Friday, March 22, 2019

One Pebble at a Time: Reflections on Luke 13.1-9

One Pebble at a Time
Reflections on Luke 13.1-9

RCL Lent 3C
24 March 2019

Holy Trinity Anglican Cathedral
New Westminster BC

Luke 13.1-9

            13.1At that very time there were some present who told [Jesus] about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.  2He asked them, “Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were worse sinners than all other Galileans?  3No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish as they did.  4Or those eighteen who were killed when the tower of Siloam fell on them — do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others living in Jerusalem?  5No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish just as they did.”

            6Then he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and found none.  7So he said to the gardener, ‘See here!  For three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree, and still I find none.  Cut it down!  Why should it be wasting the soil?’  8He replied, ‘Sir, let it alone for one more year, until I dig around it and put manure on it.  9If it bears fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.’ ”

            By mid-April of 1981 spring was making a tentative effort to gain a foothold in southern Wisconsin where my seminary, Nashotah House, is located.  As a final year student the coming of more sunlight and warmer temperatures heralded the changes that were soon to occur for me and many of my classmates.  In six weeks we would graduate.  In eight weeks I would be ordained to the transitional diaconate and begin to exercise the ministry for which I had been preparing for three years.

            To be sure there were still papers to be written and final examinations to take, but it was a good time.  As one of the two senior sacristans of the House I had survived the rigorous and time-consuming preparations for the many liturgical celebrations of Lent, Holy Week and Easter.  This was the time of year that the second-year sacristans took up the reins in preparation for graduation and for their duties in the coming year.  Now that I was freed from many of my duties, I could concentrate on finishing my theological studies well.

            We were in class when the news of the tragedy came to us.  The wife of one of the first-year students had parked her car in the driveway of their home and left it running while she went to open the garage door to unload the groceries.  When she shut the door of her card, the transmission shifted from park into reverse.  The car, with her two-year-old son still in his car seat, rolled into a pond. Despite her desperate and those of her neighbours, the boy drowned.

            The next week was one of the more intense weeks I have ever experienced. But the pain and shock we were all suffering became even more horrible when we learned that the accident need not to have happened at all.  Several years earlier the car manufacturer had learned of the defect that caused the transmission to shift when the driver’s door was shut with any force.  Someone in the company did the math and realized how much it would cost the company to re-call the vehicles and repair the defect. We ever learned that the memorandum had indicated that the cost of any wrongful death settlements would be far less than the cost of a wholesale recall.

            Now I’m sure that the person responsible for this calculation did not wish Michael’s death.  They undertook the cold equations, provided the analysis and then let someone in a higher pay grade make the decision.  But Michael’s death was the result of their actions and the choices they made.

            I will not pretend that today’s gospel reading from Luke is easy to understand. Throughout the history of the Jewish and Christian peoples there has been a desire to understand why things happen the way that they do.  Countless theologians and even more countless believers have tried to understand how God is working in the world and what is the relationship between our actions and God’s will.  We hear people wrestling with this question in today’s gospel.  Why would God allow Herod kill people who are simply following their religious duties and traditions?  They must have done something wrong.  Why would God allow a group of workmen die in an industrial accident? They must have been great sinners.

            To them and to us Jesus simply responds, ‘That’s the wrong question.  The right question is this --- Do I understand that my actions, for good and for ill, affect the lives of others, some of whom I know and many of whom I do not know?’  After all, the Galileans whom Herod is supposed to have killed were more likely the innocent victims of Herod’s paranoia rather than their own imperfections. After all, the Muslim worshippers killed in Christchurch were innocent victims of a young man holding abhorrent views about Islam and immigrants rather than the thin edge of some international conspiracy to undermine pluralist democracies.  After all, the workmen killed in the construction accident in Siloam were more likely the victims of shoddy materials and disregard for any safety protocols than they were for some secret indiscretions. After all, the young people who are killed in industrial accidents in British Columbia are more often victims of peer pressure and fear of standing up to their bosses rather than some deadly sin.

            One of the most powerful tools that evil uses in the world today is the quiet whisper in our ears that what we do does not matter.  We are told that we live in a world so complex that the actions of individuals do not matter.  We look at the evil done in the world and fear takes hold of us, freezing us into inaction.  It’s when I begin to hear this whisper and to see the immensity of wrong that exists in our world that I realize the simple wisdom of a familiar bumper sticker: Think globally.  Act locally.

            We can never underestimate the power of one person to influence the community in which they live and potentially the world in which all of us live.  We can never underestimate the power each one of us has to influence the lives of our families, our friends and our neighbourhoods. When Jesus tells his audience to repent, he is asking them more to take seriously the implications of their own actions and decisions than he is asking them to create a catalogue of ‘things done and things left undone’ for which they are sorry.  When Jesus tells them the parable of the fig tree, he is reminding them of God’s patience towards us and God’s nurture of us so that we can become the persons God knows us to be.

            We here at Holy Trinity know that there are hungry people.  So, once a week, fifty-two weeks a year, we feed them breakfast.  We provide them with clothing and items for their personal needs.  We connect them with resources and with agencies so that their human dignity is respected.  On a busy week we may feed 100 people.  On a slow week 60.  But we act in our own small way to make our small plot of land a place of help, hope and home.

            We know that there is a need for more affordable housing.  So, for more years than some may wish to remember, we’ve been working towards re-developing the land occupied by the Parish Hall and Offices.  It’s not an easy path, but we are drawing closer, I believe, to the realization of our hopes.  Some may ask what difference forty-two affordable housing units will make in the face of widespread need.  My answer is that we are doing our part and hope that our witness will inspire others to do theirs.  In the meantime there will be forty-two individual, couples and families who will find our small plot of land a place of help, hope and home.

            We make our choices, my friends, as disciples of Jesus.  Not out of guilt but out of joy.  Not out of a sense of entitlement but of loving obligation. Not out of a sense of scarcity but out of gratitude for God’s abundance and generosity.  Just as a pebble thrown into a pond creates ripples that rock the leaves on the surface of the pond, so God throws us out into the world, trusting that the choices we make will, in small but significant ways, rock our world and bring God’s reign of justice and peace just a little bit nearer.  As it was in the beginning, is now and will be for ever. Amen.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Proper Prayers for the Third Sunday in Lent (24 March 2019)

Proper Prayers for the Third Sunday of Lent (RCL Lent 3C)

Isaiah 55.1-9; Psalm 63.1-8; 1 Corinthians 10.1-13; Luke 13.1-9

Collect of the Day


Father of mercy, alone we have no power in ourselves to help ourselves.  When we are discouraged by our weakness, strengthen us to follow Christ, our pattern and our hope; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.  [1]
or
Eternal God, your kingdom has broken into our troubled world through the life, death and resurrection of your Son.  Help us to hear your word and obey it, and bring your saving love to fruition in our lives, through Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.  [2]
or
Eternal God, give us insight to discern your will for us, to give up what harms us, and to seek the perfection we are promised; through Jesus Christ our Saviour. Amen.  [3]
or
God of infinite goodness, throughout the ages you have persevered in claiming and reclaiming your people.  Renew for us your call to repentance, surround us with witnesses to aid us in our journey, and grant us the time to fashion our lives anew; through Jesus Christ our Saviour.  Amen.  [3]
or
God of salvation, we stand before you on holy ground, for your name is glorified and your mercy revealed wherever your mighty deeds are remembered.  Since you are holy and forbearing, turn us from every rash and shallow judgement to seek the ways of repentance.  We ask this through Christ, our deliverance and hope, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, holy and might God for ever and ever.  Amen.  [4]
or
Living Mystery, whose way is not ours, whose name cannot be bought or sold: lead us from justice without compassion and sacrifice without mercy to a love that nurtures and a grace without price; through Jesus Christ, the true Bread.  Amen.  [5]

Prayer over the Gifts


Gracious God, we know your power to triumph over weakness.  May we who ask forgiveness be ready to forgive one another, in the name of Jesus the Lord.  Amen.  [1]
or
God our provider, you have not fed with bread alone, but with words of grace and life.  Bless us and these your gifts, which we receive from your bounty, through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.  [2]



Proper Preface of Lent


Blessed are you gracious God, creator of heaven and earth, because you bid your faithful people to cleanse their hearts and to prepare with joy for the paschal feast; that reborn through the waters of baptism and renewed in the eucharistic mystery, we may be more fervent in prayer and more generous in the works of love.  Therefore we raise our voices to you in praise to proclaim the glory of your name.  [1]
or
Blessed are you, gracious God, creator of heaven and earth; we give you thanks and praise through Jesus Christ our Lord, who was tempted in every way, yet did not sin.  By his grace we are able to triumph over every evil, and to live no longer for ourselves alone, but for him who died for us and rose again.  Therefore with angels and archangels and all who have served you in every age, we raise our voices to proclaim the glory of your name.  [1]
or
It is indeed right, our duty and our joy, that we should at all times and in all places give thanks and praise to you, almighty and merciful God, through our SaviourJesus Christ. You call your people to cleanse their hearts and prepare with joy for the paschal feast, that renewed in the gift of baptism, we may come to the fullness of your grace.  And so, with all the choirs of angels, with the church on earth and the hosts of heaven, we praise your name and joy their unending hymn:

Prayer after Communion


God of mercy and forgiveness, may we who share this sacrament live together in unity and peace, in the name of Jesus Christ the Lord.  Amen.  [1]
or
Compassionate God, you have fed us with the bread of heaven.  Sustain us in our Lenten pilgrimage:  may our fasting be hunger for justice; our alms, a making of peace; and our prayer, the song of grateful hearts, through Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord. Amen.  [2]

Prayer over the People 


In place of the blessing an ancient Lenten tradition is the Prayer over the People.  

Look mercifully on this your family, almighty God, that by your great goodness they may be governed and preserved evermore; through Christ our Lord.  Amen.  [7]

 

Sources


[1]       The Book of Alternative Services 1985
[2]       Evangelical Lutheran Worship 2006
[3]       Trial Use Collects for Years A, B & C and Seasonal Prayers over the Gifts and after Communion 2016
[4]       Opening Prayers:  Collects in Contemporary Language 1997, 1999, 2001
[5]       Prayers for an Inclusive Church 2009
[6]       Revised Common Lectionary Prayers 2002
[7]       The Book of Occasional Services2003

N.B.  When a word or phrase appears is italicized in a liturgical text, it is an alteration made by the Ven. Richard Geoffrey Leggett to the original text.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Proper Prayers for the Second Sunday in Lent (RCL Lent 2C, 17 March 2019

Proper Prayers for the Second Sunday of Lent (RCL Lent 2C)

Genesis 15.1-12, 17-18; Psalm 27; Philippians 3.17-4.1; Luke 13.31-35

Collect of the Day


Almighty God, whose Son was revealed in majesty before he suffered death upon the cross, give us faith to perceive his glory, so that being strengthened by his grace we may be changed into his likeness, from glory to glory; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.  [1]
or
God of the covenant, in the mystery of the cross you promise everlasting life to the world.  Gather all peoples into your arms, and shelter us with your mercy, so that we may rejoice in the life we share in your Son, Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.  [2]
or
Brooding Spirit, beneath your wings there is creation and life:  accompany us on the difficult path with the disappeared, the broken and the fearful, so that we find the way to the city of our peace where we are all accepted as your beloved; through the cross of Jesus Christ, our only Lord.  Amen.  [3]
or
Hope beyond all human hope, you promised Abraham and Sarah descendants as numerous as the stars.  You promise light and salvation in the midst of darkness and despair, and redemption to a world that will not listen.  Gather us in tenderness and open our ears to your word, so that we may live faithfully and confidently in your promises.  We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.  [3]
or
God of the covenant, your presence fills us with awe, your word gives us unshakable hope. Fix in our hearts the image of your Son in glory, so that, sustained on the path of discipleship, we may pass over with him to newness of life.  Grant this through Christ, our deliverance and hope, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, holy and mighty God for ever and ever. Amen.  [4]

Prayer over the Gifts


God of wisdom, may the light of the eternal Word, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, guide us to your glory. We ask this in his name.  Amen. [1]
or
God our provider, you have not fed with bread alone, but with words of grace and life.  Bless us and these your gifts, which we receive from your bounty, through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.  [2]

Proper Preface of Lent


Blessed are you gracious God, creator of heaven and earth, because you bid your faithful people to cleanse their hearts and to prepare with joy for the paschal feast; that reborn through the waters of baptism and renewed in the eucharistic mystery, we may be more fervent in prayer and more generous in the works of love.  Therefore we raise our voices to you in praise to proclaim the glory of your name.  [1]
or
Blessed are you, gracious God, creator of heaven and earth; we give you thanks and praise through Jesus Christ our Lord, who was tempted in every way, yet did not sin.  By his grace we are able to triumph over every evil, and to live no longer for ourselves alone, but for him who died for us and rose again.  Therefore with angels and archangels and all who have served you in every age, we raise our voices to proclaim the glory of your name.  [1]
or
It is indeed right, our duty and our joy, that we should at all times and in all places give thanks and praise to you, almighty and merciful God, through our SaviourJesus Christ. You call your people to cleanse their hearts and prepare with joy for the paschal feast, that renewed in the gift of baptism, we may come to the fullness of your grace.  And so, with all the choirs of angels, with the church on earth and the hosts of heaven, we praise your name and joy their unending hymn:

Prayer after Communion


Creator of heaven and earth, we thank you for these holy mysteries, which bring us now a share in the life to come, through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.  [1]
or
Compassionate God, you have fed us with the bread of heaven.  Sustain us in our Lenten pilgrimage:  may our fasting be hunger for justice; our alms, a making of peace; and our prayer, the song of grateful hearts, through Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord. Amen.  [2]

Prayer over the People 


In place of the blessing an ancient Lenten tradition is the Prayer over the People.  

Keep this your family, Lord, with your never-failing mercy, so that relying solely on the help of your heavenly grace, they may be upheld by your divine protection; through Christ our Lord.  Amen.  [7]

 

Sources


[1]       The Book of Alternative Services 1985
[2]       Evangelical Lutheran Worship 2006
[3]       Trial Use Collects for Years A, B & C and Seasonal Prayers over the Gifts and after Communion 2016
[4]       Opening Prayers:  Collects in Contemporary Language 1997, 1999, 2001
[5]       Prayers for an Inclusive Church 2009
[6]       Revised Common Lectionary Prayers 2002
[7]       The Book of Occasional Services 2003

N.B.  When a word or phrase appears is italicized in a liturgical text, it is an alteration made by the Ven. Richard Geoffrey Leggett to the original text.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

The World, the Flesh & The Devil: Reflections on Luke 4.1-13

The World, the Flesh & the Devil
Reflections on Luke 4.1-13

RCL Lent 1C
10 March 2019

Holy Trinity Cathedral
New Westminster BC


                  4.1Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, 2where for forty days he was tempted by the devil.  He ate nothing at all during those days, and when they were over, he was famished.  3The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become a loaf of bread.”  4Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone.’ ”

                  5Then the devil led him up and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world.  6And the devil said to him, “To you I will give their glory and all this authority; for it has been given over to me, and I give it to anyone I please. 7If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.”  8Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.’ ”

                  9Then the devil took him to Jerusalem, and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, 10for it is written,
‘He will command his angels concerning you, to protect you,’ 11and ‘On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.’ ”

                  12Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’ ”  13When the devil had finished every test, he departed from him until an opportune time.

            Every year Jim Griffiss, the professor of theology at Nashotah House, the seminary where I studied, would offer an advanced seminar in theology. He limited enrolment in the seminar to ten to twelve graduating students.  It was always held in the afternoons in the seminar room Jim had added to his house and there was always good Wisconsin beer --- local brew not generic national labels.

            I was fortunate enough to gain a seat in Jim’s seminar during my final year at Nashotah.  The seminar was entitled simply ‘Evil’.  We spent the first session discussing why Jim had chosen just the world ‘evil’ to describe the seminar.  That session alone was worth the tuition fee.  What Jim led us to see is that many of the ways we talk about evil assume underlying answers:  Is evil a ‘problem’?  Is evil a ‘question’?  Is evil a ‘mystery’?  Is evil a ‘symbol’?  Why does God ‘allow’ evil?  The list goes on and on

            Evil has been a subject of Christian conversation since the earliest disciples of Jesus tried to explain to potential converts why an all-powerful God would allow humans to arrest, torture and execute Jesus if Jesus is the ‘Son of God’.  Evil has been an experience all people of faith have struggled to understand even as Jesus was tempted to embrace the world, the flesh and the devil in the desert of Judea.  And just like my friends in the ‘evil’ seminar thirty-eight years ago, Christians have come up with various ways of describing how in the story of Jesus of Nazareth evil finds its match.

            Almost every time I’ve prepared a family for the baptism of their child, the first stumbling block in our conversation has been the three-fold renunciations that come early in the liturgy.

  • Do you renounce Satan and all the spiritual forces of wickedness that rebel against God?
  • Do you renounce the evil powers of this world which corrupt and destroy the creatures of God?
  • Do you renounce all sinful desires that draw you from the love of God? [1]


I can honestly say that I have struggled to find ways to respond to the questions and concerns parents and others have above these words spoken publicly and formally on the occasion of the baptism.  I can also say that, in preparing for today’s sermon, I found some of the words that I’ve always wanted to say.

            Evil is ‘looking for love in all the wrong places’.  Embedded in the heart of every human being is the capacity to love and the desire to be loved.  Think of all those cute videos on social media that show ducks that think they’re dogs, cats that adopt rabbits and chimpanzees that recognize their rescuers years later.  We enjoy watching them because these videos speak to something deep within ourselves. They are parables of the world as we would like it to be, a world in which we are loved for who we are not who someone wants us to be, a world where love knows no barrier based on our looks, our possessions, our personal history, a world where we know that there is enough for everyone and we do not need to fear giving.

            Evil eats into us when our desire to love and to be loved is misdirected. Evil gains a foothold in us when fear replaces hope, when self-interest blinds us to the needs and concerns of others, when we turn inward on ourselves rather than outward towards our neighbours. Evil often confuses quantity, however defined, with quality, confuses hoarding with responsible stewardship, confuses prejudice with joy in the diversity of humanity.

            Evil is more about nurture than about nature.  There are Christians who believe that we are inherently flawed creatures and there ‘is no health in us’.  This attitude is present in some of the prayers of the Anglican tradition.  I can understand this point of view.  I have been to Dachau.  I have seen the piles of eyeglasses, the heaps of shoes, the stacks of luggage taken from the inmates as they entered the concentration camp.  I have seen the crematoria.  I have few illusions about our ability to harm others and ourselves.  But I find myself more sympathetic to the view that we have to be taught to hate [2]and that the glory of God is a human being fully alive. [3]

            All of us are exposed to various forms of evil and, if the truth be told, all of us come away from such encounters touched by that evil and it leaves its imprint upon us like pine tar that we simply cannot wipe away.  Our families, our friends, our religious communities can be the remedies that help us regain our right minds and shape us so that we ‘persevere in resisting evil and, whenever [we] fall into sin, repent and return to the Lord’. [4]

            Evil is intentional and purposeful. Many years ago there was a television show character who loved to explain away every mistake, every misstep, every failing by saying, ‘the Devil made me do it.’  Here we face the real conundrum of evil.  Although we wish we were in control of every aspect of our lives, we must acknowledge that we often find ourselves under the sway of powerful forces that limit the gift of free will that God has placed in our very souls. But despair is the ultimate tool of evil and leaves us believing that ‘resistance is futile’ and we are powerless to effect change in ourselves, in our communities, in our world.  

            Lent, however, is a time to remember that the good news of God in Christ proclaims that we can choose to love and to be loved as God has loved us in Christ, that we can grow into the image of God that already implanted within us, that we can choose to resist evil in whatever form it takes and by whatever disguise it chooses.

            As I sometimes do before I preach, I looked up the meaning of ‘renounce’.  Two meanings were ones I already knew:  (i) to give up a claim or right and (ii) to give up some habit or pursuit voluntarily.  But a third meaning grabbed my attention:  (iii) to fail to follow suit because one has no cards that that suit left in one’s hand or to choose not to follow suit even if one has those cards in one’s hand.  That’s something I can understand because I come from a card-playing family.  Just as Jesus refused to play Satan’s game in the wilderness, so too can you and I refuse to play the game that evil tries to play in our times.  We do not have to follow suit. 

            Just because others live in fear must we live in fear.  We renounce fear.  Just because others look for love in all the wrong places must we turn away from the love of God made known to us in Jesus of Nazareth.  We renounce misdirected love.  Just because others choose paths of self-interest and division must we silence our song of God’s generosity and unifying grace.  We renounce everything that seeks to corrupt and destroy the creatures of God. Why?  Because “ 4. 16bGod is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them.  17Love has been perfected among us in this:  that we may have boldness on the day of judgment, because as he is, so are we in this world.  18There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. “  [5]


[1]The Book of Alternative Services1985, 154.

[2]‘You’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught’ from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific.

[3]Irenaeus of Lyons.

[4]The Book of Alternative Services1985, 159.

[5]John 14.16b-18a

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Proper Prayers for the First Sunday in Lent 2019

Proper Prayers for the First Sunday of Lent (RCL Lent 1C)

Deuteronomy 26.1-11; Psalm 91.1-2, 9-16; Romans 10.8b-13; Luke 4.1-13

Collect of the Day


Almighty God, whose Son fasted forty days in the wilderness, and was tempted as we are but did not sin, give us grace to discipline ourselves in submission to your Spirit, that as you know our weakness, so we may know your power to save; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.  [1]
or
O Lord God, you led your people through the wilderness and brought them to the promised land.  Guide us now, so that, following your Son, we may walk safely through the wilderness of this world toward the life you alone can give, through Jesus Christ, our Saviourand Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.  [2]
or
Heavenly Father, your Son confronted the powers of darkness that obscure your compassion and love for all of creation:  help us to use these days to grow in wisdom and prayer, so that we may witness to that saving love proclaimed in Jesus Christ our Saviour.  Amen.  [3]
or
God of the wilderness, your Spirit leads us to face the truth, unprotected and exposed: in our times of trial help us to resist the worship of empty power, so that we may find our true food in Jesus Christ, the broken bread.  Amen.  [3]
or
Lord our God, you alone do we worship, only your word give life.  Sustain your Church on its Lenten journey.  When we walk through the desert of temptation, strengthen us to renounce the power of evil.  When our faith is tested by doubt, illumine our hearts with Easter’s bright promise.  We ask this through Christ, our deliverance and hope, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, holy and mighty God for ever and ever.  Amen. [4]
or
God of deliverance and freedom, you taught the people of Israel to acknowledge that all things come from your bountiful hand.  Deepen our faith so that we may resist temptation and, in the midst of trial, proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord, now and for ever.  Amen.  [6]

Prayer over the Gifts


God our refuge and our strength, receive all we offer you this day, and through the death and resurrection of your Son transform us to his likeness.  We ask this in his name.  Amen.  [1]
or
God our provider, you have not fed with bread alone, but with words of grace and life.  Bless us and these your gifts, which we receive from your bounty, through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.  [2]

Proper Preface of Lent


Blessed are you gracious God, creator of heaven and earth, because you bid your faithful people to cleanse their hearts and to prepare with joy for the paschal feast; that reborn through the waters of baptism and renewed in the eucharistic mystery, we may be more fervent in prayer and more generous in the works of love.  Therefore we raise our voices to you in praise to proclaim the glory of your name.  [1]
or
Blessed are you, gracious God, creator of heaven and earth; we give you thanks and praise through Jesus Christ our Lord, who was tempted in every way, yet did not sin.  By his grace we are able to triumph over every evil, and to live no longer for ourselves alone, but for him who died for us and rose again. Therefore with angels and archangels and all who have served you in every age, we raise our voices to proclaim the glory of your name.  [1]
or
It is indeed right, our duty and our joy, that we should at all times and in all places give thanks and praise to you, almighty and merciful God, through our SaviourJesus Christ. You call your people to cleanse their hearts and prepare with joy for the paschal feast, that renewed in the gift of baptism, we may come to the fullness of your grace.  And so, with all the choirs of angels, with the church on earth and the hosts of heaven, we praise your name and joy their unending hymn:  [3]

Prayer after Communion


Faithful God, in this holy bread you increase our faith and hope and love.  Lead us in the path of Christ who is your Word of life.  We ask this in his name.  Amen.  [1]
or
Compassionate God, you have fed us with the bread of heaven.  Sustain us in our Lenten pilgrimage:  may our fasting be hunger for justice; our alms, a making of peace; and our prayer, the song of grateful hearts, through Jesus Christ, our Saviourand Lord. Amen.  [2]

Prayer over the People 


In place of the blessing an ancient Lenten tradition is the Prayer over the People.  

Grant, Almighty God, that your people may recognize their weakness and put their whole trust in your strength, so that they may rejoice for ever in the protection of your loving providence; through Christ our Lord.  Amen.  [7]

 

Sources


[1]       The Book of Alternative Services 1985
[2]       Evangelical Lutheran Worship 2006
[3]       Trial Use Collects for Years A, B & C and Seasonal Prayers over the Gifts and after Communion 2016
[4]       Opening Prayers:  Collects in Contemporary Language 1997, 1999, 2001
[5]       Prayers for an Inclusive Church 2009
[6]       Revised Common Lectionary Prayers 2002
[7]       The Book of Occasional Services 2003

N.B.  When a word or phrase appears is italicized in a liturgical text, it is an alteration made by the Ven. Richard Geoffrey Leggett to the original text.

Monday, March 4, 2019

An Ordo for Lent 2019

Here is the Lenten Ordo for Holy Trinity Cathedral.  I hope that it stimulates your own thinking about the worship of your own congregations.

LENTEN ORDO 2019

The Gathering of the Community

The Hymns and Readings for the Service are found in the Bulletin.  The Congregation recites or sings the text printed in bold font.

Prelude

Processional Hymn

Greeting

Bless the Lord who forgives all our sins,
the God of our salvation,
who bears all our burdens
and whose mercy endures for ever.

Let us pray for the forgiveness of our sins.

Have mercy upon us, most merciful God,
in your compassion, forgive us our sins,
known and unknown,
things done and left undone;
and so uphold us by your Spirit
that we may live and serve you in newness of life,
to the honour and glory of your name;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

May the God of love and power 
forgive you and free you from your sins,
heal and strengthen you by the Holy Spirit
and raise you to new life in Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Trisagion[1]

Holy God, holy and mighty,
holy immortal one, have mercy upon us.

Holy God, holy and mighty,
holy immortal one, have mercy upon us.

Holy God, holy and mighty,
holy immortal one, have mercy upon us.

The Collect of the Day

Presider
Let us pray.

After a brief silence the Presider prays the Collect of the Day.

The Proclamation of the Word of God

The First Reading

Before the Reading
A reading from . . . 

After the Reading
Hear what the Spirit is saying to the Church.
Thanks be to God.

The Psalm of the Day

The Psalm Response is printed in the Bulletin.

The Second Reading

Before the Reading
A reading from . . . 

After the Reading
Hear what the Spirit is saying to the Church.
Thanks be to God.

Gradual Hymn

The Gospel

Before the Gospel
The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
The Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to . . . 
Glory to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

After the Gospel
The Gospel of Christ.
Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

Sermon

After the Sermon there will be a period of silence for reflection.

The Apostles’ Creed

Let us confess the faith of our baptism, as we say,
I believe in God,
the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.
He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit
and born of the Virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again.
He ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again
to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting.  Amen.


The Prayers of the People

Intercessions, Thanksgivings and Petitions

A member of the Community leads us in our intercessions, thanksgivings and petitions.  You may stand, sit or kneel as is your custom for prayer.

The Exchange of the Peace

May the peace of Christ be with you.
And also with you.

The Holy Communion

Offertory Hymn

The Prayer over the Gifts

Presider
Let us pray.

The Presider then offers a prayer over the gifts we bring before God this day.

The Thanksgiving at the Table

The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give our thanks and praise.

It is right to give you thanks and praise, O Lord, our God, sustainer of the universe, you are worthy of glory and praise.
Glory to you for ever and ever. [2]

At your command all things came to be:  the vast expanse of interstellar space,  galaxies, suns, the planets in their courses, and this fragile earth, our island home; by your will they were created and have their being.
Glory to you for ever and ever.

From the primal elements you brought forth the human race, and blessed us with memory, reason, and skill; you made us the stewards of creation.
Glory to you for ever and ever.

But we turn against you, and betray your trust; and we turn against one another.  Again and again you call us to return.  Through the prophets and sages you reveal your righteous law.  In the fullness of time you sent your Son, born of a woman, to be our Saviour.  He was wounded for our transgressions, and bruised for our iniquities.  By his death he opened to us the way of freedom and peace.
Glory to you for ever and ever.

Therefore we praise you, joining with the heavenly chorus, with prophets, apostles, and martyrs, and with those in every generation who have looked to you in hope, to proclaim with them your glory, in their unending hymn:

Holy, holy, holy Lord, 
God of power and might, 
heaven and earth are full of your glory.  
Hosanna in the highest.

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.  
Hosanna in the highest. [3]

Blessed are you, Lord our God, for sending us Jesus, the Christ, who on the night he was handed over to suffering and death, took bread, said the blessing, broke the bread, gave it to his friends, and said, “Take this, and eat it:  this is my body which is given for you.  Do this for the remembrance of me.”

In the same way, after supper, he took the cup of wine; he gave you thanks, and said, “Drink this, all of you:  this is my blood of the new covenant, which is shed for you and for all people for the forgiveness of sins.  Whenever you drink it,  do this for the remembrance of me.”
Glory to you for ever and ever.

Gracious God, we recall the death of your Son Jesus Christ, we proclaim his resurrection and ascension, and we look with expectation for his coming as Lord of all the nations.  We who have been redeemed by him, and made a new people by water and the Spirit, now bring you these gifts.

Send your Holy Spirit upon us and upon this offering of your Church, so that we who eat and drink at this holy table may share the divine life of Christ our Lord.
Glory to you for ever and ever.

Pour out your Spirit upon the whole earth and make it your new creation.  Gather your Church together from the ends of the earth into your kingdom, where peace and justice are revealed, so that we, with all your people, of every language, race, and nation, may share the banquet you have promised; through Christ, with Christ, and in Christ, all honour and glory are yours, Creator of all.
Glory to you for ever and ever. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer[4]

As our Saviour taught us, let us pray,
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial,
and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours,
now and for ever.  Amen.

The Breaking of the Bread

We break this bread,
communion in Christ’s body once broken.

Let your church be the wheat 
which bears its fruit in dying.
If we have died with Christ,
we shall live with him;
if we hold firm,
we shall reign with him.

The table of the Lord is now made ready for those who want to draw near to God in love.  Come whether you have great faith or little.  Come whether you have been here long or for a short while.  Come whether you have tried to follow and stumbled or have just begun the journey.  Come, because it is Christ who bids you welcome, for these are the gifts of God for the people of God.
Thanks be to God.

Agnus Dei[5]

Jesus, Lamb of God,
have mercy on us.

Jesus, bearer of our sins,
have mercy on us.

Jesus, redeemer, redeemer of the world,
give us your peace, give us your peace.

vTo receive Communion, please come forward as directed by the ushers.
vTo receive either the bread or the wine alone is to receive the fullness of God’s gift offered in Communion.
vTo receive a Blessing rather than Communion, come forward and cross your arms over your chest

The Communion of the Community

The Sending Forth of the Community

The Prayer after Communion

Presider
All your works praise you, O Lord.
And your faithful servants bless you.

Gracious God,
we thank you for feeding us
with the body and blood of your Son Jesus Christ.
May we, who share his body, live his risen life;
we, who drink his cup, bring life to others;
we, whom the Spirit lights, give light to the world.
Keep us firm in the hope you have set before us,
so that we and all your children shall be free,
and the whole earth live to praise your name;
through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Announcements

Prayer over the People

In keeping with an ancient tradition the Presider offers a Prayer over the People proper to the day.

Recessional Hymn

Dismissal

The Deacon sends us forth to participate in God’s mission in our communities.  We respond by saying,

Thanks be to God.

Postlude

After the Dismissal you may listen quietly to the Postlude or go directly to the Hall to share in the Coffee Hour.

We ask that there be no applause after the Postlude in order to hold this space in quite for those who wish to pray for a while.




[1]Sung to Common Praise#707

[2]Responses sung to music printed in BAS at page 923

[3]Sanctus sung to Common Praise#726

[4]Sung to Common Praise#744

[5]Sung to Common Praise#747