May the Incarnate Lord, who died and rose again, bless you this Easter Day. When you worship in the Morning, give special thanks for all He is doing in the lives of family and friends and those around you. We serve a living God. Don’t look for him among the dead. Go to church and receive His Body and Blood and be healed, being made whole by His grace. Then enjoy your family, basking in the Glory of our Savior!
We were in the crowd yesterday, having seen or heard of the Lord’s raising Lazarus from the dead. How joyful was the day, when he walked forth out of the tomb. A reminder, perhaps, that our Lord would do the same at the hand of His Father on Easter morn.
Ponder this week, where you are. By Good Friday most of the people, who were there Palm Sunday, are gone or in hiding, with a few exceptions. Are we gone or in the company of the exceptions? Do we stand up to be counted? The Master asks that of His disciples. The fear of being also crucified with Christ is sometimes a grave stumbling point for us. Will it hurt? Will we bleed like the Holy Martyrs?
Walk the Stations, after Maundy Thursday. The week is rich with story, True Story, Gospel. Christ has died, Christ has risen And Christ will come again in great glory. Let us be the ones who stand in the gap until that great day. He is a great Master and because of His love, we can stand with Him.
Come and worship the Living God this week, all week.
What thinkest thou?
Theme: Deliverance from our Enemies
The Lord’s Prayer… And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil…
How is your Lent going?
Have you been able to be faithful to your discipline? If so, then great. But if you are having trouble or have not chosen a discipline yet, then these words are for you. What is keeping you from it?
Today’s readings call us to focus on the spiritual battle. Jesus heals a man who is dumb! He is dumb because of a demon, an evil spirit, which has taken away his ability to speak. Think on this. The man is unable to say his prayers out loud, he is unable to make his will known, and he is set apart from the “faithful” folks because he “isn’t quite right.” He isn’t right with God or with man. He is under the spell of the evil one.
No one would touch this man as he is unclean spiritually. Jesus, who is the Son of God, can see the spiritual problem here and He heals the man of his spiritual malady. This seems to bother the folks watching. Some are amazed that He has the power to remove the spiritual impediment from the man. Others speculate on the HOW he does it. Did He call off the “dogs” as a crime boss calls off his minion when fear of harm has done the trick? Some think an evil leader is the one in control. They miss the whole point.
When in the Gospel Jesus speaks to those in the crowd about the possibility of Satan’s kingdom being divided and not being able to stand, he knows the truth. He knows that Satan is the “King” of this world. Satan has all the resources and power of the evil in it. He knows power stronger than Satan’s. He knows what happened to Him being tempted after the 40 days in the wilderness. He knows about the spiritual battle in Heaven between the good and bad angels. He also knows the result of the challenge in Eden. And thus He knows why He is standing on earth IFO these people.
He came to repair the relationship. We have no ability of our own to fix things. Only God, in His infinite love, power and mercy towards us, could fix things. He knows that God is stronger than Satan. He knows who wins in the end too.
As Christian men and women sitting in the pews this morning, we need to know a few things. We tend to avoid Satan. We know too well that he torments, seduces, hunts and destroys life, relationships, and we know we help him in this venture. When we continually think of our self, keep our selves at the very center of our thoughts and acts, we participate in the destruction of this world. We continue in the fall beyond Adam and Eve. We are enemies of God. By avoiding to think about evil, the power of the devil and the darkness, we can forget that we have no personal power over it. We will never come to a place where we think we need God’s help. Or else Adam and Eve would have been victorious. They were smart, but no longer innocent. We are to be innocent as children, wise as serpents. Instead people today tend to be smart, but without real wisdom and innocence. That is why this morning, we pray for God’s intervention and deliverance. We ask Him to deliver us from our enemies, both foreign and domestic, both outside and within us. When our eyes are focused on God, He will take care of our enemies and He will take care of us too.
Seeing a God that has unlimited power over evil, being able to remove it as in the gospel, seeing Jesus triumph over Satan in the wilderness, and knowing what happens in the end, we can come with confidence to God this morning. He has power over all that we fear. And all that Satan could do to us.
What must we do…
1. Keep our eyes on God, pure, single-minded
2. Have the desire to follow His commandments, desire to please him
3. Remember we have a spiritual relationship with Him and with each other.
If we just did these three simple things, then we would be living Kingdom lives, and we would be delivered from our enemies by God!
As we continue to meditate on Faith, the faith of the Canaanite woman from Sunday’s Gospel, are we to be as bold as she was?
According to Thomas Torrance, from Incarnation, the Person and Life of Christ, Faith may be defined as what happens to our reason when it encounters the nature and reality of God. We know much about the nature of God from the Early Father of the church and the theologians of the centuries that followed. The specific aspect of God’s nature that Christ demonstrates in this passage is that of Mercy. God’s mercy extends to those outside the Chosen People because of the faith of these folks, including the woman whose daughter has a spiritual malady.
God be merciful unto me! We have cried this in the past and may have need to cry it again! Like the woman, we know that Christ is real. We have evidence of this both in the Gospels, Sacred Writ, and in secular writings of the day. We also know the reality of God in Christ Jesus our Lord, because we have met Him in our dealings, pain, sorrow and the most joy filled days. We are to have a full relationship with Him, and through knowing Him, with His Father, our Father.
Our Lord taught us to pray: …And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil… These words are for us during Lent. Our faith leads us to be able to be bold in our cry unto God because we know the nature of God and because we know the reality of Him in Christ Jesus. The more time we spend in faith, the more we become like Christ. There is purity, a single-mindedness, which becomes part of us. Our fasting and prayer during Lent is to be our meat. When we are pure, we are more open to faith, hope and love.
This week, as we continue the fast, let us pray that our efforts toward being open to God will lead us to a richer understanding of His nature, as we read Sacred Scripture. We can then contemplate the Life of Christ, bringing Him to the forefront of our lives. In doing so, our faith will be fed.
Then we can be bold, knowing that we are not getting in God’s way, but instead participating in his Kingdom. May the lavishness of God fill your Lent with abundant grace.
Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday. Go to church and receive the prayers, ashes and receive the Holy Sacrament, starting the 40 days.
With Lent beginning tomorrow, I am looking at the service, the Imposition of Ashes and Mass, and see a deep and strong current of prayer for us as we enter the season. I felt as though I was at my own funeral reading the words of the service.
It is stark and moving to “remember, O man, that dust thou art and unto dust shalt thou return!” Is it all vanity as the writer of Proverbs says? We live and we die, but in living or dying we are the Lord’s! Paul is right. How we live is important, most important. Lent can be the beginning of new life as we enter in to it prayerfully.
As we give up the call of the world and listen to the call of God, we are blessed. I am mending my commitment of Lent to add daily scripture reading to replace my not watching the TV, most especially for the daily news that brings me down each day.
My heart is sad for the world, especially those who are lonely, lost, in mental darkness, in prison and especially for those who have not known the Love of Christ.
We can give up and receive. It is doing both that Lent will be valuable a time for us. God bless your 40 Days! Speaking of 40 days, I will be praying IFO Planned Parenthood in Napa every Monday evening with friends to let our voices be heard in Heaven for the loss of life that the abortion industry and our government have encouraged. This is another possibility for a Lenten discipline. We have lost and grieve the loss of millions of babies in this senseless act. Pray for babies and mothers and dads this Lent!
The Parable of the Sower and the Seed is very familiar to us. We have heard it many times during the cycle of the Lectionary of the Church, the listing of reading assigned for a given Sunday to be read in the church. Sermons are to be based on such each week. Last Sunday, Sexagesima, has assigned the above-mentioned parable. When we hear the story Christ tells, we are to remember the words of God, the Creator and Sustainer, to Adam and Eve, when being expelled from the Garden of Eden. The FALL, is chronicled in the Book of Genesis, The Third Chapter tells us that because of our parent’s decision to listen to the devil, the serpent, there were some consequences to fall. Women would have pain in conception and delivery, not to mention strife in the family. Man was given the “job” to till the soil, to sweat, struggle and fight weeds, famine, disaster and fruitless harvests.
All of this is a change from the perfect provision of God. In the Beginning, all was given to the first man and woman. There was no conception, childbirth or toil. Instead our parents were the recipients of grace and tender love. They reaped the benefits of union with God. They were to appreciate all that was given to them by God. Our parents were fertile fields. The seed of God’s word fell on them. They knew not evil, all was good. Because of disobedience, they were relegated to suffer. Holy leisure was lost and the plan of Salvation jumped into the next chapter. How could we be saved?
Knowing God is different from knowing about God. Man’s new relegation to knowing, made it barely possible to have relation with God, when before a perfect relationship of dependence existed. Now God would have to appeal to the human sensibilities of man and woman. God would speak over the history of man and man would sometimes listen, sometimes ignore God. The new toiling would cause man to focus on himself and his efforts to provide for himself and those around him. The door was opened to be angry with God for the plight of man. The first opportunity to blame God for what man did comes to the forefront!
In this Sunday’s Gospel, Christ tells of four types of response to the word of God. The Bible is full of examples of the four mentioned types of response. There were those who were not oriented to God, poor soil, who heard not God. We still have those today who are so self oriented, selfish and self centered, who will go at life knowing they are capable, there is no free lunch, they can pull themselves up by their own boot straps, they forge on knowing their efforts will be enough. They do not see any benefit from knowing the Creator, the Father, Son or Holy Ghost.
Then there is that group of folks who hear God’s voice and get excited about what they hear, but due to their shallowness, cannot keep focused. They are tempted, maybe looking for short cuts, are unwilling to maintain the relationship. It is just a feel good moment. The fleeting thought of relationship fades away as they are caught up in toiling. They may feel alone in their efforts. They work harder and never accomplish self-sufficiency, happiness or contentment.
Some also hear and follow the word of God until something too big to handle comes their way. The shallowness of their relationship with God leads them to turn away, even though they seem to have gotten it. They surprise us. They could be our friends, family members, co workers or neighbors. When things are good, they believe, then they don’t when things turn.
Those in the final group know that our relationship with God is paramount. It isn’t that we don’t lose sight of God, because sometimes we do when challenges too difficult at times even for the faithful. But it is that we come to our senses, like the Prodigal son or the Woman at the Well. We know that with our God we are a mess. We know that we must cultivate our relationship both with God and with one another. We hear God’s word through the Son, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all your heart, soul and mind; and thy neighbor as thyself.” Not putting self above God or man. Dependence is the key. It leads to humility or vice versa.
When we open ourselves to the Power, Glory and Majesty of God, we see His mercy and His justice. We look to Him for provision and are not disappointed of our hope. The roots of His word grow deep into our fertile soil. We find in the most difficult situation, His grace is sufficient. We can come to Him for forgiveness, help, direction and give thanks for others who also have a relationship with Him.
There is a cooperative of farmers, all cultivating the soil of our relationships with Him and then with each other. A church is full blessed when its members work together to make our relationships open to our God. We are not jealous of the relationships of others with God, as Cain was of Abel. Each of us knows we are loved as sons, not neglected when in hard times. Willing to give and receive love from each other.
The devil beguiled Eve in the garden. She was spiritually seduced to go for being God-like. She thought she could become the soil and the sower by eating of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The story didn’t work out well for her. It will not work out well for those today who want to make themselves gods, taking life, bending the rules given by God (the 10 Commandments) and ignoring all the evidence of God’s love, help and provision.
Let us cultivate our soil this Lent, making it ever willing to receive the seed. Help us to be satisfied with God’s provision both for us and for the folks closest to us. Then filled with His strength, go out and tell the world who is our God. What He has done for us. And that, if we open ourselves to Him, we will have fruitful harvests. We will celebrate Him, giving thanks always for His provision, and for the examples of other faithful friends, who also know Him.
Life and the world don’t get any better just because we call ourselves Christian! We still have to experience strife, challenge and stress in this world. There are many obstacles both within and outside of our control that will exhaust us. We must keep ourselves pure from the world’s pressure, anxiety and negative influences. We will be under the world’s attack, as Christ reminded us, “If they persecute me, they will certainly do the same to you!” The devils, evil and bad stuff of the world will certainly attack us because they don’t want us to succeed in knowledge and love of God. He is their enemy, and we are too.
St Paul reminds to us to guard against anxiety. In summary, he tells us to not worry about things; instead, pray always. We have a huge and powerful God. Tell Him your needs today and also thank Him for the work He is doing in you. He has begun a good work in you that He will continue until the coming of our Lord, Jesus Christ. The result? God’s peace. The peace of God which passeth all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God, and of His Son, Jesus Christ. And the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, Son and Holy Ghost abide with you and remain with you always! Amen. These are the last words of Mass, the Blessing.
The word “keep” is a term that most soldiers would know. A guard or sentry, i.e. God, walks about around you to “keep” you because you have called on Him and He is faithful. The “catch” is that we must turn over all our fears, anxieties, troubles, hurts and pains over to Him and be thankful in all things. Having an “attitude of great gratitude”, we will we will experience inner peace that exceeds our understanding, as we live our life both in this world (physically) and in His Kingdom (both physically and Spiritually). This is a great mystery, how we can live in two realities, one of which the world knows not!
The knowledge and love of God in the center of what we are to be about! Study and pray always for both. Then “Don’t worry, be contented!” Have you tried this? Was He faithful unto you?
Today I have felt the prayers of the faithful. Once again I am lifted by you all. A few years ago, when the family was going through the time from heck, I first felt the upswelling of prayer, care and love from friends, family and others. Today good things like comfort, joy and laughter filled the air at Vacaville Kaiser. The surgical staff were a bunch of fun folks. The surgical nurse asked for prayer. The surgeon didn’t but received lots none the less. I gave Susan annointing prayer. Always remember the richness of the Prayer Book at times like these. Page 597, in the Family Prayer section, has the prayer for one about to undergo an operation, just above the birthday prayer. Use the BCP often for daily office, scripture reading and especially the prayers.
What if a person could use one word to describe Traditional, Anglican, 1928 BCP worship? Will you help me with a task? Which one word would you use? And why? If someone else has posted the word you would use, please say so and why that word holds prominence for you. Please pick your second best word then, and why?
Looking for _______ ? Come join us at Church!
My word today is peace. I have picked peace because I have experienced peace, both inner and outer, in the Traditional, Anglican, 1928 BCP church. The world is churning fast, tumbling societal norms, inventing new rights, twisting truth and trying to fill longing hearts with the artificial. The church has helped me quiet down and search for truth, wisdom and understanding. Politics can evaporate from the foremost place and become that which is informed by a true relationship with the Creator, Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost. When things and relationships make sense, then I am at peace. When politics and faith are in conflict there is disharmony. Is it possible to experience grace, patriotism and holiness in one place and not become a “crusader”?
What is it that makes our worship rich? We gather each Sunday in smallish churches to worship God. What is it about the how we worship, the part that makes us unique as a body, that lifts us to higher places and encourages us to let go and let God have us more fully? Worship that opens us to the fullness of God is very pleasing to Him. In a society where darkness prevails, where we are all so busy that we want to stay in bed on Sunday morning, what gets us up and to church? How can we share this with others? During the octave of Epiphany, let us be light to the world! Invite someone to join you this Sunday to come to church. It can be fun to share. You will probably get some no’s for an answer, but what’s the harm in asking?