Sunday, October 27, 2013

An Order of Service for All Saints Sunday (3 November 2013)

All SAints
3 November 2013

The Gathering of the Community

Processional Hymn

‘Be Thou My Vision’  Common Praise #505

Introductory Responses

Splendour and honour and sovereign power
are yours by right, O Lord our God,
for you created everything that is,
and by your will they were created and have their being;
and yours by right, O Lamb that was slain,
for with your blood you have redeemed for God,
from every family, language, people and nation,
a kingdom of priests to serve our God on earth.

Hymn of Praise

‘Adoremus te Jesu Christe’  Common Praise #338


Let us pray.

O Ancient of Days,
through the outpouring of your Holy Spirit
you comfort and bless all creatures.
Gather from the four corners of the world
all those who weep in despair or loneliness,
those who are hungry, naked or poor,
those who have withstood oppression
and are bowed in anguish before violence.
Grant that they may rejoice in the new life
of justice and peace that you promised your people
through the compassionate witness of Jesus.  Amen. [i]

The Proclamation of the Word

First Reading

A Reading from Daniel (7.1-3, 15-18).

            In the first year of King Belshazzar of Babylon, Daniel had a dream and visions of his head as he lay in bed.  Then he wrote down the dream:  I, Daniel, saw in my vision by night the four winds of heaven stirring up the great sea, and four great beasts came up out of the sea, different from one another.

            As for me, Daniel, my spirit was troubled within me, and the visions of my head terrified me.  I approached one of the attendants to ask him the truth concerning all this.  So he said that he would disclose to me the interpretation of the matter:  “As for these four great beasts, four kings shall arise out of the earth.  But the holy ones of the Most High shall receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever — forever and ever.”

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

The Psalm

Psalm 149 with the Refrain from Songs for the Holy One

Refrain (sung twice):  Hallelujah!  Hallelujah!  Hallelujah!

1  Hallelujah! 
Sing to the Lord a new song; *
            sing the praises of God in the congregation of the faithful.
2  Let Israel rejoice in their maker; *
            let the children of Zion be joyful in their sovereign.
3  Let them praise the name of the Lord in the dance; *
            let them sing praise to God with timbrel and harp.
4  For the Lord takes pleasure in this people *
            and adorns the poor with victory.

Refrain:  Hallelujah!  Hallelujah!  Hallelujah!

5  Let the faithful rejoice in triumph; *
            let them be joyful on their beds.
6  Let the praises of God be in their throat *
            and a two-edged sword in their hand;
7  to wreak vengeance on the nations *
            and punishment on the peoples;
8  to bind their rulers in chains *
            and their nobles with links of iron;
9  to inflict on them the judgement decreed; *
            this is glory for all God’s faithful people. 

Refrain:  Hallelujah!  Hallelujah!  Hallelujah!

The Second Reading

A Reading from the Letter to the Ephesians (1.11-23).

            In Christ we have also obtained an inheritance, having been destined according to the purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to his counsel and will, so that we, who were the first to set our hope on Christ, might live for the praise of his glory.  In him you also, when you had heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and had believed in him, were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit; this is the pledge of our inheritance toward redemption as God’s own people, to the praise of his glory.

            I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, and for this reason I do not cease to give thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers.  I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe, according to the working of his great power.  God put this power to work in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the age to come.  And he has put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all things for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.

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

The Gradual Hymn

‘Where Charity and Love Prevail’  Common Praise #487

The Gospel

The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
The holy gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Luke (Luke 6.20-31).
Glory to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

            Then [Jesus] looked up at his disciples and said:  “Blessed are you who are poor,
for yours is the kingdom of God.  Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you will be filled.  Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.

            “Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude you, revile you, and defame you on account of the Son of Man.  Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, for surely your reward is great in heaven; for that is what their ancestors did to the prophets.

            “But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation.  Woe to you who are full now, for you will be hungry.  Woe to you who are laughing now,
for you will mourn and weep.  Woe to you when all speak well of you, for that is what their ancestors did to the false prophets.

            “But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.  If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt.  Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again.  Do to others as you would have them do to you.”

The gospel of Christ.
Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

The Homily

The Affirmation of Faith

Let us confess our faith, as we say,

We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one being with the Father.
Through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven:
by the power of the Holy Spirit
was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary
and became truly human.
For our sake he was crucified
under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory
to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit,
the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father,
who with the Father and the Son is worshipped and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic
and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism
for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come.  Amen.[ii]

The Prayers of the Community

Intercessions, Petitions and Thanksgivings

The Exchange of the Peace

May the peace of the Lord be always with you.
And also with you.

The Holy Communion

The Offertory Hymn

‘Praise the Lord with the Sound of Trumpet’  Common Praise #309

Prayer over the Gifts

God of unfailing light,
in your realm of glory
the poor are blessed,
the hungry filled,
and every tear is wiped away.
Strengthened by this vision,
may we who offer these gifts
follow in the way of holiness
that your Son made known in life and death.  Amen.[iii]

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.

Blessed are you, gracious God,
creator of heaven and earth;
in the multitude of your saints
you have surrounded us
with so great a cloud of witnesses,
that we, rejoicing in their fellowship,
may run with patience the race that is set before us,
and together with them receive the crown of glory
that never fades away.
Therefore with angels and archangels
and with all who have served you in every age,
we raise our voices to proclaim the glory of your name. [iv]

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.  [v]

Holy God, mighty Lord, gracious Father:
Endless is your mercy and eternal your reign.
You have filled all creation with light and life’
heaven and earth are full of your glory.

We praise you for the grace shown to your people in every age:
the promise to Israel, the rescue from Egypt,
the gift of the promised land, the words of the prophets;
and, at this end of all the ages, the gift of your Son,
who proclaimed the good news in word and deed
and was obedient to your will, even to giving his life.

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.

For as often as we eat of this bread and drink from this cup,
we proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
Christ has died.  Christ is risen.  Christ will come again.

Therefore, O God, with this bread and cup
we remember the life our Lord offered for us.
And, believing the witness of his resurrection,
we await his coming power to share with us
the great and promised feast.
Amen.  Come, Lord Jesus.

Send now, we pray, your Holy Spirit,
that we who share in Christ’s body and blood
may live to the praise of your glory
and receive our inheritance with all your saints in light.
Amen.  Come, Holy Spirit.

Join our prayers with those of your servants of every time and place,
and unite them with the ceaseless petitions of our great high priest
until he comes as victorious Lord of all.

Through him, with him, in him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
all glory and honour is yours, almighty Father, now and for ever.

The Lord’s Prayer

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. [vii]

The Breaking of the Bread

God of promise,
you prepare a banquet for us in your kingdom.
Happy are those who are called
to the supper of the Lamb.

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

The Communion

Communion Hymn

‘We Have Come at Christ’s Own Bidding’  Common Worship #166

The Sending Forth of the Community

Prayer after Communion

O God of our salvation,
bless us who have received this eucharist
with your healing presence;
make us hungry for justice;
strengthen our faith;
and increase our love for others,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.[viii]

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.

Stewardship Moment

Closing Hymn

‘More Than We Can Ask or Imagine’  Common Praise #86


The text of the Dismissal is at the discretion of the Deacon or Assisting Minister.

[i] Revised Common Lectionary Prayers (2002), 227.

[ii] Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 104.

[iii] Revised Common Lectionary Prayers (2002), 226 alt.

[iv] The Book of Alternative Services (1985), 224.

[v] Common Praise #689.

[vi] Evangelical Lutheran Worship, 66.

[vii] Common Praise #744.

[viii] Revised Common Lectionary Prayers (2002), 226 alt.

I Was Glad

I was privileged today, in my capacity as Regional Dean of the Granville-Point Grey Deanery,  to preach at Saint John's Shaughnessy on the occasion of the celebration of the Parish's dedication.

Click here for an audio recording of the Sermon as preached at the 10.00 Eucharist at Saint John's.

Celebration of the Anniversary of Dedication
27 October 2013

Saint John’s Shaughnessy
Vancouver BC

Focus text:  Psalm 122

         Singing has been a part of my life as long as I can remember.  My mother at the age of 81 still has a wonderful soprano voice.  My father, who died a month ago, did not have a great voice, but he always was surrounded by music whether working at home or at his office.  As a boy growing up in a home filled with music and who had a reasonable voice, I was enrolled in the parish choir as a treble and then, wonder of wonders, when my voice changed, a tenor, one of the rarest commodities in the vocal world of the church these days.

         My seminary, Nashotah House in Wisconsin, has had a reputation for music, especially choral music.  All seminarians in my day had to participate in a music class during their first year.  We learned how to chant the psalms and other liturgical texts as well as sing new hymn texts that were emerging as the Episcopal Church was moving to publish a new hymnal.  What I did not know was that the music director of the seminary used music class to scout out possible talent for his double- and triple-quartet male ensembles.

         One day he ambled over to me during music class.  I have to admit I felt a bit uncomfortable by his invasion of my personal space.  He lingered next to me for what seemed to be an eternity.  The next day, after morning chapel, he asked me if I would be willing to join the double-quartet.  I immediately said ‘yes’, but I would later regret this hasty decision.

        At the first rehearsal I was handed a thick score entitled ‘I was glad’.  Before I could digest a single page, the music director, who was also our organist, played the magnificent chords that begin this majestic anthem.  Quickly I was thrown into the maelstrom of the music and, to my horror, noted the tenor entrance and its immediate demand that I and my fellow tenors hit a rather high note in our ranges.  Things didn’t improve as we continued to navigate the inter-weaving lines without a break.  We, the daughters and sons of the American War of Independence, weren’t quite sure what to do with some acclamations Parry had included in what was originally a coronation anthem:  ‘Vivat Regina!  Vivat Regina Elizabetha!’  By the end of eight minutes, the rough length of this piece, we were vocally, intellectually and physically shell-shocked.  ‘Not too bad for a first reading,’ our director said, ‘not ready for Westminster Abbey yet, but we will be.’  For a moment I thought that he was serious about Westminster Abbey, but then realized he was joking.

         I am grateful to Father Michael for inviting me to be with you this morning as we celebrate the anniversary of the dedication of this Parish.  I am equally glad that the conditions of my invitation did not include the requirement that I reprise my youthful encounter with the choral demands of Parry’s setting of Psalm 122.  But it is about this psalm that I want to share some reflections with you on this occasion.  If it please you, I’ll offer you an aging tenor’s take on this psalm’s message to us as we journey through this second decade of the twenty-first century.

         Psalm 122 is what biblical scholars call a ‘psalm of ascent’.  These psalms are songs that we believe pilgrims to Jerusalem sang as they approached the city to celebrate the great festivals of the Jewish liturgical year.  Even today, just outside modern Jerusalem, there is an overlook on the highway where you can pull over and recite Psalm 122 as you see the city for the first time.

         Pilgrimages are special journeys that include many common features such as moving from the edges of our lives to the centre, from the ordinary to the sacred, from the mundane to the meaningful, from the normal to the symbolic, from the present to the past. [1]  One writer describes a pilgrimage with these words:  “To return to a holy place on pilgrimage is like homecoming or reunion time, a return to the roots, to the source, to the ‘mother’ who still sustains and nourishes.” [2]  For all the years of its existence Saint John’s and all the parish churches throughout the world have had the potential to be just such holy places where people can return week after week, year after year, decade after decade, to a place where these pilgrims can rediscover the roots of their faith and to be sustained and nourished in the on-going journey of life beyond these places of memory and hope.

         But what are the roots of our faith that are to be found in these holy places?  Today’s psalm offers us three:  unity, judgement and peace.  Certainly we who have endured the past ten years of conflict and controversy, whether as members of Saint John’s or as members of the other parishes of the Diocese, know how much we may desire unity, how much we may fear judgement, how much we may long for peace.  But what do these words mean for us today?

         Too often in our society the word ‘unity’ is confused with ‘uniformity’.  Unity is a far more difficult task than its shadow cousin uniformity.  While uniformity has its place, especially in those dimensions of our lives where concrete uniform measures may mean the difference between life and death, unity relies on a commitment of the heart, mind, soul and strength to maintain relationships even when these are tested by diverse opinions on some of the great questions of how we as Christians should live.  If we believe Paul’s conviction expressed in 1 Corinthians 12.3 that no one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ unless he or she is led by the Spirit, then unity means holding fast to one another even as we struggle to understand what it means to call Jesus ‘Lord’.  Unity means that those who confess that the Scriptures are the Word of God and contain all things necessary to salvation are called to listen to one another as we seek to discern what is necessary to salvation and what is not.

         Too often in our society ‘judgement’ is confused with ‘condemnation’.  Judgement is the process of discernment by which we seek to know which treasures from our past are best left in our congregational closets and which treasures are life-sustaining in the present moment.  Judgement may mean deciding that new insights, new perspectives, new language may, if fact, be truer to the roots of our faith than long-held ones.  Judgement helps us identify the difference between nostalgia for a long-lost mythic past and the genuine tradition, the faith handed down to us from the first followers of Jesus of Nazareth, a heritage that enlivens our faith and practice.

         In all our pilgrimages we seek ‘peace’ but not the peace that the world names peace.  In Welsh, one of the ancestral languages of my family, there are two words that are sometimes translated into English as ‘peace’.  One means ‘the absence of conflict’, the other ‘the presence of wholeness, well-being, fulfillment’.  The Hebrew word used throughout today’s psalm is shalom whose root meaning is akin to the second Welsh word.  Jerusalem, the psalmist sings, is to be a place of wholeness, well-being and fulfillment not merely a place where conflict is absent.  For Christians this shalom is what we hope for in God’s coming reign when every human being will be treated with dignity, when the integrity of creation is restored and all creation rejoices in the fullness of life which is its heritage from the very beginning of the universe.

         My friends, when we come to worship in one of these holy places, we come in search of unity, judgement and peace.  Every congregation that dares to claim that it is a place of worship has the potential to be just such a holy place where people discover that diversity is not a threat to community but a potential strength just as a laminated beam is often stronger than a single tree trunk.  Every religious community, especially those that claim a reverence for God’s word as found in the Scriptures, has the potential to be a holy place where we learn to pack our bags carefully for the journey of faith, to judge which of the many gifts from our heritage are of use for us in the present moment.  Every building that bears the sign of the cross has the potential to be a sign that ‘the Lord is here’ in the midst of neighbourhoods that are desperate to know wholeness, well-being and fulfillment as they face the challenges of a consumer society.

         On this day we give thanks to God that Saint John’s has been a place of pilgrimage, in times of quiet as well as in times of conflict.  We give thanks that this building stands as a symbol of God’s invitation to all human beings to live in the shalom of God, not just in some distant future but in this present moment as well.  Just as the psalmist expressed the hopes and joys of pilgrims making the ascent into Jerusalem so many centuries ago, let me voice my hope that you and all the pilgrims who come within these precincts might find joy and peace and be empowered to go forth to be agents of God’s kingdom:

         I pray for your peace, my sisters and brothers.  May all who love you prosper.  May peace be within your walls and quietness within your halls.  For the sake of all the people who seek the roots of their faith, I pray for your prosperity.  Because this is surely a holy place, a place of pilgrimage for all who desire unity, for all who seek wise judgement and for all who long for the peace of God’s reign, I and all your fellow pilgrims in this Deanery and Diocese will seek to do you good.  May our God, who knows the hearts of all, fulfill these words in our generation.  Amen.

[1] Craddock, Preaching Through the Christian Year:  Year A (1992), 6.

[2] Craddock (1992), 6.