Category : Church Year / Liturgical Seasons

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Richard Baxter

Keep us, O Lord, while we tarry on this earth, in a serious seeking after thee, and in an affectionate walking with thee, every day of our lives; that when thou comest, we may be found not hiding our talent, nor serving the flesh, nor yet asleep with our lamp unfurnished, but waiting and longing for our Lord, our glorious God for ever and ever.

Posted in Advent, Spirituality/Prayer

A prayer for the day from the Non-Jurors’ Prayer Book

O thou, who hast foretold that thou wilt return to judgment 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.

Posted in Advent, Spirituality/Prayer

A prayer for 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.

Posted in Advent, Spirituality/Prayer

A prayer for the day from Prayers for the Christian Year

Almighty and everlasting God, who orderest all things in heaven and on earth: We give thee thanks and praise that thou didst make all ages a preparation for the coming of thy Son, our blessed Redeemer. Prepare us for the coming of him whom thou dost send, and grant that of his fullness we may all receive; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Prayers for the Christian Year (SCM, 1964)

Posted in Advent, Spirituality/Prayer

Music for Advent–Come Thou Long-Expected Jesus from Red Mountain Music

The music is by Rowland H. Prichard and the lyrics are by Charles Wesley.

Listen to it all.

Posted in Advent, Liturgy, Music, Worship

A prayer for the day from the Church of England

Almighty God,
give us grace to cast away the works of darkness
and to put on the armour of light,
now in the time of this mortal life,
in which your Son Jesus Christ came to us in great humility;
that on the last day,
when he shall come again in his glorious majesty
to judge the living and the dead,
we may rise to the life immortal;
through him who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
Amen.

Posted in Advent, Spirituality/Prayer

Eleanor Parker–A Song for All Souls

Lord, incline thine ear unto our prayers, wherein we right devoutly call upon thy mercy, that thou wilt bestow the souls of thy servants, both men and women, which thou hast commanded to depart from this world, in the country of peace and rest, and further cause them to be made partners with thy saints. By Christ our Lord. So be it.

Read it all.

Posted in Church History, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons

A Prayer for All Souls Day

O God, the Maker and Redeemer of all believers: Grant to the faithful departed the unsearchable benefits of the passion of thy Son; that on the day of his appearing they may be manifested as thy children; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and ever. Amen.

Posted in Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Death / Burial / Funerals, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer for All Saints Day (II)

Almighty and Everlasting God,
who dost enkindle the flame of Thy love in the hearts of the saints,
grant unto us the same faith and power of love;
that, as we rejoice in their triumphs
we may profit by their examples, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

A Prayer for All Saints Day (I)

Almighty God,
who hast knit together thine elect
in one communion and fellowship
in the mystical body of Your Son, Christ our Lord:
Give us grace so to follow Your blessed saints
in all virtuous and godly living,
that we may come
to those ineffable joys
that thou hast prepared for those
who unfeignedly love thee;
through the same Jesus Christ our Lord,
who with thee and the Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth,
one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

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

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

A Prayer for Holy Cross Day

O God, who by the passion of thy blessed Son didst make an instrument of shameful death to be unto us the means of life and peace: Grant us so to glory in the cross of Christ, that we may gladly suffer shame and loss for the sake of thy Son our Savior Jesus Christ; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

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

A Prayer for the Feast of the Transfiguration

O God, who on the holy mount didst reveal to chosen witnesses thy well-beloved Son, wonderfully transfigured, in raiment white and glistening: Mercifully grant that we, being delivered from the disquietude of this world, may by faith behold the King in his beauty; who with thee, O Father, and thee, O Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth, one God, world without end.

Posted in Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Spirituality/Prayer

Martin Warner reviews ‘Journey into Light: The challenge and enchantment of Catholic Christianity’ by Roderick Strange

[Roderick] Strange wants to tell us how Christianity is naturally catholic. His exposition has a simple structure: the Church’s liturgical year. He starts with reminding us that belief in God is a reasonable thing, and then offers a series of reflections that go from Advent to the following November.

Part of the didactic skill of this wise teacher is that he understands how the experience of liturgy communicates a truth beyond itself. His account of Passiontide and Holy Week is a good example of how liturgical events open up what sustained the life and teaching of St Paul. Similarly, the feast of the Immaculate Conception is used as a hook on which to hang a meditation on the theme of mercy which Jesus reveals in the Gospels.

In an age when so much has been forgotten about our Christian inheritance of faith, Strange introduces saints and theologians of the past as though they were old friends. He does not labour the point, but offers the odd soundbite to remind us how thin our own discourse is becoming.

The warmth of human sympathy, the array of interesting and original people, and the range of places, circumstances, art, and literature all indicate how Strange has been nurtured by the ease and confidence of the Catholic Church.

Read it all.

Posted in Books, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Ecclesiology, Sacramental Theology, Theology

A Prayer to begin the day from Daily Prayer

O Holy Ghost, giver of light and life, impart to us thoughts higher than our own thoughts, and prayers better than our own prayers, and powers beyond our own powers, that we may spend and be spent in the ways of love and goodness, after the perfect image of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

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

Posted in Pentecost, Spirituality/Prayer

Another Prayer for the day from H. C. Cooksey

O Holy Spirit of God, Lord and Giver of life: Come into our hearts, we beseech thee; that enlightened by thy clear shining, and warmed by thine unselfish love, our souls may be revived to the worship of God, and our lives be dedicated anew to the service of our fellows: for Jesus Christ’s sake.

Posted in Pentecost, Spirituality/Prayer

(Reuters) ISIS affiliate suspected of R Catholic church massacre, Nigeria says

Nigerian security officials suspect extremists from Islamic State’s affiliate in west Africa were behind an attack on a Catholic church last weekend that killed dozens.

Forty people are now thought to have died after gunmen stormed St Francis Catholic church in Owo, Ondo State, on Sunday, and 61 survivors are still being treated in hospital, according to local authorities. The total is double an earlier estimate.

Nigeria’s National Security Council said on Thursday that the attack was the work of the Islamic State West Africa Province (Iswap) group, apparently reinforcing fears that the militants, who have been restricted to the north-east for many years, are looking to expand their influence and reach to other parts of the country. Ondo, in the south-west, has long been considered one of the safer parts of the country.

Read it all.

Posted in Liturgy, Music, Worship, Nigeria, Parish Ministry, Pentecost, Religion & Culture, Religious Freedom / Persecution, Terrorism, Violence

Annie Dillard on Pentecost

On the whole, I do not find Christians, outside of the catacombs, sufficiently sensible of conditions. Does anyone have the foggiest idea what sort of power we so blithely invoke? Or, as I suspect, does no one believe a word of it? The churches are children playing on the floor with their chemistry sets, mixing up a batch of TNT to kill a Sunday morning. It is madness to wear ladies’ straw hats and velvet hats to church we should all be wearing crash helmets. Ushers should issue life preservers and signal flares; they should lash us to our pews. For the sleeping god may wake someday and take offense, or the waking god may draw us out to where we can never return.

–Annie Dillard, Teaching a Stone to Talk: Expeditions and Encounters (New York, Harper Perennial ed., 1988 of 1982 original), pp. 52-53, quoted by yours truly in last Sunday’s sermon

Posted in Pentecost, Theology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology)

Another Prayer for Pentecost from the Scottish Prayer Book

Almighty and everlasting God, who in days of old didst cause thy Word to grow mightily and to prevail: We praise and magnify thy holy name for the manifestation of thy presence in this our day, and we beseech thee to pour out thy Spirit upon the Church, that thy way may be known upon earth and thy saving health among all nations; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Posted in Pentecost, Spirituality/Prayer

Poetry for Pentecost–Suddenly by R S Thomas

From here:

Suddenly after long silence
he has become voluble.
He addresses me from a myriad
directions with fluency
of water, the articulateness
of green leaves: and in the genes,
too, the components
of my existence. The rock,
so long speechless, is the library
of his poetry. He sings to me
in the chain-saw, writes
with the surgeon’s hand
on the skin’s parchment messages
of healing. The weather
is his mind’s turbine
driving the earth’s bulk round
and around on its remedial
journey. I have no need
to despair; as at
some second Pentecost
of a Gentile, I listen to the things
round me: weeds, stones, instruments,
the machine itself, all
speaking to me in the vernacular
of the purposes of one who is.

Posted in Pentecost, Poetry & Literature

JRR Tolkien on why the Gospel is like unto but Better than a Fairy Tale

Probably every writer making a secondary world, a fantasy, every sub-creator, wishes in some measure to be a real maker, or hopes that he is drawing on reality: hopes that the peculiar quality of this secondary world (if not all the details) are derived from Reality, or are flowing into it. If he indeed achieves a quality that can fairly be described by the dictionary definition: “inner consistency of reality,” it is difficult to conceive how this can be, if the work does not in some way partake of reality. The peculiar quality of the ”joy” in successful Fantasy can thus be explained as a sudden glimpse of the underlying reality or truth. It is not only a “consolation” for the sorrow of this world, but a satisfaction, and an answer to that question, “Is it true?” The answer to this question that I gave at first was (quite rightly): “If you have built your little world well, yes: it is true in that world.” That is enough for the artist (or the artist part of the artist). But in the “eucatastrophe” we see in a brief vision that the answer may be greater — it may be a far-off gleam or echo of evangelium in the real world. The use of this word gives a hint of my epilogue. It is a serious and dangerous matter. It is presumptuous of me to touch upon such a theme; but if by grace what I say has in any respect any validity, it is, of course, only one facet of a truth incalculably rich: finite only because the capacity of Man for whom this was done is finite.

I would venture to say that approaching the Christian Story from this direction, it has long been my feeling (a joyous feeling) that God redeemed the corrupt making-creatures, men, in a way fitting to this aspect, as to others, of their strange nature. The Gospels contain a fairy-story, or a story of a larger kind which embraces all the essence of fairy-stories. They contain many marvels—peculiarly artistic, beautiful, and moving: “mythical” in their perfect, self-contained significance; and among the marvels is the greatest and most complete conceivable eucatastrophe. But this story has entered History and the primary world; the desire and aspiration of sub-creation has been raised to the fulfillment of Creation. The Birth of Christ is the eucatastrophe of Man’s history. The Resurrection is the eucatastrophe of the story of the Incarnation. This story begins and ends in joy. It has pre-eminently the “inner consistency of reality.” There is no tale ever told that men would rather find was true, and none which so many sceptical men have accepted as true on its own merits. For the Art of it has the supremely convincing tone of Primary Art, that is, of Creation. To reject it leads either to sadness or to wrath. Every fairy tale we tell has at it’s root a core element of the ultimate story but the thing which makes the gospel so compelling is that it like a fairy tale sounds too good to be true but unlike a fairy tale is true.

“It is not difficult to imagine the peculiar excitement and joy that one would feel, if any specially beautiful fairy-story were found to be “primarily” true, its narrative to be history, without thereby necessarily losing the mythical or allegorical significance that it had possessed. It is not difficult, for one is not called upon to try and conceive anything of a quality unknown. The joy would have exactly the same quality, if not the same degree, as the joy which the “turn” in a fairy-story gives: such joy has the very taste of primary truth. (Otherwise its name would not be joy.) It looks forward (or backward: the direction in this regard is unimportant) to the Great Eucatastrophe. The Christian joy, the Gloria, is of the same kind; but it is preeminently (infinitely, if our capacity were not finite) high and joyous. But this story is supreme; and it is true. Art has been verified. God is the Lord, of angels, and of men—and of elves. Legend and History have met and fused.”

— J.R.R. Tolkien on Fairy Stories, cited by yours truly on this past Sunday’s Pentecost sermon.

Posted in Church History, Pentecost, Poetry & Literature, Theology

Another Prayer for Pentecost from the Church of England

O Lord, from whom all good things come:
grant to us your humble servants,
that by your holy inspiration
we may think those things that are good,
and by your merciful guiding may perform the same;
through our Lord Jesus Christ,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
Amen.

Posted in Pentecost, Spirituality/Prayer

Charles H Spurgeon on Pentecost–‘How absolutely necessary is the presence and power of the Holy Spirit!’

How absolutely necessary is the presence and power of the Holy Spirit! It is not possible for us to promote the glory of God or to bless the souls of men, unless the Holy Ghost shall be in us and with us. Those who were assembled on that memorable day of Pentecost, were all men of prayer and faith; but even these precious gifts are only available when the celestial fire sets them on a blaze. They were all men of experience; most of them had been preachers of the Word and workers of miracles; they had endured trials and troubles in company with their Lord, and had been with him in his temptation. Yet even experienced Christians, without the Spirit of God, are weak as water. Among them were the apostles and the seventy evangelists, and with them were those honoured women in whose houses the Lord had often been entertained, and who had ministered to him of their substance; yet even these favoured and honoured saints can do nothing without the breath of God the Holy Ghost. Apostles and evangelists dare not even attempt anything alone; they must tarry at Jerusalem till power be given them from on high. It was not a want of education; they had been for three years in the college of Christ, with perfect wisdom as their tutor, matchless eloquence as their instructor, and immaculate perfection as their example; yet they must not venture to open their mouths to testify of the mystery of Jesus, until the anointing Spirit has come with blessed unction from above. Surely, my brethren, if so it was with them, much more must it be the case with us.

–From a sermon in 1863

Posted in Church History, Ministry of the Ordained, Pentecost, Preaching / Homiletics, Theology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology)

Music for Pentecost 2022–Taizé – Holy Spirit, Come to Us

Enjoy it all.

Posted in Liturgy, Music, Worship, Pentecost

Lesslie Newbigin on Pentecost, the Holy Spirit and Mission

There has been a long tradition which sees the mission of the Church primarily as obedience to a command. It has been customary to speak of “the missionary mandate.” This way of putting the matter is certainly not without justification, and yet it seems to me that it misses the point. It tends to make mission a burden rather than a joy, to make it part of the law rather than part of the gospel. If one looks at the New Testament evidence one gets another impression. Mission begins with a kind of explosion of joy. The news that the rejected and crucified Jesus is alive is something that cannot possibly be suppressed. It must be told. Who could be silent about such a fact? The mission of the Church in the pages of the New Testament is more like the fallout from a vast explosion, a radioactive fallout which is not lethal but life-giving.
One searches in vain through the letters of St. Paul to find any suggestion that he anywhere lays it on the conscience of his readers that they ought to be active in mission. For himself it is inconceivable that he should keep silent. “Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!” (1 Cor. 9:16). But no where do we find him telling his readers that they have a duty to do so.

…[In] the sermon of Peter on the day of Pentecost…something is happening which prompts the crowd to come together and ask, “What is going on?” The answer of Peter is in effect a statement that what is going on is that the last day has arrived and the powers of the new age are already at work, and that this is so because of the life, ministry, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus. The sermon leads up to a climax in the citing of the Psalm 110 (Acts 2:34). Jesus, whom they had crucified, is now seated at the right hand of God until all things are put under his feet. This is the reality which all human beings must henceforth take into account. The real government of the universe, the final reality which in the end confronts every human being, is the crucified and risen Jesus.

And to the question “What, then, are we to do?” the answer is “Repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus.” To repent is to do the U-turn of the mind which enables you to believe what is hidden from sight, the reality of the presence of the reign of God in the crucified Jesus. …To be baptized is to be incorporated into the dying of Jesus so as to become a participant in his risen life, and so to share his ongoing mission to the world. It is to be baptized into his mission.

His mission. It is of the greatest importance to recognize that it remains his mission. One of the dangers of emphasizing the concept of mission as a mandate given to the Church is that it tempts us to do what we are always tempted to do, namely to see the work of mission as a good work and to seek to justify ourselves by our works. On this view, it is we who must save the unbelievers from perishing. The emphasis of the New Testament, it seems to me, is otherwise.

Even Jesus himself speaks of his words and works as not his own but those of the Father. His teaching is the teaching of the Father, and his mighty works are the work of the Father. So also in the Synoptic Gospels, the mighty works of Jesus are the work of God’s kingly power, of his Spirit. So also with the disciples. It is the Spirit who will give them power and the Spirit who will bear witness. It is not that they must speak and act, asking the help of the Spirit to do so. It is rather that in their faithfulness to Jesus they become the place where the Spirit speaks and acts.

—Lesslie Newbigin, The Gospel in a Pluralist Society (Eerdmans: Grand Rapids, 1989), pages 116-118.

Posted in Church History, Ecclesiology, Missions, Pentecost, Theology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology)

John Stott on the Spirit-Filled Christian for Pentecost

Our attitude to our fallen nature should be one of ruthless repudiation. For ‘those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires’ (Gal. 5:24). That is, we have taken this evil, slimy, slippery thing called ‘the flesh’ and nailed it to the cross. This was our initial repentance. Crucifixion is dramatic imagery for our uncompromising rejection of all known evil. Crucifixion does not lead to a quick or easy death; it is an execution of lingering pain. Yet it is decisive; there is no possibility of escaping from it.

Our attitude to the Holy Spirit, on the other hand, is to be one of unconditional surrender. Paul uses several expressions for this. We are to ‘live by the Spirit’ (Gal. 5:16, 18. 25). That is, we are to allow him his rightful sovereignty over us, and follow his righteous promptings.

Thus both our repudiation of the flesh and our surrender to the Spirit need to be repeated daily, however decisive our original repudiation and surrender may have been. In Jesus’ words, we are to ‘take up (our) cross daily’ and follow him (Lk 9:23). We are also to go on being filled with the Spirit (Eph. 5:18), as we open our personality to him daily. Both our repudiation and our surrender are also to be worked out in disciplined habits of life. It is those who ‘sow to the Spirit’ (Gal. 6:8) who reap the fruit of the Spirit. And to ‘sow to the Spirit’ means to cultivate the things of the Spirit, for example, by our wise use of the Lord’s Day, the discipline of our daily prayer and Bible reading, our regular worship and attendance at the Lord’s Supper, our Christian friendships and our involvement in Christian service. An inflexible principle of all God’s dealings, both in the material and in the moral realm, is that we reap what we sow. The rule is invariable. It cannot be changed, for ‘God cannot be mocked’ (Gal. 6:7). We must not therefore be surprised if we do not reap the fruit of the Spirit when all the time we are sowing to the flesh. Did we think we could cheat or fool God?

Authentic Christianity (Nottingham, IVP, 1995)

Posted in Church History, Pentecost, Theology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology)

(AJPS) Young-Hoon Lee–Korean Pentecost: The Great Revival Of 1907

Then began a meeting the like of which I had never seen before, nor wish to see again unless in God’s sight it is absolutely necessary. Every sin a human being can commit was publicly confessed that night. Pale and trembling with emotion, in agony of mind and body, guilty souls, standing in the white light of their judgment, saw themselves as God saw them. Their sins rose up in all their vileness, till shame and grief and self-loathing took complete possession; pride was driven out, the face of man forgotten. Looking up to heaven, to Jesus whom they had betrayed, they smote themselves and cried out with bitter wailing: “Lord, Lord, cast us not away forever!” Everything else was forgotten, nothing else mattered. The scorn of men, the penalty of the law, even death itself seemed of small consequences if only God forgave. We may have other theories of desirability or undesirability of public confession of sin. I have had mine; but I know now that when the Spirit of God falls upon guilty souls, there will be confession, and no power on earth can stop it.

Read it all.

Posted in Church History, Korea, Pentecost

Another Prayer for Pentecost from the Gelasian Sacramentary

O God, who in the exaltation of thy Son Jesus Christ dost sanctify thy universal Church: Shed abroad in every race and nation the gift of the Holy Spirit; that the work wrought by his power at the first preaching of the gospel may now be extended throughout the whole world; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

Posted in Pentecost, Spirituality/Prayer

Kendall Harmon’s Sunday Sermon–How Pentecost Changes Everything (Acts 2:1-21)

There is also still more there.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pentecost, Preaching / Homiletics, Theology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology), Theology: Scripture

John Calvin on Pentecost

[At Pentecost Peter] intendeth to prove…that the Church can be repaired by no other means, saving only by the giving of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, forasmuch as they did all hope that the restoring drew near, he accuseth them of sluggishness, because they do not once think upon the way and means thereof. And when the prophet saith, “I will pour out,” it is, without all question, that he meant by this word to note the great abundance of the Spirit….when God will briefly promise salvation to his people, he affirmeth that he will give them his Spirit. Hereupon it followeth that we can obtain no good things until we have the Spirit given us.

–Commentary on the Acts of the Apostles

Posted in Church History, Pentecost, Theology, Theology: Scripture