“Sleeper, awake! Rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”

Christ is our light.

For once you were darkness, but now in the Lord you are light.
Live as children of light, for the fruit of the light
is found in all that is good and right and true.
Ephesians 5:8-9

Interior view. Christ the Light Cathedral. Oakland, CA

Interior view of Christ the Light Cathedral in Oakland, CA

Begin quote

When Christ was transfigured, appearing in radiant glory with Moses and Elijah, the disciples wanted to build booths for them. When we build churches today, such as the strikingly transcendent interior of the Cathedral of Christ the Light, are we trying to “build a booth” to contain God? Or are we transformed ourselves when worshiping in a church of great beauty?

The Cathedral, located on the shores of Lake Merritt in Oakland, is designed with the symbolic representation of Jesus Christ at its core. The 58-foot high image within the Omega window (pictured here) is created by natural light passing through aluminum panels that have been pierced with 94,000 holes. This image is a depiction of Christ in Majesty, borrowed from the sculpture of Christ in the central doorway of the west entrance to Chartres Cathedral in France. The use of natural light in the Oakland Cathedral symbolizes the movement of salvation history, climaxing with the tangible, powerful, presence of Christ.[1] As the sun moves across the sky, the movement of light transforms the worship space.

The intentional design of this sanctuary, active in its beauty and its theological meaning, reveals the reciprocal exchange of love between God and humanity. As humans, we offer our humble devotion, and God’s presence is strongly felt. In a place of such beauty, natural and human-made, there are possibilities of transformation — transformation and devotion are brought to life in an exchange of heavenly and earthly love.

[1] Adult Formation Committee, Cathedral of Christ the Light.

Source: Art in the Christian Tradition (Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Be well. Do good. Pay attention. Keep learning.

Image: Library of Congress

Collect: The Annunciation (Mar 25)

Behold the Lord’s Servant.

The Annunciation by Rossetti

Ecce Ancilla Domini! (Behold the Lord’s Servant)
Painting, 1849-1850
Rossetti, Dante Gabriel, 1828-1882

Pour your grace into our hearts, O Lord, that we who have known the incarnation of your Son Jesus Christ, announced by an angel to the Virgin Mary, may by his cross and passion be brought to the glory of his resurrection; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

The Book of Common Prayer, 240

As this Collect makes clear: it’s all connected. In the life of Jesus—and ours—their is birth, the cross and passion, death, and “the glory of … resurrection.” Let us live life fully. ~Fr. Dan

Begin quote

The Annunciation (pp. 188 and 240)

In the Gregorian sacramentary this collect is used as a postcommunion prayer for the feast of the Annunciation [….] Cranmer translated it:

We beseech thee, Lord, pour thy grace into our hearts; that, as we have known Christ thy Son’s incarnation by the message of an angel; so by his cross and passion we may be brought into the glory of his resurrection; Through the same Christ our Lord

Both the 1662 revision and this [1979] Book made changes for the sake of clarification, though the substance of the original remains. In an admirable way the collect links the Annunciation and the Incarnation with the themes associated with the time of the year [Lent] in which the feast occurs.

Marion J. Hatchett, Commentary on the American Prayer Book, (New York: The Seabury Press, 1981), p. 200

Be well. Do good. Pay attention. Keep learning.

Image: Art in the Christian Tradition (Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

 

Collect: Gregory the Illuminator, Bishop and Missionary of Armenia, c. 332 (Mar 23)

May we, in our generation, show forth the praise of God.

gregory-illuminotor

Armenia was the first nation-state to become officially Christian, and this set a precedent for the adoption of Christianity by the Emperor Constantine. As a buffer state between the more powerful empires of Rome and Persia, Armenia endured many shifts of policy, as first one and then the other empire took it “under protection.”

The accounts of Gregory, known as the Illuminator and as Apostle of the Armenians, are a mixture of legend and fact. He was born about 257. After his father assassinated the Persian King Chosroes I, the infant boy was rescued and taken to Caesarea in Cappadocia, where he was brought up as a Christian.  Read more

Holy Women, Holy Men

The Collect for the Commemoration

Almighty God, whose will it is to be glorified in your saints, and who raised up your servant Gregory the Illuminator to be a light in the world, and to preach the Gospel to the people of Armenia: Shine, we pray, in our hearts, that we also in our generation may show forth your praise, who called us out of darkness into your marvelous light; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Do you hear what we’re asking? “Shine…in our hearts…you who have called us out of darkness into your marvelous light,” is our intercessory prayer. Illuminate us, so that “in our generation we may show forth your praise,” we continue. May it be so, I pray. ~Fr. Dan

Be well. Do good. Pay attention. Keep learning.

Image: Holy Women, Holy Men

Has the Childhood Home of Jesus Been Found?

Jesus’ home in Nazareth

Excavation site in Nazareth

This essay originally appeared on Bible History Daily from the Biblical Archeology Society on March 17, 2017. It is an updated version of a 2015 posting.

Begin quote

The childhood home of Jesus may have been found underneath the Sisters of Nazareth Convent in Nazareth, Israel, according to archaeologist Ken Dark.

The excavation site located beneath the convent has been known since 1880, but it was never professionally excavated until the Nazareth Archaeological Project began its work in 2006. In “Has Jesus’ Nazareth House Been Found?” in the March/April 2015 issue of BAR, Ken Dark, the director of the Nazareth Archaeological Project, not only describes the remains of the home itself, but explores the evidence that suggests that this is the place where Jesus spent his formative years—or at least the place regarded in the Byzantine period as the childhood home of Jesus.

The excavation revealed a first-century “courtyard house” that was partially hewn from naturally occurring rock and partially constructed with rock-built walls. Many of the home’s original features are still intact, including doors and windows. Also found at the site were tombs, a cistern and, later, a Byzantine church.

The remains combined with the description found in the seventh-century pilgrim account De Locus Sanctis point to the courtyard house found beneath the convent as what may have been regarded as Jesus’ home in Nazareth. Archaeological and geographical evidence from the Church of the Annunciation, the International Marion Center and Mary’s Well come together to suggest that this location may be where Jesus transitioned from boy to man.

Ken Dark also discusses the relationship between the childhood home of Jesus, Nazareth and the important site of Sepphoris. It has been thought that Sepphoris would have provided Joseph with work and Jesus many important cultural experiences. However, Ken Dark believes that Nazareth was a larger town than traditionally understood and was particularly Jewish in its identity—as opposed to the Roman-influenced Sepphoris. This is partially based on the result of his survey of the Nahal Zippori region that separates Sepphoris and Nazareth geographically.

For more on the childhood home of Jesus, read the full article “Has Jesus’ Nazareth House Been Found?” by Ken Dark in the March/April 2015 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review.

end-quote-black-71by52

Image: Bible History Daily. Description: “This very well could be the childhood home of Jesus. It doesn’t look inviting, but this rock-hewn courtyard house was quite likely Jesus’ home in Nazareth. The recent excavation by Ken Dark and the Nazareth Archaeological Project revealed evidence suggesting this is where Jesus was raised—or at the least the place venerated as such by the Byzantine period. Photo: Ken Dark.”

Water of Life | Art for Lent 3A

A visual exploration of John 4:14

“Jesus said, ‘ the water that I shall give will be an inner spring always welling up for eternal life” John 4:14

Christ and the Samaritan Woman

Broadbent, Stephen, 1961-
The Water of Life
Sculpture, freestanding, metal
Chester Cathedral
Chester GB
Click image for more information.

Detail Views

 

A short introduction to John 4:5-42, the Gospel Lesson appointed for Lent 3A in the Revised Common Lectionary:

Our gospel tells the story of Jesus’ meeting with the Samaritan woman by Jacob’s well. The narrative is rich with themes. Jesus is willing to break with custom in order to talk with one who is both a woman and a foreigner. True worship of God is tied to no particular place. He himself offers living water which wells up to eternal life. The woman learns that Jesus is the expected Messiah, and later others from the town come to believe that he is the world’s Savior. During an interval in the story, Jesus speaks with his disciples concerning his true food and drink, and tells them that the time of harvesting for eternal life is at hand. Introducing the Lessons of the Church Year

Please follow the Case Study link (below) to learn more about this sculpture in the Garden of the Chester Cathedral. ~Fr. Dan

Be well. Do good. Pay attention. Keep learning.

Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment

Episcopal Relief and Development Logo

This is the introduction to work of Episcopal Relief & Development (ERD) to promote gender equality, to empower women, and to oppose and heal gender-based violence. The ERD page contains links to specific programs, data about gender-based violence, and an invitation to help heal a hurting world. Read more

Begin quote

Gender equality, women’s empowerment and gender-based violence (GBV) prevention and response are cross-cutting themes that shape and inform all of Episcopal Relief & Development’s integrated programs worldwide. In order to sustainably and equitably address hunger, poverty, disease and post-disaster relief and recovery, local attitudes and customs around gender, power and gender-based violence must also be taken into account.

“Unless women fully enjoy their human rights, to which freedom from violence is inextricably bound, progress toward development will continue to fall short.”  USAID

Gender roles and other social norms impact every area of Episcopal Relief & Development’s work, and addressing gender-based violence (GBV) is a major area of focus. GBV affects the health and well-being of women in every country, regardless of socioeconomic or ‘development’ status, and almost all of our partners identify violence against women and girls as a major obstacle to healthy and prosperous families and communities. There is a great need for the voice and action of faith leaders, communities and institutions to prevent and respond to GBV, and to restore the health, dignity and livelihoods of women and girls affected by violence.

Although GBV is often associated with countries experiencing conflict, it is present everywhere, in various forms such as domestic violence, rape and the marginalization of girls and women across cultures and nations. Stemming from attitudes and practices around gender and power that are deeply ingrained in society and culture, GBV is a sensitive issue and often falls by the wayside of community dialogues and interventions. Change must come from within those communities to be lasting and effective, and faith leaders have a unique position of trust and influence at both the individual and community levels to enable and encourage such change. Our programs aim to empower these leaders and to leverage their roles in their communities to become champions for the support, protection and empowerment of survivors of violence, and of women and girls in general. Read more about this on the ERD website.

end-quote-black-71by52

Be well. Do good. Pay attention. Keep learning.

 

Commission on the Status of Women 61 in 2017 (UN Women)

UN Women (Homepage)

Gender Equality, Women’s Empowerment, & GBV (Episcopal Relief & Development)

Women ‘donate themselves’ to help find peace in South Sudan campaigner tells UN meeting

How women are leading the way to peace and reconciliation.

[L-R] Harriet Baka Nathan & Joy Kwaje Eluzai
Photo Credit: ACNS

Originally Posted on: March 16, 2017 3:28 PM by Anglican Communion News Service (ACNS)

Related Categories on ACNS: apjn, iawn, Other News, South Sudan, Sudan, UN, UNCSW

Begin quoteKey Anglican campaigners for peace and justice in war-torn South Sudan have told a meeting at the United Nations in New York about the vital role women and the church have been playing in peace building and supporting the victims of conflict.

Harriet Baka Nathan, from the Episcopal Church of South Sudan and Mothers’ Union, and Joy Kwaje Eluzai, a member of the country’s national assembly, were speaking to a packed meeting at the UN Commission on the Status of Women.

“Women have become an example to the community,” Harriet told them. “The church has become a role model as we wait for a bigger peace – reconciliation. The women never waited, the Mothers’ Union never waited, the Church never waited. We are donors of ourselves – when the conflict comes, we call a meeting and we give whatever we have.”

Harriet described how the conflict had devastated the country, displacing hundreds of thousands of people. The absence of people to work the land had led to widespread hunger and now there was a famine. She told the meeting how on one occasion, she had been part of a convoy taking aid to displaced people who had fled into the bush.

“God gave me courage to escort 25 tons (of aid) into a camp which was in the bush. This was very dangerous – I could have been raped or killed. But I did not have that fear at all because I was dressed with a spirit of boldness.

“She described how extreme hunger had left many women in the camp bedridden. But once a distribution centre was set up, the atmosphere began to change.

“In a short time there was smoke (around the camp) – people began to make porridge on small fires. Hope came back and then life came back.”

Harriet gave the meeting snapshots of various projects where women were working to bring peace to South Sudan.  She said they had initially been left out of negotiations but were now monitoring the implementation of peace agreements and lobbying hard for the agreements to be honoured.

In one example, she explained the vital role women had played in the diocese of Bor, the scene of some of the fiercest fighting. She had realised that bringing peace – and food – among the women would be a uniting factor.

“Because once you unite the women… where are the husbands who will not follow their wives and their children?  So as the women (from different tribes) got united – their families began to benefit and slowly these fighting men, who were not coming together, slowly they came in too.

“So the project provided food and united these fighting tribes. Now Bor is a role model for the Church. It has really created hope and it has created peace.”

Harriet also described how thousands of women had benefited from projects in literacy, numeracy and income generation and how better education had given them confidence to participate more fully in society. She said they felt inspired and economically empowered.

She thanked Christians around the world for their ongoing support.

“We are not alone with the Anglican Communion behind us,” she said. “If we were all alone, I don’t think we could make it”.Joy Kwaje Eluzai urged the audience to do more.“We are looking for shoulders to help us,” she said. “How can we reach your governments to make sure that peace is reached in South Sudan? How do we get your support and your strength to tell your governments that we are tired of the war?”

Noting that the theme of UNCSW61 is the economic empowerment of women, she said this had been eroded by the conflict in South Sudan. But she said the country had the desire, energy and the capacity to achieve the goals that had been set out by the UNCSW on the opening day.“t is only with peace that we can put the economic empowerment of women into perspective,” she said. “Economic empowerment of women benefits society. If a woman is empowered, that family is empowered…  and her children will never go uneducated.”

The meeting had to be hastily rescheduled by the Anglican Communion team at the UN after a snowstorm hit New York. The UN building was one of many in the city which was forced to stay closed because of the bad weather. Transport was also badly hit. But despite the difficulties, around 60 delegates attended the briefing by Harriet and Joy.

end-quote-black-71by52

Source: Women ‘donate themselves’ to help find peace in South Sudan campaigner tells UN meeting