Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Lent: Week 1, Day 3

Today's video from SSJE combines in a small way with another task we have this Lent at Holy Trinity.  Br. Braught reminds us to "say our prayers", and we have chosen to pick a prayer to say, every morning, before getting out of bed to start the day.  The advice to remember that "Each and every day we’re acting as ambassadors of Christ, and we should imagine that we’re wearing that kind of name tag on our chest," reminds us that one of the other ways to start the day is to "Put on the Armor of God" from Ephesians 6:10-18.  Not only does this protect us, but it serves as a reminder of the second great commandment, to love your neighbor as yourself.  We are here to serve others - so today, keep track of what opportunities you have, and which ones you availed yourself of.  

Interestingly, while we are reminded that when the student is ready, the teacher will appear, as an "Eastern tradition", Thomas Cranmer tells the story a little differently in his Preface to the Great Bible in 1540:
“Remember the Eunuch of Candace, Queen of Ethiopia, which albeit he was a man of a wild and barbarous country, and one occupied with worldly cares and business, yet riding in his chariot, he was reading the scripture. Now consider, if this man passing in his journey was so diligent as to read the scripture, what thinkest thou of like was he wont to do sitting at home? Again, he that letted [i.e. omitted] not to read, albeit he did not understand: what did he then, trowest thou, after that when he had learned and gotten understanding? For that thou mayest well know that he understood not what he read, hearken what Philip there saith unto him: Understandest thou what thou readest? And he nothing ashamed to confess his ignorance, and answered, How should I understand, having nobody to show me the way? Lo, when he lacked one to show him the way, and to expound to him the scriptures, yet did he read; and therefore God the rather provided for him a guide of the way that taught him to understand it. God perceived his willing and toward mind, and therefore he sent him a teacher by and by. Therefore let no man be negligent about his own health and salvation. (Emphasis added.)
I'm not sure whether Rev. Cranmer had ever read any Buddhist writings, but it does show a commonality among religions as to the Divine sending us teachers as we need them.  Now think about this - what if you are that teacher?  Are you paying attention enough to know that God needs you to help another along that path?


Monday, February 27, 2017

Lent: Week 1; Day 2

"You are my beloved; in you I am well pleased."  Today's video asks if you can hear God's voice speaking those words to you, and if you are able to reciprocate that love, and extol God's glory, delighting in the personal relationship you have with Him.

We tend to think back to the baptism of Christ at these words, but the brothers here are asking you think about your relationship with God, with Christ, and express the joy, the awe, the praise and glory that comes from your heart.  Think about what words you could answer when you hear God say to you, "You are my beloved; in you I am well pleased."  How do you feel when you hear it?  And rather than the knee jerk reaction that you might have, that you are not worthy (none of us are), take the grace, the compliment, at face value - blush if you need to - and know without doubt that you are beloved of God.  Now write down how you feel, how that makes you feel to know that, and what you think of God at this very moment.

And just a little more inspiration to help you along:

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Lent - Week 1; Day 1

Today is an overview of what we're going to be doing for the next 6 weeks.  The brothers at the Society of St. John the Evangelist have a program called The 5 Marks of Love.  Today's video gives an outline of the Five Marks of Mission of the Anglican Communion as defined in 1984.  They are:
  1. Proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom of God; 
  2. Teaching, baptizing, and nurturing new believers; 
  3. Responding to human need by loving service; 
  4. Transforming unjust structures, challenging violence of every kind, and pursuing peace and reconciliation; and 
  5. Striving to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustaining and renewing the life of the earth.
Now, these are the work of the church in the world, but what I want you to do is think about first, your own church and community.  Are you fulfilling these missions?  What are you, personally, doing to contribute to these missions?  And finally, what could you do to make these missions more of a focus in your own life, in the life of our church, in the community in which you live?

So this week, start writing out your assignment, which will result in a letter to God that you'll write out in full on Saturday to share as you see fit.  Guidance for the assignment is:  "Slowly writing out our words of love for another person can be a meditative practice that connects us in a deep way. This week, spend some time hand-writing a letter to God.  What would you say? How might you express your love for God in words?"  There is also additional guidance at the video link above if you want to get started on it early.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Lent 2017

Lent begins on March 1 (next Wednesday) with Ash Wednesday.  We will be having an Ash Wednesday service at 5:30 p.m. (normal Bible study will be moved up to directly after the service so people don't have to go out twice).  The ashes were sent to us by Rev. Pattiann Bennett and blessed by her.

We will be following the Society of St. John the Evangelist program - the 5 Marks of Love - for Lent, and you can either sign up for them to send you an email once a day in your mailbox, or take a look online at our website here on a daily basis for a link to the proper video and commentary.  Their program actually begins February 26, with an introduction.  Then each week has the themes of Tell, Teach, Tend, Transform and Treasure.

Another Idea for Lent...
One additional suggestion for Lent is to choose one prayer from the Prayer Book.  Each morning, before you get out of bed, recite the prayer.  At the end of Lent (or sooner if you wish), we'll talk about why you chose the prayer you did, what meaning it had for you before you began, if anything has changed, and what you think of the practice - if it changed the tone of your day at all.

We are going to see if we will be able to get a supply priest for Easter (4/16), and we'll let you know about that closer to the time.

Thanks everyone!  Let me know if you have any questions or need any assistance.