Monday, December 28, 2009

The Holy Innocents.

The Collect.

O ALMIGHTY God, who out of the mouths of babes and sucklmgs hast ordained strength, and madest infants to glorify thee by their deaths: Mortify and kill all vices in us, and so strengthen us by thy grace, that by the innocency of our lives, and constancy of our faith even unto death, we may glorify thy holy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

For the Epistle. Revelation 14:1-5 (ESV)

Then I looked, and behold, on Mount Zion stood the Lamb, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father's name written on their foreheads. And I heard a voice from heaven like the roar of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder. The voice I heard was like the sound of harpists playing on their harps, and they were singing a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and before the elders. No one could learn that song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth. It is these who have not defiled themselves with women, for they are virgins. It is these who follow the Lamb wherever he goes. These have been redeemed from mankind as firstfruits for God and the Lamb, and in their mouth no lie was found, for they are blameless.

The Gospel. St. Matthew 2:13-18 (ESV)

Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, “Out of Egypt I called my son.”

Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men. Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah:

“A voice was heard in Ramah,
weeping and loud lamentation,
Rachel weeping for her children;
she refused to be comforted, because they are no more.”

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Saint John, Apostle and Evangelist

The Collect.

MERCIFUL Lord, we beseech thee to cast thy bright beams of light upon thy Church, that it, being illumined by the doctrine of thy blessed Apostle and Evangelist Saint John, may so walk in the light of thy truth, that it may at length attain to life everlasting; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Epistle. 1 St. John 1:1-10 (ESV)

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

The Gospel. St. John 21:19b-25 (ESV)

[Jesus] said to him, “Follow me.”

Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them, the one who had been reclining at table close to him and had said, “Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?” When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about this man?” Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!” So the saying spread abroad among the brothers that this disciple was not to die; yet Jesus did not say to him that he was not to die, but, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?”

This is the disciple who is bearing witness about these things, and who has written these things, and we know that his testimony is true.

Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Saint Stephen, Deacon and Martyr.

The Collect.

GRANT, O Lord, that, in all our sufferings here upon earth for the testimony of thy truth, we may stedfastly look up to heaven, and by faith behold the glory that shall be revealed; and, being filled with the Holy Ghost, may learn to love and bless our persecutors by the example of thy first Martyr Saint Stephen, who prayed for his murderers to thee, O blessed Jesus, who standest at the right hand of God to succour all those who suffer for thee, our only Mediator and Advocate. Amen.

The Epistle. Acts 7:55-60 (ESV)

[Stephen], full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. And he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” But they cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed together at him. Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul. And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep.

The Gospel. St. Matthew 23:34-39 (ESV)

[Jesus said] "Therefore I send you prophets and wise men and scribes, some of whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will flog in your synagogues and persecute from town to town, so that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of innocent Abel to the blood of Zechariah the son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar. Truly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not! See, your house is left to you desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again, until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’”

Friday, December 25, 2009

The Nativity of our Lord, or the Birthday of Christ, commonly called Christmas-day.

The Collect

ALMIGHTY God, who hast given us thy only-begotten Son to take our nature upon him, and as at this time to be born of a pure virgin; Grant that we being regenerate, and made thy children by adoption and grace, may daily be renewed by thy Holy Spirit; through the same our Lord Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Spirit ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

This Collect to be said daily throughout the Octave.

The Epistle. Hebrews 1:1-12 (ESV)

1:1 Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.

For to which of the angels did God ever say,

“You are my Son,
today I have begotten you”?

Or again,

“I will be to him a father,
and he shall be to me a son”?

And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says,

“Let all God's angels worship him.”

Of the angels he says,

“He makes his angels winds,
and his ministers a flame of fire.”

But of the Son he says,

“Your throne, O God, is forever and ever,
the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom.
You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
therefore God, your God, has anointed you
with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.”


“You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning,
and the heavens are the work of your hands;
they will perish, but you remain;
they will all wear out like a garment,
like a robe you will roll them up,
like a garment they will be changed.
But you are the same,
and your years will have no end.”

The Gospel. St. John 1:1-14 (ESV)

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.

The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Saint Thomas the Apostle.

The Collect.

ALMIGHTY and everliving God, who, for the greater confirmation of the faith, didst suffer thy holy Apostle Thomas to be doubtful in thy Son's resurrection; Grant us so perfectly, and without all doubt, to believe in thy Son Jesus Christ, that our faith in thy sight may never be reproved. Hear us, O Lord, through the same Jesus Christ, to whom, with thee and the Holy Ghost, be all honour and glory, now and for evermore, Amen.

The Epistle. Hebrews 10:35-11:1 (ESV)

Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. For,

“Yet a little while,
and the coming one will come and will not delay;
but my righteous one shall live by faith,
and if he shrinks back,
my soul has no pleasure in him.”

But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

The Gospel. St John 20:24-31 (ESV)

Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.”

Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Fourth Sunday in Advent

The Collect.

O LORD, raise up, we pray thee, thy power, and come among us, and with great might succour us; that whereas, through our sins and wickedness, we are sore let and hindered in running the race that is set before us, thy bountiful grace and mercy may speedily help and deliver us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with thee and the Holy Ghost, be honour and glory, world without end. Amen.

The Epistle. Philippians 4:4-7 (ESV)

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

The Gospel. St. John 1:19-28 (ESV)

And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.” So they said to him, “Who are you? We need to give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.”

(Now they had been sent from the Pharisees.) They asked him, “Then why are you baptizing, if you are neither the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” John answered them, “I baptize with water, but among you stands one you do not know, even he who comes after me, the strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.” These things took place in Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Ember Days At the Four Seasons. (Wednesday*, Friday, and Saturday)

The Collect.

O ALMIGHTY God, who hast committed to the hands of men the ministry of reconciliation; We humbly beseech thee, by the inspiration of thy Holy Spirit, to put it into the hearts of many to offer themselves for this ministry; that thereby mankind may be drawn to thy blessed kingdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

For the Epistle. Acts 13:44-49 (ESV)

The next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord. But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and began to contradict what was spoken by Paul, reviling him. And Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly, saying, “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken first to you. Since you thrust it aside and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles. For so the Lord has commanded us, saying,

“‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles,
that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’”

And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed. And the word of the Lord was spreading throughout the whole region.

The Gospel. St. Luke 4:16-21 (ESV)

And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read. And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written,

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
and recovering of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty those who are oppressed,

to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.”

And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

*I failed to post this on Wednesday and regret any inconvenience.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Response to Will Moredock

For background, see: "Fear of the Future: Fundamentalism began as a reaction to modernism" by Will Moredock (Charleston City Paper, 16 December 2009, 8) -- DC+

To the Editor:

Will Moredock did a fairly good job of outlining the origin of the
term “Fundamentalist” and discussing the essays, later published as a
collection entitled The Fundamentals (“Fear of the Future:
Fundamentalism began as a reaction to modernism,” Dec. 16), but his
analysis is predictably biased and many of the implications that he
draws have the flavor of a straw man.

As one who actually owns the four-volume collection of essays, I was
surprised to read him charge that they “. . . encapsulated a lot of
free-floating ideas that had been inhabiting the fringe of American
theology for generations.” The five fundamentals upon which the
essays were based (Scriptural inerrancy, the virgin-birth and deity of
Christ, the substitutionary atonement [that salvation is by grace
through faith in Christ], the bodily resurrection of Christ, and the
authenticity of Christ's miracles to include the expectation of His
bodily return at some future point) were mainstream Protestant
doctrine since the Reformation and, with some nuances regarding
substitutionary atonement would have been uncontroversial among Roman
Catholic and Orthodox Christians as well.

The notion that “. . . the important thing for the fundamentalist is
to get right with God and prepare to be whooshed up in the Rapture.
The world and the people in it are not worth saving” is also not a
major theme in The Fundamentals. While it is true that C.I.
Schofield, one of the major originators of pre-millenial,
pre-trubulational Dispensationalism, was a contributor, Old
Princetonian and post-millenialist B.B. Warfield was also a
contributor. Warfield's colleague at Princeton Seminary, Charles
Erdman, authored the essay on “The Coming of Christ” and took an
historically pre-millenial – but not Dispensational – tone.

Many of the Fundamentalists whom Mr. Moredock eschews – for instance,
Jerry Falwell – showed an appreciation for the cultural mandate that
contradicted their Dispensational views, founding schools and colleges
and seeking to articulate a distinctively Christian worldview that
applied faith to all of life to include the political sphere – Mr.
Moredock might well hope for some of the old-time pietism that sought
to withdraw from society!

The Rev'd Charles A. Collins, Jr.
Goose Creek

Monday, December 14, 2009

Remembering the Very Rev'd Craig Edward Young, SSC

The year was 1995 and it was late December. I was a middler (second year student) at Erskine Theological Seminary, under care of Catawba Presbytery of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church and I wanted to procure a copy of the 1928 Book of Common Prayer (I really can't remember why I had it fixed in my mind that that was superior to the 1979 version [something that is now a deep conviction after having studied and compared the two] but I had). I was spending quite a bit of time in Columbia and I knew that I had seen ads for a church over on Beltline that used the 1928 BCP and so one morning I went over to the Church of the Epiphany and upon entering the parish hall and introducing myself to the priest said that I was trying to acquire various worship manuals for my library and wondered if I could buy a 1928 Prayer Book from his parish. It was clear from our conversation that he didn't much approve of the term "worship manual" and wasn't wild about Presbyterians either (nor did he care for the mainline Episcopal Church). He did part with a Prayer Book for $5.

Almost ten years later I had taken to heart what I found in that Prayer Book and embarked upon the Anglican Way, having been received as a postulant for orders and later ordained deacon and priest in the Reformed Episcopal Church. The Rt. Rev'd Kieth J. Ackerman, SSC, then-Bishop of the Diocese of Quincy and a man whom I'd long admired, was to dedicate a chapel in Mayesville, South Carolina, and I had been invited to participate. Upon arrival I met the priest whom I'd encountered on that December morning and we renewed our acquaintance with considerably more pleasant results (that may or may not have been due in part to the mint juleps that we were enjoying at the reception that followed!). In the course of our conversation I mentioned that I'd heard that he had a source for cloth collars (as opposed to the plastic ones that I had worn up until that point); he paused for a second, said, "This should fit," and literally gave me the collar off of his neck (I was touched and have been wearing cloth ones ever since).

That priest was the Rev'd Canon Craig Young and it was my privilege to get to know him at meetings, worship services, and social events as well as to correspond with him via e-mail and to have him become my friend. In 2007 when his parish, the Anglican Church of the Epiphany, became the Pro-Cathedral for the Diocese of the Holy Cross and he became it's Dean, he invited me to the service and it was my honor to participate. He represented the Anglo-Catholic "face" of Anglicanism while I am more representative of the Protestant one, but we shared a commitment to Evangelical Faith, Catholic Truth, and Apostolic Order that transcended those distinctions. We were both members of Forward in Faith and over time our jurisdictions forged their bonds in the Federation of Anglican Churches in the Americas. He was fond of saying, "Fr. Collins is the most Catholic priest in the Reformed Episcopal Church;" while that may be disputable, I knew the spirit in which he intended it and I took it as a high compliment.

Craig was a force to be reckoned with, a man with deeply held and forthrightly expressed opinions with a wicked sense of humor. A mutual friend told me of taking him -- wearing his cassock -- into the Back Bar of the Carolina Yacht Club in Charleston after an event. When he entered some of the patrons, not really sure what to make of the sight, grew quiet as he approached the bar. When the bartender asked what he'd like, Craig responded, "I'd like a Scotch, and make it a double!" At that point the conversation was restored as the patrons figured out that this guy was alright.

This afternoon news came via email from the Rt. Rev'd Paul Hewitt, SSC, his good and godly bishop, that Fr. Craig Young died peacefully in his sleep last night. He will be missed by his family, his parish and diocese, and all who knew him. I thank God for the privilege of being one who knew him and counted him as a friend and fellow priest in the Church of God. R.I.P.

For a departed Priest

O God, who hast made thy servant Craig to flourish among the Ministers of Apostolic Succession in the honourable office of a Priest: grant, we beseech thee, that he may be joined with thine Apostles in a perpetual fellowship, Through thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen --From A Manual for Priests of the American Church, Complimentary to the Occasional Offices of the Book of Common Prayer, 5th edition.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Third Sunday in Advent

The Collect.

O LORD Jesus Christ, who at thy first coming didst send thy messenger to prepare thy 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 world 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 Epistle. 1 Corinthians 4:1-5 (ESV)

This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy. But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God.

The Gospel. St. Matthew 11:2-9 (ESV)

Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to him, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” And Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.”

As they went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? What then did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Behold, those who wear soft clothing are in kings' houses. What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Second Sunday in Advent

The Collect.

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 hast given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

The Epistle. Romans 15:4-13 (ESV)

For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.

For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God's truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written,

“Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles,
and sing to your name.”

And again it is said,

“Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people.”

And again,

“Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles,
and let all the peoples extol him.”

And again Isaiah says,

“The root of Jesse will come,
even he who arises to rule the Gentiles;
in him will the Gentiles hope.”

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

The Gospel. St. Luke 21:25-33 (ESV)

“And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves, people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world. For the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

And he told them a parable: “Look at the fig tree, and all the trees. As soon as they come out in leaf, you see for yourselves and know that the summer is already near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near. Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all has taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

Monday, November 30, 2009

St. Andrew the Apostle

The Collect.

ALMIGHTY God, who didst give such grace unto thy holy Apostle Saint Andrew, that he readily obeyed the calling of thy Son Jesus Christ, and followed him without delay; Grant unto us all, that we, being called by thy holy Word, may forthwith give up ourselves obediently to fulfil thy holy commandments; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Epistle. Romans 10:9-21 (ESV)

. . . if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

But I ask, have they not heard? Indeed they have, for

“Their voice has gone out to all the earth,
and their words to the ends of the world.”

But I ask, did Israel not understand? First Moses says,

“I will make you jealous of those who are not a nation;
with a foolish nation I will make you angry.”

Then Isaiah is so bold as to say,

“I have been found by those who did not seek me;
I have shown myself to those who did not ask for me.”

But of Israel he says, “All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and contrary people.”

The Gospel. St. Matt. 4:18-22 (ESV)

While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him. And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The First Sunday in Advent

The Collect.

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 [the]* dead, we may rise to the life immortal, through him who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, now and ever. Amen.

This Collect is to be repeated every day, with the other Collects in Advent, until* Christmas-day.

The Epistle. Romans 13:8-14 (ESV)

Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

The Gospel. St. Matthew 21:1-13 (ESV)

Now when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go into the village in front of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will send them at once.” This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, saying,

“Say to the daughter of Zion,
‘Behold, your king is coming to you,
humble, and mounted on a donkey,
and on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.’”

The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and put on them their cloaks, and he sat on them. Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” And when he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up, saying, “Who is this?” And the crowds said, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee.”

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Day

Instead of the Venite, the following shall be said or sung.

O PRAISE the Lord, for it is a good thing to sing praises unto our God; * yea, a joyful and pleasant thing it is to be thankful.
The Lord doth build up Jerusalem, * and gather together the outcasts of Israel.
He healeth those that are broken in heart, * and giveth medicine to heal their sickness.
O sing unto the Lord with thanksgiving; * sing praises upon the harp unto our God:
Who covereth the heaven with clouds, and prepareth rain for the earth; * and maketh the grass to grow upon the mountains, and herb for the use of men;
Who giveth fodder unto the cattle, * and feedeth the young ravens that call upon him.
Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem; * praise thy God, O Sion.
For he hath made fast the bars of thy gates, * and hath blessed thy children within thee.
He maketh peace in thy borders, * and filleth thee with the flour of wheat.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost;
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, * world without end. Amen.

The Collect.

O MOST merciful Father, who hast blessed the labours of the husbandman in the returns of the fruits of the earth; We give thee humble and hearty thanks for this thy bounty; beseeching thee to continue thy loving-kindness to us, that our land may still yield her increase, to thy glory and our comfort; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Epistle. St. James 1:16-27 (ESV)

Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.

If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person's religion is worthless. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

The Gospel. St. Matthew 6:21-34 (ESV)

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Sunday next before Advent

The Collect.

STIR up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people; that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works, may by thee be plenteously rewarded; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

For the Epistle. Jeremiah 23:5-8 (ESV)

“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the name by which he will be called: ‘The Lord is our righteousness.’

“Therefore, behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when they shall no longer say, ‘As the Lord lives who brought up the people of Israel out of the land of Egypt,’ but ‘As the Lord lives who brought up and led the offspring of the house of Israel out of the north country and out of all the countries where he had driven them.’ Then they shall dwell in their own land.”

The Gospel. St. John 6:11-14 (ESV)

Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated. So also the fish, as much as they wanted. And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, “Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost.” So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves left by those who had eaten. When the people saw the sign that he had done, they said, “This is indeed the Prophet who is to come into the world!”

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Twenty-third Sunday after Trinity.

The Collect.

O GOD, our refuge and strength, who art the author of all godliness; Be ready, we beseech thee, to hear the devout prayers of thy Church; and grant that those things which we ask faithfully we may obtain effectually; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Epistle. Philippians 3:17-21 (ESV)

Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.

The Gospel. St. Matthew 22:15-22 (ESV)

Then the Pharisees went and plotted how to entangle him in his words. And they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are true and teach the way of God truthfully, and you do not care about anyone's opinion, for you are not swayed by appearances. Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, “Why put me to the test, you hypocrites? Show me the coin for the tax.” And they brought him a denarius. And Jesus said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They said, “Caesar's.” Then he said to them, “Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's.” When they heard it, they marveled. And they left him and went away.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Purple Hearts for Fort Hood?

Should the 14 dead and 30 wounded in the murderous rampage of Nadil Malik Hasan at Fort Hood, Texas , be awarded the Purple Heart and its civilian counterpart the Secretary of Defense Medal for the Defense of Freedom? How our nation answers that will speak volumes about how seriously we take the conflict in which we have long been embroiled and with which we'll be dealing for years to come.

The Purple Heart, created on 7 August 1782 by George Washington, is the nation's oldest decoration. It was originally known as the Badge of Military Merit and was at the time a decoration for "Not only instances of unusual gallantry, but also of extraordinary fidelity and essential service in any way shall meet with a due reward." As far as is known, it was only awarded to three Connecticut Non-Commissioned Officers before falling into disuse after the Revolutionary War. On 22 February 1932, the 200th Anniversary of Washington's birth, it was revived to recognize both meritorious service and military wounds (there may still be a few living recipients who earned theirs for merit before it became exclusively a decoration for combat wounds during World War II). In 1984 awards for casualties suffered as the result of terrorist attacks were authorized and a year later the criteria was expanded to include wounds suffered as the result of "friendly fire."

The Secretary of Defense Medal for the Defense of Freedom was created in the aftermath of 9/11 to recognize civilian employees of the Department of Defense who were injured or killed in the line of duty; awards to non-DoD employees, to include contractors, are authorized with the approval of the Secretary of Defense. Its creation was necessitated by a change made in 1998 that made civilians ineligible to receive the Purple Heart.

Whether or not Nadil Malik Hasan was officially operating as an agent of a foreign group has yet to be determined. It is clear, however, that he is a radical Islamist who was in contact (some 20 emails) with highly placed leaders of Al-Qaeda. It is indisputable that his actions brought joy and celebration among our enemies. This was an act of war, and those who were killed and wounded in it deserve to be recognized as such. That includes, incidentally, the pre-born child of PFC Francheka Valez, who wouldn't have been there if their mother hadn't been a soldier.

I seriously doubt that either of those things will happen, though. To award those medals would be an admission that this was indeed a terrorist act and the leaders involved, both civilian and military, seem determined to avoid that at all cost. To recognize the pre-born baby in any way, even to admit its existence, would be to acknowledge that they were a person and the Administration of the most militantly pro-abortion President in American history is hardly likely to do that!

But refusal to recognize a pair a truths does not make those truths any less true!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Twenty-second Sunday after Trinity.

The Collect.

LORD, we beseech thee to keep thy household the Church in continual godliness; that through thy protection it may be free from all adversities, and devoutly given to serve thee in good works, to the glory of thy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

All Saints Day (of the Octave)

O ALMIGHTY God, who hast knit together thine elect in one communion and fellowship, in the mystical body of thy Son Christ our Lord; Grant us grace so to follow thy blessed Saints in all virtuous and godly living, that we may come to those unspeakable joys which thou hast prepared for those who unfeignedly love thee; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Epistle. Ephesians 1:3-11 (ESV)

I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

The Gospel. St. Matthew 18:21-35 (ESV)

Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.

“Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. But when that same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii, and seizing him, he began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay what you owe.’ So his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ He refused and went and put him in prison until he should pay the debt. When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their master all that had taken place. Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”Justify Full

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Election Night 2009: Some Preliminary Thoughts

I have long loved politics and am a self-confessed political junkie; there was a time in my life when it would have been entirely possible that I'd end up a political hack (I'm glad that I didn't). Election night for me often has the feel of the Super Bowl.

2009 is an off year election, so there weren't many major elections to follow but it still provided some interesting results. Here in South Carolina, I had two friends running for their respective city/town councils. In my hometown of Myrtle Beach, Randal Wallace, whom I've known since we were both kids, will face a runoff in his bid for reelection to the City Council -- among those headed to the runoff he got the most votes, so he gets two more weeks of campaigning. In Mount Pleasant, Howard Chalmers, whom I knew from my days in Moultrie Camp #27, SCV (I'm still in the SCV, just another camp), was unsucessful in his bid for a seat on the Town Council. That's unfortunate, as he would have been a strong conservative voice there; I hope this isn't the end of his political aspirations.

In Virginia and New Jersey, Republicans won (and in Virginia, won big!). Despite the denials of the White House that those weren't reproofs of President Obama, he had campaigned actively for both of the Democrats in those races and was not able to deliver the vote. It appears that the honeymoon is over and that 2010 won't be pleasant for him and may actually be a 1994-redux.

The most interesting race, in my opinion, has been New York's 23rd Congressional District and the seat vacated by former Congressman John McHugh's appointment as Secretary of the Army. Until last weekend it had been a three way race between Democrat Bill Owens, Republican State Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava, and Conservative Doug Hoffman. Scozzafava, a liberal Republican by any reasonable standard, dropped out after it became clear that she was fast loosing support. As I write this, shortly after midnight, it appears that Owens has won by a thin margin, so thin, in fact, that if the small amount of votes that Scozzafava received had gone to Hoffman, he would have been victorious. The absentee ballots have not yet been counted and there are some voting machine issues. This race may be in the news in the coming days.

The Conservative Party of New York State, under whose banner Hoffman ran, is an interesting entity that is worthy of emulation in other parts of the country, somewhat of a party within a party when the Republican party stays on conservative message, and functioning as an alternative at those times (as with Scozzafava) when it does not. Unlike most third parties, it has actually elected someone in a statewide race -- James Buckley, who was elected to the U.S. Senate on the Conservative ticket in 1970 (he went on to loose his bid for reelection in 1976, running as a Republican). There is a serious need to keep the Republican party on conservative message and the Republican Assembly concept is another way to do that and should be supported throughout the country. Conservatives need to be willing to vote for a third-party when the Republican candidates are unacceptable.

Given that Scozzafava's campaign was funded in large part by the National Republican Congressional Committee, they are unworthy of support and former supporters should let them know the reason for that lack of support.

2010 should be a an exceptionally interesting year. I hope that the Republican Party presents itself as a Conservative entity rather than trying to moderate itself.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

All Saints' Day. (November 1)

O ALMIGHTY God, who hast knit together thine elect in one communion and fellowship, in the mystical body of thy Son Christ our Lord; Grant us grace so to follow thy blessed Saints in all virtuous and godly living, that we may come to those unspeakable joys which thou hast prepared for those who unfeignedly love thee; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

This Collect is to be said daily throughout the Octave.

The Twenty-first Sunday after Trinity.

The Collect.

GRANT, we beseech thee, merciful Lord, to thy faithful people pardon and peace, that they may be cleansed from all their sins, and serve thee with a quiet mind; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

For the Epistle. Revelation 7:2-4, 9-17 (ESV)

Then I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun, with the seal of the living God, and he called with a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm earth and sea, saying, “Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, until we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.” And I heard the number of the sealed, 144,000, sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel.

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”

Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?” I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

The Gospel. St. Matthew 5:1-11 (ESV)

Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him.

And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.

For All the Saints, Who From Their Labors Rest . . .

Tonight is Halloween (All-Hallow's Eve) and also Reformation Day (the observance of Martin Luther's nailing of the 95 Theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg on 31 October 1517, but that's another post for another time -- you can click here if you'd like a little musical tribute) and tomorrow in the Feast of All Saint's. When I was growing up and during my (Presbyterian) seminary education All Saint's Day got short shrift (either totally ignored or subsumed under Reformation Day/or Reformation Sunday). Becoming an Anglican meant that there was a Church Calendar to be learned and that All Saint's Day assumed an increasingly significant role.

Some years ago I listened to a series of talks that the Rev'd Dr. Rod Rosenbladt gave at the Cathedral Church of the Advent in Birmingham, Alabama, on the subject of fatherhood. In remembering his own father, now deceased, he mentioned that the time at which he is now closest to him is during Holy Communion. The remark was made in passing, almost as an aside, but it stimulated me to think further on the doctrine of the Communion of the Saints. Most Christians confess the Apostles' Creed as a summary of their belief and for those of us who use the Daily Offices we do so twice daily, reciting belief in the "communion of saints," but the extent to which that is driven home to us on a daily basis varies.

The fact of the matter is that there is only one Church, the one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. Despite the various divisions of it (Eastern/Western, Protestant/Roman Catholic, geographical, chronological) Christ has but one Church. That Church is in communion with one another and even with Him we are truly surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses (Hebrews 12:1) and in communion with them. When we, as the Church Militant, gather around the table of the Lord we on earth take part in what is going on in Heaven with the Church Triumphant and look forward to that day when we will do so together as one. For that reason, Holy Communion is a time of blessed fellowship with Christ and will all of those who have died in the Lord.

As we worship we can rightly pray to God that we:
bless thy holy Name for all thy servants departed this life in thy faith and fear; beseeching thee to grant them continual growth in thy love and service, and to give us grace so to follow their good examples, that with them we may be partakers of thy heavenly kingdom. -- 1928 Book of Common Prayer
and in that we can rejoice with those whom we've loved who've gone to be with Him!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Saint Simon and Saint Jude, Apostles. (October 28)

The Collect.

O ALMIGHTY God, who hast built thy Church upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the head corner-stone; Grant us so to be joined together in unity of spirit by their doctrine, that we may be made an holy temple acceptable unto thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Epistle. Ephesians 2:19-22 (ESV)

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.

The Gospel. St. John 15:17-27 (ESV)

These things I command you, so that you will love one another.

“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever hates me hates my Father also. If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin, but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. But the word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: ‘They hated me without a cause.’

“But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me. And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Twentieth Sunday after Trinity.

The Collect.

O ALMIGHTY and most merciful God, of thy bountiful goodness keep us, we beseech thee, from all things that may hurt us; that we, being ready both in body and soul, may cheerfully accomplish those things which thou commandest; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Epistle. Ephesians 5:15-21 (ESV)

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.

The Gospel. St. Matthew 22:1-14 (ESV)

And again Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son, and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding feast, but they would not come. Again he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, See, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding feast.’ But they paid no attention and went off, one to his farm, another to his business, while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them. The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore to the main roads and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find.’ And those servants went out into the roads and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good. So the wedding hall was filled with guests.

“But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment. And he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ For many are called, but few are chosen.”

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Saint Luke the Evangelist.

The Collect.

ALMIGHTY God, who didst inspire thy servant Saint Luke the Physician, to set forth in the Gospel the love and healing power of thy Son; Manifest in thy Church the like power and love, to the healing of our bodies and our souls; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Nineteenth Sunday after Trinity

The Collect.

O GOD, forasmuch as without thee we are not able to please thee; Mercifully grant that thy Holy Spirit may in all things direct and rule our hearts; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Epistle. 2 Timothy 4:5-14 (ESV)

As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.

Do your best to come to me soon. For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia. Luke alone is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is very useful to me for ministry. Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus. When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, also the books, and above all the parchments. Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds.

The Gospel. St. Luke 10:1-7a (ESV)

After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to go. And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. Go your way; behold, I am sending you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. Carry no moneybag, no knapsack, no sandals, and greet no one on the road. Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house!’ And if a son of peace is there, your peace will rest upon him. But if not, it will return to you. And remain in the same house, eating and drinking what they provide, for the laborer deserves his wages.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Remembering Edwin Powers Elliott, Jr.

Among the various experiences that I've had in my life was that of serving as a Correspondent for The Christian Observer from 2004-2006. I had been introduced to that journal while still in seminary and had had various interchanges with sundry members of its editorial staff through the years. When her editor, the Rev'd Dr. Edwin P. Elliott, Jr., called to ask if I would begin covering Anglican news for them, I was flattered and accepted immediately!

The Christian Observer's readership was then, and is now, primarily Presbyterian and Reformed. Edwin had had an abiding interest in Anglicanism through the years having known bishops, clergy, and laity in the Reformed Episcopal Church and having done some editorial work for the REC through the years; he'd also known known the late Dorothy Faber, founder of the Christian Challenge -- which in the years before David Virtue, Kendall Harmon's Titus One Nine, and the good folks at Stand Firm was the Anglican alternative press -- and had continued sharing stories and collaborating with her and later her son-in-law, the Rev'd Lewis Traycik and, following his death, Auburn Faber Traycik (daughter of Dorothy and widow of Lewis). As Edwin put it, Anglicanism was then among the more interesting parts of Christendom (were that we weren't living in such interesting times!) but that the hierarchical structure and lingo could be a bit confusing to his Presbyterian readers (little did he know, it can get confusing for Anglicans as well!) and he hoped that I, as a former Presbyterian, could translate to some extent.

I hope that I was successful in doing so for those two years. I know that I enjoyed it and stepped down only because demands on my time made it difficult to do so for the weekly digests to which I contributed. Along the way some of my writing was reprinted in the Christian Challenge and, curiously, in Faith in Focus , the magazine of the Reformed Churches of New Zealand. While my formal association with the Christian Observer ended in the Fall of 2006, our friendship continued. I had developed an interest in the Loyal Orange Institution and discovered shortly before my initiation in 2007 that Edwin was a brother Orangeman. Shortly thereafter, when I was considering petitioning my Masonic Lodge for membership, Edwin, who was serving at the time as Grand Chaplain of the Grand Lodge of Virginia, was one of a couple of Christian clergymen whose opinions that I respected that I talked to about that decision and he was one of my sponsors. This coming weekend I will, D.V., undertake some of the work in the York Rite, in which Edwin was long active.

Although active in publishing and journalism, Edwin was first and foremost a pastor. He was Pastor of the Reformed Presbyterian Church in Manassas, Virginia, for many years serving for a time alongside his father, who was also a Presbyterian minister. He was also a key leader in the Reformed Presbyterian Church -- Hanover Presbytery.

The Rev'd Dr. Edwin Powers Elliot, Jr., suffered a major heart attack this past Friday night, 9 October and went nearly an hour before EMS personnel could could resuscitate him. He suffered significant brain damage and was on a ventilator, unable to breathe on his own. This morning his family met with a neurologist who informed them that his brain was swelling and that that would kill him regardless of what was or was not done. Life support was removed after giving his family a chance to say their goodbyes and at 5:11pm he departed this life for the next and exchanged his earthly body for the glories of Heaven where he, and all of the faithful departed, await glorified bodies in the General Resurrection.

May my former editor, friend, fraternal brother and, most importantly, brother in Christ rest in peace and rise in glory and may God's grace comfort his family at this time of grief. I thank God for the privilege of having known him!

The Eighteenth Sunday after Trinity.

The Collect.

LORD, we beseech thee, grant thy people grace to withstand the temptations of the world, the flesh, and the devil; and with pure hearts and minds to follow thee, the only God; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Epistle. 1 Corinthians 1:4-9 (ESV)

I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge— even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you— so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

The Gospel. St. Matthew 22:34-46 (ESV)

But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them a question, saying, “What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?” They said to him, “The son of David.” He said to them, “How is it then that David, in the Spirit, calls him Lord, saying,

“‘The Lord said to my Lord,
Sit at my right hand,
until I put your enemies under your feet’?

If then David calls him Lord, how is he his son?” And no one was able to answer him a word, nor from that day did anyone dare to ask him any more questions.