Monday, October 29, 2018

Proper Prayers for All Saints B (4 November 2018)

RCL All Saints B
1 November or the Sunday following 1 November

Wisdom of Solomon 3.1-9 or Isaiah 25.6-9; Psalm 24: Revelation 21.1-6a; John 11.32-44

Collect of the Day

Almighty God, whose people are knit together in one holy Church, the mystical Body of your Son, grant us grace to follow your blessed saints in loves of faith and commitment, and to know the inexpressible joys you have prepared for those who love you; through your Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen. [The Book of Alternative Services 1985, 428]
or
Source of all being, beginning and end, we praise you for those who have served you faithfully.  Replenish our hope in your eternal kingdom, so that we may have life in all its fullness, unbound by the fear of death; through your Son, Jesus Christ.  Amen.  [Liturgy Task Force 2016, 156]
or
Lord of heaven’s reach and of earth reborn, you call us from starless graves to sing under infinite skies:  we praise your name for those who have walked this way unheralded and unnumbered but known to you, their beginning, their end, their joy in life.  Give us the same grace to be unbound and to take the step of faith, through Jesus Christ, the Alpha and the Omega.  Amen. [Liturgy Task Force 2016, 156]
or
All-holy God, you call your people to holiness.  As we keep the festival of your saints, give us their meekness and poverty of spirit, a thirst for righteousness, and purity of heart.  May we share with them the richness of your kingdom and be clothed in the glory you bestow.  Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever.  Amen. [Opening Prayers 1997, 139]

Prayer over the Gifts

Holy and mighty God, we give you thanks for the triumph of Christ in the lives of all his saints.  Receive all we offer you this day, and help us, like them, to run our course with faith, so that we may come to your eternal kingdom.  We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen. [The Book of Alternative Services 1985, 428 alt.]
or
God of mercy and grace, the eyes of all wait upon you, and you open your hand in blessing.  Fill us with good things at your table, so that we may come to the help of all in need, through Jesus Christ, our redeemer and Lord.  Amen.  [Evangelical Lutheran Worship 2006, 64 alt.]
or
Merciful God, as grains of wheat scattered upon the hills were gathered together to become one bread, so let your church be gathered together from the ends of the earth into your kingdom, for yours is the glory through Jesus Christ, now and forever.  Amen.  [Evangelical Lutheran Worship 2006, 64]
or
Holy God, gracious and merciful, you bring forth food from the earth and nourish your whole creation.  Turn our hearts toward those who hunger in any way, so that all may know your care; and prepare us now to feast on the bread of life, Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord.  Amen.  [Evangelical Lutheran Worship 2006, 107 alt.]
or
God of all creation, all you have made is good, and your love endures forever.  You bring forth bread from the earth and fruit from the vine.  Nourish us with these gifts, so that we might be for the world signs of your gracious presence in Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord.  Amen.  [Evangelical Lutheran Worship 2006, 107 alt.]
or
Blessed are you, O God, maker of all things.  Through your goodness you have blessed us with these gifts:  our selves, our time and our possessions.  Use us and what we have gathered in feeding the world with your love, through the one who gave himself for us, Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord.  Amen.  [Evangelical Lutheran Worship 2006, 107 alt.]

Prayer after Communion

Lord of hosts, we praise your glory reflected in your saints.  May we who share at this table be filled with the joy of your eternal kingdom, where Jesus is Lord, now and for ever.  Amen. [The Book of Alternative Services 1985, 428-429]
or
Gracious God, in this meal you have drawn us to your heart, and nourished us at your table with food and drink, the body and blood of Christ.  Now send us forth to be your people in the world, and to proclaim your truth this day and evermore, through Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord.  Amen.  [Evangelical Lutheran Worship 2006, 65]
or
O God, our life, our strength, our food, we give you thanks for sustaining us with the body and blood of your Son.  By your Holy Spirit, enliven us to be his body in the world, so that more and more we will give you praise and serve your earth and its many peoples, through Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord.  Amen.  [Evangelical Lutheran Worship 2006, 65 alt.]
or
We give you thanks, almighty God, that you have refreshed us through the healing power of this gift of life.  In your mercy, strengthen us through this gift, in faith toward you and in fervent love toward one another; for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord.   Amen.  [Evangelical Lutheran Worship 2006, 114]
or
O God, we give you thanks that you have set before us this feast, the body and blood of your Son.  By your Spirit strengthen us to serve all in need and to give ourselves away as bread for the hungry, through Jesus Christ our Lord.     Amen.  [Evangelical Lutheran Worship 2006, 114]
or
God of abundance, with this bread of life and cup of salvation you have united us with Christ, making us one with all your people.  Now send us forth in the power of your Spirit, so that we may proclaim your redeeming love to the world and continue forever in the risen life of Jesus Christ, our Lord.     Amen.  [Evangelical Lutheran Worship 2006, 114 alt.]


Friday, October 26, 2018

The Risky Way of Faith (RCL Proper 30B: 28 October 2018)

The Risky Way of Faith
Reflections on 10.46-52

RCL Proper 30B
28 October 2018

Holy Trinity Cathedral

Mark 10.46-52

            10.46[Jesus and his disciples] came to Jericho.  As he and his disciples and a large crowd were leaving Jericho, Bartimaeus son of Timaeus, a blind beggar, was sitting by the roadside.  47When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”  48Many sternly ordered him to be quiet, but he cried out even more loudly, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”  49Jesus stood still and said, “Call him here.”  And they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take heart; get up, he is calling you.”  50So throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus.  51Then Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?”  The blind man said to him, “My teacher, let me see again.”  52Jesus said to him, “Go; your faith has made you well.”  Immediately he regained his sight and followed him on the way.

Risking everything on one throw of the dice
            One of the popular ways of engaging the Bible is what is sometimes called ‘the African Bible study method’.  A particular text of the Bible is read three times.  After the first time, the listeners are asked, ‘What one word caught your attention?’  After the second time, the question is ‘What phrase caught your attention?’  And, after the final time, the listeners are asked, ‘What is this text asking you to do as a disciple of Jesus?’

            When I begin my preparation for a sermon, I read all the lectionary texts appointed for the day.  As I keep this congregation and the events of the world in my mind, one of the texts will often catch my attention.  Sometimes I will apply the ‘African’ method and read the text three times.  This Sunday is just such an occasion.

            The word that captured my attention was ‘immediately’. In the New Testament Gospels the word ‘immediately’ is used fifty-four times.  Half of those occasions are found in the Gospel according to Mark.  His is the gospel of ‘immediately’.  It is a gospel that calls upon its audience to be prepared to jump up from their seats or their workplaces or their homes and set out on the ‘way’, the road of Christian discipleship.  ‘Trust your emotions and intuition,’ Mark seems to be saying, ‘Don’t overthink things.’

            The phrase that caught my attention was ‘ . . . throwing off his cloak . . .’  Ponder this for a moment.  Bartimaeus is a blind beggar in a world with no social safety nets.  He’s probably homeless or, at best, spends the best of the day seeking shelter for the night.  Whether it’s ragged or in relatively good shape, his cloak is probably his best protection against the cold of the night and the assaults of the weather.  I imagine he holds it very close to his heart. And yet, at the call of Jesus, Bartimaeus risks everything on the chance that this rabbi from Nazareth will restore his sight.  So, in the midst of a crowd, some of whom are probably more than willing to take advantage of a free cloak lying on the ground, Bartimaeus throws off something that is hindering his approach to Jesus.

            What I find this passage from the Gospel according to Mark is asking me to do as a disciple of Jesus is to understand that faith is a risky enterprise.  Sometimes it means trusting my emotions and intuition more than my measured intellectual assessment of a given situation.  Sometimes it means seizing a moment rather than holding back and waiting for ‘the right time’.

Life is about managing risks not avoiding them.
            When you think about it, almost everything about life is about the management rather than the avoidance of risk.  For example, every time I get into my car to drive to an errand or to work, I manage my risks.  I make sure that my car is in good running order.  I put on my seatbelt and check my mirrors.  I use my signals and try to maintain a safe distance between the car in front of me.  I do my best to stay within the speed limit.

            But there is nothing I can do to control the behaviour of other drivers.  There is nothing I can do to control some unexpected road condition or even some unexpected mechanical failure in my vehicle or someone else’s.  Despite all these unknowns, I still start the engine and set out on my journey.

            When we fall in love with another person and decide to make a life-time commitment, we take risk of our relationship not fulfilling its promise and hopes.  When we make the decision to have children, to adopt children or to foster children, we take the risk of having our worlds turned upside down.  We can manage the risks of relationships and the risks of parenting as best as we can, but we cannot avoid the risks.  We make decisions on the spot and we trust our emotions and intuitions even as our intellects are flashing yellow lights.  And, if the truth be told, at least nine times out of time, we would say that the risk was worth it.

Following the way of Jesus is a risky way of life.
            When Paula was pregnant with our youngest child, she had a conversation with a wise woman, Marjorie Powells, who lived across the hall from us at Vancouver School of Theology.  Marjorie and her husband, Cyril, had been missionaries of the Anglican Church of Canada in Japan.  Paula and Marjorie struck up a friendship that changed our life.

            One afternoon Marjorie asked Paula what she wanted to do with her life.  ‘I want to become a priest,’ Paula said, ‘but I’m waiting for the right time.’  ‘There is no such thing as “the right time”,’ Marjorie said, ‘There’s only hearing God’s call, answering it and figuring things out as you go along.’  And so, within a year, Paula began her studies towards ordination and we managed the risks of a marriage, a career, three children under the age of five and all the other things that came along.

            Now don’t get me wrong.  I believe that thinking things through is an important part of being a disciple and living one’s life.  We need to love God with all our heart, all our soul, all our mind and all our strength. Sometimes discipleship means trusting the heart more than the mind.  Discipleship always means managing risk rather than avoiding it.

            Another word for ‘managing risk’ is ‘stewardship’.  Stewardship involves the faithful use of the time that God has given to us, the courageous use of the talents that God has given to us and the thoughtful use of the financial resources entrusted to us.  Good stewardship is as much about throwing off our cloak and immediately following the call of Jesus as it is about careful consideration of the long-term management of our time, our talents and our treasure.

Hearing the Gospel again for the first time
            Listen to today’s gospel one more time:       

            10.46[Jesus and his disciples] came to Jericho.  As he and his disciples and a large crowd were leaving Jericho, Bartimaeus son of Timaeus, a blind beggar, was sitting by the roadside.  47When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”  48Many sternly ordered him to be quiet, but he cried out even more loudly, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”  49Jesus stood still and said, “Call him here.”  And they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take heart; get up, he is calling you.”  50So throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus.  51Then Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?”  The blind man said to him, “My teacher, let me see again.”  52Jesus said to him, “Go; your faith has made you well.”  Immediately he regained his sight and followed him on the way.

What word catches your attention? What phrase stands out for you? What is this text asking you to do as a disciple of Jesus?  Hold on to that word.  Find meaning in that phrase.  Follow where your heart leads you.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Winning Isn't Everything. Serving Is.

Dear friends,

On Sunday, 21 October 2018, our Parish Deacon, Carole Neilson preached a sermon based upon Mark 10.35-45.  I hope that you will take the time to listen to it.

Click here to listen to 'Winning Isn't Everything.  Serving Is.'

Blessings,

Richard +
Vicar of Holy Trinity Cathedral
Archdeacon of Westminster

Monday, October 15, 2018

Proper Prayers for RCL Proper 29B (21 October 2018)

RCL Proper 29B
Sunday between 16 and 22 October

Job 38.1-7, (34-41); Psalm 104.1-9, 25, 37b; Hebrews 5.1-10; Mark 10.35-45

Collect of the Day

Almighty and everliving God, increase in us your gift of faith, so that forsaking what lies behind and reaching out to what is before, we may run the way of your commandments and win the crown of everlasting joy; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.  [The Book of Alternative Services 1985, 387]
or
Sovereign God, you turn your greatness into goodness for all the people on earth. Shape us  into willing servants of your kingdom and make us desire always and only your will, through Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord.  Amen. [Evangelical Lutheran Worship 2006, 50 alt.]
or
Most glorious God, in Jesus you call your people to true humility and servanthood. Grant to us the boldness to desire a place in your kingdom, the courage to drink the cup of suffering, and the grace to find in service the glory you promise; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.  [Liturgy Task Force 2016, 96]
or
Suffering God, when in whose we seek glory for ourselves, cast down all our idols and direct our hearts to him who bears our wounds and is our peace, Jesus Christ, the true God and servant of all.  Amen.  [Liturgy Task Force 2016, 94]
or
Creator God, you are wrapped in light as a garment, clothed with honour and majesty. Enlighten us with true faith and humble obedience that seeks to serve others in your name; through Jesus the Christ, your beloved servant.  Amen.  [Revised Common Lectionary Prayers 1992, 202 alt.]

Prayer over the Gifts

Eternal God, your word inspires our faith.  May we who offer you our praise trust you in all things.  We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ the Lord.  Amen. [The Book of Alternative Services 1985, 387]
or
God of mercy and grace, the eyes of all wait upon you, and you open your hand in blessing.  Fill us with good things at your table, so that we may come to the help of all in need, through Jesus Christ, our redeemer and Lord.  Amen.  [Evangelical Lutheran Worship 2006, 64 alt.]
or
Merciful God, as grains of wheat scattered upon the hills were gathered together to become one bread, so let your church be gathered together from the ends of the earth into your kingdom, for yours is the glory through Jesus Christ, now and forever.  Amen.  [Evangelical Lutheran Worship 2006, 64]
or
Holy God, gracious and merciful, you bring forth food from the earth and nourish your whole creation.  Turn our hearts toward those who hunger in any way, so that all may know your care; and prepare us now to feast on the bread of life, Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord.  Amen.  [Evangelical Lutheran Worship 2006, 107 alt.]
or
God of all creation, all you have made is good, and your love endures forever.  You bring forth bread from the earth and fruit from the vine.  Nourish us with these gifts, so that we might be for the world signs of your gracious presence in Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord.  Amen.  [Evangelical Lutheran Worship 2006, 107 alt.]
or
Blessed are you, O God, maker of all things.  Through your goodness you have blessed us with these gifts:  our selves, our time and our possessions.  Use us and what we have gathered in feeding the world with your love, through the one who gave himself for us, Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord.  Amen.  [Evangelical Lutheran Worship 2006, 107 alt.]

Prayer after Communion

God of peace, you have nourished us in this sacrament with the body and blood of Christ. May we who have taken holy things keep faith in our hearts and lives, in the name of Jesus Christ the Lord.  Amen. [The Book of Alternative Services 1985, 388]
or
Gracious God, in this meal you have drawn us to your heart, and nourished us at your table with food and drink, the body and blood of Christ.  Now send us forth to be your people in the world, and to proclaim your truth this day and evermore, through Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord.  Amen.  [Evangelical Lutheran Worship 2006, 65]
or
O God, our life, our strength, our food, we give you thanks for sustaining us with the body and blood of your Son.  By your Holy Spirit, enliven us to be his body in the world, so that more and more we will give you praise and serve your earth and its many peoples, through Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord.  Amen.  [Evangelical Lutheran Worship 2006, 65 alt.]
or
We give you thanks, almighty God, that you have refreshed us through the healing power of this gift of life.  In your mercy, strengthen us through this gift, in faith toward you and in fervent love toward one another; for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord.   Amen.  [Evangelical Lutheran Worship 2006, 114]
or
O God, we give you thanks that you have set before us this feast, the body and blood of your Son.  By your Spirit strengthen us to serve all in need and to give ourselves away as bread for the hungry, through Jesus Christ our Lord.     Amen.  [Evangelical Lutheran Worship 2006, 114]
or
God of abundance, with this bread of life and cup of salvation you have united us with Christ, making us one with all your people.  Now send us forth in the power of your Spirit, so that we may proclaim your redeeming love to the world and continue forever in the risen life of Jesus Christ, our Lord.     Amen.  [Evangelical Lutheran Worship 2006, 114 alt.]


Sunday, October 14, 2018

The World Turned Upside Down


'The World Turned Upside Down' are my reflections on Job 23.1-9, 16-17 and Mark 10.17-31, two of the readings appointed for RCL Proper 28B.

Click here to listen to the Sermon as preached at the 10.00 Eucharist at Holy Trinity Cathedral on Sunday the 14th of October 2018.


Richard +

Vicar of Holy Trinity Cathedral

Monday, October 1, 2018

Proper Prayers for Harvest Thanksgiving 2018

Harvest Thanksgiving
7 October 2018

Joel 2.21-27; Psalm 126; 1 Timothy 2.1-7; Matthew 6.25-33

Collect of the Day

Creator of the fruitful earth, you made us stewards of all things.  Give us grateful hearts for all your goodness, and steadfast wills to use your bounty well, so that the whole human family, today and in generations to come, may with us give thanks for the riches of your creation. We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ the Lord.   Amen.  [The Book of Alternative Services 1985, 396 alt.]
or
O Lord, maker of all things, you open your hand and satisfy the desire of every living creature.  We praise you for crowning the fields with your blessings and enabling us once more to gather in the fruits of the earth.  Teach us to use your gifts carefully, so that our land may continue to yield its increase, through Jesus Christ our Saviour and Lord.  Amen. [Evangelical Lutheran Worship 2006, 62 alt.]
or
Gracious One,you satisfy the need of every living creature.  Fill us with gratitude for the abundance of the earthand for the bonds of love and carethat unite all creation into one family.  May our thanks be the soilin which dreams of justice grow and thrive;through Jesus Christ, the Lord of the harvest.  Amen. [Liturgy Task Force 2016, 153]
or
Giving and forgiving God, you created the good earth and blessed it.  Give us glad and generous hearts, so that we may rejoice and give thanks for the abundance of your creation, the depths of your mercy and your care for all; blessed are you, O God, Source of all being, eternal Word and Holy Spirit, for ever and ever.  Amen.  [Liturgy Task Force 2016, 153]

Prayer over the Gifts

Source of all life, the heaven and earth are yours, yet you have given us dominion over all things.  Receive the symbols of our labour and love which we offer you this day, in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.  [The Book of Alternative Services 1985, 397]
or
God of mercy and grace, the eyes of all wait upon you, and you open your hand in blessing.  Fill us with good things at your table, so that we may come to the help of all in need, through Jesus Christ, our redeemer and Lord.  Amen.  [Evangelical Lutheran Worship 2006, 64 alt.]
or
Merciful God, as grains of wheat scattered upon the hills were gathered together to become one bread, so let your church be gathered together from the ends of the earth into your kingdom, for yours is the glory through Jesus Christ, now and forever.  Amen.  [Evangelical Lutheran Worship 2006, 64]
or
Holy God, gracious and merciful, you bring forth food from the earth and nourish your whole creation.  Turn our hearts toward those who hunger in any way, so that all may know your care; and prepare us now to feast on the bread of life, Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord.  Amen.  [Evangelical Lutheran Worship 2006, 107 alt.]
or
God of all creation, all you have made is good, and your love endures forever.  You bring forth bread from the earth and fruit from the vine.  Nourish us with these gifts, so that we might be for the world signs of your gracious presence in Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord.  Amen.  [Evangelical Lutheran Worship 2006, 107 alt.]
or
Blessed are you, O God, maker of all things.  Through your goodness you have blessed us with these gifts:  our selves, our time and our possessions.  Use us and what we have gathered in feeding the world with your love, through the one who gave himself for us, Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord.  Amen.  [Evangelical Lutheran Worship 2006, 107 alt.]

Prayer after Communion

God of our hope, in this eucharist we find the source of all your blessings. Nourished in these holy mysteries may we, with our lives, give you continual thanks and praise.  This we ask in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen. [The Book of Alternative Services 1985, 397]
or
Gracious God, in this meal you have drawn us to your heart, and nourished us at your table with food and drink, the body and blood of Christ.  Now send us forth to be your people in the world, and to proclaim your truth this day and evermore, through Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord.  Amen.  [Evangelical Lutheran Worship 2006, 65]
or
O God, our life, our strength, our food, we give you thanks for sustaining us with the body and blood of your Son.  By your Holy Spirit, enliven us to be his body in the world, so that more and more we will give you praise and serve your earth and its many peoples, through Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord.  Amen.  [Evangelical Lutheran Worship 2006, 65 alt.]
or
We give you thanks, almighty God, that you have refreshed us through the healing power of this gift of life.  In your mercy, strengthen us through this gift, in faith toward you and in fervent love toward one another; for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord.   Amen.  [Evangelical Lutheran Worship 2006, 114]
or
O God, we give you thanks that you have set before us this feast, the body and blood of your Son.  By your Spirit strengthen us to serve all in need and to give ourselves away as bread for the hungry, through Jesus Christ our Lord.     Amen.  [Evangelical Lutheran Worship 2006, 114]
or
God of abundance, with this bread of life and cup of salvation you have united us with Christ, making us one with all your people.  Now send us forth in the power of your Spirit, so that we may proclaim your redeeming love to the world and continue forever in the risen life of Jesus Christ, our Lord.     Amen.  [Evangelical Lutheran Worship 2006, 114 alt.]