The Great 50 Days of Easter Day- 11

May 26th, 2014 by

Scriptures for today.
Psalm 119.1–24 · Exodus 15.22-16.10 ·1 Peter 2.1-10 · Psalm 12, 13, 14 · John 15.1-11

 

Prayer for today.

Almighty Father, you have given your only Son to die for our sins and to rise again for our justification: grant us so to put away the leaven of malice and wickedness that we may always serve you in pureness of living and truth; through the merits of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

 

Question for today.

Bishop Jones urges in his Easter address, “Notice that in the Gospels’ account of the resurrection the focus is never on the “how” of the resurrection, rather, on the mission imperative; to go find Jesus who has gone on ahead of us into Galilee.” How often do you put questions of “How?” ahead of questions about “What next?” Re-valuing the significance of those 2 questions can help us move forward, help us see more clearly the value of the Lord we are pursuing, open us to the strengthening for mission that Jesus both proclaims and provides.

 

Jones

The Rt. Rev. Philip H. Jones leads the Anglican Mission as our Apostolic Vicar and is the Senior Minister at All Saints Anglican Church in Dallas Texas.

 

Easter Joy, Easter Hope

 

Look at all the Easter drama; women in the dark, angels sitting on top of the stone, the empty tomb, the angels’ invitation to “come and see”, running to see Jesus. With a watershed event like the resurrection, there can only be action, drama and ironies. In the gospel of Matthew 28:1-10, all this drama takes place and the greatest irony is in verse 4. “And for fear of Him the guards trembled and became like dead men.” Those who appear alive are actually dead. The one who is supposed to be dead is actually alive!

 

Hallelujah! He is risen! He is risen, indeed, Hallelujah! “Egerthe” is the Greek word used for “he has been raised.” One word in Greek, four words in English, and all of Christianity rises or falls on the truth of the event of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

 

Notice that in the Gospels’ account of the resurrection the focus is never on the “how” of the resurrection, rather, on the mission imperative; to go find Jesus who has gone on ahead of us into Galilee. Where is Galilee? It is wherever you meet Jesus. It is here, right now, if you want it to be.

 

In the gospel resurrection accounts, there is nothing about “life after death”. Instead, it is the exhortation to go meet Jesus now, in this world, where by His Holy Spirit He is transforming our lives to make a difference now. Yes, there is life after death and a new resurrection body that will come at the second coming. But, for now, it is the difference that the resurrected body, the life of Christ, His Holy Spirit makes in us today. Go quickly and tell. This is the message of the angels. This is also the message of Jesus to the women, “Go tell your brothers.” Notice the word “brothers.” He doesn’t call them cowards, He does not even call them disciples as the angels did. Rather,  “brothers” reflects the identity they now have in Christ as forgiven, loved, known, and accepted.

 

This, too, is our identity. This is the mission message we have to go tell the world. The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ indicates that vindication of the life of Christ, His love, His passion and His glory. All of His love and life, His generosity, His outreach to the outcasts, His call to holiness and purity, His identity as the son of God, all of this is vindicated at the resurrection. Go and tell the world. Use art, drama, songs, poetry, social justice, teach, preach, whatever it takes. The bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ compels us to show His glory in this world right now. The old age is disappearing and the new age of Christ continues to move in and through people like you and me.  Our struggles, trials, temptations and burdens do not have to define us. The suffering will be redeemed. This is the Easter joy, the Easter hope.

 

May the power of the Easter life fill you with resurrection hope and mission.

 

Now, go quickly and tell!

 

+Philip

 

The Great 50 Days of Easter Day- 10

May 25th, 2014 by

Scriptures for today.
Psalm 6 · Exodus 15.1-21 ·1 Peter 1.13-25 · Psalm 10, 11 · John 14.18-31


Prayer for today.

Almighty Father, you have given your only Son to die for our sins and to rise again for our justification: grant us so to put away the leaven of malice and wickedness that we may always serve you in pureness of living and truth; through the merits of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

 

Question for today.

Archbishop Temple says that “Christianity is not only a system of moral teaching, it is fundamentally a gift of power.” Resurrection power inhabits the world as it has been, and shows by its presence that all things must be remade. This resurrection power is both for us and for others. Where do you sense your need for the gift of power? What situation or person in your life drains you of your own strength? Pray that God will infuse you with the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead, and witness new life spring forth.

Templeton

Archbishop William Temple led the Anglican church through World War 2 and is known as one of its leading modern theologians. His commitment to the practical aspects of Christ’s rule among the church and nations distinguished his primacy. The following extended excerpt is from a sermon delivered after the conclusion of World War One, as the nation and church considered what it would take to move forward in peace and blessing.

“It is not chiefly moral principles that are lacking; what the world needs to-day is power to live by the principles which are professed. Such wise comments on the situation of the world as I have described really amount to this: If all men were unselfish instead of selfish the evils of the world would disappear. But how is that transformation to be accomplished? Many at least of the world’s worst evils are the result, not of appalling and outrageous wickedness, but of the fact that the majority of men and women are as good as we are and not better. Take some -millions of people just like us, all generous with their superfluities but still putting self first, and in a few generations you will again have rich and poor living side by side, each ignorant of the lives the others lead ; you will again have slums, and sweating, and casual labor, and the denial to many of the educational facilities that are needed to develop the powers which God gives His children. There are great criminals in the world ; but even if all men reach the existing average of moral attainment, the worst evils will still continue. The real trouble of the world is that most of us are just average people. How are we to rise above that average? Society may by various forms of pressure raise men and women to the level of its own conventions. But that leaves the problem still unsolved. If I am selfish, not grossly but yet predominently selfish, what shall make me unselfish? For it is certain that my own selfish will can never do it. If my will is selfish, it does not desire to be unselfish ; there is the trouble. A man can never by his own strength put away the sin of his own soul. There is much that he can do. He can curb rebellious impulses and brace a will that is only slack. But what most needs to be done he cannot do. In proportion as he is sincere he will exclaim with S. Paul: “wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death ?”

Christianity is not only a system of moral teaching, it is fundamentally a gift of power. And this power is not only the encouragement given by the promise of attainment in the future; it is the certainty that comes from a victory already achieved. There we take our stand. We have indeed the promise of Christ, and it is a wonderful treasure. But we have also His accomplishment, and that is something of incomparably greater worth. Remember how He prayed to His Father and said, “I glorified Thee on the earth, by accomplishing the work that Thou gavest me to do”; and how just before He had said to His disciples, “In the world ye have tribulation ; be of good cheer ; I have overcome the world/’

Christianity is the religion of a victory achieved. The Christian is indeed marked by a specially acute sorrow for his sin, for he knows the wounds that it inflicts on his Divine Saviour. But the Christian is never frightened of his sin. He does not cower under its weight before a Divine Judge whose sentence he fears. For he knows that his Judge is first his Saviour ; the sin he loathes is essentially a dead thing already, for Christ has killed it, and as soon as he resists it in the power of Christ, he finds that it gives way before him. He grieves for it, but lifts his sorrowing gaze in unabated confidence to the Captain of his Salvation. He knows where to find the strength he needs ; and his sorrow when he falls is never near despair. It fortifies my soul to know That, though I perish, Truth is so ; That, howsoe’er I stray or range, Whate’er I do, Thou dost not change ; I steadier step when I recall That, if I slip, Thou dost not fall. Our first need, alike in personal and in public perplexities, is assurance assurance of direction and assurance of power. It must not be self-reliant ; there is in ourselves no strength or wisdom worthy of reliance. Our assurance alike of direction and of power must be the gift of God, known and acknowledged as such. It is vain to hope for the Kingdom of God if God Himself is ignored or disobeyed or defied. In Him and only in Him is salvation from wars and the causes of wars, from social unrest and civil strife, as also from personal sins or failures.

… If only each one could be brought to realize that love till his heart went out in answering love, and could then be brought to realize that the same love divine works and waits and suffers for every soul of man, all hatred and bitterness would vanish from the earth. How can I hate or despise another man, even though he be my own or my country’s deadliest enemy, if I realise first that Jesus Christ my God died on the Cross for me, and then remember also that He died quite equally for the man whom I am tempted to hate or to despise ? If we love God, we cannot be indifferent to those whom He loves. In His eternal love and our answering love is the healing for the whole world’s wounds. Some day men will turn their eyes to the Cross of the Risen Christ, to the ascended throne of the crucified, to find in Him their King as well as their Saviour. In His triumphant sacrifice all history finds its pivot and all hope its fulfilment. While we neglect what He has wrought, all our politics and diplomacies can only shift but never remove the world’s load of evil. There, and there alone, shall we find the sure foundation on which the ideal civilisation can rest.

And we know that later, if not sooner, “the ends of the world shall remember themselves and be turned unto the Lord: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before him.”

Then will be fulfilled the promise of the angels’ song, and the glory of God in the highest heaven will have its counterpart in true and lasting peace among men of goodwill on earth. That peace cannot be shaken and that glory cannot pass away.

“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

The Great 50 Days of Easter- Day 09

May 25th, 2014 by

Scriptures for today.
Psalm 145 · Acts 12.25-13.3 · Psalm 67, 96 · Isaiah 62.6-12 · 2 Timothy 4.1-11

 

Prayer for today.

Almighty Father, you have given your only Son to die for our sins and to rise again for our justification: grant us so to put away the leaven of malice and wickedness that we may always serve you in pureness of living and truth; through the merits of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

 

Question for today.

Notice the muscles of Jesus’ hand as he pulls Thomas towards belief. As Father Carl has asked us, “How do the scars of Jesus continue their significance in the life of our faith even after their pain has passed?”

 

The Incredulity of St Thomas is an oil painting from 1601 by the Italian artist Amerighi da Caravaggio. It portrays the meeting between the Risen Christ and the disciple Thomas. Observers often note that the Christ is not wearing a halo in the painting, reflecting both a developing style of more natural religious painting and as a ay to emphasize Jesus enduring true humanity, even after his Resurrection. Many disciples in the picture look to see the results of Thomas’ discovery, that Jesus is truly alive.

 

Thomas

The Great 50 Days of Easter Day- 08

May 25th, 2014 by

Scriptures for today.
Psalm 16 · Acts 2.14a, 22-32 · 1 Peter 1.3-9 · John 20.19-31

 

Prayer for today.

Almighty Father, you have given your only Son to die for our sins and to rise again for our justification: grant us so to put away the leaven of malice and wickedness that we may always serve you in pureness of living and truth; through the merits of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

 

Question for today.

How much space is there in your heart this week to say with the author “O my God, thou art true, O my soul thou art happy”? Laying aside some of the distractions that mar unity among those who receive the Holy Communion may also be curative for other distractions of our souls.

 

Richard Hooker was a leading consolidator of Anglican belief and practice in the formative days of the church. Here he describes the proper stopping point between trying to understand the mystery of Holy Communion and proclaiming it truthfully with the mystery of God’s work in the sacrament that bids us receive in trust.

 

“Let it herefore be sufficient for me presenting myself at the Lord’s table to know what there I receive from him, without searching or inquiring of the manner how Christ performeth  his promise let disputes and questions, enemies to piety, abatements of true devotions, and hitherto in this cause but over-patiently heard, let them take their rest;

 

hooker

 

let curious and sharp-witted men beat their heads about what questions themselves will…what these elements are in themselves it skillet not, it is enough that to me which take them they are the body and blood of Christ, his promise in witness hereof sufficeth, his word he knoweth which way to accomplish; why should any cogitation possess the mind of a faithful communicant but this, O my God, thou art true, O my soul thou art happy.”

The Great 50 Days of Easter Day- 07

May 25th, 2014 by

Scriptures for today.
Psalm 145 · Exodus 13.17-14.4 · 2 Corinthians 4.16-5.10 · Psalm 104 · Mark 12.1, 18-27

Prayer for today.

Lord of all life and power, who through the mighty resurrection of your Son overcame the old order of sin and death to make all things new in him: grant that we, being dead to sin and alive to you in Jesus Christ, may reign with him in glory; to whom with you and the Holy Spirit be praise and honour, glory and might, now and in all eternity.

Question for today.

St Cyril of Jerusalem (313 – 386) begins his Catechetical Lectures with a picture of growing blessing, and includes an invitation to those who have come to church with unfocused hearts. This message for those exploring and following the Christian faith reads as fresh as the day’s newspaper, and reminds us that many of us arrive in the church with far lower motives that God in Christ has in mind for us. Go ahead, invite your neighbors and friends. The good news of the gospel will bear fruit. How might we prepare our hearts to worship Christ tomorrow? Who might God be preparing to join us?

St. Cyril

1Already there is an odour of blessedness upon you, O you who are soon to be enlightened : already you are gathering the spiritual flowers, to weave heavenly crowns: already the fragrance of the Holy Spirit has breathed upon you: already you have gathered round the vestibule of the King’s palace ; may you be led in also by the King! For blossoms now have appeared upon the trees ; may the fruit also be found perfect! Thus far there has been an inscription of your names , and a call to service, and torches of the bridal train, and a longing for heavenly citizenship, and a good purpose, and hope attendant thereon. For he lies not who said, that to them that love God all things work together for good. God is lavish in beneficence, yet He waits for each man’s genuine will: therefore the Apostle added and said, to them that are called according to a purpose. The honesty of purpose makes you called: for if your body be here but not your mind, it profits you nothing….

 

5. Possibly too you have come on another pretext. It is possible that a man is wishing to pay court to a woman, and came hither on that account. The remark applies in like manner to women also in their turn. A slave also perhaps wishes to please his master, and a friend his friend. I accept this bait for the hook, and welcome you, though you came with an evil purpose, yet as one to be saved by a good hope. Perhaps you knew not whither you were coming, nor in what kind of net you are taken. You have come within the Church’s nets: be taken alive, flee not: for Jesus is angling for you, not in order to kill, but by killing to make alive: for you must die and rise again. For you have heard the Apostle say, Dead indeed unto sin, but living unto righteousness . Die to your sins, and live to righteousness, live from this very day.

You may read the entire first lecture here. http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/310100.htm

The Great 50 Days of Easter Day- 06

May 25th, 2014 by

Scriptures for today.
Psalm 136 · Exodus 13.1-2, 11-16 ·1 Corinthians 15.51-58 ·Psalm 118 ·Luke 24.1-12

Prayer for today.

Lord of all life and power, who through the mighty resurrection of your Son overcame the old order of sin and death to make all things new in him: grant that we, being dead to sin and alive to you in Jesus Christ, may reign with him in glory; to whom with you and the Holy Spirit be praise and honour, glory and might, now and in all eternity.

Question for today.

The stations included here mark the intersections of the risen Jesus and the lives of his friends. What three intersections of your life and world most need the Risen Jesus? Begin to pray for those places in confidence that Jesus was, and is Risen.

Stations

Click on the link above to pray through the Stations of the Resurrection. They will also be in our 100-Acre Woods to prayer walk during the Great 50 Days.

The Great 50 Days of Easter- Day 05

May 23rd, 2014 by

Scriptures for today.
Psalm 146, 147 · Exodus 13.3-10 ·1 Corinthians 15.41-50 ·Psalm 148, 149 · Matthew 28.16-20

Prayer for today.

Lord of all life and power, who through the mighty resurrection of your Son overcame the old order of sin and death to make all things new in him: grant that we, being dead to sin and alive to you in Jesus Christ, may reign with him in glory; to whom with you and the Holy Spirit be praise and honour, glory and might, now and in all eternity.

Question for today.

The song says “When at last it came to choices, I denied I knew His name. Even if He was alive, It wouldn’t be the same” How does a resurrected Christ reframe our interactions with him? Name one place where you tend to treat him as just an honored person, and press on to worship him as the Risen Lord. How does the Lord’s embrace of his betraying and abandoning disciples reshape your own view of confession and restoration? For you and others?
Francisco

Watch this video clip of Don Francisco as he sings his 1977 Easter anthem, He’s Alive. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HIndrry40Ks

The gates and doors were barred
All the windows fastened down
I spent the night in sleeplessness
And rose at every sound

Half in hopeless sorrow
And half in fear the day
Would find the soldiers breakin’ through
To drag us all away

And just before the sunrise
Heard something at the wall
The gate began to rattle
And a voice began to call

Hurried to the window
Looked down into the street
Expecting swords and torches
And the sound of soldier’s feet

There was no one there but Mary
So I went down to let her in
John stood there beside me
As she told us where she’d been

She said they’ve moved Him in the night
And none of us knows where
The stones been rolled away
And now His body isn’t there

We both ran toward the garden
Then John ran on ahead
We found the stone and the empty tomb
Just the way that Mary said

But the winding sheet they wrapped Him in
Was just an empty shell
And how or where they’d taken Him
Was more than I could tell

Well, something strange had happened there
Just what I did not know
John believed a miracle
But I just turned to go

Circumstance and speculation
Couldn’t lift me very high
‘Cause I’d seen them crucify Him
Then I saw Him die

Back inside the house again
The guilt and anguish came
Everything I’d promised Him
Just added to my shame

When at last it came to choices
I denied I knew His name
Even if He was alive
It wouldn’t be the same

Suddenly the air was filled
With strange and sweet perfume
Light that came from everywhere
Drove shadows from the room

Jesus stood before me
With His arms held open wide
And I fell down on my knees
And just clung to Him and cried

He raised me to my feet
And as I looked into His eyes
Love was shining out from Him
Like sunlight from the skies

Guilt in my confusion
Disappeared in sweet release
And every fear I’d ever had
Just melted into peace

He’s alive, He’s alive
He’s alive and I’m forgiven
Heaven’s gates are open wide

He’s alive, He’s alive
He’s alive and I’m forgiven
Heaven’s gates are open wide

He’s alive, He’s alive
He’s alive and I’m forgiven
Heaven’s gates are open wide
He’s alive, He’s alive, He’s alive

The Great 50 Days of Easter- Day 04

May 23rd, 2014 by

Scriptures for today.
Psalm 97, 99 · Exodus 12.40-51. · 1 Corinthians 15.29-41 · Psalm 115 · Matthew 28.1-16

Prayer for today.

Lord of all life and power, who through the mighty resurrection of your Son overcame the old order of sin and death to make all things new in him: grant that we, being dead to sin and alive to you in Jesus Christ, may reign with him in glory; to whom with you and the Holy Spirit be praise and honour, glory and might, now and in all eternity.

Question for today.

The poem says that the Savior comes, and with him mirth. How might the Resurrection infuse you with joy? How does the dawning of new creation, or the promise of life out of death help you to relax, and rejoice?

Read this Easter poem by the seventeenth-century Anglican priest-poet George Herbert.

Herbert

The Dawning

Awake, sad heart, whom sorrow ever drowns ;

Take up thine eyes, which feed on earth ;

Unfold thy forehead, gathered into frowns ;

Thy Saviour comes, and with Him mirth :

Awake, awake,

And with a thankful heart His comforts take.

But thou dost still lament, and pine, and cry,

And feel His death, but not His victory.

Arise, sad heart; if thou dost not withstand,

Christ’s resurrection thine may be;

Do not by hanging down break from the hand

Which, as it riseth, raiseth thee:

 

Arise, Arise;

And with His burial linen drie thine eyes.

Christ left His grave-clothes, that we might, when grief

Draws tears or blood, not want a handkerchief.

 

I have no wit, no words, no tears;

My heart within me like a stone

Is numb’d too much for hopes or fears;

Look right, look left, I dwell alone;

I lift mine eyes, but dimm’d with grief

No everlasting hills I see;

 

My life is in the falling leaf:

O Jesus, quicken me.

My life is like a faded leaf,

My harvest dwindled to a husk:

Truly my life is void and brief

And tedious in the barren dusk;

 

My life is like a frozen thing,

No bud nor greenness can I see:

Yet rise it shall—the sap of Spring;

O Jesus, rise in me.

 

My life is like a broken bowl,

A broken bowl that cannot hold

One drop of water for my soul

Or cordial in the searching cold;

Cast in the fire the perish’d thing;

Melt and remould it, till it be

A royal cup for Him, my King:

O Jesus, drink of me.

I have no wit, no words, no tears;

My heart within me like a stone

Is numb’d too much for hopes or fears;

Look right, look left, I dwell alone;

I lift mine eyes, but dimm’d with grief

No everlasting hills I see;

 

My life is in the falling leaf:

O Jesus, quicken me.

My life is like a faded leaf,

My harvest dwindled to a husk:

Truly my life is void and brief

And tedious in the barren dusk;

 

My life is like a frozen thing,

No bud nor greenness can I see:

Yet rise it shall—the sap of Spring;

O Jesus, rise in me.

 

My life is like a broken bowl,

A broken bowl that cannot hold

One drop of water for my soul

Or cordial in the searching cold;

Cast in the fire the perish’d thing;

Melt and remould it, till it be

A royal cup for Him, my King:

O Jesus, drink of me.

 

 

The Great 50 Days of Easter- Day 03

May 22nd, 2014 by

Scriptures for today.
Psalm 103 · Exodus 12.28-39 · 1 Corinthians 15.12-28 · Ps 111, 114 · Mark 16.9-20

Prayer for today.

Lord of all life and power, who through the mighty resurrection of your Son overcame the old order of sin and death to make all things new in him: grant that we, being dead to sin and alive to you in Jesus Christ, may reign with him in glory; to whom with you and the Holy Spirit be praise and honour, glory and might, now and in all eternity.

Question for today.

What might people see in your life that reflects the glory of a Risen Savior? What do you see in the life of other witnesses to the Resurrection in your circle of friends that bears the glow of glory? Consider sharing that with them.

This detail of the 1835 painting by the Russian artist Alexander Ivanov portrays the encounter between Mary Magdalene and the Risen Christ. Without seeing the full figure of Christ, what do you imagine that Mary sees to create an expression like this?

Risen Savior

http://www.google.com/culturalinstitute/asset-viewer/christ-s-appearance-to-mary-magdalene-after-the-resurrection/pwE-qeOqtCvCTg?hl=en To see the full image, including Christ’s face.

The Great 50 Days of Easter

May 21st, 2014 by

After 40 days of Lenten fasting and preparing, we enter an extended 50 days of Easter celebration and mission. Immediately following Easter, new members of the ancient church (professing their faith, receiving Baptism and celebrating Holy Communion) continued their discipleship in faith through guided reflection on the mysteries of the faith.

This Easter instruction, or mystagogy, was designed to establish new believers in the life of faith, and equip them to share in the mysteries of faith. This new season for new converts was also a reminder to the entire church that Easter brings a renewed start for us as well. This invitation is for us as well. We are inviting you to join us in our celebration of the Great 50 Days of Easter. (Sunday April 20th – Sunday June 8th) During the Great 50 Days of Easter, we have committed to a daily celebration of Holy Communion as an expression of our gratitude for the great sacrifice and accomplishments of Jesus Christ. The service is designed for those who may be on their way to work or taking their lunch break. Our Sunday service schedule remains the same. The weekday schedule is as follows. Because it is the Anglican custom for the Eucharist to always be celebrated in community, (at least 2 people present) we are seeking a shared commitment of the parish family for this intention to be put into practice. Let us know which day(s) you will join us.

Sunday

8 and 10

Mondays

Noon

Tuesdays

7am

Wednesdays

Noon

 Thursdays

7am

 Fridays

Noon

Saturdays

7am

We will also offer 50 days of encouragement to continue in our embrace of the new life guaranteed by Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. Each day, we will send a daily short email with a reflection by a member of New Covenant, a classic writing from our Anglican heritage, or a selection of the original mystagogical sermons from the early centuries of the church.We will be celebrating the weekday Eucharist with the prayers provided in Common Worship, the contemporary version of the Book of Common Prayer authorized by the Church of England and used by many parishes in the Anglican Mission and around the world. Each Easter Email will include a scripture, a prayer for the day and a question to guide your reflection. Please use these as a way to nurture your reflection on Easter and enrich your own worship of the resurrected and reigning Christ. To participate, please send an email to info@new-covenant-church.com with Easter Email in the subject line.