Tag Archives: Book of Common Prayer

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.

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.

After GC77: Onward Together

If you have read or listened to the news media this morning, you are aware that the Church voted to allow liturgy for same-sex blessings { a BLESSING is not the same thing as a marriage, by the way} for same-sex couples.

I actually read the news via Twitter from a clergy Twitter pal of mine who was a deputy to GC77 last evening. I’ve had some time for this news to ” sink in” my mind. I know I should be celebrating the social progress the Church has made this year, but part of me is weary. I am wary of the backlash that this new resolution will bring both nationally & within my own Diocese.

I know, at last in theory, that the Church shall move onward, regardless of the bellyache that will surely occur among the right-wing faction of our Church. I am praying that we can ALL remember that we are ONE universal Church. I stated last night that belief in our Creeds is what SHOULD be he most important factor in any Church. But humans being who we are, sociopolitical opinions are a powerful force. I pray that the Church can move beyond this GC resolution and remember that being Church is not supposed to be about self-affirmation. Christians of various stripes are united by one thing, our faith in the knowledge that Jesus of Nazareth was born , lived and was killed on a cross and rose from the dead three days later.

We do not attend church in order to validate our own sense of what is “acceptable”. Look in all the Gospels, Jesus tells us to withhold judgement lest we also be judged. No one is perfect, nor is anyone correct about anything 100 percent of the time.

We re the Church & we will continue to do & be Church.

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.

Our Inner “Judas Iscariot”

 Today’s Gospel reading  tells us about Jesus appointing & calling the first of His apostles. I am especially struck by the last sentence of the lesson: ” and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Him.” {Mark 3:19}

We 21st Century Christians know, as one of my favorite priests always said” the end of the story” We know that this Judas character will evebtually betray his rabbi & friend for a bribe. We are quick to judge Judas and for a good reason. After all, it was this guy who led the Roman soldiers to Jesus…and  he even betrayed Our Lord with a kiss! If tere is anyone in the Gospels who deserves our wrath, it is this man Judas Iscariot. It is HIS fault that Jesus was  sent to die on the Cross, correct?

But wait …do we not betray Our Lord every time we sin against another human? Even our venial sins betray Jesus. For instance, each time I withhold forgiveness from another person, I betray the One Who came, taught , died & was risen so that I may be free. When I hold a grudge, am I any better than the disciple who betrayed Jesus to His enemies?  No. I am as bad as was Judas Iscariot since I put myself & my petty need to hold grudges before Jesus’ teachings. 

Our Lord taught mercy, agape love & forgiveness, but there is evidence throughout our collective & individual lives of betrayal of what Jesus stands for and Who He is. 

Perhaps a good discipline would be to pray the Prayer of Humble Access every evening throughout the remainder of this Lenten season.{ you can find this in the Book of Common Prayer on page 337} This beautiful prayer is a reminder that all of us come to The Lord’s Table with the sin of betrayal on our hearts. But our God is a loving God Who * can* & *does* forgive us our manifold sins.

Thanks be to God.

Amen!

Mark: The short Gospel

Today’s reading actually one from YESTERDAY’s Daily Office reading. I messed up when I looked for the correct day, so yesterday’s blog is actually on TODAY’s reading….Oooops

Anyhow,the Gospel lesson that I am pondering today is a big section from the first chapter of Mark’s Gospel. The particular Gospel is my favorite among the four accounts of Christ’s life & ministry. Why? It is short & to the point. Th authors of this book don’t mess around with anything extra when it comes to the story. The focus on the WWWW-H of the story of Our Lord’s life. The Gospel of Mark could be used as a tachin tool for new Christians. If someone asked me ” who does Scripture say that Jesus of Nazareth is?, I would suggest that they read the Gospel of Mark.

Amen.

My Lenten discipline….

This Lenten season I shall blog about one of he readings from the Daily Office each day { except for Sundays,as Sundays are considered feast days during Lent} I wish this was an original idea , I ” borrowed”it from my rector at Small Parish. His blog { also on WordPress} can be reached at http://laydownyournets.wordpress.com .

This past Advent, I tried to stick to the discipline of blogging from ++ Katharine’s book_A Wing & A Prayer_ each day. Well– I did not make my goal of a post per day that time. Since I told my priest AND all 495 Facebook friends of my plan, I better stick to it!

In other news RIP Whitney Houston. her music defines my girlhood ideas of romance.

DioCon2012, how I missed y’all

For the first time in two years, I was not an attendee of my Diocese’s Annual Convention. Best Dude & I ha planed a trip long before we knew the dates of DioCGC12, so I took this as a sign from God that it is time fo someone else to experience serving a lay delegate at Convention.

By the way, y’all, I am * very* curious to know how this year’s Convention went–a friend whom I’ve met there these past two years told me that the gala was excellent. So , please email me your thoughts on the happenings in Mobile this weekend. Photos from the event won’t be available online until at least Monday, so when they are posted I shall post some from at least the closing Mass.

Last year Best Dude & I were delegates to the Convention that was held at the diocesan camp & conference center. On thursday evening, we attendees had the rare privilege to witness our first ” class” of vocational deacons receive Holy Orders. Words cannot explain how Spirit-filed that Mass was & I shall never forget that experience. As a matter of fact, the Mass when our first class of vocational deacon were ordained is right up there with the Mass I attended in 2009 with ++ Katharine Jefferts-Schori.

I also recall that last year we delegates voted on whom we wished to send to the General Convention that will occur this summer. I was glad to see that a good friend of mine who is a priest will represent us this summer. It as one of my dreams to attend General Convention when Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts- Schori was still our Presiding Bishop, but I do not think that will happen. :O)Sadly for me, Bishop Katharine’s term will be done two years from this summer.

I am totally aware that not everyone thinks highly of Bishop Katharine, but I adore her. Liturgically, ++ Katharine is not ” liberal” & theologically, she’s just trying to lead people to follow Jesus. Isn’t that what we Christ-followers are supposed to be doing?

Best Dude and I were driving the long way from Urban Sprawl, Florida all the way to Redneck Riviera on Friday. I want to thank my friend Cindy for streaming the Convention live online– eventually I will at least view the Bishop’s Address.

Maybe I’ll go next year.

Shalom, y’all.

Advent with ++KJS Day 4 ” Total Ministry”

Once again, the Holy Spirit tells me what I NEED to know, not what I want to hear!

Today’s meditation by our Presiding Bishop deals with the ” Total Ministry” of the baptized. By virtue of our baptism, all Christians are ministers. Look in our Prayer Book in the Catechism, and note that the ministry of laypeople is listed FIRST…before that of deacons, priests & bishops. That should show us where our “place” is in the Body of Christ both at the parish level and in our Dioceses. The Church IS the folks in the pews & those same folks who try hard to be Christ’s Body in this world.

Every singe baptized Christian has a ministry…an ACTIVE ministry. I’ve known this since attending Sunday School as a teen in the Presbyterian church in Ohio. But what I’ve discovered during my adult walk with God is that emptying oneself to the will of God will involve changes in one’s ministry…often several changes.

I. Hate. Change. Any sort of change scares me. But when it comes to total ministry, I’ve realized during these past few days that “letting go of the reins” of one ministry makes way for me to listen to what God wants me to do next.

Bishop Katharine says:

“The last time I checked, the Church already had a head, & its not you or me or the rector down the street. Nor do we need passive consumers of ministry who refuse to be adults in this Body. Being a child of God does not mean being childish. We need people who know how to give themselves & their ministries away. ”

Ouch. That last sentence really convicted me. But, after much prayer I am ready for whatever ministry God calls me to, next. Priests can’t & don’t stay at the same parish for their entire active ministry & laypeople shouldn’t stay in the same ministry throughout their lives ,either.

As Bishop Katharine stated, the Head of the Church is Christ, our Lord & Savior. Like the early apostles, sometimes following Him means leaving behind other “jobs” in our Christian communities & picking up what else needs to be done to spread the Gospel.

Total ministry means that we, the People of the Book, are in this life & Christian community together.

Glory be to the Father, Son & Holy Spirit. Amen.

SEM

Advent 1: Stay Awake & Be The Light in the World

It is Advent One…and the beginning of our liturgical year in my Anglican tradition. My rector greeted us with ” Happy New Year” this morning.

The picture above was on the front cover of today’s bulletin at Small Parish. Every week during Advent, there is a different work of art printed on the bulletin cover. The cover art for this Sunday depicts a famous painting by William Holman Hunt entitled ” The Light of The World’

What strikes YOU when you gaze at this picture? My eyes are drawn to the lantern .

You’ll see that the figure in the painting is knocking on a closed door while holding a brightly lit lantern in his other hand. The figures in the painting are dark & shadowy—but the lantern glows almost blindingly bright.

We Christians are called to bring Light{ The Gospel of Christ’s message of salvation} to the many places in our society that are full of metaphorical *darkness* There are many reasons why someone’s heart might be closed to the Gospel & it is up to you & me to gently ” knock on their door bearing the Gospel Light”. Many people I meet who are nominal Christians, agnostics & athiests tel me that they were{ mistakenly} taught that there is no room for “_______ people” in the Christian community.

Several of my friends who profess to be atheists do so because they don’t see Christ’s message as one of inclusion. In their opinions, so I’ve been told, all we Christ-followers are judgemental towards each other and especially towards those who are not like us. { the poor, people who speak other languages, gays , lesbians, bisexual & transgendered persons, the disabled…ect ect ect} based on what I hear out of the mouths of my well-meaning but unenlightened Christian sisters & brothers, I can understand why so many unchurched people close their metaphorical doors & refuse to let in the Gospel Light.

Look for opportunities in everyday life to ” be the Light of Christ” to a dark & rather frightening world. Share this Light with a stranger, preferably someone who is different from the societal norm.

In the Name of the Father, Son & Holy Spirit, Amen

*****First Sunday of Advent 2011*****