Thursday, September 27, 2012

Liturgical Ordo for Michael and All Angels

On Sunday, 30 September 2012, the Christian Community of Saint Faith will celebrate the Feast of Michael and All Angels using the Ordo that follows.

the feast of michael and all angels
30 September 2012

The Gathering of the Community

The Opening Hymn

‘Christ, the Fair Glory of the Holy Angels’  Common Praise #272 vv. 1, 2, 5, 6

The Introductory Responses

Glory to you, Lord God of our ancestors;
you are worthy of praise, glory to you.
Glory to you, seated between the cherubim;
we will praise you and highly exalt you for ever.
Glorify the Lord, you angels and all powers of the Lord,
O heavens and all waters above the heavens.
Sun and moon and stars of the sky, glorify the Lord,
praise and highly exalt the Holy One for ever.

The Hymn of Praise

‘Glory, in the Highest Glory’  Common Praise #366

The Collect of the Day

Let us pray.

Eternal God,
you have ordained and constituted in a wonderful order
the ministries of angels and mortals.
Grant that as your holy angels stand before you in heaven,
so at your command
they may help and defend us here on earth;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

The Proclamation of the Word

The First Reading

Genesis 28.10-17

The Psalm

Psalm 54 from Songs for the Holy One  (Refrain: ‘Bless the Lord, My Soul’ Common Praise #360)

The Second Reading

Revelation 12.7-12

The Gradual Hymn

‘Ubi Caritas et Amor’  Common Praise #553 (sung three times in English)

The Gospel

Mark 9.30-37

The Sermon

An Affirmation of Faith

Hear, O Israel,
the Lord our God, the Lord is one.

Love the Lord your God
with all your heart,
with all your soul,
with all your mind,
and with all your strength.

This is the first and the great commandment.
The second is like it:

Love your neighbour as yourself.
There is no commandment greater than these.

The Prayers of the Community

Intercessions, Thanksgivings and Petitions

Confession and Absolution

Let us pray to God 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.  Amen.

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 Christ our Lord.  Amen.

The Exchange of the Peace

The peace of the Lord be with you all.
And also with you.

The Holy Communion

Offertory Hymn                                   

‘Love Divine, All Loves Excelling’  Common Praise #486 (sung to #374)

Prayer over the Gifts

Let us pray.

God of glory,
as you have appointed angels to minister in your presence,
so may all our worship bring you worthy praise.
We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

The Great Thanksgiving

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.

Blessed are you, gracious God,
creator of heaven and earth;
we give you thanks and praise,
because, in the mystery you disclose to us,
you reveal your glory
as the glory of your Son and the Holy Spirit:
three persons equal in majesty,
undivided in splendour, yet one Lord, one God,
ever to be adored in your everlasting glory.
Therefore with all the company of heaven
we raise our voices to proclaim the glory of your name.  [2]

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.

Holy God, you alone are holy, you alone are God.
The universe declares your praise:
beyond the stars; beneath the sea;
within each cell; with every breath.
We praise you, O God.

Generations bless your faithfulness:
through the water; by night and day;
across the wilderness; out of exile; into the future.
We bless you, O God.

We give you thanks for your dear Son:
at the heart of human life; near to those who suffer;
beside the sinner; among the poor; with us now.
We thank you, O God.

In the night in which he was betrayed,
our Lord Jesus took bread, and gave thanks;
broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying:
Take and eat; this is my body, given for you.
Do this for the remembrance of me.

Again, after supper, he took the cup, gave thanks
and gave it for all to drink, saying:
This cup is the new covenant in my blood,
shed for you and for all people for the forgiveness of sin.
Do this for the remembrance of me.

Remembering his love for us on the way,
at the table and to the end,
we proclaim the mystery of faith:
Christ has died.  Christ is risen.  Christ will come again.

We pray for the gift of your Spirit:
in our gathering; within this meal;
among your people; throughout the world.

Blessing, praise and thanks to you, holy God,
through Christ Jesus, by your Spirit,
in your church, without end.  Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer

[Sung to BAS, p. 918]
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 the bread of life,
and that life is the light of the world.
God here among us,
light in the midst of us,
bring us to light and life.

The gifts of God for the people of God.
Thanks be to God.


The Sending Forth of the Community

Hymn after Communion                      

‘As We Gather at Your Table’  Common Praise #61

Prayer after Communion

Let us pray.

Eternal God,
you have fed us with the bread of angels.
May we who come under their protection,
like them give you continual service and praise;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Glory to God,
whose power, working in us,
can do infinitely more
than we can ask or imagine. 
Glory to God from generation to generation,
in the Church and in Christ Jesus,
for ever and ever.  Amen.


May the Holy One of Israel strengthen you;
may the Word of God incarnate embrace you;
may the Power of the Most High uphold you,
+ now and for ever.  Amen.

Closing Hymn 

‘Ye Holy Angels Bright’  Common Praise #323


With all the company of heaven,
let us go forth in praise to love and serve the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

Liturgical Notes

The ‘Absolution’ is adapted from Common Worship (2000) of the Church of England, p. 135.

‘Thanksgiving at the Table IX’ is taken from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006).

The Blessing is adapted from the Doxology of ‘Thanksgiving at the Table III’ in Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006).

All other liturgical texts are taken from The Book of Alternative Services of The Anglican Church of Canada (1985) and Common Praise (1998).

Sunday, September 16, 2012

St Faith's Founders' Day 16 September 2012

Dear Friends,

Today Saint Faith's celebrated its 65th anniversary as a parish in the Diocese of New Westminster.  To honour the day, the Rev'd Andrew Pike, sometime Archdeacon of Vancouver and Rector of Saint Faith's (1975 to 1993).

To hear his sermon, click here and enjoy.


Saturday, September 8, 2012

Have This Mind among You

RCL Proper 23B (Thematic)
9 September 2012

Saint Faith's Anglican Church
Vancouver BC

Readings:  Isaiah 35.4-7a; Psalm 146; James 2.1-17; Mark 7.24-37

In 2008 I travelled to Burma (Myanmar) with Bishop James Cowan of the Diocese of British Columbia.  The Anglican Church in Myanmar has had a special relationship with the Diocese of British Columbia and they were about to celebrate the installation of their new archbishop in Yangon.  I went because they had asked to meet an Anglican professor of liturgical studies who could acquaint them with what was going on in the Anglican Communion.  The Bishop also brought along a young married couple to establish some relationships with the very active Anglican young people's movement in Burma.

On the day of our departure we arrived at the Yangon airport only to discover that an error had been made in the tickets for the young married couple.  Given the strict attitudes of the Burmese authorities and the mysterious way tickets are obtained, the two young people had to stay for several hours in the airport under the care of our wonderful tour director, Johnny.  Jim and I had no choice but to board our flight to Singapore and to leave them behind.  It was a worrying eight hours, but they did arrive later that night safe and sound in Singapore.

When Jim and I arrived in Singapore, we joined a lengthy queue of passengers from some of the poorer countries in southeast Asia.  I noticed that there were only two wickets open for general passengers and one for diplomatic travellers and aircrew members.  Jim and I looked at each and settled ourselves down for a very long wait.

After about ten minutes an immigration official began walking down the queue and looking very closely at the incoming passengers.  When he came to Jim and me, he paused and then asked us, "Are you Commonwealth citizens?"  "Yes," we answered, "we're Canadians."  He asked us to follow him and we were processed by the official at the diplomatic wicket.  As we walked through to the other side, Jim and I suddenly realized what had just happened.  The immigration official had only spoken to us and, after conducting us to the diplomatic wicket, disappeared.  Why?  Because we were the only white people in the queue.  We had been singled out for special treatment while young families and elders, struggling with their carry-on baggage and small children, were left to wait for at least two hours.

"My brothers and sisters, when you show favoritism you deny the faithfulness of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has been resurrected in glory.  Imagine two people coming into your meeting.  One has a gold ring and fine clothes, while the other is poor, dressed in filthy rags.  Then suppose that you were to take special notice of the one wearing fine clothes, saying, 'Here's an excellent place.  Sit here.'  But to the poor person you say, 'Stand over there'; or 'Here, sit at my feet.'  Wouldn't you have shown favoritism among yourselves and become evil-minded judges?"  (James 2.1-4, Common English Bible)

Among the challenges that every human being faces, and perhaps religious people in particular, is hypocrisy.  We all know what this word means, but I'll spell it out a bit:  Hypocrisy is saying one thing and doing another.  Usually hypocrisy is found when someone articulates some very high standard of behaviour and demands that behaviour from others, only to be discovered at some point doing what he or she has condemned as a failing in others.

I remember my father's disgust during the Nicaraguan contra  affair during Ronald Reagan's presidency.  Reagan's security staff figured out how to arm the opponents of the Nicaraguan government despite a congressional prohibition.  One of the participants was a Marine colonel by the name of Oliver North.  He showed up to the hearings wearing his Marine uniform and defended himself by saying that he was only following orders.  What angered my father was Colonel North's failure to abide by his oath to defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.  He was duty-bound to refuse to obey any unconstitutional order, but allowed himself to be co-opted into an illegal act.

It will come as no surprise to you that many of our critics, both people with no faith and people with disappointed faith, accuse the church regularly of hypocrisy.  Just yesterday the New York Times reported that a senior Roman Catholic bishop in the United States subverted both civil and canon law to protect a known pedophile.  I can almost hear someone saying, "Suffer the little children to come to me.  FAT CHANCE!"  Our own legal actions to maintain our property rights may seem to affirm the comment made in our 'Back to Church' video that the church is only interested in money.

What our critics and others want to see is that our actions reflect our oft-repeated convictions.  Most people will recognize human frailty and cut us some slack, but they won't cut us much if we seem too frequently inconsistent in what we say and do.  I reckon all of us here today will say that I am preaching to the choir and not telling you anything that you don't know already.

But it is interesting to note that even Jesus, as portrayed in Mark's gospel, has to be reminded about the need for consistency between one's words and one's actions.  In the early chapters of Mark's gospel, Jesus travels through Galilee and other areas proclaiming the coming of the kingdom of God, a kingdom that is universal, a kingdom that has the potential to unite human beings in one great family.

And then along comes a non-Jewish woman who recognizes that Jesus has something to offer her as well as the Jewish community among whom he lives and teaches.  She dares to cross an invisible yet wide chasm:  a woman initiating a conversation with a man to whom she is not related and whom she does not know, a Gentile daring to ask a Jewish rabbi for help.  She puts Jesus to the test as surely as any of his Jewish opponents:  "[The Syrophoenician woman] begged Jesus to throw the demon out of her daughter.  [Jesus] responded, 'The children have to be fed first.  It isn't right to take the children's bread and toss it to the dogs.'  But she answered, 'Lord, even the dogs under the table eat the children's crumbs.'  'Good answer!' he said.  'Go on home.  The demon has already left your daughter.'"  (Mark 7.26b-29, Common English Bible)

This unnamed woman gets the better of Jesus in a theological argument.  She reminds him that the kingdom of God cannot be limited to the Jewish people.  She confronts him with the possibility that he might be accused of hypocrisy, teaching one thing and doing another.  And Jesus gives in.  I love the Common English Bible's translation of Jesus' answer, because I think it captures the ebb and flow of the conversation:  'Good answer'.

Good answer, indeed.  When Micah asks, "What does the Lord require?", the answer comes in these familiar words:  "[The LORD] has told you, human one, what is good and what the LORD requires from you:  to do justice, embrace faithful love, and to walk humbly with your God."  (Micah 6.8, Common English Bible)  Good answer.  Good answer, indeed.

The months ahead will see our congregation seeking to make sure what we do matches what we say.  If we are a place of 'home, help and hope', then how will this be played out?  Yes, we will welcome our neighbours on the 16th of September.  Yes, we will reach out to those who need winter clothing on the 14th of October.  These are good answers to our critics' questions.

But are we prepared to take the concrete steps to establish our pastoral resource centre?  We have prepared a proposal and I have heard many affirmative voices in support of the proposal.  These are good answers, but there is much work to be done to search out the sources of funding we require to make the Centre a reality.

I believe we are a community committed to an integrity of word and action.  I believe we are a community that seeks to offer a place of home, help and hope.  So let's make room at this table for all who are hungry, rich and poor, newcomer and old-timer.  Let's give ourselves to the task of making sure that every one has a seat at God's bountiful feast, for the need continues to be great and actions are needed more than well-turned phrases.  Let's make sure we have a good answer for those who would see the kingdom of God.  We have good news to share --- and to live --- so let's share and live that good news.  Amen. 

Saturday, September 1, 2012


RCL Proper 22B (Thematic)
2 September 2012

Saint Faith’s Anglican Church
Vancouver BC

Propers:  Deuteronomy 4.1-2, 6-9; Psalm 15; James 1.17-27; Mark 7.1-8, 14-15, 21-23
            It was during my final year in seminary that Michael Ramsey, the recently retired Archbishop of Canterbury, came to spend the early months of the autumn term with us.  We eagerly awaited his promised seminar on Anglicanism.  He was, after all, the one-hundredth Archbishop of Canterbury, a friend of Pope Paul VI and the convener of the 1968 Lambeth Conference.

            At some point during the seminar, Bishop Ramsey was giving a very sympathetic treatment of John Calvin’s influence on the Anglican tradition.  Now Calvin was a French, later Swiss, reformer whose teaching and ministry gave rise to what we now know as the Reformed churches, one of which is the Presbyterian Church in Canada.  Now Bishop Ramsey was known to be a ‘high church’ Anglican and the Presbyterians have, at times, been vocal critics of the ‘high church’ tradition.  So we were surprised at his obvious appreciation for some of Calvin’s theological insights.

            One of my classmates asked a question that clearly expressed his (and our) surprise.  Bishop Ramsey responded, “Most great theologians are betrayed by their successors.  Their teaching becomes an ‘-ism’ and their followers ‘-ists’.  Things can quickly go downhill.”

            What Bishop Ramsey said is at the heart of today’s readings from the Scriptures.  Our traditions are meant to be life-giving, but we must be wary of uncritical traditionalism and overly-passionate traditionalists who can rob tradition of its vitality.  Traditionalism and traditionalists run the risk of becoming proponents of an ‘either/or’ fundamentalism.  Life-giving tradition always challenges its followers to walk a path of ‘either/or’ discernment, a balancing act between faithfulness and innovation.

            Let me give you an example.  Over the course of the last fifty years Anglicans in North America have seen two significant changes to our worship life.  The first is the restoration of holy communion as the regular Sunday service.  I will be sixty next year and I can well remember growing up in a congregation whose Sunday worship life was

  • Morning Prayer on the first and third Sundays,
  • Holy Communion on the second and fourth Sundays and
  • Ante-Communion, the Communion Service without those elements necessary for Communion, on the fifth Sunday.

For the majority of Anglicans in Canada and the United States this is no longer true.  Whether the ‘early’ or the ‘later’ service, the eucharist is the norm.

            The second change is the admission of all baptized Christians, regardless of their age, to communion.  When I was a boy, only those people who had been confirmed by a ‘real’ bishop, that is, Anglicans, Orthodox and Roman Catholics, were permitted to receive communion.  Adult members of Protestant churches who regularly received communion were excommunicated and lumped together with Anglican infants and children.  It was a practice that elicited criticism from the mid-nineteenth century on and eventually, by the 1970’s, the bishops of the Anglican churches in Canada and the United States opened communion to all the baptized, regardless of age and regardless of church affiliation.

            The supporters of these two changes, and I am one of them, argued that the Christian tradition challenged Anglican traditional practices.  But what we had not reckoned on was the changing demographics of North American society and our churches.  Fewer and fewer people were being baptized, whether as infants, children or adults.  Many visitors to our churches were among this growing group of unbaptized people.  Our move to the eucharist on every Sunday and our welcoming of all the baptized to the table were merited, but we still ended up excluding some newcomers from full participation in our worship.  What should we do?

            Some congregations have argued that, since Jesus ate with everyone, we should open the table to any one who wanted to receive communion, whether they were baptized or not.  Other congregations have argued that, since communion is a sign of one’s commitment to share in God’s mission begun in Jesus of Nazareth, only those who have committed themselves to this mission through baptism should come to the table.  Still other congregations are uncertain.

            So the Primate has struck a task force to look at this question and I am a member of it.  Later this month I am off to Toronto for a face-to-face meeting with an eye to having some recommendations for our General Synod in July of 2013.  There are many angles to this question, but certainly the chief question is whether hospitality is a more important criterion than commitment to God’s mission in determining who is welcome at the table.  What is tradition and what is traditionalism?

            In the meantime, dear friends, we have our own role to play in the on-going tension between tradition and traditionalism.  In two weeks’ time we celebrate ‘Back to Church’ Sunday and we shall do our best to welcome old friends and new to our worship and to our grounds.  One of the ways we are reaching out is a video, now posted on our website and on Youtube, which I shall be showing you shortly.

            I thinks that the questions and hesitations expressed in the video about being involved in the life of the Christian community we call church are really questions and hesitations arising from the traditionalism that has sometimes obscured the tradition, the way of Jesus which still has much to say to and to offer our society and our culture.

            Let us hope that those who come into our midst find the tradition alive and well here, so that the seeker might find the help, home and hope God offers here and everywhere where the tradition of Jesus is followed.  Amen