“Hearty Desires” in a Pandemic: Lent III

Source: Prayer Book Society of Canada Facebook page. Available here.

The world has changed in the last week. We’re only now starting to wake up to the reality of a pandemic, to the precautions that we’re asked to take, to the restrictions that our governments have lawfully and prudently imposed on us. Amidst all the other blogs, tweets, comments, reports and reflections that have come out in the last week, what can this simple series on the 1962 BCP Collects add?

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No Power Of Ourselves: Lent II

I’m of two minds about the way language of “Christian duty” is obsolete in #millennial post-Christendom. I am convinced that it’s obsolete: I just have two competing reasons why. Human life is complicated and Christendom was complicated, so I’m sure that both are right in different ways and in different circumstances. On Ash Wednesday I explored the ways it may have been meaningful but is no longer; today I’ll explore a circumstance in which this language merely served to obscure reality: misogyny, microaggression, rape culture.

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All those who are to be called…: Lenten Ember Days

A few weeks ago, a Roman Catholic seminarian asked me, “has women’s ordination helped the Anglican Church?” His question was innocent enough, posed with genuine curiosity, and I appreciated his effort to hear the experience of another Christian tradition. Maybe it helps that I understand the sacramental theology underlying Roman (and Eastern) insistence on a male-only priesthood, and that, to a considerable degree, I am in accord with it. Many if not most Anglicans place a strong emphasis on God’s work among us through visible signs participating in Divine Grace. For the Sacrament of Holy Orders, that visible sign is none other than a real human being who shares a nature with the Son of God, who participates in Christ’s ministry as our “Great High Priest.”

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New and Contrite Hearts: Ash Wednesday and Lent I

I’m of two minds about the way language of “Christian duty” is obsolete in #millennial post-Christendom. I am convinced that it’s obsolete: I just have two competing reasons why. Human life is complicated and Christendom was complicated, so I’m sure that both are right in different ways and in different circumstances. I’ll go into one of those ways today, and pick up my second thought in two weeks when I reflect on the Collect for Lent II. (I’ll interrupt this next week with an Ember Day reflection on the Ordination of Women and Ecumenical relations.)

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Sermon: Epiphany 5A

February 9, 2020; St. Stephen’s, Maple

In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

I

At the parish in Scarborough where I did a student placement, the priest would often say, “the first instinct of a Christian is to stand up, and reach out.” A Christian is someone who is in the habit of serving; a Christian responds to the needs of others almost as a knee-jerk reaction. A Christian is committed to doing the types of things we hear in Isaiah: “loose the bonds of injustice…share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house.”

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Put upon us…

An almost imperceptible difference between contemporary versions of the Advent Collect and its original comes very near the beginning. It may just be a difference in emphasis, but it’s one I’ve needed to sit with these past four Sundays. Contemporary versions read like this: “give us grace that *we may…put on* the armour of light.” God gives grace, but we’re the ones putting on the armour. This reading has passed into the customary public prayer of the original: our inflection and emphasis still sounds like we’re the subject of the action, that the mood is the same subjunctive as the first request, “that we may cast away the works of darkness.”

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O Sapientia

O Sapientia,
quae ex ore Altissimi prodiisti,
attingens a fine usque ad finem,
fortiter suaviterque disponens omnia:
veni ad docendum nos viam prudentiae.

O Wisdom,
coming forth from the mouth of the Most High,
reaching from one end to the other,
mightily and sweetly ordering all things:
Come and teach us the way of prudence.

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