Category : Church Year / Liturgical Seasons

(1st Things) Hans Boersma–Memorization and Repentance

The distraction of our information age fails at character formation. What’s in cyberspace cannot shape our characters, only what is in the mind. (To be sure, data and images often move from cyberspace to our mind, at which point they do shape our character for good or ill.) Having information at our fingertips is not the same as having stored it in our mind. This is why both classical and medieval authors were deeply concerned with memorization. Traditional practices such as lectio divina are grounded in the recognition that distraction must be countered by memorization and meditation. (The two were virtually synonymous in the Middle Ages.) Medieval monks devised all sorts of ways to facilitate Scripture memorization because they recognized that it offers the boundaries and confines within which the moral life can flourish.

Memorization is a Lenten practice, reshaping our memories to be like God’s. When our memories are reshaped and reordered according to the immutable faithfulness of God in Christ, we re-appropriate God’s character—his steadfast love, his mercy, his compassion. Repentance, therefore, is a turning back to the virtues of God as we see them in Christ. Being united to him, we are united to the very character of God, for it is in the God-man that God’s virtue and human virtue meet. The hypostatic union is the locus of our repentance: In Christ human memory is re-figured to the memory of God.

Memorization may be a largely abandoned practice. But is by memorizing that we turn away from sinful distraction and share in God’s own, ever-reliable memory in Christ.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Lent, Theology, Theology: Scripture

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Charles John Vaughan

Write deeply upon our minds, O Lord God, the lesson of thy holy Word, that only the pure in heart can see thee. Leave us not in the bondage of any sinful inclination. May we neither deceive ourselves with the thought that we have no sin, nor acquiesce idly in aught of which our conscience accuses us. Strengthen us by thy Holy Spirit to fight the good fight of faith, and grant that no day may pass without its victory; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Posted in Lent, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from James Ferguson

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.

Posted in Lent, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Thomas Wilson

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.

Posted in Lent, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from the Gregorian Sacramentary

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.

Posted in Lent, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Charles John Vaughan

O Lord God, keep ever in our remembrance the life and death of our Saviour Jesus Christ. Make the thought of his love powerful to win us from evil. As he toiled and sorrowed and suffered for us, in fighting against sin, so may we endure constantly and labour diligently, as his soldiers and servants, looking ever unto him and counting it all joy to be partakers with him in his conflict, his cross, and his victory; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

Posted in Lent, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from the Euchologium Anglicanum

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.

Posted in Lent, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Frederick Macnutt

O Lord and heavenly Father, who hast given unto us thy people the true bread that cometh down from heaven, even thy Son Jesus Christ: Grant that throughout this Lent our souls may so be fed by him that we may continually live in him and he in us; and that day by day we may be renewed in spirit by the power of his endless life, who gave himself for us, and now liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end.

Posted in Lent, Spirituality/Prayer

Food for Thought from Lewis Smedes in Lent

What we are is a set of walking contradictions: our inner lives are not partitioned like day and night, with pure light on one side of us and total darkness on the other. Mostly, our souls are shadowed places; we live at the border where our dark sides block our light and throw a shadow over our interior places. . . . We cannot always tell where our light ends and our shadow begins or where our shadow ends and our darkness begins.

–Lewis Smedes, Shame and Grace: Healing the Shame We Don’t Deserve (New York: HarperOne, 2009 ed. of 1993 original), p. 116

Posted in Anthropology, Books, Lent, Theology

A Prayer for the Feast of the Presentation

Almighty and everliving God, we humbly beseech thee that, as thy only-begotten Son was this day presented in the temple, so we may be presented unto thee with pure and clean hearts by the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Posted in Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from H J Wotherspoon

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.

–The Rev. H. J. Wotherspoon [1850-1930], Kyrie eleison (“Lord, have mercy”): A Manual of Private Prayers (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1905)

Posted in Epiphany, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Henry Alford

O Lord Jesus, who by thy first miracle didst manifest thy glory, so that thy disciples believed on thee: Give us in our measure that faith which dwelt in them. Fill us with the riches of thy good Spirit; change thou our earthly desires into the image of thine own purity and holiness; and finally give us a place at thy heavenly feast; for the glory of thy holy name.

Posted in Epiphany, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from the Church of South India

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.

Posted in Epiphany, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from E. M. Goulburn

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.

Posted in Epiphany, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Henry Alford

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.

Posted in Epiphany, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Daily Prayer

O Lord Jesus Christ, who didst sit lowly in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them and asking them questions: Give unto thy servants that humility of heart, and willingness to learn, without which no man can find wisdom; to the glory of thy holy Name.

Daily Prayer, Eric Milner-White and G. W. Briggs, eds. (London: Penguin Books 1959 edition of the 1941 original), p. 125

Posted in Epiphany, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer for the Baptism of Jesus from the Church of South India

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.

Posted in Epiphany, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer for the Baptism of Jesus from the Scottish Prayer Book

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.

Posted in Epiphany, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer for Epiphany from the Church of South India

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.

Posted in Epiphany, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer for Epiphany to Begin the Day from James Todd

Almighty Lord God, who didst give thy Son Jesus Christ to be the light of the world: We praise and magnify thy holy name that in him thou hast revealed the wonder of thy saving love to men. With those of old who brought their tribute to his feet, confessing him as King of heaven and earth, we now present the worship of our grateful hearts, beseeching thee to give us grace to give ourselves to thee; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.

Posted in Epiphany, Spirituality/Prayer

More Music for Epiphany 2019–Brightest and Best of the Sons of the Morning [Thrupp]

Words: Bishop Reginald Heber
Tune: ‘Epiphany’ – Joseph Thrupp

Posted in Epiphany, Liturgy, Music, Worship

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Edward Hawkins

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.

Posted in Epiphany, Spirituality/Prayer

Music for Epiphany 2019–The Three Kings – Peter Cornelius

Posted in Epiphany, Liturgy, Music, Worship

A Prayer to Begin the Day from George Appleton

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.

Posted in Epiphany, Spirituality/Prayer

(CC) Miroslav Volf–Joy is for Epiphany, too

Everybody knows that Christmas is a season of joy. For one, it has at its heart a birth story. A new and healthy child came into the world, and his family rejoiced. Every birth is a new beginning, a fresh hope. Christmas joy overlaps with the most common of humanity’s great joys.

We tend not to associate joy with Epi­phany. In Epiphany, Christians re­member the visit that the sages from the East made to Bethlehem to honor the newborn Jesus, an act of gentile recognition of Christ’s divinity and mission (Matt. 2:1–12). In this season we also commemorate the first miracle Jesus performed—at the wedding in Cana of Galilee, when Jesus revealed his glory and his disciples believed in him (John 2:1–11). Each of these seemingly unrelated events highlights a crucial aspect of joy.

Read it all.

Posted in Epiphany, Theology

(Uexpress) Bright Bonfires Mark Real End of Christmas Season

The same thing happens to Father Kendall Harmon every year during the 12 days after the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

It happens with newcomers at his home parish, Christ-St. Paul’s in Yonges Island, South Carolina, near Charleston. It often happens when, as Canon Theologian, he visits other parishes in the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina.

“I greet people and say ‘Merry Christmas!’ all the way through the 12 days” of the season, he said, laughing. “They look at me like I’m a Martian or I’m someone who is lost. … So many people just don’t know there’s more Christmas after Christmas Day.”

Read it all.

Posted in Christmas, Epiphany, Parish Ministry

An Epiphany sermon by English Abbot Ælfric of Eynsham

Let us now return to the exposition of the Gospel, where we previously left it. The astronomers went into the place where the child was staying, and found him with his mother. Then with prostrate bodies they worshipped Christ, and opened their coffers, and offered to him threefold gifts, gold, and incense, and myrrh. Gold is fitting for a king; incense belongs to God’s service; with myrrh the bodies of the dead are prepared that they may not soon rot. These three astronomers worshipped Christ, and offered to him symbolic gifts. The gold betokened that he is true King; the incense that he is true God; the myrrh that he was then mortal, though now he continues immortal in eternity…

My brothers, let us offer to our Lord gold, for we confess that he is true King, and rules everywhere. Let us offer to him incense, for we believe that he was always God, who at that time appeared as a man. Let us bring him myrrh, for we believe that he was mortal in our flesh, who is incapable of suffering in his divine nature. He was mortal in human nature before his Passion, but he is henceforth immortal, as we all shall be after the universal resurrection.

We have spoken of these threefold gifts, how they apply to Christ. We also wish to say how they apply to us in a figurative sense. Truly gold betokens wisdom; as Solomon said, “A goldhoard much to be desired lies in the mouth of a wise man.” Incense represents holy prayer, of which the psalmist sang, “Lord, let my prayer be sent forth like burning incense in thy sight.” By myrrh is shown the mortality of our flesh, of which Holy Church says, “My hands dropped myrrh.” To the born King we bring gold, if we are shining in his sight with the brightness of heavenly wisdom. Incense we bring him, if we set fire to our thoughts on the altar of our heart with the eagerness of holy prayers, so that through heavenly desire we may give forth something of a sweet smell. Myrrh we offer him if we quell the lusts of the flesh by self-restraint.

Read it all (and note the link to the full sermon text).

Posted in Church History, Epiphany

(Guardian) Epiphany around the world – in pictures

Enjoy them all.

Posted in Epiphany, Globalization, Other Churches, Photos/Photography

A Prayer for Epiphany from Henry Stobart (1824-1895)

O Christ, the Sun of Righteousness, shine graciously into our hearts that, walking as children of light, we may glorify thee before men, and, being always ready to obey Thy call, may, in our place and measure, hold up the light of life to them that sit in darkness and the shadow of death. Hear us, O Lord, for Thy great mercies’ sake, who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost, now and for ever. Amen.

Posted in Epiphany, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer for Epiphany (III)

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.

Posted in Epiphany