Archive for November, 2012

Collect for St. Andrew’s Day

November 30, 2012

ALMIGHTY God, who didst give such grace unto thy holy Apostle Saint Andrew, that he readily obeyed the calling of thy Son Jesus Christ, and followed him without delay; Grant unto us all, that we, being called by thy holy Word, may forthwith give up ourselves obediently to fulfil thy holy commandments; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Personal Devotion and the Daily Offices of Morning and Evening Prayer

November 29, 2012

This essay continues the line of thought in the immediately preceding post, “How to use the Daily Office Lectionary of the 1928 Book of Common Prayer (1945 edition).” Morning and Evening Prayer are the Anglican replacement for the Roman Catholic observance of the “Liturgy of the Hours,” previously known as the Roman Breviary. At the time of Archbishop Cramner, there were eight “hours,” or sets of readings established for various times of day.Two things yo must know are that,observing  the “hours” was an obligation for every clergyman and member of most religious orders. Secondly, it was complicated and every cleric needed a library just to do the obligatory readings.

The  English reformers greatly simplified the entire liturgical life of the church with the Book of Common Prayer. Morning and Evening Prayer contain Psalms, Old and New Testament readings, along with a confession, absolution, prayers of praise and thanksgiving. It was so streamlined that lay people could attend two church services each day and hear a large portion of scripture read aloud over the course of a year and be formed spiritually with trinitarian prayers addressing more than purely personal and momentary needs. The congregations made petition for the universal church, ministers, civil government.

Some churches in the Church of England tradition maintain a remnant of Morning and Evening Prayer, but it is not a common occurrence. In the past 50 or 60 years, very many Episcopal churches conducted these services on a daily schedule. Housing patterns, work schedules, and the faster pace of life have worked together to consign these two ceremonies, once considered essential to the life of a congregation, to obsolescence. Many individuals, however, retain the practice as a mater of spiritual discipline.
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How to use the Daily Office Lectionary of the 1928 Book of Common Prayer (1945 edition)

November 27, 2012

This may seem to be a rather strange topic, but it is occasioned by the arrival of a new church year. Sunday December 2 is the First Sunday in Advent and the notion of a new beginning certainly invites one into a renewed life of prayer and a deeper personal participation in the life of the Church. Some purists will object to this version of the Anglican schedule of daily scripture readings (there are several!) and one must concede that it is the work of human hands and presents some difficulties.

While I am a “fan” of the ’28 (the crack cocaine of spirituality) I do not contend that it is appropriate for regular worship. I explained all of that right here. Some will object to my seeming neglect of the original 1928 lectionary. That work is just fine and provides a good reading of scripture throughout the church year. The Church of England reading schedules follow the civil calendar and are less satisfactory. The revised 1945 readings in the 1928 BCP follow the church year with a very appropriate disposition. Nonetheless, if you embark on a reading plan based on this outline, there are a few things to keep in mind.
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Dear Fellow Catholics, It’s NOT Christmas

November 23, 2012

While the essay which is linked below is written by a Roman Catholic, it is also very apt for Catholics of the Reformation, such as Anglicans. It is also an opportunity for me to bring some exciting news to my friends in Little Rock. I will be conducting a four-week Sunday School class on the Church Year beginning on the first Sunday in Advent, Dec. 2. I will also record it an make a link available online. With many thanks to Sam Rocha, this will give you a small flavor of where I will begin my discussion.

Believe it or not, the Christmas season at Macy’s is not our Christmas season. The two are not the same. American secularists celebrate things differently, according to their own (consumerist) liturgies.

I just wanted to remind you that, no, it’s not Christmas yet. Not even Advent. Wait for them. Let them come in their due season, at the right time.


Dear Fellow Catholics, It’s NOT Christmas.

Prayers and Scripture Readings for Thanksgiving

November 22, 2012

MOST merciful Father, who hast blessed the labours of the husbandman in the returns of the fruits of the earth; We give thee humble and hearty thanks for this thy bounty; beseeching thee to continue thy loving-kindness to us, that our land may still yield her increase, to thy glory and our comfort; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

MOST gracious God, by whose knowledge the depths are broken up, and the clouds drop down the dew; We yield thee unfeigned thanks and praise for the return of seed-time and harvest, for the increase of the ground and the gathering in of the fruits thereof, and for all the other blessings of thy merciful providence bestowed upon this nation and people. And, we beseech thee, give us a just sense of these great mercies; such as may appear in our lives by an humble, holy, and obedient walking before thee all our days; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with thee and the Holy Ghost, be all glory and honour, world without end. Amen.

“When you come into the land that the LORD your God is giving you for an inheritance and have taken possession of it and live in it, you shall take some of the first of all the fruit of the ground, which you harvest from your land that the LORD your God is giving you, and you shall put it in a basket, and you shall go to the place that the LORD your God will choose, to make his name to dwell there. And you shall go to the priest who is in office at that time and say to him, ‘I declare today to the LORD your God that I have come into the land that the LORD swore to our fathers to give us.’ Then the priest shall take the basket from your hand and set it down before the altar of the LORD your God.
“And you shall make response before the LORD your God, ‘A wandering Aramean was my father. And he went down into Egypt and sojourned there, few in number, and there he became a nation, great, mighty, and populous. And the Egyptians treated us harshly and humiliated us and laid on us hard labor. Then we cried to the LORD, the God of our fathers, and the LORD heard our voice and saw our affliction, our toil, and our oppression. And the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, with great deeds of terror, with signs and wonders. And he brought us into this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey. And behold, now I bring the first of the fruit of the ground, which you, O LORD, have given me.’ And you shall set it down before the LORD your God and worship before the LORD your God. And you shall rejoice in all the good that the LORD your God has given to you and to your house, you, and the Levite, and the sojourner who is among you. (Deuteronomy 26:1-11 ESV)

A new “continuing education” class for local Christian teachers and small group leaders

November 12, 2012

The spring term at the Anglican School of Ministry is beginning to take shape. On the non-academic side, Foundations is offering a brand new 12-week course for local Christian teachers and small group leaders. I developed the class and will teach it beginning sometime in January. The class is on the internet at WebEx, Tuition is very reasonable. Drop me a line:

A Prayer for the Nation

November 5, 2012

This is from the Book of Common Prayer.

ALMIGHTY God, who hast given us this good land for our heritage; We humbly beseech thee that we may always prove ourselves a people mindful of thy favour and glad to do thy will. Bless our land with honourable industry, sound learning, and pure manners. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion; from pride and arrogancy, and from every evil way. Defend our liberties, and fashion into one united people the multitudes brought hither out of many kindreds and tongues. Endue with the spirit of wisdom those to whom in thy Name we entrust the authority of government, that there may be justice and peace at home, and that, through obedience to thy law, we may show forth thy praise among the nations of the earth. In the time of prosperity, fill our hearts with thankfulness, and in the day of trouble, suffer not our trust in thee to fail; all which we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Rape and abortion: a political puzzle

November 1, 2012

The Todd Akin campaign for U. S. Senate from Missouri just got a little weirder. Akin has a rape victim appearing in a television ad supporting his candidacy. This is the response ad to a very powerful spot in which a rape survivor speaks against Aiken. The professional political analysis is that Akin is way too late in responding to the very damaging message with which he has been pounded for weeks. I was in Missouri just two weeks and the anti-Akin spot is far superior in production values. Such tardiness in getting the candidate’s message on the air suggests a very poorly managed campaign.

There is certainly a larger issue here, something of much greater importance than the horse race. Evangelical Christians should be aware that a political campaign is probably the worst possible place to discuss important moral issues. First of all, Americans generally resist any process that demands critical thinking and takes one through various stages. We want an instant scapegoat, easy answers, and quick justice (or should I say “injustice?”). In a political contest, one side must be determined to destroy the opposition. Therefore, any argument, no matter how wholesome, moral and truthful, must be faulted and denounced. The point is to make Mother Teresa look like a street-walker.
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