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A free floating commentary on culture, politics, economics, and religion based on a passionate commitment to the truth and a desire graciously to refute that which is contrary to it….
"He must hold firm to the sure word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to confute those who contradict it."
--Titus 1:9, Revised Standard Version
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[Birinus] made his way to the sea in order to cross to Britain. While he was packing his bits and pieces, the sailors were urging him to hurry as the wind was favourable, and so he forgot those cloths which are called ‘corporal cloths’. He was already out to sea, with the ship happily ploughing its furrow through the calm waters, when he remembered he had left them behind. He was at a loss what to do. If he asked the sailors to go back, they would certainly laugh at him as the voyage was going so well. But if he kept quiet, he would have to put up with his apostolic worship being imperfect. And so, brandishing the weapons of his faith, he summoned all his courage, climbed down the side into the sea and with all speed made for the shore he had just left. There he found the corporal cloths, picked them up, and for the second time his daring had a blessed and happy outcome, for he returned to his companions, brushing aside by the power of his faith the crests of the waves and the thousand ways to death he encountered. They for their part had been won over by this great miracle, had cast anchor and were holding the ship stationary. They took him back on board, all competing to do him honour, and he soon reached the coast in the region of the West Saxons.
Read it all.
Loving God, who didst call Francis Xavier to lead many in India and Japan to know Jesus Christ as their Redeemer: Bring us to the new life of glory promised to all who follow in the Way; through the same Jesus Christ, who with thee and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Today we remember Francis Xavier, Missionary, Apostle of the Indies who died in 1552 https://t.co/ziyzMBtP63— Church of England (@c_of_e) December 3, 2016
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.
Irish priests' ever-increasing workload is threatening to turn this aging, demoralized and declining group into "sacrament-dispensing machines" who find pastoral work less and less satisfying, a co-founder of Ireland's Association of Catholic Priests has warned.
In his address to the association's annual general meeting in Athlone Nov. 16, Fr. Brendan Hoban highlighted how suicide is on the rise among Irish priests, a group he said was also increasingly prone to depression.
With the vast majority of Irish priests now age 70 or over, elderly diocesan priests are living increasingly isolated and lonely lives and are constantly "reminded that we no longer really matter, that at best we're now little more than a ceremonial presence on the sidelines of life," he said.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Health & Medicine Psychology Stress Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary England / UK --Ireland * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Roman Catholic
Almighty and everlasting God, we thank thee for thy Servant Channing, whom thou didst call to preach the Gospel to the peoples of Asia. Raise up, we beseech thee, in this and every land heralds and evangelists of thy kingdom, that thy Church may proclaim the unsearchable riches of our Saviour Jesus Christ; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.
We thank you today for the Rev. Channing Moore Williams (d. 1910), the servant you called to preach the Gospel in Asia. pic.twitter.com/fAfGwZb50w— St. Stephen's Church (@StStevieCG) December 2, 2016
O Lord Jesus Christ, who at thy first coming didst warn us to prepare for the day when thou shalt come to be our judge: Mercifully grant that being awake from the sleep of sin, we may always be watching and intent upon the work thou hast given us to do; who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end.
Is this not what Advent is about? God is coming to reside in the intimate particularity of our everyday lives.
Standing on the porch at home, my mind went to other settings: the bitter lot of Syrian refugees—they were under this moon. I thought of those at the homeless shelter in Cleveland where I work, having one last cigarette outside before lights off. Moonlight was touching their foreheads in a tender way. Beyond them were empty warehouses, the moon defining the scarred rooftops of the city before reaching the expanse of Lake Erie and shining brilliantly on waves.
My entire family went back for the 11 p.m. service. We were a tiny cluster leaving the church, walking to our car and driving home with moonlight enveloping us. After everyone had gone to bed, I stood out in the backyard. No wind, not a sound—except something like the sound of the ground absorbing moisture. This was not an empty silence but the quiet being of rocks, ferns, moss, the roots of trees.
Read it all.
The Anglican church is celebrating 150 of worship in the Tawa area this year.
On November 27, a celebratory service was held at St Christopher's Church, on the corner of Main Rd and Lyndhurst Rd, with Bishop Justin Duckworth giving the sermon.
It was the second event held in Tawa this year to mark the occasion.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia * Christian Life / Church Life Church History * Culture-Watch History * International News & Commentary Australia / NZ
Over 27,000 services and events, ranging from the contemporary to traditional carols and nativity stories, have been added to a new website that enables the public to enter their postcode and find Christmas services and events happening near them.
Smartphone users will also be able to geo-locate the nearest services and add a reminder to their calendar. So far more than 2,300 congregations are providing mulled wine and 3,500 sharing mince pies after services.
In addition to the http://www.AChristmasNearYou.org website, there are four videos being released throughout December, each one sharing a moment of true Christmas joy. The short films star Gogglebox vicar Revd Kate Bottley, Chaplain to the Speaker of the House of Commons Revd Rose Hudson-Wilkin, Becoming Revered author Revd Matt Woodcock and comedian Paul Kerensa.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Church Year / Liturgical Seasons Advent Christmas * Culture-Watch Media Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary England / UK
In the last two chapters, he offers a couple of countermeasures:
What we give we gain
What we master brings us joy
These are what he calls the formulation of "divine economics", a kind of upside-down approach to wealth where giving does not result in depletion but blessing, and where overcoming our natural appetite for accumulating wealth is the challenge that brings genuine and deep-seated peace.
"Money buys capabilities," he says.
"It also buys security, but it risks taking us further and further away from being those who wash feet, who dethrone Mammon by subverting the power of wealth to give us a better life."
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Archbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Stewardship * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Economy Consumer/consumer spending Corporations/Corporate Life Personal Finance * Theology Anthropology Eschatology Ethics / Moral Theology Theology: Scripture
ecognising progress in many countries, the Archbishop said: “The big challenge now is to eliminate HIV/AIDS where it strikes most fiercely and most remorselessly – which is amongst the poor and those in places of great difficulty.”
Acknowledging the key role of faith responses, he said: “The Anglican Communion has been involved for decades in enabling communities to face the threat of AIDS, to support the victims of AIDS, families and others affected directly and indirectly. The clinical evidence is that it is through community-based initiatives, and the churches are among the best to do it, that it is tackled most efficiently and effectively.”
Reflecting on the stigmatising of people living with HIV, Archbishop Justin Welby said: “Faith based communities challenge that ostracism when they see in every single person someone made in the image of God, someone loved by God, and therefore someone who should be loved by each one of us.”
Read it all (and watch the video).
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Pastoral Care * Culture-Watch Globalization Health & Medicine * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
... I finally embarked on a book about my great-grandfather.
I knew that if I hoped to understand what drew him into ministry in Japan, I needed to learn more about Christianity. So, for the first time, I began to read the Bible in a meaningful way, under the guidance of two devout relatives. A long-suppressed inner flame burned brighter as I read and contemplated the Scriptures. Several verses in particular spoke to me.
In Luke 17:20–21, when Jesus is asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God is coming, he replies: “The coming of the kingdom of God is not something that can be observed; nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is in your midst.” And in John 14:9, Jesus says, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.”
For the first time, I felt I understood the true meaning of faith, as hope in things unseen. I understood, too, how Jesus taught us what it means to be God’s people, loving one another as we love ourselves. Only through love can we help bring God’s kingdom to life on earth as it is in heaven.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Missions * Culture-Watch Children History Marriage & Family * International News & Commentary Asia Japan * Theology Christology Soteriology Theology: Scripture
Lord God, make us so reflect thy perfect love; that, with thy deacon Nicholas Ferrar and his household, we may rule ourselves according to thy Word, and serve thee with our whole heart; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
Today we remember Nicholas Ferrar founder of Little Gidding Community. Memorial of community by Ferrar's brother John pic.twitter.com/jBKd3Kmmtz— LambethPalaceLibrary (@lampallib) December 4, 2014
O Eternal God, who has taught us in thy holy Word that love is the fulfilling of the law: Pour into our hearts that best of all thy gifts, that loving our neighbour as ourselves we may live as children of the day and of the light; for the glory of thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
Estates in Old Street and Bethnal Green and their local church communities have been the first to benefit from missional workers living on-site, following the success of a pioneering bond. The Missional Housing Bond was developed by a partnership of churches and charities to allow church workers to live among the communities they serve, in spite of the rising rents in the capital.
Three years of work on the Missional Housing Bond have resulted in two successful rounds of crowdfunding raising close to £1 million of capital. This has enabled a partnership involving the Diocese of London to purchase two small flats near to Inspire London church in Old Street and St Peter’s church in Bethnal Green, both rapidly growing churches in an area of London where high levels of need and deprivation exist alongside some of the highest property values in the world.
The flats are made available at social rents to church missional workers who are not only on hand to help the life of their church, but also embed themselves in the life of the local area, helping the Church to fulfill its mission to local people.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Stewardship * Culture-Watch Rural/Town Life Young Adults * Economics, Politics Economy Housing/Real Estate Market * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology
Second, we often hear that the Church is evolving on this issue, especially every time a Christian celebrity changes their minds. But the vast majority of evangelicals still hold to the traditional view, and they’re not changing their minds anytime soon. As my “BreakPoint This Week” cohost, Ed Stetzer, points out in Christianity Today, “Evangelical organizations across the spectrum are making clear where they stand on marriage.” Groups like the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, Christianity Today, and even more progressive social-justice-minded organizations like World Vision and Fuller Seminary, have all unambiguously committed to hold the line on this issue.
As have denominations. Virtually every evangelical communion has reaffirmed God’s design for sex and marriage. Even in the United Methodist Church, long considered a stronghold of liberal theology, and in the worldwide Anglican communion, the marriage debate has taken a conservative turn as traditional members in Africa and elsewhere exert their influence.
But, some will reply, “If Christians don’t all agree on what marriage is, you can’t say there’s such a thing as ‘the Christian position.’” But Christian truth isn’t made of what people who call themselves Christians say. It’s revealed truth, made known through creation, through Scripture, ultimately through Christ—each of which are quite clear about what makes us male and female, what marriage is, and about sexual morality.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Church History * Culture-Watch Marriage & Family Religion & Culture Sexuality --Civil Unions & Partnerships * Theology Anthropology Apologetics Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology Theology: Scripture
Cosmopolitan and Buzzfeed recently discovered that the church Chip and Joanna Gaines attend, Antioch Community Church, is led by a pastor who does not support same-sex marriage and who believes that homosexual practice is a sin. In other words, Chip and Joanna Gaines attend a historically Christian congregation on the matter of sexual ethics.
Now, not all Christians will agree with some of the statistics cited by the Gaines’ pastor, his linking homosexuality in most cases to abuse, or his portrayal of the “gay lifestyle.” But there is nothing newsworthy about a Christian church teaching that male-female marriage is God’s original design and that newly invented definitions fall short of God’s intention for human flourishing.
What is newsworthy is the religious undertone of the Cosmopolitan article. It reads like a heresy hunt. The magazine has “uncovered something many fans will likely want an explanation for—a startling revelation that has left many wondering where Chip and Jo stand.”
Buzzfeed is seeking clarification from HGTV, hoping (apparently) to hear the Gaines recant their pastor’s heretical beliefs. Until then “their silence speaks volumes.”
Read it all from TGC.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch Marriage & Family Movies & Television Religion & Culture Sexuality * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
Almighty God, who didst give such grace to thine apostle Andrew that he readily obeyed the call of thy Son Jesus Christ, and brought his brother with him: Give unto us, who are called by thy Word, grace to follow him without delay, and to bring those near to us into his gracious presence; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.
30 November— Kalina Boulter (@KalinaBoulter) November 30, 2016
Saint Andrew the Apostle pic.twitter.com/4D45MthFLI
Read it all from the CEN.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch History Religion & Culture Urban/City Life and Issues * International News & Commentary England / UK
The Church of England is finally acknowledging the significance of Fresh Expressions, a national conference of 600 participants heard on Saturday.
The event, Catching Sight, hosted by the diocese of Leicester, was designed to take stock of the movement, which dates back to 2004 and has registered 3400 different groups. It has a parallel in pioneer ministry.
Canon George Lings, director of the Church Army Research Unit, took a Screwtape approach to demonstrate the unwillingness of the inherited Church to accept the positive findings of reports such as The Day of Small Things and From Anecdote to Evidence.
This manifested itself, he suggested, in everything from ignoring the reports, to complacency — “Cathedrals now sing Graham Kendrick songs so we know we’re up to date” — and ridicule: “Five Christians meeting at a bus stop, so it must be a Fresh Expressions church.”
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Evangelism and Church Growth * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary England / UK
You write that evangelism “trades in stories more than propositions.” What do you mean?
I’m not against truth propositions. But stories are important for a couple reasons. First, Christian faith is a story: the work of God through creation, the fall of humanity, and the establishing of a people, out of whom come the Messiah and redemption.
Second, this approach makes space for people to engage their own richly textured life stories. How do we acknowledge that, honor it, and reframe it in this larger narrative of who God is and how he operates?
Third, stories better prepare us for a life of discipleship, not least because they allow room for emphasis on joy. With propositions, it’s easy to get moralistic: “Here’s what we need to believe, so here’s how we need to act.” There’s certainly a moral life that flows out from following Jesus, but we need to guard against moralism, where morals become an idol.
Read it all.
Former NFL player Jason Brown was earning millions of dollars on the gridiron but, at the height of his career, he left it all behind to pursue a wildly-different life on the farm focused on giving.
Watch it all from NBC. For those interested, there is more there.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Stewardship * Culture-Watch Dieting/Food/Nutrition Poverty Religion & Culture Sports * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
Grant, O Lord, that we who once again prepare for the commemoration of the coming of thy Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ, may so direct our hearts to the fulfillment of thy law, that he may now accept our hosannas, and in the life to come receive us in the heavenly Sion; where with thee and the Holy Ghost he liveth and reigneth, ever one God, world without end.
In August, Christianity Today partnered with Deidox Films to debut The Ordinance, a documentary exploring churches’ efforts to fight predatory payday lenders. Many church leaders recognize the shameful practices of these lenders and seek to meet the needs of their church members while also fighting for justice on a legislative level. On the other side of the same coin, however, are churches attempting to fight poverty and prevent the situations that lead people to accept these loans.
In recent years, several Christian organizations have developed programs providing microloans, savings groups, and economic education in international contexts. But how much do we know about empowering our own communities? With racial and economic tensions exacerbated in recent years, the local church has a key role to play in bringing about reconciliation. Organizations like The Chalmers Center, whose founders wrote the bestselling When Helping Hurts, have recognized the vast needs in the United States and are now working to equip churches to meet economic and spiritual needs in their communities.
“As Chalmers worked to empower grassroots churches in Africa, Asia, and Latin America to help the poor help themselves, we became acutely aware of the same need to address poverty holistically in our own nation,” said John Mark Bowers, the Curriculum Specialist at The Chalmers Center. “After publishing When Helping Hurts, we heard from even more churches that were hungry for tools to help them walk alongside people across economic lines right here in the United States. Thus, the birth of an IDAs [Individual Development Accounts] pilot—out of which came Faith & Finances, and later, Work Life.”
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Pastoral Care * Culture-Watch Poverty Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Economy Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market Personal Finance * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
The final phase of a two year grants programme to English cathedrals for urgent repairs is announced today. Grants totalling £5,423,000 have been awarded to 24 Church of England and Catholic cathedrals for repairs including to stained glass windows, stone pinnacles, and roofs as well as drainage and lighting.
Heritage Minister, Tracey Crouch said:
"The First World War Centenary Cathedral Repairs Fund has done fantastic work to help revive and restore stunning cathedrals across the country.
"Cathedrals are not only beautiful pieces of architecture, they hold centuries of our nation's history and are centrepieces in our communities. This important fund will help maintain and repair these historic buildings so they can be enjoyed for years to come by everyone."
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Church History Liturgy, Music, Worship Parish Ministry Stewardship * Economics, Politics Defense, National Security, Military * International News & Commentary England / UK
While we have thus far highlighted their impact on isolated families like mine, on my darkest days I cannot help wondering if Neoeugenicist attitudes are re-booting the whole ethos of Western medicine and an entire civilisation. Whichever way the cake is cut, the principle that one group of people can legally coerce another to destroy their offspring simply because their skeletons contain low levels of collagen or their eyeballs are a funny colour seems ineradicably totalitarian. Once established this tyranny can never remain quarantined within healthcare institutions - like a virulent pathogen such contempt for human dignity will surely propagate beyond hospital walls and inflict damage upon our society as a whole.
Some hints concerning the social consequences that accompanied medical totalitarianism in an earlier age emerge from the writings of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the former University of Berlin academic who opposed the dehumanisation of the Jews in eugenics-obsessed Nazi Germany. He explores the influence of the anti-democratic impulse within healthcare in his famous unfinished work, Ethics.
As he sensed his execution approaching, Bonhoeffer grasped that a commitment to the intrinsic value of every human life is basic to a humane civil order. In such a society, the strong vigilantly resist the temptation to lord themselves over the weak.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Church History * Culture-Watch Children Health & Medicine History Law & Legal Issues Life Ethics Marriage & Family Psychology Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary Europe Germany * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
Now it is the custom in God's congregation at this season that all the servants of God, in the divine services, both in holy readings and in melodious hymns continually recite the songs of the prophets. The prophets, through the Spirit of God, prophesied the coming of Christ in his incarnation, and wrote many books about it, which we now read in the services of God before the time of his birth, to honour him, because he so lovingly chose to come to us. Christ came to mankind visibly at that time, but he is always invisibly with his beloved servants, just as he himself promised, saying, "Lo, I am with you always, until the fulfilment of this world." With these words he showed that until the ending of the world there would always be people beloved by him, who will become worthy to share God's dwelling with him.
The holy prophets prophesied both the first coming in his birth, and also the second at the great judgement. We too, God's servants, strengthen our faith by the services of this season, because in our hymns we confess our redemption by his first coming, and we remind ourselves that we should be ready for his second coming, so that we may follow him from that judgement to the eternal life, as he promised us. The apostle Paul spoke about the celebration of this season in the Epistle to the Roman people and to all believers too, urging thus: "My brothers, you know that it is now time for us to arise from sleep: our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is passed, and the day approaches. Let us cast away the works of darkness, and be clothed with the weapons of light, so that we may walk honourably in the day; not in gluttony and drunkenness, not in fornication and impurity, not in strife and hatred; but be clothed in the Lord, Saviour Christ."
Read it all.
You can listen directly there and download the mp3 there.
(Christ/St. Paul's Church Yonges Island SC; photo by Jacob Borrett)
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal * By Kendall Sermons & Teachings * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained Preaching / Homiletics * South Carolina * Theology Christology Theology: Holy Spirit (Pneumatology) Theology: Scripture
O Sovereign God, who raisedst up (King) Kamehameha (IV) and (Queen) Emma to be rulers in Hawaii, and didst inspire and enable them to be diligent in good works for the welfare of their people and the good of thy Church: Receive our thanks for their witness to the Gospel; and grant that we, with them, may attain to the crown of glory that fadeth not away; through Jesus Christ our Savior and Redeemer, who with thee and the Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth, one God, for ever and ever.
O Lord, raise up, we pray thee, thy power, and come among us, and with great might succour us; that whereas, through our sins and wickedness, we are sore let and hindered in running the race that is set before us, thy bountiful grace and mercy may speedily help and deliver us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with thee and the Holy Ghost, be honour and glory, world without end.
--The Pastor's Prayer Book
In the midst of Nazi-occupied Paris, an independent-minded Russian Orthodox nun lamented that Christians were not equipped to meet the challenges of the moment. “I look everywhere and nowhere do I find anything that would point to the possibility of a breakthrough from material life to eternity,” wrote Maria Skobtsova in an essay titled “Insight in Wartime.” She did not see around her any forms of Christian life that had the “right voice, the right pathos, the kind of wings” to stand against the terrors of the era.
Skobtsova herself was perhaps the exception. Born in 1891 under the czar, she had by the 1940s been a Bolshevik, a poet, and a refugee. She was almost killed by both White and Red armies during the Russian Revolution of 1917. She fled Russia after briefly serving as the deputy mayor of Anapa, a city near the Black Sea. In exile she returned to the Orthodox faith, and in 1932 she became a nun.
She refused, however, to take up residence in a convent or traditional religious community. Issuing a thoroughgoing critique of monasticism, she insisted that she would seek instead “to share the life of paupers and tramps.”
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Church History * Culture-Watch Women * International News & Commentary Europe France Russia * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Orthodox Church * Theology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
+ A Service for Advent with Carols from St John's College, Cambridge [Live from 10 am EST 3pm London Time]
+ Sermon series: The Saviour of the World - Vaughan Roberts and others [Luke 15-17]
+ Choral Evensong from Wakefield Cathedral
Listen live here at 10:15 am Eastern time [3:15 pm London time]
From November 20th, 2016
+ The Bells of All Saints, Worcester
+ What about war in the Bible? - Dr Vince Vitale [link now included]
+ Doing Missions Anglicanly - Archbishop Foley Beach at St Andrews Cathedral, Singapore
+ Choral Evensong from Bristol Cathedral
From November 13th, 2016
+ The Bells of Westminster Abbey
+ Remembrance Sunday Service from the Cathedral of Notre Dame, Paris for the Royal British Legion
+ Ceremony of Remembrance from the Cenotaph, London
+ Choral Evensong from Ely Cathedral
From November 6th, 2016
+ Defeat, Shame, and Remembrance – Dr William Witt
+ Holy Communion from St Columba's Church [CofI], Knock in Belfast
+ Archived Choral Service with Mozart's Requiem from New College, Oxford
+ Called to Witness - Dr Kendall Harmon
From October 23rd, 2016
+ Formed for God’s Purpose - Bishop Rennis Ponniah [Jeremiah 1:4-10]
+ We are Called to be Worshippers of God in Spirit+Truth - Dr Kendall Harmon [Psalm 148]
+ JC Ryle: A Faithful Anglican - Rev Lee Gatiss
+ More talks from the Church Society 2016 Conference
+ Choral Evensong from Birmingham Cathedral
From October 16th, 2016
+ Suffering: Loving the Lord in your circumstances - Venerable Godwin Makabi of Jos at St Andrew's Cathedral, Singapore [Job 1]
+ Choral Evensong from St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle
From October 2nd, 2016
+ All Things Working For Good - Revd Canon Rinji Kwashi at St Andrews Cathedral Singapore
+ We are Called to be Devoted Students of his Word - Dr Kendall Harmon (Acts 2:42-47)
+ Renewal in Exile - Rev Samuel Kennedy [Nehemiah 10] - next available part of the series on Nehemiah from the Cathedral Church of St Luke and St Paul, SC
+ Jesus' Prayer for His Disciples - Rev Vaughan Roberts [John 17:6-19]
+ Choral Evensong from Westminster Abbey on the 90th anniversary of the first broadcast of Choral Evensong
From September 18th, 2016
+ Repentance in Exile - Dean Peet Dickinson [Nehemiah 9] - next available part of the series on Nehemiah from the Cathedral Church of St Luke and St Paul, SC
+ Jesus' Prayer for Himself - Rev Vaughan Roberts [John17:1-5]
+ Choral Evensong from St Clement Danes Church, London sung by Genesis Sixteen
+ The End: Preaching Matters - Rev William Taylor
From September 11th, 2016
+ Sunday Sermon - Learning from the Potter and the Clay - Dr Kendall Harmon (Jeremiah 18:1-11)
+ Choral Evensong from the Charles Wood Summer School at St Patrick's Church of Ireland Cathedral, Armagh
From August 28th, 2016
+ Rejoicing in Exile - Dean Peet Dickinson [Nehemiah 6] - next available part of the series on Nehemiah from the Cathedral Church of St Luke and St Paul, SC
+ Death and the Life Heareafter - Dr Paul Williamson - Moore College lecture
+ Choral Evensong from Edington Priory, during the Edington Festival of Music within the Liturgy
From August 14th, 2016
+ Acts of Spiritual Power - Vaughan Roberts [Acts 19:1-22]
+ Rebuilding & Resistance in Exile - Jacob Graudin [Nehemiah 2:9-20, 3, 4] - part 2 of the new series from the Cathedral Church of St Luke and St Paul, SC
+ Choral Evening Prayer [RC] at Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral with the Royal School of Church Music Millennium Youth Choir
From August 7th, 2016
+ How do you think to Yourself? The Rich Fool - Dr Kendall Harmon [Luke 12:13-21]
+ 'Stormy Weather' - Rev Jeffrey Miller [Matthew 14:22-33]
+ Introducing a new sermon series on Nehemiah - Dean Peet Dickinson
+ Looking for Leaders: God's Voice is Heard - Vaughan Roberts [1 Samuel 3]
+ Sunday Worship from the Keswick Convention with Emma Scrivener
+ Choral Evensong from Chichester Cathedral during the Southern Cathedrals Festival
From July 31st, 2016
+ Looking for a Leader: Those who honor me - Vaughan Roberts [1 Samuel 2:12-36]
+ The Holy Spirit - Archbishop Foley Beach
+ Choral Evensong from the Three Choirs Festival of Gloucester, Hereford and Worcester Cathedrals
+ Preaching Matters: Preaching 2 Timothy - Andy Gemmill
From July 24th, 2016
+ The Power of Priorities & the Danger of Distraction - Dr Kendall Harmon (Luke 10:38-42)
+ Looking for Leaders: A son is born - Vaughan Roberts [1 Samuel 1:1-2:11]
+ Choral Evensong from Derby Cathedral
+ The Church and the State: The Christian's Responsibility in the Public Square - Anglican Way Institute Summer Conference 2016 with Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali
[More on the AWI 2016 Summer Conference]
From July 17th, 2016
+ The Shape of the Christian Life - Dr Kendall Harmon (Luke 10:25-37)
+ Called to Freedom - Dr Peter Moore [Galatians, John]
+ More than Conquerors - Vaughan Roberts [Romans 8:31-38]
+ Choral Evensong from the Chapel of Eton College with the first 2016 Eton Choral Course
From July 10th, 2016
+ Sermon given at the Memorial Service for Bishop Salmon - Dr Kendall Harmon [See more here]
+ The Magna Carta of Christian Freedom - Dr Kendall Harmon (Galatians 5:1;13-25)
+ Choral Evensong from Durham Cathedral
+ Preaching 2 Peter - Rev William Taylor
From June 26th, 2016
+ Now that Faith has come - Dr Peter Moore [Luke 8:19-21, 2 Samuel],
+ The Spirit Helps Us In Our Weakness - James Fletcher [Romans 8:18-27]
+ Choral Evensong from from the Chapel of St John's School, Leatherhead, with the Guildford Cathedral Choir
From June 19th, 2016
+ Anointment and Forgiveness - Bishop Mark Lawrence [Luke 7:39-50]
+ God's New Creation 1 - Vaughan Roberts [Revelation 21]
+ Choral Evensong from Lichfield Cathedral
From June 12th, 2016
+ It's Not Man's Gospel - Dr Peter Moore at St Philip's Charleston SC [Galatians 1:11]
+ Matins [Morning Prayer] from St Mary Magdalene, Sandringham
+ Friday's Thanksgiving Service from St Paul's Cathedral for the 90th Birthday of the Queen [starts 15 mins in]
Order of Service
From June 5th, 2016
+ A Man’s Faith that Amazed Jesus - Dr Kendall Harmon (Luke 7:1-10)
+ The Fall of Babylon - Vaughan Roberts [Revelation 17:1-19:10 ]
+ Choral Evensong from the St Davids Cathedral Festival
From May 29th, 2016
+ Building the Church - Dr Russ Parker at the Cathedral Church of St Luke and St Paul, Charleston
+ Town Hall Service - Vaughan Roberts
+ The Loud Absence: Where is God Amidst Suffering and Evil? - Professor John Lennox
From May 22nd, 2016
+ Pentecost: Power, Surprises and Understanding - Dr Kendall Harmon (Acts 2:1-11)
+ Talks from JI Packer on 1 Timothy at Laity Lodge, Texas [h/t Prydain]
+ Praying - Vaughan Roberts [Matthew 6:5-13]
+ Choral Evensong from Tewkesbury Abbey with Schola Cantorum
From May 15th, 2016
+ The Church is on Fire - Dr Russ Parker at St Michael's Charleston
+ Jesus the Ascended King (Acts 1:1-11) - Dr Kendall Harmon
+ Choral Evensong from St John's College, Cambridge
+ Choral Evensong from St Pancras Church during the London Festival of Contemporary Church Music
or there is an updated version from Rend Collective here
From May 8th, 2016
+ The Ascension of Jesus - Bishop Mark Lawrence
+ Choral Evensong from Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford
From May 1st, 2016
+ God's Building - Vaughan Roberts [1 Peter 2:4-8]
+ Choral Evensong from St John's College, Cambridge
From April 24th, 2016
+ The Good News - Rev Paul Wasswa Ssembiro at Christ St Pauls [Romans 1]
+ The Gospel in those Seasons when we have no fish - Bishop Mark Lawrence (John 21)
+ Choral Evensong from Holy Trinity Church, Stratford-upon-Avon, with the Choir and Orchestra of the Swan
From April 17th, 2016
Talks from New Wineskins
God at Work in South-East Asia - Bishop Rennis Ponniah [Luke 9:51 - 10:2 and Luke 24]
See: Mission Consultation South East Asia
From April 10th, 2016
+ A New Day for All Humanity - Bishop Rennis Ponniah
+The Bishop of London's Easter Day Address
From March 27th, 2016
+ Priestly Prayer: The Prayer of Jesus and Portrait of Prayer: Agony in the Garden - Dr Kendall Harmon [Parts 6 and 7 of a Lent series on Prayer from Christ St Pauls]
+ Easter Day Evensong live from Worcester Cathedral now
+ Good Friday Meditations from St Andrew's Cathedral Singapore
From March 20th, 2016
+ Palm Sunday Sermon - Rev Peter Cook at St Andrew's Singapore on Sunday [Philippians 2]
+ The Bridge Keeper - Rev C. Bradley Wilson at St Philip's Charleston on Sunday
+ The Slain Lamb - Rev Vaughan Roberts [Revelation 5] [MP3]
+ Strengthened by the Holy Spirit: The Prayer of St Paul - Rev Craige Borrett last week [Part 5 of a Lent series on Prayer from Christ St Pauls - Ephesians 3:14-21]
+ Sermon at SC Convention Eucharist - Bishop Thad Barnum
+ The Seven Last Plagues - Rev Vaughan Roberts [Revelation 15 & 16]
+ The Loud Absence: Where is God Amidst Suffering and Evil? - Professor John Lennox
+ Choral Evensong from Wells Cathedral
+ Open Thread: Lent Resources
Elgar: The Spirit of the Lord is upon me from the Choirs of the Cathedral Church of St Luke & St Paul, Charleston, SC [words from Isaiah 61:1-3,11]
"Recorded live at Choral Evensong on the Feast of St. Luke the Evangelist, October 18, 2015. The Cathedral Church of St. Luke & St. Paul, Charleston, SC. The Cathedral Choir (with members of the Compline Choir.) Paul Thomas, Organist and Choral Ministry Director"
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because He hath anointed me to preach the Gospel to the poor:
He hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted,
to preach deliv’rance to the captives
and recovering of sight to the blind,—
to preach the acceptable year of the Lord;
To give unto them that mourn a garland for ashes,
the oil of joy for mourning,
the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
That they might be called trees of righteousness,
the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified.
For as the earth bringeth forth her bud,
and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth;
So the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because He hath anointed me to preach the Gospel
From March 13th, 2016
+ The Freedom of Forgiveness - Bishop Rennis Ponniah [Genesis 45:3-15 and Mark 18:21-35]
+ Talking Jesus - Rev Rico Tice [more]
+ The Harvest - Rev Vaughan Roberts [Revelation 14]
+ The Bible: Quaint Relic or Bright Light - Dr Ken Bailey at Trinity School for Ministry
+ The Prayer of the Apostles - Let us speak boldly - Dr Kendall Harmon last week [Part 4 of a Lent series on Prayer from Christ St Pauls - Acts 4:1-31]
+ Choral Evensong from Westminster Abbey
[More from 'What is the Gospel?' - Rev William Taylor at St Helen's Training]
From March 6th, 2016
+ Feeding of the Five Thousand - Archbishop Stanley Ntagali at St Andrew's Cathedral, Singapore [John 6:1-15 and Mark 6:30-44]
+ What is Evangelicalism? - John Stott [from here where there is a summary]
+ I saw Heaven Open: the Two Beasts - Rev Vaughan Roberts [Revelation 13]
+ Choral Evensong from the Chapel of Magdalen College, Oxford
+ Hannah - Remember Me - Rev Craige Borrett last Sunday [Part 3 of a Lent series on Prayer from Christ St Pauls - 1 Samuel 1 to 2:10]
From February 28th, 2016
+ The Primacy of Religious Freedom - Bishop Mark Lawrence
+ Parting Thoughts - Rev. Jeffrey S. Miller [2 Timothy 3 & 4]
+ The Woman and the Dragon - Rev Vaughan Roberts [Revelation 12]
+ Solomon - Give me wisdom - Dr Kendall Harmon last week [Part 2 of a Lent series on Prayer from Christ St Pauls - 2 Chronicles 1:7-13 and 1 Kings 3]
+ Zechariah: When God Returns in Power - Bishop Rennis Ponniah Session 1, Session 2 and Session 3
+ Choral Evensong from King's College, Cambridge
From February 21st, 2016
+ God Knows - Kevin de Young at St Ebbes, Oxford [Exodus 2:11-25]
+ Preaching Christ in the Old Testament - Kevin de Young in Preaching Matters from St Helens, Bishopsgate, London [see below]
+ Following Jesus Wholeheartedly - Bishop John Tan at St Andrews Cathedral, Singapore [Philippians 3:17-4:1]
From February 14th, 2016
+ David: I have sinned - Rev Craige Borrett [Part 1 of a Lent series on Prayer from Christ St Pauls]
+ Renewed and Empowered by the Holy Spirit - Bishop Rennis Ponniah today [Ephesians 4:17-28]
+ The Transfiguration - Dr Kendall Harmon last week [Luke 9] - well recommended by The Elves
+ Big Issues: Transgender - Rev Vaughan Roberts
+ Choral Evensong for Ash Wednesday from the Temple Church in London
From February 7th, 2016
+ Who is 'God's Servant'? - Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali at St Helena's, Beaufort SC [John 12]
+ Rector's Forum with Bishop Nazir-Ali
+ Facing up to the Truth - Rev Justin Terry at St John's, John's Island SC [Luke 4:14-28]
+ What do you see? - Rev Chris Royer at St Michael's, Charleston SC [Ministry in the Middle East, John/Joel]
+ Pornography - Rev Vaughan Roberts [Matthew 5:27-30]
+ Sunday Worship from Down Cathedral in the Diocese of Down and Dromore [CofI]
+ Choral Evensong from Truro Cathedral
From January 31st, 2016
+ Do You Have Faith in Jesus? - Archbishop Mouneer Anis at Christ St Paul's Today [Luke 4]
+ Sunday Worship from Long Lartin Prison, Worcestershire
+ Assisted Suicide - Vaughan Roberts
From January 24th, 2016
+ Fix Your Eyes on Jesus - Bishop Jacob W. Kwashi at Christ St Paul's[Luke 4:14-21]
+ Finding Hope in the Baptism of Jesus - Dr Kendall Harmon
+ When the Evil Day Comes - Bishop Jacob W. Kwashi at St Philip's Charleston [Ephesians 6:10-20]
+ Something to Aim for - The Beauty of Total Commitment - Bishop Rennis Ponniah [Luke 2:21-40; Philippians 1:1-6]
Sunday Worship live from St Helena's Beaufort, SC
Listen here at 10:15 am Eastern time [3:15 pm London time]
Worship Bulletin [awaited]
The Cross at Camp St Christopher, SC
Previous posts are here
As a Peace Corps volunteer, Ginny Fonner worked in a rural village in Zambia, a southern African country with a severe shortage of doctors. While there, a short-term mission group visited. Their goal: distribute medicines to fight intestinal worms.
“It’s a great goal. Worms are a big problem,” she said during a recent global health symposium at the Medical University of South Carolina. “So they spent day after day going to schools, distributing treatments, feeling really good about it."
Except for one thing.
"They had no idea that the previous week the local government had done the exact same thing with the exact same children."
Read it all.
Following a bruising presidential election, some Americans are afraid of the future. Others feel that the tumult of the campaign was necessary to disrupt business as usual. Multitudes feel that the country has lost its way, while just as many believe that the nation has finally found its footing. No doubt millions of people have witnessed these divisions at their own Thanksgiving feasts.
Many of us in the religious world wonder: How can we bridge this chasm and unify our body politic? How does the country close the fault line that divides the U.S. in half? Is it possible to stand for what we believe is right while still being civil toward the friends, family and neighbors who supported the “wrong” candidate? The way forward lies not in politics, but in something that binds us together as human beings: the simple act of giving to others.
Giving has long been invoked as a healing counterpoint to the darker sides of human nature. Tzedakah—the Jewish concept of donating at least 10% of one’s income to charity—comes from the Hebrew word for justice, or righteousness. Generosity is also at the heart of Christianity, and it is one of the five pillars of Islam.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Stewardship * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * Economics, Politics Economy Consumer/consumer spending Personal Finance * International News & Commentary America/U.S.A. * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Theology: Scripture
The Patriarch of Antioch was in London... [this past Thursday] for the consecration of Britain’s first Syriac Orthodox Cathedral. The Prince of Wales, Prince Charles, was the guest of honour at the service, which was attended by a number of senior Anglicans from the Church of England, including the Bishop of London, Richard Chartres; the Bishop at Lambeth, Nigel Stock; and the Bishop of Ebbsfleet, Jonathan Goodall, the former ecumenical secretary at Lambeth Palace.
The new cathedral of St Thomas is the former Saint Saviour’s Church in Acton, west London – formerly a chapel for deaf Christians operated by the Royal Association for the Deaf.
The joyous service was marked with sadness as the congregation and a succession of speakers reflected on life for Christians in the homelands of the Syriac Orthodox Church in Syria and Iraq.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Liturgy, Music, Worship * Culture-Watch Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary England / UK Middle East Syria * Religion News & Commentary Other Churches Orthodox Church
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)
Today is the first Sunday of Advent. Advent from the Chicheley Breviary with a decorated initial showing the Annunciation. [MS69 f.4v.] pic.twitter.com/SEpj64U97u— LambethPalaceLibrary (@lampallib) November 27, 2016
In 1947, when Ronald Knox moved in to the Manor House at Mells to stay, it seemed as if St Jerome had taken up residence. “All that is needed,” wrote Daphne Pollen, a frequent visitor, “is a lion.”
For Ronald Knox had just completed his single-handed translation of the Bible, in idiomatic if poised English. His character, given to melancholy, had considerably less asperity than St Jerome’s. He was hypersensitive to causing trouble. “When would K least hate for me to arrive?” he asked of the head of his new household.
This was Katharine Asquith, the widow of the prime minister’s son Raymond, killed in the Great War. To her had come Mells, a medieval house set off by a lovely 16th-century church and ancient Somerset village. She had with some sacrifice embraced Catholicism, struck by the way faith had sustained her friend Hilaire Belloc after his wife’s death.
Read it all from the Telegraph (regiistration or subscription required).
During the six decades of the Castro brothers totalitarian rule, more than two million Cubans fled their beloved island, taking solace in the words of Cuba’s most famous exile, poet and independence hero José Martí: "sin patria, pero sin amo," without a homeland, but without a master.
Countless met their deaths in the attempt to cross the seas and now trekking through the jungles of some seven countries to reach the U.S. border. One of Castro’s most heinous crimes was the massacre of 41 men, women and children attempting to flee Cuba on a tugboat on July 13, 1994. Cuban authorities sprayed the vessel with water hoses, rammed and sank it. This is not something I read. I interviewed survivors at the Guantanamo Cuban refugee camps months later. The Cuban Coast Guard refused to rescue the drowning, they told me.
There were so many other crimes and human rights abuses, largely ignored or benignly viewed by a world that gave Castro the benefit of the doubt, and only slapped him on the wrist occasionally at some forums like the United Nations.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch History * Economics, Politics Politics in General * International News & Commentary Caribbean Cuba * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology
God of truth and grace, who didst give Isaac Watts singular gifts to present thy praise in verse, that he might write psalms, hymns and spiritual songs for thy Church: Give us grace joyfully to sing thy praises now and in the life to come; through Jesus Christ our Savior, who livest and reignest with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
O God, from whose unfailing bounty we draw our life and all that we possess, forgive our pride and self-sufficiency. Teach us to reverence the earth, which thou hast made fruitful. Help us to remember our unity with those by whose work we are fed and clothed. Touch us with compassion for all who have not enough to eat. As thou hast given us the knowledge which can produce plenty, so give us also the wisdom to bring it within the reach of all; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
--Joseph Houldsworth Oldham (1874–1969)
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) CoE Bishops Global South Churches & Primates Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) Same-sex blessings * Christian Life / Church Life Liturgy, Music, Worship Parish Ministry Ministry of the Laity Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Law & Legal Issues Marriage & Family Psychology Religion & Culture Sexuality --Civil Unions & Partnerships * International News & Commentary England / UK * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology Theology: Scripture
A search for somewhere convenient for Friday prayers has led to an unusual joining of two communities.
Every Friday, St Paul’s Anglican church in Beaconsfield, just outside Western Australia’s port city of Fremantle, hosts Muslim prayers in its community hall.
Fittingly, the hall was the original church.
Read it all (and there is a video also).
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Anglican Church of Australia * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry * International News & Commentary Australia / NZ * Religion News & Commentary Inter-Faith Relations Other Faiths Islam Muslim-Christian relations * Theology
A few years before Craig Sanders lost his father to suicide, a music pastor in their South Carolina town took his life.
“I remember the superficial and judgmental anger I had toward him,” Sanders said. “How could you do that to your daughters? What a selfish act.”
When his own father, Larry, a pastor plagued by depression and insecurity, died, Sanders was also angry at him. But it wasn’t the same; this time, he sought to understand the complexities of mental health and other issues behind his dad's decision to take his life. Sanders felt hurt at being left behind and frustrated with a pastorate that doesn’t make it easy to get help.
“I remember the last conversation with him on the phone. He said, ‘Craig, I’m a failure.’ And I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I said, ‘Dad, you’re my hero. Do you understand that all my life I’ve tried to measure up to you? I’m at seminary because I want to be like you.’”
Larry’s depression, which was in part biological, had likely worsened from diabetes medication, church conflicts, and unhealthy comparison with other ministers, Sanders said. “He really got stuck in the comparison game. . . . He was doing a doctor of ministry degree and reading books on church growth, looking at models of how to make your church grow. He was like, ‘If I’m doing these things and my church isn’t growing, what does that say about me?’”
Read it all.
Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained * Culture-Watch Children Health & Medicine Marriage & Family Psychology Suicide * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology
O loving God, by whose grace thy servant James Huntington gathered a community dedicated to love and discipline and devotion to the holy Cross of our Savior Jesus Christ: Send thy blessing upon all who proclaim Christ crucified, and move the hearts of many to look unto him and be saved; who with thee and the Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth, one God, for ever and ever.
O Almighty God, we pray thee, sow the seed of thy Word in our hearts, and send down upon us thy heavenly grace; that we may bring forth the fruits of the Spirit, and at the great day of harvest may be gathered by thy holy angels into thy garner; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Lyrics:Now thank we all our God,
with heart and hands and voices,
who wondrous things has done,
in whom this world rejoices;
who from our mothers' arms
has blessed us on our way
with countless gifts of love,
and still is ours today.
O may this bounteous God
through all our life be near us,
with ever joyful hearts
and blessed peace to cheer us;
and keep us still in grace,
and guide us when perplexed;
and free us from all ills,
in this world and the next.
All praise and thanks to God
the Father now be given;
the Son, and him who reigns
with them in highest heaven;
the one eternal God,
whom earth and heaven adore;
for thus it was, is now,
and shall be evermore.
At the beginning of 1637, the year of the Great Pestilence, there were four ministers in Eilenburg. But one abandoned his post for healthier areas and could not be persuaded to return. Pastor Rinkhart officiated at the funerals of the other two.
As the only pastor left, he often conducted services for as many as 40 to 50 persons a day–some 4,480 in all. In May of that year, his own wife died. By the end of the year, the refugees had to be buried in trenches without services.
I think of Martin Rinkart every thanksgiving; his gift of this hymn is simply stunning given the circumstances in which it was written. We sang it with our family around the dinner table today. Read it all--KSH.
Almighty and gracious Father, we give you thanks for the fruits of the earth in their season and for the labors of those who harvest them. Make us, we pray, faithful stewards of your great bounty, for the provision of our necessities and the relief of all who are in need, to the glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
About sunset, it happened every Friday evening on a lonely stretch along the eastern Florida seacoast. You could see an old man walking, white-haired, bushy eye-browed, slightly bent.--Paul Harvey's the Rest of the Story (Bantam Books, 1997 Mass paperback ed. of the 1977 Doubleday original), pp. 170-172
One gnarled hand would be gripping the handle of a pail, a large bucket filled with shrimp. There on a broken pier, reddened by the setting sun, the weekly ritual would be re-enacted.
At once, the silent twilight sky would become a mass of dancing dots...growing larger. In the distance, screeching calls would become louder.
They were seagulls, come from nowhere on the same pilgrimage… to meet an old man.
For half an hour or so, the gentleman would stand on the pier, surrounded by fluttering white, till his pail of shrimp was empty. But the gulls would linger for a while. Perhaps one would perch comfortably on the old man’s hat…and a certain day gone by would gently come to his mind.
Eventually, all the old man’s days were past. If the gulls still returned to that spot… perhaps on a Friday evening at sunset, it is not for food… but to pay homage to the secret they shared with a gentle stranger.
And that secret is THE REST OF THE STORY.
Anyone who remembers October of 1942 remembers the day it was reported that Captain Eddie Rickenbacker was lost at sea.
Captain Eddie’s mission had been to deliver a message of the utmost importance to General Douglas MacArthur.
But there was an unexpected detour which would hurl Captain Eddie into the most harrowing adventure of his life. . Somewhere over the South Pacific, the flying fortress became lost beyond the reach of radio. Fuel ran dangerously low, and the men ditched their plane in the ocean.
The B-17 stayed afloat just long enough for all aboard to get out. . Then, slowly, the tail of the flying fortress swung up and poised for a split second… and the ship went down leaving eight men and three rafts… and the horizon.
For nearly a month, Captain Eddie and his companions would fight the water, and the weather, and the scorching sun.
They spent many sleepless nights recoiling as giant sharks rammed their rafts. Their largest raft was nine by five… the biggest shark ten feet long.
But of all their enemies at sea, one proved most formidable: starvation. Eight days out, their rations were long gone or destroyed by the salt water. It would take a miracle to sustain them. And a miracle occurred.
In Captain Eddie’s own words, “Cherry,” that was B-17 pilot, Captain William Cherry, “read the service that afternoon, and we finished with a prayer for deliverance and a hymn of praise. There was some talk, but it tapered off in the oppressive heat. With my hat pulled down over my eyes to keep out some of the glare, I dozed off.”
Now this is still Captain Rickenbacker talking… Something landed on my head. I knew that it was a seagull. I don’t know how I knew; I just knew.
“Everyone else knew, too. No one said a word. But peering out from under my hat brim without moving my head, I could see the expression on their faces. They were staring at the gull. The gull meant food… if I could catch it.”
And the rest, as they say, is history.
Captain Eddie caught the gull. Its flesh was eaten; its intestines were used for bait to catch fish. The survivors were sustained and their hopes renewed because a lone sea gull, uncharacteristically hundreds of miles from land, offered itself as a sacrifice.
You know that Captain Eddie made it.
And now you also know...that he never forgot.
Because every Friday evening, about sunset...on a lonely stretch along the eastern Florida seacoast...you could see an old man walking...white-haired, bushy-eyebrowed, slightly bent.
His bucket filled with shrimp was to feed the gulls...to remember that one which, on a day long past, gave itself without a struggle...like manna in the wilderness.
There is a marvelous medicinal power in joy. Most medicines are distasteful; but this, which is the best of all medicines, is sweet to the taste, and comforting to the heart. We noticed, in our reading, that there had been a little tiff between two sisters in the church at Philippi;—I am glad that we do not know what the quarrel was about; I am usually thankful for ignorance on such subjects;—but, as a cure for disagreements, the apostle says, “Rejoice in the Lord alway.” People who are very happy, especially those who are very happy in the Lord, are not apt either to give offence or to take offence. Their minds are so sweetly occupied with higher things, that they are not easily distracted by the little troubles which naturally arise among such imperfect creatures as we are. Joy in the Lord is the cure for all discord. Should it not be so? What is this joy but the concord of the soul, the accord of the heart, with the joy of heaven? Joy in the Lord, then, drives away the discords of earth.
Further, brethren, notice that the apostle, after he had said, “Rejoice in the Lord alway,” commanded the Philippians to be careful for nothing, thus implying that joy in the Lord is one of the best preparations for the trials of this life. The cure for care is joy in the Lord. No, my brother, you will not be able to keep on with your fretfulness; no, my sister, you will not be able to weary yourself any longer with your anxieties, if the Lord will but fill you with his joy. Then, being satisfied with your God, yea, more than satisfied, overflowing with delight in him, you will say to yourself, “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? And why art thou disquieted in me? Hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.” What is there on earth that is worth fretting for even for five minutes? If one could gain an imperial crown by a day of care, it would be too great an expense for a thing which would bring more care with it. Therefore, let us be thankful, let us be joyful in the Lord. I count it one of the wisest things that, by rejoicing in the Lord, we commence our heaven here below. It is possible so to do, it is profitable so to do, and we are commanded so to do.
Now I come to the text itself, “Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.”
It will be our first business at this time to consider THE GRACE COMMANDED, this grace of joy; “Rejoice in the Lord,” says the apostle.In the first place, this is a very delightful thing. What a gracious God we serve, who makes delight to be a duty, and who commands us to rejoice! Should we not at once be obedient to such a command as this? It is intended that we should be happy. That is the meaning of the precept, that we should be cheerful; more than that, that we should be thankful; more than that, that we should rejoice. I think this word “rejoice” is almost a French word; it is not only joy, but it is joy over again, re-joice. You know re usually signifies the reduplication of a thing, the taking it over again. We are to joy, and then we are to re-joy. We are to chew the cud of delight; we are to roll the dainty morsel under our tongue till we get the very essence out of it. “Rejoice.” Joy is a delightful thing. You cannot be too happy, brother. Nay, do not suspect yourself of being wrong because you are full of delight. You know it is said of the divine wisdom, “Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.” Provided that it is joy in the Lord, you cannot have too much of it. The fly is drowned in the honey, or the sweet syrup into which he plunges himself; but this heavenly syrup of delight will not drown your soul, or intoxicate your heart. It will do you good, and not evil, all the days of your life. God never commanded us to do a thing that would really harm us; and when he bids us rejoice, we may be sure that this is a delightful as it is safe, and as safe as it is delightful. Come, brothers and sisters, I am inviting you now to no distasteful duty when, in the name of my Master, I say to you, as Paul said to the Philippians under the teaching of the Holy Spirit, “Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.”
--C.H. Spurgeon (1834--1892)
The singers are Quire Cleveland under the direction of Peter Bennett--KSH.
We give thee humble and hearty thanks, O most merciful Father, for all thy goodness and loving-kindness to us and to all men, for the blessings of this life and for the promise of everlasting happiness. And as we are bound, we especially thank thee for the mercies which we have received: for health and strength and the manifold enjoyments of our daily life; for the opportunities of learning, for the knowledge of thy will, for the means of serving thee in thy Church, and for the love thou hast revealed to us in thy Son, our Saviour; to whom with thee and the Holy Spirit be praise and glory for ever and ever.
--B. F. Westcott (1825-1901)
Glory be to God in the highest, the Creator and Lord of heaven and earth, the preserver of all things, the Father of mercies, who so loved mankind as to send his only begotten Son into the world, to redeem us from sin and misery, and to obtain for us everlasting life. Accept, O gracious God, our praise and thanksgiving for thine infinite mercies towards us; and teach us to love thee more and to serve thee better; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
“But thanks be to God.” (2 Corinthians 2:14). Praying for all a most blessed and grateful Thanksgiving. pic.twitter.com/rcs7hhNcbu— Albert Mohler (@albertmohler) November 24, 2016
Blessed Lord, the only living and true God,
the Creator and Preserver of all things,
We live by you;
and our whole dependence is upon you,
for all the good that we either have or hope for.
We now desire to bless your name for those mercies,
which in so large a measure
you have generously given us.
Worthy are you, O Lord our God,
to receive all honor and glory,
all thanks and praise,
and love and obedience,
as in the courts of heaven,
so in all the assemblies of your servants upon earth;
for you are great, and you do wondrous things;
you are God alone.
“Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name.”— Tony Dungy (@TonyDungy) November 24, 2016
Psalms 100:4 NLT pic.twitter.com/4L8XXJouPM
Almighty and everlasting God, who hast given to us the fruits of the earth in their season, and hast crowned the year with thy goodness: Give us grateful hearts, that we may unfeignedly thank thee for all thy loving-kindness, and worthily magnify thy holy name; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Happy Thanksgiving to all! pic.twitter.com/Uppn0YDboU— PEANUTS (@Snoopy) November 24, 2016
Blessing and honour, and thanksgiving and praise,
more than we can utter,
more than we can conceive,
be unto thee, O holy and glorious Trinity,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
by all angels, all men, all creatures,
for ever and ever.
Losing the Super Bowl four years in a row was tough, but it wasn’t even close to what was about to enfold. Life was about to take a much more difficult turn for Kelly, one that would put those football losses in perspective.
In 1997, Kelly’s son Hunter was born. Kelly had huge dreams for him; Hunter would be the next great athlete in the family. But “four months into his life, we realized he wasn’t reaching a lot of his milestones,” Kelly recalls. “The pediatrician told us ‘your son is showing signs of cerebral palsy.’ It was devastating. But my son continued to get worse.” Then came the tragic news. Hunter was diagnosed with globoid-cell leukodystrophy, or Krabbe disease, a deadly neurological disease. Average life expectancy is less than a year. “The doctors told us to take him home, make him comfortable and watch him pass away,” Kelly says. But Kelly and his wife fought and tried to give their son a real life.
Hunter lived long enough to see his father inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2002. Kelly dedicated his speech to his son. Hunter ultimately passed away on Aug. 5, 2005, at the age of 8. “This was the lowest point of my life,” Kelly says choking up.
Kelly acknowledges that he had problems with his marriage and wasn’t proud of his behavior. “I hit rock bottom. I was mad. I knew I had to change my life and in 2007 I finally did. I had to humble myself to admit I made mistakes,” he says.
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I have seen a paper entitled, "The Church of England and Lambeth 1:10", produced by GAFCON UK and dated 13 November, which is described as a briefing to GAFCON Primates. It purports to be an account of "the situation in the Church of England regarding attitudes and teaching on sexual ethics."
The paper paints a significantly misleading picture both of the teaching and practice of the Church of England, and of Resolution 1:10 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference. I am writing to correct some of the erroneous assertions.
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Almighty God, who didst choose thy servant Clement of Rome to recall the Church in Corinth to obedience and stability: Grant that thy Church may be grounded and settled in thy truth by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and may evermore be kept blameless in thy service; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.
May God, who seeth all things, and who is the Ruler of all spirits and the Lord of all flesh--who chose our Lord Jesus Christ and us through Him to be a peculiar people--grant to every soul that calleth upon His glorious and holy Name, faith, peace, patience, long-suffering,self-control, purity, and sobriety, to the well-pleasing of His Name, through our High Priest and Protector, Jesus Christ, by whom be to Him glory, and majesty, and power, and honour, both now and forevermore. Amen.
--James Manning,ed., Prayers of the Early Church (Nashville: The Upper Room, 1953)
I once found myself working closely, in a cathedral fundraising campaign, with a local millionaire. He was a self-made man. When I met him he was in his 60s, at the top of his game as a businessman, and was chairing our Board of Trustees. To me, coming from the academic world, he was a nightmare to work with.
He never thought in (what seemed to me) straight lines; he would leap from one conversation to another; he would suddenly break into a discussion and ask what seemed a totally unrelated question. But after a while I learned to say to myself: Well, it must work, or he wouldn’t be where he is. And that was right. We raised the money. We probably wouldn’t have done it if I’d been running the Trust my own way.
I have something of the same feeling on re-reading C. S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity. I owe Lewis a great debt. In my late teens and early twenties I read everything of his I could get my hands on, and read some of his paperbacks and essays several times over. There are sentences, and some whole passages, I know pretty much by heart.
Millions around the world have been introduced to, and nurtured within, the Christian faith through his work where their own preachers and teachers were not giving them what they needed. That was certainly true of me.
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A certain group of Catholic readers—let’s call them “Chesterton’s warrior children”—cannot imagine someone like Lewis writing the things he did and not converting to Catholicism at some point. And since they cannot grant the possibility that one can write like Lewis and be Protestant, they are forced to conjure up fanciful theories to explain Lewis’s Protestantism. The best example of this is the “Ulsterior motive” theory, which claims that Lewis never got over the deep-seated anti-Catholic sentiments of his youth. (These critics conveniently fail to note that his family never seemed to possess any strong anti-Catholic sentiments to begin with, given that their servants were Catholic and Lewis’s parents were not terribly committed to the more radical brands of Irish protestantism.) The warrior children manage to say this with a straight face, which is somewhat remarkable given that many of Lewis’s closest friends were, of course, Catholic.
Meanwhile, American evangelical readers tend to see Lewis as a proto-evangelical, a man utterly committed to classic creedal orthodoxy and utterly uninterested in delving any deeper than that. He is the mere Christian par excellance in their minds and represents a tacit endorsement of the evangelical tendency to avoid the thornier theological questions that usually prompt one to seek out a confessional identity of some sort.
Both readings, of course, miss the most basic fact of all about Lewis the Christian: CS Lewis was a conservative Anglican churchman. It’s perhaps fitting that amongst all the tributes, it the was the Anglican Alan Jacobs who made this point about Lewis’s identity while also drawing attention to its neglect amongst many of his readers.
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After the Germans invaded Poland, the Lewis brothers opened up The Kilns to children forced to evacuate the big cities. The first group was four school girls, and throughout the war several other groups of children came in and out of their home. The highlight during this time was a delightful sixteen-year-old named June Flewett. She brought much fun and laughter to the household. The Lewises’ gift of hospitality was being reciprocated by the gift of joy that emanated from this young lady.
In his later years Lewis opened his home to a brash, gifted, divorced, Jewish American follower of Jesus, Joy Gresham Davidman, and her two sons. This relationship, retold in the movie Shadowlands, once again highlights Lewis’s hospitality. After spending time with Joy’s sons, David and Douglas, Lewis wrote humorously in a letter to his friend Ruth Pitter, “I never knew what we celibates are shielded from. I will never laugh at parents again. Not that the boys weren’t a delight: but a delight like surf-bathing which leaves one breathless and aching. The energy, the tempo, is what kills.”
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James Houston knew C.S. Lewis well during their time at Oxford, and here he comments on the great impact of Lewis on Christian spiritual formation.
Listen to it all, conducted by Bruce Hindmarsh
Gresham had read the Narnia books that had been published by then, never dreaming that he might be adopted by their author. He had been captivated by Lewis's imagined world, which also fuelled a fantasy about the man who would be his father. "I was an eight-year-old American boy steeped in the medieval legends of King Arthur," he recalls. "England to me was a land where I expected everyone to ride chargers and joust whenever they met. So when I was taken to meet the man who was on speaking terms with the great lion Aslan, I subconsciously expected him to be wearing silver armour and carry a sword.
"But he was the antithesis of what I had imagined – a stooped, balding, professorial gentleman with unbelievably shabby clothes and nicotine-stained fingers. It was also clear, however, that he had an enormous personality and sense of fun. This immediately eroded any visual deficiencies. I lost an illusion and gained a great friend and, later, a father."
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Hope is one of the Theological virtues. This means that a continual looking forward to the eternal world is not (as some modern people think) a form of escapism or wishful thinking, but one of the things a Christian is meant to do. It does not mean that we are to leave the present world as it is. If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next. The Apostles themselves, who set on foot the conversion of the Roman Empire, the great men who built up the Middle Ages, the English Evangelicals who abolished the Slave Trade, all left their mark on Earth, precisely because their minds were occupied with Heaven. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this. Aim at Heaven and you will get earth ‘thrown in’: aim at earth and you will get neither.--C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (San Francisco: Harper, 2001), p. 134
“For the wise men of old the cardinal problem had been how to conform the soul to reality, and the solution had been knowledge, self-discipline, and virtue. For magic and applied science alike the problem is how to subdue reality to the wishes of men: the solution is a technique: and both, in the practice of this technique, are ready to do things hitherto regarded as disgusting and impious.”
--C.S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man
‘There is a strange idea abroad that in every subject the ancient books should be read only by the professionals, and that the amateur should content himself with the modern books. Thus I have found as a tutor in English Literature that if the average student wants to find out something about Platonism, the very last thing he thinks of doing is to take a translation of Plato off the library shelf and read the Symposium. He would rather read some dreary modern book ten times as long, all about “isms” and influences and only once in twelve pages telling him what Plato actually said. The error is rather an amiable one, for it springs from humility. The student is half afraid to meet one of the great philosophers face to face. He feels himself inadequate and thinks he will not understand him. But if he only knew, the great man, just because of his greatness, is much more intelligible than his modern commentator. The simplest student will be able to understand, if not all, yet a very great deal of what Plato said; but hardly anyone can understand some modern books on Platonism. It has always therefore been one of my main endeavours as a teacher to persuade the young that firsthand knowledge is not only more worth acquiring than secondhand knowledge, but is usually much easier and more delightful to acquire.
This mistaken preference for the modern books and this shyness of the old ones is nowhere more rampant than in theology. Wherever you find a little study circle of Christian laity you can be almost certain that they are studying not St. Luke or St. Paul or St. Augustine or Thomas Aquinas or Hooker or Butler, but M. Berdyaev or M. Maritain or M. Niebuhr or Miss Sayers or even myself.
Now this seems to me topsy-turvy. Naturally, since I myself am a writer, I do not wish the ordinary reader to read no modern books. But if he must read only the new or only the old, I would advise him to read the old. And I would give him this advice precisely because he is an amateur and therefore much less protected than the expert against the dangers of an exclusive contemporary diet. A new book is still on its trial and the amateur is not in a position to judge it. It has to be tested against the great body of Christian thought down the ages, and all its hidden implications (often unsuspected by the author himself) have to be brought to light. Often it cannot be fully understood without the knowledge of a good many other modern books. If you join at eleven o’clock a conversation which began at eight you will often not see the real bearing of what is said. Remarks which seem to you very ordinary will produce laughter or irritation and you will not see why – the reason, of course, being that the earlier stages of the conversation have given them a special point. In the same way sentences in a modern book which look quite ordinary may be directed at some other book; in this way you may be led to accept what you would have indignantly rejected if you knew its real significance. The only safety is to have a standard of plain, central Christianity (“mere Christianity” as Baxter called it) which puts the controversies of the moment in their proper perspective. Such a standard can be acquired only from the old books. It is a good rule, after reading a new book, never to allow yourself another new one till you have read an old one in between. If that is too much for you, you should at least read one old one to every three new ones.
Every age has its own outlook. It is specially good at seeing certain truths and specially liable to make certain mistakes. We all, therefore, need the books that will correct the characteristic mistakes of our own period. And that means the old books. All contemporary writers share to some extent the contemporary outlook – even those, like myself, who seem most opposed to it. Nothing strikes me more when I read the controversies of past ages than the fact that both sides were usually assuming without question a good deal which we should now absolutely deny. They thought that they were as completely opposed as two sides could be, but in fact they were all the time secretly united – united with each other and against earlier and later ages – by a great mass of common assumptions. We may be sure that the characteristic blindness of the twentieth century – the blindness about which posterity will ask, “But how could they have thought that?” – lies where we have never suspected it, and concerns something about which there is untroubled agreement between Hitler and President Roosevelt or between Mr. H. G. Wells and Karl Barth. None of us can fully escape this blindness, but we shall certainly increase it, and weaken our guard against it, if we read only modern books. Where they are true they will give us truths which we half knew already. Where they are false they will aggravate the error with which we are already dangerously ill. The only palliative is to keep the clean sea breeze of the centuries blowing through our minds, and this can be done only by reading old books. Not, of course, that there is any magic about the past. People were no cleverer then than they are now; they made as many mistakes as we. But not the same mistakes. They will not flatter us in the errors we are already committing; and their own errors, being now open and palpable, will not endanger us. Two heads are better than one, not because either is infallible, but because they are unlikely to go wrong in the same direction. To be sure, the books of the future would be just as good a corrective as the books of the past, but unfortunately we cannot get at them.
I myself was first led into reading the Christian classics, almost accidentally, as a result of my English studies. Some, such as Hooker, Herbert, Traherne, Taylor and Bunyan, I read because they are themselves great English writers; others, such as Boethius, St. Augustine, Thomas Aquinas and Dante, because they were “influences.” George Macdonald I had found for myself at the age of sixteen and never wavered in my allegiance, though I tried for a long time to ignore his Christianity. They are, you will note, a mixed bag, representative of many Churches, climates and ages. And that brings me to yet another reason for reading them. The divisions of Christendom are undeniable and are by some of these writers most fiercely expressed. But if any man is tempted to think – as one might be tempted who read only con- temporaries – that “Christianity” is a word of so many meanings that it means nothing at all, he can learn beyond all doubt, by stepping out of his own century, that this is not so. Measured against the ages “mere Christianity” turns out to be no insipid interdenominational transparency, but something positive, self-consistent, and inexhaustible. I know it, indeed, to my cost. In the days when I still hated Christianity, I learned to recognise, like some all too familiar smell, that almost unvarying something which met me, now in Puritan Bunyan, now in Anglican Hooker, now in Thomist Dante. It was there (honeyed and floral) in Francois de Sales; it was there (grave and homely) in Spenser and Walton; it was there (grim but manful) in Pascal and Johnson; there again, with a mild, frightening, Paradisial flavour, in Vaughan and Boehme and Traherne. In the urban sobriety of the eighteenth century one was not safe – Law and Butler were two lions in the path. The supposed “Paganism” of the Elizabethans could not keep it out; it lay in wait where a man might have supposed himself safest, in the very centre of The Faerie Queene and the Arcadia. It was, of course, varied; and yet – after all – so unmistakably the same; recognisable, not to be evaded, the odour which is death to us until we allow it to become life: “An air that kills From yon far country blows.”
We are all rightly distressed, and ashamed also, at the divisions of Christendom. But those who have always lived within the Christian fold may be too easily dispirited by them. They are bad, but such people do not know what it looks like from without. Seen from there, what is left intact despite all the divisions, still appears (as it truly is) an immensely formidable unity. I know, for I saw it; and well our enemies know it. That unity any of us can find by going out of his own age. It is not enough, but it is more than you had thought till then. Once you are well soaked in it, if you then venture to speak, you will have an amusing experience. You will be thought a Papist when you are actually reproducing Bunyan, a Pantheist when you are quoting Aquinas, and so forth. For you have now got on to the great level viaduct which crosses the ages and which looks so high from the valleys, so low from the mountains, so narrow compared with the swamps, and so broad compared with the sheep-tracks …’.
C.S. Lewis, ‘Introduction’ in On the Incarnation: the treatise De incarnatione Verbi Dei (Crestwood: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1993), 3–7.
To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket - safe, dark, motionless, airless - it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is hell.--C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves (London: Geoffrey Bles, 1960), pp. 138-139
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You must picture me alone in that room in Magdalen, night after night, feeling, whenever my mind lifted even for a second from my work, the steady, unrelenting approach of Him whom I so earnestly desired not to meet. That which I greatly feared had at last come upon me. In the Trinity Term of 1929 I gave in, and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed: perhaps, that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England. I did not then see what is now the most shining and obvious thing; the Divine humility which will accept a convert even on such terms. The Prodigal Son at least walked home on his own feet. But who can duly adore that Love which will open the high gates to a prodigal who is brought in kicking, struggling, resentful, and darting his eyes in every direction for a chance of escape? The words “compelle intrare,” compel them to come in, have been so abused be wicked men that we shudder at them; but, properly understood, they plumb the depth of the Divine mercy. The hardness of God is kinder than the softness of men, and His compulsion is our liberation.--C.S. Lewis, Surprised by Joy (Harcourt Brace, 1956), p.228
O God of searing truth and surpassing beauty, we give thee thanks for Clive Staples Lewis whose sanctified imagination lighteth fires of faith in young and old alike; Surprise us also with thy joy and draw us into that new and abundant life which is ours in Christ Jesus, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
O God of love, who hast given us a new commandment through thine only begotten Son, that we should love one another even as thou didst love us, the unworthy and the wandering, and gavest him for our life and salvation: We pray thee to give to us thy servants, in all time of our life on earth, a mind forgetful of past ill-will, a pure conscience, and a heart to love our brethren; for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord.
Listen to it all.
I have never put my hope in any other
but in You, O God of Israel
11月23日は英国テューダー朝の音楽家トマス・タリスの命日（158年）— なおき Naoki (@GloriatibiTri) November 4, 2016
Thomas Tallis died on 23 November in 1585 pic.twitter.com/cF3MkPtHaB
O God most glorious, whose praises art sung night and day by thy saints and angels in heaven: We offer thanks for William Byrd, John Merbecke and Thomas Tallis, whose music hath enriched the praise that thy Church offers thee here on earth. Grant, we pray thee, to all who are touched by the power of music such glimpses of eternity that we may be made ready to join thy saints in heaven and behold thy glory unveiled for evermore; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who livest and reignest with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Almighty and everlasting God, in whom we live and move and have our being: Grant unto us such purity of heart and strength of purpose that no selfish passion may hinder us from knowing thy will, and no weakness from doing it; but in thy light may we see light, and in thy service find perfect freedom; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Those interested in more about the school may read about its chapel life there.
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Love Your Neighbour is a movement, that anyone can be involved in, as an individual or as a group. #LoveYourNeighbour posters will be available to display in windows and noticeboards for community groups, schools, places of worship, charities or businesses. We hope that the message #LoveYourNeighbour will spread across the area, and look forward to seeing posters everywhere, with many stories of Acts of Kindness in the days and weeks ahead.
Middlesbrough welcomes large numbers of refugees and people seeking asylum into our communities. We want each person to feel that they belong and that we are all neighbours, but the beauty of ‘Love Your Neighbour’ is that it can include everybody. We aim to inspire everyone to care for others, whether that is an older person living in your street, someone who is going through a difficult time, or someone who has arrived fleeing from war. Simple acts of kindness can make a huge difference and build stronger, more caring communities.
People in Middlesbrough will be asked to pledge to an act of kindness as part of the launch of Love Your Neighbour, to help make our communities stronger, safer and happier places to live. Everyone will be encouraged to share stories of these acts of kindness on social media using #LoveYourNeighbour and #LYNboro. We want the town to be full of good news stories, showing how much we ‘Love our Neighbour.’
Read it all from the Church of England Communications Blog.
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Children as young as seven are being signed up to be frozen after their death by the organisation at the centre of the controversy over cryonics.
Cryonics UK, which prepares bodies for long-term frozen storage in the US, said it had about “four or five” children on its membership list. The youngest person it had been asked to freeze was seven, but the arrangements could not be made before the child died.
Tim Gibson, 45, a committee member of Cryonics UK, which operates as a charity, said there was no age limit for children to be frozen. The cost of the procedure is about £45,000 and is offered in the hope that those who have died might be resuscitated in the future.
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The great teachings of the Bible and the Christian faith—such as the Creation, Revelation, the Fractured human condition, along with God’s Redemption, Judgment and Eternity all imply that we have the duty to think, and to act upon what we think and know. To be sure our minds just as our bodies and our hearts have partaken of what Christian theologians refer to as the fall. The result of this participation is that there is a fracture not unlike fault lines across a geographical region. It runs through our minds so that we do not always think rightly. It runs through our bodily appetites and desires so that we don’t always desire rightly. And it runs through our hearts so that we don’t always “feel” or emotionally desire rightly. Yet this gives us no reason to retreat from thought. Rather it is a motivation to avail ourselves of what God has revealed and think carefully and deeply about it. As the Anglican theologian and statesman, John Stott wrote some forty years ago in a marvelous short book entitled, Your Mind Matters, “Faith is not an illogical belief in the improbable—faith is a reasoning trust in the character and promises of God.”
Often when I meet with the new members I am confirming or receiving into the Church I remind them of what the Anglican reformers were keen to teach—that “What the heart desires, the will chooses and the mind justifies.” That is, what the heart gives itself to think about, meditate upon, or yield to, sooner or later the will chooses; and once the will has chosen what the heart desired the mind will go to work to justify what the heart desired and the will chose.
A contemporary Christian writer and preacher, Tim Keller, has put it this way: “Whatever captures the heart’s trust and love also controls the feelings and behavior. What the heart most wants the mind finds reasonable and the will finds doable.”
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The Feast of Christ the King, along with the encyclical letter Quas Primas, is a modern form of an ancient Christian assertion that there is “another King” than the myriad lesser kings seated on thrones or behind government desks. The early Christians were accused of acting against the official laws of the land, “against the decrees of Caesar, saying there is another king, Jesus” (Acts 17.7). And though ancient Christians were certainly the target of large amounts of unjust slander, in this instance the accusation was absolutely true. After all, the Apostle Paul preached the Kingdom of God and the Lordship of Jesus from within Caesar’s household. Explicit in such an activity is the uniquely Christian notion that there is a greater empire than that of the Romans, with a mightier king than that of Caesar. The secular powers of this world cannot long stand such assertions, which is most certainly one of the reasons the Apostle Paul’s head was removed from his neck.
In his magnificent New Testament and the People of God, N.T. Wright notes that one group feeling existentially threatened by another is often the precursor to persecution. In the case of early Christianity, he wrote:
Mere belief—acceptance of certain propositional statements—is not enough to elicit such violence. People believe all sorts of odd things and are tolerated. When, however, belief is regarded as an index of subversion, everything changes. The fact of widespread persecution, regarded by both pagans and Christians as the normal state of affairs within a century of the beginnings of Christianity, is powerful evidence of the sort of thing that Christianity was, and was perceived to be. It was a new family, a ‘third race’, neither Jew nor Gentile but ‘in Christ’. Its very existence threatened the foundational assumptions of pagan society.Wright’s point is that the early Christian confession of the Lordship of Christ, along with the beliefs and ethics entailed therein, appeared so threatening to the ancient world’s foundational convictions, that the only option was to wipe Christianity out. In light of this it’s worth asking: are modern confessions of the Lordship of Christ as threatening to this secular age as the early church was to the ancient world? I wonder.
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O Lord God, we pray thee to keep us from all self-confidence and vainglory, and to bestow upon us thy great grace of humility and self-forgetfulness. To thee may we look, in all that we do, both for the will and for the power; and to thee may we ascribe with a sincere heart all the praise; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Susie Leafe, director of Reform, told Christian Today: "Without these churches the collapse of the Church of England would be even more noticeable."
Reform asked churches with clergy who were members of Reform or who had attended their ReNew conference to report their statistics every year for the last five years. More than 300 churches contributed to the results that support research from Canada showing theologically conservative churches grow faster than those with a more liberal leaning.
Leafe said Reform's member churches were spread across the UK with different neighbourhoods and congregations. She added they varied in style from the traditional to the charismatic. "What the leadership of these churches have in common is a belief that the Bible is our authority in matters of life and doctrine and the teaching we find in its pages about Jesus Christ is reliable, coherent, challenging and life transforming," she said.
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HAMISH FITZSIMMONS: How do you and your colleagues deal with what you do every day?
PAULINA SCULLI: It's a common question that people ask me.
And I often say that I feel that I have the heart to do it. That I let myself feel the grief and that I don't shy away from that grief.
And I let myself be heartbroken 'cause I've seen a lot of people die and a lot of really difficult situations, and I let them touch me. And because I let those situations actually touch my heart, I feel that I journey with people and move through with them and I just feel at the end of it, I feel that I've accomplished something in that I've been able to support people through a difficult process.
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I bring this up to illustrate a very simple point. When Protestants think about the Reformation, their discussions are often limited to a reformation of doctrine. Thus the Reformation is often reduced to the righting of wrong thinking. But the Reformers understood that wrong thinking wasn’t just wrong, but that it was cruel. And they also understood one cannot be abstractly cruel, but cruelty is always relational and social in its scope. In the 16th century the wrong thinking behind indulgences worked out into the social cruelty of oppressing the poor. Thus the right thinking of the Gospel led to a renewed interest in lifting the burdens and victimization of the poor and correcting the social ills they suffered from. Here it’s worth briefly mentioning how the Gospel liberated the social consciousness of the Reformers. Luther worked hard to establish one of the first social welfare programs in Europe. John Calvin determined that care for the poor was a matter of #social justice long before the phrase was cool enough to be turned into a hashtag. Hugh Latimer, another Oxford martyr, preached before the rulers of England that God gave men money so that they could act as his heavenly treasurers in the distribution of wealth to the poor. For the Reformers there wasn’t a wedge between the “social Gospel” and the real Gospel. There was only one real Gospel. But the Reformers understood that the Real Gospel had social implications. They understood when the Gospel was rightly preached and believed it led to social engagement in matters of mercy, justice, and equity among other things. These concepts by the way are not foreign to the Biblical witness and neither are they foreign to the Reformation heritage that so many Protestants would claim as their own.
The Reformation’s keen insights into how false doctrine leads to cruelty and how that cruelty can become institutionally sanctioned is worth remembering. The same may be said of the Reformers courage not only in righting wrong doctrine, but challenging the institutionally sanctioned cruelty that false doctrine props up. Modern day children of the Reformation owe more to the legacy of the Reformation than merely singing “A Mighty Fortress” on the Sunday closest to Oct 31st (though I cherish doing that). These great-grandchildren of Cranmer, Ridley, Latimer, Luther, Calvin and others must not only cling to the precious doctrines of grace recovered in the Reformation, but also search out those dogmas that need reforming in their own day as well as curing those social ills caused by such false teaching be it in the church or the world.
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Almighty God, by whose grace thy servant Elizabeth of Hungary recognized and honored Jesus in the poor of this world: Grant that we, following her example, may with love and gladness serve those in any need or trouble, in the name and for the sake of Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.
Edmund Blair Leighton 1853-1922. "The Charity of St. Elizabeth of Hungary". pic.twitter.com/03GN0dI7b3— Piero Agnello (@AgnelloPiero) November 18, 2016
O Lord, heavenly Father, in whom is the fullness of light and wisdom: Enlighten our minds by thy Holy Spirit, and give us grace to receive thy Word with reverence and humility, without which no man can understand thy truth; for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord.
--John Calvin (1509-1564)
Respected new research published this week from Wilfrid Laurier University claims to have discovered that the ‘secret ingredient’ for church growth is clergy and congregations committed to the historic truths of the Christian faith as a revealed religion, while a liberal approach to belief is consistently a predictor of decline (see Guardian Online 17th November).
This should be a great encouragement to us in the Church of England as we recognize that our core business is to bring the truth of the gospel to the nation – and is a conclusion that confirms what we see on the ground where there is a confidence in the Bible as the Word of God.
It is also a conclusion that matches the Church of England’s clear theological identity. She identifies herself as apostolic - in other words faithful to the teaching of Jesus as given through the Apostles. According to Canon A5 this teaching is ‘grounded in the Holy Scriptures, and in such teachings of the ancient Fathers and Councils of the Church as are agreeable to the said Scriptures. In particular such doctrine is to be found in the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion, the Book of Common Prayer and the Ordinal.’
So while for some this new research merely confirms the obvious, it is likely to be a major upset for those who hold to the comfortable notion that theology doesn’t much matter.
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Eventually, through word-of-mouth—which often turned out to be more hopeful than accurate, adds co-author Flatt—the researchers found their examples. They surveyed clergy and—a step ignored by earlier studies—2,255 lay attendees.
Answers in accord with traditional Christian orthodoxy—basic articles of faith (the ancient Creeds), the authority of Scripture, God’s visible working in the world today, the exclusivity of Christianity (Jesus as the door to eternal life), the importance of daily prayer—were tightly bound to growing life in individual churches. As well, conservative churches had a lower mean age among attendees (53 to 63), emphasis on youth groups, the presence of young families, wide participation by congregants (not only on Sunday mornings) and a commitment to evangelism.
The lessons absorbed at growing churches are not confined there, but are being spread as ministers transfer to new churches. In recent years, two priests have left St. Paul’s Anglican to head up their own, already-established churches in Toronto, where attendance has climbed by 23-50 per cent since 2013.
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Bishops and missionaries were among the tens of thousands of people to gather in the Nehru sports stadium in Kottayam, India, on Saturday, to celebrate 200 years of the Church Mission Society (CMS) in the country.
The public event, which began with a procession, fireworks, music, and speeches, was organised by the Church of South India. On Sunday, the Church commissioned 210 missionaries. It concluded four years of events marking two centuries since Thomas Norton first brought Christianity to the city of Alleppey, in what is now the diocese of Madhya Kerala, about 20 years after the foundation of CMS in London.
Hundreds of missionaries followed in his wake, championing the right to education for men, women, and children of all social classes. Their work resulted in the foundation of the CMS College (the oldest school in the country), and the CMS Press and Industrial School, in the diocese. Today there are about 27.8 million Christians in India: that is, 2.3 per cent of the population.
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O God of peace, by whose grace the abbess Hilda was endowed with gifts of justice, prudence, and strength to rule as a wise mother over the nuns and monks of her household, and to become a trusted and reconciling friend to leaders of the Church: Give us the grace to respect and love our fellow Christians with whom we disagree, that our common life may be enriched and thy gracious will be done, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.
Today is the feast of St Hilda, Abbess of Whitby (d.680). 'So great was her wisdom that even kings & princes sought her counsel', says Bede. pic.twitter.com/SkNZ74rDCv— Eleanor Parker (@ClerkofOxford) November 17, 2016
Teach us, O gracious Lord, to begin our works with fear, to go on with obedience, and to finish them in love, and then to wait patiently in hope, and with cheerful confidence to look up to thee, whose promises are faithful and rewards infinite; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
When David Uth, senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Orlando, heard of the shooting, he contacted several local pastors, telling them, “We have to minister to this community. This is a broken place now.”
For First Baptist, that meant serving the Hispanic community. The church’s Spanish-ministry pastor, , assessed needs and looked for ways to demonstrate the love of Christ. The church became aware of two young men critically wounded in the attack who were in intensive care and would soon lose their condo because they could not work.
“We contacted them and told them not to worry,” said Uth. “We told them we were going to cover their rent until they were able to get back on their feet.”
First Baptist also offered their facilities free of charge to victims’ families who wanted to hold funerals for their loved ones.
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Holy God, our greatest treasure, who didst bless Hugh and Robert, Bishops of Lincoln, with wise and cheerful boldness for the proclamation of thy Word to rich and poor alike: Grant that all who minister in thy Name may serve with diligence, discipline and humility, fearing nothing but the loss of thee and drawing all to thee through Jesus Christ our Savior; who liveth and reigneth with thee in the communion of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
O Lord, take thou full possession of my heart, raise there thy throne, and command there as thou dost in heaven. Being created by thee, let me live to thee. Being created for thee, let me ever act for thy glory. Being redeemed by thee, let me render to thee what is thine, and let my spirit ever cleave to thee alone; for thy name’s sake.
Six Anglo-Saxon graves believed to be the oldest ever found in Britain have been discovered on a waterlogged site in a river valley in Norfolk, alongside 81 coffins made from hollowed oak trunks.
Archaeologists think the startlingly well-preserved plank-lined graves were part of the burial ground of an early Christian community, dating from between the 7th and 9th centuries. Tree ring dating is being carried out to establish a more precise age.
Finding timber graves of this age is extremely rare, due to wood’s tendency to leave little more than a decayed smudge in the earth.
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O God, who didst call thy servant Margaret to an earthly throne that she might advance thy heavenly kingdom, and didst give her zeal for thy church and love for thy people: Mercifully grant that we who commemorate her this day may be fruitful in good works, and attain to the glorious crown of thy saints; though Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
O Living God, in whom is the fountain of life: So teach us to know thee through Jesus Christ that we may share the power of that eternal life which is in him, and that all our lives may be brought into obedience to thy holy will; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.
According to Board of Trustees Chair Gary Hall and Vice-Chair Canon Bonnie Anderson, the October 27-29 trustees meeting on the seminary’s Cambridge, Massachusetts campus “accepted the 2016 audit report which contained the sobering news that EDS’s net assets decreased by $7.9 million (11%) in the last fiscal year.” The deficit is nearly a third larger than EDS Board Treasurer Dennis Stark revealed in July, an amount that was already 30 percent “above a reasonable amount” according to the official.
This follows a decrease of nearly $6.5 million (8.5%) in 2015.
“As the fiduciary stewards of EDS’s assets and mission, we are obviously dismayed at the size of EDS’s losses, but the news has redoubled our commitment to finding a more sustainable and prudent future for the seminary by the end of fiscal year 2017,” Hall and Anderson wrote.
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