Note to readers: Liturgical entries on this blog are based on the traditional calendar of the Books of Common Prayer and the traditional one-year Eucharistic lectionary. If you follow a newer calendar or three-year lectionary, there are variations in names for some Sundays and in the readings.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

The Best Part of Christmas

Of course, the great Eucharists of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are beautiful and impressive. They emphasize the majestic and glorious aspects of the Incarnation. The Prayer Book feasts of St. Stephen, St. John, and Holy Innocents highlight important realities and theological themes.  They remind us of sacrifice, martyrdom, and divine love incarnate. Yet, for me personally, the other days of the Christmas Octave often seem to be the best part of Christmas.

As the year closes, the bustle has diminished, eating a lot is no longer expected, and the Daily Offices and Eucharists can embody a quieter sense of devotion and joy over the Birth of our Saviour. In Morning Prayer, the antiphon still calls us to adore Him. The Te Deum embodies the Creed in a powerful and wonderful form of praise, and the Benedictus has even greater meaning in retrospect than it did before the Nativity. In Evening Prayer, we think of the holy night. The Magnificat has a new and deeper application as we think of the Blessed  Mother with the Holy Child, and the Nunc Dimittis points us to true peace in Christ's light. In the Eucharist, the daily repetition of the Christmas Collect and the Proper Preface for Christmas drive home the true significance of the celebration, and the Gloria in Excelsis seems more than ever the song of the angels. The message of divine grace and love enters into our hearts more strongly.

There are indeed many lovely and important aspects of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, the Octave, and the Twelve Days. There are pretty carols, candles, vestments, flowers, and greenery. There are important themes and great services. I am not denying or ignoring the role of those things. Yet for me, these quieter times of devotion help to elevate a sense of divine joy above mere holiday merry-making. May the good tidings of great joy of the Saviour remain with us past the Octave and into the New Year. Christmas is not over; its true significance is just beginning to sink in- and should continue to come into our hearts again and again throughout the church year.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Precepts of the Church

The specifics of Christian practice are innumerable, but the principle is clear. Every single Christian is called to serve Christ and His Church with our time, talents, and resources. Even when we are exhausted or sick, there are ways that our thoughts, words, and prayers can contribute to the mission of Christ’s Church. Since the specifics are vast, most of us need a little more concrete guidance. Thus, it is useful to consider what have been called the Commandments or Precepts of the Church. These Precepts are short and practical steps for the average church member to pursue in order to cultivate basic Christian devotion and service.

Usually such lists of precepts have consisted of from three to seven items. Although rooted in the Bible and the teachings of the early church, such lists of precepts became common in the Middle Ages and have continued in Roman Catholic and Anglican teaching.
One notable Anglican list of Precepts was developed by Bishop John Cosinsthe Caroline theologian who became Bishop of Durham in 1660. His list of Precepts had six headings which can be paraphrased as follows. 1) Observe prayer book festivals and holy days such as all Sundays, feasts of Christ, and New Testament saints. 2) Keep fasting days such as Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, and the seasonal Ember Days. 3) Follow the customs and rules of the church for the sake of discipline and order. 4) Pray morning and evening, and when possible participate in Morning and Evening Prayer in the church. 5) Receive Holy Communion frequently and at a minimum 3 times a year, including Easter week. 6) Keep to the church’s teaching on marriage [V. Staley, The Catholic Religion, pp. 251-252].

These Precepts can be organized in shorter or longer ways, but whatever the form, they are useful reminders. We must make deliberate efforts to remain faithful, and we must move beyond general intentions into specific actions. Although we don’t want to become too narrow or legalistic, we do need to apply our faith in particular or concrete ways

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The Irony of Easter Week

Alleluia. The Lord is risen. Christ is risen indeed. Alleluia.
Many churches, clergy,  and parishioners make a great effort at Lent and put even more into Holy Week. Many provide lovely Easter Vigils, moving early Easter Eucharists, enjoyable parish breakfasts or luncheons, and impressive music and flowers for the main Easter Sunday Eucharists. Unfortunately, by midday on Easter Sunday, we often seem physically, mentally, and spiritually exhausted. So the rest of Easter week, we seem to crash. Even if we have a few weekday services and take the Sacrament to some shut-ins, we seem to have run out of steam.
I understand the feeling, and even after decades in ministry, I have no easy or obvious solution. Yet, the fact is that Easter Week should be filled with spiritual rejoicing for individual believers and the localized body of believers. We should be inspired by our Lord's Resurrection. So even if the institutional church needs a little pause to catch its breath, let us remain focused on our risen Lord in our thoughts and prayers. Thanks be to God for His inexpressible gift!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Lent and the Seven Deadly Sins: Sloth

Today, we come to the final of the Seven Capital Sins- Sloth. Sloth is a sluggishness or laziness which leads a person to avoid effort in the fulfillment of moral duty or in the practice of virtue. The Book of Proverbs contains a number of references to this vice and its results. Proverbs 21:25 says, "The desire of the slothful killeth him; for his hands refuse to labour." This truth applies in a moral and spiritual sense as well as in a physical or material sense.

Hebrews 6:12 says, "... Be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises." In other words, spiritual laziness weakens the virtues of faith and patience. Thus, the slothful are in no position to receive the blessings that God has promised. Sloth can attack any aspect of human life. Bodily or physical sloth can be obvious, and this often has its own natural penalties such as poor living conditions or weakened physical health. Another type of sloth is intellectual. Some people are too lazy to think for themselves, and they become easy prey to stronger-minded people such as charlatans and tyrants.

There is also moral sloth which avoids making ethical choices or decisions. A person who is morally slothful usually seeks the path of least resistence. Such a person generally goes along with whatever standards of conduct are popular in their social group or the larger society. Examples of moral sloth are the attitudes of people who once opposed abortion, adultery, homosexual activity, or euthanasia, but changed their minds as popular opinion shifted.

An even more dangerous form of sloth is spiritual or religious sloth. A person with this vice may have lifeless prayers, poor devotional habits, or avoidance of spiritual topics in personal thought or social conversation. A common expression of spiritual sloth is the avoidance of public worship without serious cause. The slothful only attend church when it is convenient, and they tend to find many reasons that regular worship is inconvenient.
Such spiritual sloth predisposes a person to other sins. Sloth draws the soul away from God and tends to numb a person's higher sensitivities. It subordinates Christian conscience to personal or social whims. A person infected by sloth tries to excuse his weakness by saying that he does not want to be a hypocrite; he doesn't want to do religious duties when the mood is not right.

There are two great helps in dealing with the temptation of sloth. The first is striving to lead a disciplined life with regular work and appropriate rest. Many people realize that discipline is a useful tool in resisting bodily or mental laziness. However, the same people may not see that similar efforts are useful in the moral and spiritual aspects of life.. Cultivating good moral and spiritual habits is not really hypocritical. Thinking about good deeds, having set times and patterns of prayer and devotion, and planning for regular times in church help reduce the influence of slothful moods.

A second aid against sloth is a constant awareness of our human need for divine assistance. Our natural strength or fortitude can be overcome or undermined. But the grace of God can make us stronger in moral and spiritual matters. God can help us overcome our laziness and give us the energy to pursue the good things that He has created us to do. As we approach the end of Lent, let us not fall into sloth; let us persevere in our spiritual disciplines as we observe the great events of our redemption thriugh Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Lent and the Seven Deadly Sins: Gluttony

This week the topic is a sixth deadly sin- gluttony. Gluttony is an improper desire for food or drink because of the pleasure they provide. Since food and drink are necessary and constant parts of human life on earth, their abuse is a very common temptation. In fact, some form of gluttony is probably the most widespread sin. It is so common and hard to avoid that people tend to underplay its danger.
There are many degrees of gluttony. Some instances seem to do little harm, such as an occasional craving for a small indulgence. Other instances obviously do more harm to social, physical, or material well-being, such as habitual overeating, excess spending on food and drink, or drunkenness.

However, even less notable forms of gluttony can produce spiritual damage. Gluttony harms the soul because it places sensual pleasure above moral or spiritual health.  Even minor excesses that most people hardly notice may reduce self-discipline and moral strength. In Philippians 3:19, St. Paul warns against enemies of the cross "whose god is their belly." In other words, like other capital sins, gluttony can lead to a form of idolatry.

There are several ways to limit some of the dangers of gluttony. 1) Cultivate self-control and moderation by reasonable fasting and abstinence. For particular periods such as all weekdays in Lent or Wednesdays and Fridays, limit the intake of food and drink and abstain from certain pleasures of the table altogether. And when the time of fasting is over, be careful not to rush into over-indulgence.
2) Remember that gluttony is basically a disordered desire. That means that while the amount of food and drink consumed can be a problem, the central issue is one's attitude toward them. Any person who takes too much pleasure in food or drink is a glutton, even if he seldom or never over-eats or gets drunk.
3) Make an effort to pay less attention to the pleasures of the table. Learn to be satisfied with simpler types and smaller quantities of refreshment. Learn to accept the food or drink that is available instead of searching far and wide for some item or recipe that appeals to the taste buds or the imagination. Except in cases of illness or extreme age, most people don't really need to stimulate their appetites.

Finally, as with all the other chief sins, we need to focus more attention on God. His presence should always be the most important longing for the human soul. So we should bear in mind that too strong an attachment to any created thing-including food and drink- is an insult to His divine majesty.

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Lent and the Seven Deadly Sins: Lust

Today's topic is a fifth capital sin: Lust. Literally, lust is a general term for any strong desire. Thus, when I John 2:16 speaks of "lust of the flesh," it refers to any kind of inappropriate physical longing. Of course, the popular connotation of "lust" for most people has sexual overtones. Of all the desires, sexual desire is very strong and troublesome for many human beings.

Some sexual lust is rooted in the physical nature of human beings. Such impulses are necessary for the physical survival of the species. Unfortunately, even natural and useful desire has been distorted by the general corruption of humanity. At many times, the physical desires of human beings are more frequent and less controlled than necessary for procreation. Furthermore, much human sexual desire has little to do with the physical appetite. Instead, it is rooted in the imagination and emotions. Unlike many other animals, human beings may lust when the physical motivation is not strong. Human lust may also be motivated by desires for excitement, pleasure, power, pride, and so forth. Much lust is mere self-centeredness and selfishness.

Modern societies do not deal with the mental and emotional aspects of lust very well. In fact, popular culture encourages this sin in thought, word, and deed. Popular psychology says that lust is healthy, and that resistance is unhealthy. There are unhealthy forms of repression, but much conscious discipline of lust is healthy and necessary for the individual and for society. The media, entertainment, business, education, and even some religious leaders often encourage lust because it is fashionable, popular, and economically profitable.

So what is a Christian to do? First, a Christian should avoid temptation when reasonably possible. A person should avoid situations that he or she knows are unnecessarily tempting. And a person should should try to cultivate a wholesome atmosphere.

Secondly, when temptation does arise, a person should follow St. Paul's advice to Timothy and flee lust (II Timothy 2:22). Lust, especially the kind that is more mental than physical, is not overcome by reasoned argument. Rather, it must simply be tossed aside by an act of will, and the mind must be occupied by other subjects.

Thirdly, temptation's appeal can be reduced by emphasizing a positive Christian view of sex. The original divine intention was that sex be expressed in a permanent marital relationship between one man and one woman. It was meant to be one aspect of a much broader human relationship. When sex is separated from other aspects of interpersonal relationships, it becomes distorted.

Finally, in this aspect of life as in others, every person should recognize his or her need for divine grace. Human nature is corrupt and weak. Every part of human life can easily become embroiled in our selfishness and unruliness. So all of us must depend on God's forgiveness for past errors and His gracious help and strength in the present and future.

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Lent and the Seven Deadly Sins: Avarice

This week, we consider a fourth of the Seven Capital Sins: Avarice or Greed. Sometimes this sin has been called coveteousness, but avarice focuses more exclusively on material goods or wealth. Material goods can be classified in three categories: 1) those which are necessary to sustain life, 2) those which are not necessary but useful, and 3) those which are luxurious indulgences.

The impulse for luxury is obviously closely related to avarice or greed. Yet, the desire for material goods that are merely useful can also be avarice, and even the search for necessary goods can become improper and infected by greed. Putting any material desires ahead of higher spiritual and moral values is an expression of greed. Unfortunately, avarice is ubiquitous in contemporary society. Materialistic philosophies, whether capitalist or socialist, make material achievements and comforts the central goal of human life. Avarice is no longer considered a sin by many, and in fact, greed is encouraged by consumerism as good for the economy and the social structure.

Holy Scripture presents a very different outlook. Material goods are useful creations of God. They are a natural part of earthly life. But fallen human beings always tend to distort the desire for such goods. As Proverbs 15:27 says,  "he that is greedy for gain troubleth his own house..." In I Timothy 6:10, St. Paul reminds us that "the love of money is the root of all evil...." As Christ teaches in St. Matthew 6:24, we cannot serve God and mammon or wealth. Either God or materialism will rule our lives; they cannot be equal loyalties. St. Paul makes a similar point in Colossians 3 and Ephesians 5 by identifyng covetoussness as idolatry.

An undisciplined desire for material goods often leads to many other sins- dishonesty, theft, sexual immorality, murder, and so on. So we must discipline our natural material desires. The best remedy for greed is to follow Scriptural teachings about material goods. All goods come from God and belong to Him. We do not really own anything- even our lives. We always remain mere stewards or managers of what belongs to God. Material goods and physical life are to be used in accordance with God's teachings and values. We should seek to grow in His grace and cultivate moderation and generosity with respect to the material aspects of life.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Lent and the Seven Deadly Sins: Anger

Today, we come to a third of the Seven Capital Sins: Anger. Anger has also been  called Wrath, Rage, Malice or Hatred.  Anger is a basic human experience, a natural reaction to certain situations that are or seem threats. And all anger is not bad. In Ephesians 4:26, the Apostle Paul quotes Psalm 4, "Be angry but sin not." There are certain evils which bring righteous anger to the Lord.

Unfortunately,fallen human beings are not often like the Lord. Most of the time any righteous aspect in our anger is mixed with and overwhelmed by our pride, self-centeredness, envy. etc. In this case, anger really becomes malice. Even when we start from a righteous anger, our anger tends to go too far and become destructive for us, for others, for our relationship with God. As Proverbs 29:22 says, " angry man stirreth up strife, and a furious man aboundeth in transgressions." As our Lord warns in St. Matthew 5:22, ".. everyone.who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment" (ESV).

What then are we to do? Anger is natural, and at times seems unavoidable. It may even arise from good motives. Yet, human anger rarely remains pure for long. In light of these realities, let us consider three helpful steps. First, we should learn to acknowledge our anger to ourselves. We must not pretend that we are never angry. Some of us may experience anger more frequently than others, but all of us do experience it. To deny our anger is to delude ourselves and lower our defenses to its dangers.
Secondly, in acknowledging anger, we should learn to analyze its components. We need to work and pray for personal insight. Both reason and spiritual insight can help us have a better understanding of the ways we may be both just and sinful in our anger. And when we see our mistakes, we need to seek divine pardon, and in certain situations, human forgiveness.
Thirdly, we must seek divine aid to reduce the frequency and intensity of anger. With God's help and spiritual discipline, we can develop more self-control and patience. With grace, we can grow in charity and patience. Charity and patience limit the bad expressions of anger and increases the good responses to people and situations.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Lent and the Seven Deadly Sins: Envy

In the last post, I discussed a little about a capital or chief sin: Pride. Now let us consider a second vice: Envy. Envy is unhappiness about or resentment of another person's real or perceived good fortune. When envy is directed more personally toward the other person, it is often called jealousy. Envy is an outgrowth from pride and a longing for personal superiority over others. Envy and covetousness may involve almost any aspect of life: another person's material goods, family, health, personality, intellect, popularity, or even virtue.

Envy frequently leads to other sins. As the Epistle of James tells us, "For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work" (3:16). Envy and its results such as distrust, slander, theft, false witness, adultery, murder, etc. are very disruptive to human relationships. Envy also disrupts the envious person's relationship with God. Aside from specific sins already mentioned, envy may distort a person's perceptions of God. It may lead to a kind of religious paranoia, a feeling that God is not just. Thus, envy can lead to spiritual rebellion and abandonment of the Christian life. As Psalm 37:1 warns, "Fret not thyself because of the ungodly, neither be thou envious against the evil doers."

There are two great defenses against envy. The first defence is trust in divine Providence. If we really believe that all things work for good to those who love God (Romans 8:28), then the good fortune of others should not lead us to resentment. Secondly, as I Corinthians 13:4b says, "Charity envieth not." The more Christ-like love fills our souls, the less likely we are to envy others. If we trust Providence and love God and neighbor, then envy is restrained by the virtue of kindness.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Lent and the Seven Deadly Sins: Pride

Lent is a season for stressing examination of conscience and repentance from sin. Sin is a complicated phenomenon which appears in many forms. On way to consider these manifestations is to look at the Ten Commandments. Another way is to consider the list developed in Christian moral theology, the traditional list of Seven Deadly or Capital Sins. These chief or notable sins are fairly easy to remember, and since there are seven, they can be conveniently highlighted on each Wednesday in Lent.
The list has biblical roots and sevens to have developed in the third and fourth centuries. A common traditional list comes from the sixth century Bishop of Rome, Gregory the Great. His list includes Pride, Envy, Anger, Avarice/Greed, Gluttony, Lust,and Sloth. Pride is often placed either first or last on the list. In this consideration, we start with Pride.

The word "pride" has many connotations and applications. Among the ancient Greeks and in modern politics and popular psychology, pride is often seen as a positive term- a reasonable awareness of human potential. However, in the Holy Scriptures and Christian Tradition, pride is generally a negative term for excessive self-assessment and self-assertion. For example, Proverbs 16:5 says, "Everyone that is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord." Proverbs 16:18 says, "Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall."  I John 2:16 says, "the pride of life is not of the Father, but is of the world."

Such pride is the root of many sins, and it is involved in all deliberate sin. It is the basic rebellion of the soul or spirit against God. God is dethroned, and self is set up in His place. The divine will is pushed aside, and the will of the created being is exalted.

Pride may be manifested in many ways. It may be manifested in presumption or exaggerated self-sufficiency. It may appear as inordinate or unbounded ambition. Pride may appear as vanity or a desire for praise. Sometimes, it may even appear as false or hypocritical humility. The great danger of pride , especially in religious matters is its subtlety. It often hides among legitimate traits and desires. Ironically, a person may even be proud of not being proud.

So during this Lent, let us seek to be more aware of our tendency toward pride. And let us look for the only cure: dependence upon God and cultivation of Christ-like humility.

Friday, February 05, 2016

Saint Agatha of Sicily- February 5

The feast day of St. Agatha has ancient roots and was retained as a black-letter day or minor commemoration on the calendar of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer. Agatha was a young Christian woman from Sicily persecuted for her faith and for her commitment to celibacy during persecutions under the Roman emperor Decius in 251 A.D. Although some of the later stories of her life may be exaggerated, it seems that she was tortured, imprisoned, and eventually died in prison as a faithful witness to her Christian convictions. Thanks be to God for all His witnesses.

Monday, February 01, 2016

St. Ignatius of Antioch- February 1

February 1 is the traditional date in the Western Church for commemorating St. Ignatius, bishop of Antioch (On some recent calendars, Antiochian practice of observing October 17 has been followed).  Besides being third bishop of Antioch, Ignatius was a writer, an apostolic father, martyred in Rome around 107 A.D. Although perhaps a little too zealous about martyrdom, the example of Ignatius and his writings provide a strong witness to faith in the redemptive work of Christ and to the importance of the Eucharist.

He also speaks of bishops as the leaders in the catholic churches. Of course, when speaking of bishops, Ignatius is not referring to the administrative system which developed long after his time. Ignatius views bishops as chief pastors who exercise apostolic authority over assistants (the presbyters or priests and deacons). The pastoral authority of the bishop in doctrine and sacrament is a bulwark against tendencies toward schism. Ignatius does not give blanket approval to the pretensions of all who have claimed the episcopal title, but he does assert that pastoral oversight is an apostolic gift needed by the Church.

So today we remember Ignatius as a faithful Christian and as an important early witness on the Eucharist, the catholic faith, and the episcopate. Let us join in giving thanks for this faithful bishop, pastor, teacher, and martyr.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Pre-Lent or the "Gesimas"

This year the Pre-Lenten season comes very quickly after Epiphany, and thus it really does fulfill its purpose of reminding us that Lent is approaching. This is the time to start thinking about our Lenten disciplines for this year. On what areas of our moral, devotional, and spiritual lives do we need to focus? What are some practical activities that can help us on our Christian journeys? How can we experience our faith more deeply?  How can we use the time between now and Good Friday-Easter to appreciate those days in a renewed way? Now is the time to begin contemplating such questions. Let us not wait till Ash Wednesday and give some automatic response based on previous years.

For more on Pre-Lent or the "Gesimas," see posts from previous years. For a little historical background, see this post-

Friday, January 22, 2016

Prayers for Life

On this anniversary of the blanket legalisation of abortion in the U.S., let us continue to pray that the culture of life may triumph over the culture of death. We remember all victims of senseless and selfish violence, the victims of murder, the victims of terrorism, the victims of religious persecution, the victims of euthanasia... And most of all we remember the innocent victims of abortion.

Here is a prayer included on the Anglican Priests for Life site:

O Heavenly Father, we pray this day for the children of the world. We pray that Thou wilt protect, guide, and provide for those children who are unwanted, unloved, abandoned or abused. We pray for those children who have been left unguarded by being orphaned. We pray for those most in peril, the unborn. Spare them, O Father, from the dangers of disease and drugs, an uncaring mother or father, but most of all from an untimely death at the hands of another. Replenish Thy Church, O God, with a fruitful offspring so that the Church may resound with the joy of their small voices that will one day turn to prayer unto thee, O Lord. Amen

[Source: Fr. Sack OSF, Louisville, Ky.]

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Anglican Primates and the "official" Anglican Communion

Much has been reported and commented about the Anglican Primates Meeting last week in Canterbury. Even the secular press (especially in the UK) has noted the event and the primates' call to suspend the Episcopal Church in the United States from Communion activities. Posts on VirtueOnline, Anglican Mainstream, and StandFirminFaith give lots of information. A post on the Continuum gives an interesting and useful analysis from a staunch continuing Anglican perspective.

I have not had time for enough reflection and writing to craft a reasoned and detailed theological response. However, here are a few personal reactions. First, I am glad that the majority Primates have done something to point out the heresy and immorality dominant in certain parts of the Anglican Communion. Secondly, I do not think that their response was sufficient or that it will have much impact in the Episcopal Church, the Anglican Church of Canada, or even in the Church of England. Thirdly, I am happier than ever to be in a continuing Anglican jurisdiction that supports the Affirmation of St. Louis. Had continuing Anglicanism been more unified in its witness, and had the Anglican Communion heeded the stands of the Affirmation, Anglicanism as a whole would be much healthier. As it is, I give thanks for the continuing Anglican jurisdictions that remain faithful and for individual Anglicans everywhere who stand for apostolic faith, morality, and order. May God grant us all grace and strength to remain faithful.

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Epiphany Journey

Epiphany is one of the oldest Christian observances along with Good Friday, Easter and Pentecost. The word “epiphany” means “appearance” or “manifestation.” The day and the season are associated with several manifestations of Jesus Christ. In particular, in the Western Church tradition, we think of the manifestation of the Christ Child to the Gentile Wise Men in St. Matthew 2.

There are several ways to approach this account, but this year, I have been thinking about the story of the Magi as a journey of hope, faith, and love of God. It shows a faithful response to the Savior of the world, and there are three broad aspects to the journey of the Wise Men: 1) seeking a Savior, 2) learning the message of Scripture, and 3) meeting, worshipping, and serving Christ.

These aspects of their journey can also be applied to our journeys or pilgrimages of faith. First, like the Magi, most Christians are Gentiles who seek the Jewish Savior. God reaches out to us and gives us signs in creation that can help lead us. Our world is still filled with struggles between light and darkness, good and evil. And like the Magi, we still long to see goodness. Such a longing, such a hope, can start us on the way to see Jesus.

Secondly, although our natural human hopes can point us in the right general direction, we need more specific guidance. Like the Wise Men, we must also learn about God’s plans from the Bible. The Savior is not a philosophical abstraction. He fulfills the message of the Hebrew prophets. He is the personal Incarnation of God’s eternal Word. He is the One who comes as the babe of Bethlehem, grows in wisdom and stature, and later is crucified and rises from the dead at Jerusalem.

Thirdly, like the Wise Men, we must come into Jesus’s presence in humble adoration and faith. We rejoice to find Him and worship Him. We offer Him our best, knowing that He offers us more than we can ever give Him.  We refuse to cooperate with evil forces that oppose Him. We seek to do His will in this world, and we follow our way in life, continuing to praise Him.

Sometimes, our journeys for Christ may seem long or difficult. Just as the Magi faced hardships, trials, and threats from evil along the way, so do we. But like them, we have faith that every encounter with Christ- in Scripture, in daily experience, in the Sacraments- makes the journey worthwhile.

Monday, January 04, 2016

Continuing Anglican Cooperation

The following letter is found on several sites. After almost 40 years of bickering in the wilderness, let us hope and pray that this spirit of fraternal cooperation will grow stronger and bear fruit in a number of jurisdictions.


We the undersigned bishops of the Continuing Anglican churches, as indicated below, pledge to work cooperatively, in a spirit of brotherly love and affection, to create a sacramental union and commonality of purpose that is pleasing to God and in accord with godly service to our respective jurisdictions. Additionally, we will endeavor to hold in concert our national and provincial synods in 2017. Our goal for this meeting will be to formalize a relationship of communio in sacris. 

During the intervening period, we will work in full accord toward that end. We will seek ways to cooperate with each other, supporting each others' jurisdictions and communicating on a variety of ecclesiastical matters. We will maintain regular monthly communication by teleconference. 

The Most Reverend Walter Grundorf, The Anglican Province of America 
The Most Reverend Mark Haverland, The Anglican Catholic Church 
The Right Reverend Paul C. Hewett, The Diocese of the Holy Cross 
The Most Reverend Brian R. Marsh, The Anglican Church in America