Pursuing our God-given work with integrity and courage.
New ev’ry morning is the love
Our wakening and uprising prove:
Through sleep and darkness safely brought,
Restored to life and power and thought.
These familiar words of John Keble are from his cycle of poems entitled The Christian Year (1827), which he wrote to restore among Anglicans a deep feeling for the Church Year. The work went through ninety-ﬁve editions, but this was not the fame he sought: his consuming desire was to be a faithful pastor, who ﬁnds his fulﬁllment in daily services, conﬁrmation classes, visits to village schools, and a voluminous correspondence with those seeking spiritual counsel.
Keble, born in 1792, received his early education in his father’s vicarage. At fourteen, he won a scholarship to Oxford and graduated in 1811 with highest honors. He served the University in several capacities, including ten years as Professor of Poetry. After ordination in 1816 he had a series of rural curacies, and ﬁnally settled in 1836 into a thirty-year pastorate at the village of Hursley, near Winchester. Read more
Holy Women, Holy Men
Grant, O God, that in all time of our testing we may know your presence and obey your will; that, following the example of your servant John Keble, we may accomplish with integrity and courage what you give us to do, and endure what you give us to bear; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen
Among the many thanksgiving I commonly offer is that God sets challenges before me that expands mind and heart and spirit. Pray with me that, with God’s help, you and I may truly accomplish—with integrity and courage—the work God has given us to do. ~Fr. Dan
Behold the Lord’s Servant.
Ecce Ancilla Domini! (Behold the Lord’s Servant)
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
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  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
Image: Art in the Christian Tradition (Vanderbilt Divinity Library)
May we, in our generation, show forth the praise of God.
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
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
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May we come at last to the light of everlasting life.
Patrick was born into a Christian family somewhere on the northwest coast of Britain in about 390. His grandfather had been a Christian priest and his father, Calpornius, a deacon. Calpornius was an important ofﬁcial in the late Roman imperial government of Britain. It was not unusual in this post-Constantinian period for such state officials to be in holy orders. When Patrick was about sixteen, he was captured by a band of Irish slave-raiders. He was carried off to Ireland and forced to serve as a shepherd. When he was about twenty-one, he escaped and returned to Britain, where he was educated as a Christian. He tells us that he took holy orders as both presbyter and bishop, although no particular see is known as his at this time. A vision then called him to return to Ireland. This he did about the year 431.
Tradition holds that Patrick landed not far from the place of his earlier captivity, near what is now known as Downpatrick (a “down” or “dun” is a fortiﬁed hill, the stronghold of a local Irish king). He then began a remarkable process of missionary conversion throughout the country that continued until his death, probably in 461.
Holy Women, Holy Men
Almighty God, in your providence you chose your servant Patrick to be the apostle of the Irish people, to bring those who were wandering in darkness and error to the true light and knowledge of you: Grant us so to walk in that light that we may come at last to the light of everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
May we respond to God’s answer of our prayer and walk as children of the light. ~Fr. Dan
“I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone, for salvation….”
John was the ﬁfteenth, and Charles the eighteenth, child of Samuel Wesley, Rector of Epworth, Lincolnshire. John was born June 17, 1703, and Charles, December 18, 1707.
The lives and fortunes of the brothers were closely intertwined. As founders and leaders of the “Methodist” or evangelical revival in eighteenth-century England, their continuing inﬂuence redounds throughout the world and is felt in many Churches.
Although their theological writings and sermons are still widely appreciated, it is through their hymns—especially those of Charles, who wrote over six thousand of them—that their religious experience, and their Christian faith and life, continue to affect the hearts of many.
Holy Women, Holy Men
Lord God, you inspired your servants John and Charles Wesley with burning zeal for the sanctiﬁcation of souls, and endowed them with eloquence in speech and song: Kindle in your Church, we entreat you, such fervor, that those whose faith has cooled may be warmed, and those who have not known Christ may turn to him and be saved; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
The Collect used in worship can be both a prayer of intercession and petition. In this Collect we are clearly praying for others (“Kindle in your Church”), it is a prayer of intercession. However, you and I are members of this Church, so we are praying for ourselves, it can be a prayer of petition. Recognizing this as a prayer for the whole church, I find it useful (almost always) to focus on the Collect as a prayer of petition. Here, I am asking this: “Kindle in me—a member of your Church, Lord God—such fervor, that those whose faith has cooled may be warmed, and those who have not known Christ may turn to him and be saved.” As I join other Church members in this prayer and this mission, I believe God will be glorified. And you? ~Fr. Dan
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A witness to the strength of God in times of trial.
Eric Henry Liddell achieved international renown as an Olympic gold medalist, as an avid rugby player, and as a person totally devoted to his faith in Jesus Christ.
Liddell was born in 1902 in China, the second son of missionary parents. At the age of six he was sent with his older brother to Eltham College, Blackheath, a boarding school for the children of missionaries. Liddell remained there until he enrolled in Edinburgh University. Liddell excelled in athletics throughout his educational career.
… The award-winning film, Chariots of Fire, is the story of Eric Liddell and his participation in Olympiad VIII.
After his graduation from Edinburgh, Liddell returned to North China, near his birthplace, and served as a missionary from 1925-1943. … In 1943, Liddell was interned in the Japanese concentration camp at Weihsein. Having won the respect of his captors, Liddell is remembered by camp survivors for his ministry among them. He died in 1945 shortly before the camp’s liberation.
God whose strength bears us up as on mighty wings: We rejoice in remembering your athlete and missionary, Eric Liddell, to whom you gave courage and resolution in contest and in captivity; and we pray that we also may run with endurance the race set before us and persevere in patient witness, until we wear that crown of victory won for us by Jesus our Savior; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Have you experienced the strength of God in moments of trial? Not many of us will be called upon to endure the trials that filled Eric’s life. Not many of us will be called upon to share the Good News in the extreme conditions encountered by Eric. And yet, we may be called upon to trust God’s strength in the midst of lesser trials. We may be called upon to share the Love we know even when it is inconvenient. May we all “persevere in patient witness” to the God who calls us “my beloved.” ~Fr. Dan