The Annunciation (Anglican)

i-keep-trying-to-get-out-but-they-keep-dragging-me-back-in

(rambling) Okay, I’m not really going back to the Anglican Church (I think), but the Pastor of the Baptist Church I’ve been at is “Lent Friendly” and Lent has been mentioned from the pulpit numerous times. I guess it is telling that I haven’t “joined” another Church yet but whatever.

The Baptist Pastor is preaching at an interdenominational service being held at…guess where!?! an Anglican Church! I’ve been attending the Lenten Luncheon services at the Anglican Church, after it was announced from the pulpit at the Baptist Church and really enjoying them.

The older I get (I’m not that old) the less idealistic I am.

I’ve always liked images of Our Lady of Walsingham and included one below along with a devotional from an Anglican source for The Annunciation of the Lord to the Blessed Virgin.

For All the Saints

Prayers and Readings for Saints’ Days
According to the Calendar of the
Book of Alternative Services of the
Anglican Church of Canada
Revised with an Appendix including
Recent Additions to the Calendar
compiled by
Stephen Reynolds

walsingham

click image to visit the Anglican Shrine

Holy Day 25 March

The story of the Annunciation is told by Saint Luke, who used it to introduce some major themes in his version of the Gospel.

The angel Gabriel visited Mary, greeting her as the one who was favoured by God to be the mother of Jesus, “the Son of the Most High.” It was not Mary’s virtues or merit that won her this favour; it was simply that God “remembered to be gracious” and bestowed such a gift of power on Mary so that the whole human race might know the still greater gift of salvation. Thus empowered, Mary was able to respond, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” By the grace of God which filled her, she was able to practise a graciousness of her own towards God; for it gave her a unique freedom to make God’s will the very thing that she herself willed.

In this gracious response to God’s gift, Mary may be seen as a forerunner of Christ himself. For her consent to God’s saving purpose foreshadowed her son’s consent to the fulfilment of that purpose, even at the cost of his own life. To the Annunciation Mary responded, “Be it unto me according to your word.” In a similar way, on the eve of his passion, Jesus prayed to God, “Not my will but yours be done.” The feast of the Annunciation, which celebrates the conception of Jesus, comes to full term on Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter, when we celebrate the birth of the new creation in his paschal victory. All of God’s grace is imparted to our lives so that we might share in this one mystery, not all at once, but through the changes and chances of our daily living. The life of grace often leaves us puzzling, as the message of the angel puzzled Mary; and Scripture suggests that Mary herself did not understand the mystery she had borne until her son was raised from the dead. Her whole life was a discipline in grace for the revelation of glory; and so it may be for all who by baptism and the Eucharist bear Christ in their own lives.

Sentence
The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory. John 1.14

Collect
Pour your grace into our hearts, O Lord,
that we who have known the incarnation
of your Son Jesus Christ,
announced by an angel to the Virgin Mary,
may by his cross and passion
be brought to the glory of his resurrection;
who lives and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Readings
Isaiah 7.10–14 Psalm 40.5–10 or Psalm 45
Refrain I love to do your will, O my God.
Hebrews 10.4–10 Luke 1.26–38

Prayer over the Gifts
Almighty God,
so fill us with your grace,
that we in all things may accept your holy will
and with the Virgin Mary, full of grace,
rejoice in your salvation;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Preface of the Incarnation
Prayer after Communion
Almighty God,
your word proclaims our salvation;
your table gives us life.
Grant us the humble obedience we see in Mary,
that we too may respond as willing servants.
We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ the Lord.

Stay freshly blessed,

jm

What is Maundy Thursday?

maundy thursday

Source: https://www.epiphanysry.org/

Maundy Thursday marks the beginning of the three most important days in the life of the Church. In the days ahead we run the full gamut of emotions, from the intimacy and joy of a shared meal (Communion) to the loneliness of watching in the Garden of Gethsemane. We wait at the foot of the cross where Jesus our Savior dies, and experience the emptiness and loss of his precious life. And at the end of three days there is the light and joy and new life of Easter.

Holy Thursday; Maundy Thursday. Jesus gathered with his disciples and friends to share the Passover. It was an intimate group who had (we assume) met each Passover to share the meal that Jews had shared every year since the exodus from Egypt. They celebrated (and still do so today) God’s faithfulness and steadfastness in their lives … God’s promise to be with the people and care for them on their journey through life. Today we enter into the same relationship, trusting God to walk with us and be with us in life as it continues.

Footwashing: It was the custom for a servant to wash the feet of guests at a meal. Jesus turned that concept on its head, because as the host he became the servant to his beloved friends. On this night our clergy, too, wash and dry the feet of the congregation. It is a reminder that they are servants as well as leaders within this community; we do it because Jesus gave us that example and we do it to remind each other that in life, and especially in the life of the Church, we are all called to be servants to one another and at times to be served, too.

20180318_085449

Eucharist: As Jesus first shared bread and wine with his friends we will also share the bread and wine of Eucharist (which itself means “thanksgiving”) to demonstrate our love for Jesus Christ, to recognize and celebrate that through bread and wine that he is present and active in our lives. Tonight we especially recall and celebrate again the simple meal of bread and wine that joined the disciples and others to Jesus in love and service.

After Jesus gathered and shared bread and wine with his disciples and friends, their lives were changed. And so it is for us: each and every time we eat the bread of life and drink the cup of salvation our lives are changed as once again we share in the body of Christ.

Stripping of the Altar: At the end of the service this evening the Church is stripped down to its bare wood. Why do we do this?

The candles are extinguished and removed. Candles represent Christ’s light: “I am the light of the world”. In recognition of the darkness following the death of Jesus on the cross, the candles are removed from our presence.

The communion elements are removed. Jesus’ body and blood have been given to us, have been shed for us, and are given to us in the form of the bread and wine. Just as He was removed from us in the grave, so too the elements and the vessels of the Holy Eucharist are removed from our presence.

The altar itself is in the form of a table. This is the place where Christ serves us as both host and meal at his banquet feast. The altar is dressed in fine linens, coverings and paraments fitting and deserving of such a holy meal, and in the presence of the King of Kings. And just as Jesus’ body was stripped of its coverings, so we too, strip the coverings from this altar.

There is no benediction… there is no postlude, no closing hymn… because the service is not over.  It will continue on Good Friday, and on Easter morning we will celebrate again the Risen Lord.

Anglican Rosary

 

“Pray without ceasing.” 1 Thessalonians 5.17

Years ago, when I was new to the Christian faith and a member of the Anglican Church, I purchased a string of beads called the Anglican rosary. When I left the communion they sat unused with other religious paraphernalia until this year. I have recently decided to throw myself into Anglicanism, observing Lent and attending the Lord’s Supper on a weekly basis. I have also decided to pray using beads and have still found them beneficial as an aid to prayer. I thought it might be a good to share how I have been using the beads and include some of the prayers and meditations I’ve found most useful.

beads

There is no set form of prayers like you would find with the Roman Catholic rosary so I have been free to choose more biblical prayers for my prayer times.

The Anglican rosary begins with the cross. I hold the cross in my hand and recite the Nicene Creed from the Book of Common Prayer taking time to reflect upon the words of the creed.

On the invitatory bead I make a confession of sins and ask for forgiveness. The Book of Common Prayer has a beautiful confession from the liturgy of the Lord’s Supper that I like to use before beginning the “weeks.”

Throughout the weeks I say the ancient Jesus Prayer, “Lord Jesus Christ Son of God, Have mercy on me a Sinner.” This is a prayer that I have used for almost 20 years without beads and one that I have found leads to a deeper sense of communion with Christ. As I pray I inhale and silently say, “Lord Jesus Christ Son of God” and exhale, “Have mercy upon me a sinner.” This slows down the prayer and allows me to focus on Jesus Christ.

On each cruciform bead I like to pray the Our Father (Matt. 6). I find consistency the best way to pray so I use the same prayers changing little if at all.IMG_20180321_203432_230

The final invitatory bead is the conclusion of the rosary and I finish with, “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.” Psalm 19.14

While holding the cross I use the final moments of my prayer time to think of the Gospel readings from the Lectionary or some other theological work I’ve recently read. The prayers and the final meditation draw one closer to Christ by driving home biblical passages and concept.

A Note on Repetitive Prayer: 

Our Lord gives the warning that is often applied to those who use prayer beads and rosaries, one doesn’t apply to the Anglican Rosary,

But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Matt. 6.7

Let’s add some context. The footnote in the Geneva Bible reads on Matthew 6.7, “Long prayers are not condemned, but vain, needless, and superstitious ones. ” I believe this is actuate. Setting aside a specific time isn’t the issue but the motive is the issue. If one was to believe we could trade our prayers to earn a reward we would be in violation of the Lord’s command and acting superstitiously.

The People’s New Testament Commentary reads, “What is forbidden is not much praying, nor praying in the same words (the Lord did both), but making the number of prayers, length of prayers, or time spent in praying, a point of observance and of merit. 1 Kings 18:26 gives an example of the repetitions of the heathen. Mahometans and Catholics still hold that there is merit in repeating certain prayers a set number of times.” (emphasis added) I do not believe Matthew 6.7 is condemning rosary style prayers but pagan prayers performed to earn something and prayer done out of a superstitious need for comfort.

Christians are instructed to avoid “vain repetitions” when praying, but I must contend the Jesus Prayer or similar prayers are not in vain. The time I spend in prayer is not superstitious but soul nourishing. When I pray, each and every time, the words of the prayer are new. They strike me with fresh force and meaning. Prayer is needful to the spiritual life and must be meaningful so choose your prayers wisely. The prayers you choose should be taken from or relating to scripture with a motive to love the Lord Jesus more. May God through Jesus Christ forgive me if I am in error on this subject.

Yours in the Lord,

jm

Fasting and Alms-deeds

KnoxMaryJohn Knox fasted and prayed,

“Give me Scotland or I die!”

Knox fasted so often that it is said Queen Mary feared his prayers more than all the armies of Scotland.

Knox on:

WHAT FASTING AND ALMS-DEEDS ARE, WITH PRAYER

And albeit to fervent prayer are joined fasting, watching, and alms-deeds, yet none of them are the cause that God does accept our prayers; but they are spurs which suffer us not to vary, but make us more able to continue in prayer, which the mercy of God does accept. But here it may be objected, that David prays, “Keep my life, O Lord, for I am holy. O Lord, save my soul, for I am innocent; and suffer me not to be consumed” (Ps. 86:2). Also Hezekiah, “Remember, Lord, I beseech thee, that I have walked righteously before thee, and that I have wrought that which is good in thy sight” (2 Kings 20:3). These words are not spoken of men glorious, neither yet trusting in their own works. But herein they testify themselves to be the sons of God, by regeneration; to whom he promises always to be merciful, and at all times to hear their prayers.

The cause of their boldness was Jesus Christ. And so their words spring from a wonted, constant, and fervent faith, surely believing that, as God of his infinite mercy had called them to his knowledge, not suffering them to walk after their own natural wickedness, but partly had taught them to conform themselves to his holy law; and that for the promised Seed’s sake; so might he not leave them destitute of comfort, consolation, and defence in so great and extreme necessity. And so they allege not their justice to glory thereof, or to put trust therein, but to strengthen and confirm them in God’s promises.

And this consolation I would wish all Christians in their prayers: a testimony of a good conscience to assure them of God’s promises. But to obtain what they ask must only depend upon him, all opinion and thought of our own justice being laid aside. And moreover David, in the words above, compares himself with King Saul, and with the rest of his enemies, who wrongfully persecuted him; desiring of God that they prevail not against him, as [though] he would say, “Unjustly do they persecute me, and, therefore, according to my innocence defend me.” For otherwise he confesses himself most grievously to have offended God, as in the preceding places he clearly testifies. (end quote)

May you celebrate Lent by feasting on the word and sacrament.

Yours in the Lord,

jm

PS: Before commenting read Yes and No: Lent and the Reformed Faith Today

Why Fast?

Calvin gives us three ends or goals of fasting:

A holy and lawful fast has three ends in view.

We use it either to

(1) mortify and subdue the flesh, that it may not wanton,

(2) or to prepare the better for prayer and holy meditation;

(3) or to give evidence of humbling ourselves before God, when we would confess our guilt before him.

The first end is not very often regarded in public fasting, because all have not the same bodily constitution, nor the same state of health, and hence it is more applicable to private fasting. The second end is common to both, for this preparation for prayer is requisite for the whole Church, as well as for each individual member. The same thing may be said of the third.

Portrait of John CalvinFor it sometimes happens that God smites a nation with war or pestilence, or some kind of calamity. In this common chastisement it behooves the whole people to plead guilty, and confess their guilt. Should the hand of the Lord strike any one in private, then the same thing is to be done by himself alone, or by his family. The thing, indeed, is properly a feeling of the mind. But when the mind is effected as it ought, it cannot but give vent to itself in external manifestation, especially when it tends to the common edification, that all, by openly confessing their sin, may render praise to the divine justice, and by their example mutually encourage each other.

Hence fasting, as it is a sign of humiliation,

has a more frequent use in public than among private individuals,

although as we have said, it is common to both.

In regard, then, to the discipline of which we now treat, whenever supplication is to be made to God on any important occasion, it is befitting to appoint a period for fasting and prayer.

Thus when the Christians of Antioch laid hands on Barnabas and Paul, that they might the better recommend their ministry, which was of so great importance, they joined fasting and prayer (Acts 13:3).

Thus these two apostles afterwards, when they appointed ministers to churches, were wont to use prayer and fasting (Acts 14:23). In general, the only object which they had in fasting was to render themselves more alert and disencumbered for prayer. We certainly experience that after a full meal the mind does not so rise toward God as to be borne along by an earnest and fervent longing for prayer, and perseverance in prayer. In this sense is to be understood the saying of Luke concerning Anna, that she “served God with fastings and prayers, night and day” (Luke 2:37). For he does not place the worship of God in fasting, but intimates that in this way the holy woman trained herself to assiduity in prayer. Such was the fast of Nehemiah, when with more intense zeal he prayed to God for the deliverance of his people (Neh. 1:4).

For this reason Paul says,

that married believers do well to abstain for a season (1 Cor. 7:5),

that they may have greater freedom for prayer and fasting,

when by joining prayer to fasting, by way of help, he reminds us it is of no importance in itself, save in so far as it refers to this end.

Again, when in the same place he enjoins spouses to render due benevolence to each other, it is clear that he is not referring to daily prayer, but prayers which require more than ordinary attention. – Institutes of the Christian Religion, IV, xii, 15.

What is Septuagesima?

customstop

Revd Dr Peter Toon: Septuagesima, Sexagesima & Quinquagesima are in fact three Latin words and they indicate how far away we are from Easter – that is, 70, 60 & 50 days respectively. From the fifth century after Christ these Sundays emerged as a preparatory cycle for Lent in the West.

The Latin names arose by analogy with Quadragesima, the first Sunday in Lent, known as the “fortieth day” before Easter. Quinquagesima is exactly fifty days before Easter but Sexagesima (60) and Septuagesima (70) are only approximations.

In Rome and the West, Septuagesima (the 70th) day before Easter was regarded as the beginning of the preparation for Easter and thus it was natural to attract to itself the theme of The Beginning, that is the Creation of the world by the Father through the Son and with the Holy Ghost. (Thus there began the reading of Genesis on this day in the monastic Daily Offices.)

In the Church of the East in the Byzantine tradition there also emerged a cycle of preparation before Lent proper, with the last two Sundays being known as “Meatfare” and “Cheesefare” Sundays. There is partial fasting between these two Sundays and then Lent begins on the Monday which is known as “Clean Monday,” with no meat or cheese.

In the West, in the modern post 1960s Roman Catholic and Anglican Prayer Books, the “Gesimas” have been abolished. However, they remain part of the Christian Year in The Book of Common Prayer. They serve to place worshippers today in a long tradition of regarding Lent to be so important as a preparation for Easter, the Feast of Feasts, as to require for itself a preliminary preparation. So the “Gesimas” are a preparation for the Preparation.

The Collect for Septuagesima which begins the short cycle anticipates two chief ideas of Lent – the confession of our sin and its just punishment, and the prayer for forgiveness from God’s mercy in Jesus Christ. Thus in these three weeks the faithful begin to turn their minds to Lent, its solemnity and how they will keep it, in joining with their Lord in his fasting, meditating, praying and resisting temptation in the wilderness. (Source)

THE SUNDAY CALLED SEPTUAGESIMA

From the Book of Common Prayer

THE COLLECT.

O LORD, we beseech thee favourably to hear the prayers of thy people; that we, who are justly punished for our offences, may be mercifully delivered by thy goodness, for the glory of thy Name; through Jesus Christ our Saviour, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

THE EPISTLE. 1 Corinthians 9. 24.

KNOW ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things: now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown, but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: but I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection, lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

THE GOSPEL. St Matthew 20. 1.

AND Jesus spake unto them another parable, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard. And when he had agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard. And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle in the marketplace, and said unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right I will give you. And they went their way. Again he went out about the sixth and ninth hour, and did likewise. And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle? They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive. So when even was come, the lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, Call the labourers, and give them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first. And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny. But when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise received every man a penny. And when they had received it, they murmured against the good-man of the house, saying, These last have worked but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day. But he answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong; didst not thou agree with me for a penny? Take that thine is, and go thy way; I will give unto this last even as unto thee. Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good? So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.

The Didache & Fasting

stainglass.jpg

Holy Trinity Church, Chatham Ontario

The Didache or the “Teaching of the Twelve Apostles” is said to have been written between 65 and 80 a.d. The purpose was to instruct gentile Christians on life, death, fasting, etc. Some dispute the early date but it is still useful considering how early in church history the document appears.

I just stumbled upon this quote and thought I would share it.

A quote from the Didache on fasting:

8.1. Let not your fasts be with the hypocrites, for they fast on Mondays and Thursdays, but do you fast on Wednesdays and Fridays.

2. And do not pray as the hypocrites, but as the Lord commanded in his Gospel, pray thus: “Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy Name, thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, as in Heaven so also upon earth; give us today our daily bread, and forgive us our debt as we forgive our debtors, and lead us not into trial, but deliver us from the Evil One, for thine is the power and the glory for ever.”

3. Pray thus three times a day.