Saturday, December 10, 2016

Collect for the Third Sunday of Advent

O Lord Jesus Christ, who at thy first coming didst send thy messenger to prepare the way before thee, grant that the ministers and stewards of thy mysteries may likewise so prepare and make ready thy way, by turning the hearts of the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, that at thy second coming to judge the word, we may be found an acceptable people in thy sight, who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end.  Amen.


(The Book of Common Prayer as given by John Wesley to the people Called Methodists)

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Collect for the Second Sunday of Advent

Blessed Lord, who hast caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning; Grant that we may in such wise hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that by patience and comfort of thy holy word, we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which thou has given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ.  Amen.

(The Book of Common Prayer as given by John Wesley to the people called Methodists)

The Feast of Saint Nicholas

Today, December 6, we celebrate the Feast of St. Nicholas.  -  Yes, St. Nicholas, as in St. Nick, or Santa Claus, as he has come to be known.  Of course, much of the image of Santa Claus these days makes no reference to the true Santa (Saint) Claus (Nicholas).  Nevertheless, Santa has his origin in this Saint of the Church, who was a real bishop of the Church in the fourth century.

A number of years ago, Religion and Ethics Newsweekly did a story about the good bishop.  I first saw it posted on the Sacramental Nazarenes Facebook page (a few years back).  I thought I would share it with the readers of this blog.



I also want to recommend a book for parents who's children are getting close to "that age."  It is a book written by Harold Myra and illustrated by Jane Kurisu, titled "Santa Are You for Real?"  It was published in 1997 by Tommy Nelson (the children's imprint for Thomas Nelson, Inc.).  -  My wife and I read this book to both of our children as they were growing-up, and we have recommended it to other parents over the years. 

Finally, as an aside for my fellow Sci-Fi nerds, it has been pointed out that, according to this icon, below, it may well be that Santa Claus is really a Klingon and possibly an ancestor to Lieutenant Commander Worf!  I'll let you be the judge!  -  Just in case, and in good Klingon fashion, on this Feast of St. Nicholas I wish you all Qapla'!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Collect for the First Sunday of Advent



Almighty God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armour of light, now in the time of this mortal life, in which thy Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious Majesty, to judge both the quick and dead, we may rise to the life immortal, through him who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, now and ever.  Amen.

(The Book of Common Prayer as given by John Wesley to the people called Methodists)

Friday, November 18, 2016

General Assembly Resolution Modification

Just a note for those who are following my resolutions for next Summer's General Assembly.  I have modified the fifth reason for my resolution (below) on The Superintendency and Ordination by including references to Paul's letters to Timothy.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

An Invitation to The Wesleyan Pattern of Prayer and Fasting

The following explanation of the "Wesley Fast" comes from World Methodist Evangelism (a part of the World Methodist Council). 

As a member of the Order of the FLAME, I have participated in the Wesley Fast for years.  I have found it to be of such significance that we included it in the constitution for the Wesleyan-Anglican Society.

If you do not currently have a regular pattern of prayer and fasting, I encourage you to join with Methodists around the world in the Wesley Fast!

Hear this invitation from World Methodist Evangelism:


The Wesleyan Pattern of Prayer and Fasting

Fasting is a significant part of the Christian experience. Jesus fasted and prayed for 40 days and taught his disciples to fast. First century churches fasted twice weekly. John Wesley encouraged those in the Methodist Movement to fast and pray.
In more than 130 countries, the Wesleyan/Methodist family joins in the same weekly fast which John Wesley observed most of his life: going without solid food after their evening meal each Thursday until mid-afternoon each Friday. This time of fasting is focused in prayer on the vision that those who follow Jesus in the company of the Wesleys would be empowered to become channels for the transformative power of the Holy Spirit.
Our world desperately needs the healing, hope, and salvation offered in Jesus Christ. You can become part of this important movement by joining us as we fast and pray weekly for Holy Spirit power to share the good news so that the world may know Jesus Christ. 

Thursday Evening Prayer
To you, O God, we offer the coming day's devotion of prayer and fasting. We thank you for the example of Jesus. Grant that we may die to ourselves. Make us new in Christ. Feed the starvation of soul, of thought, of will, and after the quiet rest of sleep; open our mouths to praise you in the morning. Through Christ your son, our Light and our Strength. AMEN 

Friday, November 11, 2016

John Michael Talbot & "The Ancient Path"

About two and a half weeks ago I had the opportunity to hear, in person, for the second time, John Michael Talbot.  For those unfortunate folks who don't already know John Michael . . . you've gotta' get to know him!  You can find his website, here.

I was first introduced to John Michael by reading a piece from a bishop in the Charismatic Episcopal Church (as I recall), who talked about his journey toward the ancient liturgy.  He made mention of all of these guys who shared this journey and how they would all listen to John Michael's music.  It was just a mention, but it caused me to look up who this guy was who had influenced others who were, like myself, drawn toward the ancient liturgy.  -  I am so glad I did!

It was probably just after its release that I picked up John Michael's Simple Heart CD.  We were on vacation, as I recall, and it was a stressful time for me.  (It seems that I have a lot of those!  This is, in part, due to my convictions about the Wesleyan/Anglican liturgical and sacramental commitments and trying to live those out in what has too typically been a non-liturgical/sacramental setting.  -  Some who read this blog understand well the frustrations that I am talking about.  But . . .)  -  What a blessing this CD was and has continued to be over the years!!!

John Michael has released about 55 albums over the years.  I only have a fraction of them (about 17, I think).  Simple Heart remains a favorite of mine, and I find myself listening to it often.

During this last concert, I "branched out" and picked up one of John Michael's books: The Ancient Path: Old Lessons from the Church Fathers for a New Life Today.  I'm only 64 pages into this 194 page book, but already, like his music, I am loving it.

Thus far, he has shown the nature of spiritual "fathers" in the Christian Church.  I think that this is something that people often leave out when writing about and reading the Church Fathers, but it deepens for us their writings, their lives and their significance to our lives and faith.  -  Of course, this is also helpful for many who are not a part of a tradition that addresses their clergy as "Father," and who view it with suspicion due to Jesus' instructions about such titles.  -  (As a related aside: I've never particularly liked it when people have referred to John Wesley as "Father John."  I've thought that they were imposing a contemporary title for contemporary Anglican priests, upon one who never used the title and who lived in a time when Anglican priests did not use the title.  However, after reading this part of John Michael's book, I see the appropriateness of this title for Wesley [even if many who have used it have not!].)

This morning I posted a two paragraph quote from the book on Facebook.  (And John Michael commented on my post!  How cool is that!)  -  This quote focuses on the nature of the Church, salvation and the sacraments.  I found it very much in line with the ecclesiology that I have come to hold as I have grown in my commitment to Wesley's Anglican liturgical and sacramental theology.

I trust that many of you will resonate with what John Michael wrote:

     The Church, in fact, was the ordinary means of salvation, established by Jesus, and it applied  
     salvation by means of the sacramental mysteries, also established by Jesus. Three thousand were
     baptized on Pentecost (Acts 2:41), and their life afterward was centered on Eucharist: "the
     apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers" (Acts 2:42).

     That is the same Church I encountered in the works of the Apostolic Fathers. They shared Saint
     Peter's conviction that "baptism . . .now saves you" (1 Peter 3:21) and Saint Paul's belief in the
     Eucharist as a communion in the Body and Blood of Jesus (1 Corinthians 10:16-17). I encountered
     the ideal harmony between personal salvation and reception of the sacraments as a Spirit-filled,
     life-giving personal encounter with Jesus Christ.