Sunday, August 26, 2007

26/08/07 13th Sunday After Pentecost


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.

Grant, O merciful God, that your Church, being gathered together in unity by your Holy Spirit, may show forth your power among all peoples, to the glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Today's Scripture

AM Psalm 146, 147; PM Psalm 111, 112, 113
2 Samuel 24:1-2,10-25; Gal. 3:23-4:7; John 8:12-20

From Forward Day by Day:

Psalm 46. The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold.

I love the Psalms. Many are ascribed to David, the youngest son of Jesse who was called from tending sheep to be anointed as God's shepherd king. We find the life and times of David described and chronicled in other Old Testament books but they are biographical, depicting from a privileged spectator's point of view the momentous events in David's private life as well as his professional life at court and on the battlefield.

But it is in the Psalms that we can experience the inner life of David, the man after God's own heart. Through his poetry set to music, David pours out the wide range of human emotions surrounding the events and circumstances of his life: exaltation, agony, outrage, fear, discouragement, longing, awe, hope, joy, confidence, and more. It is here that I began to grasp the nature of a relationship between the living God whom David called his Shepherd and one whom the Lord called "my son," my beloved.

The Psalms give me permission as God's child to pour out to him thoughts and emotions which I tend to hold onto and carry by myself and, like David, to receive the needed reassurance of the above scripture.

Today in the Anglican Cycle of Prayer we pray for the Anglican Church of Korea and the Diocese of Seoul

Speaking to the Soul:

God within creation

Daily Reading for August 26 • The Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost

The feature of Celtic spirituality that is probably most widely recognized, both within and outside the Church, is its creation emphasis. Like most children, I had grown up with a sense of awe at creation. Our earliest memories are generally of wonder in relation to the elements. Connected to these moments will be recollections of experiencing at the deepest levels a type of communion with God in nature, but there will usually have been very little in our religious traditions to encourage us to do much more than simply thank God for creation. The preconception behind this is that God is separate from creation. How many of us were taught actually to look for God within creation and to recognize the world as the place of revelation and the whole of life as sacramental? Were we not for the most part led to think that spirituality is about looking away from life, so that the Church is distanced from the world and spirit is almost entirely divorced from the matter of our bodies, our lives and the world?

I had discovered characteristics of the old Celtic Church in the prayers of the Western Isles, but where was the original source of this spiritual tradition? When I explored the earliest manifestations of Celtic Christianity, in the fourth-century writings of Pelagius, for example, I found a similar emphasis on the life of God within creation. This much-maligned early British Christian stressed not only the essential goodness of creation—and our capacity to glimpse what he called ‘the shafts of divine light’ that penetrate the thin veil dividing heaven and earth—but the essential goodness of humanity. It was a spirituality characterized by a listening within all things for the life of God.

From Listening for the Heartbeat of God: A Celtic Spirituality by J. Philip Newell (Paulist Press, 1997).

++++++++++ Reflections

The loveliest masterpiece of the heart of God is the heart of a mother.
St Therese of the Child Jesus

Reading from the Desert Christians

Abba Poemen said that Abba John said that the saints are like a group of trees, each bearing different fruit, but watered from the same source. The practices of one saint differ from those of another, but it is the same Spirit that works in all of them.

Abba John said to his brother, 'Even if we are entirely despised in the eyes of men, let us rejoice that we are honoured in the sight of God.'

Daily Meditation (Henri Nouwen)

Remembering the Dead

When we lose a dear friend, someone we have loved deeply, we are left with a grief that can paralyse us emotionally for a long time. People we love become part of us. Our thinking, feeling and acting are codetermined by them: Our fathers, our mothers, our husbands, our wives, our lovers, our children, our friends ... they are all living in our hearts. When they die a part of us has to die too. That is what grief is about: It is that slow and painful departure of someone who has become an intimate part of us. When Christmas, the new year, a birthday or anniversary comes, we feel deeply the absence of our beloved companion. We sometimes have to live at least a whole year before our hearts have fully said good-bye and the pain of our grief recedes. But as we let go of them they become part of our "members" and as we "re-member" them, they become our guides on our spiritual journey.

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

Therefore, we seek to love all those to whom we are bound by ties of family or friendship. Our love for them increases as their love for Christ grows deeper. We have a special love and affection for members of the Third Order, praying for each other individually and seeking to grow in that love. We are on our guard against anything which might injure this love, and we seek reconciliation with those from whom we are estranged. We seek the same love for those with whom we have little natural affinity, for this kind of love is not a welling up of emotion, but is a bond founded in our common union with Christ.

Upper Room Daily Reflection

Broken Open
August 26th, 2007
Sunday’s Reflection

CULTURE’S MESSAGE is immediate fulfillment, gratification. But when I hungrily seek control in my power, with my plans, I am full, brimming over with empty calories, and strangely unfulfilled. I pray to be broken open — unafraid of change — and pour out pride. My Spirit fast teaches me as I am willing to yield, more space for grace appears, and more of Christ, Bread of Life, is revealed.

- Roberta Porter
“Broken Open”
Alive Now

From page 48 of Alive NowMarch/April 2001. Copyright © 2001 by The Upper Room. All Rights Reserved. Used with permission.

Richard Rohr's Daily Reflection

"The Third Temptation of Christ (Control)"

After the need to be successful and the need to think well of the self, the third human addiction is the need for control or power. So the devil tells Jesus to bow down before the systems of this world: All of them you can have (Matthew 4:8). Just buy them. Believe in them. Jesus refuses to bow down before the little kingdoms of this world, the corporations and the nation-states, the security systems, the idols of militarism. The price of this love of power is to fall at Satan's feet and worship him! (Matthew4:9). That's a very heavy judgement on all the kingdoms of the world. In all these systems, self-interest has to dominate. For Kingdom people, self-interest cannot dominate.

Simply put, the third temptation is the need to be in control, to be aligned with power and money. The three temptations that Jesus faces, in a certain sense, all become one: the addictive system, the great lie, the untouchable mythology, the sin of the world (John 1:29) that must be unmasked and dethroned. And I know nothing strong enough to break the mythology not ideology, not liberalism, not conservatism except the upside-down gospel of Jesus. You must re-found your life on a new foundation, the foundation, the foundation of your experienced union with God.

Jesus tells Satan, "You must worship the Lord your God, and serve God alone." And the devil left him (Matthew 4:10-11). When you have faced these three biggies, Satan doesn't have a chance.

from Preparing for Christmas With Richard Rohr

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

By the cross the martyrs were strengthened

We who worship Christ on the cross must try to grasp the greatness of his power and all the wonders he has wrought through the cross on our behalf; the holy David says: Our God and eternal King has wrought salvation throughout the world. For through the cross the nations were caught as in a net and the seeds of faith were sown everywhere. With the cross, as though with a plow, the disciples of Christ cultivated the unfruitful nature of humankind, revealed the Church's ever-green pastures, and gathered in an abundant harvest of believers in Christ. By the cross the martyrs were strengthened, and as they fell they smote down those who struck them. Through the cross Christ became known, and the Church of the faithful, with the scriptures ever open before her, introduces us to this same Christ, the Son of God, who is truly God and truly Lord, and who cries out: Any who wish to come after me must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.

Andrew of Crete

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


"Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you." John 14:27

There are times when our peace is based upon ignorance, but when we awaken to the facts of life, inner peace is impossible unless it is received from Jesus. When Our Lord speaks peace, He makes peace, His words are ever "spirit and life." Have I ever received what Jesus speaks? "My peace I give unto you" - it is a peace which comes from looking into His face and realizing His undisturbedness.

Are you painfully disturbed just now, distracted by the waves and billows of God's providential permission, and having, as it were, turned over the boulders of your belief, are you still finding no well of peace or joy or comfort; is all barren? Then look up and receive the undisturbedness of the Lord Jesus. Reflected peace is the proof that you are right with God because you are at liberty to turn your mind to Him. If you are not right with God, you can never turn your mind anywhere but on yourself. If you allow anything to hide the face of Jesus Christ from you, you are either disturbed or you have a false security.

Are you looking unto Jesus now, in the immediate matter that is pressing and receiving from Him peace? If so, He will be a gracious benediction of peace in and through you. But if you try to worry it out, you obliterate Him and deserve all you get. We get disturbed because we have not been considering Him. When one confers with Jesus Christ the perplexity goes, because He has no perplexity, and our only concern is to abide in Him. Lay it all out before Him, and in the face of difficulty, bereavement and sorrow, hear Him say, "Let not your heart be troubled."

Today's reading from the Rule of St. Benedict

Chapter 68: If a Sister Is Commanded to Do Impossible Things

If it happens
that difficult or impossible tasks are laid on a sister,
let her nevertheless receive the order of the one in authority
with all meekness and obedience.
But if she sees that the weight of the burden
altogether exceeds the limit of her strength,
let her submit the reasons for her inability
to the one who is over her
in a quiet way and at an opportune time,
without pride, resistance, or contradiction.
And if after these representations
the Superior still persists in her decision and command,
let the subject know that this is for her good,
and let her obey out of love,
trusting in the help of God.


An old Jewish proverb teaches, "When you have no choice, don't be afraid." A modern saying argues, "There's no way out but through." The straight and simple truth is that there are some things in life that must be done, even when we don't want to do them, even when we believe we can't do them. Is the rule cruel on this point? Not if there is any truth in experience at all. The reality is that we are often incapable of assessing our own limits, our real talents, our true strength, our necessary ordeals. If parents and teachers and employers and counselors and prioresses somewhere hadn't insisted, we would never have gone to college or stayed at the party or tried the work or met the person or begun the project that, eventually, changed our lives and made us more than we ever knew ourselves to be. Benedict understood clearly that the function of leadership is to call us beyond ourselves, to stretch us to our limits, to turn the clay into breathless beauty. But, first, of course, we have to allow it to happen.


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

Sunday, August 26, 2007 Tone 4 The Martyrs Adrian
and Natalia of Nicomedia
Kellia: Joshua 2:8-14 Epistle: 1 Corinthians 16:13-24
Gospel: St. Matthew 21:33-42

Rahab the Ancestor ~ 3: A Convert's Confession: Joshua 2:8-14 LXX,
especially vs. 11, "The Lord your God is God in heaven above, and on the
earth beneath." All that the Prophet Joshua recorded concerning Rahab
in today's passage reveals the truths that shaped her character and
prepared her to be an ancestor of the Lord after the flesh. Thus, we
have her heartfelt convictions that led her to shelter the spies of the
army of Israel. Her words, as we have them from the Soldier-Prophet,
clearly disclose a faith and God-inspired depth of soul which marks
those whose assertions and definitions we deem to be true theology.

What St. Maximos teaches us concerning Moses applies in full measure to
Rahab: "when [Moses] established his will and mind outside the world of
visible things he began to worship God." In her assertions, observe
that Rahab rejected the visible, tangible world of Jericho in her will
and mind with all its pagan loyalties. Further, she committed herself
to the Lord and the People to whom He had "given...the land" (vs. 9).
Rahab saw clearly that within the citizens of Jericho "there was no
longer any spirit" (vs. 11). However, after she heard what God had done
on Israel's behalf, her heart prompted her to aid and abet those who
were the natural enemies of her people after the flesh. Foreseeing
Jericho's annihilation, and with care for her loved ones, she pleaded in
the Name of the Lord that the spies "save alive" her entire family (vs.

The theology that Rahab evinced, as Metropolitan Hierotheos Vlachos
notes of all Divine truth, was "not given by human knowledge and zeal,
but by the work of the Holy Spirit which dwells in the pure heart."
Examining Rahab's theological statements, we find that they contain in
them the seeds of that same Divine theology that emerged later in the
Nicene Creed. It is right to say that her assertions clearly establish
her as one being purified by the grace of God.

First, Rahab declared that God has a chosen People through whom He is
accomplishing what we might call His "master plan" for mankind She
perceived God acting in the history of nations and peoples, giving land
to the People of His choice (vs. 9), drying up the sea, and utterly
destroying kingdoms before these People (vs. 10). What else can we mean
when we say, "I believe in One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church,"
than committing ourselves to the People of God and to what He is doing
in the destiny of nations and peoples? Ancient Rome was a mighty
empire, but is gone. Its successor, Byzantium, flourished for 1000
years, and was overrun. The Bolsheviks seized Russia, and they are
gone. The Holy Orthodox Church remains.

Rahab affirmed that God is the Lord of history and Governor of all, the
Lord Whom the sea obeys and against Whom no human or spiritual power can
finally prevail (vss. 9,10). Already in her words we may discern the
outline of Orthodox dogma: "We believe in one God, the Father Almighty,
Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible."

In her declarations, Rahab accepted the invincibility of God: that
whatever He reveals as His will is as good as accomplished even before
it happens: "I know that the Lord has given you the land" (vs. 9). What
powers can oppose Him? There are none, as we know; for not even sin and
death can oppose Him, which is why we say, "And [we believe] in one
Lord, Jesus Christ....Who....was crucified also for us under Pontius
Pilate, and suffered and was buried." A defeat of God's will? Not at
all, for "the third day He rose again." What is more, "He shall come
again with glory to judge the quick and the dead, Whose kingdom shall
have no end."

In Rahab was true Divine theology, which in her Descendant was literally
O Christ our God, King of all and Creator of all, Who wast born from a
lineage of many forebears in the flesh, to renew the creation of us
earthly beings; glory to Thy condescension!



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