Posted by: celticanglican | June 10, 2015

Show The Lord, originally shared by Pastor Larry Norris (RIP+)

Station of the cross

Now everyone was nervous here. It seemed to not make sense. The Judge had entered quietly. The room was very tense.
“Let’s only hear the gospel truth and accusations quench. This court is now in session!” said ‘His Honor’ from the bench.

The ‘Whip’ was not at all deterred and spoke up suddenly, “Alive, He was, when I was done – untied and then set free!
But I had noticed something else when He had left my place. I saw Him with the rugged ‘Cross’. Now that’s your real case!”

The ‘Cross’ responded bluntly and without an ounce of tact, “It wasn’t me, Your Honor Sir, and that is just a fact!  I didn’t do a single thing and really, I did care. I merely was the backdrop. It’s the ‘Nails’ that held Him there!”

The ‘Nails’, three, were hence accused but chimed in unison, “It wasn’t us who had Him killed (God’s one and only Son).
When all the three of us looked up, the truth had come to light – The wicked “Crown’ had pierced His scalp and made a gruesome sight!”

Then hushed, the crowd, who set their eyes on such a thorny ‘Crown’ – But it had sought the mercy of the Judge with sorry frown. And then it weaved so carefully a short and subtle lie, “It wasn’t I who killed Him sir, the ‘Whip’ caused Him to die!”

And so it was that blame was passed around, around again – So tell me, “What had killed Him then – just plain and simple sin?” So then that Judge, with piercing eye, had raised his brow at me, And said, “You are the guilty one! I sentence you to be…”

But then that very instant, a gentle voice was heard. His voice had calmed the courthouse down – and every heart was stirred.  “Release those who’ve repented and were faithful through and through. For I have paid the highest price and saved their souls too.”

The Judge slammed down His gavel hard – and said, “I will it so!” And that is where this story ends. Are you prepared to go? The heart you have you made yourself. You’re humble or you’re proud – So if acceptance you must have, you’re lost just like the crowd.

Don’t be the Whip, Cross, Nails or Thorns- who passed their guilt along – Who tried to blame somebody else and claimed they did no wrong. How long has pride now stole your soul? Days, weeks, or months, or years? Don’t pass the blame to someone else, but show the Lord some tears…

Pastor Norris was a Baptist pastor based in MO and TX and faithful prayer partner to CelticAnglican’s Prayer Circle

Posted by: celticanglican | June 7, 2015

Second Sunday After Pentecost

Revised Common Lectionary Readings

First Sunday after Trinity Sunday

Posted by: celticanglican | June 2, 2015

Some Thoughts on Open Table

CELEBRACION LITURGICA 09 08 15

A discussion on an Episcopal Church group on Facebook about the possibility of an “open table” policy, that is, allowing the unbaptized to receive communion under some circumstances, recently turned into a bit of a donnybrook. For some, whether the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist is offered to all is a matter of inclusion, while, to others, the issue is one of whether changing the policy undermines the importance of baptism in a Christian’s life. Here are some thoughts:

  • The only reason why I believe that communicating an unbaptized person may be appropriate in some circumstances is that it is true that the Bible itself never makes baptism a requirement for receiving the Lord’s Supper. That being said:
  • We are advised to hold fast to received traditions, which include having baptism as the form of initiation into the Church, and communion being most appropriate after baptism. Traditions aren’t absolutely set in stone, but that doesn’t make them any less meaningful.
  • Communion, as a distinctively Christian ritual, would be largely meaningless for many non-Christians. Christianity isn’t the only world religion with practices intended specifically for members (the Jewish Passover meal and Islamic hajj being examples). Rites for members of a particular faith shouldn’t be seen as a form of exclusion, but should open the door for more teaching and, in a Christian setting, evangelism.
  • Early in the life of the Christian Church, baptismal candidates were dismissed from the service before communion was celebrated, and today, many faith communities still require confirmation or restrict communion only to their own membership. Allowing all baptized Christians to receive is a genuinely inclusive option.
  • Coming to the rail for a blessing is an option that doesn’t seem to get enough “press” time. An invitation to come forward for a blessing, coupled with an invitation to inquire about baptism, is a great icebreaker, so to speak.

*Please note: Any thoughts expressed here are totally unofficial opinions from a laywoman. I make no claim to speak for anybody in an official capacity.

Posted by: celticanglican | May 25, 2015

Real Relevancy for Real People

Pentecost Altar

An image that never goes “out of style”

Many writers have been tackling the issue of whether the modern demand for “relevance” in Christianity actually has to do with why younger generations just don’t seem interested in church. Is it really about music and worship styles, dress or having interesting little extras like coffee shops? Or is this way of doing things really missing the mark?

Maybe the issues the fledgling Church was coping with in Acts 2:1-21 can shed some light on today’s situation. The disciples had to cope with:

  • Being raised in a religious society that didn’t view itself as accessible for and to all people
  • Conflicting schools of thought that often lead to a lot of legalism
  • Living in a world that saw a lot of turmoil over current events

In many ways, what the disciples were dealing with during the Church’s early days mirrors what we have to deal with today. Consider the following:

  • Many Christian groups see their particular expression of faith as being THE sole, legitimate way of coming to God. such groups, in the long run, push more people away from God, rather than leading them TO God.
  • Others, while not teaching exclusive salvation, get too caught up in form and style, forgetting that the Church is for God’s whole people, and doesn’t fulfill her mission effectively when there is too much focus on specifically reaching hipsters, contemporary music fans, cowboys, bikers, etc.
  • Legalism is always a very real threat when there is too much focus on following rules and conforming to the “right” interpretation of a given belief
  • Current events often lead Christians to read answers into Scripture, rather than drawing answers from Scripture

The search for relevancy doesn’t need to be an issue when we keep a balanced perspective: The Gospel message and benefits of salvation are available to all who are willing to receive them, and we must keep that perspective in mind.

Posted by: celticanglican | April 17, 2015

One Day at a Time

celticanglican:

Some very sound advice for all of us

Originally posted on Pastor John Keller:

Just past the familiar opening phrases of serenity, courage and wisdom in Niebuhr’s Serenity Prayer comes this statement:

Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time,

The prayer invites us to stay focus on the present , not to be trapped by  past regrets or future anxieties.  To live fully alive today, not drifting off to yesterday or tomorrow.

This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it. (Psalm 118:24)

“So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” (Matt 6:34)

boarding-a-plane-11282012-113858_horiz-largeI have struggled with this.  I remember preparing for a wonderful vacation trip with my family, but even as I boarded the airplane, my mind raced ahead.  In my mind’s eye I could see myself boarding the plane to return, the vacation over and done.  I felt…

View original 266 more words

Posted by: celticanglican | April 14, 2015

A Monastic Witness is Still Needed Today

In_Jerusalem_20

By Loopstation (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

It seems like there’s always some glaring example of poverty and its trickle-down effects each time you turn on the news. There is no single solution to ending poverty. However, we can learn some lessons from early monastic movements and how they shaped the Church.

A common reason people don’t see the important role these groups play is because they are often portrayed as medieval innovations. Some see the members of such groups as solely participating in prayer, without involvement in outside communities.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Consider the following:

  • The seeds of what would later evolve into monastic communities were planted during the early days after Pentecost (Acts 4:32-35)
  • Early Celtic monastic communities, particularly in Ireland, often consisted of larger settlements that included both religious and members of the larger community
  • The Franciscans have a long history of devotion to the poor that exists today
  • The first Anglican and Episcopalian religious communities were founded to help the poor
  • Clerical religious order members today serve in some of the neediest parts of the world
  • Anglican and interdenominational orders often admit both married and single members, and most don’t live in a monastic community
  • Monastic-style groups are also becoming popular in some evangelical Protestant groups
Posted by: celticanglican | March 23, 2015

A Very Real Spiritual Hunger

The Baptism of the Armenian People

During this final week leading up to Holy Week, we celebrate the life of Gregory the Illuminator (d. 332 AD). Although country borders may change and the unreached groups that the Church preaches the Gospel to may change, peoples’ hunger for God that they may not recognize as such doesn’t.

One of the readings for Gregory’s feast is Paul’s “Mars Hill” speech from Acts 17:22-31. Just like in Paul’s day, we live in an age where there is a serious spiritual hunger. God is exactly what many are seeking in their lives, even though they may not realize that it is God that they seek.

Although some of the major “world players” in the religious field are different, today, we still live in a world where all things spiritual fascinate people, from near-death experiences to shows about paranormal topics. Even when spiritual subjects aren’t totally within the realm of orthodoxy, we shouldn’t see it as something to condemn out of hand.

Instead, we should acknowledge the fact that so many people have a desire for God, regardless of how they express it. Will we help them or hinder them in their journey?

Posted by: celticanglican | March 16, 2015

In Lent, But Not OF Lent

Rose-vestment-bishop-willesden

Many people wonder why the Sundays that fall during Lent are called Sundays IN Lent, not OF Lent. Are these Sundays truly part of the penitential season? In short, the answer is no.

You might not realize this, but the Sundays that fall during Lent aren’t counted as part of Lent’s 40 days. This is because every Sunday in our tradition is a scaled-down Easter service. We remember the redeeming work that occurred on that first Resurrection Day every time we gather on Sunday.

There is somewhat of a different atmosphere, if you will, at the services that happen during Lent. The hymns are a little more subdued, and you won’t hear Alleluias, except during funerals. However, celebrating the Pascal feast is always at the forefront of the celebration.

A period of penitence and reflection on our own mortality and what we can do to be better witnesses to Christ is good for the soul. However, even in the midst of the season, we celebrate Laetare Sunday, also known as Refreshment Sunday. This lessening of the penitential nature of the season helps point us towards that hope that we all anticipate.

Posted by: celticanglican | January 19, 2015

A Charge and a Challenge

1 Peter 5:1-4

Today, Western liturgical churches celebrate an event that receives a relatively brief mention in the Bible, but has shaped how some groups view ministry and apostolic succession in a major way. Regardless of where you stand on these issues, Paul’s letter to Peter emphasizes exactly what every Christian leader needs to keep in mind:

  • Leaders are among those who share the glory that will be revealed – it’s not the exclusive ‘property”, if you will, of leadership or even a select part of Christ’s Body.
  • Leaders are charged to serve willingly, and the Church suffers when someone’s heart isn’t in it or there are other motives. For example, ideal leaders should have a genuine calling and not be placed in ministries simply to “inherit” one from a parent.
  • It’s not about, or shouldn’t be about, doing it all for personal gain or becoming famous. When a priest or other clergy member loses sight of this, he or she is no longer acting as an authentic representative of Christ.

As we remember St. Peter’s confession, let’s pray for our own parish and congregational leadership.

Posted by: celticanglican | January 3, 2015

2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 10,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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