Posted by: celticanglican | December 10, 2017

Cleaning Our Acts Up: We All Need to Do It!

John kiev

The following is an expansion of a post originally published on 2 Advent, 2016. Enjoy!

John the Baptist, a cousin of Jesus, rightfully has a reputation as having been a bit of a firebrand. In fact, he likely was more than a bit of a firebrand. His words in Matthew 3:1-12 are far from comforting, but they weren’t intended to be.

Although these words aren’t really intended to be “gloom and doom”, they should, hopefully, make us sit up and take notice. American mainline Christians particularly often find themselves at a crossroads these days. What are we to do when confronted by these words from John the Baptist in a climate where some parts of society demand that we turn to blind eye the actions of leaders that are immoral, exploitative, or intolerant just because they claim to be “good Christians”?

Prophets weren’t known for accepting the status quo and making religious or political leaders feel good. Going as far back as the time of prophets like Isaiah, they often stood up to leaders who misused their power to oppress God’s people. Out of this tradition that looked to a coming Redeemer, we’ve learned that there is always a message of hope, even if it doesn’t come in the nice, tidy package that we prefer.

The next time a leader, political or otherwise uses their religious beliefs as a bully pulpit to harm those committed to their care, perhaps we should pause and think about what “gospel” they are actually promoting. Yes, it’s true that we don’t have prophets in the strict Biblical sense today, but the Church as a whole does have those who serve as “voices in the wilderness” today. Anyone, Catholic, Protestant, Evangelical, Pentecostal/charismatic, churchy or unchurched, liberal or conservative, gay or straight, could be one of these “voices”.

One thing that we, as part of the human race still need to learn after all this time, is that not a single one of us is so perfect that we don’t need redemption. It doesn’t matter what your “spiritual pedigree” looks like or your station in life – all of us, from the least to the greatest, need that redemption that God alone provides. Maybe if we all kept this in mind, this world’s brokenness might not seem so bleak.

Remember this the next time anyone proclaims their need to not ask God’s forgiveness for anything. While we await the return of our Redeemer, we can do some spiritual housekeeping of sorts. Our lives are finite after all, and we never know when that final call will happen for each of us – perhaps one of the morals of this story is that the world does end for each of us when we die, regardless of when life on this planet we inhabit comes to an end.

Merciful God, who sent your messengers the prophets to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation: Give us grace to heed their warnings and forsake our sins, that we may greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ our Redeemer; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

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Posted by: celticanglican | December 4, 2017

Prayer Requests 12/4/2017

St john damascus.gif
Public Domain, Link

Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which your Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

O God, by your Holy Spirit you give to some the word of wisdom, to others the word of knowledge, and to others the word of faith: We praise your Name for the gifts of grace manifested in your servant John of Damascus, and we pray that your Church may never be destitute of such gifts; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayers for:

Dakota (boy on life support after a gunshot wound)

Kate (fluid in her lung)

Teresa’s mom (free from Xanax use and hoping for it to last)

Angie (broken leg)

The people who are First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas

Ada (brain cancer)

Keith (colon polyps)

A man with an unknown stomach blockage

Sharon (partially collapsed lung, kidney cyst, clogged arteries)

Terry (a woman who had a massive stroke)

Lawrence’s wife and children while he serves a long sentence

Yolanda and son Eddie, whose dad is in prison (to find a church community)

 

Posted by: celticanglican | December 3, 2017

Keep Calm, It’s Only Advent

Adventvespers

We’ve just entered into the start of a new Church year and a season that’s often under-appreciated: Advent. I’ve often felt this is a season that our barreling-down-the-road-at-60 MPH desperately needs – even the non-religious among us could probably benefit from transitioning into Christmas festivities gradually.

The so-called most wonderful time of the year is an ordeal to survive for many, rather than a time to enjoy. Stress caused by relatives, crowded stores, rude drivers, and irritation over bad music and TV programming make even a lot of “churchy” people glad to see the back end of the holiday.

Yet, with Advent, we’re able to look at things in the broader perspective: treating Thanksgiving as the start of the Christmas season is a product for modern society, not historic Christian tradition. Advent helps us prepare for the coming of Christmas, remember the prophecies that surrounded Jesus’ coming and look for his “second Advent” when he comes again.

Some traditions within Christianity have a very particular view of how events surrounding the second coming occur that involves a snatching away of Christians on earth, resulting in a theology of fear of being left behind to face a time of tribulation. Many adherents of these views believe that other groups don’t teach the second coming because there is so much divergence in the views.

It’s ironic that some place so much emphasis on when Christians will be “raptured” and other trappings in popular end-times theology when Mark 13:24-37 and other passages in the Gospels mention nothing about them. Yes, I’m aware of the oft-cited Luke 21:36, but that’s an issue for another post and a good example of why proof-texting is not a good practice.

One adherent of such views lamented the fact that many hymnals no longer had as many hymns about the second coming. Perhaps he’d never had the privilege of browsing through a hymnal with Advent hymns. 🙂

The various hymns used throughout Advent, as well as the Scriptural readings, help us look forward to the “blessed hope” at a time when it seems the world especially needs hope. Isaiah 64:1-9 ‘s desire that God would “tear open the heavens and come down” is one of the most beautiful expressions of that hope we should share.

Posted by: celticanglican | November 22, 2017

Prayer Requests 11/21/2017

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayers for:

The success of the Daily Office’s expansion efforts

The driver who hit and killed Deborah’s husband to be brought to justice

Kenny’s healing from widespread cancer

Sal’s healing from pneumonia and cancer

Frank’s healing from shingles

Kenny’s healing from foot neuropathy

Posted by: celticanglican | November 20, 2017

Prayer Requests 11/10/2017

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayers for:

The services at Kirk’s church in China as well as the congregation’s Sunday school and library

Robert, seeking justice and legal assistance for his father’s case

Scott, a bipolar adult suffering from PTSD. He is heading to prison under the “three strikes” law and is seeking help and direction with his case

 

Posted by: celticanglican | November 12, 2017

Prayer Requests 11/12/2017

Wise and foolish

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayers for:

John, who has widespread cancer

Those affected by some recent trouble in South Africa

The repose of Jerry’s soul

Kimberly, who has several injuries due to a car accident

LaTonya, who has six children, including a daughter who already has two children at age 15, asking for healing, grace and provision

Bobby’s continued growth in Christ and relationship with fiancee Terry

Karen’s husband as he awaits tests

Carol, who has cancer

Luis and Sharon’s marriage

Jimmy, unknown need

Avon, recent stroke

David, a diabetic with pain issues and minimal relief

Danny, beginning a new chaplain position

Martha, stomach pain

Jonathan, stomach cancer

Micheal, surgery with a good chance he might not survive

Sabasti, who has a painful growth pressing on her brain

Sam, severely injured in a fall down the stairs

Sherry, raising a grandson who has an incarcerated father, needs prayers for wisdom, guidance and resources

Erika, who has a father in prison

 

 

 

Posted by: celticanglican | November 6, 2017

Prayer Requests 11/5/2017

In_Jerusalem_20

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayers for:

The repose of the souls of those who died at church in the Sutherland Springs shooting, healing for those injured and for this senseless violence to cease

All children in harm’s way and for more people to report abuse

Tom and Lynn’s grandson’s healing from pneumonia and their son and daughter-in-law, who lost an expected baby

Bruce’s healing from a broken ankle

Donna Marie’s recovery from an upcoming mastectomy

Keith and Helen’s church in China

 

 

 

Posted by: celticanglican | October 23, 2017

Prayer Requests 10/23/2017

Panorama of Jerusalem from Mount of Olives (15813493453)

Panorama of Jerusalem from Mount of Olives, Dean Meyers from New York, USA

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayers for:

All persecuted Christians, particularly those in North Korea

Those on the Callie’s Prayer Line & Lion of Judah list

Sister Theresa, OFS, recent serious diagnosis

Lori, on life support

Repose of soul of Mary, OFS

Fred, several health issues and hardly mobile

Pernice, severe depression

Wayne, needs a costly repair for his car

Sarah, in need of a life-saving operation

Anna, who has cellulitis

Baby Brooklyn, breathing difficulties

Sharon, awaiting a stent placement

Bob, helping his step-grandmother find an incarerated grandson

 

 

 

 

Posted by: celticanglican | October 16, 2017

Prayer Requests 10/15/2017

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayers for:

Jordan, continued healing

Cliff, serious post-surgical throat pain

Patrick, several serious health concerns

Alice, repose of soul and comfort for her family

Kevin, prostate cancer Reply to his brother here

Christy, a young mom with cancer and a friend, also a young mom, who has cancer, Yola, Christy’s daughter, recent ear surgery

Mary, cancer and a recent hospital admission

Teresa asks for continued job success and son Braxton’s continued improved grades Reply to her here

Regina, recently released from prison and thankful for finding joy

Syrian Christians trying to return home and rebuild

Peggy, recent surgery

David and Pete, healing Rod can take replies here 

Carl, healing His friend Teresa can take replies here

All children coping with bullying and repentance for the bullies and adults who turn a blind eye

Gloria, debilitating leg pain

Lillian, boyfriend is being sentenced and she is expecting their fourth child

Posted by: celticanglican | October 8, 2017

Prayer Requests 10/8/2017

Vitrail de synagogue-Musée alsacien de Strasbourg

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayers for:

Jenn’s husband, struggling to find employment after his prison release

Harley, for blessings on her upcoming marriage and for her safe pregnancy and delivery

Cindy, who has possible ovarian cancer

For the people of every country struggling with issues of political unrest, ethnic/religious violence and intolerance

For Jaynne’s family’s healing from a serious cold and that Bert (age 91) doesn’t get it

Torrin (age 12) who has lymphoma

Becky, who has started retaining a lot of fluid recently

John’s granddaughter, recent hand surgery and recovering well

Randy, trying to get back on his feet after being in prison

Almighty and everlasting God, you are always more ready to hear than we to pray, and to give more than we either desire or deserve: Pour upon us the abundance of your mercy, forgiving us those things of which our conscience is afraid, and giving us those good things for which we are not worthy to ask, except through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ our Savior; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. (Book of Common Prayer, 1979)

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