Posted by: celticanglican | April 22, 2014

Introduction to Eastertide

An Australian church at Easter

An Australian church at Easter

Introduction by Pastor Mark D Roberts

An excellent look at the meaning of Eastertide from a Presbyterian minister

Posted by: celticanglican | April 15, 2014

A Lost Tradition?

Chrism oil being blessed on Maundy Thursday

Maundy Thursday – the Institution of the Eucharist (and Chrism Mass)

The parish I grew up in had a tradition of hosting a Eucharistic vigil on Maundy Thursday after the conclusion of the liturgy. Members of the parish could take an hour staying in the church all night, in memory of Jesus’ agony in the garden at Gethsemane. I’m not sure how widespread this practice has ever been in the Episcopal Church. However, I was sorry to learn that this was no longer observed at that particular parish.

Foot washing and/or the addition of an agape meal or Passover seder-style meal are very common. I’ve noticed that foot washing gets “mixed reviews” from many worshipers, especially those from legalistic traditions that mandate the practice at each Lord’s Supper. One very real problem exists in allowing this practice to become a distraction from the institution of Holy Communion. After all, performing an act of humility may be good for us spiritually, but maybe we must ask ourselves whether it impacts how we treat people outside of Mass.

The addition of an agape meal or seder, on the other hand, can be a good way of keeping the institution of communion fresh in everyone’s minds. Sometimes, the best way to appreciate a part of the church’s liturgy is to experience where it came from. Meals are after all, one of the things that helps bind people together in fellowship.

Are parishes missing out by not offering a vigil on Maundy Thursday?

Posted by: celticanglican | April 7, 2014

Some Good Thoughts Near the Journey’s End

As someone who has done “Lent lite” this year, I’ve been paying attention not only to the struggles of others in keeping Lent, but also in observing how some have turned this practice into something that’s no longer spiritual. Even at this late point in the season, we can still benefit from new takes on an old practice.

The Lenten journey for this year is drawing close to its end. I invite everyone to watch this short but informative video from The Scottish Episcopal Church. What helpful thoughts does this provide not only for reflecting on how future Lenten observances might take on more meaning, but how we might reflect Christ’s love every day?

Posted by: celticanglican | April 5, 2014

5th Sunday in Lent (Passion Sunday)

Originally posted on The Liturgical Christianity Portal:

Lyrics: Breathe on me, Breath of God, fill me with life anew, that I may love what thou dost love, and do what thou wouldst do.

Breathe on me, Breath of God, until my heart is pure, until with thee I will one will, to do and to endure.

Breathe on me, Breath of God, till I am wholly thine, till all this earthly part of me glows with thy fire divine.

Breathe on me, Breath of God, so shall I never die, but live with thee the perfect life of thine eternity.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings

1928 BCP Lectionary Readings

Orthodox Lectionary Readings

View original

Posted by: celticanglican | March 29, 2014

Looking on the Heart – What Matters

Chapel of the Transfiguration, Teton County, Wyoming

A little chapel like this can have more meaningful services than any megachurch, depending on what’s in the hearts of the worshipers

1 Samuel 16:1-13

What commonly happens today has been plaguing humanity for some time. It’s all too easy to place too much emphasis on initial appearance or assumptions. It would be good if giving up being judgemental towards people or making assumptions based on appearance were things commonly “given up” for Lent. (If nothing else, to get people into the habit of stopping judgmental behavior). Yet, both of these seem very deeply ingrained.

God’s choice of a leader for Israel wasn’t the guy that Samuel initially expected. David ended up being the leader that the Jewish people needed, in spite of his imperfections. In today’s world, we not only place a little too much emphasis on peoples’ physical appearance, but also on appearances in worship and mission.

Many denominations, TEC included, have attracted criticism for not necessarily focusing on “relevancy” when membership stats are down. There are parishes that have contemporary services as an option, and utilize interactive technology. However, this is in response to the needs of the local community, rather than having to keep up with a trend.

What’s in the heart matters, both with individuals and Christians gathered into a community. The size of the building and adding elements to the service that impress matter little if meaningful relationships with Christ and each other aren’t being built.

Posted by: celticanglican | March 23, 2014

Third Sunday in Lent

Posted by: celticanglican | March 15, 2014

Catechumenate Involvement and an Idea for Youth

A baptismal font at a Lutheran church in Germany

A lot of what happens during Lent prepares candidates for the baptismal font

Baptismal candidates who are adults or older kids will be playing a very important role in many Episcopal parishes during this Lenten season. Although Lent in modern times is generally observed by many Christians, it was historically associated with a time of preparation before baptism. Adult baptismal candidates, known as catechumens, often actively take part in certain services during the Lenten period as part of their preparation to join the Christian community.

Youths who are already baptized and undergoing preparation for confirmation can also benefit from taking part in certain key services. When I was going to high school confirmation classes, the class was selected to read the Passion gospel on Palm Sunday that year. There was also involvement in a service project at a local food pantry.

I’ve long held the theory that kids who take an active involvement in church from an early age are probably more likely to be actively involved after they’ve left home.  It’s probably not so much an issue of whether there are enough youth outings, or what type of music is used, so much as whether kids and teens feel engaged. If their faith isn’t been made real to them, no amount of innovation will make them feel a part of things.

Some of the suggestions others have offered include allowing baptized and confirmed 16 and 17-year olds to be licensed as Eucharistic Ministers, having teens of this age group address concerns at vestry meetings and having services where kids and teens play a larger role (serving as ushers/greeters, reading the lessons from the Bible, leading prayers, etc.)

What are your suggestions?

Posted by: celticanglican | March 9, 2014

Lent Madness

Posted by: celticanglican | March 5, 2014

An Invitation to Lent

(Courtesy of the 1979 Book of Common Prayer)

Dear People of God: The first Christians observed with great devotion the days of our Lord’s passion and resurrection, and it became the custom of the Church to prepare for them by a season of penitence and fasting. This season of Lent provided a time in which converts to the faith were prepared for Holy Baptism. It was also a time when those who, because of notorious sins, had been separated from the body of the faithful were reconciled by penitence and forgiveness, and restored to the fellowship of the Church. Thereby, the whole congregation was put in mind of the message of pardon and absolution set forth in the Gospel of our Savior, and of the need which all Christians continually have to renew their repentance and faith.

I invite you, therefore, in the name of the Church, to the observance of a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance;by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God’s holy Word. And, to make a right beginning of repentance, and as a mark of our mortal nature, let us now kneel before the Lord, our maker and redeemer.

Psalm 51    Miserere mei, Deus

  1     Have mercy on me, O God, according to your
loving-kindness; *
in your great compassion blot out my offenses.

  2     Wash me through and through from my wickedness *
and cleanse me from my sin.

  3     For I know my transgressions, *
and my sin is ever before me.

  4     Against you only have I sinned *
and done what is evil in your sight.

  5     And so you are justified when you speak *
and upright in your judgment

  6     Indeed, I have been wicked from my birth, *
a sinner from my mother’s womb.

  7     For behold, you look for truth deep within me, *
and will make me understand wisdom secretly.

  8     Purge me from my sin, and I shall be pure; *
wash me, and I shall be clean indeed.

  9     Make me hear of joy and gladness, *
that the body you have broken may rejoice.

10     Hide your face from my sins *
and blot out all my iniquities.

11     Create in me a clean heart, O God, *
and renew a right spirit within me.

12     Cast me not away from your presence *
and take not your holy Spirit from me.

13     Give me the joy of your saving help again *
and sustain me with your bountiful Spirit.

14     I shall teach your ways to the wicked, *
and sinners shall return to you.

15     Deliver me from death, O God, *
and my tongue shall sing of your righteousness,
O God of my salvation.

16     Open my lips, O Lord, *
and my mouth shall proclaim your praise.

17     Had you desired it, I would have offered sacrifice; *
but you take no delight in burnt-offerings.

18     The sacrifice of God is a troubled spirit; *
a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

Litany of Penitence

The Celebrant and People together, all kneeling

Most holy and merciful Father:
We confess to you and to one another,
and to the whole communion of saints
in heaven and on earth,
that we have sinned by our own fault
in thought, word, and deed;
by what we have done, and by what we have left undone.

The Celebrant continues

We have not loved you with our whole heart, and mind, and
strength. We have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We
have not forgiven others, as we have been forgiven.
Have mercy on us, Lord.

We have been deaf to your call to serve, as Christ served us.
We have not been true to the mind of Christ. We have grieved
your Holy Spirit.
Have mercy on us, Lord.

We confess to you, Lord, all our past unfaithfulness: the
pride, hypocrisy, and impatience of our lives,
We confess to you, Lord.

Our self-indulgent appetites and ways, and our exploitation
of other people,
We confess to you, Lord.

Our anger at our own frustration, and our envy of those
more fortunate than ourselves,
We confess to you, Lord.

Our intemperate love of worldly goods and comforts, and
our dishonesty in daily life and work,
We confess to you, Lord.

Our negligence in prayer and worship, and our failure to
commend the faith that is in us,
We confess to you, Lord.

Accept our repentance, Lord, for the wrongs we have done:
for our blindness to human need and suffering, and our
indifference to injustice and cruelty,
Accept our repentance, Lord.

For all false judgments, for uncharitable thoughts toward our
neighbors, and for our prejudice and contempt toward those
who differ from us,
Accept our repentance, Lord.

For our waste and pollution of your creation, and our lack of
concern for those who come after us,
Accept our repentance, Lord.

Restore us, good Lord, and let your anger depart from us;
Favorably hear us, for your mercy is great.

Accomplish in us the work of your salvation,
That we may show forth your glory in the world.

By the cross and passion of your Son our Lord,
Bring us with all your saints to the joy of his resurrection.

Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us all our sins through our Lord Jesus Christ, strengthen us in all
goodness, and by the power of the Holy Spirit keep us in eternal life. Amen.

 

Posted by: celticanglican | March 2, 2014

Towards Jerusalem (and the Journey Doesn’t End There)

Matthew 17:1-9

Matthew’s Gospel takes a very decisive turn here, and it’s no accident that this reading is used in church right before Lent begins. Jesus has begun his final journal towards Jerusalem, where the events of his betrayal, death and resurrection will happen.  This may have made Peter, James and John appreciate who Jesus is more fully.

These disciples had an experience that gave rise to talk of people have “mountaintop” religious experiences. Not everyone will have one of these, and those who do must avoid the pitfall of measuring their whole spiritual life against one of these experiences.

A spiritual website that I visited once made an important point about how it is really in the valleys that we grow. Jesus calls us to follow God’s will in our lives, just as these disciples did when they journeyed with him  to Jerusalem. Like them, we may have very different expectations about what awaits.

The Lenten season is a good time to reflect on our journey with Jesus. Though our lives as Christians may not be perfect, we can be assured that the journey doesn’t end here, by any means. It only begins :)

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