Wednesday, February 15, 2017

sermonating with bug eyes

Another sermon, more intense prayer required. The news and the texts alongside each other are just wild. Is the news a distraction? A must-deal-with item? Do I laugh or cry? How do I preach without getting political? Where do I even start among so much?

Here are some excerpts from the texts for this coming Sunday:

Do not deceive yourselves. If you think that you are wise in this age, you should become fools so that you may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written,
“He catches the wise in their craftiness,”
and again,
“The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise,
that they are futile.”
So let no one boast about human leaders.  (1 Cor 3) 

(Yes, this is church leadership, but still...)

Do not resist an evildoer.
Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.  (Matt 5)

The Leviticus passage, too, offers a wealth of possibilities.

Now this Russia business - a year's worth of contact, a Russian sub hanging out off our shores, and more.


As I was celebrating the Eucharist this morning, I suddenly heard the words of Eucharistic Prayer B anew and had a sudden wash of peace even in the midst of the turbulence echoing in the back of my mind from the waves of bad news coming out of DC.

We give thanks to you, O God, for the goodness and love which you have made known to us in creation; in the calling of Israel to be your people; in your Word spoken through the prophets; and above all in the Word made flesh, Jesus, your Son. For in these last days you sent him to be incarnate from the Virgin Mary, to be the Savior and Redeemer of the world. In him, you have delivered us from evil, and made us worthy to stand before you. In him, you have brought us out of error into truth, out of sin into righteousness, out of death into life.  (BCP p. 368

Anamnesis... None of this is new to God. We didn't make ourselves worthy first in order for him to come to us. The Incarnation didn't happen in the midst of all being well. Corruption? Treason? God knows about it. God can work despite it, and has, and will. And so we can have real hope. Not cheery optimism. Hope.  As it says in Hebrews, "For we have this hope, a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul."

And so, in peace, let us pray to the Lord, saying, "Lord, have mercy."

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Feast of the Presentation of our Lord Jesus Christ in the Temple

Today we celebrate the Feast of the Presentation, a day in which we hear about Mary and Joseph bringing the baby Jesus to the Temple as required for first-born sons by the law. They came with two pigeons to sacrifice - not much, but what was required for those without means. What a surprise it must have been to have the elderly Simeon and prophet Anna praise God and speak of the child to the people around as well as to them!  I would love to meet Anna, especially, and hear the story from her perspective.
On this feast day at the convent, we celebrate the profession anniversary of one of our sisters, which adds another special note.

And, lucky me, I got to celebrate - which also means I got to wear my favorite chasuble with the amazing embroidery.

I found a blessing and dismissal for this feast on the Church of England at (marvellous site worth your support). They are not from their Book of Common Prayer (1662 version, still in use!) or from Common Worship (their modern language version).  I think The Promise of His Glory must be a sort of Enriching Our Worship, English style, though far more traditional. Fortunately, this blessings and dismissal lend themselves well to being sung, as we prefer to do on feast days.


9The president may say THIS BLESSING.
Christ the Son of God, born of Mary,
fill you with his grace to trust his promises
and obey his will;
and the blessing of God almighty,
the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit,
be upon you and remain with you always. Amen. [8]
MinisterGo in the light and peace of Christ.
Thanks be to God.

You can find this and the rest of their liturgy here as well, including a couple of post-communion prayer options.

I also found a nice solemn blessing from Common Worship on the C of E website, but it might have required my passing out a copy to everyone so they could come in properly with the Amens. (Yes, the sung tone really does cue you, but early in the morning, extra help is always nice.) 

It's on the very last page of this pdf document.

one last view of the baby Jesus for this liturgical year

Where's the baby Jesus? I swear he was here just a moment ago...

With or without liturgy, we rejoice with Simeon and Anna and Jesus' parents today as we remember that moment and seek to incorporate it into our own lives.

May the One who was presented in the Temple be so welcomed into the heart of each one of us.