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.

Posted by: celticanglican | December 14, 2014

Where Did All This Pink Come From?

Q. I just visited an Episcopal church this Sunday, and both priests (a man and a woman) had pink vestments, and all the altar hangings were pink. Why?

A. This is a good question, especially when you’re used to seeing violet or blue during the rest of Advent. Rose (though sometimes called pink) is a color associated with joy.

The Third Sunday of Advent is also known as¬†Gaudete Sunday, from the Latin word meaning rejoice.¬†Philippians 4:4-5 (the “rejoice in the Lord always” passage), was traditionally an entrance song on this day. This passage is one of the readings used today.

If you use an Advent wreath, you’ve probably noted that one of the candles is pink. This is in keeping with the practice of Gaudete Sunday as well.

Posted by: celticanglican | December 7, 2014

Advent Conspiracy

Posted by: celticanglican | November 27, 2014

A Blessed thanksgiving to All!

EnterHisGates

Posted by: celticanglican | November 18, 2014

Affirming/Reaffirmation Your Faith If You’re Baptized

An Episcopal church group I’m a part of on Facebook recently had a question raised by a woman who was baptized in the Catholic Church as an infant and had been part of other groups throughout her life. She wanted to know if she could be rebaptized in an Episcopal service.

In short, the answer would be no, because we take “one Lord, one faith, one baptism” pretty seriously. Water baptism in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, regardless of the denomination, initiates Christians into the church as a whole. However, there are a few ways in which a new member may reaffirm their baptismal commitment. The following from St. Benedict’s Episcopal Church in Smyrna, GA offers some helpful information on confirmation, reception and reaffirmation.

Posted by: celticanglican | November 11, 2014

An Awesome Book to Read if You’ve Lost a Loved One

Tear Soup: a Recipe for Healing After Loss by Pat Schweibert is a book I can’t recommend enough. A short, easy read, it has some of the best help for coping after a loss that you’ll find. I’m very grateful to my rector for bringing this book over after a devastating loss in the family.

While some might conclude that it’s a kids’ book because of its pictures and short, easy to read text, it has a lot of “meat” for adults in it, too. Many bereavement books for adults written in chapter format have a lot to get through when you’re not in a position to digest a lot. A short, quick read is good in these situations.

The story follows a woman who makes up a batch of “tear soup” after the loss of a loved one. Because it doesn’t name the person’s relationship to her, it’s easy to adapt the principles in the story to any grief situation. Some of the most important takeaways in this book for me were:

  • The fact that grief is a very personal thing. No two people will have the exact same “recipe” for grief.
  • Understanding the fact that sometimes people don’t know what to say. Some of what comes across as insensitive or trite is just being at a loss for helpful words.
  • It’s not written from a religious perspective, but does address the fact that a person’s faith might be impacted by grief. I feel comfortable recommending this book to both Christians and non-Christians.

There are also helpful discussion questions in the back that you could use as a family or group of friends.

Posted by: celticanglican | November 4, 2014

Some Interesting Trivia on Celebrations from the Past Week

What’s the difference between Halloween, All Saints’ Day, All Souls’ Day and Days of the Dead?

What are your favorite traditions related to these celebrations?

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