Wednesday, April 23, 2014

St George (280 - 303)

George was probably born in Nicomedia, during the late third century.Both his parents were Christians from noble families of Anici. Thus George was raised with Christian beliefs. At the age of 14, George's father Geronzio a tribune in Emperor Diocleations Army passed away. A few years later, George's mother, Policronia, died.

George presented himself to the Emperor desiring a career in the military. Diocletian welcomed him with open arms, as his father had been one of his finest soldiers.
By his late 20s, George was promoted to the rank of Tribunus and stationed as an imperial guard of the Emperor at Nicomedeia.

In the year AD 302, Diocletian issued an edict that every Christian soldier in the army should be arrested and every other soldier should offer a sacrifice to the Pagan gods. George renounced the Emperor's edict, and in front of his fellow soldiers and Tribunes he claimed himself to be a Christian and declared his worship of Jesus Christ. Diocletian attempted to convert George, even offering gifts of land, money and slaves if he made a sacrifice to the Pagan gods. The Emperor made many offers, but George refused.

Recognizing George would not renounce his faith Diocletian condemned him to death. Before his execution George gave his wealth to the poor. George was executed by decapitation before Nicomedia's city wall, on April 23, 303. A witness of his suffering convinced Empress Alexandra and Athanasius, a pagan priest, to become Christians, they joined George in martyrdom. His body was returned to Lydda for burial, where he was soon honored as a Christian martyr.

He became the patron of England in the late Middle Ages. In old plays and in art St. George is the slayer of the dragon; The Golden Legend did much for the extension of the tale. The Red Cross Knight of Edmund Spenser's Faërie Queene is St. George and stands for the Church of England. St. George's Cross appears in the Union Jack.

living water reprint from 2009

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Earth Day 2014

 *Mont Brevent*
O dweller in the valley, lift thine eyes
To where, above the drift of cloud, the stone
Endures in silence, and to God alone
Upturns its furrowed visage, and is wise.
There yet is being, far from all that dies,
And beauty where no mortal maketh moan,
Where larger planets swim the liquid zone,
And wider spaces stretch to calmer skies.
Only a little way above the plain
Is snow eternal. Round the mountain's knees
Hovers the fury of the wind and rain.
Look up, and teach thy noble heart to cease
From endless labour. There is perfect peace
Only a little way above thy pain.

~George Santayana

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter Sunday (7)

Easter Hymn

If in that Syrian garden, ages slain,
You sleep, and know not you are dead in vain,
Nor even in dreams behold how dark and bright
Ascends in smoke and fire by day and night
The hate you died to quench and could but fan,
Sleep well and see no morning, son of man.

But if, the grave rent and the stone rolled by,

At the right hand of majesty on high
You sit, and sitting so remember yet
Your tears, your agony and bloody sweat,
Your cross and passion and the life you gave,
Bow hither out of heaven and see and save.

                              A E Houseman

A E houseman (d 1936) was a British classical scholar and poet best known for his cycle of poems entitled A Shopshire Lad. Housman was  an agnostic,the yearning of his “Easter Hymn”  is deeply touching. His  tomb lies in St. Laurence’s Church in Ludlow, England.

graphic: Easter Sunday by K Morey Bailey

Friday, April 18, 2014

Good Friday (6)

The Passion

Since blood is fittest, Lord, to write
Thy sorrows in, and bloody fight;
My heart hath store; write there, where in
One box doth lie both ink and sin:

That when sin spies so many foes,
Thy whips, thy nails, thy wounds, thy woes,
All come to lodge there, sin may say,
No room for me, and fly away.

Sin being gone, oh fill the place,
And keep possession with thy grace;
Lest sin take courage and return,
And all the writings blot or burn.

George Hubert

graphic: Veronica's veil, painting by Domenico Fetti (c. 1620).

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Maudy/ Holy Thursday

Maundy Thursday is always the Easter week Thursday before Good Friday. The name originated in England and Scotland among the Protestant Churches. Although the Scottish Book of Common Prayer uses the name "Holy Thursday". Roman Catholics, except in England, referred to Maundy Thursday as "Holy Thursday". In the Eastern Orthodox Church, tradition it goes by Great and Holy Thursday.

The word Maundy is an English derivative of the Latin mandatum, the first word of the phrase "Mandatum novum do vobis ut diligatis invicem sicut dilexi vos" (Jesus's statement "A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you" in the John 13:34.")

On this day four events are remembered: Christ's washing of the Disciples' Feet, the sharing of the Last Supper with the disciples, Christ's agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, and His betrayal by Judas Iscariot.

graphic: Salvador Dali's 1955 painting 'The Sacrament of the Last Supper"

living water reprint from 2009

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Palm Sunday ( 7)

Gloria Laus (Christ the King )

Gloria, lausAcomposed by St. Theodulph of Orléans in 810, in Latin  is the Palm Sunday Hymnus ad Christum Regem ("Hymn to Christ the King") sung during the procession of the Liturgy of the Palms.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Penitential Psalms (7)

Psalm 143

Hear my prayer, O Lord;
give ear to my supplications!
In thy faithfulness answer me, in thy righteousness!
Enter not into judgment with thy servant;
for no man living is righteous before thee.
For the enemy has pursued me;
he has crushed my life to the ground;
he has made me sit in darkness like those long dead.
Therefore my spirit faints within me;
my heart within me is appalled.
I remember the days of old,
I meditate on all that thou hast done;
I muse on what thy hands have wrought.
I stretch out my hands to thee;
my soul thirsts for thee like a parched land.
Make haste to answer me, O Lord!
My spirit fails!
Hide not thy face from me,
lest I be like those who go down to the Pit.
Let me hear in the morning of thy steadfast love,
for in thee I put my trust.
Teach me the way I should go,
for to thee I lift up my soul.
Deliver me, O Lord, from my enemies!
I have fled to thee for refuge!
Teach me to do thy will,
for thou art my God!
Let thy good spirit lead me
on a level path!
For thy name's sake, O Lord, preserve my life!
In thy righteousness bring me out of trouble!
And in thy steadfast love cut off my enemies,
and destroy all my adversaries,
for I am thy servant. 

graphic: viola Song

Friday, April 11, 2014

Penitentials Psalms (6)

מִמַּעֲמַקִּים קְרָאתִיךָ    יְהוָה.
אֲדֹנָי,    שִׁמְעָה בְקוֹלִי:
תִּהְיֶינָה אָזְנֶיךָ, קַשֻּׁבוֹת--    לְקוֹל, תַּחֲנוּנָי

Psalm 130

Out of the depths I cry to thee, O Lord!
Lord, hear my voice!
Let thy ears be attentive
to the voice of my supplications!
If thou, O Lord, shouldst mark iniquities,
Lord, who could stand?
But there is forgiveness with thee,
that thou mayest be feared.
I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord
more than watchmen for the morning,
more than watchmen for the morning.
O Israel, hope in the Lord!
For with the Lord there is steadfast love,
and with him is plenteous redemption.
And he will redeem Israel
from all his iniquities...

graphic: out of the depths i have cried to thee, in Hebrew

Thursday, April 10, 2014

A Simple Foot Washing Liturgy for Holy Thursday


      Posting this on the Thursday before Holy Thursday so you have time to use it if your so inclined 

 Prayer of Preparation for Worship
God of love, as we prepare to remember the events of this poignant night, open our eyes to see the beauty of Jesus’ self-giving love, and by your Spirit work in our community a desire and commitment to serve each other and our hurting world. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Tolling of the Bell

Bearing of the Light (lighting of a candle)

Solemn Declaration (Sung Amen)

Call to Worship
“I give you a new commandment, that you love one another.
Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.”
In worship on this night, we testify to God’s love shown perfectly in Christ.
We recommit ourselves to love one another as a community of faith.
O taste and see that the Lord is good!
Come, let us worship the Lord!

The Lord be with you.

And also with you.

Call to Confession
As we remember this night of betrayal and desertion, let us confess our sins before God and one another.

Prayer of Confession
Merciful God, we have not loved you with all our heart and mind and strength and soul.
[Silent prayer]
Lord, have mercy upon us.
Lord, have mercy upon us.
We have not loved our neighbors as you have taught us.

[Silent prayer]
Christ, have mercy upon us.
Christ, have mercy upon us.
We are indifferent to the saving grace of your Word and life.

[Silent prayer]

Lord, have mercy upon us.
Lord, have mercy upon us.
Forgive and heal us by your steadfast love made known to us in the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

The Word
Old Testament: Exodus 12:1-4, 11-14
Psalm: Psalm 116:1-4, 12-19
Epistle: 1 Corinthians 11:23-26
Gospel: John 13: 1-17, 31b-35

Affirmation of Faith: The Nicene Creed

Ritual of Footwashing
So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.
For I have set you an example that you also should do as I have done for you.

Call to Prayer
As Jesus prayed to his Father in the shadows of the Garden of Gethsemane, let us pray together now in the shadow of his love.

Prayers of the People
For the leaders of the world, that they may put aside their differences and seek the peace of Christ, we pray,
Lord, hear our prayer.
For the Church, that she may become a servant offering hope, life, and compassion to all who seek God’s love, we pray.
Lord, hear our prayer.
For all who receive daily bread in welfare lines, food banks, and at this table, that they may forgive our daily trespasses, we pray,
Lord, hear our prayer.
Lord, gather your people around your table, that we who celebrate this sacrament may understand what Christ does for us and follow in his way, we pray,
Lord, hear our prayer.
That we may long for the day when all may feast at the table of our Lord, no one will be an outsider, and all will be loved, we pray,
Lord, hear our prayer.
As our Lord continues to make intercession for us, let us unite in this prayer, remembering those who asked us to pray and those who need our prayers.
[Silent prayer]
Gracious God, as we eat and drink the sacrament of the body and blood of your Son, given for us on the cross, help us in turn to give ourselves to you by giving ourselves to others. We pray through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 The Meal

Blessed are you, Lord God of the Universe, you are the giver of this bread, fruit of the earth and of human labor. Let it become the bread of life!
Blessed be God, now and forever!

Blessed are you, Lord God of the universe, you are the giver of this wine, fruit of the vine and of human labor. Let it become the wine of the eternal kingdom!
Blessed be God, now and forever!

As the grain once scattered on the fields and the grapes once dispersed on the hillside are now reunited on this table in bread and wine, so, Lord, may your whole church be gathered together from the corners of the earth into your kingdom!
Come, Lord Jesus, come!


Silent Prayer

The people leave in silence

 graphic: Ethiopian Icon of Christ washing Peters Feet

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945)

The following hymn was composed by Dietrich Bonhoeffer while detained in a concentration camp , shortly before his execution.

By gracious powers so wonderfully sheltered,
And confidently waiting come what may,
we know that God is with us night and morning,
and never fails to greet us each new day.

Yet is this heart by its old foe tormented,
Still evil days bring burdens hard to bear;
Oh, give our frightened souls the sure salvation for which,
O Lord, You taught us to prepare.

And when this cup You give is filled to brimming
With bitter suffering, hard to understand,
we take it thankfully and without trembling,
out of so good and so beloved a hand.

Yet when again in this same world You give us
The joy we had, the brightness of Your Sun,
we shall remember all the days we lived through,
and our whole life shall then be Yours alone.

This hymn appears in the 1982 Episcopal Hymnal (695). The translator is F. Pratt Green (1903- ) listed in hymnal indexes sometimes under Green and sometimes under Pratt Green. The translation copyright is Hope Publishing Company 1974.