria Kaltwasser–Karl Barth on what Makes us Human

Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection give us the portrait of one whose mission from God for the world was identical with his being. He was from the very beginning what he was for others. So our basic form of humanity, the form in which God created us, comprises the many ways, both great and miniscule, that my neighbor’s life impinges on mine, and mine on hers. Barth gathers these ways into four categories: looking one another in the eye, mutual speech and hearing, mutual assistance, and gladness.

With his notion of human gladness, Barth rules out the possibility that you and I might at bottom be indifferent toward one another, awaiting some external factor to decide whether we might matter to one another. Seeing ourselves in light of Jesus gives the lie to any notion of original neutrality between us. The fact that my true being and, therefore, my true freedom is bound up with the being and freedom of my neighbor means that her claim upon me can never be an alien or burdensome imposition on me, provided that I see myself as I truly am. God’s claim on us, then, envisions not self-sufficient creatures, independent of God or neighbor, but interdependent creatures, who rely on one another to be the creatures we are called to be.

Furthermore, Barth characterizes this glad fellowship with the neighbor as the command of God my Creator and, at the same time, my own command to myself (268-69). Put differently, precisely because God has created us for mutuality with our neighbors, God’s command that we live with and for one another aptly “interprets” our lives and is no alien law. In this, Barth re-approaches his idealist roots, showing how, once we understand ourselves as fundamentally in relationship with God and neighbor, then we can recognize a kind of God-ordained human self-determination at work in our choice for these relationships.

Read it all.

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In the Diocese of South Carolina, Grace Anglican Parish Moves into New, Larger Space

Grace Anglican Parish will begin the Advent season in a new location. They’ve outgrown the Floyd Community Center. Their new location is 10373 Highway 90, Little River. This past Sunday (November 25) after lunch, they held a painting party to prepare their sanctuary for use. New locks, new carpet and a lighted sign come next. Keep them in prayer as they begin this new season. “There is so much to do,” says Vicar, Cindy Larsen, “but we will get there quickly. We are excited, busy and joyful!”

In a recent Facebook post, vicar Cindy Larsen gave the following update on the Grace Anglican Parish’s move to a new location.

“I give thanks that we have a new home for Grace Anglican Parish! We are so busy, but very glad to be moving into a larger space where we can worship freely, without renting by the hour for every purpose.

We have signed the lease and the electricity and water are on. The sign company is preparing proofs and a quote for our new sign. Volunteers are cleaning the space today and shampooing the carpet in the parish hall and other rooms….

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, Parish Ministry, Uncategorized

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Ignatius of Loyola

Teach us, good Lord, to serve Thee as Thou deservest; to give and not to count the cost; to fight and not to heed the wounds; to toil and not to seek for rest; to labour and not to ask for any reward, save that of knowing that we do Thy will; through Jesus Christ 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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Veterans Day Statistics 2018

You can find a page of 4 graphs there. There is also a research summary here. An excellent short summary of the history of Veterans Day may be found at this link. Finally, a link for the Veterans History Project is well worth your time exploring today. The VA’s National Cemetery Administration currently maintains 136 national cemeteries in 40 states (and Puerto Rico) as well as 33 soldier’s lots and monument sites.

Finally, a 15 page teachers guide for Veteran’s Day 2018 may be found there.

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Saturday Food for Thought–CH Spurgeon on the Unsearchable Riches of Christ

I am bold to tell you that my Master’s riches of Divine Grace are so unsearchable that He delights to forgive and forget enormous sin! The bigger the sin the more Glory to His Grace! If you are over head and ears in debt, He is rich enough to discharge your liabilities. If you are at the very gates of Hell, He is able to pluck you from the jaws of destruction. So mighty is His Mercy that no case did ever exceed His power to save or ever will! I will challenge you to a contest with regard to my dear Lord and Master, that if you will sit down and think the best and largest thoughts you can of Him, you will not think Him to be so good and loving as He really is! If you will try and wish for the largest blessings you can conceive, you shall not be able to wish for such blessings as He is prepared to bestow! And if you will open your mouth wide and make a request for the greatest favor that ever a human being asked of God or man, you shall not ask for a tenth of what He is prepared to give!

–from a sermon in 19874

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

O God, in obedience to thy command, I surrender myself to thee this day, all that I am and all that I have, to be unconditionally thine for thy using. Take me from myself and use me as thou wilt, where thou wilt, when thou wilt, with whom thou wilt; for Christ’s sake.

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

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A Prayer to Begin the Day from the American Prayer Book

O God of peace, who hast taught us that in returning and rest we shall be saved, in quietness and confidence shall be our strength: By the might of thy Spirit lift us, we pray thee, to thy presence, where we may be still and know that thou art God; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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A Prayer for the Feast Day of Francis of Assisi

Most high, omnipotent, good Lord, grant unto thy people grace to renounce gladly the vanities of this world; that, following the way of blessed Francis, we may for love of thee delight in thy whole creation with perfectness of joy; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

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A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Michael and All Angels

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

Posted in Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Spirituality/Prayer, Uncategorized

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Ignatius of Loyola

Teach us, good Lord, to serve Thee as Thou deservest; to give and not to count the cost; to fight and not to heed the wounds; to toil and not to seek for rest; to labour and not to ask for any reward, save that of knowing that we do Thy will; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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A Benediction to Begin the Day from Henry Stobart (1824-1895)

Now our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and God, even our Father, Which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, comfort our hearts, and establish us in every good word and work. Amen.

–Henry Stobart, Daily Services For Christian Households (London: SPCK,1867), p.91

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A Prayer to Begin the Day from Frank Colquhoun

Grant, O blessed Lord, that thy Church in this our day may hear anew thy call to launch out into the deep in the service of thy glorious gospel; that souls for whom thou hast died may be won for thee, to the increase of thy kingdom and the glory of thy holy name.

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A Prayer to Begin the Day from Daily Prayer

Set a watch, O Lord, upon our tongue, that we may never speak the cruel word which is not true; or being true, is not the whole truth; or being wholly true, is merciless; for the love of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Daily Prayer, Eric Milner-White and G. W. Briggs, eds. (London: Penguin Books 1959 edition of the 1941 original)

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A Prayer to Begin the Day from James Mountain

Almighty God our heavenly Father, who hast given thy Son Jesus Christ to die for our sins, and hast commanded us to love one another as thou hast loved us: Make us, we beseech thee, so mindful of the needs and sufferings of others, that we may ever be ready to show them compassion, and according to our ability to relieve their wants; for the sake of the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

–The Rev. James Mountain (1844-1933)

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