Tag Archives: Anglo-Catholic

12 Days of Christmas:Day 1

xmaschurch12 014Christmas is a season in the Church Year. t lasts from Christmas until the Fast of the Epiphany on January 6.

In the spirit of the 12 Days of Christmas, I will blog once daily.

Best Dude, my family & I had a wonderful Christmas Day. Best Dude & I went to Midnight Mass { Candlelight & very Anglo-Catholic–I LOVED IT!} My beloved bought me a brand-new NIKON camera for Christmas & Its been a lot of fun using it already. I bought him a book & ordered a special coffee mug that has a collage of photos of he & I. My parental units bought us two tickets to the musical _West Side Story_ that is playing in Pensacola on January. 3. I adore the movie version, so I am looking forward to seeing the live-action musical play.

My brother & Sister-in-law will be here tomorrow. Best Dude has a busy work schedule this week, so I’m glad I will be occupied with my siblings. They come to Florida every year during the Christmas season & it is always so much fun. I love my family & am so blessed to have such great people with whom to spend the holidays. My heart goes out to all those who spend this wonderful time of year alone, as inasmuch as I am an introvert I do love the few people who do share my life in a big way.

Blue blue Christmas

According to the liturgical calendar:today was supposed to be a Sunday of rejoicing.

No one at Small Parish felt like rejoicing this morning. :o/

Due to the recent events happening in the nation, today was not a day to celebrate. At Small Parish, we grieved & remembered the victims of the Newtown school shooting. We started the Mass with reading responsively the Great Litany. After the Lessons were read, our priest helped us address the sadness that we collectively feel about what happened on Friday morning.

We also prayed for the victims by name . That was really hard for me, as I’ve spent some time working in a public school system & many years working with and among children & youth of the Church. I noticed that the fellow & sister educators of m parish are especially affected by this tragedy. We never thought about a scenario such as this when I was working at an elementary school.

As I’ve already said, these things just should not happen.

I keep thinking about the families of the slain kids & the Christmas that won’t happen for so many people in & around the Newtown, Connecticut area. :O(

Years ago, my Presbyterian minister offered a ” Blue Christmas” service in December for anyone & everyone who might be grieving during this ” most wonderful time of the year”. I’d lost my beloved paternal grandfather that August, so I went to church on that designated Sunday evening. It was a time for we Christians to grieve in community & it was very cathartic.

This morning’s Mass at Small Parish had the same cathartic effect for me{ and probably for others in attendance , too} Grieving in community is healthy , both for the mind & soul.

Today I am grateful for the Church Universal’s gift of ” presence” & community.

Amen.

In the wake of the school shootings….

madonna

My heart breaks tonight. Words cannot suffice regarding how I feel about the most recent school shootings. I ache for all of the victims’ families & the entire town of Newtown.

This should NOT have happened.

A priest-friend of mine asked on Facebook” Where is God in all this?”

Where is God indeed?

I am glad I am not the only person who wants an answer to that question. How can a loving God ” allow” such slaughter of innocence?

Yet I am comforted { at last a wee bit} by the image of The Blessed Mother holding the Infant Christ on her lap. On my desk in our home office is an icon card of the Blessed Mother holding the Christ Child. Although I am not sure of the name of this particular rendition of ” Madonna & Child” I’ve always been comforted by the image of a tiny, vulnerable Jesus of Nazareth wrapped safe in His mother’s arms. I imagine that this very Jesus welcomed each of the innocent victims of yesterday’s school shooting tenderly & gently.

Scripture tells us that our loving God will not & has not given up on humanity. Humans can be evil creatures & I am sure these acts of evil sadden our Creator. No matter what Israel did, God was steadfast in God’s love. No matter how many times God’s People screwed up, God never reneged on God’s love.

It is times such as these that my Catholic faith really anchors me. I do not know WHY this happened to these families in that town in New England. But I do know that God has NOT forsaken humanity— regardless of what ” the culture ” might try to show us. Somewhere & somehow, love & Shalom will prevail .

Amen.

Morning Prayer- I love it!

This morning I led Morning Prayer at Small Parish . Our priest is on vacation & I was recently certified by our Bishop to lead Morning & Evening prayer in the absence of clergy.

It went well– I remembered all the parts of the liturgy & did not falter while reading today’s Gospel Lesson.  We had four souls attend this morning’s worship. All in all:  my first experience with leading Morning Prayer by myself was good.

Alleluia!

I do not understand why some people think that we Anglicans only have ONE form of corporate worship– Eucharist. While Holy Communion is very special—I do not deny at all the importance of weekly Eucharist– our Book Of Common Prayer is full of other liturgies that are just as meaningful to me.  Many Episcopalians I know won’t stay for a mid-week Morning Prayer & I do not understand their reasoning. Worship is about giving thanks & Glory to the Triune God{ as a matter of fact, the very word ” Eucharist” is derived from a Greek word meaning ” thanksgiving”.}

I’ve never gone to church to ” get” anything: when I worship the focus is on praising GOD.  I hate to sound as cynical as to think that some people see Eucharist as a commercial commodity. But as a former Presbyterian with a Roman Catholic background{ yes} I’ve always felt that: “For where two or three are gathered in My Name, there I am in the midst of them..”{Matt. 18:2o}  constitutes worship.   Attending a worship service is not, at least to me, a means for an end.

I realize that everyone has personal preferences when it comes to worship, but we Anglicans are so blessed with many ” tried & true” liturgies.  The Daily Office, from which Morning & Evening Prayer originate, comes from  the monastic schedule for daily corporate prayer. 

This evening I am VERY grateful for the Book of Common Prayer–in its entirety.

Amen.

Is there a limit on forgiveness?

I’m a crime-show junkie. But until recently, I’ve never read a real-life case that seems to have come directly from the writers of one of the TV crime shows that I love to watch.

A teenager comes home late, has a fight with his {apparently drunken} mother.

Later, as said Mom-of-the-year sleeps on her couch, Teen Boy shoots MOTY five times in the head with a bow & arrow. { according to the facts presented in the trial documents I found online}

He was convicted of the crime, but in 1999 was given a new trial,based on the defense’s supposition that evidence was withheld during the original trial.

According to the defense, the boy suffered from extreme ” battered-child syndrome.”

The State let this boy { now a man} free .The state does not see him as a threat to society, but would you want to have this guy as your neighbor ? I sure would not want to live next door to such a person–as people usually learn nothing honorable while incarcerated.

My question is: although the state has forgiven { & even rationalized his crime} should society forgive hm? Can someone { anyone , really} with the proven capacity to turn o deadly violence be allowed another chance? Inasmuch as I want to belive that anyone can turn his or her life around regardless of circumstances I find ex-cons with records of violent crimes heinous.

Does this make me a bad person? I am open-minded–but violence ” turns my stomach”.

I’ve acted in ways that were for sure questionable–but I am not violent. We all make bad choices, but most people’s bad choices do not result in the intentional taking of another human life.

I know that only God can forgive our sins—but I tend to want to categorize sins into what the Roman Church calls ” Mortal ” and Venial Sins. Is it up to us to distribute forgiveness. No it is not– God alone has the power to judge ALL of our sins.

Also, are some civil crimes too horrific to be forgiven by the Church’s Sacrament of Rconciliation? { clergy friends please share your thoughts on this topic} If a convicted rapist or murderer moved next-door to YOU, how would you treat him or her?

Day 1: Baptism & Holy Communion.

Today the bishops & deputies will convene in Indianapolis, Indiana for the 77th General Convention of The Episcopal Church. There is a whole list of resolutions that the Church as a whole must consider this year & some seem to be more ” hot-button” issues than most .

My big concern is the resolution put forth by someone in Oregon that the Holy Communion be totally open to all persons regardless of baptismal status.{ i.e unbaptized persons may receive the Body & Blood of our LORD if they so desire.}

As progressive as I am regarding the Church & social issues, when he subject turns to liturgy I am very traditional. Let me say ‘on record’ that if General Convention votes to change the canons to completely open Holy Communion to unbaptized persons I will be sad.

However, my strong feelings about this liturgical & theological matter will NOT cause me to abandon our Church. The Church is composed of imperfect people & we must allow our leaders to make mistakes without acting on cowardice & running away from our family of faith. If GC votes to open Holy Communion to unbaptized persons, I will quietly live with that change. I will never agree with such a radical change to my understanding of our Baptismal Covenant but I can live wth it.

While I vehemently disagree with the logic behind this resolution, I can see where the people who wish to pass it are coming from. I, too, hope & pray for an inclusive Church. But being a Christian requires some sort of statement of faith & when an unbaptized adult wishes to become a Christian I believe that baptism in necessary for a full membership in the Church.

Inasmuch as I hate to admit it: I hope that the delegates to GC77 vote to uphold our Canons as they are regarding baptism & reception of Holy Communion. There are many reasons why I feel this way.

I do not understand why someone who has never professed belief that Jesus of Nazareth is indeed God’s only begotten Son wish to partake in our sacrament? My mother is Jewish & she has absolutely no desire to come to the altar for even a blessing by the priest on the rare occasions she attends Mass with me.

I do not understand why a non-Christian would want to actively participate in something that is so central to our identities as Christ-followers. My theology of the Eucharist stems from the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ last Supper with His disciples { and yes, I * am* aware that the Last Supper was a Jewish Passover meal.}

At that particular time & place, Scripture tells us :
” Then He took a cup & after giving thanks He said ‘ Take this & divide it among ourselves, for I tell you that from now on I will not drink from the vine until the Kindom of God comes. Then He took a loaf of bread & when He had given thanks, broke it & gave to them saying ‘This is my Body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance o Me.'”. { Luke 22:17-19}

To Christians, the elements presented for a blessing at the altar become more than the sum of their parts. To us, partaking in Holy Communion is done to remember what Jesus did for s so many years ago. It is a visceral reminder that WE are Christ’s Body on Earth. While we pry that ALL may come to know about Our LORD, in my opinion baptism is something that one must prepare one’s heart & mind. Our Baptism seals us as Christ’s own forever–thing we do an ever remove us from the family of Christ one we’ve received the Christian rite of initiation at Baptism.

I am not saying that we should discourage seekers from coming to church. Quite the opposite: if a seeker comes to one of our parishes & is so moved by the Celebration of The Eucharist, he or she has an option to ask the resident priest to tell him or her more about what it means to BE a member of Christ’s Body { a Christian}

One Body , but many parts. Honor ALL.

St Paul’s first letter to the people of Corinth is my favorite epistle for several reasons. Chapel 12 & 12 of this letter speak especially to me when I find myself in a myriad of situations.

This upcoming General convention has me thinking about the Church as one complete Body with our various member with different funtions. Without these functions, the Church cannot survive. We need each other. Like it or no, Christians are connected & we Anglican Christians are woven even tighter together by Tradition and Liturgy. To me, claiming my Anglican identity is more about how our Church worships than what her positions are on various controversial modern issues.

As an Anglo-Catholic Episcopalian, the ancient liturgy employed by Anglicans throughout the world is much mor an identifying factor than any resolution that may or may not arise from General Convention. Yet I am aware that some people feel otherwise–that the Church’s sociopolitical stances ar much more identifying than are our ancient sacramental heritage. A priest whom I admire taught me that our Anglican identity is a ” three-legged stool of SCRIpTURE, TRADTION & REASON. Amen.

In chapter 12, Paul writes to the Church :
“If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it.” {1 Corinth 12:26}

The bottom line is: Christians need to put aside our petty differences of opinion & get to work bringing healing to the sick, food to the hungry clothing & shelter to the naked and homeless , ect.

The Kingdom of God on earth is diverse. Humans tend to prefer fellowship & worship with those whose sociopolitical ideas agree with theirs. Arguing over theology and/or ” morality” among people in the Church is nothing new.

Each one of us Christ-followers comes to faith from different backgrounds. Variants such as when & where we were born can radically affect a person’s views of everything, including the Church. I come from a VERY progressive home that saw next to no organized religion. Mom is wha she calls a ” secular Jew” & Dad is a fallen away { but baptized & confirmed } Roman Catholic.

Yes, in the world of Harry Potter I would be considered a ” Muggle” & of that mixed heritage I am proud.

My younger brother & I were taught to respect ALL faith paths & cultures, even though we came of age in a very backwards-thinking part of the nation. There were no other Jewish children in my high school class and my brother{ who attended a different high school in the city} had only one Jewish friend.

When I went away to college for the first time, I was introduced to the fact that som people are homosexual. This puzzled me{ and still does, if I’m honest about such things} but since I grew up in a home that accepts people’s differences it is easy for me to embrace my GLBT friends & family members. My brother married a lovely bi-racial woman whom I am proud to have in my family. Racism & heterosexism were not issues in my family of origin & for that I am grateful to my parents. This has not been easy for yours truly a uber progressive { Note that I say PROGRESSIVE, not liberal}

In the 14 years that I’ve lived on the Gulf Coast, I’ve met some fabulous people with opposite sociopolitical views than those with which I wa raised. As I’ve grown in faith, I’ve learned to accept them & where they came from in their walk with Christ. It has not been easy— as I do not understand many of the view of my more socially static frinds. But, by the grace of God, I am learnig to appreciate from where their ideas come—even though I totally do not agree with them.

My friend’s Ordination to The Sacred Order of the Priesthood

On Saturday I attended the Ordination to The Sacred Order of the Priesthood of a friend of mine. She served as ” lay rector” of my Cursillio weekend back in April , 2009 & quickly became one of the mot Spirit-filled women I know. Although contact between S & I has been somewhat sporadic while she attended General Seminary in New York City, I’ve always prayed for her { as I do for ALL those seeking ordination} & we exchanged some e-mails during her time at the seminary.

My Cursillio weekend played a huge part in my identity as an Anglican Christian, so it was especially poignant for me to attend my former lay rector’s ordination. several friends from ” my” Cursillio weekend were also there *and* the preacher was none other than the priest who was my rector when I first came to Small Parish. :O) Although she & her husband { who is also an Episcopal priest} have moved to a different Diocese, I am still in contact with them & it was totally a bonus to see them at the ordination.

Although I’ve attended an ordination to the Vocational Diaconate before { Convention, 2011} this was my first experience at any sort of ordination into the priesthood.

I was baptized into the Presbyterian church & during all my years in that denomination I never had an opportunity to attend one of their ordinations. Of course, Calvinist-based denominations hold an entirely different liturgical & theological approach to Holy Orders, but it still would have been inspiring to attend anyhow if I’d had a chance to do so.

The Mass was VERY high-Church {And I LOVED it! In my opinion, the more ” smells, bells & fire” used in a Mass, the more awe-inspiring.} Our Bishop presided & when my friend knelt at the altar in front of the Bishop & he said the Words of Consecration, I actually shed a tear{ and trust me, I am not prone to tears during Mass at all.}

The church is a set of historic lakefront buildings nestled in the centre of a small Southern town in Northwest Florida. According to literature provided by the church, this building was consecrated as a church in 1896 & has undergone several renovations through the years. It is a small-in-numbers parish, with only 67 souls listed on their register. But I know that, God-willing, my friend will be a good & faithful shepherd to these people t this place & at this point in time.

Alleluia. Amen.

Missing Mass= weird

I am deviating from my RCL blogging today to address an issue that is pertinent.

Best Dude & I had a GREAT Feast of St Patrick Weekend. We went to Pensacola all day on Saturday & spent the day walking around downtown. Our priest’s rock & roll band { yes!!} played at a beer join downtown. It was great!

Anyhow, Best Dude had to be at work early on Sunday, so he could not attend Mass. I had a full intention of finding a ride to the later morning Mass for that day, but as the time drew nearer I felt more sleepy. yeah, I missed Mass & anyone who knows me at all knows that I am a regular Mass attendee on Sundays.

Staying at home on Sunday when I ordinarily would have been at Mass left me unsettled. While I do not attend Mass because I feel I * must*, Mass is a huge part of my life-long walk with God. Unlike the Romans, we Anglicans do not set aside special days as ” holy days of Obligation” during which we MUST attend Mass. Yet receiving Eucharist weekly is a huge part of my spirituality.

I missed Mass…and I MISSED Mass.

Upcoming trip, & placing troubles troubles at God’s Altar

Best Dude & I are taking a trip to Central Florida. i’ll get to meet his extended family. Best Dude & I have been seeing each other for a little over one year now & this is the first time that we had the chance to go down to Central Florida.

I am really excited about next week’s trip, but at the same time I am also nervous. I’m not a social person at all & I hope & pray that I won’t say or do anything to embarrass Best Dude.

But, I am placing all my concerns before God’s Altar{ metaphorically} A priest I know & love once advised me to, when worried about anything, to close my eyes & envision myself placing my concern at the altar in Small Parish.