Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Tuesday

I'm going to busy prepping for a three week teaching engagement over the next few weeks, so the site may get a little quiet.  I will be posting the lesson outlines as they're completed.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Some Saturday Reverie

From the Book of Common Prayer, A Collect for Saturdays:
Almighty God, who after the creation of the world rested from all your works and sanctified a day of rest for all your creatures: Grant that we, putting away all earthly anxieties, may be duly prepared for the service of your sanctuary, and that our rest here upon earth may be a preparation for the eternal rest promised to your people in heaven; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Saturdays had a certain magic to them when we were kids.  It was a time of innocence when you could get up at 7:00 AM, have a few bowls of your favorite sugar-packed breakfast cereal, and enjoy a few hours of Cartoons.  How things have changed from those 60's & 70's Saturday mornings.  The networks no longer air cartoons, and any parent who would deign to allow their children to eat sugared breakfast cereals are held up to a certain level of scorn.  Back then, Saturdays (along with Sundays) were a day off for a majority of Americans.  True, people worked on the day, but these would typically be those employed in the retail/food sectors, or those providing vital health & safety services.  Today, Saturday is just the day that follows Friday as our economic realities have morphed over time.  Yet for all the changes, there is one fact that has not changed, and this is the fact that today is the day before Sunday.

Saturday precedes Sunday, and though this might sound like a Captain Obvious type aphorism, it has application.  Tomorrow will be a day to worship of the Almighty for many.  Followers will gather at their respective places of worship for prayer, praise, proclamation, and to celebrate.  As an Anglican Deacon, I will be proclaiming the Gospel, leading saints into corporate prayer and public confession, and bidding those saints peace as they go forth, "rejoicing in the power of the Holy Spirit.  All of these aforementioned things were never met to be entered into in a casual manner.  Rather, they've always have meant to be approached thoughtfully and deliberately. This is why today's Collect exhorts us as it does.

Rather than being a cryptic call to a seventh day sabbatarianism, the prayer exhorts the very opposite.  The writer is calling those who'll be in the house of the Almighty tomorrow, to take the time to prepare today.  We pray that by "putting away all earthly anxieties" (through laying or cares and burdens at the foot of the cross), that we would be prepared for the service of the sanctuary tomorrow.

This isn't the exclusive command for the clergy, far from it.  All who enter into a heart of worship tomorrow will be engaged in that "service of the Sanctuary".  Our participation in corporate worship is our service.  This is why we are called to take time today, that we might make His praise glorious tomorrow.


Thursday, May 10, 2018

Thursday Evening Reverie -- "Jackson's Song"

This song hit the American Airwaves in 1974 and had been considered a Christmas song since then.  Yet for me, in November 2014, the song rose again in my soul when Jackson joined us on a Saturday Evening in Stafford Hospital.  I can't listen to it without welling up or getting a lump in my throat.


Ascension Day

From the Book of Common Prayer:
Almighty God, whose blessed Son our Savior Jesus Christ ascended far above all heavens that he might fill all things: Mercifully give us faith to perceive that, according to his promise, he abides with his Church on earth, even to the end of the ages; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.
Today marks the Feast of the Ascension in the Western Christian Calendar.  This 40th day after Easter, is when The Christ lighted off the Mount of Olives to take His place at the right hand of the Father.  Scripture records other Ascensions, notably that of the Prophet Elijah.  But unlike those other ascensions, this one would be accompanied by the witness of Angels as recorded by Saint Luke in his Acts of the Apostles:
"9 And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10 And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, 11 and said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven." Acts 1:9-11 (ESV)
For the Apostles and the others, this moment was the capstone on a whirlwind 44 days and a period where they saw their Master institute a new commandment.  They saw Him arrested and die on a cruel Roman cross.  They witnessed His resurrection from the grave and along with 500 other witness, saw him repeatedly over the proceeding 40 days.  Now, on a mountaintop, they saw Him disappear from the physical realm and enter a realm outside of time and space.  They stood gobsmacked, trying to apprehend what they'd all witnessed.  Here in this moment two men, clearly Angelic, echoed the words of their Master and promised that the Christ who left their realm would someday return to it in the same dramatic fashion.

This day stands to remind us of some powerful truths.  It recalls the day when Jesus, having completed His mission to redeem fallen humanity, returned to his home realm and rightful position, seated as the Son of the Most High God.  Though Scripture doesn't explicitly state it, I suspect that all of Heaven erupted into a cry of triumphal joy.  But it doesn't end here.  There is, as the late Paul Harvey would say, a "rest of the story".

In a moment known only by the Godhead, Christ will once again rise from His throne and enter back into our sphere.  As the historic creeds remind us:
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead and his kingdom will have no end.
I invite you to reflect today.