Tuesday, November 30, 2010

“• our treatment of every human being is:”

The Adult Christian Formation Opportunity at Christ Episcopal Church Matagorda has prioritized the bullets from the Bishop’s list (see whole list below from 11/15) and we are working through them one at a time as a part of our exercises to be better able to share the faith.

The group chose 1st : “• our treatment of every human being is:”

Try for yourself--
Complete the following:
(extra credit for short answers using only terms a seeker would understand in their ordinary every-day sense.)

"This unique Episcopal witness is articulated through the words of our Baptismal Covenant:"

• our treatment of every human being is:

The reference materials consulted were:

Celebrant Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?
People I will, with God’s help. BCP 294

Second Sunday after Christmas Day
O God, who didst wonderfully create, and yet more wonderfully restore, the dignity of human nature: Grant that we may share the divine life of him who humbled himself to share our humanity, thy Son Jesus Christ; who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. BCP 162

Human Nature
Q. What are we by nature?
A. We are part of God’s creation, made in the image of God.
Q. What does it mean to be created in the image of God?
A. It means that we are free to make choices: to love, to create, to reason, and to live in harmony with creation and with God.
Q. Why then do we live apart from God and out of harmony with creation?
A. From the beginning, human beings have misused their freedom and made wrong choices. BCP 845

In the end the group found “dignity” to be too much a church-speak-usage to be of help with seekers.

The consensus is that, in common usage “dignity” is:
·        Most often associated with pride and with taking offense.
·        Considered something that people “have” or “loose” which is inconsistent with our view of humanity.
·        Is a self-possessed characteristic “my dignity” not a grace given from God.

Instead we chose “design” as a better phrasing for the world at large.

Will you … respect the design of every human being?

Weather in a ditch or in a palace, each person is designed by God for good and glory.

You can find someone in a ditch, or in misery - even self chosen misery, and leaving them there tell yourself (in the common sense use) that you are respecting the dignity of their choices.

You cannot give yourself the same false comfort (as easily) if you try to say “God designed all humans to live in ditches, or in misery, or in sin.”

So our answer was:

• our treatment of every human being is:

We respect every person as being designed by God for good and for glory. Our call is to help each other live into our design.


Saturday, November 27, 2010

Advent begins at Sundown

A Bidding Prayer Traditional
Beloved in Christ, in this season of Advent, let it be our care and delight to prepare ourselves to hear again the message of the Angels, and in heart and mind to go even unto Bethlehem, to see the Babe lying in a manger.

Let us read and mark in Holy Scripture the tale of the loving purposes of God from the first days of our disobedience unto the glorious Redemption brought us by his holy Child; and let us look forward to the yearly remembrance of his birth with hymns and songs of praise.

But first, let us pray for the needs of his whole world; for peace and goodwill over all the earth; for the mission and unity of the Church for which he died, and especially in this country and within this city.

And because this of all things would rejoice his heart, let us at this time remember in his name the poor and the helpless; the hungry and the oppressed; the sick and those who mourn; the lonely and the unloved; the aged and the little children; and all those who know not the Lord Jesus, or who love him not, or who by sin have grieved his heart of love.

Lastly, let us remember before God his pure and lowly Mother, and all those who rejoice with us, but upon another shore and in a greater light, that multitude which no one can number, whose hope was in the Word made flesh, and with whom, in this Lord Jesus, we for evermore are one.

These prayers and praises let us humbly offer up to the throne of heaven, in the words which Christ himself hath taught us:
Our Father . . . .

The Almighty God bless us with his grace; Christ give us the joys of everlasting life; and unto the fellowship of the citizens above may the King of Angels bring us all. Amen.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Christ the King

Luke 23:33-43
When they came to the place that is called The Skull, they crucified Jesus there with the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. Then Jesus said, "Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing." And they cast lots to divide his clothing. The people stood by, watching Jesus on the cross; but the leaders scoffed at him, saying, "He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Messiah of God, his chosen one!" The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine, and saying, "If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!" There was also an inscription over him, "This is the King of the Jews."
One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding him and saying, "Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!" But the other rebuked him, saying, "Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong." Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." He replied, "Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise."
Today is:
The Great Feast and Solemnity of
Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe.
With a title like this, you just know that this celebration stretches back in the mists of history. Right?
Back to the days of chivalry, of knights & squires & ladies fair?
All the way back to, would you believe… 1925?
No kidding. 1925.
Why would the Church set up a feast for Christ the King in modern times, when most countries had either gotten rid of kings altogether or had shelved them in a ceremonial role?
Did you know that Christians did not use pictures or carvings of the Cross for the first 300 years?
They didn’t need to.
Because everybody knew what a crucified man looked like. They saw them every day. It was only when the practice of crucifixion of criminals died out that we needed to paint or carve crosses and crucifixes to show what Christ had done for us.
In this way, we had no need to set aside a Sunday to teach what in means that Christ is King, when we had free-range human kings running around making laws and giving judgments.
But, by 1925, human kings were getting thin on the ground, so the last day of the Church year was set aside as a Feast to the Reign of Christ.
But instead of reading a passage, like: the Transfiguration – showing Christ in Glory attended by Moses and Elijah; or the Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday with the crowd shouting “Hosanna to the Son of David!”  - Instead we read today the mocking tablet, affixed to the horrible cross, “King of the Jews.”
What kind of king is this?
A king should be lifted up on a golden throne.
He is lifted up on a horrible cross.
A king should have an honor guard of soldiers to protect him.
          He has a detail of prison guards to punish him.
A king should have wise counselors on either side to advise him.
          He has common thieves mocking and pleading.
A king gives judgments from his high seat. Ruling on war & peace, life & death.
          Ah, here we are.
Hear the judgment of Christ the King, pronounced from the highest throne in all creation, words not of death in that place of death, but words  of life, of life eternal:
“Today you will be with me in Paradise.”
This week we will be reminded many times to give thanks. As we gather at our tables. As we gather with friends and families. We lift our eyes to the horrible throne of our bloody murdered King and say, with a heart full to breaking.
Thank You Lord Christ.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Multiple Choice: America's 4 Gods

the authors to identify four conceptions of God among the American religious public: (1) the authoritative God, who both judges and is closely engaged in the world; (2) the benevolent God, who is "engaged but nonjudgmental"; (3) the critical God, who happens to be judgmental but disengaged; and (4) the distant God, who is neither engaged nor judgmental, and could care less about how humans muck about.


Monday, November 15, 2010

Why are you an Episcopalian?

Complete the following:
(extra credit for short answers using only terms a seeker would understand in their ordinary every-day sense.)

"This unique Episcopal witness is articulated through the words of our Baptismal Covenant:"

• our particular manner of Sacramental ministry is:

• our understanding of Mission is:

• our fellowship is:

• our reading of scripture is:

• in worship, throughout the day, and at home we:

• our understanding of the importance of our monastic inheritance and spiritual formation is:

• our proclamation of the Gospel is:

• our treatment of every human being is:

• our particular gift for reconciliation and peace is:

• our work in social and cultural advocacy and just action is:

• our understanding of creation and the work of sustainable stewardship is:

• our understanding of service and virtuous citizenship is:

This list was extracted from a Christian Formation Presentation by Bishop Doyle, THe entire text is available http://texasbishop.blogspot.com/2010/10/uniqueness-of-christ.html  

Monday, November 1, 2010

Improve your Connection

What do you need to improve the connection?
Rank 1-5 with 1 being the most urgent need and 5 the least.
_____ I need to learn how to better share my faith with those I love.
_____ I need to find a better way to help those who are in need.
_____ I need to learn more about the Bible.
_____ I need a richer prayer life.
_____ I need to take my worship to the next level.
In order to get what I need, I can commit to (circle one) 0 - ½ - 1 – 1+ hours per week, in addition to the Sunday Service.

My best time is (check all that apply)
_____ Weekday morning
_____ Weekday afternoon
_____ Weekday evening
_____ Saturday morning
_____ Saturday evening

_____ Sunday before worship
_____Sunday after worship
_____Sunday evening