Category : Church Year / Liturgical Seasons

A Prayer for the Feast Day of the Nativity of John the Baptist

Almighty God, by whose providence thy servant John the Baptist was wonderfully born, and sent to prepare the way of thy Son our Savior by preaching repentance: Make us so to follow his doctrine and holy life, that we may truly repent according to his preaching; and after his example constantly speak the truth, boldly rebuke vice, and patiently suffer for the truth’s sake; through the same thy Son 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, Prayer List, Theology: Scripture

A Prayer for Pentecost to Begin the Day from the Liturgy of the Catholic Apostolic Church

O Spirit of the living God, who dwellest in us; who art holy, who art good: Come thou, and fill the hearts of thy faithful people, and kindle within them the fire of thy love; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Posted in Pentecost, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from George Edward Lynch Cotton

O God, who hast made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on the face of the earth, and didst send thy blessed Son Jesus Christ to preach peace to them that are afar off, and to them that are nigh: Grant that all the peoples of the world may feel after thee and find thee; and hasten, O Lord, the fulfillment of thy promise to pour out thy Spirit upon all flesh; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Posted in Pentecost, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from The Gelasian Sacramentary

O God, who didst graciously send on thy disciples the Holy Spirit in the burning fire of thy love: Grant to thy people to be fervent in the unity of faith; that abiding in thee evermore, they may be found steadfast in faith and active in service; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Posted in Pentecost, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day from Frank Colquhoun

O Almighty God, who hast fulfilled thy word of promise, and from thy heavenly throne hast poured out upon thy Church the gift of the Holy Spirit: Open our hearts, we pray thee, to receive the fullness of his grace and power; that our lives may be strengthened for the service of thy kingdom, and our souls be conformed more and more to the image of thy Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Posted in Pentecost, Spirituality/Prayer

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 Pentecost, Theology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology)

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

O God, who according to thy promise hast given thy Holy Spirit to us thy people, that we might know the freedom of thy children and taste on earth our heavenly inheritance: Grant that we may ever hold fast the unity which he gives, and, living in his power, may be thy witnesses to all men; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Posted in Pentecost, Spirituality/Prayer

Ireland Archbishop Richard Clarke on the Surprises of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost

From there:

And we would therefore do well to remind ourselves that all our planning and all our strategising is of little avail if we do not also place ourselves at the disposal of the Holy Spirit. Cardinal Leo Suenens, one of the great Roman Catholic proponents of the modern charismatic movement memorably commented that he would have liked to add a phrase to the creeds. Not only do we believe in the Holy Spirit, he suggested, but we should also express belief in ‘the surprises of the Holy Spirit’. I might perhaps suggest an addition to Cardinal Suenens’ phrase. We should believe in the surprises of the Holy Spirit, and our belief should be as much in the surprises of the Holy Spirit that are unwelcome, as in those surprises that we might welcome! In the Church of Ireland, we are not keenly attuned to the possibility of surprises, not even welcome surprises. But if we truly believe in the Holy Spirit, we must believe in surprises, and certainly General Synod and our participation in this Synod can never be all about us, but rather centred and focussed on the glory of God

.

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

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: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology), Theology: Scripture

Another Prayer for Pentecost from George Appleton

O Jesus Christ, who art the same yesterday, today and forever: Pour thy Spirit upon the Church that it may preach thee anew to each succeeding generation. Grant that it may interpret the eternal gospel in terms relevant to the life of each new age, and as the fulfillment of the highest hopes and the deepest needs of every nation; so that at all times and in all places men may see in thee their Lord and Saviour.

Posted in Pentecost, Spirituality/Prayer

ThyKingdomCome – The first Pentecost

Watch it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Pentecost, Theology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology)

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, Pentecost, Theology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology)

A Prayer for Pentecost

O Holy Spirit of God, who didst descend upon our Lord Christ at the river Jordan, and upon the disciples at the feast of Pentecost: Have mercy upon us, we beseech thee, and by thy divine fire enlighten our minds and purify our hearts; for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Saint Nerses of Clajes (4th century Persian Bishop and Martyr)

Posted in Pentecost, Spirituality/Prayer

Blessed Pentecost 2019 to all Blog Readers

Posted in Art, Pentecost

(ES) Archbp Justin Welby–This is a time to put aside our rifts, so come pray with us at Pentecost

The Spirit makes real for us, each of us, the reality of the love of God in Jesus. It’s a love which doesn’t just forgive and restore us, which doesn’t just invest us with a value and worth beyond our comprehension, but a love which turns us towards others to truly love them.

For the first time this Sunday, in Trafalgar Square, and thanks to the Mayor of London, thousands of us will gather from dozens of different churches. It’s something that is fairly different and unusual, and isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but we will get together to pray for a renewing touch of God’s presence with us. Because we need God.

Because we need God to break the barriers down between us, to bring love between people of different backgrounds and opinions, we need God to give us his love and his hope.

The gift of God is for us all. We simply need to ask. This is prayer. Prayer is the simplest yet most profound practice of opening up our hands and hearts and lives to God. And everyone can do it. At any time. In any place. And of all the things we could do, I think this is what we need to do more than ever.

Please join us in Trafalgar Square on Sunday as we pray and wait on the presence of God to set us free — so that we have strength, courage and love to live in the middle of all that occupies us.

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, England / UK, Pentecost, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(Ian Paul) The many meanings of Pentecost

There is an extraordinary, powerful and multi-dimensional Christological focus to Peter’s preaching. At a trivial level, Peter’s speech talks about Jesus a lot—but it is worth pausing to see exactly how he understands him. First, it is Jesus, in his death and resurrection, who has brought about the fulfilment of God’s purposes as set out in Scripture. Second, the climax of all that has happened is the ascension—Jesus is now seated at the right hand of the Father, and it is to this reality that we must respond. Thirdly, this means that Jesus is now Messiah (the fulfilment of the hope of Israel) and Lord. But earlier, the ‘Lord’ is Yahweh, the God of Israel—now Jesus shares in this title, and he is the Lord whom the people call on to be saved. Again, we find this incorporation of Jesus into the person of the God of Israel, creating a kind of Christological monotheism, all through Paul’s theology, from his adaptation of the Shema in 1 Cor 8.6, through his identical use of Joel 2 in Romans 10.13, to his application of the monotheism of Isaiah to Jesus in his ‘Christ-hymn’ in Phil 2.9–11.

Luke reinforces this Christological focus in the very way he structures his summary of Peter’s speech. The late Martyn Menken observed:

There are also several instances of isopsephia in Acts, where the number of syllables of an episode or speech is equal to the numerical value of an important name or word occurring in or related to the passage in question (such as we found concerning John 1.1-18, where both the number of syllables and the numerical value of monogenes are 496). Peter’s speech in Acts 2.14-b-36 is made up of two equal halves: 444 syllables in 2.14b-24, and again 444 syllables in 2.25-36. Their sum, 888, is the numerical value of the name Iesous, a number which was famous in this quality in the second century, witness Irenaeus’ Aversus Haereses 1.15.2.

We also need to note that, in a Christian theological context, we consider the Holy Spirit the third ‘person’ of the Trinity. But in Peter’s context, and the understanding of those he is listening to, the Spirit is simply the presence and power of God himself at work amongst his people. If Jesus is the one who is able to dispense the Spirit (as Peter claims), then Jesus is the one who mediates God’s own presence and power, again assuming Jesus is incorporated into the person of God himself.

Posted in Pentecost, Theology, Theology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology), Theology: Scripture

A Prayer for the Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Father in heaven, by whose grace the virgin mother of thine incarnate Son was blessed in bearing him, but still more blessed in keeping thy word: Grant us who honor the exaltation of her lowliness to follow the example of her devotion to thy will; through the same 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

Rowan Williams–A Sermon for Ascension Day in 2011

Jesus hasn’t just gone away. He has gone deeper into the heart of reality–our reality and God’s. He has become far more than a visible friend and companion; he has shown himself to be the very centre of our life, the source of our loving energy in the world and the source of our prayerful, trustful waiting on God. He has made us able to be a new kind of human being, silently and patiently trusting God as a loving parent, actively and hopefully at work to make a difference in the world, to make the kind of difference love makes.

So if the world looks and feels like a world without God, the Christian doesn’t try to say, ‘It’s not as bad as all that’, or seek to point to clear signs of God’s presence that make everything all right. The Christian will acknowledge that the situation is harsh, even apparently unhopeful–but will dare to say that they are willing to bring hope by what they offer in terms of compassion and service. And their own willingness and capacity for this is nourished by the prayer that the Spirit of Jesus has made possible for them.

The friends of Jesus are called, in other words, to offer themselves as signs of God in the world–to live in such a way that the underlying all-pervading energy of God begins to come through them and make a difference.

Read it all.

Posted in --Rowan Williams, Ascension, Theology

(Vatican Radio) Our Lord’s Ascension : a musical meditation

As you can imagine, there’s no shortage of fine choral music to celebrate the feast of Our Lord’s Ascension says music historian Monsignor Philip Whitmore. He suggests we listen is a piece of 20th century organ music written as an extended meditation and an uplifting motet for double choir by English composer Sir Charles Villiers Stanford.

Read and listen to it all.

Posted in Ascension, Liturgy, Music, Worship

N.T. Wright on the Ascension and Second Coming of Jesus

Additionally, early Christians were not, as is commonly assumed, bound to a three-tier vision of the universe, i.e., heaven, hell, and earth.

[W]hen the Bible speaks of heaven and earth it is not talking about two localities related to each other within the same space-time continuum or about a nonphysical world contrasted with a physical one but about two different kinds of what we call space, two different kinds of what we call matter, and also quite possibly (though this does not necessarily follow from the other two) two different kinds of what we call time.

So heaven and earth, understood in this way, are two dimensions of the same reality. They “interlock and intersect in a whole variety of ways even while they retain, for the moment at least, their separate identities and roles.” Combine this with the doctrine of the ascension and we do not have a Jesus who floats up into a heaven “up there” but disappears into a reality we cannot yet see. Because heaven and earth are not yet joined Jesus is physically absent from us. At the same time he is present with us through the Holy Spirit and the sacraments, linkages where the two realities meet in the present age.

Read it all.

Posted in Ascension, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Douglas Farrow on the Meaning of the Ascension for Ascension Day

Ascension theology turns at this point to the Eucharist, for in celebrating the eucharist the church professes to know how the divine presents itself in our time, and how the question of faithfulness is posed. Eucharistically, the church acknowledges that Jesus has heard and has answered the upward call; that, like Moses, he has ascended into that impenetrable cloud overhanging the mountain. Down below, rumours of glory emanate from the elders, but the master himself is nowhere to be seen. He is no longer with his people in the same way he used to be. Yet he is with them, in the Spirit.

–Douglas Farrow, Ascension Theology (New York: T and T Clark, 2011), p. 64

Posted in Ascension, Theology

A Prayer for the Feast of the Ascension (II)

O Lord Jesus Christ, who after thy resurrection didst manifestly appear to thine apostles, and in their sight didst ascend into heaven to prepare a place for us: Grant that, being risen with thee, we may lift up our hearts continually to seek thee where thou art, and never cease to serve thee faithfully here on earth; until at last, when thou comest again, thou shalt receive us unto thyself; who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end.

–Frederick B. Macnutt

Posted in Ascension, Spirituality/Prayer

John Calvin on the Ascension (Acts 1:9)

The readers may learn out of our Institutions what profit we reap by the ascension of Christ. Notwithstanding, because it is one of the chiefest points of our faith, therefore doth Luke endeavor more diligently to prove the same; yea, rather, the Lord himself meant to put the same out of all doubt, when as he hath ascended so manifestly, and hath confirmed the certainty of the same by other circumstances. For, if so be it he had vanished away secretly, then might the disciples have doubted what was become of him; but now, sith that they, being in so plain a place, saw him taken up with whom they had been conversant, whom also they heard speak even now, whom they beheld with their eyes, whom also they see taken out of their sight by a cloud, there is no cause why they should doubt whither he was gone. Furthermore, the angels are there also to bear witness of the same. And it was needful that the history should have been set down so diligently for our cause, that we may know assuredly, that although the Son of God appear nowhere upon earth, yet doth he live in the heavens. And this seemeth to be the reason why the cloud did overshadow him, before such time as he did enter into his celestial glory; that his disciples being content with their measure might cease to inquire any further. And we are taught by them that our mind is not able to ascend so high as to take a full view of the glory of Christ; therefore, let this cloud be a mean to restrain our boldness, as was the smoke which was continually before the door of the tabernacle in the time of the law.

–Commentary on Acts

Posted in Ascension, Church History, Theology: Scripture

John Stott on the Ascension

There was something fundamentally anomalous about their gazing up into the sky when they had been commissioned to go to the ends of the earth. It was the earth not the sky which was to be their preoccupation. Their calling was to be witnesses not stargazers. The vision they were to cultivate was not upwards in nostalgia to the heaven which had received Jesus, but outwards in compassion to a lost world which needed him. It is the same for us…

We need to hear the implied message of the angels: ‘You have seen him go. You will see him come. But between that going and coming there must be another. The Spirit must come, and you must go— into the world for Christ’….

–From his commentary on Acts

Posted in Ascension, Theology: Scripture

A Prayer for the Feast of the Ascension (I)

O Thou merciful and loving High Priest, who hast passed within the veil and art in the presence of the Father: Help us with thy mighty intercession, that, our unworthiness being clothed upon with thy perfect righteousness, we may stand accepted in the day of thy coming; who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end.

–Henry Alford

Posted in Ascension, Spirituality/Prayer

(Aleteia) Robert McTeigue–What the Ascension teaches us about our bodies

Our Lord assured the apostles and us that he was going ahead of us, to our true home, to prepare a place for us. He promised us it would be better for us if he went ahead of us for a little while. Meanwhile, we are not left orphans. On the contrary, we are provided for, equipped for struggle and triumph by the anointing of the Holy Spirit. For the love of God, may we live a life that is worthy of our calling!

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Ascension

Kendall Harmon’s Sunday Sermon–How shall we understand the Ascension and what is its significance for us?

You can listen directly there and download the mp3 there.

Posted in * By Kendall, * South Carolina, Ascension, Christology, Eschatology, Parish Ministry, Preaching / Homiletics, Sermons & Teachings, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Tablet) Erik Varden–Understanding the Ascension

This summer, a half-century will have passed since man first landed on the moon. In mid afternoon on 16 July 1969, a spacecraft named Apollo 11 was launched from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, entering earth’s orbit after 12 minutes. Three days later Apollo 11 passed behind the moon and entered the lunar orbit.

On 21 July, at around the time when Cistercians rise for Vigils, the astronaut, Neil Armstrong, opened the spacecraft’s door and set foot, the first man in history to do so, on the surface of the moon. In a thoughtful phrase, he remarked that his small step was “a giant leap for humankind’’.

The mission, which has left its mark on our consciousness, was a scientific triumph. But for our theological imagination, it was a disaster. It especially confused our notion of the Lord’s Ascension. The readings set for the liturgical solemnity culminate in these words: “Now, as he blessed them he withdrew from them and was carried up to heaven.” For us, who live in the wake of the 1969 lunar mission, it is almost impossible to hear them without seeing before our mind’s eye the Apollo rocket fired off from Camp Kennedy….

Read it all [registration] (quoted in the morning sermon).

Posted in Ascension, Christology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

More NT Wright for Easter 2019–His Easter Sermon at St. Paul’s Hammersmith

The Rev’d Professor N.T Wright is an English New Testament scholar, Pauline theologian, and retired Anglican bishop. He writes about theology, Christian life, and the relationship of these two things and has written over seventy books. He is a guest speaker throughout Easter 2019.

Listen to it all (about 24 1/3 minutes).

Posted in Christology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Easter, Eschatology, Preaching / Homiletics, Theology, Theology: Scripture

NT Wright for Easter 2019–We have seen the future in the resurrection of Jesus and it is real

Posted in Easter, Eschatology, Theology: Scripture