Archive for January, 2012

Pat’s covert love affair with the 1928 Book of Common Prayer

January 30, 2012

Before we go any further, I had best get this out in the open. You will sometimes find that I make reference to the 1928 American edition of the Book of Common Prayer. The uninitiated should be careful because there is also a 1928 British edition of the BCP, but it was never approved by Parlement. For the Church of England, the official Prayer Book is the 1662, although almost nobody actually uses it for public worship.

If you’re not confused yet, it may be that I am not doing my job. This kind of thing matters for Anglicans (of which I am one), Catholics, Lutherans, and other religious expressions that use liturgical worship. The Episcopal Church of the United States of America (now known simply as TEC)  has produced new editions of the BCP in 1789, 1892, 1928 and 1979. Therefore, we distinguish one from another by referencing the year of publication.

Traditionalists, of which I include myself, have an instinctive fondness for the 1928. The Elizabethan language is elevating and speaks to the transcendent beauty of the divine realm. As is often the case for human beings and institutions, the 28’s greatest strength is also a principle weakness. The language of the 1500s is far removed from the language of today, and age is not always an assurance of superiority. The inadequacy of the language is especially apparent in the King James Version of the Bible, which is embeded in the text.
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Must Christians submit to and respect human governments?

January 29, 2012

The Sunday Epistle reading from the 1928 Book of Common Prayer is from Romans 13. This is a challenging passage concerning our obligations as citizens. It raises all sorts of questions for the modern American. If you surmise that my intention here is to point fingers at people of any particular political persuasion, you are very mistaken. I have a lot of trouble with Paul’s instructions and I have surely failed to respond as one who is attentive to the word of God. I have broken the text down into principle phrases and supporting phrases just to make it easier to see how the thoughts are organized.

Paul is drawing our attention to the obligations of Christians toward civil government. The writer of Acts informs us that Paul is one who respects the functions of human government even while his eyes are firmly fixed on the last things and the Second Coming of Christ. When Paul was about to be flogged by the Romans at Jerusalem (Acts 22:25), he was quick to claim his rights as a Roman citizen. Facing accusations from the Jews of Jerusalem, Paul appeals to Cesar (Acts 25:11). He is a “law and order” kind of guy and calls on each of us to submit to lawful secular authorities.

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities.

For there is no authority except from God,

and those that exist have been instituted by God.

Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed,

and those who resist will incur judgment.

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Collect for the Fourth Sunday After Epiphany

January 28, 2012

O GOD, who knowest us to be set in the midst of so many and great dangers, that by reason of the frailty of our nature we cannot always stand upright; Grant to us such strength and protection, as may support us in all dangers, and carry us through all temptations; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Collect for the Conversion of St. Paul

January 24, 2012

O GOD, who, through the preaching of the blessed Apostle Saint Paul, hast caused the light of the Gospel to shine throughout the world; Grant, we beseech thee, that we, haying his wonderful conversion in remembrance, may show forth our thankfulness unto thee for the same, by following the holy doctrine which he taught; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

In search of a Christian President

January 23, 2012

This is not easy, but it is worth discussing. Is it possible to select an American politician that will live up to the expectations of the Gospel, or is it a fool’s errand? What do you think?

Political discussion is generally toxic, so there is an expectation here to keep a respectful tone. The United States of America is not biblical Israel and Christians are not sent out to form governments. There is, in fact, a government already in existence to which we owe allegiance. We have a king who has ascended into heaven and, according to Peter’s testimony, is seated on the throne of David.

“Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption (Acts 2:30-31 ESV).

Peter observed in his Pentecost sermon, “Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified” (Acts 2:36). The Nicene Creed reminds us that he “sitteth at the right hand of the Father.” Because Christ came into the world, our status has changed.
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Collect for the Third Sunday after Epiphany

January 21, 2012

ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, mercifully look upon our infirmities, and in all our dangers and necessities stretch forth thy right hand to help and defend us; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Just for the Hell of it

January 20, 2012

A few of us were sitting around solving all the world’s problems and somebody brought up the topic of Hell. That is always bound to get a strong reaction; mostly because nobody believes they are in any particular danger of going there and everybody wants their enemies to end up hissing away in the unquenchable flames.

While I come down on the side of fire and brimstone, the other viewpoints are always worth hearing, and we always seem to come away with a deeper appreciation of God’s boundless grace and mercies. Of course, it may seem odd to mention grace and mercy in a conversation about the nether darkness, but without God’s good favor the only thing I deserve is go burn in Hell this very minute. The centerpiece of the eternal kingdom of Jesus Christ is the New Jerusalem, not the ever burning flames.

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Just what you have been waiting for: a few more thoughts on Tim Tebow

January 18, 2012

While there is probably some sense of urgency to get a few thoughts on the record about Tim Tebow before all the talk turns to something else, you can probably presume that the Broncos play caller will be on the “A-list” of popular conversation for a while. Tebow probably gets more attention than is good for his soul.

A lot of what is reported concerning this special young athlete is probably accurate and as on target, as might be expected from secular journalists. So far as I am concerned, Tim Tebow deliberately attracts attention as a method of spreading the Gospel. Whether or not his strategy is sound will have to wait for another day.

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Collect for the Second Sunday After Epiphany

January 14, 2012

ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who dost govern all things in heaven and earth; Mercifully hear the supplications of thy people, and grant us thy peace all the days of our life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

A few thoughts on revising The Book of Common Prayer and the ACNA “Theological Lens”

January 10, 2012

This post is a lot “thicker” than what you will generally read here, so if you are not interested in liturgy or worship, free free to ignore this discussion of something that has been a pending question for Anglicans more than 30 years. What should a modern American edition of the Book of Common Prayer look like?

This little essay does not propose to answer that question, but it is a begging – a discussion starter. As a Lay Catechist in the Anglican Mission, it is certainly not my intention to put my nose someplace it does not belong, but since the  the Anglican Church in North America has taken on the project, it is bound to effect Anglicans all over North America.

This started off as an exam question in my “Anglican Worship” class at the Anglican School of Ministry. What values would you represent if you were involved in producing a new edition? At the same time, I came across the “Theological Lens,” which is the guiding document of the ACNA revisers. Here is a link to that document. If my opinion matters, it appears that, with some reservations, they are headed in the right direction. Of course, your input is welcome. Remember, if you don’t want to read it, nobody is holding a gun to your head

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