Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Holy Tuesday - Celebration of Eucharistic Ministers

The Holy Eucharist
Q. What is the Holy Eucharist?
A. The Holy Eucharist is the sacrament commanded by Christ for the continual remembrance of his life, death, and resurrection, until his coming again.

Q. Why is the Eucharist called a sacrifice?
A. Because the Eucharist, the Church’s sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving, is the way by which the sacrifice of Christ is made present, and in which he unites us to his one offering of himself.

Q. By what other names is this service known?
A. The Holy Eucharist is called the Lord’s Supper, and Holy Communion; it is also known as the Divine Liturgy, the Mass, and the Great Offering.

Q. What is the outward and visible sign in the Eucharist?
A. The outward and visible sign in the Eucharist is bread and wine, given and received according to Christ’s command.

Q. What is the inward and spiritual grace given in the Eucharist?
A. The inward and spiritual grace in the Holy Communion is the Body and Blood of Christ given to his people, and received by faith.

Q. What are the benefits which we receive in the Lord’s Supper?
A. The benefits we receive are the forgiveness of our sins, the strengthening of our union with Christ and one another, and the foretaste of the heavenly banquet which is our nourishment in eternal life.

Q. What is required of us when we come to the Eucharist?
A. It is required that we should examine our lives, repent of our sins, and be in love and charity with all people.

Tonight we celebrate our Eucharistic Ministers. We anoint the hands they offer to serve the Lord.

Holy Monday - Why Bless our Bibles?

Q. How do we recognize the truths taught by the Holy Spirit?
A. We recognize truths to be taught by the Holy Spirit when they are in accord with the Scriptures.

Q. What are the Holy Scriptures?
A. The Holy Scriptures, commonly called the Bible, are the books of the Old and New Testaments; other books, called the Apocrypha, are often included in the Bible.

Q. What is the Old Testament?
A. The Old Testament consists of books written by the people of the Old Covenant, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, to show God at work in nature and history.

Q. What is the New Testament?
A. The New Testament consists of books written by the people of the New Covenant, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, to set forth the life and teachings of Jesus and to proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom for all people.

Q. What is the Apocrypha?
A. The Apocrypha is a collection of additional books written by people of the Old Covenant, and used in the Christian Church.

Q. Why do we call the Holy Scriptures the Word of God?
A. We call them the Word of God because God inspired their human authors and because God still speaks to us through the Bible.

Q. How do we understand the meaning of the Bible?
A. We understand the meaning of the Bible by the help of the Holy Spirit, who guides the Church in the true interpretation of the Scriptures.
p. 853 BCP

How do I know my loved ones?
I do not learn about them by scientific examination or dissection. Not do I monitor signals-intelligence, or over-fly them with satellites and drones.  

I know my loved ones by their communications, by their faces, words and actions.

How do I know My God?
In the same way, by His face, His word, His acts. And by His gifts to me.

The ground of my knowing is The Holy Scripture. It is the hard foundation stone, set level and plumb, by which I can measure the feelings of my heart and the words of others to test their truth.

Smiths use a touch-stone to judge gold from fool’s-gold. So must we carry the touch-stone of scripture with us everywhere, lest we fall into a lie. Even the lies we tell ourselves.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

What did I know, Lord? When did I know it?

LK 23:34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.

Aye, there’s the rub.
They know not what they do – today.

But. They will.
They will know.
We will know.

1 Cor 13:12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
How do we reconcile God’s will to save us from before the beginning of creation with the God given free will of Judas, Herod & Pilate?
How do we reconcile God’s unfailing mercy and forgiveness with the call to live a virtuous life?
After all if Christ has paid my debt in full, in advance, why no be lazy or even wicked? It might be ungrateful, but I can count on being forgiven for that too, can’t I?
What if Judas or Pilate had chosen the path of virtue?
Christ would still have gone to the Cross, for you and for me. But!
But on “the dreadful day of judgment when the secrets of all hearts will be revealed,”  Judas or Pilate would have an easier time knowing themselves even as they are fully known.
None of us, by our free will, can frustrate God’s will for the whole world. Nor can we sin so greatly that the Atonement will be insufficient. But!
But when we know as we are known, we will know! We will know just how every person we have used or hurt felt as we sinned against them. We will know the suffering of everyone who we passed by and looked away when their need was before us.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Holy Week 2010 Schedule

Friday 3/26 – Passover Seder

Sunday 3/28 – Palm Sunday

Holy Week Services
Mon – Thurs @6:30pm:
Monday 3/29      Bring Your Bible!
Blessing of Bibles & Lectors
Tuesday 3/30 Anointing of Eucharistic Ministers
Wed. 3/31Blessing of Musicians and Instruments
Maundy Thurs. 4/1   Blessing Altar Guild &
Stripping of the Alter

Good Friday 4/2 noon – 3pm come & go

Great Vigil 4/3 7:41pm (Sundown) Baptism

Easter Sunday 4/4 9:00 am

Saturday, March 20, 2010

St John the Evangelist is a coward! Or maybe, just a guy.

John 12:1-8

Six days before the Passover Jesus came to Bethany, the home of Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. There they gave a dinner for him. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those at the table with him. Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus' feet, and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (the one who was about to betray him), said, "Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and the money given to the poor?" (He said this not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief; he kept the common purse and used to steal what was put into it.) Jesus said, "Leave her alone. She bought it so that she might keep it for the day of my burial. You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me."

Here we have one of the most intimate encounters in the earthly life of Jesus. An encounter with a woman of rank and respect whom the disciples knew well. Do not confuse this woman with the prostitute who washed Jesus feet with tears in St. Matthew.

Mary is the sister of Martha and Lazarus. They are prosperous, and it is likely that the disciples stayed in this home whenever they were in Jerusalem.

Now foot washing was a more commonplace activity in those days, true. But it was ordinarily performed by a servant at the entrance to the house. Not by the hostess at the dinner table! And then or now, a woman drying a man’s feet with her hair is an extraordinary intimacy.

So faced with this breathtaking expression of love and devotion – John decides to talk economics!?
300 denari = 1yr’s wage for labor
$20,800 at $10.hr
4 1ct Diamonds
1 new car
3 lb Russian Caviar
500 tanks of gas

Come on!

A woman’s hair is very potent stuff.  5 Your head crowns you like Mount Carmel. Your hair is like royal tapestry; the king is held captive by its tresses. Song of Songs 7:5 (NIV) In the Roman world wigs and hairstyles are important reflections of status.
No woman, noble or slave, would wipe a man’s feet with her hair and consider it an insignificant act.  That would be true if we were just washing feet with water, but here there is more.

Think about it. Nard is thick, like Vaseline. A pound of it would be about a pint in volume, more than a double handful. That is a lot of ointment for two feet, even if we start at the knees. By the time she used it all, her hair was thick and clotted with it. The fragrance filled the house but for the two of them it would have been intoxicating, overwhelming.

In a way, this is more intimate than intercourse. Because there is even less of “self’ in her act than if she had given him her body. This is not mere oblation, not burning the offering, or donating the cash value. This is an oblation of self, an offering that changes the offeror.

Open your God eyes, see Mary a few days later standing, hooded, looking at the Cross, with eyes cried dry.

See her hand as it rises to her ear. Her fine soft fingers pull a tress loose from under her scarf and she draws it slowly to her face, inhaling, remembering.

God will provide the lamb my son.

'The Teacher asks: Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?'

A: At Christ Church in Matagorda.

This is what God did for me, when I was a slave in Egypt.

The Sacraments are all composed of dual natures:
An outward and visible sign coupled with an inward and spiritual grace.

The outward signs were all already in existence before the sacraments were given.
People washed and ate dinners, before Holy Baptism & the Holy Eucharist were given.
Jesus took the existing outward and visible signs, and by adding the secret ingredient, made them into the Sacraments.

The secret ingredient is Jesus. 

Now the Sacraments work whether you understand them or not. Ex opere operato. 
But we want to understand as much as we can about Jesus so we can serve him better, Don't we?

One of the best keys to understanding the Holy Eucharist is to approach it through the Passover Seder.

This was the existing outward & visible sign that Jesus entered into at the Last Supper in order to give us The Eucharist.

Friday March 26th 6pm at Christ Church.


Friday, March 19, 2010

What are you putting on my feet?

Spikenard (Nardostachys grandiflora or Nardostachys jatamansi; also called nard, nardin,andmuskroot ) is a flowering plant of the Valerian family that grows in the Himalayas of China, Indiaand Nepal. The plant grows to about 1 m in height and has pink, bell-shaped flowers. Spikenardrhizomes (underground stems) can be crushed and distilled into an intensely aromatic amber-colored essential oil, which is very thick in consistency. Nard oil is used as a perfume, an incense, a sedative, and an herbal medicine said to fight insomnia, birth difficulties, and other minor ailments.
Lavender (genus Lavandula) was also known by the ancient Greeks as naardus, nard, after the Syrian city Naarda.

[edit]Historical use

The oil was known in ancient times and was part of the Ayurvedic herbal tradition of India. It was obtained as a luxury in ancient Egypt, the Near East, and Rome, where it was the main ingredient of the perfume nardinium. Nard was used to perfume the body of Patroklos by Achilles in Book 18 of Homer's Iliad. Pliny's Natural History lists twelve species of "nard", identifiable with varying assurance, in a range from lavender stoechas and tuberous valerian to true nard (in modern termsNardostachys jatamansi).
Nard is mentioned a number of times in the Old Testament. It was used as one of the Eleven Herbs for the Incense in the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. And it is mentioned twice in the biblical love poem, the Song of Solomon (1:12 and 4:13).
In the New Testament, six days before the passover, Mary, sister of Lazarus uses a pound of pure nard to anoint Jesus's feet. Judas Iscariot, the keeper of the money-bag, asked why the ointment wasn't sold for three hundred denarii instead, (About a years wages, as the average agricultural worker received 1 denarius for 12 hours work: Matthew 20:2) and the money given to the poor. Three passages in parallel speak of a separate occasion 2 days before the passover (Matthew 26:6-13,Mark 14:3-9, and Luke 7:37-50), in which an unnamed woman, a known sinner, anoints Jesus's head and also his feet, washing them with her tears and drying them with her hair. The costly perfume she used came from an alabaster jar, and contained nard according to the passage inMark. On this occasion, the disciples also protest, saying that the perfume should have been sold to benefit the poor.
The powdered root of spikenard is also mentioned in some Islamic traditions as the fruit which Adam ate in Paradise, which God had forbidden him to eat.
Spikenard is also used to season foods in Medieval European cuisine, especially as a part of the spice blend used to flavor Hypocras, a sweetened and spiced wine drink

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Got Guilt? There’s a Sacrament for that!

The ministry of reconciliation, which has been committed by Christ to his Church, is exercised through the care each Christian has for others, through the common prayer of Christians assembled for public worship, and through the priesthood of the Church and its ministers declaring absolution.

The Reconciliation of a Penitent is available for all who desire it. It is not restricted to times of sickness. Confessions may be heard anytime and anywhere.

Two equivalent forms of service are provided here to meet the needs of penitents. The absolution in these services may be pronounced only by a bishop or priest. Another Christian may be asked to hear a confession, but it must be made clear to the penitent that absolution will not be pronounced; instead, a declaration of forgiveness is provided.

When a confession is heard in a church building, the confessor may sit inside the altar rails or in a place set aside to give greater privacy, and the penitent kneels nearby. If preferred, the confessor and penitent may sit face to face for a spiritual conference leading to absolution or a declaration of forgiveness.

When the penitent has confessed all serious sins troubling the conscience and has given evidence of due contrition, the priest gives such counsel and encouragement as are needed and pronounces absolution. Before giving absolution, the priest may assign to the penitent a psalm, prayer, or hymn to be said, or something to be done, as a sign of penitence and act of thanksgiving.

The content of a confession is not normally a matter of subsequent discussion. The secrecy of a confession is morally absolute for the confessor, and must under no circumstances be broken.            p. 446  BCP

Call your Priest and ask.