Remembering Mark, Evangelist

The beginning of the Gospel of Mark from the 7th century Book of DurrowApril 25 The Feast of St. Mark, Evangelist

“The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” Mark 1:1 NRSV

Almighty God, by the hand of Mark the evangelist you have given to your Church the Gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God: We thank you for this witness, and pray that we may be firmly grounded in its truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

 

The Book of Common Prayer, p. 240

Image: The beginning of the Gospel of Mark in the 7th century Book of Durrow. Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain.

‘Homeless Jesus’ provokes debate on what it means to be Christian

I share a post that was among others on Religion News Service today. As I read the article I wondered if those with opinions moved beyond conversation/debate to action? It is a good question for me, and for you who read this. What happens after awareness? ~dan rondeau

From RNS: ‘Homeless Jesus’ provokes debate on what it means to be Christian | Religion News Service.

Sculpture of Homeless Jesus. There is room for one to sit and pray.

We have also brought attention to “Homeless Jesus” and the question persists: what will we do with this awareness? Our posts:

O Antiphons (Dec 17-23)

The exact origin of the “O Antiphons” is not known. Boethius (c. 480-524) made a slight reference to them, thereby suggesting their presence at that time. At the Benedictine abbey of Fleury (now Saint-Benoit-sur-Loire), these antiphons were recited by the abbot and other abbey leaders in descending rank, and then a gift was given to each member of the community. By the eighth century, they are in use in the liturgical celebrations in Rome. The usage of the “O Antiphons” was so prevalent in monasteries that the phrases, “Keep your O” and “The Great O Antiphons” were common parlance. One may thereby conclude that in some fashion the “O Antiphons” have been part of our liturgical tradition since the very early Church. Read more: What are the O Antiphons from Catholic Education Resource Center

Sr. Joan Chittister has provided an entire page to help you pray the O Antiphons (from December 17th through December 23rd). Each meditation is accompanied by a women’s choir chanting the Antiphon in English. Use this online meditation to deepen your prayers as Advent comes to a close and the Nativity arrives.

Praying with those in the Philippines

2013 Central Philippines devastated by typhoon Haiya   Framework   Photos and Video   Visual Storytelling from the Los Angeles Times
In the ruins of Tacloban after Typhoon Haiyan. Click the image to view others from the LA Times Photo Gallery

Typhoon Haiyan spread death and destruction when it reached land in the Philippines. At this time (Tuesday 11/12/13) the death toll continues to rise and pictures of the devastation give us a heart-wrenching look at the survivors and what is left of their homes, neighborhoods, and cities.

As I write, I know I cannot physically go and give aid. I believe that most (or all) of you reading this are in a similar place. Nonetheless, ‘love of neighbor’ calls us to action.

What that action will be is very dependent on our ability to empathize with those who have been hurt or harmed and to empathize with those who are able (maybe even required) to physically go and search for and minister to the hurt and homeless and hungry. Then, our empathy will call forth our response of donations to help both groups. Encircling us in this discernment is our prayer.

For whether we go or stay, whether we can give much or a little, we are called to pray. As one who has received grace upon grace through prayer I tell you that prayer and praying is more powerful a force—for the one who prays and the one being prayed for—than you can imagine.

Please join me in giving and praying for brothers and sisters young and old, in the Philippines. Join me, too, in praying for those who are able to be on the ground as an answer to prayer.

From  the Church of England:

O loving Creator, bring healing and hope to those who, at this time, grieve, suffer pain, or who have been made homeless by the force of flood in Philippines.

We remember those who have died and we pray for those who mourn for them.

May we all be aware of Your compassion, O God, which calms our troubled hearts and shelters our anxious souls.

May we pray with humility with our troubled and struggling brothers and sisters on earth. May we dare to hope that through the generosity of the privileged, the destitute might glimpse hope, warmth and life again.

Through our Saviour Christ who lives with us, comforts us and soothes us. Amen.

South African Anglicans respond to Archbishop Deng’s Challenge

On October 5th we shared the ACNS reporting of Archbishop Deng’s challenge to the Church. He was speaking to Anglicans in South Africa (and to all women and men of goodwill). The Church in South Africa has responded.

The Primate of the Episcopal Church of Sudan, the Most Revd Daniel Deng Bul YakThe Anglican Church in Southern Africa has committed itself to form a partnership with the Episcopal Church in Sudan, with which it shares membership of the Anglican Communion.

The commitment to pursue a ‘partners in mission’ relationship was made by the church’s Provincial Synod, meeting this week in Benoni, South Africa. I

t came in response to the address given by the Archbishop of Sudan, the Most Revd Dr Daniel Deng Bul, who has been a guest of the Provincial Synod, and of the Synod of Bishops which preceded it.

Read the report shared by AllAfrica.com on 10/7/13

A challenge from Sudan

On Sunday (10/6) we will take a closer look at 2 Timothy 1:1-14 (the lesson appointed for worship). Among other things we’ll hear, anew, the Apostle’s exhortation: “rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands; for God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline. (vv. 6-7 NRSV). Overall this letter exhorts Timothy (and us) to continue to trust the God who has called us and blessed us and sent us into the world to share God’s love.
In the midst of this study comes this challenge from the Primate of the Episcopal Church of Sudan (ministries exist in both Sudan and South Sudan). It is a reminder that being Christian is not always easy and that trusting God is not always easy and that prayer needs to be concurrent with action.

The Primate of the Episcopal Church of Sudan, the Most Revd Daniel Deng Bul YakThe Primate of the Episcopal Church of Sudan, the Most Revd Daniel Deng Bul Yak has challenged the worldwide Anglican Communion to actively help the war-affected people of South Sudan.

He was speaking in an exclusive interview with ACNS in Johannesburg, South Africa, where he is attending the Anglican Church of Southern Africa’s Provincial Synod as special guest.

The Primate complained that the Anglican Church in South Sudan felt it was struggling alone and not receiving adequate support from other Member Churches. “People are just saying we are supporting you in prayers, but prayers must be followed by action.

“We need good education and health and there are a lot of experienced people within the Anglican Communion who can come and help us,” he said. “We need missionaries to come and set up schools and health centres in South Sudan. There is a lot that Anglicans can do to help.” (Anglican Communion News Service, ACNS)

Read the complete report of the Archbishop’s Challenge.

Let us add this to our Sunday discussion. Come and join us on Sunday (10/6/13) if you are able.

Recreated by Christ’s love

The cross in the church of San DamianoWhere did Francis’s journey to Christ begin? It began with the gaze of the crucified Jesus. With letting Jesus look at us at the very moment that he gives his life for us and draws us to himself. Francis experienced this in a special way in the Church of San Damiano, as he prayed before the cross …

Today, October 4th, the Church remembers Francis of Assisi. Pope Francis traveled to Assisi and celebrated the Eucharist with thousands. His homily, at least the prepared text ( we know he often ad libs), is available for our consideration.

The Pope asks, “What does Saint Francis’s witness tell us today? What does he have to say to us, not merely with words – that is easy enough – but by his life?” He sets before us three answers beginning with:

His first and most essential witness is this: that being a Christian means having a living relationship with the person of Jesus; it means putting on Christ, being conformed to him. […]

On that cross, Jesus is depicted not as dead, but alive! Blood is flowing from his wounded hands, feet and side, but that blood speaks of life. Jesus’ eyes are not closed but open, wide open: he looks at us in a way that touches our hearts. The cross does not speak to us about defeat and failure; paradoxically, it speaks to us about a death which is life, a death which gives life, for it speaks to us of love, the love of God incarnate, a love which does not die, but triumphs over evil and death.

He proceeds to offer two other answers:

… the second witness that Francis gives us: that everyone who follows Christ receives true peace, the peace that Christ alone can give, a peace which the world cannot give.

… [third] Saint Francis of Assisi bears witness to the need to respect all that God has created, and that men and women are called to safeguard and protect, but above all he bears witness to respect and love for every human being.

Read the text of his homily. Understand the Pope’s prayers for us. I also encourage you to be attentive to reports of his ad lib comments and find trusted commentators (like Fr. James Martin, SJ, or the writers on Religion News Service or the folks at America Magazine) who have access to even more information and anecdotal material.

Ask yourself …

… do you pray for that brother or sister
who’s in difficulty for confessing their faith?

That is the question Pope Francis asked of the crowd in St. Peter’s Square on Wednesday, September 25, 2013.

Grieving after a suicide bomb attack in Peshawar, Pakistan

The Pope’s comments came in response to an attack on an Anglican Church in Peshawar, Pakistan that left 78 dead. Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, also spoke of the courage, the willingness to forgive, and the ‘cry for justice’ arising from the ashes of the destruction. Listen to his comments on Radio 4’s World at One.

Well, do you pray for brothers and sisters you may never meet, but who are family to you?

A prayer for courage

As we considered the words of Jesus (Luke 14:25-33) on Sunday (9/8/13) about discipleship the discussion was lively. As our session concluded we each made a commitment to be more intentional about in following the Way of Jesus this week. And we prayed:

Give us the courage to follow the way of your cross, and to trust that though it confounds the logic of the world, your way interrupts the patterns of sin and death, both now and forever. Amen.

Claiborne, Shane Claiborne, Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, Enuma Okoro, Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals (p. 401). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

A short note on the Book of Common Prayer

The Book of Common Prayer (1662)

“Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.”
“All the deceits of the world, the flesh and the devil.”
“Read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest.”

Shakespeare? The King James Bible? Close — the Anglican Book of Common Prayer, the liturgical and literary masterpiece that along with the playwright and the landmark Bible helped shape the English language, [marked its 350th anniversary in 2012].

Anglicans Celebrate Book of Common Prayer’s 350th Anniversary by Trevor Grundy for Ecumenical News International and posted by Sojourners on May 2, 2012

From the same article:

The anniversary actually refers to the revised edition that still stands as the official doctrinal standard of the Church of England and most other churches in the worldwide Anglican Communion. After Henry VIII’s break with the Roman Catholic Church, Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Cranmer set out to replace the Latin missal with a book of liturgical services and prayers in English that would also incorporate theological changes, such as less prominence for saints.

The Prayer Book now appears in many variants in the 77 million-member Anglican Communion and has influenced the liturgical texts of other denominations.

The book’s language — another phrase is “till death us do part” from the marriage service — resonates even today, said Bishop Stephen Platten, chair of the Church of England’s Liturgical Commission. “Even in an apparently secular world, large numbers come to have their children christened or baptized. The cadences of the Prayer Book have become part of a treasury of prayers and reflections that have helped to fashion people’s lives,”

Read the entire post by Trevor Grundy.

Do you have some favorites from the Book of Common Prayer? Share them in the Comments section here. Keep the conversation going …

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Photo from the article by Trevor Grundy via Shutterstock