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.

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Collect: Patrick, Bishop and Missionary of Ireland, 461 (Mar 17)

May we come at last to the light of everlasting life.

 

St. Patrick Icon

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.

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Holy Women, Holy Men

The Collect for the Commemoration

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

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

Collect: John and Charles Wesley, Priests, 1791, 1788 (Mar 3)

“I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone, for salvation….”

 

John and Charles Wesley

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.

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Holy Women, Holy Men

The Collect for the Commemoration

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

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

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Collect: Eric Liddell, Missionary to China, 1945 (Feb 22)

A witness to the strength of God in times of trial.

Eric Liddell

 

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.

Read the entire post on Holy Women, Holy Men

Collect for the Commemoration

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

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

 

Collect: John Henry Newman Priest and Theologian, 1890 (Feb 16)

Scripture, tradition, and reason in one man’s life. What can we learn?

 

Cardinal John Henry Newman

John Henry Newman was among the founders of the Oxford Movement and a prolific tractarian, having authored two dozen of the Tracts of the Times, the series of pamphlets setting forth the tenets of the movement. Most notably, Newman is remembered as the author of Tract 90, in which he sought to reconcile the teaching of Roman Catholicism with the Thirty-Nine Articles of the Church of England.

Read the entire post on Holy Women, Holy Men

Collect for the Commemoration

God of all wisdom, we thank you for John Henry Newman, whose eloquence bore witness that your Church is one, holy, catholic and apostolic, and who made his own life a pilgrimage towards your truth. Grant that, inspired by his words and example, we may ever follow your kindly light till we rest in your bosom, with your dear Son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, where heart speaks to heart eternally; for you live and reign, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

 

Are you ready to seek out the “kindly light” radiating from the God of all wisdom? Has this light shone in your darkness already? May you find joy and wonder as you experience God’s kindly light this day. May you experience heart speaking to heart now, and eternally. ~Fr. Dan

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

 

Remembering St. Andrew, November 30th

Every November 30th the Episcopal Church remembers Saint Andrew, Apostle. Here’s a fun look at the history that has made Saint Andrew important to the Scottish people:

Prayers and readings we use on this day

 

Sarah Josepha Buell Hale

Sarah Josepha Buell Hale as pictured in Godey's Lady BookOn our “Wednesday Morning Spiritual Day Hike” we walked with Sarah Josepha Buell Hale yesterday (5/1/13). Sarah Hale is commemorated in the Episcopal Church’s (trial) Calendar, Holy Women, Holy Men on April 30th.

Sarah, a woman ahead of her time in some ways, was a woman of her time in others. Shining through it all: her love of God and neighbor. She continues to inspire folks she never met living some 200 years later in a part of her country she never visited. The Communion of Saints is an amazing thing.

Watch, Sarah Hale: The Mother of Thanksgiving, an Audio Slide Show posted by BackStory with the American History Guys

The Collect of Day as we commemorate Sarah Hale:

Gracious God, we bless your Name for the vision and witness of Sarah Hale, whose advocacy for the ministry of women helped to support the deaconess movement. Make us grateful for your many blessings, that we may come closer to Christ in our own families; through Jesus Christ our Savior, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen..