Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Respite on a Wednesday Noontime

I've always had a place for "Girl Groups" and "She-Rockers" in my music collection. These ladies are just the sort of jam I need to juice a slow Wednesday. Enjoy Rachel-Rachel's cover of this classic Kansas tune...

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

In the Days of Rogation

It's Rogation Tuesday (Boo-yahh, said the Anglicans), and although Anglican, Anglo-Catholic and Roman Catholic readers may be familiar with the idea of Rogation Days, I'm relatively certain that those from other streams of orthodoxy may have no idea as to the day or its implication.
The name is derived from the Latin verb, rogare, which means simply "to ask". Think back to Sunday's Gospel reading (John 15:1-8), and you'll recall the idea of asking for a thing in Christ's name.
Rogation days have traditionally been a season for seeking the Lord. In eras past, farmers would seek the Lord's blessing on their crops. Priests and their parishes would "Beat the Bounds", processing along the Parish property lines while seeking God's hand to move in the church over the coming days. Its interesting to note that this latter practice is alive and well in many Pentecostal or Charismatic congregations, though its better known as "Praying a bloodline" around the church. I wonder how many would continue this practice if they became aware of the (gasp...) RC and Anglican origins of the practice? Anyhoo, I digress.
We are essentially a post-argarian society where most of us will never harvest any crops more significant than patio tomatoes. This said, as followers of the way, we still are called to possess a harvest mindset. We are, by virtue of our new births, co-laborers in the Kingdom of Heaven. Outside our doors stand the greatest harvest field in the history of mankind. Post-Christian United States alone is a field that would stagger the imagination. Christ, two thousand years ago, described these fields as awaiting harvest. I wonder, if the fields were ready for the harvesters 2,000 years ago, how much more are they ready today?
Jesus called His own (READ-- us) to pray that the Father would sent laborers out into these fields. Saints and servants were (are) exhorted to pray for the harvest. In this, I see a powerful tie-in to the concept or Rogation Days.
Have we in prayer, sought to discern our role as messengers for God's Kingdom? Is our walk and witness congruent with the Savior we claim as our own? Are we reaching out in prayer into these fields? All of these are worthy questions to ponder on a Rogation Tuesday.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Being "One"

An "earworm" I'm told, is a song that you can't get out of your head (Heaven help you if its a Joe Cocker or Kate Bush song). It may have been the first song on the way to work, or a song while attending to some other activity. Regardless, soon its lodged in your head all day.

Recently, I've pondered on whether this process occurs on other plains, in particular I'm thinking about our prayer lives and the way certain causes or concerns will frequently find themselves in our prayers. Are there moments when the Divine intersects with our spirits, injecting a concern or cause for prayer? Too, how is it so that a thing that doesn't appear to directly impact us, cause us to labor in prayer?

I am a man who prays and hopes someday to be remembered as a man of prayer. Too, I will be the last one to become a Scold, as I know I've squandered moments which could have been given to this privileged communication with the Heavenly. All this said, I've been given a burden or "prayer worm" if you'll have it.

In my prayers, I've been struck with the recurring intercession for unity in the body of the saints and the Church catholic. I'm not speaking of some gushy kumbayah ecumenism where we dumb it down to the lowest common denominator. I'm speaking of new, transformational unity; a unity of focus and purpose. This is a unity that recognizes our familial bond as brothers and sisters in Christ, and our covenantal relationship to the Almighty. This is a unity that recognizes that whether "Greek or Barbarian... Bond or Free", we are on in Christ, one in mission and one in purpose. I would contend gentle reader that without this radical unity, the resurgent Anglican churches will become yet another yapping, toothless old dog.

We first must be united in Christ. None (Save Christ himself) were natural-born heirs. We all were first children or wrath; withering sprigs without hope in this life or a home in the next one. Yet we've been grafted into the vine and now draw from the same source. United, our guilt was satisfied on Calvary. United, our old lives were buried at sea through our Baptisms. United, we will rule and reign with Him when he returns on that last day. Anglican or not, all true followers of the way are bound as one in God the Son to God the Father.

We must also be united in purpose. Unlike Admiral Stockdale's famous invective, there should be no doubts on who we are and why we're here. We're not here to speak the "truth to power", or make sure folk aren't brought to conviction over their own sins. We're here because the Almighty has foreordained us to be here, to be living witnesses of the Light in this coming darkness. Regardless of gift or vocation, we're united in the task of reflecting the light of Christ deep into the gathering night. We reflect the Almighty as the moon reflects the light of the sun. And, though the darkness may not comprehend the Light, there will be those who respond to the Light's overtures.

Finally, we must be united in focus. By focus, I'm speaking to that micro vision that our God gives to churches and fellowships. In other words, think of this as discerning just what direction would the Lord have a parish or mission proceed. This focus belongs to God and is entrusted to the local body. It's not the property of the Priest, Deacon, Warden or Vestryman, it's Christ's vision for his Bride, provided to be an object of local stewardship. Until we cause or agendas and plans to bow before the cross, we'll never truly obtain this third unity.

My prayer this afternoon is that all of the saints would come to apprehend what is truly is to be united in Christ, united in purpose and united in focus.

Friday, April 11, 2008

A Question of Poison?

Father Mark Harris, a priest in the Diocese of Deleware runs a well put together blog that goes under the handle of Preludium. I have to conclude, based on his posts that he falls somewhere in the spectrum between moderate to liberal. Though I find myself in disagreement more times than not with his posts and the bulk of his commentors, I have no reason to suspect that he is nothing less than a decent and earnest man who gives 100% to his vocation and his flock. His posts aren't made in a mean or mocking spirit, and his ideas have clearly been reasoned through. Mark+ has a recent post entiitled, "A Question of Poison". This post gave me pause for a moment as I considered what he was addressing.

To say that the election and seating of the current Presiding Bishop has been a source of angst and stomach acid for conservative Episcopalians and Anglicans would be the understatement of the year. She has made any number of statements that have set folks teeth on edge, especially in the realms of historic Christian orthodoxy, biblical understanding and human sexuality. The latter has generated enough voltage to power several major cities. This said, there have been some unbelieveable responses shot back across the bow from the armada of the reasserters. I've taken the time to read and ruminate over many of these and see them as ranging from the unhelpful and petulant to the ugly and Sub-christian. In the interest of honesty, I have in the past made a statement or two that brushed against being catty. I apologize to anyone I may have offended in those remarks.

Now having said this, I want to set down a nonegotiable principle; the truth in and of itself is not poison. If one makes a declarative statement of truth and if a hearer grimaces at the sound of that truth, its a response to conviction rather than a reaction to poison.

Here's a second nonegotiable; Truth must be declared in the light of Ephesians 4:15. Think about it; When Nathan looked David dead in the eye and said "Thou art the man", was he doing it to get under the kings skin or put a finger in his eye? Heck no, He did it because he loved the king enough to see him repent from his error and be restored to fellowship with the Almighty.

Whether he is wearing an AAC/ACN lapelpin or a Rainbow Stole, a bomb thrower is still a bomb thrower and in the end game does nothing to truly help their cause. Though they may bring brief attention, its usually dismissed. Reasserter, we make no hay in tossing out clever digs that make others snicker. The Presiding Bishop of TEC may well be dead wrong, but she's not the devil in a loud cope and mitre.

May all our words be spoken in love and seasoned with salt...

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Knocking down the Cobwebs

Time flies and deadlines don't... I've been up to my neck in it here lately and now that my head is back above water, it is time to swish the cobwebs out of the catbird seat.
Much has transpired since the last post and we'll have plenty to blog on .