Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter Vigil 2011

Friday, April 22, 2011

Good Friday

Sunday, April 03, 2011

New Waistcoat

Thursday, January 20, 2011

On the anniversary of the birth of Mr. Robert Burns

In anticipation of the annual observance of the birth of Mr. Robert Burns, I took the opportunity to invest in a much-needed replacement for my Utilikilt, which no longer fits. My new casual denim kilt was purchased from a notable Scottish supplier of quality Highland Gear, called Scotweb. If you are in the market for Highland kit, check them out!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

On an Anniversary of Baptism

Wisdom 18:14-16 ; 19:6-9

For while gentle silence enveloped all things,
and night in its swift course was now half gone,
your all-powerful word leapt from heaven,
from the royal throne,
into the midst of the land that was doomed,
a stern warrior carrying the sharp sword
of your authentic command,
and stood and filled all things with death,
and touched heaven while standing on the earth.
God Guides and Protects His People

For the whole creation in its nature was fashioned anew,
complying with your commands,
so that your children might be kept unharmed.
The cloud was seen overshadowing the camp,
and dry land emerging where water had stood before,
an unhindered way out of the Red Sea,
and a grassy plain out of the raging waves,
where those protected by your hand passed through as one nation,
after gazing on marvellous wonders.
For they ranged like horses,
and leapt like lambs,
praising you, O Lord, who delivered them.

Luke 18:1-8

Then Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart. He said, ‘In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor had respect for people. In that city there was a widow who kept coming to him and saying, “Grant me justice against my opponent.” For a while he refused; but later he said to himself, “Though I have no fear of God and no respect for anyone, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will grant her justice, so that she may not wear me out by continually coming.” ’ And the Lord said, ‘Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long in helping them? I tell you, he will quickly grant justice to them. And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?’

Man, what can anyone say after readings like these. Moses as a prefigurement of the Saviour of Mankind. The People, passing through the Red Sea, are entering into a World made new, not unlike those who have passed through the waters of Baptism, who also enter into a New Creation. Very, very powerful stuff.

Lord, by your cross and resurrection you have set us free, you are the Saviour of the world.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

On the Feast of St. Francis

Undistorted was the Saviour's image
in the poet of God,
For neither greed nor guile
defiled his soul.
Therefore, let us beg the Saviour this day,
to preserve His image in us as well;
and for Francis' sake,
to save our souls.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

On Holy Saturday

The Lord descends into Hell

What is happening? Today there is a great silence over the earth, a great silence, and stillness, a great silence because the King sleeps; the earth was in terror and was still, because God slept in the flesh and raised up those who were sleeping from the ages. God has died in the flesh, and the underworld has trembled.

Truly he goes to seek out our first parent like a lost sheep; he wishes to visit those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death. He goes to free the prisoner Adam and his fellow-prisoner Eve from their pains, he who is God, and Adam's son.

The Lord goes in to them holding his victorious weapon, his cross. When Adam, the first created man, sees him, he strikes his breast in terror and calls out to all: 'My Lord be with you all.' And Christ in reply says to Adam: ‘And with your spirit.’ And grasping his hand he raises him up, saying: ‘Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you light.

‘I am your God, who for your sake became your son, who for you and your descendants now speak and command with authority those in prison: Come forth, and those in darkness: Have light, and those who sleep: Rise.

‘I command you: Awake, sleeper, I have not made you to be held a prisoner in the underworld. Arise from the dead; I am the life of the dead. Arise, O man, work of my hands, arise, you who were fashioned in my image. Rise, let us go hence; for you in me and I in you, together we are one undivided person.

‘For you, I your God became your son; for you, I the Master took on your form; that of slave; for you, I who am above the heavens came on earth and under the earth; for you, man, I became as a man without help, free among the dead; for you, who left a garden, I was handed over to Jews from a garden and crucified in a garden.

‘Look at the spittle on my face, which I received because of you, in order to restore you to that first divine inbreathing at creation. See the blows on my cheeks, which I accepted in order to refashion your distorted form to my own image.

'See the scourging of my back, which I accepted in order to disperse the load of your sins which was laid upon your back. See my hands nailed to the tree for a good purpose, for you, who stretched out your hand to the tree for an evil one.

`I slept on the cross and a sword pierced my side, for you, who slept in paradise and brought forth Eve from your side. My side healed the pain of your side; my sleep will release you from your sleep in Hades; my sword has checked the sword which was turned against you.

‘But arise, let us go hence. The enemy brought you out of the land of paradise; I will reinstate you, no longer in paradise, but on the throne of heaven. I denied you the tree of life, which was a figure, but now I myself am united to you, I who am life. I posted the cherubim to guard you as they would slaves; now I make the cherubim worship you as they would God.

"The cherubim throne has been prepared, the bearers are ready and waiting, the bridal chamber is in order, the food is provided, the everlasting houses and rooms are in readiness; the treasures of good things have been opened; the kingdom of heaven has been prepared before the ages.

From an ancient homily

Saturday, February 21, 2009

On the Seventh Sunday Per Annum

Isaiah 43:18-19, 21-22, 24b-25

Do not remember the former things,
or consider the things of old.
I am about to do a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
and rivers in the desert.
the people whom I formed for myself
so that they might declare my praise.

Yet you did not call upon me, O Jacob;
but you have been weary of me, O Israel!
You have not bought me sweet cane with money,
or satisfied me with the fat of your sacrifices.
But you have burdened me with your sins;
you have wearied me with your iniquities.

I, I am He who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins.

II Corinthians 1:18-22

As surely as God is faithful, our word to you has not been ‘Yes and No.’ For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we proclaimed among you, Silvanus and Timothy and I, was not ‘Yes and No’; but in him it is always ‘Yes.’ For in him every one of God’s promises is a ‘Yes.’ For this reason it is through him that we say the ‘Amen’, to the glory of God. But it is God who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us, by putting his seal on us and giving us his Spirit in our hearts as a first instalment.

Mark 2:1-12

When he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. So many gathered around that there was no longer room for them, not even in front of the door; and he was speaking the word to them. Then some people came, bringing to him a paralysed man, carried by four of them. And when they could not bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him; and after having dug through it, they let down the mat on which the paralytic lay. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven.’

Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, ‘Why does this fellow speak in this way? It is blasphemy! Who can forgive sins but God alone?’ At once Jesus perceived in his spirit that they were discussing these questions among themselves; and he said to them, ‘Why do you raise such questions in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, “Your sins are forgiven”, or to say, “Stand up and take your mat and walk”? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins’—he said to the paralytic— ‘I say to you, stand up, take your mat and go to your home.’ And he stood up, and immediately took the mat and went out before all of them; so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, ‘We have never seen anything like this!’

Sunday, February 15, 2009

On the Sixth Sunday Per Anuum

I Corinthians 10:23-11:1

‘All things are lawful’, but not all things are beneficial. ‘All things are lawful’, but not all things build up. Do not seek your own advantage, but that of others. Eat whatever is sold in the meat market without raising any question on the ground of conscience, for ‘the earth and its fullness are the Lord’s.’ If an unbeliever invites you to a meal and you are disposed to go, eat whatever is set before you without raising any question on the ground of conscience. But if someone says to you, ‘This has been offered in sacrifice’, then do not eat it, out of consideration for the one who informed you, and for the sake of conscience— I mean the other’s conscience, not your own. For why should my liberty be subject to the judgement of someone else’s conscience? If I partake with thankfulness, why should I be denounced because of that for which I give thanks?

So, my brothers and sisters, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God. Give no offence to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, so that they may be saved. Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

On the Nativity of the Lord

Oh Poverty
Source of Riches
Jesus, Son of God
Born in Bethlehem

I live and move and have my being in a world where deconstruction is a hobby, and for some a way of life. Of late, this amusement has moved beyond the considered nuance of the Ivory Tower and the careful consideration of the Chancel into the wider world of the Learning Channel, and/or very late-night TV. In such a context I was recently soberly informed that Joseph (and later his son, Jesus) could not have been a carpenter but had to have been a skilled stone mason. Joseph and Sons were probably independent contractors of some means who were working for King Herod. In almost the same breath I was assured that the Nativity, it just couldn't have happened.

It seems to me that there would be nothing for our post-moderns to deconstruct if two millennia ago—give or take the odd decade—a little boy had not been born in an inconvenient address and placed in an unconventional crib by exhausted, harried, and at least slightly displaced parents. Maybe there was no star, no Magi, no gold, frankincense, or myrrh. Maybe there were no Angels (because Angels don't exist) and even fewer shepherds. Maybe that Ox and Ass did not speak in the cozy midnight of the stable, and maybe Hump-Bump the Camel got stuck in the Eye of the Needle and never made it to Bethlehem. Yet, we have heard tell of each of these characters, events, actions, even if they are new to the story, peripheral or imagined, because of this small boy having come once, amid all this deconstructable fanfare—this silence, onto the stage of our world.

Through the long winter of our waiting, our wondering, our doubt, our hope, and in the midst of our present distress let us sing the song that the Angels undoubtedly never sang, in joyful memory of his coming and until he comes again to deconstruct our deconstructedness and make right the discombobulated horizon of our world.

Gloria in excelsis Deo!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

On the Twenty-Eighth Sunday Per Annum

Isaiah 25:6-10

On this mountain
the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples
a feast of rich food,
a feast of well-matured wines,
of rich food filled with marrow,
of well-matured wines strained clear.

And he will destroy on this mountain
the shroud that is cast over all peoples,
the sheet that is spread over all nations;
he will swallow up death for ever.

Then the Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces,
and the disgrace of his people he will take away from all the earth,
for the Lord has spoken.

It will be said on that day,
Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, so that he might save us.
This is the Lord for whom we have waited;
let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.
For the hand of the Lord will rest on this mountain.

The Chapter continues:

The Moabites shall be trodden down in their place
as straw is trodden down in a dung-pit.

Though they spread out their hands in the midst of it,
as swimmers spread out their hands to swim,
their pride will be laid low
despite the struggle of their hands.

The high fortifications of his walls will be brought down,
laid low, cast to the ground, even to the dust.

Matthew 22 : 1-14

Once more Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying: ‘The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding banquet, but they would not come. Again he sent other slaves, saying, “Tell those who have been invited: Look, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready; come to the wedding banquet.” But they made light of it and went away, one to his farm, another to his business, while the rest seized his slaves, maltreated them, and killed them. The king was enraged. He sent his troops, destroyed those murderers, and burned their city. Then he said to his slaves, “The wedding is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore into the main streets, and invite everyone you find to the wedding banquet.” Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered all whom they found, both good and bad; so the wedding hall was filled with guests.

‘But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing a wedding robe, and he said to him, “Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding robe?” And he was speechless. Then the king said to the attendants, “Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” For many are called, but few are chosen.’

This parable is, of course, a great stumbling block for me as a Fat White Lazy Bastard Mean-Spirited Queer Boy. From my earliest childhood, or at the very least my earliest years within the faith, I have read or heard this story of a King : Disappointed by the rejection of his subjects, this King commands his servants to troll the streets of the City in order to dragoon passers-by into his Wedding Feast ; he then confronts a guest who is not properly dressed. When the man has no answer-to-power, I mean how could he, he's just been Shanghaied, he gets roughed-up some more and thrown into the outer darkness.

I find this passage to be full of mixed messages. First, you've got this King who has made some pretty poor connections with his friends, associates, clients, subjects to the degree that they beg off the wedding feast for his son. Is this son a philanderer? Is the King a tyrant? A hated puppet of a hated enemy? Whoever this King is, enraged he killed them and burned their city! Then, he sends his slaves out into the city streets . . .

Are we supposed to read into this passage the perfidy of the Jews, a stern but subtle warning of our own willful back-slidedness, or find a condemnation of the apostasy of Hypocrites or Protestants? Are we supposed to find a loving King who, once rejected by his faithless subjects, finds new quests for his banquet.

I get that God can be legitimately portrayed as a kick-ass kind of guy, but is this an image of God, God's Kingdom, God's mercy that fills a sinner's heart with trust? The good and the bad are brought into the Feast, but where, exactly, are the tax collectors and the prostitutes in this story, did they just happen to be wearing wedding garments as they promenaded through the streets?

What, exactly is the Wedding Garment mentioned in the story? Is it Conversion, Perfect Obedience to the Father's Will, thinking with the mind of the Church? How is it that this man has failed to have a Wedding Garment? What is this damning silence? [And in the moment of confrontation and judgment, if I am silent, how is it that Christ is not my Advocate?] How is it that this King should cast this man out rather than to be his neighbor, salve his wounds, clothe his nakedness--the fatted calf is already slain?

Is Baptism going to be enough to save me from that outer darkness and all that gnashing of teeth? Did Jesus die for me or just for the well-dressed and well-behaved pretty boys who hang out in the market just waiting to be picked up?

In near despair I call out in the words of Paul Stookey, made famous by Peter, Paul, and Mary:

Well early in the morning, about the break of day,
I ask the Lord, "Help me find the way!"
Help me find the way to the promised land
This lonely body needs a helping hand
I ask the Lord to help me please find the way.

When the new day's a dawning, I bow my head in prayer.
I pray to the Lord, "Won't you lead me there?"
Won't you guide me safely to the Golden Stair?
Won't you let this body your burden share?
I pray to the Lord, "Won't you lead me please, lead me there?"

When the judgment comes to find the world in shame
When the trumpet blows won't you call my name?
When the thunder rolls and the heavens rain
When the sun turns black, never shine again
When the trumpet blows, won't you call me please, call my name!
Jesus!, Is that what the gnashing of teeth sounds like?

Friday, August 08, 2008

Recalling the Bullys in the Playground

Pray for the Peace, Integrity, and Safety of the peoples of Georgia

Sunday, July 06, 2008

On the Fourteenth Sunday Per Annum

Zechariah 9:9-10

Rejoice greatly, O daughter Zion!
Shout aloud, O daughter Jerusalem!
Lo, your king comes to you;
triumphant and victorious is he,
humble and riding on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
He will cut off the chariot from Ephraim
and the warhorse from Jerusalem;
and the battle-bow shall be cut off,
and he shall command peace to the nations;
his dominion shall be from sea to sea,
and from the River to the ends of the earth.

Romans 8:9, 11-13

But you are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you.
So then, brothers and sisters, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh—for if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.


At that time Jesus said,
‘I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have vealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
‘Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’
If by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
So here lies the rub, and my on-going beef with St. Paul. What, exactly, does it mean to put to death the deeds of the body? Is this some veiled—or not so veiled—works righteousness? Or, does Paul suggest a radical trust in the Mercy of God? Are we to rely on our ability even commitment to change in this life, or do we trust that God accepts us as we find ourselves in Christ. Do we know ourselves so accepted, saved, by the very reality of our baptism, or must we rely on our new-found goodness as the effective sign of our membership in Christ?

Friday, July 04, 2008

On the Anniversary of the Great Rebellion

Another year has come and gone in our Great Experiment in self-government. I am not ungrateful for the liberties and prosperity that we have achieved. But I find it terribly unsettling that a relatively small cabal of smugglers, privateers, tax avoiders, and slave owners could subvert the peace of an entire nation in order to set up a system that seems convenient for them. Am I speaking of our Founding Fathers or the boys and girls that run the show today?

I recently had the opportunity to visit our neighbors to the north who see themselves as the beneficiaries of an unbroken continuity of a greater heritage in British North America. I cannot honestly say that Canada looks any the worse for wear labouring as she does under the yoke of the descendant of that anointed person our fore-fathers so proudly rejected.

I continue to pray for the thousands of loyal hearts who lost property, livelihoods, reputation, national identity, even lives as the direct result of the Declaration we recall today!

I continue to pray for those who have and who do put themselves in harms way in defense of that nation which arose from the rebellion we celebrate with firework and fanfare.

I continue to pray for the quiet repose of George III, so cruelly treated by the exigencies of circumstance and polity.

And, I continue to pray for the continued vigor of that Sovereign Lady who could still be our own!

Monday, June 30, 2008

On the Musing of the Culture-Starved

This past semester I experienced the worst betrayal of my entire life! TV let me down for the first time ever! The justice issues of the Writer's strike aside, a great injustice was wrought on the American People. Drama and sitcom alike were cast aside to be replaced by ever less slick, ever less satisfying, ever less real REALITY Television. Nothing worth watching, nothing to enlighten, or to entertain. God, it was like living in Soviet Isolation!

Hungry for something at the end of the day to muse over with more depth of field than the Real World or Survivor reruns I happened on Dexter--a Showtime Original which was rebroadcast on one of the hybrid channels lower on the cable list. It was enlightening, entertaining, and simply a relief from the general boredom otherwise broadcast during the struggle for equity!

This past week while I was attending the most recent Annual Conference of the American Theological Library Association, held in Ottawa. I was grateful to discover the original novels on which Dexter was based:

Darkly Dreaming Dexter ; Dearly Devoted Dexter ; Dexter in the Dark all novels by Jeff Lindsay. I commend them to you because they are light and dark all at the same time. Just like real life!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

On the Eleventh Sunday Per Annum

Exodus 19:2-6

They had journeyed from Rephidim, entered the wilderness of Sinai, and camped in the wilderness; Israel camped there in front of the mountain. Then Moses went up to God; the Lord called to him from the mountain, saying, ‘Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the Israelites: You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now therefore, if you obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession out of all the peoples. Indeed, the whole earth is mine, but you shall be for me a priestly kingdom and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the Israelites.’

Romans 5:6-11

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. Indeed, rarely will anyone die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person someone might actually dare to die. But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us. Much more surely then, now that we have been justified by his blood, will we be saved through him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more surely, having been reconciled, will we be saved by his life. But more than that, we even boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

Matthew 9:36-10:8

When Jesus saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest.’

Then Jesus summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to cure every disease and every sickness. These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon, also known as Peter, and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax-collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed him.

These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: ‘Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, proclaim the good news, “The kingdom of heaven has come near.” Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. You received without payment; give without payment.

A word of encouragement from Paul. God has acted before us, saving us from sin and death through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, when we were yet at enmity with God. Since God has shown his love to us before we knew to love him, can we not also have confidence in his saving purpose for us now that we are part of the community he has saved?

Sunday, June 01, 2008

On the sayings of Authors

It seemed appropriate, this morning, to revive a practice exercised on these pages from time to time. I have recently had the opportunity to read Selfish and Perverse : a novel, by Bob Smith, an activity I highly recommend. As I was reading I found myself committing one of the 99 really tacky sins, turning down the corner of a page where I found a sentence or a statement worthy of remembering.

I assumed that nothing would come of it, that I'd iron the little creases flat today and return the volume to the Public Library. But moved by a force beyond my ken or power of resistance, I have noted them below. I do not vouch for their insight. Their power to enlighten may exist only in situ. At the time they struck me enough to break one of my own rules and dog-ear a page.

"So, you're a friend of Joe's?" I asked in an exaggeratedly "normal" tone. Pretending to be normal was a fib, but it is a harsh fact that expressing too much individuality means you'll always be single. page 14-15

The fantasy of having sex with a straight man never appealed to me, because I was a writer and could complete the narrative and knew I'd probably end up cooking and cleaning for him. page 29

Losing your parents while they were alive almost seemed to be a more devastating loss than having them die. page 55

"Scandinavian furniture's sort of the logical outcome of twentieth century design," I said while stroking my hand across a desk chair's nubby turquoise fabric. "Mission furniture designed by agnostics." page 106

Roy lead me into the bedroom, where I observed that he did know how to choose a good bed. It was severely modern and looked as if it had been built for a monk who had renounced everything but his sense of style. page 107

"What?" he snarled. The first snarled "What" between a couple is always a milestone. It's the most succinct contraction in the English language, abbreviating the phrase, "What do you want now?" to a single horrible word. page 133

I often felt that I participated in Manhood by maintaining my membership at the lowest possible level; I remained affiliated with the organization by paying the minimal fee each year, but they gained nothing from my support because my dues barely covered the administrative costs of enrollment. page 193

Checking out another man's penis was similar to observing a celebrity in a restaurant; it was all right to look but to be caught staring was uncool. Dylan's starmeat didn't have any more charisma than Roy's or mine. But then again, most penises are like actors; when they are not performing, it's hard to believe they possess any talent whatsoever. page 290-291

Sunday, November 18, 2007

On the Twenty-Third Sunday Per Annum

Malachi 4:1-2

See, the day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble; the day that comes shall burn them up, says the Lord of hosts, so that it will leave them neither root nor branch. But for you who revere my name the sun of righteousness shall rise, with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall.

II Thessolonians 3:7-12

For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us; we were not idle when we were with you, and we did not eat anyone’s bread without paying for it; but with toil and labour we worked night and day, so that we might not burden any of you. This was not because we do not have that right, but in order to give you an example to imitate. For even when we were with you, we gave you this command: Anyone unwilling to work should not eat. For we hear that some of you are living in idleness, mere busybodies, not doing any work. Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living.

Luke 21:5-19

When some were speaking about the temple, how it was adorned with beautiful stones and gifts dedicated to God, he said, ‘As for these things that you see, the days will come when not one stone will be left upon another; all will be thrown down.’

They asked him, ‘Teacher, when will this be, and what will be the sign that this is about to take place?’ And he said, ‘Beware that you are not led astray; for many will come in my name and say, “I am he!” and, “The time is near!” Do not go after them.

‘When you hear of wars and insurrections, do not be terrified; for these things must take place first, but the end will not follow immediately.’ Then he said to them, ‘Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and plagues; and there will be dreadful portents and great signs from heaven.

‘But before all this occurs, they will arrest you and persecute you; they will hand you over to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors because of my name. This will give you an opportunity to testify. So make up your minds not to prepare your defence in advance; for I will give you words and a wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to withstand or contradict. You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, by relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death. You will be hated by all because of my name. But not a hair of your head will perish. By your endurance you will gain your souls.

Friday, September 14, 2007

On the Exaltation of the Cross

Before Thy Cross we fall down in worship!
And Thy Holy Resurrection we praise and glorify!

Holy is God
Holy and Mighty
Holy Immortal,
have mercy on us!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

On the Anniversary of the Rebellion

On this solemn occasion,
I refer faithful readers to a post made some time ago.

Then as now we are at war. Just now Gwen Ifill announced on the News Hour that Twenty more deaths were confirmed and so names and photos were shown.

Welcome them, O God, into your mercy.

Genesis 21:5, 8-20a

Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him.

The child grew, and was weaned; and Abraham made a great feast on the day that Isaac was weaned. But Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, playing with her son Isaac. So she said to Abraham, ‘Cast out this slave woman with her son; for the son of this slave woman shall not inherit along with my son Isaac.’ The matter was very distressing to Abraham on account of his son. But God said to Abraham, ‘Do not be distressed because of the boy and because of your slave woman; whatever Sarah says to you, do as she tells you, for it is through Isaac that offspring shall be named after you. As for the son of the slave woman, I will make a nation of him also, because he is your offspring.’ So Abraham rose early in the morning, and took bread and a skin of water, and gave it to Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, along with the child, and sent her away. And she departed, and wandered about in the wilderness of Beer-sheba.

When the water in the skin was gone, she cast the child under one of the bushes. Then she went and sat down opposite him a good way off, about the distance of a bowshot; for she said, ‘Do not let me look on the death of the child.’ And as she sat opposite him, she lifted up her voice and wept. And God heard the voice of the boy; and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven, and said to her, ‘What troubles you, Hagar? Do not be afraid; for God has heard the voice of the boy where he is. Come, lift up the boy and hold him fast with your hand, for I will make a great nation of him.’ Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water. She went, and filled the skin with water, and gave the boy a drink.

God was with the boy, and he grew up; he lived in the wilderness, and became an expert with the bow.