Saint John the Evangelist (Lockport, IL)

Monday, February 28, 2005

The Body of Christ

A reflection on worship (here).

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Lessons for Lent 4A, March 6, 2005

The lessons for Sunday March 6, 2005, Lent 3A:
The Collect for Lent 4:
Gracious Father, whose blessed Son Jesus Christ came down from heaven to be the true bread which gives life to the world: Evermore give us this bread, that he may live in us, and we in him; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Something Different

There are other carnivals besides the Christian one. Take this for instance (check it out).

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Christian Carnival is up

The Carnival is posted at Wallo World. I recently was alerted to Mr Wallo's excellent blog by (the) Jollyblogger a few weeks ago. I've become a regular reader of his essays (he writes a profusely and well). Anyhow, go check the carnival out and read some of his other essays while your there as well.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Lessons for Lent 3A, February 27, 2005

The Lessons for Sunday February 27, 2005, Lent 3A
The Collect:
Almighty God, you know that we have no power in ourselves to help ourselves: Keep us both outwardly in our bodies and inwardly in our souls, that we may be defended from all adversities which may happen to the body, and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Comments on the Lessons for this Sunday

A brief commentary on the lessons for this Sunday.

The readings for this Sunday center on belief. The story of Abram leaving family and country to go to an unknown place far away because God promised him a greater family and nation causes us to wonder whether we could believe as Abram did. Could we just chuck it all in, and go to a new place far from our original home and family; so far enough away that we could never go back even if we wanted to? But Abram (and his wife Sarai and his nephew Lot) left Haran (in present day south-east Turkey) and travelled on foot into the present day land of Israel and Palestine because God promised that he would be the father of a great nation.

If we look at this text in Genesis carefully, we have to notice that there is not a lot of detail given about Abram. In fact, there isn't much more than that he was seventy-five, he was married, and he had a nephew. There is nothing to indicate what it was about Abram that caught God's eye. At the end of chapter 11, Terah (Abram's father) and family had left Ur of the Chaldeans to move to Canaan. But they made it only to Haran where it seems Terah abandoned his quest. There are a few indications that the family may have been somewhat wealthy, but there is really nothing else present to indicate why God focused on Abram. The emphasis in this narrative is that God made a promise to Abram, not because of any thing special about Abram, and that he acted on that promise.

The apostle Paul uses Abram to illustrate his thesis that God has accepted believing Gentiles into the family of God. For Paul, the key point is that Abram believed God's promise before he was circumcised. As a result, Gentiles who believe in Jesus the Messiah are under the blessing of God just as completely as are Jewish believers. Paul can make this argument because God accepted Abram's faith in God's promise before he was circumcised. In Paul's words:
The purpose [of Abraham's circumcision] was to make him the ancestor of all who believe without being circumcised and who thus have righteousness reckoned to them, and likewise the ancestor of the circumcised who are not only circumcised but who also follow the example of the faith that our ancestor Abraham had before he was circumcised. (Romans 4:11b-12)

Paul argues that belief, faith, trust in God's redeeming work through Jesus the Messiah's death on the cross is what defines a member of God's family. One does not become a member of the Kingdom of God because of physical descent (being Jewish), rather one becomes a member of the Kingdom of God through believing God's promise of redemption.

This is the point with which Nicodemus was struggling, who is accepted into the Kingdom of God. The apostle John in the first two chapters of his Gospel has introduced us to Jesus. He begins in the very first verse by informing us that Jesus -- the logos/word -- was God. Then John tells us that John the Baptist confirmed for his followers -- and for us -- that Jesus is the Lamb of God, that Jesus is the Son of God.

The next story illustrates this by telling us of the miracle of turning water into wine at the wedding in Cana of Galilee. For John this is a major point in his story:
Jesus performed this first sign in Cana of Galilee. He displayed His glory, and His disciples believed in Him. (John 2:11)
For John this was one of seven great signs he recorded that revealed Jesus' divine nature (John 20:30-31). As a result of this miracle his disciples' belief in him strengthened. But they still had more to learn about Jesus and his mission.

After the wedding, John tells us that Jesus and his disciples went to Jerusalem for Passover. While visiting and worshiping in the temple, Jesus drove the merchants out of the temple.

What is John telling us in these stories? I think it goes something like this: Jesus is unique. (John lets the reader in on a secret in the first few verses of the book: Jesus is divine!) John the Baptist also affirmed this uniqueness by pointing out that Jesus stood in a special relationship with God. Other people began to understand that there was something unique about Jesus by virtue of his turning water into wine at the wedding. A different aspect of Jesus and his ministry is then revealed in his repudiation of the official religion of Judaism. (His display of anger was pointed directly at the religious and secular hierarchy [they were one and the same], who profited from the transactions. By driving out the merchants, Jesus was implying that he wanted to drive out those in authority over the temple and religious matters.) John reports that while in Jerusalem many people began to believe in Jesus. As a result of these things, controversy began over Jesus. Some were for him, some were against.

John then gives us the story about Nicodemus coming to Jesus after dark. John presents Nicodemus in a positive way: he is trying to figure out who this Jesus is. On the one hand, his activities before coming to Jerusalem were probably generally understood in a positive way. On the other hand, his recent actions in the Temple brought out a side to Jesus' mission that many did not approve of, especially those in authority. Nicodemus wanted more information directly from Jesus in order to better understand what Jesus was up to.

In this story John is emphasizing the radical nature of the entrance requirements of Kingdom of God as presented by Jesus. The commonly held Jewish belief that physical birth into the nation of Israel would result in participation in the Kingdom blessings was being challenged by Jesus' teachings that belief in God's promises and a life lived in obedience to God because of those promises was the key to entrance into the Kingdom of God.

The lessons for this Sunday thus emphasize the grace of God. It doesn't matter if we are Gentile or Jew, rich or poor, meritorious or undeserving, it is our belief in the promises of God that make all the difference.

Lord, I believe; help me in my unbelief! (Mark 9:24)

Thursday, February 17, 2005

A roundup of Biblical Commentary

Jeremy Pierce (of Parablemania) has an extensive compilation of his recommended sources for scriptural commentary here.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

The Wonders of Photoshop

take a look. :)

Christian Carnival

Is up here.

This post on the "required reading list".

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Lessons for 2 Lent, Sunday 20 February, 2005

The lessons for Sunday, 2 Lent, February 20, 2005
The Collect for 2 Lent:
O God, whose glory it is always to have mercy: Be gracious to all who have gone astray from your ways, and bring them again with penitent hearts and steadfast faith to embrace and hold fast the unchangeable truth of your Word, Jesus Christ your Son; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Lenten Reflections

This blogger has been trying to post a Lenten reflection each day in Lent.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

A Poetess Noted

Dory (of Wittenburg Gate) has a post here on Phillis Wheatley.

Weekday Services - week of Feb. 13, 2005

2/15/05 Tuesday AM Communion from the Reserve
Tuesday PM Communion from the Reserve
2/16/05 Wed. AM Communion from the Reserve
Wed. PM Stations of the Cross - Bobbie
2/17/05 Thurs. AM Communion from the Reserve
Thurs. PM Evening Prayer - David

Prayer List Feb. 13, 2005

Nikki, Carole, Beverly, Nicolas, Warren, Joan, Frank, Anthony, Mary, Vera, Robert, Bernadine, Cassie, Diana, Donna, Austin, Stan, Jackie, Sara, Geraldine, Bill, Steve, Tom, Sharon, Theresa, Ted, Kathy, Tony, John, Ann, Kathryn, Virginia, Karla, Therese, Mariann, Don, Mildred, Chris, Bob, Wilma, Linda, Bernice, Abby, Elicia, Elise, Ashley, Glenda, Trevor, Marlene, Petra, Doris, Frances, Karen, Rhonda, Gary, Bea, Virgil, Taylor, David, Connor, Peggy, Jim, Anita, Olga, Jesse, Peter, Patti, Phil, Vicki, Daniel, Denzil, Ryan, Royleen, Spark, Mary Ann, Meredith and Catherine.

Prayers of the People Feb. 13, 2005

Lent 1A – February 13, 2005
Prayers of the People

Let us pray for the Church and for the World, saying, Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

For Frank our presiding bishop, William and Victor our bishops, all bishops, priests and other ministers. For the Churches of the Chicago South Deanery, especially Grace Church in the Loop, Holy Cross, Holy Nativity, Sts. George and Mathias, and St. Margaret, all in Chicago, and for the Diocese of Maine. Grant, Almighty God, that all who confess your Name may be united in your truth, live together in your love, and reveal your glory in the world. Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

Guide George our president and all the people of this land, and of all the nations, in the ways of justice and peace; that we may honor one another and serve the common good. Lord in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

Give us all a reverence for the earth as your own creation, that we may use its resources rightly in the service of others and to your honor and glory. Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

Bless all whose lives are closely linked with ours, and grant that we may serve Christ in them, and love one another as he loves us. Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

Comfort and heal all those who suffer in body, mind, or spirit; especially Nikki, Carole, Beverly, Nicolas, Warren, Joan, Frank, Anthony, Mary, Vera, Robert, Bernadine, Cassie, Diana, Donna, Austin, Stan, Jackie, Sara, Geraldine, Bill, Steve, Tom, Sharon, Theresa, Ted, Kathy, Tony, John, Ann, Kathryn, Virginia, Karla, Therese, Mariann, Don, Mildred, Chris, Bob, Wilma, Linda, Bernice, Abby, Elicia, Elise, Ashley, Glenda, Trevor, Marlene, Petra, Doris, Frances, Karen, Rhonda, Gary, Bea, Virgil, Taylor, David, Connor, Peggy, Jim, Anita, Olga, Jesse, Peter, Patti, Phil, Vicki, Daniel, Denzil, Ryan, Royleen, Spark, Mary Ann, Meredith and Catherine. Are there others? Give them courage and hope in their troubles, and bring them the joy of your salvation. Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

For all the blessings of this life, as we remember those celebrating birthdays this week; Diane Lawler, Paul Townsend, Catherine Dick, Grace Dick, Seis Juckins, Edmund Laskowski, and Michelle Rowland and for Diane Lawler’s niece and nephew, Lindsay and Joseph Lawler; for the anniversaries this week of Sammie and Patti Yawn, Richard and Gina Sailliez, and Daniel and Theresa King. Are there other blessings and thanksgivings? Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

We pray for the repose of the souls of Duaine Millett, Sharon Laskowski’s cousin, and for Loretta Ziesemer; and in remembrance of Fred Darin and Mary E. Denniston. We commend them and all who have died to your mercy, that your will for them may be fulfilled; and we pray that we may share with all your saints in your eternal kingdom. Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

O Lord our God, accept the fervent prayers of your people; in the multitude of your mercies, look with compassion upon us and all who turn to you for help; for you are gracious, O lover of souls, and to you we give glory, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, now and for ever. AMEN.

Friday, February 11, 2005

A Reflective (Lenten) Question

I am going to ask a question, which may be broken into "sub-questions." (Others may be able to articulate the question better than I.) I have no particular idea what the "correct" answer might be. But I am wondering how others might answer, or how they may have mused on the question previously.

We are the church! Christians make up the church!

As the church, what are we supposed to be?

What are we supposed to be doing?

What difference does it make if we are the church in the world?
Here I suppose one can ask what difference it makes if we are a local congregation (St. John's Episcopal Church, St. Dennis Catholic, St. Paul Lutheran, baptist, independent, etc), or a national church (ECUSA, Southern Baptist, The Church of England, etc.), or international (the Anglican Communion, the Roman Church, the Eastern Church, etc.), or universal (all christians everywhere).
Would it make (or would it have made) a difference if the church did not exist?

As I noted at the beginning, I don't know what the answer(s) might look like: Quotation of Jesus from Matthew? An academic treatise? Pithy statements based on experience? A sentence? A poem? A dream? Probably all the above. Maybe none of the above.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Reflection on Lent

I found this reflection on the purpose of Lent this morning. [Thanks Mark for the pointer to the Protomonk.] I found Robert Herrick's poem especially helpful while thinking about the sermon from last evening.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

This weeks Christian Carnival(s)

The protomonk has the Christian Carnival up (here)

Also, the "Vox Apologia" (a apologetics carnival) is (here)

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Neat Site

I found a neat blog today, Philosophical Poetry. It's quite different from most blogs, in that all the entries are poems.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Lessons for 1 Lent, Sunday 13 February, 2005

The lessons for this Sunday, 1 Lent, February 13, 2005
The Collect for 1 Lent:
Almighty God, whose blessed Son was led by the Spirit to be tempted by Satan: Come quickly to help us who are assaulted by many temptations; and, as you know the weaknesses of each of us, let each one find you mighty to save; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Royleen is doing well

I have just received word that Royleen went through the surgery well, there were no complications. "They" felt that this tumor grew from a tiny piece leftover from previous surgeries. "They" also felt that (this time) they got it all.

Blog Dashboard Question

Why is it, that when I get to the Blog Dashboard page, and I type in my user name and password, it doesn't like my user name. I've found that I must delete the nothingness that is in user name, and THEN type my user name and password and it will work fine. Does it prefer a certain brand of nothingness over another form of nothingness? Is there a theological quandry buried in here somewhere? (Just kidding)

Thursday, February 03, 2005

What's that word mean? Episcopal Glossary

For those of us who are not "Cradle Episcopalians" or for those who may have been asleep (a-hem!) in Church School, many of the terms used in church can be mysterious. Who wants to admit they don't know what "chrism" is? Thank goodness we were educated a few weeks ago when we had a baptism! Here is a glossary link for reference that may help put you in the know...

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Christian Carnival

Is up for this week at Wittenburg Gate.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Prayers for Royleen

Royleen, who was recently added to our prayer list, is a long-time family friend. She has been battling Cancer of the spine (Cordoma) which is a very aggressive form of cancer. Please keep her in your prayers especially on Wednesday, 2/2 as she undergoes surgery in Houston for removal of the latest tumor, which is lodged between her spine and her aorta. I understand that this is a very complicated and touchy surgery.