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Posts Tagged ‘Episcopalian’

“We always give thanks to God for all of you and mention you in our prayers, constantly remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labour of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” -1 Thessalonians 1:2-3

This morning marked my second time serving on the altar at our 8am service. One of the duties of the Lay Eucharistic Minister at our church is leading the Prayers of the People. The Rite I Prayers of the People are such an amazing joy to read, and they are the prayers we say every week at our 8am service. We tried using the prayers written for the 10am Rite II service for a few weeks once, but the consensus was that the Rite I prayers were beautiful and kept the linguistic flow of the service intact. I wanted to take this opportunity to share the Rite I Prayers of the People with you. One note, between each prayer the leader says “Lord, hear our prayer” and the response is “And let our cry come unto thee”.

The Prayers of the People from the Rite I liturgy in the 1979 Book of Common Prayer:

Let us pray for the whole state of Christ’s Church and the
world.

Almighty and everliving God, who in thy holy Word hast
taught us to make prayers, and supplications, and to give
thanks for all men: Receive these our prayers which we offer
unto thy divine Majesty, beseeching thee to inspire
continually the Universal Church with the spirit of truth,
unity, and concord; and grant that all those who do confess
thy holy Name may agree in the truth of thy holy Word, and
live in unity and godly love.

Give grace, O heavenly Father, to all bishops and other
ministers [especially ], that they may, both by
their life and doctrine, set forth thy true and lively Word,
and rightly and duly administer thy holy Sacraments.

And to all thy people give thy heavenly grace, and especially
to this congregation here present; that, with meek heart and
due reverence, they may hear and receive thy holy Word,
truly serving thee in holiness and righteousness all the days
of their life.

We beseech thee also so to rule the hearts of those who bear
the authority of government in this and every land [especially
], that they may be led to wise decisions and right
actions for the welfare and peace of the world.

Open, O Lord, the eyes of all people to behold thy gracious
hand in all thy works, that, rejoicing in thy whole creation,
they may honor thee with their substance, and be faithful
stewards of thy bounty.

And we most humbly beseech thee, of thy goodness, O Lord,
to comfort and succor [ and] all those who in this
transitory life, are in trouble, sorrow, need, sickness, or any
other adversity.

Additional petitions and thanksgivings may be included here.

And we also bless thy holy Name for all thy servants
departed this life in thy faith and fear [especially ],
beseeching thee to grant them continual growth in thy love
and service; and to grant us grace so to follow the good
examples of [ and of] all thy saints, that with
them we may be partakers of thy heavenly kingdom.

Grant these our prayers, O Father, for Jesus Christ’s sake,
our only Mediator and Advocate. Amen.

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“‘You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot.” -Matthew 5:13

“Salt is good; but if salt has lost its saltiness, how can you season it?* Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.’” -Mark 9:50

“‘Salt is good; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure heap; they throw it away. Let anyone with ears to hear listen!’” -Luke 14:34-35

Let anyone with ears to hear listen indeed. The salt of the Earth are occupying Wall Street, Boston, and numerous other cities and towns. Long live their saltiness!

Peace

Chris

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“He sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the crowd putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which are worth a penny. Then he called his disciples and said to them, ‘Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.’” -Mark 12:41-44

“Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, ‘You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.’ When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions.” -Mark 10:21-22

“‘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.’” -Matthew 22:11-14

“So the last will be first, and the first will be last.’” -Matthew 20:16

Today, I have Good News! God has given us the free will to determine whether we are chosen, whether last or first, rich or poor. We simply need to decide to serve God, not wealth and greed, and put on our wedding robes of conversion. I have said it before here and I will say it again, we all have gifts that we must share for the spread of the kingdom. Indeed, it can be harder for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for us to change, but all things are possible with God’s help.

Look at the man who was shocked and went away grieving: As one priest pointed out during a sermon I remember quite well, that was not necessarily the end of the story. In fact, the man had to return to his home to sell all of his possessions, if in fact that was what he did! Of course he was shocked, wouldn’t you be? Remember, in the first part of that interaction he was overwhelmed with joy that he had kept all of the commandments! Yet faced with the greatest commandment, to love God and his neighbor, not his possessions, he was given a teaching he has not heard before perhaps. A teaching that we can see in the books of the prophets has been lost, that Christ was sent to restore. This man was called, and perhaps, just perhaps, he put on his wedding robe of conversion and was chosen. Not because God forced his hand, but because he asked God for help, and truly wanted His help.

Lastly, look no further than the story of St Ignatius for inspiration. He found that when he thought and read about serving God, he was overwhelmed with a inner joy. When he thought and read about his current path as it was, he felt empty pleasure. Perhaps empty pleasure is the outer darkness, the weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Something to consider and pray upon.

Peace

p.s. – the title for this post was lifted from Twin Peaks, totally random, but it works

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“For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.’” -Matthew 18:20

As my church nears the end of the year, the big transition period, I find myself dwelling on our 8am Rite I said service. We really do have three services in three languages, each with a different liturgy, Elizabethan English (our 8am Rite I), Contemporary English (our 10am Rite II), and our Spanish service (our noon service). That line-up of services is a tall order for any priest, and we currently have two plus an assistant!

Our 8am Rite I said service is, like most I would imagine, the one that carries the lowest, but most consistent, attendance. We are fiercely loyal in our attendance for the most part. It also occurs to me that we are the most likely service to be targeted for change. (more…)

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Over the last month and a half or so, I have disciplined myself to a commuting regimen of sacred music. I ride the train into work, so I have the blessed luxury of taking time to think, pray, read and write during my commute. At least, I do when I don’t have to work on the commute. Anyhow, my regimen has consisted of the Taize Community Choir’s album Songs of Taize – O Lord hear my prayer, always starting with Bless the Lord, in the morning. I find that listening to Taize music before I get to the office puts me in a very faithful mindset, and focuses me to pray on any of the challenges I know I will face.

The commute home has generally consisted of a Mass in one form or another, or a few hymns and then a Mass. Lately, I have been quite fond of Quire of Voyces’s Latin Mass album, which begins with the Missa Pange Lingua. The Kyrie begins with the opening verses of this blog’s namesake hymn, and proceeds into a beautiful Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus and Agnus Dei. I usually make it through a Mass and a half before I arrive at the train station. On the flip side, when I listen to Bach’s Mass in B Minor, I think I barely make it through all of the different parts of the Gloria! 🙂 However, not too long ago I loaded Bach’s Mass in B Minor and Vivaldi’s Gloria into my car’s CD player, so I am never without sacred music when I am on the road!

Would love to hear from my readers on what you listen to!

Peace

Chris

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“If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others.” -Philippians 2:1-4

This morning marked my first time serving as a Lay Eucharistic Minister (LEM), as well as my first time in nearly a year serving as a Lector at St Peters Church. I served as the LEM at our 8AM said service, guided by the wonderful Jinny Lavoie, who along with Jim Sweet are the LEMs at that service. I awoke this morning at the first beep of the alarm clock at 6:15, a rare occurrence for me, as I normally snooze the alarm more than a few times. I often find it funny that Sundays are the days that I normally wake up the earliest! I made it to church at 7:45, Jinny found an appropriate alb for me, and she walked me through the setup routine for which the LEM is responsible. Lighting the candles on the altar, opening the doors, placing the elements on the Baptismal altar down back.

The time came for the service to begin. I proceeded over to the lectern to get the cross for the processional. The weight of the cross carried a symbolic aspect to it, one I didn’t realize until just now. Fr Paul said the prayer, and I led the procession to the sanctuary. At the appropriate time, I bowed before the altar and proceeded to lectern to read the lessons and Psalm.

As I looked out upon the congregation, I was humbled. After leaving them for nine months, they had welcomed me back with such hospitality and grace. I was serving them by reading the lessons. I am inspired to read for these folks, to tell the stories, lead the Psalm and give a voice to the Epistle in a way that moves them, that resonates with them. Being back on that lectern in this church is a gift from God and God’s people. Thanks be to God for them!

The next significant moment this morning was reading the Prayers of the People. At our 8am said service we use the Rite I liturgy, and we use the Prayers of the People from that liturgy, regardless of what Prayers are used at our principal service. As I opened the first paragraph with “Almighty and everliving God, who in thy holy Word hast taught us to make prayers, and supplications, and to give thanks for all men:”, I found myself choked up. I have heard and prayed those prayers from the pews over a hundred times, but leading them was a whole new, holy and again humbling experience. It was as though I could hear Jim and Jinny’s voices in my mind, guiding my cadence, filling in the optional sections, and I did ok. There is a sort of memorization I have found with the liturgy, like when you can sing along to a song despite not necessarily being able to sing the song unaccompanied.

During Holy Communion, I assisted at the altar and took my cues from Jinny. My first time ringing the Sanctus bell was a bit meek, but by the last appointed ring of the bell I gave it an inspired tap with the mallet. Having received Communion in both kinds after Fr Paul and Fr Dan, I proceeded to follow Fr Paul across the Communion rail as the chalicer. I spoke the words “The Blood of Christ, the cup of salvation”, administered the chalice, and remembered to wipe and turn. Again, I was humbled to serve the people of God.

My first experience serving the folks at this church in this capacity is not one I will soon forget. In fact, I have written on my heart and will cherish it forever.

Thanks be to God!

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“It’s not about you; it’s all about Jesus. Don’t be satisfied with just knowing that … Let it seep into you until it merges with your DNA.” –Pastor Tom

“These moments come to us and are rare. They are unexpected.” –Fr Paul

“For nothing will be impossible with God.’ Then Mary said, ‘Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.’ Then the angel departed from her.” -Luke 1:37-38

My priest, Fr Paul, suggested that I delve deeper into the experience that was my epiphany. I sent him two free form writings, and I figured I would share. You can get context from the My Epiphany page if you haven’t read about it.

I remember it so well.

It is Saturday August 13th, and I think I was up early for me on a Saturday, but we had a pretty open chill day ahead. I was met with the realization that the next day was Sunday August 14th, the day that Grace Church’s doors were going to be open again. I had gone through the “excitement” if you will of seeing your time through at St Peters like I could simply come back and then move on when you did. Rightly so, you properly advised that this was not your wish.

I was at a crossroads of sorts, although I figured I would probably spend the rest of the day fretting.

I sat down at the table on our deck with my coffee and decided to catch up on my blog subscriptions. I came across the first post I mentioned, and as I mentioned, had an initial reaction and then was given cause to reconsider based on the comments on her post. Certainly, it gave me pause to think. I finished reading the other blogs I subscribe to and decided to browse the recent WordPress posts tagged with Christianity. Pastor Tom’s post. jumped off the second page at me. I read it. I read it again. I walked out to my driveway to the spot where I normally go to smoke, the sun beating down on me as though I was an ant under some cruel kid’s magnifying glass, and it happened. I may have half-muttered some expletives as I am known to do when I have worked on a problem for a long time without result and then it all becomes clear. And that is when my epiphany was given to me. I am sure more of those fun expletives followed. And I was
the happiest boy on Earth in that moment. I literally felt like running into the streets yelling and screaming that my eyes had finally been opened. It was like I had been emptied of my anxiety and filled with God’s peace.

Later, I remember basking in what I perceived as the irony that the epiphany came less than 24 hours from the opening of the doors at Grace.

I believe God called me back to St Peter’s in that moment. A concrete event, so subtle yet so complex in its fabric.

More to come

the second email

I remember fear, fear that this event, this realization, this feeling would be fleeting. That it would be gone within hours, or days. I remember the feeling of being resolute to not allow that to happen, to cast the experience into something almost tangible within my soul. To write it on my heart. To live each day with it on the forefront of my mind.

So far, so good.

Peace

Chris

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