Sunday, June 03, 2007

03/06/07 Trinity Sunday


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Blessed are those for whom Easter is...
not a hunt, but a find;
not a greeting, but a proclamation;
not outward fashions, but inward grace;
not a day, but an eternity.


Almighty and everlasting God, you have given to us your servants grace, by the confession of a true faith, to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity, and in the power of your divine Majesty to worship the Unity: Keep us steadfast in this faith and worship, and bring us at last to see you in your one and eternal glory, O Father; who with the Son and the Holy Spirit live and reign, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Today's Scripture

AM Psalm 146, 147; PM Psalm 111, 112, 113
Ecclus. 43: 1-12(27-33); Eph. 4:1-16 ; John 1:1-18

From Forward Day by Day:

Psalm 29. The voice of the Lord makes the oak trees writhe and strips the forests bare.

I used to attend church beside the Mississippi Sound, a place rebuilt after Hurricane Camille had whipped across the Gulf in 1969, killing dozens. A twisted altar cross left by Camille was mounted atop the baptismal font of this church. But now, after Katrina, there is nothing there but sand and a bell tower soon to be bulldozed. The psalmist also knew of storms that make the oak trees writhe and strip the forests of leaves. Nature can overpower us.

The Holy Spirit is as strong as a hurricane thundering across the waters. Yet the Holy Spirit brings not fury, but the blessing of peace after the winds die and the storms subside.

God promises to hear our prayers above the howling winds. The early psalmists thought winds were a sign of God's wrath, but today we know that storms are cyclical. Some are even man-made--technology has put its imprint on the environment.

Pray for peace this June. God promises to answer our prayers, and he keeps his promise

Today in the Anglican Cycle of Prayer we pray for the Diocese of Oji River (Prov. of the Niger, Nigeria)
++++++++++ Reflections

The Father spoke one Word, which was His Son, and this Word He always speaks in eternal silence, and in silence must It be heard by the soul.
St John of the Cross
Sayings of Light and Love.

Reading from the Desert Christians

Once three brothers came to visit an old man in Scetis and one of them said to him, "Abba, I have committed to memory the Old and New Testaments." And the old man answered, "You have filled the air with words." The second one said to him, "I have written out the Old and New Testaments with my own hands." He said, "And you have filled the window-ledge with manuscripts." Then the third said, "The grass is growing up my chimney." And the old man replied, "You have driven away hospitality."

Daily Meditation (Henri Nouwen)

Claiming the Identity of Jesus

When we think about Jesus as that exceptional, unusual person who lived long ago and whose life and words continue to inspire us, we might avoid the realisation that Jesus wants us to be like him. Jesus himself keeps saying in many ways that he, the Beloved Child of God, came to reveal to us that we too are God's beloved children, loved with the same unconditional divine love.

John writes to his people: "You must see what great love the Father has lavished on us by letting us be called God's children - which is what we are." (1 John 3:1). This is the great challenge of the spiritual life: to claim the identity of Jesus for ourselves and to say: "We are the living Christ today!"

From the Principles of the Third Society of St. Francis:

Day Three - The Object, cont'd

Jesus calls those who would serve him to follow his example and choose for themselves the same path of renunciation and sacrifice. To those who hear and obey he promises union with God. The object of the Society of Saint Francis is to build a community of those who accept Christ as their Lord and Master and are dedicated to him in body and spirit. They surrender their lives to him and to the service of his people. The Third Order of the Society consists of those who, while following the ordinary professions of life, feel called to dedicate their lives under a definite discipline and vows. They may be female or male, married or single, ordained or lay.

Upper Room Daily Reflection

A LIFE OF ABUNDANCE is a daily dance with God and others. For God whispers to us: Will you dance with me? And will you dance with [those] who are strangers in a new land? Will you dance with those in prison and the sick at heart? Will you dance with the lonely and clothe them with love? Will you dance with those who thirst for meaning in our nihilistic culture? Will you dance with those who hunger for bread? Will you dance onto the shifting sands of this new age and help speak for me?

- Marilyn Brown Oden

From page 89 of Abundance by Marilyn Brown Oden. Copyright © 2002 by Marilyn Brown Oden.

Richard Rohr's Daily Reflection

"An Image of God"

When I was working with the peace movement in Germany, a Lutheran friend took me to a thirteenth-century Cistercian monastery. As we came into this old church, there on the wall was a picture that really expressed some truth about God and the Church.

First, it’s a picture of the Father in the traditional style: the old, bearded man. But in this case he’s holding the orb of power, that golden ball that kings held at one time. But it’s sort of slipping out of his hand. And there was my first clue that this painter and I were on the same wavelength. How can anybody think that God is in charge? Much is happening to tell me that isn’t true. Or, as Jesus much more wisely said, the prince of this world is in charge. So often the lie is in charge, the world, the flesh and the devil are in charge. God hardly ever gets his way. God is a wounded lover; we are running the show. T hat’s the great risk God took in deciding to play for love instead of power.

In his other hand the Father has a sword. I suppose the imagery is dangerous- the God who demands and expects and desires reality to be what it is. It’s the sword of great expectation. Right across from the Father is Jesus, naked and bleeding. He’s got his hand in the wound in his side, and he’s looking across at the Father, eyeball to eyeball. It’s a gaze of great intensity; it’s a gaze of understanding, of mutual giving and receiving. There’s great power in it. And the very sword that the Father is holding, Jesus is restraining.

The Father symbolizes that part of God that demands and desires his sons and daughters to become all they can be, that demanding expectant part of God. Parents surely see that in relationship to their children: why it is sometimes had to be soft or nice to them. If I don’t teach them this, you say, then they will screw up or not live a good life; I’ve got to help them in this way, I’ve got to teach them. We call this the angry God in the Old Testament. That’s not the right work. It’s tough love. It is a necessary part of love. I call it the masculine side of love and the masculine side of God.

Jesus for me represents that part of God that is wounded, that part of God that is losing, that part of God that is failing, that part of God that doesn’t get his way, that part of God that is broken and that we celebrate in every Eucharist. That part of God who has involved himself in love and therefore is involved in the suffering of the world: the Lamb of God.

So between the Father and the Son is the perfectly horizontal line of this sword, and yet there is a love gaze between the Father and Son; they’re looking at one another intensely. It’s a great image: They perfectly accept one another from their different positions- the Son, the weak part of God, if you’ll allow me that word, and the Father, the powerful part of God. Maybe the Father is the powerlessness of power and the Son is the power of powerlessness, which is precisely the image of Jesus. They complement one another.

From John E. Rotelle, O.S.A., Tradition Day by Day: Readings from Church Writers. Augustinian Press. Villanova, PA, 1994.

The bread from heaven and the cup of salvation

Under the old covenant there was showbread, but it came to an end with the old dispensation to which it belonged. Under the new covenant there is bread from heaven and the cup of salvation. These sanctify both soul and body, the bread being adapted to the sanctification of the body, the word to the sanctification of the soul.

Do not, then, regard the eucharistic elements as ordinary bread and wine: they are in fact the body and blood of the Lord, as he himself has declared. Whatever your senses may tell you, be strong in faith.

You have been taught and you are firmly convinced that what looks and tastes like bread and wine is not bread and wine but the body and the blood of Christ. You know also how David referred to this long ago when he sang: Bread strengthens the heart and makes the face glow with the oil of gladness. Strengthen your heart, then, by receiving this bread as spiritual bread, and bring joy to the face of your soul.

May purity of conscience remove the veil from the face of your soul so that by contemplating the glory of the Lord, as in a mirror, you may be transformed from glory to glory in Christ Jesus our Lord. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Cyril of Jerusalem

Daily Readings From "My Utmost for His Highest", Oswald Chambers


"The secret (friendship R.V.) of the Lord is with them that fear Him." Psalm 25:14

What is the sign of a friend? That he tells you secret Sorrows? No, that he tells you secret joys. Many will confide to you their secret sorrows, but the last mark of intimacy is to confide secret joys. Have we ever let God tell us any of His joys, or are we telling God our secrets so continually that we leave no room for Him to talk to us? At the beginning of our Christian life we are full of requests to God, then we find that God wants to get us into relationship with Himself, to get us in touch with His purposes. Are we so wedded to Jesus Christ's idea of prayer - "Thy will be done" - that we catch the secrets of God? The things that make God dear to us are not so much His great big blessings as the tiny things, because they show His amazing intimacy with us; He knows every detail of our individual lives.

". . . him shall He teach in the way that He shall choose." At first we want the consciousness of being guided by God, then as we go on we live so much in the consciousness of God that we do not need to ask what His will is, because the thought of choosing any other will never occur to us. If we are saved and sanctified God guides us by our ordinary choices, and if we are going to choose what He does not want, He will check, and we must heed. Whenever there is doubt, Stop at once. Never reason it out and say - "I wonder why I shouldn't?" God instructs us in what we choose, that is, He guides our common sense, and we no longer hinder His Spirit by continually saying - "Now, Lord, what is Thy will?"

G. K. Chesterton Day by Day


THE meanest man in grey fields gone
Behind the set of sun,
Heareth between star and other star,
Through the door of the darkness fallen ajar,
The Council eldest of things that are,
The talk of the Three in One.

'Ballad of Alfred.'

Today's reading from the Rule of St. Benedict

Chapter 7: On Humility

The fifth degree of humility
is that he hide from his Abbot none of the evil thoughts
that enter his heart
or the sins committed in secret,
but that he humbly confess them.
The Scripture urges us to this when it says,
"Reveal your way to the Lord and hope in Him" (Ps. 36:5)
and again,
"Confess to the Lord, for He is good,
for His mercy endures forever" (Ps. 105:1).
And the Prophet likewise says,
"My offense I have made known to You,
and my iniquities I have not covered up.
I said: 'I will declare against myself my iniquities to the Lord;'
and 'You forgave the wickedness of my heart'" (Ps. 31:5).


The fifth rung of the ladder of humility is an unadorned and disarming one: Self-revelation, Benedict says, is necessary to growth. Going through the motions of religion is simply not sufficient. No, the Benedictine heart, the spiritual heart, is a heart that has exposed itself and all its weaknesses and all of its pain and all of its struggles to the one who has the insight, the discernment, the care to call us out of our worst selves to the heights to which we aspire.

The struggles we hide, psychologists tell us, are the struggles that consume us. Benedict's instruction, centuries before an entire body of research arose to confirm it, is that we must cease to wear our masks, stop pretending to be perfect and accept the graces of growth that can come to us from the wise and gentle hearts of people of quality around us.

Humility such as this gives us energy to face the world. Once we ourselves admit what we are, what other criticism can possibly demean us or undo us or diminish us? Once we know who we are, all the delusions of grandeur, all the righteousness that's in us dies and we come to peace with the world.

Dynamis is a daily Bible meditation based upon the lectionary of the Holy Orthodox Church.

Sunday, June 3, 2007 Tone 8 The Sunday of All
Epistle: Hebrews 11:13-12:2 Gospel: St. Matthew 10:32-33, 37-38; 19:27-30
Third Vespers All Saints: Wisdom 5:15-6:3

Grace for the Saints: Wisdom 5:15-6:3 LXX, especially vss. 15, 16: "But
the righteous live for evermore; their reward also is with the Lord, and
the care of them is with the most High. Therefore shall they receive a
glorious Kingdom, and a beautiful crown from the Lord's hand." Leonid
Ouspensky asserts "that an icon is an external expression of the
transfigured state of man, of his sanctification by the uncreated Divine
light," to which he adds, "Therefore, all the visible world represented
in the icon changes, becomes the image of the future unity of the whole
creation - the Kingdom of the Holy Spirit In accordance with this, all
that is depicted in the icon reflects not the disorder of our sinful
world, but Divine order, peace, a realm governed not by earthly
logic...but by Divine Grace." This reading from the Vespers of All
Saints likewise centers attention first on "the righteous" (vs. 15) -
that is to say, it begins with the Saints. Its primary message reminds
us of God's "care of them" (vs. 15), as well as His outpouring of grace
and favor upon the Church and all mankind.

What does Holy Scripture mean when it calls the Saints "the righteous"
(vs. 15)? Clearly it draws attention to Peter's love for the Lord (Jn.
21:17), to the joy of the Myrrh-bearing women (Lk. 24:1-12), and to the
peace in the heart of Thomas when he cried, "My Lord and my God!" (Jn.
20:28). Yes, every one of the fruits of the Spirit manifests in the
Saints: "love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness,
faithfulness, gentleness, self-control" (Gal. 5:22). Thus, all the
visible work of God the Holy Spirit leads beyond the witness of the
Saints, which itself is beautiful, to the grace of God working within
and for all mankind. This is the message flowing from Solomon's wisdom
- God cares for everyone; acts with zeal on behalf of everyone; and
reminds everyone that the powers that we enjoy derive from Him.

God cares for us, Beloved, with the same outpouring of grace that He
showered upon the Saints. Hence, let us have no hesitation to pray for
a "glorious Kingdom" (Wis. 5:16) whenever we say, "Thy Kingdom come!"
Let us not forget that when we fell away from the Lord our God, He
raised us up again by taking our flesh upon Himself, by embracing death
along with us that He might destroy death. In short, He did not "cease
to do all things until [He had] brought us back to heaven, and...endowed
us with [His] Kingdom which is to come." Therefore, the same Lord
extends a beautiful crown to all - a wreath, a covering, and a
protection (vs. 16).

The central portion of this passage concerning the grace of God for His
Saints describes the zeal with which God pursues His work of showering
favor upon His People. The RSV version of verse 17 captures the
original meaning in the word, "zalos" or "zeal," rather than does Sir
Brenton's "jealousy" - "The Lord will take His zeal as His whole armor,
and will arm all creation to repel His enemies." God the Warrior fully
arms Himself and employs all creatures as weapons "for the revenge of
His enemies" (vs. 17). He brings all His own righteousness, true
judgment, and holiness to unleash "His severe wrath...against the
unwise" (vs. 20).

The entire world coalition of human endeavor - nations, leagues, and
enterprises - are put on notice to cease trusting in their powers, rule,
glory, and sovereignty, as if they existed through their own efforts
(vss. 6:1-3). God loves the entire world and all men, and gives grace
to all. Earthly abilities, capacities to control, and manage skills
come from God - "power is given...of the Lord, and sovereignty from the
Highest" (vs. 3). The grace given the Saints is available for you and
for me, so let all admit as well that God tries the works and counsels
of us all (vs. 3).

Rejoice in the Lord, O ye just: Praise becometh the upright. Alleluia!



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