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.