Theodore of Tarsus, Archbishop of Canterbury, 690

A Collect commemorating Theodore of Tarsus

Almighty God, you called your servant Theodore of Tarsus from Rome to the see of Canterbury, and gave him gifts of grace and wisdom to establish unity where there had been division, and order where there had been chaos: Create in your Church, by the operation of the Holy Spirit, such godly union and concord that it may proclaim, both by word and example, the Gospel of the Prince of Peace; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(Collect for the Commemoration of Theodore of Tarsus, Archbishop of Canterbury, 690 in Holy Women, Holy Men)

Inspired by offline encouragement, I find myself wandering through the Collects (prayers used by many churches including the Episcopal Church at the start of worship). Come wander with me. Hear what the Spirit is saying, as you listen to what we ask (and what we say about ourselves and our God) in the Collect we pray as we commemorate Theodore of Tarsus:

Almighty God

In this Collect we address God as “Almighty God.” In other Collects we use different terms of address (and we’ll take them up as they appear).

  • What images come to your mind and heart when you hear “Almighty God”? (Asked another way, what images come to your mind and heart when you call out “Almighty God”?)
  • Leaving your feelings out of it (for the moment) what scriptural and theological “truth” is being spoken when we use this form of address? (That is, what truth—rooted in scripture, tradition, and reason—do we perpetuate, do we pass along, in speaking this way?)
  • What feelings/emotions are stirred up by using this form of addressing God?

you called your servant Theodore of Tarsus from Rome to the see of Canterbury

  • Is everyone “called” by God to some ministry, work, place, or adventure by “Almighty God”?
  • What evidence do you have for your answer?
  • Have you ever felt called by God?
  • If yes, how did you know it was a “call” originating in God?
  • If no, explore what you understand by the word “call” and what “measures” you will use to determine that you are being engaged in a divine dialogue (or not).

and gave him gifts of grace and wisdom to establish unity where there had been division, and order where there had been chaos

A pretty substantial calling (to establish unity and order) to be sure. A noble calling, requiring “gifts of grace and wisdom.”

  • What is a call of God to which you have responded (or are responding)?
  • What gifts of God helped you (or are helping you) fulfill your role in God’s call?

Create in your Church, by the operation of the Holy Spirit, such godly union and concord [that it may proclaim, both by word and example, the Gospel of the Prince of Peace]

There are 2 pieces to this part of the Collect: our petition (that God create anew) and our aspiration in receiving what we ask “that it (the Church) may proclaim….”

  • On a scale of 1-5 (1 = don’t believe at all to 5 = confidently believe), how firmly do you believe that God continues to create new things? Explain.
  • What “operation of the Holy Spirit” is required in order to help us (the Church) create a “godly union and concord”?
  • What is our role in helping God (by the operation of the Holy Spirit) create “godly union and concord” in the Church (that is, among ourselves)?

[Create in your Church, by the operation of the Holy Spirit, such godly union and concord] that it may proclaim, both by word and example, the Gospel of the Prince of Peace

To reiterate, in many of our Collects we ask God’s grace and blessing so that we may do (or do better), live (or live better) the will of God in our world. This is one of those Collects. After asking God to continue in us the creative activity of bringing us together and helping us live in harmony we speak our aspiration: “that [we] (the Church) may proclaim, both by word and example, the Gospel of the Prince of Peace.”

  • Who is the Prince of Peace?
  • How do you know this?
  • How does (y)our church “proclaim … by word and example, the Gospel of the Prince of Peace”?
  • Can you list 5 such “proclamations”? Can you list 10? 20? Make and share your list.
  • What are some “proclamations” (y)our church might make better? might make for the first time?

If you are able to pray a Collect slowly, with serious (not cursory) reflection, with honest challenges to yourself and your church, you will find a rich and wonderful universe (a godly universe) of possibility, promise, and challenge.

In this and succeeding posts I will share my questions for reflection. I am certain that other questions will occur to you and I encourage you to ask them in the Comments section. I journal regularly. More than ask questions of you, I ask them of myself; my answers are written in my journal. My answers do indeed influence who I am and how I behave. My hope is that you, too, will find direction, encouragement, wisdom, challenge, comfort, as you ask and answer questions raised by the words we use in our Collects.

What are your thoughts as you listen to this prayer? What are your experiences, your hopes, your beliefs, given voice in this prayer? Please continue the conversation in the Comment section. Be well. Do good. Pay attention. Keep learning.

That we may know your presence

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 Edward Bouverie Pusey, we may with integrity and courage accomplish 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. (Collect for the Commemoration of Edward Bouverie Pusey, Priest 1882 in Holy Women, Holy Men)

The Collect is a prayer regularly used in our worship. Its form was settled early in our history. After addressing God (and often acknowledging, even praising, divine attributes that thrill, or comfort, or challenge us) we ask God to meet our needs with grace for the moment, and grace for the future. Often we ask for this grace so that we may accomplish God’s will “on earth as in heaven.” We make this prayer, always, “through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Every year on September 18 we remember Edward Bouverie Pusey, a priest, an educator, and a leader of church reform in 19th century England (with John Keble and John Henry Newman). From the Collect for this day, a Collect prayed for “the Church” (that is. for you and me and all members of the Church), consider what is asked for you/us and open your eyes to see how this prayer is being answered in you, in the Church, in our world.

Hear what the Spirit is saying, as you listen to what we ask (and what we say about ourselves and our God) in the Collect we pray as we commemorate Edward Bouverie Pusey:

  • “in all time of our testing” — we who know and love and seek to follow Jesus understand that we will be tested in body and mind and spirit; we do not shrink from these tests, these trials;
  • AND we ask that God grant sufficient grace in order that “we may know your presence and obey your will,” — to feel the presence of God even in the midst of great trials and tests is a true joy (I speak from experience, I have been there, I have encountered God in the midst of darkness and the threat of destruction and found both peace and joy in that encounter)
  • AND we ask this grace for a purpose; we ask so that
    • “following the example of your servant Edward Bouverie Pusey”— we are connected to all those who have gone before us and who have lived, like Edward, through challenges, trials, and “tests” giving us confidence that we, too, can find our way;
    • “we may with integrity and courage accomplish what you give us to do,” — following the example of those who have gone before puts “flesh” on concepts like integrity and courage and gives us hope that we may accomplish the work we have been given to do in the Reign of God (and yes, we believe that God has indeed given us work to do);
    • “and, endure what you give us to bear” — again, knowing that Edward was able to endure with integrity and courage in his day, gives us the audacity to ask God to grant us grace, in our day, to “endure” even when we would like to give up.

What are your thoughts as you listen to this prayer? What are your experiences, your hopes, your beliefs, given voice in this prayer? Please continue the conversation in the Comment section. Be well. Do good. Pay attention. Keep learning.

A Litany of Thankfulness

Sunday we heard how Jesus, with the help of a little boy and his lunch, fed a great crowd of people (collecting 12 baskets full of left overs). God of abundance. Here’s a litany to give voice to the prayers of our hearts. ~dan

Godspace

Yesterday I posted on Why Does God’s Path Always Seem So Narrow?a reflection on our need to be thankful for the abundant blessings of God that are already present in this moment. Out of that has flowed this litany of thankfulness to God. Enjoy!

God the fulfiller of enduring promises,

Christ the sharer of abundant love,

Spirit the giver of eternal life,

Holy Trinity, One in essence, Three in person,

For your welcome to this lavish feast of plenty, 

We praise and thank you today.

God of the plentiful and ever giving heart,

Christ of the generous and overflowing bounty,

Spirit who gives enough for our own needs and abundance for every good work,

Holy Trinity, One in essence, Three in person,

For the wonder of your provision that never runs dry, 

We praise and thank you today.

God whose love never gives up,

Christ whose forgiveness never…

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7/20/12—Maturing in wisdom and age

Jesus matured in wisdom and years, and in favor with God and with people. Luke 2:52 CEB

The wisdom of a Lutheran Pastor …

Note: The House for All Sinners and Saints is in Denver, CO.

As far as we know, all the House for all Sinners and Saints folks are safe, but many of us had friends and loved ones who were at that theater last night who are quite shaken. Kyrie. Let us pray for all those involved including the shooter. It’s one of the less pleasant elements of the Christian faith, but loving the enemy was not a suggestion.
–(The Rev.) Nadia Bolz-Weber (on Facebook)

After the killing in Aurora, CO our bishop wrote …

The horrific tragedy in Aurora, Colorado rightly brings us to our knees in prayer. Our emotions are myriad: shock, sorrow, anger, and disbelief. While we pray for those who have died, their families, and indeed the perpetrator and his family, we should pause to question the culture of violence that is pervasive in our country.

Guns, violent films and video games did not commit murder yesterday night; a very disturbed individual did. However, it is not a remarkable supposition to think that a contributing factor to this senseless massacre is the lethal combination of available guns and the relentless presentation of violent acts. The latter makes violence seem incidental and inconsequential.

As followers of the prince of peace, we must redouble our efforts to stop senseless violence before it happens. We can go a long way as a society by having sensible gun control and by saying no to entertainment through violence. This will not bring back the victims of this dark moment, but perhaps it will prevent others.
—The Rt. Rev. James R. Mathes Bishop

“Lead us not into temptation….” Wait. What?

One of my favorite teachers, Richard Rohr, has a weekly blog Unpacking Paradoxes. On June 17th he unpacked the phrase, “lead us not into temptation,” from the “Our Father.”

This line (In Matthew’s version of the Our Father) has never made sense to me, although I continue to say it since this is the way it is usually translated; but I cannot really appeciate it as is. Sometimes, it is translated “do not put us to the test” (In Luke’s version), which still seems strange and problematic. Why would God “lead” us into temptation or “put us to the test” to begin with? Is human life an obstacle course, a testing ground? Are we all on trial? I thought God’s usual job was to lead us away from temptation! Why would we need to ask God to NOT lead us INTO temptation? Does he?

Please read the rest of his post as he answers these questions. It is a different answer than you might expect. It is humbling and it makes a lot of sense to me.

Game-show God — A Nuns Life

“This is not what we were praying for, but this is what God sent.” After last night’s [5/23/12] In Good Faith podcast with Jane Knuth, I couldn’t get these words out of my head. … Late into the night I thought about this story and about the various reactions I’ve had when God’s response to me was unfathomable at the time. Sometimes I felt disappointed, confused, frustrated. Other times I had a good laugh, a new way to look at a situation, a deep sense of trust.

Sometime after midnight, I started to imagine God as the host of a TV game show called Jeopardy. On the show, the contestants get an answer first, and then they have to come up with the right question.  It made me smile to think that maybe God is always giving me answers, and that maybe my prayers are actually questions.

What are some of the reactions you’ve had to God’s response to your prayers? What image of God and prayer does it bring to mind for you?

Read the entire post (I recommend it) here: Game-show God — A Nuns Life by Sr. Maxine

With Sister Maine I ask you “What are some of the reactions you’ve had to God’s response to your prayers?” I have experienced disappointment, confusion, and frustration—as she has. I would add disorientation, bitterness, and despair.

Fortunately God’s “angel” (messenger) has often been timely in arriving and helping me back to trust (in God’s love, and in God’s joy), back to hope (that with God all things are possible and all things will work toward the good), and back to that Peace that passes all understanding. Waiting for the angel, doing the work, takes patience. I know.

Please leave a comment, help me to hear your story, let us together fashion our story.

Ready for a word order meditation?

The words are familiar: “The Lord is my shepherd ….” I have recited this Psalm many times with the dying, with the bereaved, with those struggling to find the strength to move on, or the strength to face a fear-filled future.

I have been with agitated men and women of a certain age, robbed of mental acuity by illness or injury, and watched calm wash over them and through them, watched peace come to them as I recited the words of Psalm 23.

But, change the word order and you will have the heart of our conversation in the Sunday Morning Forum as it gathers at 9:00 am on Sunday, April 29, 2012.

The Lord is my shepherd … . Ah, peace, strength, and …

IS the Lord my shepherd …? Ah. Wait. What? How dare you suggest …

In the readings appointed for Sunday we hear:

The Lord is my Shepherd … (Psalm 23:1)

We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us … (1 John 3:16)

Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd.The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep….” (John 10:11)

Look through the ups and downs of your life.

  • In what ways have these words of scripture been true for you?
  • When have these words been part of your prayers?
  • Are you ready to risk sharing a bit of your history with the group.
  • IS the Lord your shepherd?
  • What has this come to mean for you?
  • Have you always been secure in this knowledge?
  • Have you ever been secure in this knowledge?

Telling our stories of encounter with the Risen Lord, the Good Shepherd, is a fulfillment of our Baptismal Covenant to “proclaim by word … the Good News of God in Christ.”

I invite you to leave a comment, even a story, here. Let your words open the mystery and meaning of speaking this way about God and our relationship with God.

Twelfth Day of Christmas: You

You

The need is great. The opportunities to make a difference are just as great. Let the words of St. Ignatius guide your efforts in 2012: “Pray as if everything depends upon God and act as if everything depends upon you.”

January 6th is the Epiphany. The love of God, enfleshed in Jesus, is manifested to the whole world. It is our calling to continue to reveal Jesus, the Christ, to the whole world in the place we are and in the time we have.

With the Feast of Epiphany this calendar will be renamed “Opportunity Calendar” because it will present you and other viewers with the opportunity to make a difference in the life of one person or one family or one village. Choose to become involved.

 Pray. Your prayers lifted to God to comfort those in need and strengthen those sent to meet the needs are more powerful than you can imagine. Believe it; I do.

Pray and study. Increase your awareness of need and response as you pray and study. Read and listen and watch, taking it all to our God in prayer. The encounter will change you. I know.

Study and share. Raise the awareness of others by sharing information, especially stories. Write letters to your elected representatives. Become the voice of the voiceless.

Share time, talent, and treasure. Volunteer your time and love by serving others (it is the model given us by Christ). Make donations (even small donations help) to an organization that is making a difference.

Remember a promise made to you by Jesus, revealed as “Emmanuel” in this time of Christmas and Epiphany: “I am with you always, to the end of the age.” ~dan

The Twelve Days of Christmas Calendar in one place
About the Twelve Days of Christmas Calendar

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For further reflection

In our Baptismal Covenant we promise God and each other to act as if everything depended on us:

Will you continue in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in the prayers?

I will with God’s help.

 Will you persevere in resisting evil, and, whenever you fall into sin, repent and return to the Lord?

I will with God’s help.

Will you proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ?

I will with God’s help.

Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself?

I will with God’s help.

Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?

I will with God’s help.

The Book of Common Prayer, pp. 304-305

Third Day of Christmas: St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

In 2007 Natalie Tanner, only 5 months old, was diagnosed with a medulloblastoma (a cancerous tumor in her brain). Baptised at Loma Linda Children’s Hospital on the day of a surgery to remove as much of the tumor as possible, Natalie was given very little chance to survive. Kristen and Andrew Tanner, her parents and members of St. Margaret’s, were put in contact with St. Jude’s Hospital and Natalie was accepted as a patient, intercessory prayers ascended from St. Margaret’s while chemotherapy was begun at St. Jude. After initial successes and wonderful care the cancer returned, Natalie was placed on hospice care and I planned her Memorial Service with her parents. Intercessory prayers continued and a miracle of health and wholeness blossomed. By the end of summer 2008 the cancer had diminished and active care was resumed. Today Natalie continues to thrive.  ~dan rondeau

Natalie was the Patient of the Month in September 2008

Mission Statement

The mission of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is to advance cures, and means of prevention, for pediatric catastrophic diseases through research and treatment. Consistent with the vision of our founder Danny Thomas, no child is denied treatment based on race, religion or a family’s ability to pay.

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Mission Statement

St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital Home Page

The Twelve Days of Christmas Calendar in one place
About the Twelve Days of Christmas Calendar

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For further reflection

Vision Statement

Our vision is to be the world leader in advancing the treatment and prevention of catastrophic diseases in children. This vision will be pursued by providing outstanding patient care; by conducting basic, translational and clinical research designed to elucidate biological mechanisms, understand disease pathogenesis, improve diagnosis, enhance treatment outcome, prevent diseases and minimize adverse consequences of treatment; and by educating health care and scientific research professionals. Through these efforts we seek to cure and enhance the quality of life for an increasing proportion of children who come to us for treatment, and by expanding and sharing knowledge, to advance treatment of children with catastrophic diseases worldwide, while developing strategies to prevent catastrophic diseases in children.

Values Statement

Our foremost responsibilities are to the children with catastrophic diseases, their families, and to the donors that have committed their personal resources toward our Mission. To fully meet these responsibilities, we are committed to an explicit set of values. These values are the standards of behavior that we use to guide our daily actions and decisions. We will ensure that these standards of behavior are adhered to through ongoing training of all personnel working at St. Jude, and by annually evaluating the executive leadership, faculty and staff in their adherence to these values.

Our values of ethical behavior are an important part of who we are, and their incorporation into the fabric of the institution directly impacts our ability to make progress toward achieving our Mission, while simultaneously strengthening our reputation.

  • A commitment to provide our patients with the highest quality of medical and supportive care, and their families with the level of information and support necessary for them to make informed decisions and to become active participants in the care of their children.
  • A commitment to respect the ethnic, cultural, religious and lifestyle differences of patients, their families, our colleagues and our supporters.
  • A commitment to our donors that every dollar donated will be wisely spent toward achieving our Mission of advancing cures, and means of prevention, for pediatric catastrophic disease through research and treatment.
  • A commitment to a culture of excellence, innovation and creativity, not only in our research, but in everything we do.
  • A drive and a sense of urgency to succeed.
  • Honesty, integrity, and accountability in our actions and decisions.
  • A culture of trust and teamwork.
  • Respect for the employees under our supervision.
  • A commitment to the continual development of our employees.
  • A commitment to diversity.
  • A commitment to social responsibility and institutional citizenship on a local, state, national and global level.

To effectively live up to these ideals, institutional leaders and all employees must maintain a culture that promotes adherence to these values in all that we do.

Source: Mission of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

Logo: St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

Art for St Margaret’s Day

St Margaret of Scotland
Window dedicated to the memory of Mary Ann,
wife of Anthony Metcalfe-Gibson of Coldbeck.
d. May 10,1925.
St Oswald
Ravenstonedale
Cumbria
Click to open St. Oswald’s Church presentation page at Cumbrian Churches Blog.


Click to open Wikipedia article for St. Margaret of Scotland.

It is often told of St. Margaret that she fed the hungry before she herself ate. Less told is that she rose early to say her devotions before the task of feeding.
 Join us in a Liturgy of Healing at St. Margaret’s Outreach Center, Thursday mornings at 9 a.m.
 and add your prayers of support for the continuance of St. Margaret’s work.
Click for St. Margaret’s Outreach Center.